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New Associate Director Rounds Out ABQ BioPark Leadership Team

Bob Lee brings more than 20 years of animal care experience.

June 17, 2021 - The ABQ BioPark is excited to announce the hire of Bob Lee, who started work this week as the new associate director. This important hire completes the newly formed leadership team at the ABQ BioPark. 

“We are thrilled to welcome Bob Lee to the City of Albuquerque,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “His experience makes him an asset to the BioPark and our community.”
 
Lee has more than 20 years of experience serving animals and the community in the Pacific Northwest. In his most recent position as the interim program director of animal care and conservation at the Oregon Zoo, Lee led a team of zookeepers, curators, and research scientists focused on advancing animal welfare throughout the zoo. His passion is connecting the community with the natural world.
 
Lee has extensive animal management experience, with a career-long focus on elephants. He served as the Association of Zoo and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan coordinator and studbook keeper for Asian elephants and as a steering committee member of the AZA Elephant Taxonomic Advisory Group. Due to his leadership and conservation work in Malaysian Borneo, Lee has been invited by the Government of Sabah, Malaysia, to serve on the working group tasked with creating the Captive Elephant Management Plan for the region.
 
Lee has a bachelor’s degree in field studies, emphasizing psychology and zoology from the Wichita State University in Wichita, Kan. 
 
“I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Bob to his new role as associate director,” said Stephanie Stowell, ABQ BioPark director. “His knowledge, experience and passion for this work will be vital as we continue the expansions planned across the BioPark and as we deepen our ongoing commitment to improving the lives of animals in our care.” 
 
The BioPark’s executive team has transformed over the past year by welcoming three key leaders to the staff. 
 
Allyson Zahm, an Albuquerque native with extensive experience at AZA facilities, including the BioPark, was hired in February 2021 as the guest experience manager. Zahm fell in love with zoos while volunteering at the Rio Grande Zoo as a teen. After obtaining a degree in biology from the University of New Mexico, Zahm went on to serve the BioPark as curator of education. She left the state to work at the Virginia Zoo and the Norfolk Botanic Garden and returned home to serve most recently as the development director at the New Mexico BioPark Society. With her experience and long-term connections to Albuquerque, Zahm was a natural fit to oversee the BioPark’s education, marketing and interpretation, events, and guest services teams in her new role. 
 
Matthew Peterson joined the BioPark team as Botanic Garden/Heritage Farm manager in November 2020. With a degree in parks, recreation and tourism management and more than seven years serving the City of Albuquerque’s Open Space Division in a number of roles, including assistant city forester, Peterson was exceptionally qualified to manage the BioPark’s Botanic Garden, Heritage Farm and BUGarium. 
 
Kathy Lang was promoted to aquatic conservation and operations manager in January 2021. Kathy has served the BioPark for seven years overseeing the Aquatic Conservation Facility (ACF) and Tingley Beach. Her 20 years of conservation experience and leadership coupled with her degree in marine biology and marine science made Kathy the ideal leader to oversee the Aquarium, Tingley Beach, ACF and all associated aquatic operations at the BioPark. 
 
These experienced professionals join Zoo Manager Lynn Tupa, a member of the BioPark staff since 2001, and Director Stephanie Stowell, who was promoted from associate director to director in October 2020, as foundational members of the BioPark’s executive leadership team.