Roanoke Island director picked to lead N.C. Aquariums Division

By on March 3, 2019

Maylon White will succeed David Griffin.

The North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources has announced that Maylon White has been chosen as director for the North Carolina Aquariums Division.

White will take over on March 4 and follows the departure of David Griffin, who retired in January after leading the division for 16 years.

“Maylon White brings a wealth of experience, creativity, and strong leadership skills to his new role,” said DNCR Secretary Susi H. Hamilton.

“I’m confident he will lead our three aquariums and Jennette’s Pier to even greater successes in education, conservation, and animal care.”

White earned a Master’s of Science in Biological Oceanography from Old Dominion University and upon entering his new position, brings more than 30 years’ experience in aquariums, having served as director of the N.C. Aquarium on Roanoke Island for the past nine years.

During that time he oversaw significant growth and development at the aquarium, including leading the team effort to create the Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation (STAR) Center and the adjacent interactive Operation Sea Turtle Rescue, which won Exhibit Top Honors in 2015 by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

In 2016, White oversaw a major renovation to the aquarium that introduced new experiences and exhibits, including a jellyfish gallery, a first for the aquarium.

Prior to his tenure at the N.C. Aquarium on Roanoke Island, he spent 26 years with the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center in Virginia Beach as director of Exhibits and Husbandry and other positions.

White continues to serve on the AZA Accreditation Commission, which is tasked with upholding the highest standards among the top zoos and aquariums in North America.

His extensive knowledge of AZA procedures and guidelines has contributed to the high-quality standards by which the N.C. Aquarium on Roanoke Island operates, and has maintained the prioritization of species conservation, animal health and well-being, and public trust in aquariums.

“The North Carolina Aquariums have been on a path of change and improvement for several years and I am very excited to be stepping into this new role,” White said. “We have an incredible team of staff and supporters to continue our forward momentum. I look forward to the challenges and opportunities that await us.”

In his new role, White will oversee the entire North Carolina Aquarium Division made up of aquariums in Fort Fisher, Pine Knoll Shores, and Roanoke Island, as well as Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head.

He will also work closely with the board and staff of the North Carolina Aquarium Society, the nonprofit organization that manages fundraising and development for all four facilities and their conservation initiatives.

“Maylon is a natural choice to lead the North Carolina Aquariums. His knowledge and experience with public aquariums make him a great fit,” said Society President and CEO Jay Barnes. “Our board and staff look forward to working with him to continue our successful public-private partnership.”

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