The Phoenix Flyer

DeSantis appoints transition advisors for environment, agriculture

By: - December 4, 2018 9:01 am
Florida wetlands

Florida wetlands. J Hauserman photo

Governor-elect Ron DeSantis has picked 40 unpaid advisors to help shape his administration’s appointments and policies when it comes to natural resources, agriculture, and the environment.  The group will be chaired by Republican U.S. Rep. Brian Mast from Southeast Florida.

The list includes representatives from the agricultural, development, fertilizer, and utility industries, as well as former legislators and state environmental regulators, including current Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah Valenstein, former DEP Secretary Mike Sole ( now a utility executive,) and former Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission head Nick Wiley (now with the hunting group Ducks Unlimited).

It also includes three representatives from environmental groups – The Nature Conservancy, Rails to Trails, and the Everglades Foundation. The Everglades Foundation broke with other environmental groups during the campaign for governor by endorsing DeSantis over Democratic challenger Andrew Gillum. DeSantis has spoken out against price supports for Florida sugar growers.

Here’s the list of members of the advisory group that DeSantis’s transition office sent out:

BOB BAILEY; President of Facilities & Urban Environments Market, CH2M HILL Companies, Ltd.

ERNIE BARNETT; Executive Director, Florida Land Council and Principal, Water and Land Advisors, Inc.

MIKE BEALE; Senior Vice President & Regional Manager of Orlando Operations, Highwoods Properties Inc.

RON BERGERON; Founder & CEO, Bergeron Family of Companies

KEN BRYAN; State Director, Florida Field Office, Rails to Trails Conservancy



TRACY DUDA CHAPMAN; Senior Vice President, Chief Legal and Administrative Officer, General Counsel, A. Duda & Sons

ERNIE COX; President, Family Lands Remembered, LLC and Director, Florida Earth Foundation

The Honorable STEVE CRISAFULLI; Former Speaker, Florida House of Representatives

RON EDWARDS; President & CEO, Evans Properties, Inc.

ERIK EIKENBERG; CEO, Everglades Foundation


ROGER GERMANN; President & CEO, Florida Aquarium

MARYAM GHYABI-WHITE; Vice President of Florida Operations, Alfred Benesch & Co.

MATT GRIFFIN; East Coast Sales & Product Development, United Genetics Seeds Co.

ALEX JOHNS; President, Florida Cattleman’s Association and Natural Resources Director, Seminole Tribe

MATT JORDAN; General Manager, Tampa Bay Water

JOSH KELLAM; Commissioner, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and President of the Florida Division, ESG Enterprises

STEVE KELLY; Manager, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company

MICHAEL KENNEDY; President, Ranger Construction Industries, Inc. and Director, Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County

CURT KISER; Commissioner, Public Employee Relations Commission

GASTON MARQUEVICH; Founder & CEO, Optimum Agriculture

JOHN MIKLOS; President, Bio-Tech Consulting, Inc.

TEMPERINCE MORGAN; Executive Director, The Nature Conservancy

The Honorable JOE NEGRON; Former President, Florida Senate

DAN O’KEEFE; Partner, Shutts & Bowen, LLP and Board Member, East Central Florida Regional Planning Council

MAURICE PEARSON; Vice President, Senior Scientist, MSE Group

The Honorable JAKE RABURN; Former Representative, Florida House of Representatives

DAN RICHEY; President & CEO, Riverfront Packing Company

BO RIVARD; Commissioner, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Partner, Harrison, Rivard, Duncan & Buzzett

SCOTT SHEPHERD; Vice President & Chief Commercial Officer, Guest Services, Inc.

MICHAEL SOLE; Vice President, Environmental Services, NextEra Energy

JIM SPRATT; Owner, Magnolia Strategies LLC

EILEEN STUART; Shareholder, Hopping Green & Sams

JIM SWANN; Vice Chair, Eckerd Connects

BEN TAUBE; Managing Director, Policy and Legislative Affairs, Ygrene Energy Fund

NOAH VALENSTEIN; Secretary, Florida Department of Environmental Protection

NICK WILEY; Chief Conservation Officer, Ducks Unlimited, Inc

KEITH WOLD; Attorney, Private Investor


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Julie Hauserman
Julie Hauserman

Julie Hauserman has been writing about Florida for more than 30 years. She is a former Capitol bureau reporter for the St. Petersburg (Tampa Bay) Times, and reported for The Stuart News and the Tallahassee Democrat. She was a national commentator for National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition Sunday and The Splendid Table . She has won many awards, including two nominations for the Pulitzer Prize. Her work is featured in several Florida anthologies, including The Wild Heart of Florida , The Book of the Everglades , and Between Two Rivers . Her new book is Drawn to The Deep, a University Press of Florida biography of Florida cave diver and National Geographic explorer Wes Skiles.