Henry Doorly Zoo CEO & President Dennis Pate announces retirement plans

Photo: Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium

(Omaha, NE) -- Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium is looking for a new leader after President and CEO Dennis Pate announced his intention to retire early next year.

Pate has spent the last 47 years working in zoos, 13 of those years in Omaha. Pate joined Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium as the President and CEO in 2009. The zoo says in his time in Omaha, Pate created and completed a 10-year master plan which consisted of state-of-the-art exhibits including: Scott African Grasslands, Asian Highlands, Bay Family Children’s Adventure Trails and Daugherty Education Center, and Owen Sea Lion Shores.

Mogens Bay, Chair, Omaha Zoological Society said, “I cannot overstate the positive impact Dennis has had on our Zoo. He has been a catalyst for positive change.”

Under Pate’s leadership the Zoo achieved record breaking attendance, earned World’s Best Zoo by Travelocity, and Business of the Year from the Omaha Chamber of Commerce. In 2016, the zoo says Pate was instrumental in bringing elephants back to Henry Doorly, which has led to two elephant calves being born this year. Pate said, “Working at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium has been the highlight of my professional life. I feel very lucky to have landed in this community and Zoo with such an incredible staff and board.”

“It is not going to be easy to replace Dennis. He was the exact right leader for our Zoo over the past 13 years and we should all be grateful. Our challenge is to find someone who can build on his legacy,” said Bay. The zoo says a search firm will be selected, and a national search will take place over the next year.

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