Florida Greenways & Trails Foundation
Florida Greenways & Trails Foundation
FGTF Program: Boundless Playgrounds

FGTF Program: Close the Gap

Florida Greenways & Trails Foundation


The Foundation's Board

Photo of Board Member W. Dale Allen

W. Dale Allen, President

Dale Allen joined the Trust for Public Land (TPL) in 1981, was appointed Southeast Regional Manager in 1986, made a Vice President in 1988, and Senior Vice President in 1999. As regional director, he is responsible for TPL's work in a nine-state area that stretches from the Carolinas south to Florida and west to Louisiana.

Dale has been a member of the Florida Trail Association for more than 20 years, and was responsible for surveying and developing the Florida Trail from the Suwannee River to the Apalachicola River, a distance of 150 miles which included sections through the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge (the only coastal section in north Florida) and along the Aucilla River and Sinks.

Dale is a native Floridian and is a 1970 graduate of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University

Photo of Board Member Linda Myers

Linda Myers, Treasurer

Linda Myers has owned and operated a Dunkin Donut franchise in Palatka for the past 27 years adding a Baskin Robbins franchise to it in 2002. As a CPA, Linda maintains a public accounting practice and does volunteer work for many 'Not for Profits". She has served as an elected County Commissioner for eight years (1998-2006), Chair 2002 and 2006.

She is active in her community and the Northeast Florida Region, having served as chair of the Northeast Florida Regional Council, and a director (1993-2006), chair of the Northeast Florida Workforce Development Council and is a past-president of the Putnam County Chamber of Commerce. At the state level, Linda represented Putnam County at the Florida Association of Counties, Small County Coalition (chairman 2006) and was a trustee of the Florida Association of Counties Trust, President. Served on the FDOT 2020 plan as a representative of Rural Florida.

Linda received her undergraduate and Master of Accounting degrees from the University of Florida and became a CPA in Florida in 1992. Linda is a member of the Florida and Santa Fe Audubon Society. Linda and her husband enjoy our natural environment via bird/butterfly nurturing through gardening and watching and biking on the trials that surround Putnam County.

Photo of the Foundation's Vice President Sally Thompson

Sally Thompson, Board Member

Sally Thompson served on the Florida Greenways Commission, the Florida Greenways Coordinating Council, and was first Chair of the Florida Greenways & Trails Council. She is one of the original members of the Florida Greenways and Trails Foundation. She chairs the Tampa Greenways and Trails Citizens Advisory Committee and serves on the Hillsborough Greenways Committee.

Sally is one of the founding members of the Tampa Bay Conservancy, a nonprofit local land trust. She also has been involved with the Hillsborough County Lands Acquisition and Protection Program (ELAPP) since its inception and serves on both the General Committee and the Selection Team.

Sally has a Bachelor of Arts from Hollins University in Virginia, and a Master of Public Administration from the University of South Florida. She served on the Governing Board of the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) for over 11 years, and is retired from the City of Tampa.

Photo of the Foundation Vice-President Jena Brooks

Jena Brooks, Vice-President

Jena is currently Director of Operations of the real estate auction company, Tranzon Driggers, in Ocala. Previously, she lived in Tallahassee and served for 19 years for the State of Florida in various capacities. She was Director of the Office of Greenways & Trails in the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for 10 years and prior to that served as Chief Cabinet Aide to the Florida Commissioner of Education, as well as working in the Department of Insurance, the Department of State, and the Florida Senate.

She has served as a member of various statewide planning boards and worked on numerous projects over the years involving land management issues, land conservation and acquisition, trail planning and advocacy, multi-agency partnerships, and statewide planning efforts for regional trail development.

Prior to her years with the State of Florida, Jena was a high school English and creative writing teacher. Volunteer activities include Cops for Kids, the Marion County Literacy Council, Cross Florida Greenway, and Ocala Mountain Biking Association.

Jena is a graduate of Florida State University with a concentration in English and communications. Jena has been a member of the Florida Greenways and Trails Foundation since November 2011.

Photo of the Foundation Secretary Mark T. Llewellyn, P.E.

