While other nonprofits struggle and fail, the humble, lovable Las Vegas Zoo on Rancho Drive rolls right along. It improves slowly, continues to expand, and maintains its relationship with larger zoos year after year.
And it does so without a group of wealthy Las Vegans throwing money at it or embracing it. On the contrary. Many have rejected it because of its lack of status.
Pat Dingle, the zoo’s executive director, pays his bills and keeps a small staff employed without begging for handouts. He’d like the zoo to be much larger, but to date no wealthy benefactor has swooped in to embrace his project. And he’s seen what dealing too closely with the city and other government entities can do. The city, you may recall, once set aside land for a large zoo project. Some of that land now has houses on it.
I’ve always admired Dingle’s tenacity and love for his job.
What’s his secret? Small salaries and small egos, I suspect. And the zoo draws paying customers, thousands of them, every year.