Attendee Registration Information

Grand Rapids, MI
October 15-19, 2017

Registration is CLOSED. The following provides the fee structure for this years attendees and activities.

You may register below as an attendee or sponsor and see the Education Sessions and the Conference Agenda on this page.


Conference Fee (AZFA Member)
Conference Fee (non-member)
Guest Registration Fee (Ice Breaker & Banquet)
1-day Registration Fee – 10/16, 10/17, or 10/18
Additional Activities
Pre-conference Tour/Icebreaker 10/15
Included in registration fee
Post-conference tour 10/19
Binder Park Zoo
Golf Outing – Course Thorneapple Pointe 10/15

AZFA Annual Conference / Attention: Allmon Forrester
John Ball Zoo, 1300 W. Fulton St. Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Questions? Please contact Allmon Forrester (616) 336-2545

Register to Attend

Or Download Attendee Registration

Exhibitor/Sponsor Registration

Or Download Exhibitor Registration, Download Sponsor Registration


The AZFA Program & Education Committee has been hard at work putting together our educational sessions for Grand Rapids 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.

Jump to any of the sections on this page for details on the following:

Keynote Address


Session Details

OSHA Certification

Hands-on Workshops

Keynote Address


Dr. Clinton S. Boyd, PhD & Mary Ellen Mika, Manager

Steelcase Inc.

Clinton S. Boyd, PhD is the Principal Scientist-Green Chemistry & Sustainability for the Global Compliance and Sustainability team at Steelcase Inc. Dr. Boyd manages a team of people responsible for product environment compliance, supplier engagement for sustainability-related data gathering, and management of compliance and sustainability data for materials that go into our products. Drawing on his expertise in green chemistry, industrial ecology and sustainability, Dr. Boyd works with cross-functional teams to innovate new materials and products that are sustainable and compliant to regulations on a global platform. Dr. Boyd has a PhD in Biochemistry from Rhodes University, South Africa. Before joining Steelcase, Clinton worked in academia as a research biochemist followed by ten years of experience as a consultant on green chemistry and sustainability.


Mary Ellen Mika Manages Steelcase’s Global Compliance & Sustainability team and works with the company’s suppliers around the world to enable Steelcase to provide more sustainable products while reducing its environmental impacts. Her team is responsible for global environmental compliance and sustainability certifications for products and operations including conflict minerals reporting and ISO 14001 conformance and compliance auditing. Mary Ellen’s team also manages energy, renewable energy and greenhouse gas reporting; hazardous waste, storm water, recycling and composting programs for Steelcase facilities; product indoor air quality testing; and data system design/management to support these programs. Mary Ellen is a LEED-accredited professional and recently severed on the Materials and Resources Technical Advisory Group for U.S. Green Building Council. She has a B.S. in Biochemistry, an M.A. in Counseling Psychology, and over twenty-five years of experience in environmental consulting and industry

24th Annual AZFA Conference Agenda at a Glance

Check out each day’s schedule below or download so you can print the agenda.

Details for each session can be found here

Saturday October 14th 2017

6:30 – 9:00 pm Conference Registration and Info Booth West Concourse
7:00 – 10:00 pm Board Meeting/ Dinner Pearl Room


Sunday October 15th 2017

7:00 – 8:00 am Breakfast on your own
8:00 am Depart Hotel for Golf Outing Thornapple Pointe
8:30 – 5:00 pm Conference Registration & Info Booth West Concourse
10:00 – 6:00 pm Vendor Load In Ambassador Ballroom
5:00 – 6:00 pm Shuttles Running to Ice Breaker
6:00 pm Ice Breaker Group Photo Founders Brewery
6:15 pm Ice Breaker Dinner Founders Brewery
8:00 – 9:00 pm Depart for Hotel


Monday October 16th 2017

7:00 – 9:00 am Breakfast on your own
8:00 – 5:00 pm Conference Registration & Info Booth West Concourse
8:00 — 8:15 am Welcome- John Ball Zoo- CEO Ambassador Ballroom
8:15 – 8:45 am Business Meeting – Summary Reports & Elections 2018

Host Presentation : National Zoo


Ambassador Ballroom
8:45 – 9:15 am Keynote Address

Clinton Boyd & Mary Ellen Mika

Next Steps in Sustainability – Example from Steelcase


Ambassador Ballroom
9:15 – 9:30 am Break
9:30 –10:30 am Session 1: Exhibit Material 101

Kelly Bair, Net Unlimited

Pearl Room
Session 2: Energy Management- The effects of energy on facilities maintenance & capital planning

