Jim Burke was born in Babylon, NY and graduated from high school there in 1989. After high school he went to the University of Rhode Island to study marine biology and marine affairs, and in the summers worked as a carpenter, a fisherman, and a diver. After graduating college Jim worked as a marine biologist in Alaska, Washington, and Maine before moving to Oregon in 1994 and eventually Newport in 1996.
Jim initially worked for NOAA here, but has been employed by the Oregon Coast Aquarium since 1997 and has been a member of their senior management team since 2006. As the Director of Animal Care at the Aquarium, Jim is responsible for the veterinary care of all of the Aquarium’s animals, managing a staff of 25 animal care professionals, creating and managing a large budget, animal facility design/construction, and the prioritizing of critical infrastructure repair and replacement.
Jim is a loving husband to his wife Aja, and proud father to his 12 year old daughter Una. They live in South Beach with their two dogs, Red and Tia.
Jim sits on the Oregon Coast Community College’s Aquarium Science Program Advisory Board and is proud to be part of that successful program since its inception 15 years ago.
Jim holds a USCG Masters License and is a long time Scientific Diver off of our Coast. He enjoys everything the Coast and the Port has to offer including sailing, motor boating, fishing, clamming, surfing, and diving to name a few.
Jim is looking forward to helping the commission, the staff, and the community help the Port of Newport accomplish its mission – “to build and maintain waterfront facilities, and promote/support projects and programs in cooperation with other community organizations and businesses that will retain and create new jobs and increase community economic development.”