Attendee Registration Information

Oklahoma City, OK
October 20-24, 2019

As you start to plan the year ahead, we want to make sure you that you have the Aquarium & Zoo Facility Association’s 26th Annual Conference in Oklahoma City on your calendar as a must attend. Here are some of the highlights that we would like to share with you about this year’s conference:

Pre-Conference Ice Breaker Event

Sunday October 20

National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, OK

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is America’s premier institution of Western history, art, and culture. Founded in 1955, the Museum, located in Oklahoma City, collects, preserves, and exhibits an internationally renowned collection of Western art and artifacts while sponsoring dynamic educational programs to stimulate interest in the enduring legacy of the American West. More than 10 million visitors from around the world have sought out this unique museum to gain better understanding of the West: a region and a history that permeates our national culture.


Note: In order to register, you must be a current AZFA Member.  If you would like to join the AZFA or renew your AZFA membership, you can do so here.  If your facility has a membership bundle, please contact John Kanzia at to process your renewal.

Active AZFA Member – $270
Retired AZFA Members – $135
Commercial Member (Full) – $515
Commercial Member (Limited) – $400

Register to Attend

Vendor (Exhibitor & Conference) – $1170
Vendor (Exhibitor Only) – $800

Register as an Exhibitor

*Additional fees apply for guest registrations and pre-conference team building event (see registration information above for details)

Hotel Reservations


Please contact Marc Muller (202) 633-4410 (Office), (202) 345-9007 (Mobile)

AZFA Annual Conference / Attention: Marc Muller
National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW Washington, D.C. 20008


The AZFA Program & Education Committee has been hard at work putting together our educational sessions for Washington D.C. this fall.  We know one of the main reason your institution sends you to the AZFA conference is for the educational sessions.  Our goal is to offer a variety of educational opportunities that broadens the brim your professional facilities hat.

Agenda, sessions and speakers will be announced soon. Bookmark this page to check for updates. In the mean time, here are a few additional flyers of information that are helpful.

AZFA 2018 Conference Announcement

Vendor Conference Registration Information

Sponsorship Opportunities

Attendee Conference Registration Information

Conference Program Booklet

Keynote Address


Info Coming Soon

25th Annual AZFA Conference Agenda at a Glance

Breakout Session details below in Education Sessions Section

 Saturday, October 6  Conference Check-In  6:00-9:00 PM
 Board Meeting/Dinner  7:00-10:00 PM
 Crafthouse (unofficial gathering place)  8:00 PM-2:00 AM
 Sunday, October 7  Conference Check-In  8:00-10:00 AM, 2:00-3:00 PM
 Vendor Setup (Ballroom)  8:00 AM-9:00 PM
 Team Building Event (Top Golf)  9:00 AM-1:30 PM
 Icebreaker/Group Photo/Dinner  2:30-9:30 PM
 First Down Sports Bar & Grill (unofficial gathering place)  10:00 PM-2:00 AM
 Monday, October 8  Conference Check-In  7:00-9:00 AM, 2:00-3:00 PM
 Breakfast for 1st time attendees – AZFA Board welcomes 1st Timers  7:00-8:00 AM
 Trade Show (Ballroom)  7:30 AM-4:30 PM
 Conference Commencement –
(Welcome, Business Meeting, Keynote Address)
 8:00-9:45 AM
 Breakout Session #1 –
Salon 1, 2 or 3
 10:00-11:30 AM
 OSHA 10 Hr. – Part One (a)  11:00 AM-12:00 PM,
 Lunch  12:00-1:00 PM
 OSHA 10 Hr. – Part One (b)  1:00-5:00 PM
 Breakout Session #2 –
Salon 1, 2 or 3
 1:00-2:30 PM
 Breakout Session #3 –
Salon 1, 2 or 3
 3:00-4:30 PM
 Reception/Happy Hour –
Meet & Greet with our VENDORS
 4:30-6:30 PM
 A-Town Bar & Grill (unofficial gathering place)  8:00 PM-2:00 AM
 Tuesday, October 9  Conference Check-In  7:00-9:00 AM
 Group Session #4 –
 9:00-11:00 AM
 Trade Show –
Visit with VENDORS
 7:30 AM-4:30 PM
 OSHA 10 Hr. – Part Two (a)  11:00 AM-12:00 PM
 Lunch  12:00-1:00 PM
 OSHA 10 Hr. – Part Two (b)  1:00-5:00 PM
 Breakout Session #5 –
Salon 1, 2 or 3
 1:00-2:30 PM
 Breakout Session #6 –
Salon 1, 2 or 3
 3:00-4:30 PM
 Vendors Depart  4:00 PM
 Reception/Happy Hour –
Meet & Greet with First Timers
 4:30-6:30 PM
 Crafthouse (unofficial gathering place)  8:00 PM-12:00 AM
 Wednesday, October 10  Zoo Day via Metro –
Meet at NZP Visitor Center at 8:30 AM
 8:30 AM-9:30
 Group Photo (see Zoo map)  11:00-15:15 AM
 Lunch (see Zoo map)  11:30 AM-1:00 PM
 Visit New Shops and Commissary  1:00-2:30 PM
 Return to Hotel via Metro  2:30-3:30 PM
 Happy Hour & Silent Auction  4:30-6:30 PM
 Crafthouse (unofficial gathering place)  Open until 12:00 AM
 Thursday, October 11  Post-Conference Free Day –
Visit Washington DC’s museums and memorials

