Barbara Carr sets departure date of March 18
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Serving Erie County announced Gary Willoughby II would step into the role of executive director.
He served three years as executive director of the Toledo Area Humane Society. Prior to his work in Toledo, Willoughby was president and CEO of the SPCA Albrecht Center in Aiken, South Carolina, for six years.
Willoughby had the honor of leading both organizations through capital campaigns, and oversaw new facilities for each group during his tenure. Both organizations also were named as Humane Society of the United States' top 10 emergency placement partners.
Current SPCA Serving Erie County Executive Director Barbara Carr, who announced her retirement last November, has set a departure date of March 18.
"I'm incredibly sad over leaving an organization and a staff that I love so much, but I also am feeling a great deal of excitement," Carr said. "I can't wait to see the next chapter of my life unfold."
Carr, who has led the efforts of the second-oldest humane society in the country more than 23 years, added, "While I will no longer be leading this incredible organization, I will continue for the rest of my life to love the SPCA Serving Erie County. My heart will always be with this organization, with the animals, the volunteers, the staff and the public, who all support the great work of creating a more compassionate community."
Carr went on to commend the organization's board of directors, stating it has "done an incredible job in the search for a new executive director. I believe our board members have found exactly the right person to continue the SPCA's growth and success. I couldn't be happier with their choice!"
Willoughby holds a certificate in nonprofit management, a bachelor's degree in communications and journalism from the University of Mobile in Alabama, a graduate certificate in gerontology and a master's degree in public administration, both from Florida Gulf Coast University. Additionally, he is an active member of the Society of Animal Welfare Administration and the Rotary Club of Toledo.
From 1993 to 2007, Willoughby served as a volunteer and/or board member for various animal welfare organizations in Florida while working in the senior services field. He also served as a board member for the Florida Council on Aging and was a regional representative for the Meals on Wheels Association.
Willoughby developed a four-county Meals on Wheels for Pets program, and served as an advisory council member for the Southwest Florida Center for Positive Aging.
Willoughby and his wife of 25 years, Meghan, a North Tonawanda native, have three rescue dogs and two rescue cats, are vegan, and enjoy antiquing and traveling.
"It is difficult to leave the Toledo Area Humane Society, as we've built a wonderful and dedicated team of men and women who care about animals and their community," Willoughby said. "However, I'm very excited about the opportunity that is ahead of me in Erie County. The organization has a wonderful national reputation, and having a chance to build another new facility, this time in my wife's hometown area, is an incredible honor for me."
Willoughby added, "Barbara Carr, her staff, volunteers and the board of directors have obviously worked tirelessly to help so many animals, whether they be companion animals, wildlife or farm animals. I hope to do my best to follow in Barbara's footsteps and continue all of the great work that has been done by this team."
Sara Dayton, president of the SPCA board of directors, said, "We are thrilled that Gary has agreed to take on the role of our new executive director. His knowledge of building projects, the progress he has made in his short time in Toledo, and our discussions with him on animal welfare and shelters, not to mention the fact that his wife is originally from the area, made him the perfect candidate for us.
"Barbara has left significant shoes to fill and, we think, through our rigorous national search, that we have the absolute best candidate to fill this role."
Willoughby is expected to begin his work at the SPCA Serving Erie County Monday, March 21.
The SPCA Serving Erie County is located at 205 Ensminger Road, Tonawanda. Visit www.YourSPCA.org.
Barbara Carr with her pets (from left): Charlie, Enny and Dibbs.