Heading the security and safety team of a company is no small feat, but heading the team at a facility like Fossil Rim is a whole different beast. Ray Wilson, Fossil Rim’s newest security and safety manager spent decades working as a police officer, volunteer firefighter, EMT and investigator and more. Yet, this new role is still surprising despite everything Ray has seen in his career. His skills have taken him across DFW and landed him here. Now he oversees not only the safety of our guests, but the security our animals. Ray is joining us on our ever ongoing mission towards species and land conservation.
New Jobs to be Done
For Ray, you could say public safety is somewhat of the family business. He comes from a family of police officers, and he’s the husband of a fellow EMT and volunteer firefighter. Ray has worn many hats over time—often multiple at once. As he puts it, there was always a job that could be done. So he did those jobs for different departments and cities, even through retirement.
Once the Covid-19 pandemic forced everyone home that Ray decided the long commute from his home in Hood County to his then-job in Dallas wasn’t the right fit anymore. So, he looked closer to home, and found the next job that needed doing. Now he’s the security and safety manager for Fossil Rim Wildlife Center.
Your Safety, and Theirs
What exactly does it mean for a facility like ours to have a security and safety department? Fossil Rim, like many similar zoological facilities, needs to make sure that our guests are protected from any risks posed by our animals, and likewise, that our animals are protected from potential risks posed by our guests.
In a typical zoo or aquarium setting, a security and safety coordinator would likely focus on things like guest management, emergency protocol and things like doors and gates, to make sure that only those meant to be near the animals can get to them. But at Fossil Rim, there aren’t any exhibit doors we can simply close to keep our guests from a habitat. The whole park is the habitat! That means that whoever is in charge of security and safety here has to tackle the unique situations that arise from self-guided tours.
What happens if a guest needs emergency assistance within the bounds of our park? How do we ensure that guests follow the rules in place to protect themselves and our animals? What purpose does security and safety here serve in the greater world of conservation? All of these questions need to be considered by the Fossil Rim safety and security manager. Luckily, juggling multiple important tasks is what Ray Wilson has always done best.
Security For Our Future
So, what does a day in Ray’s world look like? It could consist of patrols through the park, checking to see if anyone needs help or a refresher on our road rules. Maybe it looks like teaching staff members how to perform CPR, checking AEDs, or reaching out to local police and fire departments to ensure that in the event of an emergency, the right people will get where they need to go as quickly as possible. It even means keeping an eye on our animals, whether they’re interacting with guests or alone, and working to help our animal care team get to injured or sick animals as soon as possible.
As Ray puts it: “The security side of it, like helping people maintain the road rules and the park rules- that will actually help our animals to stay safe. That’s probably the biggest contribution I can make. I may not be working directly with the animals like the care people are, but I try to help watch out for them…and watch over them.”
Under Ray’s watchful eye, Fossil Rim has continued to impact the world of conservation.
“One of the things I didn’t have at any of the other jobs that I’ve come to really love here… is watching guests, especially kids and seeing how excited they get,” Ray says.
The next generation of conservationists, scientists, veterinarians, and overall animal and nature lovers are benefiting from the work Fossil Rim, and Ray, are doing. He says there is always something new to learn here, which, after all of his experience, is truly something.