Board of Directors
Dr. Peter Brewer, Chairman
Peter Brewer has been a general curator since 1974, working at both small and medium-sized zoos. He received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, North Grafton, MA in 1998. He currently is the staff veterinarian and general curator at Southwick's Zoo in Mendon, MA, which features over 500 animals and 150 species.
Jim Fouts, Vice Chair
Tanganyika Wildlife Park
Jim Fouts has been in the zoo industry since 1972 and was working in zoos until 1977, when he decided to go out on his own. Starting in 1978, he began importing birds and animals from all over the world for zoological collections, and in 1985, he opened bird import stations in Los Angeles. Ever since 1980, he worked throughout Africa supplying birds and animals to zoos around the world. In 1985, he began developing a holding/breeding compound in Goddard, Kan. Jim is currently the director of Tanganyika Wildlife Park.
John Wortman, Treasurer
Center for Conservation of Tropical Ungulates
John Wortman’s career, spanning over 40 years, began as a zookeeper at the Topeka Zoological Park in 1967. By 1970, he moved on to the Louisville Zoological Gardens as the zoo's curator. A year later, the position of general curator opened at the Topeka Zoological Park, and he returned to Kansas where a promotion to assistant director took place in 1975. In 1979, while hoping to obtain more experience in a larger zoo operation, he relocated to the Dallas Zoo as the curator of mammals. In addition to zoo work, he spent five years as a part-time biology instructor at El Centro College in downtown Dallas. Following another opportunity in 1985, he relocated to the Denver Zoological Gardens to serve as general curator, from which he retired 18 years later. At this point in 2003, he moved to Southwest Florida and assumed the position of collections manager which eventually became the administrative manager of a wildlife ranch known as the Center of Conservation of Tropical Ungulates (CCTU). This conservation/propagation facility places tropical and subtropical hoofed animals in spacious, natural conditions. Currently, several of the herds housed at CCTU contain the largest numbers of that particular species outside of their native habitats.
Matt Oldenburg, Secretary
Zoo of Acadiana
Oldenburg’s involvement in the Zoological Association of America (ZAA) began in 2007 when he joined as an Associate Member. He was soon elected a Professional Member in 2008. Oldenburg collaborated with a select few other Professional Members to draw up the Members' Code of Conduct for the organization, and was elected as a founding member to the Members' Code of Conduct Committee in early 2009. In 2010, Oldenburg built and still maintains ZAA’s official Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/FanZAA) and hosted ZAA’s 6th annual conference.
Oldenburg began his zoo career at the age of fourteen when his parents purchased the Zoo of Acadiana in 2002 and prides himself on being a young professional in the industry. He absorbs the diverse characteristics of such a unique business and took an immediate interest in the presentation aspects of a zoo. Oldenburg firmly believes in re-creating natural habitats for species that are found throughout all areas of the world and feels it to be a crucial component to build a connection between a zoo's guests and its animals.
Oldenburg participates in industry associations, such as the American Association of Zoo Keepers as a Professional Class member. In the summer of 2010, Oldenburg graduated from Tulane University with a Bachelors of Science, majoring in Environmental Biology, and a Bachelors of Science in Management, majoring in Consumer Behavior and Marketing and minoring in Management. He understands the administrative aspects of a zoo require familiarity with both the business and biology mindsets.
Exotic Feline Breeding Compound
Joseph Maynard started working with leopards in 1970 and founded the Exotic Feline Breeding Compound’s Feline Conservation Center in 1977. The facility is a breeding and reproductive research center formed specifically to address reproduction issues in captive felids. The facility currently houses 78 specimens representing 18 species of felidae.
Lex Salisbury is currently the President/CEO and co-proprietor of Safari Wilderness Ranch in Lakeland, Florida. He is also the sole proprietor of Giraffe Ranch, LLC. in Dade City, Florida. Both ranches are home to a multitude of exotic hoofstock including giraffe, pygmy hippo, Indian rhino, Congo buffalo, eland, bongo, warthog, red river hog, as well as numerous species of primates, birds, reptiles, and small mammals.
