Joe Handy is Georgia Aquarium’s President and Chief Operating Officer. He brings a strong history of leadership within the organization to this role, along with more than 20 years of experience in cultural institutions.
In 2005, Handy joined the Aquarium’s founding team as Director of Visitor Services. Grounded in his passion for the Aquarium’s mission, he rose through the ranks of Vice President of Guest Experience, Senior Vice President of Guest Experience, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, and most recently President and Chief Operating Officer.
A leader in the wider zoo and aquarium industry, Handy is an active member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Business Operations Committee. Beyond his work at Georgia Aquarium, Handy is heavily involved in the community. He serves on the KSU Foundation Board of Trustees and the Strategic Planning Committee; the Advisory Boards of Kennesaw State University Business School, Central Atlanta Progress, the Morehouse Leadership Honor Society and; the Board of Directors for the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the Board of Advisors at the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Handy is also a member of the 100 Black Men of N. Metro Atlanta and serves as Chair of the College Football Hall of Fame’s Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl Advisory Board. Under Handy’s leadership, Georgia Aquarium was the recipient of the 2019 Marcus Downtown Economic Impact Award. Handy received the Atlanta Business League 2018 Men of Influence Award, the Georgia Senate Remarkable and Distinguished Georgian Resolution in March 2019, ICABA – Atlanta’s Leading Influencers Award, May 2019 and is a member of the Leadership Atlanta Class 2019.
Handy was born and raised in New York, where he graduated with honors from The College of New Rochelle with a Liberal Arts Degree concentrated in Political Science. He later went on to earn his EMBA from Kennesaw State University. While in New York, Handy spent nine years at the American Museum of Natural History and helped launch the Rose Center for Earth and Space.