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Ben Callison, Interim CEO and President
Ben Callison is the interim CEO and president of Project Chimps, and is also a member of the sanctuary’s Board of Directors. Ben is the current president of the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust, and the former director of the Cleveland Armory Black Beauty Ranch, an accredited sanctuary that cares for almost 1,000 domestic and exotic animals, including chimpanzees. Prior to his career in animal welfare, Ben, a graduate of Texas A&M University’s School of Architecture, was co-founder of a Dallas based business, Mohment LLC, which specializes in healthcare, master-planning and commercial and high-end residential architecture with an emphasis on sustainable design.
Jen Feuerstein, Senior Director of Administration
Jen Feuerstein is a biologist with 25 years experience in the behavior, care, and socialization of captive non-human primates, particularly chimpanzees. A graduate of Kalamazoo College, she has worked with prosimians, monkeys, and great apes in zoo, laboratory, and sanctuary settings. Jen was mentored for many years by the late Dr. Carole Noon, a passionate chimpanzee advocate and leader within the chimpanzee sanctuary movement. She has been fortunate to personally care for and learn from over 400 chimpanzees, whom she considers her friends and equals. As a proud member of Project Chimps’ team, Jen uses her 10+ years of sanctuary management experience to develop and implement policies and procedures for safety, emergency response, human resources, and chimpanzee care.
Gabriel Waters, Senior Director of Chimpanzee Care
Gabriel Waters is a primatologist and behavior analyst with extensive experience in the research field. He ensures the chimpanzees’ psychological wellbeing is at the forefront of every decision made at Project Chimps, overseeing all aspects of chimpanzee care from transport to health and wellness to their physical and social environment. He works directly with the chimpanzees at Project Chimps to support their transition to sanctuary and monitors and documents behavioral changes using quantitative research methods. Waters will eventually work with behavioral scientists from the academic and research communities to create studies that better inform captive care of chimpanzees.
Kris Johns, Director of Philanthropy
Kris Johns directs philanthropy efforts for Project Chimps. She has worked on corporate development and capital campaigns at the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society, major gifts in a regional and national capacity at The PKD Foundation and on major gifts, campaign gifts and special events at The Humane Society of the United States. It was as a major gifts officer at The HSUS where she began specifically working on campaigns to raise funds for animal sanctuaries and animals used in research, among other key programs nationally and internationally. Kris graduated from Ball State University with a double major in news-editorial and public relations.
Mike Seres, Director of Chimpanzee Management
Mike Seres is the world’s leading expert on chimpanzee socialization and group formation – he stopped counting at 5,000 chimpanzee introduction sessions. Mike has worked with chimpanzees in a variety of settings, including the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany, Stitchting AAP in Spain and Netherlands, and in zoos and research facilities around the world. He came to Project Chimps from the Kumamoto Sanctuary at Kyoto University in Japan, which houses chimpanzees retired from biomedical research laboratories. Mike is responsible for the formation of chimpanzee groups at Project Chimps, leading all introductions and monitoring socialization of the chimpanzees.
Laura Mayo, Manager of Chimpanzee Care
Laura Mayo has more than 30 years of experience caring for non-human primates, including chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, orangutans, and many different monkey species, most recently as Assistant Curator of Primates at Zoo Atlanta. At Project Chimps, Laura manages and develops the caregiving staff and is responsible for ensuring the chimpanzees receive exemplary daily care.
Brooke Allen, Chimpanzee Caregiver
Brooke Allen has worked with non-human primates and other animals in many different roles, including as a veterinary technician, zookeeper, animal trainer, and sanctuary caregiver. She has a degree in animal behavior with a minor in psychology from Texas A&M University. She came to Project Chimps from Primarily Primates in San Antonio, Texas, where she cared for a variety of non-human primate species, including chimpanzees.
Janie Gibbons, Chimpanzee Caregiver
Janie Gibbons has been working with chimpanzees since 2009. After graduating from the University of Northern Colorado with a major in psychology and a minor in anthropology, Janie attended graduate school at Central Washington University, where she studied primate behavior. She left Washington for Florida, where she spent five years as a caregiver at Save the Chimps.
Max Jones, Facilities Manager
Max Jones has extensive experience in general contracting, construction, and facility management. Max was the head of maintenance at Gorilla Haven, the former sanctuary that resided on the land that is now the site of Project Chimps. Max was born in a log cabin in nearby Mineral Bluff, Georgia, and his family at one time owned the land where the sanctuary stands.
Lindsay Vanderhoogt, Programs Assistant
Lindsay Vanderhoogt graduated from Guilford College with a major in biology and a minor in nonprofit management. After college, she was introduced to the great-ape sanctuary field as an intern at the Center for Great Apes in Florida. Before coming to Project Chimps, Lindsay worked at the New England Anti-Vivisection Society in Boston, where she learned about the plight of chimpanzees used for biomedical research. At Project Chimps, Lindsay is responsible for assisting with program development and outreach efforts, including social media.