Education Sessions

Did You Ever Want to Shoot The Architect?  Well, Here’s Your Chance!

Monday 10:00 – 11:00 AM
Room 1

Although the title is a bit tongue and cheek, this is an opportunity to explain the role of the architect in the design process and how everyone (including all members of a Zoo’s or Aquarium’s Facility team) should ask for a place at the table during the design phase.

Presenter:  Dean Violetta, Cincinnati Zoo Architect

Making Green = Green $$

Monday 10:00 – 11:00 AM
Room 2

Learn how to save money and be more sustainable! This session will outline the National Zoo’s $24.5M Energy Savings Performance Contract. We will discuss different energy conservation technologies, winners and looser, campus wide implementation, successes, challenges and lessons learned.

Presenter: Tom Reavey, SI Energy Management

Fire!  Are your systems ready?

Monday 10:00 – 11:00 AM
Room 3

When was the last time you tested your fire protection and life safety systems? This session will discuss items to consider on fire system readiness and ITM’s requirements from the National Fire Protection Association Standards.

Presenter: Ajay Gulati, SI Fire Protection Engineer

Estidama and the United Arab Emirates Desert Learning Center city of Al Ain

Monday 1:00 – 2:00 PM
Room 1

Estidama (Arabic for sustainability) Pearl Building Rating System in Abu Dhabi. The aim of the Pearl Building Rating System (PBRS) is to promote the development of sustainable buildings and improve quality of life. Achievement of a sustainable building requires the integration of the four pillars of Estidama together with a collaborative and inter-disciplinary approach to building development known as the Integrated Development Process. The PBRS encourages water, energy and waste minimization, local material uses and aims to improve supply chains for sustainable and recycled materials and products. Learn how the new United Arab Emirates Desert Learning Center city of Al Ain became the first build to achieve these goals.

Presenter: Mahra Al Blooshi, Director of Facilities Management, Al Ain Zoo

Facility and Program Access for All: Design Inclusive of Visitors with Disabilities 

Monday 1:00 – 2:00 PM
Room 2

Discuss the legal framework and best design practices that make your facility and programs accessible to visitors with disabilities.

Presenter: Beth Ziebarth, Director, Access Smithsonian

Getting Existing Buildings to Net Zero

Monday 1:00 – 2:00 PM
Room 3

What is “net zero”? This highly coined term is continuing to increase in conversations around the country with regards to energy efficiency, building operations and utility grid independence. Net zero is considered the pinnacle of achievement in overall building operations performance. In many of these conversations the topic is talked about around new construction. Net zero buildings are becoming more mainstream as technologies and processes improve, and renewable energy becomes less costly.  However, innovators are focusing on how to take existing buildings to become net zero.  Though a little more challenging to achieve in an existing building setting, it can be accomplished taking the right steps.

Using Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden as a case study, attendees will learn the steps of achieving net zero on existing building environments with regards to energy, water and waste. We will investigate varies retrofit opportunities in individual buildings as well as how advanced benchmarking can help prioritize opportunities across an entire campus portfolio. We will review technologies, approaches, processes as well as portfolio project prioritization methods.

Presenter: Susan Heinking, Pepper Construction Company

Job Hazard Analysis Training

Monday 3:00 – 4:00 PM
Room 1

The Job Hazard Analysis designed to teach staff the method for systematically identifying and evaluating hazards associated with a particular job or task, in order to create a safer work environment. By the end of this class, attendees will understand: Job Hazard Analysis, Skill in the Recognition & Control of Occupational Hazard & JHA Techniques.

Presenter: Steve Walden, SI OSHEM
Safety and Occupational Health Specialist

Sand vs Glass Pool Filter Media: Which is Better?