Mark T. Llewellyn, P.E., Secretary

As a Professional Engineer, Mark Llewellyn has had the opportunity to lead the planning and design of multiple Greenway, Trail, and Park projects across Florida. The most notable greenway and trail projects include the Withlacoochee Bay Trail, Four Freedoms Trail, O'Leno to Ichetucknee Trail, Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail, Gopher Frog and Alligator Trail, and Capital Cascade Trail.

Mark is a Brigham Young University graduate with over 30 years of Civil Engineering experience. He enjoys both on and off-road cycling, and is an avid backpacker. Service to his community has included being actively involved in the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Development Council of Tallahassee and Boy Scouts of America. His professional affiliations include the Florida Engineering Society, Institute of Transportation Engineers and the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Mark co-founded Genesis Group in 1987 and currently serves as the firm's President and CEO. Genesis Group has a long history of providing professional planning and engineering design services for both private and public sector clients with a passion for taking projects from Vision to Reality. Throughout his career, Mark has been an advocate and supporter of the ever expanding greenways and trails across the state.

Photo of the Foundation Member Brian Smith, AICP

Brian Smith, AICP, Board Member

Brian Smith was the Director of Planning for Pinellas County. He had held that position since 1981. He retired in November of 2011 with the commitment to continue to be involved in planning work without being a consultant for hire. ), Mr. Smith also served as the Executive Director of the MPO for over 30 years.

Mr. Smith has been involved in a number of successful environmental initiatives for land acquisition, a sales tax initiative to fund the infrastructure program for the County, the establishment of a countywide transit system, the development and implementation of a Geographic Information System, organized the county's first managed growth plan and has had a key role in the Pinellas Trail from it's inception. He was a significant player in the development of the Friendship Trail and the Progress Energy Corporation extension of the Pinellas Trail. For his work with trails in the region and state he was recognized by the RTC as a Trail Champion in 2011.

Mr. Smith has been a professional in the planning field since 1969. He has been a planner with Hillsborough County, Florida, and the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council. He began work as a Planner in Pinellas County in 1970. He has a Masters Degree in Urban Regional Planning from Florida State University and a Bachelor's in Physics from the same University. Prior to entering the planning field, Mr. Smith had gained several years experience in engineering design in the defense industry.

He was certified to the American Institute of Planners in 1974 by examination. He is a Charter member of the American institute of Certified Planners, which was established in 1978. In 2006 he was inducted as a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners for his contributions to the profession and community.

John William Harper, Board Member

Born and raised in Jacksonville Florida, John was was active in sports and Boy Scouts where he achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. John received a degree from Florida Technological University in Civil Engineering and after graduation he worked for a major Engineering Company in Jacksonville where his major focus was the design of water and sewer treatment plants.

John beecame the Capital Projects Coordinator in Community Services for Volusia County in 1982, where he was charged with the design and construction of projects in the low-income areas of the county. Typical projects included a dirt road elimination project, Nancy Cummings Park, and the Babe James Center.

Later, John transferred to the Engineering Department where he was Principal Designer / Project Manager for numerous road and bridge projects. When the County dedicated itself to expanding it's parks and trails systems John was assigned to the Leisure Services Department. He served as Facilities Planning Development Manager, with responsibility for 25 Park construction projects, some of these were Gemini Springs, Green Springs, 27th Ave., Frank Rendon. Sun Splash, Tom Rennick, Bennett Sports Complex. Lake Bresford, Debary Hall Visitors Center and Barn renovations, Lake Monroe Park, and North Shore Park.

He was Project Manager for the first trails project, Spring to Spring Tail Segment One connecting Gemini Springs to Debary Hall. During his service he oversaw all the trails construction and maintenance more than 50 miles of trails, including, the East Central Regional Rail Trail first segment that opened its first segment in March of 2113.

John co-authored the Grant Application that began the process of OGT purchasing the East Coast Regional Rail Trail corridor and worked very closely with the OGT acting as the local liaison. After the purchase he co-wrote the Management Plan and then moved into design and construction of the project.

