SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Bob Ziehmer has been named senior director of conservation for Bass Pro Shops and lead director of the Johnny Morris Foundation. Ziehmer brings more than 25 years of experience managing significant conservation programs ranging from habitat restoration to outdoor education initiatives at the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), where he served as director for more than six years.
"Bass Pro Shops is excited to welcome one of the foremost conservation leaders in America as we plan to further expand our conservation leadership and impact across North America,” said conservationist and Bass Pro Shops founder/CEO Johnny Morris. “Bob’s many talents and extensive expertise guiding one of the most respected state conservation agencies in the nation make him an ideal leader to help us fulfill our conservation mission and inspire more people to enjoy, love and conserve the great outdoors.”
Ziehmer was only the eighth director in the history of the MDC since it was founded in 1937 and is credited with enhancing the agency’s role as a national leader in fish, forest and wildlife management. Ziehmer’s leadership earned him the reputation as “one of the most respected fish and wildlife agency directors in the country,” according to John Frampton, past president of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Ziehmer was also the recipient of Bass Pro Shops Conservation Partner of the Year Award in 2011.
At MDC, Ziehmer was responsible for a $185 million annual budget with a staff of 1,450 full-time and 500 hourly employees. During his tenure, he led successful restoration activities for elk, prairie chickens, hellbenders and sturgeon; expanded efforts to deliver the conservation message in all public schools; implemented major infrastructure projects, including hatchery renovations, wetland renovations, shooting range renovations, and new regional facilities; and improved the agency’s business processes. Ziehmer began at the department in 1991 as a biologist conducting field research to produce wildlife management plans for rare and endangered species.
“Bass Pro Shops is doing incredible things for conservation every day,” said Ziehmer. “I am honored to join committed conservationist Johnny Morris and his team to protect wildlife habitat, connect more people with nature and inspire the next generation of conservation stewards.”
Ziehmer joins two experienced conservation directors — Martin MacDonald and Rob Keck — to guide and expand company-wide conservation programs. MacDonald is a 23-year veteran of Bass Pro Shops who previously led national outreach efforts for 4-H. Before joining Bass Pro Shops in 2009, Keck spent 27 years as CEO of the National Wild Turkey Foundation. The team’s efforts have established Bass Pro Shops as a national leader shaping the future of conservation.
Together, Ziehmer and the team will work closely with Johnny Morris to develop a strategic and measurable approach for key initiatives including wildlife and habitat restoration efforts, introducing kids and families to the outdoors and advocating for sportsmen’s rights in close partnership with nonprofit and government organizations. Ziehmer will also lend his operational expertise for wildlife and educational programs in support of two nonprofit conservation attractions from Johnny Morris — Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium and Dogwood Canyon Nature Park — to help both entities advance their mission.
Ziehmer has a bachelor’s degree in fisheries and wildlife and a master’s degree in wildlife management from the University of Missouri. He is originally from California, Mo.