Forrest Cooper, Dude Solutions


Emerald ‘A’ Room


Session 3: Advanced methods for Rockwork Design and Delivery

Mariusz Bleszynski, PGAV Destinations


Emerald ‘B’ Room
10:30 – 12:00 pm Trade Show Opens, Vendors Introduction @ 11:45 (distribute vendor raffle cars trade show continues to 6:30 pm)


Ambassador Ballroom
10:50 – 6:00 pm OSHA 10- Hour Certification Part 1

Steve Rippe, Techtron Engineering

Grandview C
12:00 – 1:00 pm Lunch –  Presenting Sponsor Dude Solutions Ambassador Ballroom
1:05 – 2:05 pm Session 4: Pumps 101

Brian Brawner, R&B Aquatic Distribution Inc

Pearl Room
Session 5: Virtual Design and Construction Technologies using Virtual Reality

Jennifer Suerth, Pepper Construction Company

Emerald ‘A’ Room
Session 6: open Emerald ‘B’ Room
2:15 – 3:15 pm Session 7: Keeping your Theme Alive! (Without killing your budget)

Richard Antczak & Sarah Drees, Weber Group Inc.


Pearl Room
Session 8: How to Repair Solvent Cement PVC Pipe

Michael Sass, Spears Manufacturing


Emerald ‘A’ Room
Session 9: Industrial Equipment Safety

Russ Niedzwicki, Morrison Industrial Equipment

Emerald ‘B’ Room
3:15 – 3:30 pm Break


3:30 – 4:30 pm Session 10: Making Detroit Zoo’s Anaerobic Digester a Reality

Rachel Handbury, Detroit Zoo


Pearl Room
Session 11: Upgrading A Manatee Life Support System: More Flow  and Better Filtration in the same Footprint

Joe Arlotto, PCA Global


Emerald ‘B’ Room
4:30 – 6:30 pm Vendor Meet and Greet / Trade Show (cash bar & appetizers) Ambassador Ballroom
After 6:30 pm Dinner on your own
9:00 – 11:00 pm Hospitality Suite Ruby Room


Tuesday October 17th 2017

6:00 – 8:00 am Breakfast on your own
7:00 – 8:00 am First Time Attendee Meet & Greet Ruby Room
8:00 – 5:00 pm Conference Registration & Info Booth West Concourse
8:00 – 9:00 am Session 12: Hurricane Harvey Relief

Chris Vanskike, Adam Malstaff, & Ricardo De La Cruz, San Antonio Zoo


Ambassador Ballroom
9:00 – 12:35 am OSHA 10-hour Certification Part 2

Steve Rippe, Techtron Engineering

Grandview C
9:10 – 10:10 am Session 13: Seeing your Facility thru the eyes of an Autistic Child

Dean Violetta, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden


Pearl Room
Session 14: Build the A-Team. “A” as in Awesome!

Mark Fisher, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden


Emerald ‘B’ Room
10:00 – 4:30 pm Vendor Trade Show Ambassador Ballroom
10:10 – 10:25 am Break
10:25 – 11:25 am Session 15: How Denver Zoo prepared for our 5 Year AZA inspection

Nikki Myer & Guy DeLuca, Denver Zoo


Pearl Room
Session 16: Tree Audit – A Resource to Manage

Michael J. Sheerwood, F.A. Bartlett Tree Expert Company


Emerald ‘A’ Room
11:35 – 12:35 pm Session 17: Managing a Safe Zoo

Dave Ruhl, Palm Beach Zoo

Pearl Room
Session 18: Animal Training for Medical Procedures: An Exciting opportunity for Cross Department Collaboration

Dr. Ryan Colburn, John Ball Zoo


Emerald ‘A’ Room
12:35 – 1:35 pm Lunch Ambassador Room
1:40 -2:40 pm Session 19: Incident Command- CZBG’s Recent Emergencies and Responses to them

Wayne R. Lohmoeller, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden


Pearl Room
Session 20: Architectural Hardware 101

David Bersuder, Hager Companies

Emerald ‘A’ Room
2:50 – 3:50 pm Session 21: ADA and how it relates to your Zoo

Brian Timm, Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium

Pearl Room
Session 22: The Lied Jungle Roof Re-Glaze

Andrew Marti, Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium

Emerald ‘A’ Room
4:00 – 5:00 pm Session 23: System Manipulation Reduces Costs While Maintaining Delicate Environment for Aquatic Species

Nick Kaiser, John G Shedd Aquarium

Pearl Room
Session 24: Mr. Gadget

John Kanzia, Brookfield Zoo

Emerald ‘A’ Room
5:00 – 5:30 pm Committee Meeting
4:00 – 6:00 pm Vendor Load Out
After 6:00 pm Dinner on your own
9:00 – 11:00 pm Hospitality Suite Open Ruby Room