Formerly, Lex served as President/CEO of Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, bringing the zoo from one of “five worst zoos in America” in 1986 (Humane Society) to the “Best Zoo in America” (Child Magazine) in 2004. In his 21 years at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, he grew the budget 100-fold (from $200k to $20m).
Lex earned his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Sydney and his Master’s degree in Environmental Sciences from Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia.
This year, Giraffe Ranch received a 5-star TripAdvisor award and was noted as a Top 10 “Fodor’s Choice” in Tampa Bay.
Sherilyn Hanna was born and raised in Southern California, and currently resides in Moorpark. Her keen interest in nature began at a very early age. In 1979, she took a keeper in training class at the Los Angeles Zoo. Since then, she has worked closely over the years with well-known aviculturists, learning to successfully keep and breed various species such as turacos, lorikeets and fruit doves. She also worked as a senior keeper with the Santa Barbara Zoo, caring for a diverse avian collection and Channel Island foxes.
She is currently the curator for Lynn Hall’s private aviaries of fruit doves & pigeons, responsible for all daily husbandry, propagation and hand rearing. She is also the owner of Exotic Endeavors, her private facility specializing in lories, softbills and fennec foxes. Sheri is a CA state and USDA licensed breeder for the fennec foxes, working closely with public and private facilities as well as conservation programs & veterinarians for the foxes and bird species. She is an advisor and full participant in the Fennec Fox SSP, also participating in husbandry & reproductive research projects. She has co-authored chapters on nutrition and hand-rearing of fennec foxes for an Elsevier veterinary publication. As an active supporter of the Sahara Conservation Fund, she recently traveled to Niger with the organization. She continues to travel throughout the world visiting public and private avicultural facilities & expeditions to further her knowledge base.
Sheri is very active in various organizations and writes regularly for their publications. She is a professional member of ZAA and currently on the Code of Conduct committee, is currently on the Board of Directors and the membership secretary for the Avicultural Society of America.
Bill Lucey owns and operates RainForest Adventures, a zoo in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. RainForest Adventures opened in June of 2001. RainForest opened in June of 2001, visited by approximately 100,000 people per year; the zoological collection includes primates, prosimians, birds, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates among others. The zoo is open daily from 9-5, 364 days per year.
Bill has over 20 year’s retail experience in the big box home improvement industry at both the retail management level, as well as corporate headquarters.
Areas of operational focus for Bill include innovative retail merchandising in the zoological arena with an eye towards combining his skills at mass merchandising with the boutique look and feel of the historical zoo gift shop.
Bill is one of the founding board members of ZAG (the Zoo and Aquarium buyers group) as well as a past member of Discover Life in America (DLIA.org) Discover Life in America is the largest All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory of its kind in the world. The inventory is being conducted in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Bill currently lives in the Smoky Mountains with his wife Jeanne and two daughters, Kelly and Amanda.
Dr. Eric Trager
Animal World & Snake Farm
Dr. Eric Trager is originally from the Greater Boston area; he was then raised in both Southern California and Dallas, Texas. Currently, Eric is a dedicated leader and successful entrepreneur who resides in Plano, Texas.
Eric has diverse business interests from specialty and general contracting, to founding and operating pain and wellness chiropractic clinics (5 of them) and urgent care medical clinics (8 of them). These and similar business endeavors have allowed Eric the means to make his primary interest in exotic animal propagation and conservation a priority.
In 2006, Eric bought the severely run-down 3 acre Snake Farm in New Braunfels, Texas with a goal and keen eye to turn it around. Today, Animal World & Snake Farm Zoo, a 20 acre park is a ZAA accredited facility.
In addition to being a successful business executive and zoo owner, Eric is very much involved with political issues, negotiating appropriate regulations for exotic animal owners across the county. Eric raises funds to support favorable legislation, consults people in their states on how to network and work within the system for the purpose of creating the relationships needed, such that when legislation is brought up, they are aware and have friends in the right places.
