Bert Vescolani is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Saint Louis Science Center. He leads a team of 225 staff members and 400 volunteers whose mission is to ignite and sustain lifelong science and technology learning. The Science Center serves more than one million people each year, making it the fourth largest science center in the country, and one of the nation’s 25 largest museums. It has built a national reputation for programs and exhibits, community partnerships, and visitor experience. The Science Center is part of many local, regional and national initiatives to build better and stronger links between formal and informal education. These include the Taylor Community Science Resource Center, the Youth Exploring Science (YES) program, and collaboration with St. Louis Public Schools to operate the Compton-Drew Investigative Learning Center Middle School. These efforts have been recognized by the Association of Science/Technology Centers with its highest honor, the Roy L. Shafer Leading Edge Award, awarded three times since 2005.
Prior to assuming his present duties in 2011, Vescolani served six years as the director of the 103-acre John Ball Zoological Gardens in Grand Rapids, Mich. During his tenure, attendance grew, revenues doubled and guest satisfaction increased to all-time highs. Education and Conservation programs grew dramatically and in the six-year time period, over half of all exhibits were renovated and/or replaced. Prior to joining the John Ball Zoo, Vescolani served as a senior vice president at John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago from 1991 until 2005.
Vescolani is a member of the boards of the Academy of Science of St. Louis, Forest Park Forever, BioSTL, and the St. Louis Regional Chamber & Growth Association.
A native of East Lansing, Mich., Vescolani received his bachelor of science in education from Michigan State University and has pursued graduate studies at North Park University. He and his wife, Danielle, have three children.