Zoo Director Emeritus, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo - retired as Zoo Director on December 31, 2012 after twenty-four years. As a leader in the profession I remain committed to zoos and aquariums and their conservation mission through lectures, ecotourism and consulting on master and strategic planning, zoo exhibits, collection planning, organizational structure and governance.
I started my zoo career in 1972 as an Animal Keeper at the Los Angeles Zoo and retired as Zoo Director at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo on December 31, 2012. Prior to Cleveland, I was Director of the Sacramento and before that, Children's Zoo Manager at the San Francisco Zoo and an Animal Keeper at the LA Zoo.
During my 24 years at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo we invested over $90 million on new facilities and exhibits, including The RainForest, Wolf Wilderness, Australian Adventure, Sarah Allison Steffee Center for Zoological Medicine, the Reinberger Education Center and the African Elephant Crossing.
I started leading safaris in 1978 with my first safari to Botswana.
Since that time I have led over two dozen African safaris to ten different countries. In addition, I have led other ecotourism programs to Australia, Peru, Costa Rica, Belize, Brazil and Australia.
All guides do a good job of identifying the animals and providing some natural history, but I pride myself in also telling stories. These often amusing stories will help you remember all the special moments of your great adventure.
Throughout my career, I have been active with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA). In 1991/92 I was President (now called Chairman) of the Board of Directors of AZA and during that period AZA (then AAZPA) made its historic decision to move its executive offices from Wheeling, WV to the Washington, DC area.
Over my career I chaired over forty accreditation commission inspections for small zoos such as the NEW Zoo in Wisconsin to large zoos such as the Smithsonian National Zoological Park and the Bronx Zoo.
I love sharing my passion for zoos and aquariums and their mission to save wildlife around the world. Whether it is a 30-member Rotary Club or several hundred people in an auditorium, I will entertain and educate the audience (and hopefully get a few laughs). A partial list of programs is listed under presentations.
"It was great to meet you yesterday. I really enjoyed your presentation, as did all of our guests, based on the feedback I got after you left." Beth Russell, ElderClass, May 14, 2015
ZOOS ARE IMPORTANT
"If zoos disappear, I fear that our vast urban population will become so physically remote from animal life, they will cease to care about. Eventually someone will find the animal equivalent of the plastic flower and that will be that. As I watch a child today encounter a group of zoo elephants for the first time I see the child's eyes open wider that one might think possilbe, as my own did years ago, I have no doubt in my mind. The zoo must stay." Desmond Morris