Southwest-Central Florida Connector Task Force

About

The mission of the Southwest-Central Florida Connector Task Force is to evaluate the Southwest-Central Florida Connector corridor, which extends from Collier County to Polk County. The task force will work in coordination with the Florida Department of Transportation to address the need for the corridor and its potential economic and environmental impacts.

The task force may consider and recommend innovative ways to combine right-of-way acquisition with the acquisition of lands or easements to facilitate environmental mitigation or ecosystem, wildlife habitat or water quality protection or restoration. The task force will specifically address the impacts of construction on panther and other critical wildlife habitat. It will also evaluate wildlife crossing design features.

The task force will summarize the results of its analysis in a final report by October 1, 2020.

Members

 

Organization

Member Name/Title

 

State Agencies/Commissions/Partnerships

1

Florida Department of Transportation

L.K. Nandam, District One Secretary

Bio
L.K. Nandam, District One Secretary Florida Department of Transportation

Since November of 2016, LK has represented the Department in Southwest Florida as the District Secretary. He has worked tirelessly with every department’s initiative to incorporate environmentally conscious decisions into our projects such as wildlife crossings in Collier, as well as overseeing complex and innovative projects like the state’s first diverging diamond interchange in Sarasota. He understands the challenges of local and statewide evacuations associated with storms and wildfires.

He brings to the committee more than twenty-four years of experience in the transportation industry in both the private and public sector.

Prior to becoming the District Secretary, LK served as the Director of Operations and District Traffic Operations Engineer at FDOT.  He has previously served as the Traffic Operations Engineer with the City of Boca Raton and as a Sr. Transportation Engineer with a private sector engineering firm.

He is a registered professional engineer in the State of Florida and is an active member of the Institute of Transportation Engineers.

2

Florida Department of Transportation

Tracy A. Hood, District Seven Consultant Project Management Engineer

Bio
Tracy A. Hood, District Seven Consultant Project Management Engineer Florida Department of Transportation

Tracy Hood has been the District Consultant Project Manager Engineer at Florida Department of Transportation District 7 since the end of 2017.

Tracy earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Florida and a Master of Business Administration from the University of South Florida. He obtained his PE license in 1989. Prior to joining FDOT, Tracy invested his 30+ year career as a consultant in the transportation design industry in the Tampa area. His experience includes drainage and highway design, project management, staff management & office management. On a personal note, Tracy is married and has 2 daughters in California, one in college, and one working at DreamWorks. He enjoys family time spent outdoors.

3

Florida Department of Environmental Protection

Jennifer Carpenter, South District Assistant Director

Bio
Jennifer Carpenter, South District Assistant Director Florida Department of Environmental Protection

Jennifer Carpenter is the Assistant Director of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s South District Office. She oversees the Compliance Assurance Program which is responsible for environmental compliance with the state’s air, water and waste laws within the South District’s 9 county area. In addition to permitting, compliance and enforcement, her career with DEP has given her experience in water quality, including Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) and Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs), as well as large-scale environmental restoration including Everglades Restoration projects and other regional restoration efforts.

Jennifer holds a B.S. degree from Florida State University in Biological Sciences and a M.S. degree in Environmental Science from Florida Gulf Coast University. Her graduate work focused on estuarine ecology. Jennifer is a native of southwest Florida who loves to spend time on the water with her husband and sons.

4

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity

Pam Johnson, Deputy Director of Workforce Services

Bio
Pam Johnson, Deputy Director of Workforce Services Florida Department of Economic Opportunity

Pam Johnson is the Deputy Director of the Division of Workforce Services for the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO). Pam is a nationally recognized, data-driven strategist with more than 30 years of experience in strategic planning and project management. Prior to DEO, Pam served as a Director at Sandata Technologies, Inc. and Director of Planning for Tallahassee Memorial Hospital. Pam received her Bachelor of Science from Florida A&M University and Master of Business Administration from Florida State University. She is also a Certified Strategic Management Professional and a Qualified Association Specialist.

5

Florida Department of Education

Robert Richards, Supervisor, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

6

Florida Department of Health

Stephanie Vick, Administrator, Collier County

Bio
Stephanie Vick, Administrator, Collier County Florida Department of Health

As Administrator of the Florida Department of Health in Collier County, Stephanie Vick oversees two health department locations in the second healthiest county in the state where she is heavily involved in support of wellness initiatives in the health department and in the community. Ms. Vick received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from The Catholic University of America in Washington D.C., and her Master of Science in Health Services Administration from NOVA/Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale. She is a supporter of quality improvement in the work place as well as a trained Public Health Accreditation Board Examiner. Through her leadership, Ms. Vick and her staff are prepared to lead DOH-Collier into the future.

