New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
Media contact: Rachel Shockley, (505) 476-8071
Public contact: (888) 248-6866



ALBUQUERQUE – The New Mexico State Game Commission announced Thursday, after more than three hours of deliberation, a list of four finalists for the director position of the Department of Game and Fish. The finalists are:

Edward “Ted” Koch, employed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He holds a master’s degree in zoology and a bachelor’s degree in biology.

Brian Wakeling, employed by the Arizona Game and Fish Department. He holds a master’s degree in environmental resources and a bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology.

Alexandra J. Sandoval, employed by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. She holds a master’s degree in business administration and a bachelor’s degree in wildlife management.

Matthew Wunder, employed by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. He holds a Ph.D in natural resources and environment, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in wildlife biology.
Numerous organizations, including the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club, WildEarth Guardians and other conservation organizations urged the commission to conduct a nationwide search for the next director. The commission agreed with this advice and initiated a nationwide search Jan. 24. By the application deadline of March 24, the commission received 13 applications.

The commission selected finalists based on requirements including a bachelor’s or higher degree, at least 10 years of experience in fish and wildlife, leadership responsibility, policy development and budget management.

The national search included advertisements in major newspapers, universities across the country, online job boards, and social media, as well as notifying state wildlife agencies, the Wildlife Management Institute and conservation organizations such as National Audubon Society, Wild Turkey Federation, Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, and Trout Unlimited. The department also posted the position announcement on its website, and a link to the announcement was sent to more than 4,200 email contacts nationwide.

The commission will conduct final interviews May 14 at the department’s Albuquerque office. The commission will name the department’s new director at the May 15 commission meeting in Albuquerque at a site to be determined.
The new director will be responsible for managing a state wildlife agency with more than 300 employees and an annual budget of more than $38 million. The annual salary for the position is $99,999 to $120,000.