Monday 3:00 – 4:00 PM
Room 2

There has been little change in regards to filter design (one of the key components of the LSS) over the years.  The go to filtration media in the Aquarium industry has been silica sand media.  Recently, over the last decade or so, glass media has caught on as a viable alternative to sand media.  Filter media manufacturers list a number of benefits related to the use of glass media versus sand media including reduced operational costs and water savings.  Are these claims true? The presentation will look at side by side testing of glass media and sand media.  Other data from other similar applications will be discussed as well.

Presenter: Joseph D. Arlotto   Project Engineer PCA Global

Taking the Next Step in the Organization

Monday 3:00 – 4:00 PM
Room 3

Would you like to become a Supervisor or Manager at your Zoo or Aquarium?  From Horticulturist, to Operations Manager, to Facilities Director, we will discuss the challenges and pitfalls one faces breaking into the ranks of management.  Learn from my experiences to help prepare you to take that next step.

Presenter: Andrew Marti, Director of Facilities Management, Saint Louis Zoo

Active Shooter Training

Tuesday 9:00 – 11:00

Train for clear flags issues of particular importance and scenarios to help users think about how to respond in different situations.
• Identifying potential threats
• Reporting suspicious activity
• When to run, hide or fight.
Provide guidance to employees in the event of an incident. It will cover the actions staff can take in order to protect themselves as well as how to respond when law enforcement arrives on scene.

Presenter: Tina Cogan, SI Office of Protective Services

Asbestos Awareness Training

Tuesday 1:00 – 2:00 PM
Room 1

Asbestos awareness training session that is intended to provide information regarding the recognition of asbestos-containing materials, health effects associated with asbestos, and safe work practices to limit potential asbestos exposures in the workplace.

NOTE: This session is not intended for staff whose work tasks may include contact with, removal or disturbance of asbestos-containing materials, which requires instruction that is more specialized. This course does not certify workers to remove asbestos-containing materials.

Presenter: Chuck Fry, SI OSHEM Industrial Hygienist

Integrated Pest Management Best Practices for Living Collections 

Tuesday 1:00 – 2:00 PM
Room 2

Zoos and aquariums are particularly challenging because they typically have an abundance of food, water, harborage and ideal temperatures for pest development. Learn how the Smithsonian National Zoo has been working to address the “pest paradise”.

Presenter: Greg Ose, SI NZP Entomologist

Job Site Accident – WHAT NEXT? 

Tuesday 1:00 – 2:00 PM
Room 3

The Accident Investigation in-person class session will teach your staff how to properly and effectively investigate accidents. After completion of this course, your staff will be able to determine the cause of an accident, what corrective actions to take to prevent future accidents, as well as how to properly document an investigation.

Presenter: Mary Winkler SI OSHEM Industrial Hygienist

Using Web GIS to enable your Campus, Workplace and Indoor Facility Operations 

Tuesday 3:00 – 4:00 PM
Room 1

• Discover the potential of your campus, workplace, or facility by integrating existing data and enterprise business systems in GIS.
• Operationalize and visualize your CAD/BIM investment, reduce maintenance and downtime costs, and increase productivity by consolidating information with Web GIS.
• Explores the use of ArcGIS Collector to tackle standards-driven landscaping activities and reporting at the National Zoo.

Presenter: Michael Sandor, SI Geospatial Information Division

Strategic Energy Planning: Do we need a plan?  If so, why?

Tuesday 3:00 – 4:00 PM
Room 2

This session will address the importance of having a Strategic Energy Plan with the goal being conservation of both resources and finances. Discussion will center on the concept of APPEM: Assess Prioritize Plan Execute Maintain and how these 5 components can help any organization build a solid plan to better manage their energy resources.

Presenter: Elayne Hudson, Senior Enterprise Applications Engineer Dude Solutions

To Maintain or To Build…. You Can’t Do Both Well at The Same Time

Tuesday 3:00 – 4:00 PM
Room 3

Far too often, maintenance departments end up being utilized more for projects than for maintenance.  It “saves money” and in many cases, can be easier and cheaper.  But at what cost?  And where does preventative maintenance fall into the grand scheme of things?  Nowhere most likely.  And what are some creative ways of leveraging your general contractor that is working on the big projects?  We’ll discuss the pros and cons, the grey areas, the fine lines, and the ins and outs related to this ever-present dilemma.  We have lots of data from other institutions to share some benchmarking numbers, as well as examples of org charts and how they differ from organization to organization.  And of course, there will be ample amounts of relevant stories and opportunities to make fun of each other and keep things lively and relevant!

Presenter: Mark Fisher, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

OSHA 10-Hour Certification Part 1 & 2