Steve Olson received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Wildlife and Natural Resources Management from Colorado State University. Steve joined the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) in 2000 as Director of Governmental Affairs.
Beginning in 1985, Steve worked for the Texas A&M Sea Grant College Program researching marine mammal and protected marine area management issues, and in 1987, he was selected as a John Knauss Sea Grant Fellow for the U.S. House of Representatives’ Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee. Since then, he has served as Director of Federal Relations for the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, Project Manager for the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Sanctuaries and Reserves Division), and Executive Director of the National Coastal Resources Institute.
The AZA Government Affairs Department represents the interests of AZA before Congress, federal agencies, and international organizations. The Department monitors federal legislation, regulations, and international wildlife treaties; analyzes the impacts of bills and regulations on AZA members; develops position recommendations with the Government Affairs Committee and the AZA Board of Directors, provides information on legislation and regulations to member institutions; and works with government officials to develop effective federal legislation, regulations, and partnerships.
In addition to his responsibilities with AZA and Wildlands Network, Steve also sits on the steering committee or board of the following organizations: State Wildlife Grants Coalition, Multinational Species Conservation Fund Coalition, Endangered Species Coalition, Joint Ocean Commissions Initiative Coalition, Coalition Against Wildlife Trafficking, International Air Transport Association Live Animals Advisory Board, Global Tiger Initiative, USDA Contingency Plan Task Force, Zoo Animal Health Network, Wildlife Alliance, and Federal Museum Working Group.