The Missouri Lions Eye Research Foundation’s Board of Directors announced on Saturday its appointment of Tony Bavuso as the organization’s new executive director, effective July 1, 2013. Bavuso brings 15 years of experience in organizational leadership and eye tissue banking and currently serves as the Foundation’s chief operating officer.

Bavuso will serve as only the third executive director in the organization’s 53-year history. Current Executive Director, Dr. Ron Walkenbach, will retire in March 2014 after 32 years in the job role. “Tony’s knowledge and presence in the eye banking industry made him a logical choice to succeed Dr. Walkenbach in this executive role,” said Foundation Board Chair, Al Blumenberg. “Tony will have a front row seat in setting the stage for the Foundation’s future.”

During his time at the Foundation Bavuso has served in a senior role leading its Heartland Lions Eye Banks division in pursuing new eye banking technologies and forging relationships with organizational partners. Bavuso also serves as chair of Vision Share, a nonprofit consortium of eye banks.

“I am passionate about the potential to engage with stakeholders in the health and vision care arenas to transform how we deliver our programs in a sustainable
way that preserves the uniqueness of what we do while providing measurable value to those we serve,” said Bavuso. “We must be authentically mission-driven
and demonstrate responsible stewardship of the precious gift of donated tissue as well as financial gifts. I believe these ideals resonate with people and represent the true intent of those that selflessly give to our cause so that others may enjoy a better life.”

On Saturday, September 14, 2013, the Board of Directors of the Missouri Lions Eye Research Foundation passed a motion to change Tony’s title to Chief Executive Officer.