Asheboro, NC — The  North Carolina Zoo has named Gavin Johnson of Wilmington as its new Public Relations Specialist. Johnson replaces Tom Gillespie, who held the position for 15 years before retiring in June 2013.

Johnson is a native of Waycross, Georgia, and a 2006 graduate of Augusta State University. He has eight years of experience as a television reporter and weekend news anchor, including the last six years at WECT-TV, the NBC affiliate in Wilmington. At WECT Johnson began as a government reporter before moving into his most recent role as Columbus County reporter.

In 2013 Johnson won first place for Best General News and was runner up for both Reporter of The Year and Best Investigative Reporting among Division II stations as selected by news editors with the Radio Television & Digital News Association of the Carolinas.

In the zoo post Johnson will assist Public Relations Manager Rod Hackney in writing news releases, conducting media and VIP tours, serving as official zoo spokesman to the media, editing zoo publications `and in production of the zoo’s syndicated television series, “The Zoo FileZ.” He assumes his new duties on February 10.

The zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, John E. Skvarla, III, Secretary; Pat McCrory, Governor.