Wednesday October 18th 2017

6:00 – 8:00 am Breakfast on your own
7:00 – 8:15 am First Time Attendee – Welcome & AZFA Info Ruby Room
8:30 – 9:30 am Shuttles Running to Zoo
9:30 am Group Photo at Zoo Main Entrance of Zoo
9:30 – 12:00 pm Behind-the-Scenes Tours Or Explore on own
10:00 – 11:00 am Workshop 1: HVAC 101

Levi Calkins, B&V Mechanical

Admin W. Mechanical Room
Workshop 2: Welding 101

Greg Erny, John Ball Zoo

Maintenance Shop
12:00 – 1:30 pm Lunch Bissell Treehouse
1:30 pm Workshop 3: Ozone

Mark Fisher, Ozone Water Systems

Living Shores Aquarium Mid-Level
1:30 – 2:30 pm Behind-the-Scenes tours Or explore on own
2:30 – 3:30 pm Shuttles running to Hotel
4:00 – 5:30 pm Silent Auction & Banquet Set-up Ambassador Ballroom
5:30 pm Cash Bar & Auction Preview Ambassador Ballroom
6:00 – 7:30 pm Silent Auction Ambassador Ballroom
7:30 – 9:30 pm AZFA Banquet Dinner Ambassador Ballroom
9:30 – 11:30 pm Hospitality Suite Open Ruby Room


Thursday October 19th 2017

7:00 – 8:00 am Breakfast on you own
8:30 am Load Buses for Binder Park
10:00 – 2:00 pm Post Conference Tour Binder Park Zoo
2:00 pm Load Buses for Hotel
3:30 pm Buses Arrive at Hotel
After 4:00 pm Departure or Dinner on your own

Education Sessions

Exhibit Material 101- Choices, Budget, & Problems

Monday || 9:30-10:30

This session will focus on the 4 main exhibit material options available to zoos today along with some basic design guidance including budgeting issues, construction pitfalls, and continuing maintenance concerns.

Presenter: Kelly Bair, President

Nets Unlimited, Inc.

Kelly Bair is the President of Nets Unlimited and has been in the industry for over 20 years specifically in the field of netting as it applies to animal exhibits and children’s play elements. She offers an insightful perspective combining industry experience and material knowledge to address the concerns facing zoos today as they relate to exhibit design.

Energy Management- The Effects of Energy Performance on Facilities Maintenance and Capital Planning

Monday || 9:30-10:30

By the year 2030 energy consumption in the United States is expected to increase 55%. Currently, over 30% of energy is used inefficiently and unnecessarily. So how do we become better stewards of our energy and utility consumption? Why is this important for my Zoo or Aquarium?

This year we will highlight the latest in Energy Management tracking technology, and how this directly impacts out facilities maintenance & capital planning processes. Using business intelligence solutions we can more easily find correlation between building efficiency, occupancy impacts on performance & life expectancy, and leverage data to justify capital projects.

Presenter: Forrest Cooper, Senior Application Designer

Dude Solutions

Forrest Cooper is a Senior Application Designer with Dude Solutions and has given over 2,500 presentations nationally. Through his 16 years of experience in the maintenance and sustainability industry and his work with zoos, aquariums, and local governments, he offers unique insight on facilities infrastructures, project management, and capital planning.

Dude solutions is a proud AZFA Member, AZA Smart Source Partner, and is honored to be a sponsor of the 2017 AZFA Annual Conference.

Advance Methods for Rockwork Design and Delivery

Monday || 9:30-10:30

Review innovative methods of rockwork design, presentation and review with clients using digital software and media. Review of capacities of innovative software allowing realistically dynamic modeling, rendering, and presentation of the final rockwork product.

Presenter: Mariusz Bleszynski, AIA, LEED, A.P. 

PGAV Destinations,

Mariusz Bleszynski is an architect and industrial designer focusing on zoological exhibit design since 2004. Mariusz praised naval architecture in Finland and architectural design in Canada prior to joining PGAV in 1994, where he initially led design teams working on themed entertainment and aquatic projects at SeaWorld parks. In addition to Themed Environment Association (TEA) awards, Mariusz’s recent projects, Glacier Run at Louisville Zoo and Sea Lion Sound at St. Louis Zoo won AZA Exhibit Design Awards.

Pump 101- How to get started with Pumps

Monday || 1:05-2:05

The Presentation will cover the basic pump types, features, uses, and more. Information will include details concerning power supply, pump hydraulics, pump selection, and sizing, pump curves, water velocity, and more.

