Inspector of the Year: Operations

Gary Geddes, Director, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park

Gary is a lifelong leader in the zoological field whose passion for conservation and enjoyment of nature is evident in every aspect of his life. Before beginning his zoological career, Gary earned a Bachelor’s degree in Zoology from Southern Illinois University, followed by a Master’s degree in Executive Non-Profit Leadership from Seattle University. He later guided the planning and construction of a 1,500-acre prairie restoration and wildlife education facility in Peoria, Illinois. Gary joined Metro Parks Tacoma 34 years ago and currently serves as the Director, Zoological & Environmental Education, of both Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. He also oversees the Tacoma Nature Center and is an active member of the Morse Wildlife Preserve Task Force. Gary has served as an AZA accreditation inspector for over 30 years, chairing all but two teams he has participated on. Additionally, Gary was a member of the Accreditation Commission from 2008 to 2014, and served as Chair of the Commission from 2012-2013. He is recognized by colleagues throughout AZA as a leader who possesses a wealth of knowledge about zoos and how they operate. Gary is a tireless advocate for the conservation of species and the preservation of the natural world.

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