Pat Simmons

Patricia Simmons, Director & CEO

Patricia Simmons is the current Director & CEO of the North Carolina Zoo and past-President and Chief Executive Officer of the Akron Zoological Park, Akron Ohio. She was Chairwoman of the Board of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) in 2012. Pat has over 30 years of experience in zoological management. 

Pat is nationally and internationally recognized, receiving many awards and appointments including the Women’s History Project Woman of the Year for Imagination and the first non-profit executive to receive the Chairman’s Award from the Visitor and Convention Bureau. Most recently, Pat became one of 100 hand-selected CEO’s world wide to be a Founding Fellow of the National Arts Strategies Chief Executive Program, a program designed to tackle global challenges for non-profit organizations. 

To Contact Pat Simmons:

By Phone
 1.800.488.0444

By Mail

North Carolina Zoo 

4401 Zoo Parkway

Asheboro, North Carolina 

27205

Cami Bunting

Cami Bunting, Director of Human Resources

Cami Bunting is the North Carolina Zoo’s Director of Human Resources and is centralized under the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources Human Resources Office. Cami is a member of the Zoo’s senior management team and oversees all aspects of human resources including recruitment/selection, employee relations, salary administration, workers’ compensation, and benefit management. She oversees two full-time human resources technicians while administering the Zoo’s HR program to approximately 400 permanent and seasonal staff members. She is also currently serving on the Advisory Board for the Davidson County Community College Zoo and Aquarium Science Program.

Prior to becoming the Zoo’s Director of Human Resources, Cami spent 13 years working in the Human Resources section, most of those as the Staff Recruitment and Development leader, where she handled staff training, applicant screening, hiring and administering policy.  Cami is a native of Asheboro and graduated with a Degree in Microcomputer Systems Technology from Randolph Community College. 

To Contact Cami Bunting:

By Phone
 1.800.488.0444 or 336.879.7313

By Email
 Email Cami Bunting

By Mail

North Carolina Zoo 

4401 Zoo Parkway

Asheboro, North Carolina 

27205

Diane Villa

Diane Villa, Director of Communications & Marketing

Diane Villa is the Director of Communications and Marketing at the North Carolina Zoo. Her duties include leading a dedicated and passionate staff covering marketing, public relations, social media, website, events, graphics, park rangers, and guest services. Her team helps brand and promote the Zoo, and creates memorable guest experiences, focusing on inspiring people to make a difference for wildlife and wild places. Before this position, Diane was the Zoo’s Curator of Design from 2014 to 2017 and the Zoo’s Art Director from 1994 to 2014.

Diane is a native of North Carolina and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from East Carolina University. She is involved in the local community, currently working with Asheboro’s Downtown Committee and serving on the Randolph Tourism Development Authority Board of Directors. She also serves on the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Marketing Committee.

At the North Carolina Zoo, Diane is on the senior staff team, serves on the editorial board for the Alive magazine (the member magazine for the N.C. Zoo Society), and works with the Zoo’s social media and Park interpretation teams. Diane also works on a variety of attraction and habitat planning teams.


To Contact Diane Villa:

By Phone
1.800.488.0444

By Mail

North Carolina Zoo 

4401 Zoo Parkway

Asheboro, North Carolina 

27205

Jb Minter

Jb Minter, Director of Animal Health

Dr. Jb Minter was named Director of Animal Health and director of the Hanes Veterinary Medical Center at the North Carolina Zoo in 2016. He is responsible for the overall medical and surgical management of the Zoo’s resident animals and operations of the Veterinary Medical Center. 

Jb is a native of Virginia and attended Virginia Tech for his undergraduate degree in animal science. He received a master’s degree in wildlife biology from Utah State University before graduating from North Carolina State University, College of Veterinary Medicine. He went on to do an internship in large animal medicine and surgery at the University of Illinois before moving to Florida to work in a small animal practice. He returned to North Carolina to complete a residency in zoological medicine at North Carolina State University, College of Veterinary Medicine and the North Carolina Zoo. He obtained his board certification in zoological medicine 2015 and is now a Diplomate of the American College of Zoological Medicine 

Jb re-joined the veterinary staff of the NC Zoo in 2014 after working as the veterinarian for the Great Plains in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He is an adjunct assistant professor at the North Carolina State University, College of Veterinary Medicine.

To Contact Jb Minter:

By Phone
 1.800.488.0444

By Mail

North Carolina Zoo 

4401 Zoo Parkway

Asheboro, North Carolina 

27205

Rich Bergl

Rich Bergl, Director of Conservation, Education & Science

Dr. Rich Bergl directs the Conservation, Education and Science Department at the North Carolina Zoo and has been involved with wildlife conservation and research in Africa for almost 20 years. Much of his work has focused on the Cross River gorilla (Gorilla gorilla diehli), the most endangered of the four gorilla subspecies. He has worked in Nigeria, Cameroon, Uganda, Liberia, Rwanda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Namibia and Kenya on topics ranging from primate behavior, to population genetics, to protected area management. He is one of the founding members of the SMART Partnership and is currently involved with implementing SMART to improve anti-poaching efforts at sites across Africa. Dr. Bergl is a member of the Executive Committee of the IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group and the Scientific Commission of the UNEP/UNESCO Great Ape Survival Partnership, serves on the Field Conservation and Research and Technology Committees of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and is a Conservation Fellow at the Wildlife Conservation Society. He is adjunct faculty in the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology at Duke University.

