Florida Attractions Association Mourns the Passing of Industry Statesman, Leader, Visionary and Friend, Thom Stork
Dear FAA Family,
It is with a very, very heavy heart that I announce the passing of The Florida Aquarium's esteemed and much loved President and CEO, Thom Stork, who, after a valiant fight, succumbed to his battle with cancer on Monday, January 2. Thom served as Chairman of the Board of the Florida Attractions Association from 1991 until 1993. We hope you will join us in remembering him with deep gratitude for his service to the FAA and for making The Florida Aquarium a vital part of the Tampa Bay community.
Fourteen years ago, Thom entered the picture when the Aquarium was facing some challenges; however, over the years and with your support, he turned the tide. During his many years at the helm, Thom led the Aquarium to record attendance while bringing our guests' experience, as well as our animal and conservation programs, to new heights.
With solid vision, commitment and an entrepreneurial spirit, he oversaw the creation of Explore a Shore and a Rising Tides $15 million campaign which delivered Stingray Beach, the Carol J. and Barney Barnett Learning Center and the Mosaic Center, scheduled for completion soon. He expressed that one of his most rewarding contributions to the Aquarium was forging a dynamic partnership with Tampa Electric (TECO) and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to create the 20-acre Center for Conservation at Apollo Beach, now in the early stages of development.
It was Thom's urgent request that The Florida Aquarium team continue to work passionately to protect and restore our blue planet, including our waters right here in Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. He also encouraged us to continue building bridges by expanding our conservation partnerships such as those with the National Aquarium in Cuba. We know our supporters expect this as well, and we will tirelessly continue to do so.
We all will miss Thom tremendously. A true leader, he led our team with great success and prepared the Aquarium for a promising future. Prior to Thom's passing, The Aquarium's Succession Planning Committee began the process of finding a new President and CEO. As Chief Operating Officer, I am now assuming the interim role of CEO while continuing to manage the Aquarium's day-to-day business operations with my leadership team.
Thank you for helping us remember Thom, and please join us in sending prayers and thoughts to his beautiful family.
Chairman of the Board, Florida Attractions Association
Chief Operating Officer, The Florida Aquarium