Texas State Aquarium Board of Directors Appoints Jesse Gilbert as President and CEO

February 16, 2022

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX – The Texas State Aquarium Board of Directors announced today that Jesse Gilbert was named President and CEO of the Texas State Aquarium, effective December 16, 2021. The appointment followed a unanimous vote of the Aquarium's executive committee. Gilbert has over 21 years of experience in executive and non-profit leadership, strategic business planning, crisis management, budget management, and external partnerships. Gilbert takes over at an exciting time, as the Aquarium is well-positioned to execute its long-term visionary plan.

“I am extremely pleased to have Jesse assume leadership of the Texas State Aquarium,” said Charlie Zahn, Texas State Aquarium Chair of the Board of Trustees. “Jesse brings more than two decades of experience and a proven record in leading the facility. Jesse has my utmost confidence, and I look forward to working closely with him to support the Aquarium’s mission.”

Gilbert joined the Texas State Aquarium as an Aquarist in 2003. Over the years, Jesse served as the Aquarium Aquarist, Senior Aquarist, Curator of Fishes and Reptiles, Director of Animal Husbandry, Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, and Senior VP, and recently as Interim President and CEO. He holds bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Marine and Field Science, a Master of Science in Fisheries and Mariculture, and is currently working towards a master’s degree in Business Administration. Jesse has served on numerous Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) committees, including the Animal Welfare and Aquarium Affairs committee, and he currently serves as an AZA institutional accreditation inspector.

Gilbert’s experience, commitment to the Aquarium’s mission, and leadership have been critical to the Aquarium’s success and continued growth. He has led the Aquarium through many challenging times— including Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Hanna, the pandemic, and Winter Storm Uri’s cold stunning event—one of the Aquarium’s most significant conservation works in its 31-year history.

Gilbert recognizes the Aquarium’s critical role in the community’s economic development, education, conservation, and wildlife rescue, and looks forward to working with staff, partners, and donors to expand the Aquarium’s Wildlife Rescue program. He will oversee the completion of the Aquarium’s new Port of Corpus Christi Center for Wildlife Rescue that will fall under the Institute for Wildlife Conservation umbrella at the Texas State Aquarium. The Rescue Center is scheduled to open in Fall 2022.

Gilbert aims to enhance educational opportunities in the community and promote workforce development at the Aquarium. Gilbert serves as adjunct graduate faculty in the Department of Life Sciences at Texas A&M Corpus Christi and promotes graduate student research at the Aquarium, including coral conservation efforts and shark surveys in Corpus Christi Bay.

“I am excited to lead this remarkable organization that is singularly committed to continuing its mission of engaging people with animals and inspiring appreciation for our seas and supporting wildlife conservation,” said TSA’s new President and Chief Executive Officer Jesse Gilbert, “I am honored to be part of an exceptional team of talented and passionate individuals who care so deeply about the Aquarium and its future.”

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