7

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Tom Graef, Southwest Regional Director

8

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Janet Taylor, Former Commissioner, Hendry County

Bio
Janet Taylor, Former Commissioner, Hendry County Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Former Commissioner Janet B. Taylor served as the first African American Woman on the Hendry County Commission for 22 years. She has a rich history of public service and even after leaving elected office she helped founded Glades Lives Matter, which helps bring light to the issues of all residents in the Glades and surrounding rural communities. She is a staunch advocate for agriculture in Florida. She wears many hats, serves on many boards and have many titles, but her favorites are mother, grandmother and great grandmother.

9

Florida Public Service Commission

Mark Futrell, Deputy Executive Director – Technical

Bio
Mark Futrell, Deputy Executive Director – Technical Florida Public Service Commission

Mark has served the Florida Public Service Commission since 1990 in various capacities. Since 2016, he has served as the Deputy Executive Director over the technical staff in the Divisions of Accounting & Finance, Engineering, Economics, and the Office of Industry Development and Market Analysis. In this position, Mark provides direction and leadership for the technical staff and advises the Executive Director in all technical issues pending or presently before the Commission.

Prior to accepting his present position, Mark had responsibilities in legislative activities, and with the industries over which the Commission has regulatory authority, including electric, natural gas, water and wastewater, and telecommunications. Specifically, he had responsibilities involving federal energy rulemaking, including carbon regulation, electric utility rate cases, power plant need determination proceedings, ten-year site plans, conservation goals proceedings, renewable energy initiatives.

Mark served the Governor’s Energy Office from 1986-1990.

Mark holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration-Finance, and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration.

10

Enterprise Florida

Tim Vanderhoof, Senior Vice President of Business Development

11

Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation

Ed Garcia, Field Office Manager – South Florida

Bio
Ed Garcia, Field Office Manager – South Florida Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation

I have worked with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division of Regulation for 24 years. I am presently South Florida Field Manager overseeing investigations and inspections of 5 field offices in Southern Florida from Indian River County to Monroe County. Our Division licenses and regulates numerous professions and one of duties of the field offices is to conduct investigations/inspections for violations of Florida Statues and/or Rules.

12

CareerSource Florida

Michelle Dennard, President / CEO

 

Water Management Districts

13

South Florida WMD

Melissa M. Roberts, Regulatory Service Center Administrator

14

Southwest Florida WMD

Brian Starford, Operations, Lands and Resource Monitoring Division Director

Bio
Brian Starford, Operations, Lands and Resource Monitoring Division Director Southwest Florida WMD

Brian Starford, P.G., is the Director of the Operations, Lands and Resource Monitoring Division at the Southwest Florida Water Management District. The Division includes the Operations Bureau and the Data Collection Bureau. The Operations Bureau is responsible for structure operations, field operations, vegetation management, land resources and land management. The Data Collection Bureau is responsible for hydrologic data, geohydrologic data, mapping & geographic information systems, and water quality monitoring.

 

Metropolitan Planning Organizations

15

Collier MPO

Anne McLaughlin, Executive Director

16

Lee County MPO

Donald Scott, Executive Director

17

Charlotte County-Punta Gorda MPO

The Hon. Chris Constance, Chair
Commissioner, Charlotte County Board of County Commissioners

Bio
The Hon. Chris Constance, Chair
Commissioner, Charlotte County Board of County Commissioners
Charlotte County-Punta Gorda MPO

Christopher Constance was born in New York, educated at The Johns Hopkins University, institutions in New York and the Pennsylvania State University.

Dr. Constance is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in private practice in Charlotte County since 1994, and was elected the President of the Florida Society of Plastic Surgeons in 2017.

He was elected Charlotte County Commissioner in 2010, 2014 & 2018, and he was elected Chairman of the Board in 2011 and 2012, also serving as Vice-Chairman in 2014 and 2015.

As Commissioner, Dr. Constance has served on over 20 Boards & Committees. He currently serves as chairman of the Metropolitan Planning Organization and has done so for over 5 years. He is also the current Vice-Chairman of the Gulf Consortium, served as the President of the Florida Association of Counties, and currently sits on the FAC Board of Directors.