Alan Sironen is the owner of Zoo Consultants International LLC. The company was founded in March of 2011 to assist clients in animal exhibit planning, zoo animal equipment development and animal transportation. I was employed for over 35 years at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. During my employment I held positions as Zookeeper, Head Zoo Keeper, Assistant General Curator, Curator of Mammals, Curator of Mammalogy, and Curator of Large Mammals and Carnivores. I received a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Capital University in 1975 and a M.B.A. in International Business Administration from Baldwin Wallace College in 1986. While employed at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo I was a professional member of the American Zoo Association and was elected to the AZA Steering Committees for Antelope and Giraffe Taxon Advisory Group, Felid Taxon Advisory Group,South American Primate Taxon Advisory Group, and the Wild Pig, Peccary and Hippo Taxon Advisory Group. I am a Professional Member of the Zoological Association of America. I recently was appointed to the Accreditation Committee of the Zoological Association of America.
Forrest C. de Spain
Forrest de Spain has over 26 years experience in the zoological field, from zookeeper to animal trainer to zoo director, at both privately-owned and government-owned zoological facilities. He served as a board member of United Zoological Association, is a founding board member of Zoological Association of America, and served on ZAA's membership, website, and accreditation committees. He currently is a facility accreditation inspector for ZAA.
He has a Bachelor's degree in Experimental Psychology from the University of California at Santa Barbara and a Master's degree in Business Administration from California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California. Also Forrest has worked in retail management at both small businesses and major department stores. His varied experience includes working as a public works inspector/investigator as well.
Pat Condy, Ph.D., Advisor to the Board
Fossil Rim Wildlife Center
Dr. Patrick Condy is a veteran of wildlife conservation efforts. Born and raised in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, he grew up in the wildlife management and conservation business. Dr. Condy holds a B.Sc. in Animal Science, an M.Sc. in Natural Resource Ecology and a D.Sc. in Zoology. He worked for the National Parks and Wildlife Department of Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) in the early 1970s, moved to South Africa where for 6 years he conducted research on seals and whales in the Antarctic before becoming the director of scientific research in the South African Antarctic Program for 10 years. He also did wildlife consultancy for a major 1980s trend by South African cattle ranchers converting to game ranching. From 1992 to 2000 he was director of the Johannesburg zoo during which he led its privatization process from a city to a non-profit operated facility. He and his family came to the USA in 2001, when he worked as Program Dean for The School for Field Studies associated with Boston University. Executive Director of Fossil Rim Wildlife Center (FRWC) since 2003, he presides over its business, conservation, and education operations. Dr. Condy played a key role in the 2008 donation to Fossil Rim of the 1,700 acres of the land on which it operates. He is working to increase FRWC’s engagement with and contributions to wildlife conservation globally and to strengthen its key role in the tourism economy of the local community in Somervell County and the city of Glen Rose, Texas. Dr. Condy was honored with Honorary Life memberships of the Zoological Society of South Africa and the Wildlife Management Association of Southern Africa. He helped found and served many years on the board of the Pan African Zoo and Aquarium Association (PAAZAB). He served as scientific advisor on the South African delegation to the Antarctic Treaty system, and as national representative on the International Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research. Dr. Condy has authored many scientific publications and co-authored a number of books on the ecology and conservation of the Antarctic. He lives in Glen Rose, TX.
Jim Fowler, ZAA Ambassador and Advisor to the Board
Jim Fowler has been involved in presenting animals to the public for over 40 years. He has been a consultant to zoos and wildlife parks, owns and operates his own wildlife ranch and is developing new kinds of wildlife parks that intend to reconnect families and children to the natural world by combining education and adventure. His career in television includes having been co-host and then host of “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom,” the wildlife correspondent to NBC's Today Show and a regular on many talk shows. He is currently the honorary president of the Explorer's Club and serves on the board of several wildlife organizations. His mission is to help affect public attitudes so more people care about the existence of the natural world and understand that “How We Treat the Earth” is vitally important to our human welfare.