Wendy Fisher Award for Professional Excellence

About the Wendy Fisher Award for Professional Excellence

Deadline: Applications must be postmarked by June 1 for the award presented at the Annual Conference in September of that year.

In 2004, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums established the Wendy Fisher Award for Professional Excellence to honor those Association of Zoos and Aquariums Commercial Members who have demonstrated outstanding character, leadership, professional excellence and distinguished service to AZA and fellow Commercial Members. The award is named for its first recipient, Wendy Fisher. Only one recipient can be honored in any given year, and since the award criteria are lofty, it is anticipated that the award will not be given every year.


  • To qualify for consideration, a candidate must unquestionably meet the following criteria:
  • The candidate must be a Commercial Member in good standing at the time the nomination is filed.
  • He or she must demonstrate impeccable character and a distinguished record of honorable service to AZA throughout his or her career
  • He or she must be strongly committed to education, conservation, science, recreation, and the welfare of animals. 


  • 2017 Honoree: Gary H. Lee, AIA, RLA, Co-Founder and Senior Principal, CLR Design, Inc.
  • 2012 Honoree: Kevin McNicholas, K-M Concessions and Service Systems Associates (SSA)
  • 2010 Honoree: Charles M. Davis, FAIA, EHDD Architecture
  • 2007 Honoree: Joyce Basel, Adventure Boutique, Inc.

Nominations Process

Nominations shall be submitted to the AZA Board Chair by no later than 1 June. Nominations must be made by a member of AZA and supported by at least one member of the AZA Board. 

Download the Nomination Form (PDF)

After receipt of a duly prepared and submitted application, the AZA Board Chair shall send the nomination materials confidentially to all Board members for their review and voluntary comments. If comments are received, the Chair shall distribute them to Board members prior to the Board meeting to prepare members for an informed decision on the award. Nominations and comments shall be discussed fully and confidentially during executive session of the Board at the summer Board meeting. Voting on the nominations will follow by written secret ballot. A minimum of two-thirds of the votes of those in attendance is required for approval. 

Questions? Please contact Barbara Pueschel or call 301-301-244-3326

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