Zoo names hospitality expert as new deputy director

November 26, 2018 - 11:33am

Utpal Passi will oversee zoo operations, business partnerships

Utpal Passi, formerly vice president of guest relations at the Philadelphia Zoo, joined the Oregon Zoo this month as the new deputy director of operations. His duties include overseeing the zoo's guest services, strategic initiatives and business partnerships.

"I am excited to join such a great team," said Passi. "The Oregon Zoo is known for its supportive, engaged community, and I look forward to building on those relationships."

For the past 7 years, Passi has worked at the Philadelphia Zoo, where he was responsible for driving the overall quality of guest experience and revenue operations — everything from admissions and membership operations to stroller rentals and face-painting. Prior to that, he worked in the food service management industry for Sodexo.

"We are delighted to welcome Passi to our team," said Dr. Don Moore, Oregon Zoo director. "We conducted a thorough nationwide search to find the right candidate, and he rose straight to the top. He's an engaging leader with a wealth of relevant expertise and experience, known for implementing innovative organization-wide programs. Passi is a great addition to our team, and we anticipate growing the Oregon Zoo's community and business partnerships with him at the helm."

Born and raised in India, Passi moved to the U.S. 17 years ago, earning a bachelor's degree in hospitality management from Pennsylvania's Widener University and an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business. A father of three, he looks forward to exploring the Pacific Northwest with his wife and children.