International Wolf Center to welcome new executive director

Grant Spickelmier will join the pack in January

Chad Richardson, communications director
International Wolf Center
Office: 763-560-7374, ext. 225

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – With 25 years of experience in wildlife education and zoo leadership in Minnesota and Oregon, Grant Spickelmier will take the helm of the International Wolf Center as executive director in mid-January.

Spickelmier comes from Oregon Zoo in Portland after eight years where he was curator of conservation learning, and previously from the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley where he served in multiple roles, including assistant director of education.

“Grant brings the skills and experience the Center needs to help spark public awareness and dialogue based on powerful science-based wolf education,” said Center Board Chair Nancy jo Tubbs. He’ll lead a staff of about 16 at the interpretive center in Ely,MN and the organization’s Minneapolis office, where he will be based.

“I’m honored to be chosen to lead the world’s pre-eminent wolf organization,” Spickelmier said. “Since I first heard a wolf howl in northern Minnesota, I’ve been hooked on helping this species recover in the United States. At the Minnesota Zoo, I created programs about wolves for kids and adults. I led travel programs in Alaska and with the International Wolf Center in Minnesota.”

Spickelmier’s work has focused on fundraising, strategic planning, partnerships, exhibit development, and management of large teams of staff and volunteers. He co-wrote the WolfQuest internet game used at the Center, and it is considered the premier wolf simulation game with 900,000 online players.

“I hope to continue building the Center’s leadership team successfully led by Administrator Chad Richardson in recent months, as we work to increase public understanding of how wolves and humans can successfully coexist,” Spickelmier said.

He was chosen by the Center’s board in partnership with a Minneapolis-based firm, CohenTaylor Executive Search, which conducted an extensive national search.

The International Wolf Center, founded in 1985, is known worldwide as the premier source for wolf information and education. The mission of the Center is to advance the survival of wolf populations by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wildlands and the human role in their future. The Center educates through its website, its ambassador wolves, museum exhibits, educational outreach programs, International Wolf magazine, and a beautiful interpretive center in Ely, Minnesota.