Professional Development
Economics / Founders / Leadership

Longtime Downtown Partnership head Kirby Fowler to lead Maryland Zoo

After 15 years leading the downtown economic development org, Fowler begins with the zoo in April 2020.

Kirby Fowler. (Courtesy photo)

The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore announced a new president and CEO on Friday: Kirby Fowler, who led the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore (DPOB) for 15 years, will take the helm at the Druid Hill Park animal destination in April 2020.

Fowler will assume the position currently held by Don Hutchinson, who will formally step down on June 30, 2020 following a transition period. Hutchinson began leading the zoo in 2008.

“Kirby was chosen to lead The Maryland Zoo because of his depth and breadth of experience in non-profit leadership, his passion for the Zoo and our conservation mission, and his tremendous energy and enthusiasm for the City of Baltimore,” said Jennifer Lowry, chair of the Maryland Zoological Society, Inc.’s board of trustees, in a statement. “We have full confidence that he will uphold our position as an outstanding cultural, educational and conservation organization, and provide strong, steady leadership through this exciting and pivotal period for the Zoo.”

At the Zoo, Fowler will oversee 250 employees, 225 volunteers and more than 1,500 animals.

With DPOB, Fowler led the organization working on economic development and public spaces in the city’s densest business area. Its programs have a wide purview that span real estate development, public art and creating programs like Baltimore Restaurant Week. DPOB has embraced the tech community as a part of downtown’s growth equation for both businesses and residents, offering grants to help companies relocate to the area and issuing a report that helped to quantify tech growth. Just this year it also added some digital and data features to the streets with interactive kiosks.

“I look forward to helping the Zoo reach its significant potential by continuing to implement animal welfare and habitat advancements, improving the campus and guest experience, and building on educational and conservation programs,” Fowler said in a statement.

Downtown Partnership is planning to conduct a search for a successor.

“We have strong internal leadership and everything will be business as usual while the search is conducted,” said Michael Evitts, DPOB’s senior VP of communications and brand strategy.

Companies: Downtown Partnership of Baltimore

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