John Ball Zoo Announces New Executive Leader

GRAND RAPIDS, MI - John Ball Zoo has announced a new leader to join its executive team. 

John Ball Zoo welcomes Michael Lomonaco into a new role as its Chief Development and Community Engagement Officer. 

In this role, Lomonaco will lead cross functional teams made up of more than a dozen employees in the areas of development, membership, community engagement, marketing, and government  affairs with a focus on expanding the Zoo's role within the communities which the organization  serves.
“John Ball Zoo is a special place for me, as I know it is for so many others. I could not be more excited about the opportunity to work with such a fun and dynamic team to guide the future of this treasured community asset while bringing more awareness and people alongside our mission,” stated Lomonaco.

“As an Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) accredited organization, we are a zoo based conservation center that engages the public to save animals from extinction. We cannot do this critical work without engaging the broader community that we serve. I am excited to bring Mike’s experience and passion for our community onto the leadership team. Mike’s experience will not only help us serve our community but will also execute our mission to inspire the community to be actively engaged in the conservation of wildlife and natural environment.” said Peter D’Arienzo, John Ball Zoo’s CEO. 

Lomonaco previously served on John Ball Zoo’s Board of Directors for nearly five years and brings with him a passion for not only zoos and wildlife but also the community. In addition, he brings a wealth of experience in fundraising, government affairs, marketing, and community engagement. He most recently served as Director of Marketing and Communications at global technology consulting firm OST. There, he oversaw marketing, communications, and public relations. At OST, he grew the team from one individual to a team of seven representing the organization across three domestic and three international locations and growth from $60m to $160m in revenue.

His career also included leadership positions in local, state and federal political and policy; corporate and nonprofit consulting; and the manufacturing sector. Michael has a deep connection to service and has served on a number of nonprofit and community boards. In 2013,2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 Michael was selected as one of Grand Rapids’ “Top 40 Under Forty” business and community leaders by the Grand Rapids Business Journal.
The hire also represents an evolution for the Zoo. Brenda Stringer, who has led development efforts for the organization since 1981 will transition to a new role as Capital Campaign Director. In this new role, Stringer will focus on providing council around the organization’s ongoing efforts to implement its master plan as she moves toward retirement over the next several months.

“We are fortunate that Brenda's dedication and passion for the Zoo includes a thoughtful transition plan that will surely contribute to the Zoo today and well into the future,” stated D’Arienzo. 


John Ball Zoo inspires people to be active participants in the conservation of 
wildlife and our natural environment. Learn more at


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