Presenter: Brian Brawner, Technical Sales Manager and Marine Biologist

R&B Aquatic Distribution, Inc.

Brian is the co-founder of R&B Aquatic Distribution, Inc. and has been instrumental in its growth and success. Since its incorporation in 1998, Brian and the increasing number of R&B staff members have worked with designers and builders to help complete many Aquatic construction and/or renovation projects for such entities as the Tennessee and Georgia Aquariums, Memphis and Indianapolis Zoos, public aquariums, and research facilities.

Brian’s personal work experience, extensive knowledge related to aquatic life support and recirculating systems, and dedications to providing good customer support and superior quality products have been key to the success of R&B. With a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marine Biology from Texas A&M University at Galveson and more than 35 years of experience in the aquatic and aquaculture industries, Brian manages the sales and technical advisory areas of the company. In addition to the satisfaction of successfully completing both small and large projects with his customers, Brian has enjoyed affiliations with and continues to support the Aquarium and Zoo Facilities Association, the Texas Aquaculture Association, the United States Aquaculture Suppliers Association, and the Aquatic Animal Life Support Operators. He also served as a member of the Texas Parks and Wildlife exotic Species Task Force and the Texas Chapter of American Fisheries Society. Past experience includes time in a fiberglass manufacturing plant, six years on an experimental indoor fish farm doing high density aquaculture, and three years on a small tropical fish farm and distribution business.

Virtual Design and Construction Technologies using Virtual Reality

Monday || 1:05 – 2:05

Using clearer visual communication to improve efficient collaboration that impacts a projects safety, quality, cost and schedule.

Presenter: Jennifer Suerth, Vice President- Technical Services, LEED A.P.

Pepper Construction Company

As vice president of technical services at Pepper Construction, Jen provides strategic direction for the company with regard to Building Information Modeling (BIM), Virtual design and Construction (VDC)), laser scanning virtual reality and other technical services specialties. She serves as a key advisor to project teams on constructability and implementation strategies throughout the early stages of project design and development, as well as providing leadership on construction, fabrication, and facility management.

Jen has more than 12 years of experience in architecture, engineering and construction. She is a leader in the Chicago virtual construction community, speaking frequently and running workshops education others on BIM. She has been recognized among 2016 Women in Construction by Constructech Magazine, Chicago Building Congress Future Leaders and ENR Midwest’s top 20 Under 40. Jen holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Architectural Studies and a Masters of Architecture, Structures, both from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Why Are We Thirsty For Plastic

Plastic consumption is at an all-time high, despite our knowledge of its dangers. How did we get to this point? How are today’s consumers- many of whom are millennials- responding?

Presenter:  Hilary Messink, Sr. Marketing Manager

Boxed Water

Hilary is the Senior Marketing Manager at Boxed Water, the first national company to offer a sustainable alternative to plastic bottles. With more than a decade of marketing experience, Hilary has managed to integrated strategies across digital, experiential, and retail channels. Prior to Boxed Water, Hilary work in the Furniture and Direct Sales industries – leading new business development strategies and building brands.

Hilary is currently resides in East Grand Rapids with her husband and their two children.

Keeping Your Theme Alive! (Without killing your budget)

Learn tips of the trade out to repair and keep your theme looking fresh. Topics that will be covered are: Surface cracking on thematic plaster, Prop deterioration from the sun, Washed out stamped concrete, and cracked fiberglass. The session will also include How-To on popular theming you can do in house.

Presenter:  Richard Antczak, Project Manager & Sarah Drees, Marketing Coordinator

Weber Group, Inc.

Sarah is the marketing coordinator at Weber Group specializing in Zoos, Aquariums, Science Centers and Botanical Gardens to help create memorable experiences for guest and safe surroundings for the animals in care. Sarah recognizes the challenges that Zoos’ face including a changing economy and increase sensitivity to environmental conditions. Her goal is to assist each zoo and work within the core mission of each facility to help create natural adventures and immersive environments that promote recreation, education, and conservation throughout the guest experience.

Richard has extensive experience in themed environment and specialty fabrication management. He holds a degree in industrial design form Savannah College of Art and Design. His passion for theming began as a staff exhibit artist for a zoo and he now primarily focused on themed construction project management. He combines his experience in contact management, project scheduling, with his production management, shotcrete rockwork, shop fabrication, communication in every project to ensure satisfaction of our clients.

