Suncoast Connector Task Force

About

The mission of the Suncoast Connector Task Force is to evaluate the Suncoast Connector corridor, which extends from Citrus County to Jefferson 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 study how project design and land acquisition can mitigate the impact of construction on the water quality and quantity of springs, rivers and aquifer recharge areas; agricultural land uses; and wildlife habitat.

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

Greg Evans, District Two Secretary

Bio
Greg Evans, District Two Secretary Florida Department of Transportation

Greg has represented the agency in Northeast Florida since February of 2012. Greg is responsible for the day-to-day administrative, planning, production and operations activities for 18 counties, covering nearly 12,000 square miles from the Florida-Georgia border, south to Putnam, Levy and Alachua counties and from the Gulf to the Atlantic Ocean.

His territory includes the challenging but beautiful area known as Paynes Prairie and Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park. Hurricane Irma created an evacuation challenge for the area due to flooding over Payne’s Prairie and US 441. Greg successfully managed our state’s first use of Limited Emergency Shoulder Use in evacuations during Hurricane Irma. Greg’s district is home to FDOT’s FDOTree program, to promote communication and community involvement of our landscaping program in the area.

Greg has more than 25 years of experience in the management and operations of public infrastructure.

2

Florida Department of Transportation

Jason Peters, District Three Director of Operations

Bio
Jason Peters, District Three Director of Operations Florida Department of Transportation

Jason Peters is a Professional Engineer with 31 years of service with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). Jason earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Auburn University and began his career with the Department in the P.E. Training Program. Over the years, he has served approximately 17 years in the office of Roadway Design which includes 8 years as the Consultant Project Manager. In 2007, Mr. Peters was appointed as the District Intermodal Systems Development Manager until September 2011 when he was appointed as the Director of Transportation Development. In April 2016, he became the Director of Transportation Operations.

3

Florida Department of Environmental Protection

Chris Stahl, State Clearinghouse Coordinator

Bio
Chris Stahl, State Clearinghouse Coordinator Florida Department of Environmental Protection

Chris has worked for the Department of Environmental Protection since 2004. He is currently the State Clearinghouse Coordinator and DEP’s ETDM ETAT member. Past duties within the Department have included evaluating proposed land use changes, compliance & enforcement and environmental resource permitting. He has served on several FTP/SIS Steering Committees, as well as various past corridor planning efforts. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Mississippi State and a Master’s Degree from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

4

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity

Brian McManus, Chief of Staff

Bio
Brian McManus, Chief of Staff Florida Department of Economic Opportunity

Brian McManus is the Chief of Staff for the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO). Brian has extensive experience in state government, with a robust background in strategic problem solving, legislative affairs and policy making. Prior to DEO, he served in multiple positions in the Florida Senate, as the Deputy Legislative Director for the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice and as the Legislative Director for the Florida Department of Community Affairs. Brian received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science from Florida State University.

5

Florida Department of Education

Madeline Davidson, Blind Services District Administrator, Division of Blind Services

Bio
Madeline Davidson, Blind Services District Administrator, Division of Blind Services Florida Department of Education

My name is Madeline Davidson. I have worked with the Division of Blind Services for 34 years and in the field of disabilities for 45 years. I am the District Administrator for the DBS Jacksonville and Gainesville offices covering thirteen counties. The counties covered are Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Clay Columbia, Dixie, Duval, Gilchrist, Levy, Marion, Nassau, St. Johns and Union. DBS serves Florida citizens who are blind and visually impaired to ensure they have the tools, support, and opportunity to achieve success.

I have a Masters’ of Science Degree in Visual Disabilities from Florida State University and a Bachelors’ Degree in Special Education from the University of Florida. I am a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor. My ties to Florida begin with the fact that I am a fifth generation Floridian and I care deeply about the future of this incredible state. I look forward to the future for all Florida citizens to prosper through the work of this task force.

6

Florida Department of Health

Paul D. Myers, Administrator, Alachua County

Bio
Paul D. Myers, Administrator, Alachua County Florida Department of Health

Paul Myers relies on over 30 years of public health experience in his role as Administrator for the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County. He started at DOH-Alachua in 1988 as an Environmental Health Inspector, was promoted to Environmental Supervisor in 1994, and then became the Environmental Health and Epidemiology Director in 2000. In 2008, he became the Assistant Director for DOH-Alachua until he became its Administrator in 2012. Paul also served as Interim Administrator for DOH-Gadsden in 2011, restoring stability and providing a framework for its continued improvement.

