James E. Cook is the new executive director/CEO of Western National Parks Association (WNPA), an Oro Valley-based nonprofit. Founded in 1938, the WNPA supports education, interpretation and research at 66 national parks in 12 western states.

Cook, a University of Arizona graduate, joins WNPA after more than two decades in key management positions with Tucson nonprofits. He most recently served as director of operations for the Arizona chapter of The Nature Conservancy and previously held the position of general manager of Arizona Theater Company.

LeAnn Simpson, who headed WNPA for seven years, retired at the end of January.

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