Eric Donovan was born in Norristown, just a few blocks from where he currently works as the Chief Operating Officer for the Elmwood Park Zoo.
“My first “official” job was actually working where I still work today, the Elmwood Park Zoo, in 2004! The zoo was a very different place than it was when I started, and I have learned many lessons along the way and gained invaluable experience,” Eric Donovan explains.
“I can’t believe that it has been 17 years already, but I am proud of the significant changes and improvements our team has made to the zoo to make it the family destination it is today. It’s a rewarding experience to be able to provide a world-class family attraction right here in Montgomery County, to add to what is already a great base of businesses and experiences available,” he says.
“Growing up a Donovan in Conshohocken, I spent a great deal of time with both my Donovan clan, primarily racing in the Soap Box Derby on the 4th of July, an event the town still holds every year. Being raised in a town like Conshohocken was something I will always be grateful for, as it afforded me the ability to have my family nearby and also allow me to experience all of the wonderful things our area has to offer,” Eric proudly explains.
One of Eric’s proudest moments was when the zoo attained status as the world’s first zoo to be a certified autism center. “We are a family educational institution, so it was important to me that we try to be friendly and accessible to people of all abilities. I spearheaded this initiative and as a result, we have taken many great strides to improve our experience. We have received tremendous response and positive public reception,” Eric asserted.
“Another proud moment was in launching Wild Lights, an annual holiday light show program that has been a major success and popular attraction for the area. This past 2020 Wild Lights was a high point for me, as it was the first year that we planned and executed it 100% in-house,” Eric Donovan says. “In spite of everything happening with COVID, we were able to produce the show on a fraction of the budget and attain our highest attendance in the program’s history!”
Eric says that his family and friends have had a huge impact on his career, as well as the Zoo CEO and Executive Director, Al Zone. “I have worked very closely with him and our team. His involvement and our collaborative nature have been integral to our successes here, and I have had many wonderful opportunities for both professional and life experiences as well as significant career growth, for which I am very grateful,” Eric expressed.
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