Lehigh Valley Zoo
September 28, 2020
(Schnecksville, PA) – The Board of Directors of the Lehigh Valley Zoological Society is pleased to announce the appointment of Amanda Shurr as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Zoo. Amanda has served in the interim role for the last eight months, since the end of 2019. Prior to that, Amanda served as the CFO of the Zoo since 2018.
Amanda’s appointment is the culmination of a comprehensive seven-month search process. A committee consisting of members of the Board and the help of Zoo Advisors, a Philadelphia based executive leadership search firm, evaluated over 25 qualified candidates for the role. The committee also worked closely with Zoo staff throughout the process. As a key partner to the Zoo, Lehigh County Director of General Services, Rick Molchany, also had the opportunity to participate in the interview process.
“The County of Lehigh continues to support our residents’ needs for quality of life activities and the Zoo provides a family fun destination to learn about conservation management. Amanda has been a pleasure to work with, while we continue to plan quality of life improvements. I believe she’ll do a fantastic job as the caretaker of this fabulous asset,” said Molchany when asked about the appointment.
Dr. Michael Pasquale, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Lehigh Valley Zoological Society, says, “The Board is confident that given Amanda’s success since January, her abilities to deftly manage finances and the business aspects of the role, her relationship with the team, and her knowledge and experience of the Zoo, Amanda is the right person for the role at this time and the person to guide the organization into the future.”
“I feel very privileged that the Board has entrusted me with this responsibility. Leading the organization during this time has not been easy, but I feel very strongly about the team that we have in place at the Zoo. We tackled the challenges of the pandemic and the closure of the Zoo earlier this year together as a team. We worked hard and got creative, and that is what will keep us moving forward,” Shurr said.
The Zoo was mandated to be closed from March 17 through June 30 and now operates at reduced capacity. As a result, the Zoo has lost an estimated $1.3 million in revenues. When faced with the prospect of being closed during some of their most popular months of the year, the Zoo launched its #SustainOurMission campaign to raise funds for the Zoo operations; most importantly the care of the animals.
“While some businesses were able to shut down earlier this year and save operating funds, the Zoo was unable to do that. Our Animal Care staff are essential and they reported to the Zoo daily to ensure that our animals received the highest level of care possible,” stated Shurr when asked about the impact of the Zoo closure.
As part of #SustainOurMission, the Zoo has launched a number of different fundraising events and activities, including the Drive Thru Zoo held earlier this year while the Zoo was closed to foot traffic. The Zoo will also be hosting its annual Conservation Celebration, one of its largest annual fundraisers, on Sunday October 4 at the Zoo.
As a member-supported non-profit organization, Lehigh Valley Zoological Society was founded in 2004, but as a treasured community landmark, the Zoo’s history spans over a century. Founded in 1906 by General Harry C. Trexler, a local industrialist, the Lehigh Valley’s Trexler Game Preserve has educated and entertained more than five million people.
Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the Lehigh Valley Zoo hosts year-round, family-friendly events and activities, educational programs, and camps. With a mission to create a safe, engaging and enlightening wildlife experience for guests of all ages, the Zoo demonstrates leadership in the cultural, scientific and conservation communities. To learn more about Lehigh Valley Zoo, we invite you to visit our website, www.lvzoo.org, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.