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Familiar Face Announced as New ABQ BioPark Director

ABQ native Brandon Gibson rejoins the BioPark with more than two decades of experience in city government, conservation, and project management.
April 15, 2024

The City of Albuquerque's Department of Arts & Culture (DAC) has announced the hiring of Brandon Gibson as the new director of the ABQ BioPark. In his new role, Gibson will oversee the BioPark’s Zoo, Aquarium, Botanic Garden, and Tingley Beach to continue improvements to guest experience, facilities, animal and plant care, and conservation programming across the 150-plus acres of Albuquerque's premiere destination.

Gibson has more than 25 years of professional experience and leadership in programming, youth education, conservation, and project management. He returns to the BioPark after four years as the deputy director for the Department of Arts & Culture, where he oversaw many of the Gross Receipts Tax projects at the BioPark, including the new Asia and Australia habitats. He also served as the BioPark’s associate director from 2019 to 2020. Prior to that, Gibson was the associate director of the City’s Parks & Recreation Department.

“Brandon has demonstrated his commitment to conservation throughout his career with the City of Albuquerque,” said DAC Director Shelle Sanchez. “He brings a passion for connecting our community to nature, a clear vision for growth, and a dedication to collaborative leadership that will help the BioPark thrive for years to come.”

In his previous role as deputy director, Gibson developed the Zoo-Parks Partnership with Valles Caldera National Preserve to help protect New Mexico’s native wildlife. He also implemented the Animal Care Excellence (ACE) Program that allows animal care staff to advance in their careers through training and development while also improving the lives of the animals in the BioPark’s care. Beyond the BioPark, Gibson oversaw the construction and openings of the International District Library and Explora’s X Studio.

With more than 21 years of leadership at the City of Albuquerque, he managed a vast portfolio of public lands, nature preserves, and specialized facilities. He has supervised the city's Open Space Division, Recreation Division, and Aquatics Division. Gibson has worked extensively on developing equitable and accessible recreational programming and environmental education for the Albuquerque community.

“I’m humbled, excited, and honored to be selected for this role,” said Gibson. “I fell in love with nature working in a greenhouse in my teens, and I’ve seen my own children fall in love with animals and plants at the BioPark. It is a privilege to work for an organization that has such an incredible impact on our community, and it’s also a privilege to lead the team of experts that makes this possible.”

Gibson was recognized as the New Mexico Parks and Recreation Association Outstanding Young Professional of the Year in 2013. He has served on a variety of environmental and recreational boards and commissions. Gibson is a graduate of the Bloomberg-Harvard City Leadership Initiative program.

The BioPark’s previous director, Stephanie Stowell, vacated the position in August 2023.