In 2014 and into 2015, Paul served as Interim Deputy Secretary for County Health Systems providing leadership and guidance to the DOH’s 67 County Health Departments (CHDs) throughout the state. In 2016, he was permanently appointed to this role and served in that expanded capacity until January of 2019.

Having returned fully to his role as Administrator for DOH-Alachua, Paul continues to ensure the effective provision of Public Health Clinical Care, Environmental Health, Communicable Disease, and Emergency Response services to residents and visitors in Alachua County. As the leader of a “hub” county, Paul leads the largest operational consortium in the DOH system providing North Central Florida CHD’s with Information Technology, Human Resource, Fiscal. Legal, Environmental Health and Communicable Disease services.

Paul has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences and a Master’s of Science degree in Environmental Engineering, both from the University of Florida.

7

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Chris Wynn, North Central Regional Director

Bio
Chris Wynn, North Central Regional Director Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Chris Wynn is the North Central Regional Director with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). He started with FWC in 2002 as a black bear biologist partnering with the Department of Transportation to reduce wildlife-vehicle mortality.

He then served eight years as a wildlife biologist in FWC’s Office of Conservation Planning Services, providing wildlife-related habitat technical assistance and landscape planning to landowners.

Chris earned a Wildlife Biology degree in 2001 from Grand Valley State University, a Master of Business Administration in 2017 from the University of Florida and is a 2012 fellow of the National Conservation Leadership Institute.

8

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Pegeen Hanrahan, Former Mayor, City of Gainesville

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

Chris Lee, Field Office Manager – North Florida

Bio
Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation Chris Lee, Field Office Manager – North Florida

I have worked with the DBPR for 27 years, with the past 18 years being with the Division of Regulation and oversee the investigations / inspections of (4) field offices in North Florida; from Pensacola to Jacksonville. Our Division licenses and regulates contractors (amongst many other disciplines) and most of our work centers around the regulation of those contractors. An additional designated duty of mine is to oversee and liaison with the Department of Emergency Management after significant storms / hurricanes. After the storms; investigators in our division, along with FEMA and County personnel provide Physical Damage Assessments of property to DEM and FEMA in an effort to help those Departments have the necessary information to determine whether a disaster will be declared by FEMA. I coordinate and help provide training to our (10) field offices for this process. As you know, Florida has been hit with many hurricanes / storms since the early 90s and I have been involved with the rebuild of many communities throughout Florida.

12

CareerSource Florida

Michelle Dennard, President / CEO

 

Water Management Districts

13

Northwest Florida WMD

Brett Cyphers, Executive Director

14

Suwannee River WMD

Steve Minnis, Deputy Executive Director

Bio
Steve Minnis, Deputy Executive Director Suwannee River WMD

Steve is employed by the Suwannee River Water Management District (District) as the Deputy Executive Director for the Business and Community Services Division. The Business and Community Services Division is responsible for the performance of the Resource Management (Regulatory) Division and the offices of Finance, Information and Technology, Legislative and Governmental Affairs, and Agricultural and Environmental Projects. Steve has a Bachelor’s degree graduated from the University of Akron with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a Master’s Degree in Urban Studies.

15

Southwest Florida WMD

Michelle Hopkins, Regulation Division Director

Bio
Southwest Florida WMD Michelle Hopkins, Regulation Division Director

Michelle Hopkins is a water resources engineer with more than 30 years of experience in both the private and public sector. As director of the Southwest Florida Water Management District Regulation Division, Hopkins oversees the District’s permitting and compliance sections that support the Environmental Resource Permit, Water Use Permit and Well Construction Permit programs. Hopkins began her career with the District in 1990 as a review engineer, and from there, she served the District’s Regulation Division as a staff engineer, professional engineer and surface water manager. Hopkins worked in the private sector from 2006 until rejoining the District in January 2012 to serve as the Environmental Resource Permit Bureau Chief in the Regulation Division, and was appointed Director of the Regulation Division in July 2019. Hopkins is a Florida licensed professional engineer with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of South Florida.

 

Metropolitan Planning Organizations

16

Hernando/Citrus MPO

The Hon. Jeff Kinnard, Chair
Chair, Citrus County Board of County Commissioners

17

Capital Region TPA

The Hon. Kristin Dozier, Board Member
Commissioner, Leon County Board of County Commissioners

 

Regional Planning Councils

18

Tampa Bay RPC

The Hon. Ronald E. Kitchen, Jr., Chair
Commissioner, Citrus County Board of County Commissioners

19

Apalachee RPC

Chris Rietow, Executive Director

20

North Central Florida RPC

Scott Koons, Executive Director

 

Community Individual or Member of a Nonprofit Organization

21

Florida Chamber of Commerce

Tony Carvajal, Executive Vice President, Florida Chamber Foundation

22

Florida Trucking Association

Ken Armstrong, President / CEO

Bio
Ken Armstrong, President / CEO Florida Trucking Association

As President and CEO of the Florida Trucking Association (FTA), Dr. Kenneth Armstrong helps the organization elevate the image and issues of the state’s trucking industry in political, regulatory and business arenas. Dr. Armstrong is a veteran of the nonprofit sector, and FTA is the fourth institution where he has served as chief executive officer. Much of his career has been in resource development; organizations under his leadership have raised a quarter billion dollars.

