George Jacob, President & CEO of BayEcotarium

George Jacob, President & CEO of BayEcotarium

George Jacob is the President & CEO of BayEcotarium- the largest non profit conservation group in San Francisco that oversees 7 institutions (Aquarium of the Bay, The Bay Institute, Sea Lion Center, Studio Aqua, The Bay Model- US Army Corps of Engineers, Eco Xpeditions and the Bay Academy) with a unified mission to protect and conserve the Bay and its fragile ecosystems from
the Sierra to the Sea. Celebrating its 40th Anniversary, the AZA accredited Smithsonian Affiliate, has served millions of tourists in the last 40 years. He currently leads a landmark transformation of the Aquarium into an iconic $260 million immersive ecotarium- the first of its kind Climate Resilience and Ocean Conservation Living Museum in the world, with an estimated $2 billion economic impact on the California tourism industry.

Trained at the Smithsonian, educated at the Birla Institute of Technology & Science, University of Toronto and Yale School of Management, he is known internationally for spearheading stellar museum design-build assignments and is one of the leading museum thinkers of our times. World’s youngest Science Center and Planetarium Director at 25, he went on to become the founding Director of four museums including the NASA-Ames funded Astronomy Center in Hawaii. His portfolio of over 108 museums, nature parks, aquariums, heritage destinations, wildlife and science center assignments, continue to be visited by millions in India, Singapore, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, South Korea, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Jamaica, Norway, Canada, United States and elsewhere- ranging from Dinosaur sites in Alberta to Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi to Forest Center in Tillamook to Ocean Center in Alaska. In 2008, he was honored to be the Project Director for the production of the 1812 Star Spangled Banner permanent exhibit- Smithsonian’s most treasured national icon, that inspired the American National Anthem rededicated to the nation by President George W. Bush. In 2015, he delivered the fastest museum design-build project in north America with helicopter rides over the world’s densest dinosaur bone-bed site, winning 9 awards in 9 months.

He is the recipient of the first Environmental Secretary’s Award from the California Dept of Natural Resources and was honored with the 2019 Louie Kamookak Medal for Lifetime Achievement in preserving and promoting geography, heritage and culture, by the Royal Canadian Geographic Society- becoming the 5th person conferred outside Canada, following Sir David Attenborough, Sir Michael Palin, Alex Trebek and President Jimmy Carter. Jacob has authored 12 books and 150+ opinion editorials on tourism, destination development, museum design, civic reach, sustainability, public art, heritage and advocacy, for newspapers and publications, and TV Networks. Champion of Green-Blue Impact Investment Economies, he has served on the Peer Review Council of the American Alliance for Museums, and serves on the Boards of International Council of Museums US under the Chairmanship of the Secretary of the Smithsonian. In 2019, he was appointed Chief Advisor to UN Environment programs on Climate and Ocean Conservation Museum initiatives (Caribbean). In addition to leading Oceanarium projects in Norway and Jamaica, his latest book MUSEUM FUTURES: The Corona Conundrum was released during the pandemic and this year he won the California Travel Association Award for Sustainable Tourism and was elected on the Board of US Travel in Washington DC.