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ARC Members Highlights

ARC Council Members

Herschel T. Vinyard Jr.

Herschel T. Vinyard Jr., Chairman, Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection, has more than twenty years of experience in environmental law and business management. Prior to his being DEP Secretary, he served as director of business operations at BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards where he was responsible for strategic planning, business development and regulatory and government affairs. During a decade in private practice, Secretary Vinyard counseled clients in state and federal environmental compliance and permitting. He received his undergraduate and law degrees from Louisiana State University.

  • Ms Katy Fenton, Deputy Secretary for Land and Recreation, has been designated by Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard, Jr. to represent the Department of Environmental Protection on ARC and to serve as Chairperson.

William Palmer, President of the Tall Timbers Research Station, an organization dedicated to wildlife research and conservation activity. He has degrees in zoology and wildlife sciences, and has been working to restore grassland habitats on 100,000 acres of public land in Florida. He is the author of many papers on the environment of bobwhite, wild turkeys, and on the effects of prescribed burning for Southern forests.

Nick Wiley

Nick Wiley, Executive Director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). He is responsible for the management of the FWC and serves a seven-member Commission that has rule-making authority. He has over 22 years of professional experience in fish and wildlife management, mostly in Florida. He has served in a leadership capacity in various FWC programs including alligator management, small-game management and conservation lands management. Mr. Wiley has a Bachelor of Science Degree in biology from Georgia Southern University and a Master of Science Degree in Wildlife Science from Auburn University. 

  • Mr. Eric Sutton, Director of the Division of Habitat and Species Conservation, has been designated by Director Wiley to represent the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission on ARC.

Jim Karels

Jim Karels, Director of the Florida Forest Service. This position oversees all wildland fire and land management activities within the Florida Forest Service. He is a 1984 graduate of the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Science degree in Forest Management. Jim has more than 27 years experience in wildfire response and land management with the U.S. Forest Service and the Florida Forest Service.

Robert F. Bendus

Robert F. Bendus, Director of the Division of Historical Resources and Florida's State Historic Preservation Officer. Mr. Bendus has served as an integral member of the Division's management and leadership team for the past several years, as Operations and Business Manager for the Division. Prior to that, he worked in both the Bureau of Historic Preservation and the Bureau of Archaeological Research, in the Florida Master Site File, and in programs responsible for the management of artifact loans, maintenance of archaeological data bases and inventories. Rob has attended Catholic University, Georgetown University, St. Louis University School of Law and is currently pursuing his doctorate in History/Anthropology at Florida State University.

Lynetta Usher Griner

Lynetta Usher Griner, Officer of the Usher Land and Timber Company in Chiefland. She has been an attorney for 28 years, leaving private practice to work for her family timber business. She gained valuable experience in land-management issues as a former member of the Governing Board of the Suwannee River Water Management District. She has also worked with Friends of Fanning Springs, a citizen-support organization for Fanning Springs State Park. Plus, she was also a member of the Florida Forever Advisory Council, which evaluated Florida Forever projects when the program was set up as a replacement for Preservation 2000.

Peter C. Frederick

Peter C. Frederick, Research professor at the University of Florida. His interests include ecosystem restoration, wetlands ecology, ornithology and improving management, conservation and restoration of wetland ecosystems. He has also studied at Swarthmore College, the University of Florida and at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Jack Vogel

Jack Vogel, President, Natural Resource Planning Services, Inc. He started his consulting forestry firm in 1974 and has been working as a forester since receiving a Bachelor of Science in Forestry at the University of Florida in 1969. During his professional career he has served as President of the Florida Forestry Association, Chair of the Pasco County Soil and Water Conservation District, and member of the Withlacoochee River Basin Board of the Southwest Florida Water Management District. He has worked in all aspects of forestry, including timber inventories, appraisals, acquisition, prescribed burning and forest management.

mark middlebrook

Mark Middlebrook, executive director of the St. Johns River Alliance, manages an environmental nonprofit for restoration, research, recreation, resiliency and regional cooperation in the St. Johns River basin. Before joining the Alliance, he was executive director of Preservation Project Jacksonville, former Jacksonville Mayor John Delaney's land acquisition program. He oversaw more than 50,000 acres of conservation land purchases by the city and its partners for the nation's largest urban park system. He was also responsible for the City's 5,000-acre wetland mitigation bank. A graduate of the University of Virginia with degree in urban studies, Middlebrook previously worked as a reporter and editor for The Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville.

Maurice "Mo" Pearson

Maurice "Mo" Pearson, President and Principal-In-Charge of Ecological Services of 3E Consultants, Inc. (3E). His core competencies are in the areas of Section 404 Dredge and Fill Permitting, Environmental Resource Permitting (ERP), Wildlife and Habitat Analysis, Wetland Evaluation Reports (WER), Endangered Species Biological Assessments (ESBA), Environmental Assessment (EA), Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), Agency coordination, and Project Development and Environmental (PD&E) Study documentation. Mr. Pearson's 19 year career has included employment opportunities with the St. Johns River Water Management District and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. A Florida native and resident of Orange County, Florida, he has served on the Urban Design Commission, Environmental Protection Commission, GreenPLACE and Environmental Streamlining Taskforce. 


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