After 23 years as Zoo Director of the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, Patti Hall has formally stepped down and Dr. Adam Langston, the zoo’s longtime veterinarian, has taken up the role of interim director. It was announced by Steve Jones, Chairman of the zoo’s board of directors, that Hall will become the zoo’s first Director Emeritus and that these changes will take effect immediately.
“We owe Patti Hall a great debt of gratitude for her years of extraordinary leadership.” Jones said. “Come rain or shine, she has seen this little zoo through its darkest days and lifted it up to its very brightest. We do not expect any disruption in the continuity of the zoo’s daily operations or in the construction of the new zoo during this period of transition, all due to Patti’s unwavering dedication.”
This summer Hall took a leave of absence from the zoo to attend to personal and health issues. She recently made the decision not to return full-time as the director after suffering complications from abdominal surgery. She says she is utterly confident that Langston will uphold what has always been her number one priority at the zoo — providing the highest standard of care and safety for all of the animals. “I’m thrilled that Adam knows our animals so intimately and has such a close relationship with the zookeeping staff. Also, as a local resident, business professional, and parent, he values and appreciates what our unique zoo has to offer to its community and to families. His compassion and diligence will serve the zoo very well.”
Langston was a staff veterinarian at a local clinic while also treating the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo’s inhabitants for close to 12 years. When this opportunity arose to become interim zoo director, he was honored to be asked.
“Patti Hall is a hard act to follow. She’s devoted her life to this zoo; it wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for her,” Langston said. “I will do my absolute best to keep the zoo on its successful path and uphold her legacy.”
Hall will resume public visibility in the near future, but in a limited capacity as director emeritus. For now, she will maintain a low-profile to provide Langston time to settle in and become familiar with the day-to-day workings of the 7-acre, 40-employee zoo facility that houses approximately 600 animals.
“Patti Hall became my mentor from the day she hired me,” said Zoo Curator Cyndi Johnson. “I would not be where I am today as a zookeeper and curator. She is also a great friend and will always be a part of my family. Patti has been the heart and soul of this little zoo and it will be very challenging to continue on without her daily guidance. But we are very fortunate to have another passionate animal advocate as our new Zoo Director. We welcome Dr. Adam Langston into our zoo family.”