The Wilds Welcomes A New Vice President< < Back to
Rick Dietz takes over as the head guy at the Wilds on Monday.
Dietz was just recently named vice president of the conservation and research center in Muskingum County.
Dietz says he has many goals that he'd like to accomplish, like increasing revenue and attendance and learning about all the things that happen at the Wilds.
Dietz is 38 years old and comes to the Wilds from the Audubon Nature Institute in New Orleans, where he was Vice President and General Curator.
"This is actually my first move away from the city and I grew up going to the Audubon Zoo, which is our local zoo," said Dietz.
He says he started volunteering there when he was in college and got a full time job right after graduation.
The Wilds is owned by the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and an official there says Dietz was hired for his "animal expertise combined with his knowledge of operations, employee training and development, and guest experiences."
Dietz says he's "extremely excited" about his new job and calls the Wilds facility, programs and staff "second-to-none."
"It's an amazing facility for many reasons," said Dietz. "Just the mere size is enormous – 10 thousand acres and there's over a 100 lakes on the grounds."
Dietz says previously established goals of building attendance and becoming fiscally sustainable are now his to work on.
"We try to continue to improve the guest experience," said Dietz. "Give it a bigger place on the map."
Another goal – this one more long term – is development of a zoo animal retirement center at the Wilds.
"Well like humans, animals continue to live longer and longer in zoos because of the medical care and nutrition," said Dietz. "With the Wilds there is a tremendous amount of opportunity because of the size of the facility to let some animals live out their golden years out in the wild."