Rick grew up on Long Island, New York and attended Cornell University for his B.S. degree in Animal Science and Rutgers University for his M.S. in Zoology. He retired from the Houston Zoo in June 2015, after 15 years as Zoo Director. He presently consults on zoological projects while serving on several wildlife conservation boards.
Rick has been working in the wildlife management and conservation field for over 45 years. His level of experience ranges from zookeeper to senior executive positions at the Walt Disney Company and the San Diego and Houston Zoos. He has served on the boards of AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) and WAZA (World Association of Zoos and Aquariums).
One of the highlights of his professional career was his role as Director of Animal Programs for the Walt Disney Company (1993-1999). He was the top animal executive for the creative development, planning and construction of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. He also led the efforts to create the Disney Conservation Fund, which since its inception in 1995 has generated more than $70 million for field conservation projects around the world.
Rick actively serves on several wildlife conservation boards, including the International Rhino Foundation, GRACE (Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education Center), Margot Marsh Foundation and Okapi Conservation Project.
Rick is an avid wildlife trekker and photographer and has traveled extensively to Africa (over 50 trips) and South America (over 25 trips).
He resides in the Hill Country near Fredericksburg, Texas.