Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ed Boks

You can contact Ed Boks at or visit

Background: Boks began his animal welfare career while serving as a Pastor with Grace Chapel of Phoenix (1976/1997) where he also served as principal and high school teacher at The Centers for Learning, a K-12 private school associated with Grace Chapel. From 1985 to 1995, Boks concurrently worked with Maricopa County Animal Care & Control where he worked his way up the organizational ladder to Chief of Staff.  Retiring from the ministry in '95, Boks focused on establishing and enforcing unique life-saving animal care, control and anti-cruelty policies and programs in 24 cities and towns and the unincorparated Maricopa County (an area larger than 17 states).

Boks left animal welfare for several years when he was recruited to develop and manage the Maricopa County Management Institute (1995/1998), a program recognized by Governing Magazine as one reason for Maricopa County’s selection as the “best run municipality in the United States”. The Institute was accredited by Arizona State University and Boks received a National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Award for the program.

Boks’ blend of ministerial and management experience soon caught the eye of Maricopa County Chief Administration Officer, David Smith, who asked Boks to return to an ailing Animal Care & Control as executive director (1998/2003). During this time, the Department became known as the most innovative and progressive animal control program in the nation. Boks transformed the Department into the highest volume pet adoption agency in the United States, while achieving the lowest pet euthanasia rate in its recorded history. He led the Department through its first Strategic Planning process; built a coalition of nearly 100 Arizona based animal welfare organizations; negotiated cost-recovery contracts with 20 cities (which more than doubled revenue and ended decades of deficit-based budgeting); established the nation’s first municipal no-kill Pet Adoption Center; founded Maricopa County Friends of Animal Care & Control as a fund raising auxiliary; helped obtain $6 million in grants; managed an $8 million operational budget, two 24/7 animal care centers, and 150 employees.

Boks received the first ever Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Award for Outstanding Leadership for his “outstanding leadership as the director of Maricopa County Animal Care & Control”. He also received his first Life Time Achievement Award - presented by In Defense of Animals for his “extraordinary life of compassion, commitment and achievement dedicated to ending animal homelessness and providing compassionate care for homeless animals.”

Boks’ success in Maricopa County was noticed by the Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, who recruited Boks to New York (2003/2006) where he propelled a second struggling animal care and control agency into becoming the highest volume pet adoption program in the United States, with the lowest pet euthanasia rates in the Department’s recorded history. Boks built a coalition of over 160 northeastern based animal welfare organizations; helped obtain over $15 million in grants; led the Department through its first Strategic Planning process; enrolled unprecedented community support; and managed an $8 million operational budget, three 24/7 animal care centers, and 150 employees.

Boks actually served as Executive Director of Maricopa County and New York City Animal Care &  Control simultaneously for six months in 2003, managing the two of the largest animal control programs in the nation at the same time. Permitting this unprecedented arrangement is evidence of both Maricopa County and New York City’s confidence in Boks. At the conclusion of his tenure with New York City, Boks received his second Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Friends of Animal Care & Control in New York City “for a career of extraordinary life saving work”. While in New York, Boks also received Alley Cat Allies National Award for Excellence for “transforming the way communities care for feral cats.”

When leaving New York City, Boks' boss, Public Health Commissioner, Dr. Thomas Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., (recently appointed by President Obama to serve as the director of the Center for Disease Control) had this to say: “At the time Mr. Boks was brought on as executive director, Animal Care and Control was in need of major improvement. Faced with significant challenges, Mr. Boks brought a new vision and energy to the organization, especially in the pursuit of making New York a no-kill city. Under his leadership, Animal Care and Control has made progress in improving conditions in animal shelters, increasing adoption rates, improving public perception of the organization, and growing the volunteer program. Mr. Boks was a key player in setting Animal Care and Control in a new direction and served effectively as a turnaround CEO. Mr. Boks is energetic, intelligent, knowledgeable and deeply committed to the field of animal welfare.”

Boks’ left New York City at the request of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa who asked Boks to serve as general manager of LA Animal Services (2006/2009). Once again, Boks transformed yet another department into becoming the highest volume pet adoption program in the nation, with the lowest pet euthanasia rates in its recorded history. Boks opened and staffed six LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certified animal care centers (a $160 million project); led the Department’s first Strategic Planning process; updated and standardized all policies and procedures; recruited and managed the most progressive shelter veterinary program in the nation; recruited a record number volunteers; helped establish the Animal Cruelty Task Force; built a coalition of over 140 Los Angeles based animal welfare organizations; played an instrumental role in the development of two animal welfare television programs; helped author the nation's most ambitious spay/neuter law, managed a $22 million budget, seven 24/7 animal care centers, and 450 employees.

While with LA Animal Services, Boks was honored by Voice For The Animals for “his commitment to protecting the welfare of animals in Los Angeles” and by The Pet Place Television Show for “his coming to the aid of animals and displaying selfless acts of courage, heroism and compassion.”

Concerning Boks’ tenure with LA Animal Services, Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa said, "Under Boks’ leadership this City revamped the way we treat and care for our pets and animals. The ‘no kill’ policy became a central component of our animal services strategy. Pet adoptions are up, shelters expanded at a rapid rate, and ‘spay and neuter’ has become more than just a call to action; it is the law in Los Angeles. We look forward to building on his legacy and continuing to make [Los Angeles] the gold standard for pet protection.”

Boks' approach incorporates strategic planning with organizational development. His strengths include Visioning; Strategic Planning; Public Relations; Communication (Oral and Written); Team Building;  Recruitment; High Performance and Transparent Management; Contract Negotiation; Public Speaking; Consulting; Teaching and Training; Curriculum Development; Lobbying; Multi-Million Dollar Capital Project Management; and large scale Animal Welfare Program Management.

Since July 2009, Boks has served as a consultant to both Foundations and municipalities; facilitating strategic planning processes, Board development, crafting business plans, and lobbying. If you would like to contact Mr. Boks, he can be reached at