July 22-29 Meet the Dolphin Tale Stars (Sawyer, Hazel & Phoebe) at Clearwater Marine Aquarium! See schedule and details.

Animal Training Workshop 2017

Animal Training Workshop 2017

Animal care team checking Winter's prosthetic tail at CMA

Animal Training Workshop 2017


  • You will receive coffee/snack, welcome bag, certificate and photo
  • Out-of-town guests visit our hotel partners page for hotel suggestions
  • Advanced workshop requirement:
    • Attendance to Introduction workshop or 1 year of professional experience



February 24th and 25th
Early bird: $175
Regular: $225


  • Guest speakers
  • Fundamentals of training
  • Live animal demos
  • Bridge conditioning activity
  • Live dog training demos
  • Choose one of the following:
    • Mock swim test
    • Mock interview
    • CMA Trainer Q & A


February 26th and 27th
Early bird: $300
Regular: $350


  • Guest speakers
  • Live animal activities with hands-on opportunities
  • Live dog training demos
  • Enrichment workshop
  • Training panel
  • Concept training
  • River flow system training and swimming activity
  • Special sneak preview of Precision Behavior’s documentary, “Elephant Trainer in the Room”

Learn more about the workshop speakers and presenters.

Thad Lacinak, Precision Behavior - Workshop Director

In 2008, Thad retired from a 35-year career at Busch Entertainment Corporation as Vice President and Corporate Curator of Animal Training where he directed animal training and enrichment efforts for all U.S. SeaWorld and Busch Gardens theme parks. Thad oversaw and coordinated the efforts of over 450 animal trainers and keepers at these parks. In short, he had the world’s largest animal training staff as well as the world’s largest collection of trained animals under his purview.

Lacinak was instrumental in developing SeaWorld’s and Busch Gardens’ industry-leading techniques, husbandry procedures, and spectacular killer whale shows. Thad led the team that won the prestigious THEA Award for the Believe killer whale show. He was key to developing the original concept for Discovery Cove and served as an integral member of the design and implementation teams.

Lacinak is a member of the International Marine Animal Trainers Association where he served as Vice President and he was a founder and President of the Animal Behavior Management Alliance. In addition, he has won numerous awards for presentations and workshops at professional conferences.

Since the publication of the New York Times’ best-seller, Whale Done! in 2001, which sold over a million copies in eighteen languages, Thad continues to present keynote speeches, seminars and workshops globally to major corporations explaining the Whale Done process, vastly improving working relationships. Whale Done Parenting was released in the Fall of 2009. The third book in the Whale Done series, The Whale Done School was released in the Spring of 2012.

Angi Millwood, Precision Behavior - Workshop Director

Previous to founding Precision Behavior, Angi held positions at several top-ranked animal facilities. She was a Manager of Marine Mammals at the Atlantis Resort in Dubai and a member of Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s opening team, working with carnivores, apes and rhinos and assisting with the implementation of a variety of behavioral husbandry initiatives. She was the Animal Training Coordinator at the Fort Worth Zoo, responsible for the Zoo’s animal training programs for more than 350 animal species. She was also the Director of Behavior Programs at Natural Encounters, Inc. (NEI) and earlier, worked at the Lubee Foundation, a bat conservation center.

Due to her background in both animal show production and her extensive human theater experience, Angi has knowledge of storyboarding show concepts, coaching individuals for stage presence, and critiquing show production.

Angi is currently a professional member of the Animal Behavior Management Alliance (ABMA), where she served for years on the Board of Directors. She is also a professional member of the International Marine Animal Trainers Association (IMATA).

Angi has conducted numerous workshops for national and international zoo staff, college students and business professionals. She has served as a Course Instructor for the AZA professional courses: Animal Training Applications in Zoo and Aquarium Settings and Meeting Your Institutional Goals Through Program Animals. She has presented numerous papers and workshops at professional conferences world-wide and in 2005 received the prestigious Animal Welfare Advancement Award from the ABMA. She is a graduate of Jacksonville State University with a double major in Theater and English.

Otto Fad, Animal Behavior & Welfare Specialist

Guest Speaker advanced course

Otto has been the Elephant Manager at Busch Gardens Tampa (BGT) since 2004, when the park transitioned to a PC/PRT program. Prior to that, he was Senior Trainer and Research Coordinator at SeaWorld Orlando, where he worked with marine mammals beginning in 1987.

In addition to working with a terrific team of talented trainers, Otto is heavily involved in research and elephant welfare. He has written, spoken, and presented on topics including desensitization, husbandry training, anthropomorphism, natural history, facility design, cognition and comparative psychology, safety, staff development, thermoregulation, elephant personality, and positive reinforcement in numerous venues including seven different college campuses.

Otto has consulted on elephant behavior issues both in the US and across the pond in the UK.

He is an Advisor to the AZA Animal Welfare Committee and also serves as BGT’s IR for Elephants and Animal Welfare. He is also a member of the Florida Association for Behavior Analysis (FABA) and The Animal Behavior Management Alliance (ABMA), for which he formerly served as a board member and chair of the Government Affairs Committee. He is also a past member of EMA, as well as the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) and the International Marine Animal Trainers Association (IMATA).

Otto gratefully acknowledges that he has personally benefited from learning from some of the top animal training and animal care professionals in the world, and feels that the day that his learning stops is the day he’ll hang up his whistle. He enjoys working with smart and dangerous animals, passionate and professional people, and engaging in lively debate.

Dan Strzempka, Certified Prosthetist Orthotist, Hanger Clinic

Dan has been in the field of Prosthetics and Orthotics for over thirty years.  He received his degree from Florida International University and completed both his Prosthetic and Orthotic residencies at Shands Hospital at the University of Florida.  He has created prosthetics for patients all over the world that have experienced single or multiple limb amputations.  He works extensively with both the pediatric and geriatric populations and works with the most advanced technology available including microprocessor controlled knees to Myoelectric upper limb devices.  Dan is actively involved in both the research and development of improved prosthetic components and devices.

For the past ten years or so, Dan has been responsible for the design and fabrication of the prosthetic tail for Winter the dolphin at Clearwater Marine Aquarium.  This involvement has led to the development of several new fabrication processes and devices including Winter’s Gel.  These have been very effective in improving the lives of many land based prosthetic users.

Dr. Shelly Marquardt, Veterinarian Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Guest Speaker both courses

Dr. Shelly Marquardt is the staff veterinarian at Clearwater Marine Aquarium. She completed her DVM degree at University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2006, followed by an internship at Oklahoma State University. After working emergency for three years in Texas, she moved to Florida where she continued to work emergency and volunteered time at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium prior to being hired full-time.

Abby Stone, Stranding Coordinator Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Guest Speaker introduction course

Abby Stone is the Stranding Coordinator at Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA.)  After completing an internship in 1996, Abby maintained an active role in CMA’s animal care programs while pursuing a bachelors in psychology.  After graduation in 2002, Abby secured a full-time position as a Marine Mammal Trainer.  Over the last 14 years, Abby assumed several roles within the resident Marine Mammal Program and the Rescue Team, focusing on husbandry and managed care practices.

Benefit from both courses

$400 early bird
$500 regular price


Hotel suggestions for out-of-town guests:

Pier House 60 Clearwater Beach Marina Hotel 0.60 mi from CMA

Quality Hotel Beach Resort 0.85 mi from CMA

Holiday Inn & Suites Clearwater Beach 0.86 mi from CMA

Residence Inn by Marriott Clearwater Downtown 1.81 mi from CMA


Spectrum Duke Energy Coca-Cola Bay Star