August 20, 2014

International Affairs Announces Key Leadership Positions

As Deputy Assistant Director, Gloria Bell will provide critical support and guidance to further the mission of the International Affairs Program. Gloria began her conservation career as a field biologist with the Puerto Rico Department of Natural Resources (PRDNR), working on imperiled species such as the West Indian whistling duck, white-cheeked pintail, and snowy and Wilson’s plovers.  After three years with the PRDNR, she began her career with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in 1989 at the Caribbean Field Office, where she worked as an endangered species biologist and helped to establish the Puerto Rican Parrot Field Office.  She then joined the Southeast Regional Office’s endangered species staff, where she coordinated the listing and recovery programs, and later served as the Endangered Species Chief, overseeing all aspects of the endangered species program for the Region.  In 2008, Gloria made the transition to Washington DC, joining the Headquarters staff as the Deputy Assistant Director for Endangered Species. In 2010, she joined the National Conservation Training Center staff as the Deputy Chief of Training, where she helped Service employees and the broader conservation community better deliver conservation.

Gloria has a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland and a Master of Science degree in wildlife management from Clemson University in South Carolina.  Her husband, Bruce, is a retired Service biologist who enjoys staying at home with their two dogs.  They have three children and three granddaughters in the Atlanta area.

Dr. Richard Ruggiero will serve as the Chief of the Division of International Conservation, overseeing the Wildlife Without Borders Regional, Species, and Global Programs. Richard assumes this role building on his 16 years with the Service and the Division, formerly as a Project Officer for the Great Ape Conservation Fund, the African Elephant Conservation Fund, and more recently, as Chief of the Branch of the Near East, South Asia and Africa. Richard came to the Service after 17 years in Africa and several other international and domestic positions. His first position in Africa was as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Central African Republic 1981-85, which he followed with a year as a wildlife security expert.   Following two years directing the School for Field Studies in Kenya, Richard worked in Zimbabwe on the CAMPFIRE Programme before a six-year stay in the forests of Republic of Congo, where he focused on protected area development, professional training, community conservation, applied research and wildlife security. During his time with the Division of International Conservation's Africa Branch, he led a staff whose work produced significant growth and recognition as a leading force in wildlife conservation in Africa.

A product of the Rutgers University system in his native New Jersey, Richard received his MS in 1988 with a thesis on Predation by Lions and his Ph.D in 1989 with a dissertation on the Behavioral Ecology of the African Elephant in Northcentral Africa. Richard lives in Arlington with his wife, Heather, who is a professor at Johns Hopkins University and Virginia Tech with a special focus on global conservation issues and capacity building. They have two children ages 13 and 11 who are also interested in animals, mostly dogs and horses.  His hobbies include classical music, old-school fly fishing, and wildlife photography.