How to Repair Solvent Cement PVC Pipe

Monday || 2:15 – 3:15

Review ways to modify or add on to a PVC system. Learn how to repair pipe in tight or difficult locations.  Hot tapping procedures will also be discussed. Open discussion and questions throughout.

Presenter: Michael Sass, Technical Service Representative

Spears Manufacturing Company

Michael has been a Technical Rep with Spears Manufacturing Company since 2005 and has been involved with the AZFA since 2007. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Southeast Missouri State University and a background in construction. He has been a presenter and taught classes on PVC/CPVC at a number of the AZFA Conferences over the years.

Industrial Equipment Safety

Monday || 9:30-10:30

“I didn’t know that.” That’s what Russ Niedzwiecki discovered – numerous times – when taking on the Corporate Training Position at Morrison Industrial. Connecting these dots for over 17 years has made him the “go to” trainer for over ten thousand forklift operators at hundreds of companies. Russ will give you a magical behind-the-scenes look at specific conditions AZFA members contend with, and how to move forward with a plan to solve the risk you may not see.

Presenter: Russ Niedzwiecki

Morrison Industrial Equipment

Russ has been trainer for over 17 years for over ten thousand forklift operators at hundreds of companies.

Making Detroit Zoo’s Anaerobic Digester a Reality

Monday || 3:30 – 4:30

Learn how the Detroit Zoo was able to successfully navigate the planning and implantation process of their anaerobic digester. Get an inside look on how the system works, and how it is getting the Zoo closer to their Zero Waste Goals while producing renewable energy on site.

Presenter: Rachel Handbury, Manager of Sustainability.

Detroit Zoo

Rachel Handbury is the Manager of Sustainability for the Detroit Zoological Society.  She is responsible for the initiating, implementing, and continually improving the sustainability program at the Zoo.  Rachel takes a special interest in food waste diversion, plastic waste reduction, sustainability educations, and energy reduction initiatives.  She worked previously in Los Angeles, California as an environmental consultant, managing the remedial cleanup efforts of hydrocarbon-contaminated soil and groundwater.  Originally a Canadian, Rachel has her concurrent Bachelor of Science degree in biology and Environmental Science from the University of Western Ontario.

Upgrading a Manatee Life Support System: More Flow and Better Filtration in the Same Footprint

Monday || 3:30 – 4:30

Discussion will cover an actual project in progress. The presentation will describe the data collection, planning, schematic design, cost estimating and final design as well as coordination with the contractor.

Presenter: Joseph Arlotto

PCA Global

Joe Arlotto is an aquatic engineer (BSME) with over 25 years of experience, specializing Life Support Systems (LSS) operational consulting. Joe is a former LSS operator and currently a design engineer with decades of hands-on experience. Joe worked for 10 years at the San Diego Zoo as the Director of Water Quality. Before that, Joe worked at Albuquerque Bio Park as the Life support manager and at Brookfield Zoo, as the life support supervisor. Now he works for PCA in San Diego as a design engineer and as an operations specialist.

Hurricane Harvey Relief

Tuesday || 8:00 – 9:00

From August 31st– September 1st the San Antonio Zoo Deployed 11 team members to Victoria to assist the Texas Zoo with Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. Supplies included a generator, chainsaw, animal capture equipment, animal food, and work/safety gear, plus rented RVs for housing. This presentation will describe the conditions in Victoria, steps taken to recover animals and effect repairs, and how the experience will impact disaster response preparation at the San Antonio Zoo.

Presenter: Chris Vanskike, Adam Malstaff, and Ricardo De La Cruz

San Antonio Zoo

Chris Vanskike is the Vice President of Operations & Facilities and has been at the San Antonio Zoo for 20 years. He oversees the Human Resources, Information Technology, and Facilities & Maintenance departments and is also heavily involved with safety.

Adam Malstaff has been with the Zoo for years as a Maintenance Manager and was recently promoted to Director of Facilities. He coordinates routine maintenance, special events support, and in-house construction projects.

Ricardo De La Cruz joined the Zoo as the Maintenance Facilities Coordinator. He is responsible for procuring supplies and maintaining safety equipment for the Maintenance department.

Seeing Your Facility thru the Eyes of an Autistic Child

Tuesday || 9:10-10:10

An open Discussion about the responsibilities of Zoos & Aquariums to understand the stress, uncertainty, and social stigma of those families with special needs children. Families with autistic children want their family members to experience life like any other neurotypical family. Zoos and Aquariums need to be that haven of understanding, acceptance, and integration.

