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Achievers & Accolades

N.C. Aquarium Society Selects New President

By Christina Haley O'Neal, posted Nov 6, 2018
Jay Barnes
Jay Barnes has been named as president and CEO of N.C. Aquarium Society, according to a news release.

Barnes assumed his new role with the nonprofit during the Nov. 3 meeting of the board of directors, officials said.

The nonprofit supports the three N.C. Aquariums, including the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher, and Jennette’s Pier at Nags Head. The society, founded in 1986 and based in Raleigh, raises funds that provide annual revenue for the aquariums’ capital projects, educational programs and conservation initiatives, according to the release.

Barnes graduated from N.C. State University’s College of Design.

He has held a long career with the N.C. Aquariums. After graduation, he began as curator in 1980, officials said in the release. Barnes later went on to serve as director of the aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores for 20 years.

He retired from the state in 2009 and joined Aquarium Society staff “where he has led fundraising efforts and membership programs as director of development,” officials said.

As director of development, officials said Barnes helped “grow the Aquariums’ membership rosters and launched popular giving programs like Aquarium Scholars.”

“We are excited for the future of the Aquarium Society under Jay’s leadership,” said Olivia Holding, society board chair, in the release. “Through more than three decades with the Aquariums and Aquarium Society, his demonstrated passion and vision make him a natural choice to lead us into the future. Jay’s hands-on experience in both organizations and his love for what the Aquariums represent are a great combination for this leadership role.”
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