During his 5+ years at FTA, membership has increased by 88%, sponsorships and contributions by 260%, dues revenue by 79%, and attendance at their annual conference by 96%.

In past roles, he worked with such national figures as Bill Gates, Carol Burnett, Jeb Bush, Jimmy Buffett and Roger Staubach on major gift and community development. He brings these skills to the FTA to enhance its business contacts and community involvement.

Ken most recently led the United Way of the Big Bend for 16 years. He has served on almost 20 community boards and coalitions, and continues to have deep roots in the community and a great passion for the organizations that improve lives locally.

23

Florida Rural Water Association

Randy Wilkerson, Public Works Director, City of Chiefland

24

Florida Internet & Television Association

Chris Bailey, State Government Affairs Director, Charter Communications

Bio
Chris Bailey, State Government Affairs Director, Charter Communications Florida Internet & Television Association

Chris Bailey serves as the Director of State Government Affairs for Charter Communications in Florida’s central-west region. Charter, branded as Spectrum, is America’s fastest growing TV, internet and voice company. The organization is committed to integrating the highest quality service with superior entertainment and communications products. Charter is at the intersection of technology and entertainment, facilitating essential communications that connect more than 28 million residential and business customers in 41 states. The bedrock of Charter’s business strategy is their commitment to serving customers and exceeding their expectations. This philosophy guides its 98,000 employees.

25

Volunteer Florida

Audrey Kidwell, Volunteer Generation Fund Program Manager

Bio
Audrey Kidwell, Volunteer Generation Fund Program Manager Volunteer Florida

Audrey Kidwell, Volunteer Florida, is the program manager for the Volunteer Generation Fund, a program increases the capacity of organizations to recruit, manage, support and retain skills-based volunteers. She has served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Burkina Faso, West Africa, and an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer at the Butler Center for Volunteer Service and Leadership. Audrey has 10+ years working with recruiting and managing volunteers. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Studies from the University of Southern Indiana and her Master’s in Community & Social Change at the University of Miami.

26

Florida Economic Development Council

Susan Ramsey, CEO, Integrity Professional Services

27

Florida Farm Bureau Federation

Charles Shinn, Director of Government & Community Affairs

Bio
Charles Shinn, Director of Government & Community Affairs Florida Farm Bureau Federation

Charles Shinn is the Director of Government and Community Affairs for Florida Farm Bureau Federation. In his position, Charles represents the Farm Bureau and agricultural community on water, natural resources, and growth management issues. Charles also works with state and federal agencies including the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Additionally, he serves as a representative for the agriculture industry on local government issues throughout Florida.

Charles received his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and Master of Agriculture degrees from the University of Florida.

28

Florida Gateway College

Dr. Lawrence Barrett, President

Bio
Dr. Lawrence Barrett, President Florida Gateway College

Dr. Lawrence Barrett is the President of Florida Gateway College (FGC) one of the 28 State Colleges of Florida that serves the following counties, Baker, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrest and Union Counties. FGC has two satellite centers located in both Dixies and Gilchrest Counties.

29

North Florida Community College

John Grosskopf, President

 

Environmental Groups

30

1000 Friends of Florida

Thomas Hawkins, Former Policy & Planning Director

31

Audubon Florida

Charles Lee, Director of Advocacy

32

Defenders of Wildlife

Kent Wimmer, Senior Northwest Florida Representative

Bio
Kent Wimmer, Senior Northwest Florida Representative Defenders of Wildlife

Kent Wimmer is Defenders of Wildlife’s Senior Representative based in Northwest Florida. He helps lead Defenders’ efforts for planning and advocating for conservation of wildlife habitats and landscapes through land conservation planning, transportation planning and growth management. He built and maintains a public web map application highlighting the natural and cultural resources within the three M-CORES planning areas. Kent is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and earned an M.S. in Environmental Planning from Florida State University and a B.S. in Natural Resources from Ball State University.

