Inspector of the Year: Operations

John Walczak, Director, Louisville Zoological Garden

John Walczak has served as an accreditation inspector for a quarter of a century, and enthusiastically champions the importance of AZA accreditation. His service in AZA has spanned the Ethics Board, Accreditation Commission, and Board of Directors. He is the current Chair of AZA’s Membership Committee, and is also the Director of the Louisville Zoo. John began his career at the Palm Beach Zoo in 1978 after graduating from Penn State University. He then worked as a supervisor at the Oklahoma City Zoo for several years before accepting a position at the Louisville Zoo in 1985. After overseeing and managing more than $30 million in zoo expansion, John was promoted to Director in 2004. As Director, John led the successful design and accomplishment of the $26 million Glacier Run Capital Campaign that funded exhibit openings from 2006 to 2013, growing the zoo’s business through the recession with more than 900,000 guests in 2012. That same year Glacier Run earned the highest award of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums: Exhibit of the Year. The Louisville Zoo was likewise awarded the Association’s 2013 Significant Achievement Award for Excellence in Education, earned as a result of the “School at the Zoo” program. John is passionate about pursuing the zoo’s mission in serving the Louisville community. He believes that it is imperative for the zoo to engage people through amazing experiences with animal ambassadors as a way to impart advocacy for living in better balance with our planet’s ecosystem.

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