Presenter: Dean Violetta, Director of Planning & Exhibit Design          

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens

Dean Violetta, a University of Cincinnati Alum, has worked on zoo projects for the past 25 years and the last 15 of those years as the main architectural contact as vice president of Cornette/Violetta Architects. His Zoo-based architectural design experience also includes projects for the Nashville Zoo, Riverbanks zoo, and Detroit Zoo. For the past 2 ½ years, Dean has served as Director of Planning and Exhibit Design at the Cincinnati Zoo & botanical Garden. Dean coordinates all master planning and long range vision planning while arming the Zoo with the knowledge and experiences necessary to continue as leaders in the Zoological & Exhibit Design.

Building the A – Team. “A” as in Awesome!

Tuesday || 9:10 – 10:10

Hear how the facilities team in Cincinnati went from a stunningly unproductive and toxic environment to a group of men and woman that flat out get it done. A decade of effort, making mistakes, constantly reorganizing and fine tuning, and plenty of embarrassing and funny stories went into this journey. Hear about the many lessons learned, what worked and what didn’t, and talk about the vision for the future of the facilities team at the Cincinnati Zoo. Lots of time for idea exchange and storytelling. You won’t walk away with at least a few good laughs.

Presenter: Mark Fisher, Vice President of Facilities, Planning and Sustainability

Cincinnati Zoo

A product of the University of Cincinnati’s Civil and Environmental Engineering program, Mark spent the first eleven years of his professional career working as a project manager for Turner Construction, a commercial company. Many of those years were spent at the Cincinnati Zoo, the driving force behind the Zoo’s sustainability movement. By implementing the most aggressive green building program in the nation, along with producing dramatic reductions in natural resource consumption, he has taken the Zoo from an organization that barely had a recycling program, to becoming the greenest Zoo in America. In 2014 Mark was promoted to Vice President of Facilities, Planning and Sustainability. Outside of work, Mark most enjoys scrambling around the mountains of the American West with his wife and four young children.

How Denver Zoo Prepared for Our 5 Year AZA Inspection

Tuesday || 10:25 – 11:25

In early 2016, the Denver Zoo took a step back and decided to tackle their 2017 AZA inspection. What is the best way to get your eyes on all 80 acres, truly prioritize and budget for any significant repairs? How can we change to live within AZA standards and not have to spend a year preparing every time we have an upcoming inspection?

We approached this in 3 ways: We broke our Zoo into 12 Zones – focusing our energy and attention on each zone for an entire month. We changed our prioritization from low-high to a 1-5 scale, requiring a vice president to approve anything consider 4. We went to a scheduled maintenance approach. Partnering Facilities and the Animal department to invest time and energy into a schedule of repairs, allowing us to coordinate access in areas with a more fluid approach.

Presenter: Nikki Myers & Guy DeLuca

Denver Zoo

Tree Audits – A Resource to Manage

Tuesday|| 10:25-11:25

Proper inventories can help us budget for and plan work, analyze values, and identify hazard trees.

Presenter: Michael J. Sheerwood, Bartlett Inventory Solution (BIS) Manager

F.A. Bartlett Tree Expert Company

Mike Sheerwood is the Bartlett Inventory Solutions (BIS) Manager at the R.A. Bartlett Tree Research Laboratories and Arboretum in Charlotte, NC and has been with the F.A.  Bartlett Tree Expert Company since 1998.

Mike shepherds and mentors a team of 10 part and full time inventory arborists. Mike and his team have provided hundreds of tree solutions, management plans, and other arboricultural consulting services to clients across North America and the United Kingdom. Mike has presented at many green industry events, and corporate and college campuses.

Mike is an Army veteran, a Clemson graduate with a BS in Forest Resource Management, and International Society of Arboriculture Board Certified Master Arborist (SO-1845Bm), ISA Tree Risk Assessment Qualified (TRAQ) and municipal arborist, an American Society of Consulting Arborists (ASCA) Registered Consulting Arborist (RCA #524), and is currently serving on the ASCA board of Directors.

Making a Safe Zoo Safer

Tuesday|| 11:35 – 12:35

Most of us at one point our career have seen a report on a tragedy at another zoo and thought, “That could never happen here”. We talk about it, we have training and drills about it, but we don’t actually think it will happen. It can, and on April 15, 2016 it did for the Palm Beach Zoo. In this session the Palm Beach zoo will share what they learned about managing staff and zoo in the days, weeks, and months after this tragedy, as well some new safety strategies that have been implemented in the dangerous animal areas to try to endure that an accident like this never happens again.