18

Heartland Regional TPO

The Hon. Colon Lambert, Board Member
Commissioner, Hardee County Board of County Commissioners

19

Polk TPO

The Hon. Nat Birdsong, Chair
Mayor Pro-Tem, City of Winter Haven

Bio
The Hon. Nat Birdsong, Chair
Mayor Pro-Tem, City of Winter Haven
Polk TPO

Nathaniel J. Birdsong, Jr., Winter Haven native, holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics from Florida A&M University and a Master of Business Administration Degree from Nova Southeastern University. His extensive work history includes teaching mathematics in Lee and Hillsborough Counties; in Executive Management at the Coca Cola Company for 27 years, and Executive Director of the Florence Villa Community Development Corporation since 1999. A Winter Haven City Commissioner since 2002, he has served as Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem, and current liaison to 9 boards and committees. He is also a member of various associations and community organizations.

 

Regional Planning Councils

20

Southwest Florida RPC

The Hon. Bill McDaniel, Board Member
Chair, Collier County Board of County Commissioners

21

Central Florida RPC

Patricia Steed, Executive Director

 

Community Individual or Member of a Nonprofit Organization

22

Florida Chamber of Commerce

Katie Worthington Decker, President / CEO, Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce

23

Florida Trucking Association

Keith Walpole, CEO, Walpole, Inc.

Bio
Keith Walpole, CEO, Walpole, Inc. Florida Trucking Association

Walpole, Inc. was established in 1952 by E.E. Walpole, II and 67 years later it is in its fourth generation of family management with Keith as its President Keith is a past chair and current board member of the Economic Council of Okeechobee. He is a past chair of the Florida Trucking Association and currently serves as a member of the board. He is also an active member of the Florida Feed Association and the Associated Industries of Florida.

24

Florida Rural Water Association

Gerald Buhr, Attorney

25

Florida Internet & Television Association

Bill Ferry, Senior Director of External Affairs – Florida Region, Comcast

Bio
Bill Ferry, Senior Director of External Affairs – Florida Region, Comcast Florida Internet & Television Association

Bill Ferry is the senior director of external affairs for Comcast’s Florida Region. Based in Jacksonville, Ferry handles many of the company’s right-of-way, easement, pole attachment, undergrounding, and permitting issues. He has been with Comcast for 16 years and prior to joining Comcast, he was at Spectrum for three years in a similar capacity. Ferry also worked for consulting firms Booz Allen Hamilton and Science Applications International Corporation in environmental remediation projects for the U.S. Army. He was a trial attorney in Chicago practicing business litigation. Ferry earned his J.D. from Indiana University School of Law, a Master of Science from Northwestern University, and a Bachelor of Science from Ball State University.

26

Volunteer Florida

Rechell Johnson, Financial Analyst

Bio
Rechell Johnson, Financial Analyst Volunteer Florida

Rechell Johnson joined the Volunteer Florida Team as a Financial Analyst in July of 2018. In this role, Rechell reviews and examines budgets and expenditures for local, state, federal, and private funding. Rechell is a graduate of Florida State University with a Bachelor in Finance. Before joining Volunteer Florida, Rechell worked as a Corporate Payroll Specialist and Payroll Administrator for 4+ years. When she’s not crunching numbers, she spends her time cooking, traveling or flipping a tire in CrossFit.

27

Florida Economic Development Council

Sherry Ambrose, Manager of Economic Development, Florida Power & Light Company

Bio
Sherry Ambrose, Manager of Economic Development, Florida Power & Light Company Florida Economic Development Council

Sherry joined FPL in July 2018 and oversees competitive economic development projects and lead generation efforts. Sherry brings over a decade of economic development experience in Florida, Texas, and Washington—at the local, regional and state levels. She’s held marketing and business development leadership roles for Enterprise Florida and the Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce. Sherry was recently named among Consultant Connect’s 2018 Top 50 Economic Developers in North America. She is also a director of the statewide board of directors for Prospera.

Sherry holds a bachelor of arts in economics from Rollins College and an M.P.A. from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University. A South Florida native, Sherry now resides in Tequesta with her husband and two children.

28

Florida Farm Bureau Federation

Gary Ritter, Assistant Director of Government & Community Affairs

29

Florida SouthWestern State College

Dr. Jeff Allbritten, President

Bio
Dr. Jeff Allbritten, President Florida SouthWestern State College

With over 30 years in higher education, Dr. Allbritten has served in leadership roles at Middle Tennessee State University, Florida State College at Jacksonville, and Broward College in Fort Lauderdale. Prior to becoming FSW’s fourth president, he was president of Middle Georgia State University.

Since becoming FSW’s president in 2012, he has worked with college administrators on initiatives that have reestablished FSW’s athletics program; secured a $5-million-dollar gift from Suncoast Credit Union for the Suncoast Credit Union Arena; expanded FSW’s international education programs by establishing university partnerships worldwide; and enhanced research opportunities for FSW faculty and students.

