Laurilee is the co-owner of Dixie Crossroads, Inc., a southern seafood restaurant in Titusville, FL with international name recognition and a menu that features locally caught seafood.
Laurilee’s background includes decades of involvement in commercial fishing and environmental advocacy. She started as a teenager running blue crab traps and gill-netting for mullet in Florida’s Indian River Lagoon and working on the back deck of a rock shrimp trawler. She received an AS in Oceanographic Technology from Florida Institute of Technology in 1974. She then captained a commercial long-line boat targeting swordfish and tuna in the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. Switching from surface gear to bottom gear in the early 1980s, she was a pioneer in the Gulf of Mexico longline grouper fishing industry as it began. There Laurilee experienced first-hand what happens when over-fishing occurs. In 1987 she went to work in her family's seafood restaurant where she remains connected today.
Laurilee is a Trustee for the Hubbs Sea World Research Institute and the University of Central Florida National Center for Coastal Research. She is a board member of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, the Merritt Island Wildlife Association, and the Brevard Nature Alliance, and an appointed member of the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program Management Board, the Save Our Indian River Lagoon Citizen Oversight Committee, and the City of Titusville FL Environmental Commission. She served on the Brevard County FL Tourist Development Council from 2000-2020 and as a member of the SAFMC Deepwater Shrimp AP from 2008-2020. Laurilee is the founder and a driving force behind the highly successful Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival, one of the nation’s top events of its type.
Fisheries Management Philosophy:
Our nation’s seafood products belong to every U.S. citizen. A person who has no means to go out in the ocean to catch their own seafood has just as much right to acquire domestic seafood through markets, grocery stores and restaurants as does the individual who owns a boat and is able to harvest their own seafood. The responsibility of the U.S. Fishery Management Councils is to ensure that our marine territories are protected and healthy in order to provide habitat for economically valuable species, that those species are harvested at optimal yield in a sustainable manner, and that the allocation of those species is fair and equitable.