Left to right holding check is Pat Simmons, director and CEO, North Carolina Zoo; John Ruffin, board chair, NC Zoo Society; Jama Campbell, executive director, SECU Foundation; Cheryl Armstrong, executive director, NC Zoo Society; Bob Brinson, board chair, SECU Foundation; and Smedes York, a campaign cabinet leader, NC Zoo Society. (Source: SECU Foundation). Left to right holding check is Pat Simmons, director and CEO, North Carolina Zoo; John Ruffin, board chair, NC Zoo Society; Jama Campbell, executive director, SECU Foundation; Cheryl Armstrong, executive director, NC Zoo Society; Bob Brinson, board chair, SECU Foundation; and Smedes York, a campaign cabinet leader, NC Zoo Society. (Source: SECU Foundation).

In the middle of North Carolina is the largest natural habitat zoological park in the world. The North Carolina Zoo, located southeast of Asheboro, draws nearly one million visitors pass through each year to see more than 1,800 animals in habitats on the 500-acre site. Earlier in May, zoo officials received a large gift from the SECU Foundation to make the zoo even bigger and better.

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Michael Ogden

Editor-in-Chief at CU Times. To connect, email at [email protected]. As Editor-in-Chief of CU Times since 2016, Michael Ogden has led the editorial team in all aspects of content strategy and execution, including the creation of the publication’s exclusive and proprietary research database of the credit union industry’s economic landscape. Under Michael’s leadership, CU Times has successfully shifted to an all-digital editorial product with new focuses on the payments, fraud, lending and regulatory beats. Most recently, he introduced a data-focused editorial product for subscribers that breaks down credit union issues into hard data, allowing for a deeper and more factual narrative for readers. In 2024, he launched the "Shared Accounts With CU Times" podcast, which offers a fresh, inside-the-newsroom perspective through interviews with leaders from the credit union industry and the regulatory world. He dives into pressing credit union issues, while revealing the personalities working behind-the-scenes to push the credit union world forward. His background includes years as a radio and TV anchor/reporter and a public relations and digital/social media manager, where he covered the food and music industries, as well as cooperatives and credit unions. Over the years, he has launched numerous exclusive video and podcast series, including a successful series of interactive backstage interviews with musicians at music festivals, showcasing his social media and live streaming production skills.