30

South Florida State College

Glenn Little, Vice President for Administrative Services

Bio
Glenn Little, Vice President for Administrative Services South Florida State College

Mr. Glenn W. Little has been continuously employed by South Florida State College since January, 1986, including service as the Vice President for Administrative Services since August, 1998. He serves as the college’s chief financial officer and oversees all business areas, including facilities planning and construction, throughout the college’s district of DeSoto, Hardee, and Highlands counties. Additionally, Mr. Little has served as an active member of the Transportation Element Advisory Committee for the Highlands County Comprehensive Plan. He currently resides in Sebring with Leah, his wife of 43 years.

31

Polk State College

Dr. Angela M. Garcia Falconetti, President

Bio
Dr. Angela M. Garcia Falconetti, President Polk State College

Dr. Angela M. Garcia Falconetti was named Polk State College’s fifth president in May 2017.

She is an active member of numerous national and statewide councils and serves 11 boards in Central Florida.

Dr. Falconetti holds a bachelor’s degree with specializations in Communications and Education Cognate from New York University, and master’s and doctorate degrees in Educational Leadership from University of North Florida. She also completed an endowed post-doctoral fellowship in Community College Leadership with the University of Texas at Austin.

She served as Special Assistant to the first Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Colleges in D.C.

32

Maxwell, Hendry & Simmons, LLC

Matt Caldwell, Associate

 

Environmental Groups

33

1000 Friends of Florida

Andrew Dickman, Board of Directors

34

Audubon Florida

Dr. Paul Gray, Okeechobee Science Coordinator

Bio
Dr. Paul Gray, Okeechobee Science Coordinator Audubon Florida

Dr. Paul Gray is a Science Coordinator for Audubon Florida’s Everglades Restoration Program. His office is in Highlands County and he has been working in central Florida for 32 years, with the last 24 for Audubon. He focuses primarily on Northern Everglades issues including water quality (BMAPs), urban and agricultural Best Management Practices, permitting, CERP and Kissimmee River restoration projects, all within the context of watershed management. Paul’s educational background includes a BS from the University of Missouri, an MS from Texas Tech University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Florida.

35

Defenders of Wildlife

Elizabeth Fleming, Senior Florida Representative

Bio
Elizabeth Fleming, Senior Florida Representative Defenders of Wildlife

Elizabeth Fleming is Defenders of Wildlife’s Senior Representative based in St. Petersburg. She develops conservation objectives and strategies and works with partners to protect and restore Florida’s imperiled wildlife, their habitat and a state ecological network. Elizabeth works to conserve core and connective habitat for wide-ranging species and advocates for incorporating wildlife conservation into transportation and land-use planning. She serves on the Florida Panther Recovery Team and its transportation sub-team, Florida Panther Outreach Team, Florida Black Bear Technical Advisory Group and other work groups. She also coordinates programs that foster acceptance for sharing the landscape with panthers and other wildlife.

36

The Everglades Foundation

Shannon Estenoz, Chief Operating Officer

Bio
Shannon Estenoz, Chief Operating Officer The Everglades Foundation

Shannon is the Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of Policy for The Everglades Foundation. Previously, Shannon served as the US Department of the Interior’s Director of Everglades Restoration and the Executive Director of the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force. Her previous professional roles include Executive Director of the Environmental and Land Use Law Center, Everglades Program Director of the World Wildlife Fund, Sun Coast Regional Director of the National Parks Conservation Association and three terms as the National Co-Chair of the Everglades Coalition. Shannon’s public service includes appointments to Governor Lawton Chiles’ Commission for a Sustainable South Florida, Governor Jeb Bush’s Commission for the Everglades, the Governing Board of the South Florida Water Management District, the Water Resources Advisory Commission and the Broward Water Resources Task Force.

Shannon is a fifth generation native of Key West, Florida. She holds degrees in International Affairs and Civil Engineering from Florida State University.

37

Florida Wildlife Corridor

Jason Lauritsen, Executive Director

38

The Nature Conservancy

Wendy Mathews, Conservation Projects Manager

Bio
Wendy Mathews, Conservation Projects Manager The Nature Conservancy

Wendy Mathews joined the Florida Chapter of The Nature Conservancy in 1992 and is currently the Conservation Projects Manager in the Land Protection Department. She has spent her career with TNC as a biologist/ecologist in the Land Protection Department working to protect the best of Florida’s natural and agricultural landscapes. Through the preparation and submission of proposals to various organizations and agencies, such as the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Forever program and United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, she has helped protect many hundreds of thousands of acres statewide. Wendy negotiates complicated real estate transactions on behalf of our state and federal partners and for the Conservancy. In 2001, Wendy began managing the Florida Chapter’s conservation easement program, including the preparation and negotiation of conservation easements and the management and monitoring the Chapter’s 48 conservation easements, which totals approximately 38,000-acres. Wendy’s hobbies include off-shore fishing with her husband, birdwatching, volunteering at a wildlife animal sanctuary, gardening and jogging with Fisher, her faithful Labrador retriever.

