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The North Alabama Zoological Society could not exist without its volunteers.  We are currently an all volunteer society.  Someday soon we hope we can hire this great group of individuals that currently work full time jobs and use their free time to keep the society moving forward.  

Important links:

  • If you are interested in serving on our staff, please check out our volunteer page.

  • Click here to see our Board Leadership.

  • Please use the Contact Us form if you wish to reach out to any of our leadership.

Image by Dustin Humes


Image by Sandy Millar



Executive Director

Ethan is currently a Principle Consultant for Integrated Solutions for Systems.  He graduated with Physics and Mathematics degrees from the University of Montana.  His 20 year career has been a mixture of engineering, marketing, sales, and business development in the high tech software world.  He grew up taking care of animals on his parent's and grandparents' farms in the beautiful Mission Valley on the Flathead Indian Reservation of Montana.  He married Christie, who also shares a love for animals.  That love has continued as they and their four daughters have regularly visited the nearby zoos and aquariums where his career has taken them.  It was one of these visits to the Birmingham Zoo on a daddy daughter date that started the "A Zoo For You, North Alabama" wheels turning.


Henry "Buz"


Deputy Director

Currently an independent consultant, Buz is a non-profit executive with an MS, MBA and over 25 years’ experience in top rated zoological and conservation organizations throughout the US.  He has served in senior leadership positions such as Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Director, Nature Center Director and Assistant Zoo Director.  In addition, Buz has served as a Professor at the Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo, the only zoological college training program with an AZA accredited zoo on campus. Buz has also served as an adjunct instructor for Colorado State University's graduate program in Zoo, Aquarium and Animal Shelter Management. Buz is an AZA professional member.

Image by Brian McGowan



Director of Education & Marketing

Christie is currently continuing her 9th year as a substitute teacher, 5th year at Madison County Schools.  Substituting teaching allows her to be at home with her beautiful daughters when she needs to be and also expressing her love for teaching. She is a graduate of the University of Montana with a degree in Communications Studies, with an emphasis in Conflict Resolution and is a certified Mediator for the State of Michigan. Christie grew up in Bozeman, MT and loved spending time outdoors water skiing, snowmobiling, canoeing, hiking, camping in the river, lakes, and mountains of Montana, including in Yellowstone National Park. She and her family have lived all over the United States and have fallen in love with Huntsville, it is their forever home. She has a passion for wildlife and loves to visit zoos and aquariums across the country. Christie loves being part of something that can change a child’s life, expand their mind, and connect them with nature- these are the all-encompassing missions of NALZS. Her favorite animals are okapi's, flamingos or orangutans.


William "Willie"


Director of Research

Willie is a member of the Senior Executive Service with the Department of Defense. He studied at the University of Texas and Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and is a graduate from the University of Oxford’s Executive Leadership Program and Harvard University’s Senior Executive National and International Security Program. His 30-year career spans operations, engineering, test and evaluation, and research and development in missile defense, hypersonics, directed energy and space technologies. A nature enthusiast and conservationist, he leads wildlife and natural science research at NALZS, focused on the impacts of human development on wildlife habitats, restoration of endangered species and threatened ecosystems, and sustainable farming and aquaculture. He leads the NALZS Research Advisory Committee and organizes interdisciplinary laboratory and field research in the areas of environmental sciences, fisheries management, ecology, forestry, biology and chemistry.  His wife and five children all share a love for wildlife and enjoy zoos and aquariums worldwide. 


Michelle Nelson

Business Operations Director

Coming Soon

Image by Hassan Pasha



Director of Conservation & Development

While professionally Kiliaen has had the opportunity to work for non-profit organizations wherever she and her husband have lived, she has always had a passion for the conservation and care of wildlife. Working as the Director of Development and Conservation with NALZS has allowed Kiliaen to honor that passion and be part of something amazing. Her favorite animal is a peacock.


Johnathon Florence

Chief Financial Officer

Coming soon

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