Presenter: Dave Ruhl, Director of Facilities and Construction

Palm Beach Zoo

Dave Ruhl is the Facility Director at the Palm Beach Zoo and Conservation Society in West Palm Beach Florida where he has been since Joly of 2015. He is a graduate of the Construction Management Program at Bowling Green State University, and prior to leaving the cold and snowy Northern Climate to move to sunny Florida, Dave spent 15 years with the Toledo Zoo in Toledo, Ohio where he worked his way from construction project manager to Assistant Director of Facility Construction where he was on the cutting edge of incorporating green construction technologies into zoo projects and exhibits.

Animal Training for Medical Procedures: An Exciting Opportunity for Cross Department Collaboration

Tuesday|| 11:35 – 12:35

Just as medical technology has advanced in the human medical field, so too advanced medical techniques are always developing in the veterinary arena. In zoo medicine, there is a growing focus on utilizing training techniques to accomplish medical procedures. These techniques often call creative problem solving to create a safe and successful interface to bring patient and doctors together in new and innovative ways. These challenges often rely on a team of veterinary, animal care, and operations staff to achieve the best possible results.

Presenter: Ryan Colburn, DVM

John Ball Zoo

Dr. Ryan Colburn earned his Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Calvin College before earning his DVM for the College of Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State University. He completed a rotating internship in Small Animal Medicine and Surgery at Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners and stayed on for one year as an attending Emergency Clinician before transitioning to his role as veterinarian for the John Ball Zoo in 2012.

Incident Command CZBG’s Recent Emergencies and Responses to Them

Tuesday|| 11:35 – 12:35

Bear in keeper tunnel, Child in Gorilla Exhibit, Bomb Threat, Hit & Run Death and Stabbing.

-What Happened

-The Response

– After Actions

-Lessons Learned

Presenter: Wayne R Lohmoeller, Security Manager

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

Northern Kentucky native Wayne R. Lohmoeller, is a retired policeman from the USAF after 23 years and has been with the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden for 13 years. With his extensive background he was a perfect fit to lead the Security, Safety, and Emergency Response Team. His certifications include over 30 hours Occupational Safety and Health training, Threat & Risk Assessment, Department of Homeland Security, and Active Shooter Workshop, Department of Homeland Security. Wayne is married, has 2 sons, 1 daughter-in-law, and 2 grandchildren. In his spare time he enjoys “side road” trips in his ’05 Mustang GT convertible, craft beer, and being involved with the local American Legion and community. He serves on many committees for Veteran benefits, Memorials and Armed Forces events. Prior to setting in Northern Kentucky he lived in Great Falls, Montana for 18 years during which time he explored many trails of the Lewis & Clark Expedition.

Architectural Hardware 101

Tuesday|| 11:35 – 12:35

An overlook of architectural door hardware, proper sequencing, & formatting and basic codes as relates to each component discussed.

Presenter: David Bersuder,

Hager Companies

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and how it relates to your Zoo

Tuesday || 2:50-3:50

In this session, we will first cover the underlying principles of the ADA Title II & III. Title II protects qualified individuals with disabilities for discrimination on the basis of disability in services, programs, and activities provided by the State and Local government entities. Title III, place of Public Accommodations, provides role of to the same protection by business, with exceptions. Secondly, we will discuss the basics of Transition Plans and Self Evaluations. All Public entities subject to Title II ADA must complete a self-evaluation. For public entities that have 50 or more employees, there is also a requirement to have in place a transition plan that addresses structural changes that are necessary achieving program accessibility. Lastly, we will focus on the role of an ADA coordinator. An effective ADA coordinator is critical to successful ADA implementation. This session will outline the functions of the ADA coordinator position, the departments and community members the ADA Coordinator should interact with, and how the ADA coordinator position should fit within the overall structure of the Title II entity.

Presenter: Dave Ruhl, Director of Facilities and Construction

Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium

Brian Timm is the Director of Facilities at the Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha Nebraska and is current Vice President of the AZFA. He has been in the Director’s role for the past 6 ½ years while spending the previous twenty-one years in the construction industry serving as project manager, superintendent, and builder. Brian has earned a Project Management Certification from the Nebraska Business Development Center and has completed the ADA Coordinator Training Certification Program (ACTCP), which is a unique program designed to meet the training and professional needs of ADA Coordinators. He also carries the OSHA 10 and 30 Hours certification and has received a Certificate of Achievement in the FEMA National Incident Management System (NIMS). He enjoys spending time with family, playing golf, traveling, and visiting other zoos and aquariums.

The Lied Jungle Roof Reglaze

Tuesday || 2:50-3:50

The Lied Jungle is America’s largest indoor rainforest and opened in 1992. Covering over an acre and a half in size, it houses over 90 species including hundreds of free flight animals. In 2016, the original Kalwall fiberglass roof was replaced with 32mm Acrylite Resist high impact acrylic quad-skin sheet all the while over two million visitors walked through its doors right underneath construction.

