G.U.L.F.’s Oversight Committee

About the Oversight Committee

Members of the Oversight Committee (OC) are appointed by Audubon Nature Institute and make strategy and policy recommendations for the program. OC members also review and advise on work products from the technical committees.

All members have agreed to the Terms of Reference.


January 22, 2020, New Orleans, LA

May 30, 2018, New Orleans, LA

December 21, 2017, New Orleans, LA

January 4, 2017, New Orleans, LA

Rich Toth, Chair
Growing up on the tropical island of Okinawa, Rich developed a love of all aquatic life. An avid aquarium hobbyist, Rich was breeding tropical fish at home by the time he was 10 years old. After receiving a BS in Marine Biology from Texas A&M in 1990, Rich began his career as a Laboratory Technician at the University of Texas Marine Biomedical Institute. Rich quickly found his passion and began a career in the aquarium industry when he joined the team at Texas State Aquarium as an Aquarist in 1992. In 1993, Rich chose to advance in his career by joining the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans. There, he began his employment as a Senior Aquarist working his way up to Director of Animal Husbandry in 2012. In 2014, Rich began a new chapter at Audubon, when he was promoted to Vice President and Managing Director of Audubon Nature Institute’s Downtown Facilities.

Focusing on conservation, community partnerships, financial stability, and customer service, Rich has enhanced the overall success of Audubon’s Downtown Facilities. Through this experience, he has been able to share his success with other AZA Zoos and Aquariums. Rich is an active participant in AZA where he holds a Professional Fellow membership and serves as a Facility Inspector.

With a passion for animals and exceptional leadership skills, Rich works diligently to ensure that the community is aware of the impact we have on the environment. It is his mission to inspire conservation action in everyone he encounters.

Laurie Conkerton

Laurie Conkerton serves as Audubon Nature Institute’s Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer.  With over 30 years of experience in development, governmental relations, strategic planning and financial management, she has successfully led the funding efforts behind capital projects and innovative new conservation and education programs. As a South Louisiana native, she is passionate about promoting and strengthening the interrelationship between fisheries sustainability and the viability of Gulf Coast communities.

Kyle Burks, Ph.D

Dr. Kyle Burks is the Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer at Audubon Nature Institute. He has 25 years of zoo experience, including roles as Chief Executive Officer, Managing Director, and Chief Operating Officer of top U.S. zoos. He has a proven track record of generating institutional growth and revitalization.

John Fallon, RFM Scheme Manager (ex-officio)

John was a founding member of the Aquarium Conservation Committee, the group that spearheaded the development of the Sustainable Seafood Project for Audubon Nature Institute. In August 2012, John became the Coordinator of Audubon Nature Institute’s Gulf United for Lasting Fisheries and in 2014 became the Assistant Director of Outreach and Engagement. John oversees G.U.L.F.’s overall outreach, messaging, communications, and events and he spearheads the Restaurant Partnership Program.

Download the Audubon Gulf Seafood Guide mobile app:
Click here for the app tutorial on YouTube.
Sponsored and coordinated by Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission.
Authorized by the five Gulf state marine resource management agencies.
NOAA Award #NA10NMF4770481.