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TAMPA’S LOWRY PARK ZOO NAMES NEW CEO

by Kayla Hayes | Jul 24, 2015
The Board of Trustees of Lowry Park Zoological Society today announced the appointment of Joseph A. Couceiro as Chief Executive Officer of Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. Couceiro is currently Vice President of Marketing & Communications at the Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo. He is expected to begin work on August 17 and will fully transition into the role by month's end.

Long-Time Florida Attractions Leader Brings Passion For Conservation

TAMPA, Fla. (July 24, 2015) — The Board of Trustees of Lowry Park Zoological Society today announced the appointment of Joseph A. Couceiro as Chief Executive Officer of Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. Couceiro is currently Vice President of Marketing & Communications at the Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo. He is expected to begin work on August 17 and will fully transition into the role by month's end.

Couceiro brings more than 30 years of strategic marketing and senior leadership experience at world-renowned conservation organizations. Before joining the Chicago Zoological Society in 2012, Couceiro worked for Busch Entertainment Corporation (BEC), a subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch, successively taking on progressively more challenging senior leadership roles during a notable 20-year career.

Couceiro’s background includes serving as Vice President of Marketing for Busch Gardens Tampa Bay from 2000–2003. Subsequently he was promoted to Vice President of Marketing for all five BEC parks in Florida, including SeaWorld, Discovery Cove, Aquatica, Busch Gardens and Adventure Island. In 2006, he rose to the top marketing position at BEC as Chief Marketing Officer and Executive VP. In that role Couceiro was responsible for the worldwide marketing and sales for all ten SeaWorld/Busch Gardens attractions.

“Joe’s professional background is a perfect fit for us,” said Bob Rasmussen, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Lowry Park Zoological Society. “He brings great business management expertise and a proven track record of success. He’s an outstanding creative strategist with a collaborative leadership style who knows how to drive results. Add in his Florida connections, and Joe is just the right person to lead the Zoo into the future.”

“I’ve spent most of my professional life in Florida, so I’ve always admired and respected the great work and conservation initiatives at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo,” said Couceiro. “It is a world-class zoo that delivers an outstanding blend of entertainment and education. It’s an honor to be a part of this team and help lead them into the future.”

Couceiro has served on a number of boards during his career, including the United States Travel Association, the Orlando Convention & Visitors Bureau, Visit Tampa Bay, the Outback Bowl in Tampa and the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. He came to the United States from Cuba in 1961 as a child. He is fluently bilingual and consequently values Tampa’s culturally diverse community and history.

Couceiro succeeds Craig Pugh, who left the Zoo in June to join a public relations firm in Chicago as an owner and president. Lawrence “Larry” E. Killmar, Ph.D., who coordinated the transition management team following Pugh’s departure, has been promoted to Chief Zoological Officer, Senior Vice President, and Zoo Director. He is widely recognized as one of the best animal collection managers in the U.S. “It’s been a pleasure to work here during the past eight years and help the Zoo reach some significant milestones,” said Killmar. “I look forward to building on those successes in the years ahead with Joe and our entire team.”

Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is widely recognized as a world-class zoological facility. In March 2015, the Zoo earned prestigious five-year accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), and its new Catherine Lowry Straz Veterinary Hospital became the first at a zoo in North America to be accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). As the top-attended zoo in the southeast, Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo has received recent public recognitions including: Nonprofit of the Year (Category - Environment and Animals) by the Tampa Bay Business Journal (2015 and 2013); ten best zoos in the U.S. by Trekaroo.com (2015); and the Certificate of Excellence Hall of Fame by TripAdvisor (2015).

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Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is operated by the Lowry Park Zoological Society, an independent 501(c)(3) charitable organization committed to excellence in education, conservation and research. The Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), and is featured among the “Top 25 Zoos in the U.S” by TripAdvisor (2015) and “10 Best Zoos in the U.S.” by Trekaroo (2015). The Zoo is located at 1101 W. Sligh Avenue in Tampa, one mile west of I-275 (exit 48) and is open seven days a week, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. 

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