MATT WRIGHT, BOARD CHAIR
Matt is the president and owner of Burgess Company and has 25 years of experience in specialty commercial construction. He is a fifth-generation Oklahoman and grew up in Poteau where he spent considerable time hunting and fishing with his family in the Kiamichi Mountains of southeast Oklahoma.
After graduating from Pansy Kidd Middle School and Poteau High School, Matt moved on to Oklahoma State University, where he crammed 4 years of college studies into 5 1/2 years.
He pulls from his experience in daily activities—from product consultation and contracts negotiation to fly fishing and turkey hunting—to enhance customer satisfaction.
He joined Burgess Company in 2005 and became owner in 2010.
He lives in Noble with his wife and three children.
Matt’s father was very active in Oklahoma conservation throughout his life and instilled in him the need to be proactive in conservation efforts. Matt’s efforts on the CCO Board are to help assure his children are able to enjoy Oklahoma’s woods, water, and wildlife just as the generations that preceded them.
KIMBERLY WINTON Ph.D., VICE PRESIDENT
Kim was born and raised in Oklahoma. She learned to hunt and fish at a very young age, and her career goals and education have always included environmental issues.
Anything outdoors, fishing, gardening, training dogs, horses, and donkeys, captures her interest. She has trained Search and Rescue dogs, hunting dogs, retrieving dogs, and has many National Champion Miniature Donkeys.
She has degrees in Zoology and Secondary Education from Oklahoma State University and gained her Ph.D. in Agronomy (Weed Science) at the University of Arkansas.
Kim brings technical expertise to the CCO with areas of expertise in agronomic practices and eco-chemistry of pesticides in groundwater; contamination/remediation related to surface water flow, groundwater and water quality, and program management.
She retired as Director of the U.S. Geological Survey, South Central Climate Science Center after a regional director position with the USGS and earlier career positions working on groundwater risk management, eco-chemistry, and herbicides.
Now retired from the USGS, Kim serves CCO because it is an excellent opportunity to use her decades of expertise to educate the public and translate difficult science and policy issues for the people of Oklahoma.
RON SUTTLES, BOARD MEMBER EMERITUS
Ron grew up on a farm in Kansas as the son of parents who both came from farming families. He milked cows, fed livestock, worked the fields, harvested crops, drove a tractor, and hunted and fished.
A science teacher at Enid high school inspired him to pursue a career in environmental biology and, after attending college in Oklahoma, he went on to a 35-year career in the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation as a fisheries technician, environmental biologist, and supervisor of wildlife diversity, education, and environmental programs.
It was clear to him that an organizing force in the nonprofit sector was needed to help conservation interests interact more effectively with each other and with decision-makers in government and the legislature. The creation of the Conservation Coalition of Oklahoma, in partnership with the National Wildlife Federation, was the culmination of Ron’s 50 years of conservation experience in Oklahoma.
The emergence of the Coalition as an effective conservation voice in Oklahoma is something that is not only exciting but also personally gratifying for Ron.
STEVEN BENDER, NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION
DIRECTOR OF CONSERVATION PARTNERSHIPS
Steven is a teacher and a wildlife biologist by training and education. He has worked as a biology teacher, private lands biologist, statewide planner for non-game species, and a nonprofit strategist and advisor.
He currently works in Austin, Texas, for the National Wildlife Federation as a Director of Conservation Partnerships. He partners with the Conservation Coalition of Oklahoma and acts as an advisor to the group and as a liaison between the Coalition and the National Wildlife Federation.
PHILLIP HOEY, TREASURER
Phil Hoey, co-owner of Hoey Construction Company with his brother, Michael, began his career in construction at the age of 16 as a laborer, carpenter, and drywall installer with Hoey Construction Company and worked with his father until he graduated from college.
In his free time, you may find Phil cheering on his children in sporting events, playing soccer, or out hunting. Phil and his family are active in their church and oftentimes participate in community volunteer programs.
JOHN GRAY, BOARD MEMBER
John Gray is a realtor with McGraw Commercial Properties in Tulsa. He is a lifelong Tulsan and graduated from the University of Tulsa with a degree in management and a specialization in business law. He obtained his real estate license in 2016 and joined McGraw at that time.
The outdoors has been a major life passion and he has been involved with the outdoor and sporting industry for the majority of his life, including time as a college student working at Sports World Inc. In his spare time, he enjoys hunting with his Boykin spaniel and University of Tulsa athletics.
Community service, a value instilled by his parents is another big part of his life. He is a member of St. John’s Episcopal Church, has volunteered several years with Tulsa Area United Way, and continues to volunteer on boards for the Center for Individuals with Physical Challenges and Cystic Fibrosis Foundation-Tulsa Sooner Chapter and Tulsa Bird Dog Association.
LARA SOUSA, Ph.D., BOARD MEMBER
Lara A Souza, Ph. D. is an associate professor of plant biology with the Oklahoma Biological Survey, University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology and Plant Biology.
Lara is a plant ecologist who is broadly interested in the role of global change, such as biological invasions and climatic change, in shaping the structure of plant communities and associated ecosystem processes.
KAY MERCER, BOARD MEMBER
Kay's expertise consists of water quality protection, marketing and business development, agricultural management practice planning/implementation, pesticide and fertilizer management, outreach/education/training, non-profit management, grant procurement/administration, natural resource policy and regulatory development, regulatory compliance, technical report writing, and knowledge of food systems and food safety.
Areas of interest include agricultural and rural community resiliency, natural resource conservation, and the intersections of history and culture with agriculture development and preservation.
KERRI TAPP, OPERATIONS MANAGER
Kerri joined the Conservation Coalition of Oklahoma as our first Operations Manager. She has spent many years directing non profit as well as volunteer organizations and has a love of the outdoors.
She grew up in Moab, Utah, home of Arches National Park and spent uncountable days hiking, camping and exploring in the mountains.
After moving to Oklahoma, she spent many years touring the south and southwest parts of the country and was fortunate to be able to explore many more mountains along the way. She embraced taking the scenic route to education and was able to fully explore art, history, art history, music, political science, culture, humanities and more before earning her BS from UCO.
For the past 15 years, she has been involved with various projects, foundations and programs that promote education and leadership in the professional world as well as the volunteer world.
Kerri and her husband, Doug and their two sons are all involved with Boy Scouts of America, where she served as Cub Master, Committee Chair, and currently serves as Assistant Scout Master as well as the director of many camps. They enjoy spending time camping and spending time with their boys, friends and family.