 

Local Governments Officials

39

Local governments in Collier County

Thaddeus Cohen, Collier County Growth Management Department Head

40

Local governments in Lee County

The Hon. Cecil Pendergrass, Commissioner, Lee County Board of County Commissioners

Bio
The Hon. Cecil Pendergrass, Commissioner, Lee County Board of County Commissioners Local governments in Lee County

Commissioner Cecil Pendergrass, a lifelong resident of Lee County, has always been an advocate for our community. Cecil faithfully served the people of Lee County as a Fort Myers Police Officer for 25 years. Following retirement from law enforcement, Cecil worked as Vice President of Private Asset Management Group, LLC. In November 2012, Cecil ran for public office and was elected to the Lee Board of County Commissioners – District 2. In a vote of confidence from his colleagues, he was unanimously sworn in as Chairman of the Board at his first meeting. In 2014, he was awarded The News-Press’ 2013 Public Official of the Year and received the Advanced Certified County Commissioner (ACCC) designation through the Florida Associations of Counties (FAC). In November 2014, Cecil was reelected to serve another four years. In his role as county commissioner, he serves on multiple boards and advisories-Lee County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), Horizon Council and Transportation Expressway Authority Management of Florida (TEAMFL), to name a few. On November 6, 2018, with overwhelming support from the voters, he was reelected to serve another four years.

41

Local governments in Charlotte County

The Hon. Ken Doherty, Chair, Charlotte County Board of County Commissioners

Bio
The Hon. Ken Doherty, Chair, Charlotte County Board of County Commissioners Local governments in Charlotte County

Ken Doherty was raised in the suburbs of Boston, and received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of New Hampshire in 1972. He moved to Charlotte County in April, 1973.

Now retired, his professional engineering resume includes serving in the public sector as a previous Assistant County Administrator and County Engineer for Charlotte County. Ken was also a local business owner providing professional engineering services across the United States in the professional and collegiate sports industry. Ken was a licenced professional engineer in 33 states and the District of Columbia.

42

Local governments in Hendry County

The Hon. Mitchell Wills, Chair, Hendry County Board of County Commissioners

43

Local governments in Glades County

The Hon. Weston Pryor, Commissioner, Glades County Board of County Commissioners

44

Local governments in DeSoto County

The Hon. Elton Langford, Commissioner, DeSoto County Board of County Commissioners

45

Local governments in Hardee County

The Hon. Mike Thompson, Chair, Hardee County Board of County Commissioners

Bio
The Hon. Mike Thompson, Chair, Hardee County Board of County Commissioners Local governments in Hardee County

Hardee County Commissioner since 2012. Currently serving as Chairman. Currently Chairman of Central Florida Regional Planning Council and Chairman of the Executive Board of CareerSource Heartland. Five years on the Hardee County Planning and Zoning Board prior to being elected. Graduate of Hardee High School and South Florida State College. Married for 29 years with 2 children.

46

Local governments in Highlands County

The Hon. Ron Handley, Commissioner, Highlands County Board of County Commissioners

47

Local governments in Polk County

The Hon. Rick Wilson, Commissioner, Polk County Board of County Commissioners

Bio
The Hon. Rick Wilson, Commissioner, Polk County Board of County Commissioners Local governments in Polk County

Commissioner Rick Wilson is a Polk County native and second-generation business owner and rancher who was elected to the Board in 2018 with a focus on Polk’s future.

While in office, Wilson wants to make the county’s public transportation network stronger, create meaningful job opportunities for residents and preserve the county’s natural resources.

Wilson attended school in Polk County before pursuing a racing career that included 13 years as a NASCAR driver. Following his retirement from racing, Wilson returned to work on his family’s ranch and in the heavy equipment business his family began in the 1940s.

Upcoming Meetings

The Southwest-Central Florida Connector Task Force will hold a public meeting in each local government jurisdiction in which a project is being considered.

The first meeting will take place August 27, 2019, at the Tampa Convention Center. Sign up here to receive updates about this and future task force meetings.

Meeting Agendas & Minutes

M-CORES Task Force Meeting Agenda #1 August 27, 2019 PDF Download

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