33

The Nature Conservancy

Janet Bowman, Senior Policy Advisor

Bio
Janet Bowman, Senior Policy Advisor The Nature Conservancy

Janet Bowman is Senior Policy Advisor for the Florida Chapter of the Nature Conservancy where she focuses on state governmental affairs, Gulf of Mexico restoration and climate policy. She has also served as Legal Director of 1000 Friends of Florida, attorney for the Senate Community Affairs Committee and the Legislative Committee on Intergovernmental Relations, and Senior Attorney for the Department of Environmental Protection.

She is a past Chair of the Environmental and Land Use Law Section of the Florida Bar and a frequent speaker on conservation policy topics. In 2018, she served as an adjunct professor at Florida State College of Law teaching environmental law. She received her J.D. from the Florida State University College of Law, and her B.A. from New College of Florida.

 

Local Government Officials

34

Local governments in Citrus County

The Hon. Scott Carnahan, 2nd Vice Chairman, Citrus County Board of County Commissioners

35

Local governments in Levy County

The Hon. Matt Brooks, Commissioner, Levy County Board of County Commissioners

36

Local governments in Dixie County

The Hon. Mark Hatch, Chair, Dixie County Board of County Commissioners

37

Local governments in Taylor County

The Hon. Pam Feagle, Chair, Taylor County Board of County Commissioners

Bio
The Hon. Pam Feagle, Chair, Taylor County Board of County Commissioners Local governments in Taylor County

I am a Taylor County Fl County Commissioner, elected in 2010, reelected in 2014 and 2018, I have been the chair of our board 4 years, 3 of which have been in succession the past 3 years. I previously served on the Perry Fl City Council, serving 1 year as mayor. I have initiated many projects including the construction of a Veterans Memorial Park, renovation of a large community center and construction of another new community center. I am currently spearheading the renovation of Taylor County’s only beachfront park. I am retired from 28 years in the health field. I look forward to serving on the M-Cores Suncoast Task Force.

38

Local governments in Jefferson County

The Hon. Betsy Barfield, Chair, Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners

Bio
The Hon. Betsy Barfield, Chair, Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners Local governments in Jefferson County

Betsy Barfield – Jefferson County – only county in the State of Florida with no traffic signal – population 15/K.

County Commissioner since 2010. Serves on the local MPO for Jefferson, Gadsden, Leon, Wakulla & City of Tallahassee, and their associated municipalities. Also serves on Jefferson’s Community Traffic Safety Team, guiding all things transportation.

Professional photographer by trade.

39

Local governments in Gilchrist County

The Hon. Todd Gray, Chair, Gilchrist County Board of County Commissioners

Bio
The Hon. Todd Gray, Chair, Gilchrist County Board of County Commissioners Local governments in Gilchrist County

Elected in 2012, Commissioner Gray serves the citizens of Gilchrist County, a rural county of 17,000 residents with agriculture, nature-based tourism and solar energy production as the primary economic drivers. Commissioner Gray was also recently appointed Chairman of the North Florida Economic Development Partnership (NFEDP) which encompasses 14 rural / emerging counties in North Central Florida. Commissioner Gray has spent his entire career in the commercial construction industry, and serves as President of Gray Construction Services, based in Trenton, Florida. Commissioner Gray and his wife Cindy are proud parents of eight children, and five grandchildren.

40

Local governments in Lafayette County

The Hon. Anthony Adams, Chair, Lafayette County Board of County Commissioners

Bio
The Hon. Anthony Adams, Chair, Lafayette County Board of County Commissioners Local governments in Lafayette County

Commissioner Adams is serving in his second term as County Commissioner and is the Board Chair. He also serves as a member at large on the board of directors of the Florida Association of Counties as well as the Small County Coalition. Commissioner Adams is a member of the Executive Committee of the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council and also serves on the board of the Florida Foundation Seed Producers Association. Commissioner Adams is employed with Mayo Fertilizer in the position of Senior Vice President and has been with the company for twenty three years.

41

Local governments in Madison County

Brian Kauffman, P.E., County Coordinator, Madison County

Bio
Brian Kauffman, P.E., County Coordinator, Madison County Local governments in Madison County

Brian Kauffman has served as the County Coordinator for Madison County, Florida for a little over three years. As the County Coordinator, Brian is responsible for the administration of all county departments and personnel under the Madison County Board of County Commissioners. Brian has over 30 years of experience in both the public and private sectors working in fields of engineering, land management, and public administration, 20 years of which was with the Suwannee River Water Management District. Brian is a Florida licensed professional engineer with a strong knowledge of public infrastructure, water management, and environmental issues.

Upcoming Meetings

The Suncoast 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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