To Contact Rich Bergl:

By Phone

 1.800.488.0444 

By Mail

North Carolina Zoo 

4401 Zoo Parkway

Asheboro, North Carolina 

27205

Roger Sweeney

Roger Sweeney, Director of Animal Management & Welfare

Roger Sweeney joined the North Carolina Zoo in November 2017, and as Director of Animal Management & Welfare, is directly responsible for the overall management of the Zoo’s resident animals and welfare assessment programs. Roger was born in Chester, England, and began working as a zookeeper in England after nurturing an interest in the natural world from a young age. Since then he has spent over 30 years working in zoo and wildlife biology positions in England, the Philippines, Spain, Qatar, the Caribbean and North America. During his career, Sweeney has had significant involvement in both the European (EAZA) and North American (AZA) zoological communities, having served as a zoo curator, animal program leader and Taxon Advisory Group member in both regional associations. He has worked with a great diversity of animal species and populations in a wide variety of different environmental, cultural and organizational settings around the globe.

Since living in North America from 2003, Roger added a master’s degree in Natural Resources from Utah State University to early graduate study and a bachelor’s degree in Natural Sciences and Mathematics. Roger has research interests in conservation biology, zoo population sustainability and the management of social systems for animals under human care. In addition to his main duties as the Director of Animal Management & Welfare of the North Carolina Zoo, Roger currently serves as the AZA Asian Hornbill SAFE Program Leader, as a member of the IUCN SSC Hornbill Specialist Group & the IUCN SSC Conservation Planning Specialist Group, and as a board advisor to Conservation Centers for Species Survival (C2S2).

To Contact Roger Sweeney :

By Phone
 1.800.488.0444

By Mail
North Carolina Zoo 

4401 Zoo Parkway

Asheboro, North Carolina 

27205

Gerry Parker

Gerry Parker, Director of Planning and Construction

Gerry Parker oversees the Planning and Construction Section of the North Carolina Zoo. He is responsible for the design, development, implementation and coordination of all major planning and construction projects. Daily activities include working with State construction and outside Architects/Engineers including reviewing construction plans and specifications, schedules, meetings, in-house work by various Zoo sections, inspecting and monitoring construction progress, change orders, verifying quality and quantity of materials and reporting problems. 

A native of North Carolina, Gerry was born in Asheville. He has two degrees; BS in Civil Engineering from NC A&T State University and BS in BioChemistry from East Carolina University. Prior to this position, he ran his own Civil Engineering firm just south of Charlotte for 12 years, primarily involved with residential and commercial land development projects. Before that he worked for prominent design firms (Duke Energy, LandDesign and Cole-Jenest) in the Charlotte area. Gerry has been a Registered Professional Engineer with the State of North Carolina for over 25 years.  
 

To Contact Gerry Parker:
By Phone

 1.800.488.0444 or 336.879.7515

By Mail

North Carolina Zoo 

4401 Zoo Parkway

Asheboro, North Carolina 

27205

Crista McGee

Crista McGee, Director of Facilities Operations

Crista McGee was named Director of Facilities Operations at the North Carolina Zoo in 2019. She leads an experienced and talented staff covering exhibit design, exterior and interior horticulture, arbor, mechanical/electrical/plumbing, vehicle maintenance, general maintenance/construction and, the Environmental Management System. This team is responsible for the design, planning and maintenance of the North Carolina Zoo’s animal habitats, guest spaces, land management, buildings, motor fleet and art collection that span over 550 acres at the world’s largest Zoo. Before this position, Crista was the Zoo’s Curator of Design from 2017 to 2019 and was an Exhibit Designer on the Zoo’s Exhibit Design staff from 1991 to 2017.

As a member of the Zoo’s Senior Staff, Crista is a member of many planning teams that cover the four Zoo pillars of Animal Welfare, Conservation, Education and Guest Experience. These teams include vision, strategic, sustainability, habitat, interpretive, land management, special exhibit/events, safety and financial planning.

Crista is an Asheboro native and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s School of Interior Architecture. She is involved in the local community, serving on the fundraising board for the City of Asheboro’s Sportsplex, on an advisory panel for community fundraising events and, served as a member of the NC Zoo Society’s Randolph Friends of the Zoo board for 11 years.

To Contact Crista McGee:
By Phone

 1.800.488.0444 or 336.879.7450

By Email
 Email Crista McGee

By Mail

North Carolina Zoo 

4401 Zoo Parkway

Asheboro, North Carolina 

27205