Presenter: Andrew Marti, Facilities Operations Manager

Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium

Born and raised a Nebraska Cornhusker, I have worked at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium since 2010. In that time, I have held a handful of jobs and currently serves as the Facilities Operations Manager. I started working at the zoo within the horticulture department and was responsible for all the turf and landscape areas of the entire 130 acre campus. Since then, I have only progressed and now oversee multiple facilities departments as well as contractual projects as they only relate to the overall construction, maintenance, exhibit work, and custodial operations.

System Manipulation Reduces Costs While Maintaining Delicate Environment for Aquatic Species.

Tuesday || 4:00-5:00

How does a facilities staff actively participate in an organization’s mission on a daily basis? Thinking globally and acting locally, teaching your staff how their efforts in smart operations, and efficiency programs can have an effect on conservation. Learn how the Shedd Aquarium utilizes historical data, VFDs, and HVAC loads to safely manipulate life support systems to reduce water and energy usage in real time. As a result of these efforts, Shedd Aquarium actively carries out its mission while also modeling green business practices for similar institutions and even home consumers.

Presenter: Nick Kaiser, Operator III

John G. Shedd Aquarium

Mr. Gadget

Tuesday || 4:00 – 5:00

Join John Kanzia, Environmental Quality Manager for Chicago Zoological Society’s Brookfield Zoo, for an overview of Brookfield Zoo’s Environmental Quality Program and get a closer look at some of the innovative gadgetry that he uses to monitor water quality, air quality, and sound in zoo environments.

Presenter: John Kanzia, Environmental Quality Manager

Chicago Zoological Society’s Brookfield Zoo

John began his career at the John G. Shedd Aquarium, and has been the Chicago Zoological Society’s Environmental Quality Manager since 2006. His responsibilities include routine water quality testing on all of the aquarium exhibits with in the park, seasonal indoor air quality testing for airborne fungal spores, Thermal Neutral Zone testing, and basic lake management. John utilizes over thirty different pieces of instrumentation to perform his duties.

OSHA 10-Hour Certification Part 1 & 2

Monday || 10:50 – 6:00

Tuesday || 9:00 – 12:35

The course focuses on the general awareness of the following topics: OSHA Introductions, Walking Working Surfaces, Electrical, Fall Protection, Hazard Communication, Material Handling, Confined Space, Exit Routes, Emergency Action Plans, Fire Prevention Plans and Fire Protection. Individuals who complete both days of the course will be sent an OSHA 10 Hour general Industry Card issued by the Department of Labor

Presenter: Steve Rippe, General Manager     

Techtron Engineer Inc.

Steve has worked over 25 years of safety experience in industrial services. He has been an OSHA Outreach Trainer for 17 years and is currently the General Manager for Techtron Engineering.


Workshop 1

HVAC 101

Wednesday || 10:00 – 11:00

The hands on workshop will highlight basic problem solving and troubleshooting techniques when faced with HVAC issues.

Presenter: Levi Calkins, Service Technician

B&V Mechanical

Levi brings over 18 years of experience in the HVAC trade. He has both installation and service experience. For the past 10 years, he has been the primary technician servicing any outsourced HVAC maintenance at John Ball Zoo.

Workshop 2

Welding 101

Wednesday || 10:00 – 11:00

During this hands on workshop, attendees will learn basic welding skills and shop safety.

Presenter: Greg Erny, Facilities Maintenance Worker II

John Ball Zoo

Greg has spent over 27 years in the tooling and metal fabrication field in his career and has spent the last 3 years at John Ball Zoo. In his short time at John Ball Zoo he has been the driving force for many of their in-house metal fabrication projects and exhibit work.

Workshop 3


Wednesday || 1:30

John Ball Zoo has given us the opportunity to do a workshop with some of their actual equipment. We will be taking an ozone generator and oxygen concentrator from their aquatic exhibits and an ozone generator and vacuum dryer and set them up outside their life support room. Ozone Water Systems (Mark Fisher, Chris Key) will then demonstrate what a routine service looks like for this ozone equipment. After the workshop they will reinstall the equipment.

Presenter: Mark Fisher & Chris Key

Ozone Water System, Inc.

Ozone Water Systems started as a service based company for the ozone industry and manufactures and integrates ozone systems. OWS has been a supporter of AZFA for many years. Mark Fisher has been working with ozone since late 1980’s and runs the service group from the California office. Chris Key has been the Midwest Regional Manager for OWS for seven years and he is based out of Michigan.