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John Ball Zoo hires development exec

June 20, 2019
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Michael Lomonaco
Michael Lomonaco. Courtesy John Ball Zoo

John Ball Zoo has named its new chief development and community engagement officer.

Michael Lomonaco began the role last month, leading more than a dozen employees in the areas of development, membership, community engagement, marketing and government affairs, with a focus on expanding the zoo's role in the community.

“As an Association of Zoos & Aquariums accredited organization, we are a zoo-based conservation center that engages the public to save animals from extinction. We cannot do this critical work without engaging the broader community that we serve,” said Peter D’Arienzo, the zoo’s CEO.

“Mike’s experience will not only help us serve our community, but will also execute our mission to inspire the community to be actively engaged in the conservation of wildlife and natural environment.”

Brenda Stringer, who has led development efforts for the zoo since 1981, will transition to a new role as capital campaign director, focused on providing counsel around the organization’s ongoing efforts to implement its master plan, as she moves toward retirement over the next several months.

Lomonaco's background

Most recently, Lomonaco was director of marketing and communications at the global technology consulting firm OST, where he oversaw marketing, communications and public relations across three domestic and three international locations. At Grand Rapids-based OST, he grew his team from one individual to seven and helped grow revenue from $60 million to $160 million.

His career has included leadership positions in local, state and federal politics and policy, corporate and nonprofit consulting and the manufacturing sector.

Lomonaco has served on a number of nonprofit and community boards, including the zoo’s board of directors for nearly five years.

He’s currently on the boards for Make-A-Wish Michigan and the West Side Corridor Improvement District, as well as the j-board for the Van Andel Institute. He is a coach for the YMCA and National Flag Football.

Lomonaco was also among the Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 classes of business leaders in 2013 and 2015-18.

He has a degree in criminal justice from Michigan State University and last year completed the executive education program at Yale School of Management

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