Texas State Aquarium CEO Tom Schmid has been named as the new President and CEO of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.
Schmid, 58, will begin his leadership role at the Ohio facility on Dec. 6 after concluding his work with the local aquarium.
Schmid will lead the Columbus Zoo and several other ancillary properties.
At the TSA, Schmid directed his team to grow the institution to one of the largest aquariums in North America, advancing wildlife conservation work and raising nearly $100 million to support the aquarium’s mission.
"Tom Schmid is widely acclaimed throughout the zoo and aquarium industry to be extremely smart, ethical and passionate about zoos and wildlife conservation," Columbus Zoo Board Chairman Keith Shumate said in a prepared statement. “I believe that we have found an individual with the experience to lead this zoo and take it to the next level. In getting to know Tom, I am struck not only by his track record as a leader but also his skills as a listener. I am excited for this community to get to know him and for the Columbus Zoo to move forward under his leadership."
Schmid brings more than 34 years of experience in modern zoological attractions, working in every aspect of operations, both internally and externally.
From 2012-2013, he served as chair of the board of directors for AZA after serving on the board. Additionally, Schmid is on the executive committee of the Coastal America Learning Center Network and a board member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
"I'm humbled and honored to work alongside this incredible team and to become part of the Central Ohio community," Schmid said in a prepared statement released by the Columbus Zoo. "What captured my interest—the culture of conservation at the Zoo and The Wilds—is working with rare and endangered species; the staff expertise in animal care and welfare; and the diversified portfolio of parks, which include Safari Golf Club and Zoombezi Bay. This is an extraordinary organization with an exceptional team."
Schmid grew up in South Florida and received his Bachelor of Science in biology from Stetson University and his Master of Science in Biological Sciences from the University of Central Florida.
He began his career at SeaWorld in Orlando, Fla. Before in Corpus Christi, he served as Director of Operations for NAUTICUS-the National Maritime Center in Norfolk, Va.
Schmid was hired as the Director of Animal Husbandry of Animal at Texas State Aquarium, promoted to its CEO job in 1998, and then became President and CEO in 1999.