He has worked with outside groups and agencies to promote trails and outdoor activities including, The Regional Planning Council, FDOT, OGT, Florida Trails Association, Bike Florida, Florida Bicycling Association, Rails to Trails Conservancy, and the East Coast Greenway Council as well as numerous Cities and Counties.

John has received awards from Bike Florida, Florida Bicycle Association, and Brevard County for my work on trails. Over the years John wrote many Grant applications and was very successful in bringing in an estimated $40-million in State and Federal grant dollars to Volusia County before retiring from Volusia County in April of 2012.

John and his wife Annette currently reside in DeBary, Florida

Photo of the Foundation Member Joe Beckham

Joe Beckham, Board Member

Joe Beckham is a native Floridian with interests in education, the environment, outdoor recreation and community service. Following the completion of his law degree in 1969, he was administrative counsel to Connecticut Lt. Governor Peter Cashman and assisted in the development of programs for youthful offenders that spanned the Connecticut departments of education, corrections, and higher education. In the late-1970s, he became a research fellow with the National Education Finance Project at the University of Florida and, after completing the Ph.D. in 1977, took an appointment as assistant professor and research associate with the Higher Education Finance Research Institute at the University of Pennsylvania. He joined Florida State University's faculty in 1980, specializing in education law, policy and finance. In addition to his appointment to a number of state and national boards representing educators and attorneys, he was president of the National Organization on Legal Problems of Education in 1991 and received the McGhehey Award for contributions to the field of education law by the Education Law Association in 1996. FSU recognized him with the Ross Oglesby Award for service in 1999, named him Allan Tucker Professor of Educational Policy in 2001, and awarded him the University's Graduate Faculty Mentor Award in 2011. He became professor emeritus in January of 2012.

Joe has been an advocate for greenways and trails since joining the citizen's coalition that actively pursued creation of the St. Marks Trail in 1985. He was the first president of the St. Marks Trail Association and has worked for extension of that trail and other multiuse trails in the Big Bend region of Florida. He served two terms on the Governor's Advisory Council on Greenways and Trails beginning with its inception in 1986. He was a member of the Board of the Big Bend Boys and Girls Clubs in the period from 2004 to 2009 and completed two terms as a board member for the North Carolina Outward Bound School in 2010.

His early formative experiences involved instructing standard courses and educator seminars for Outward Bound schools in North Carolina, Minnesota, and Maine. These challenging outdoor programs led to his development of adaptive outward bound programs for the state of Connecticut and the United States Dependent Schools Europe.

His current interests include kayaking and mountain biking, playing with his two grandchildren, travel, and working with local communities in the Big Bend and the State of Florida on environmental and recreational projects.

Photo of the Foundation Member Robert A. Ern, Jr., P.E.

Robert A. Ern, Jr., P.E., Board Member

Robert (Rob) is currently the Vice-President of Civil Engineering and Land Surveying firm Booth, Ern, Straughan & Hiott, Inc. (BESH), with offices in Tavares and Sumterville, Florida. Rob specializes in providing engineering services to municipal clients, and particularly enjoys the design of water and wastewater treatment facilities, including reclaimed water facilities and stormwater to reclaimed water facilities. He also has experience in the planning and design of urban parks, including the City of Tavares Wooton Park Marina and Multimodal Project, which serves seaplane pilots, boaters, railroad enthusiasts, and cyclists, and is the centerpiece of the City’s ongoing redevelopment efforts.

Rob is an avid mountain biker, and has been cycling on the Cross Florida Greenway since 1994. His enjoyment of nature and trail riding led him to begin volunteering with the Ocala Mountain Bike Association in 1998, before joining the OMBA Board of Directors and becoming Vice-President in 2005, a position he still holds. He has volunteered over one thousand hours on behalf of OMBA, and has assisted in the club’s expansion to over 200 members, responsible for nearly 90 miles of singletrack trails. Rob has worked closely with the Office of Greenways and Trails since he began volunteering. He is responsible for the design and construction of several miles of singletrack trails, including the technical Ern ‘n Burn Trail, named for him by the OMBA Board to commemorate his volunteerism. Rob’s love of cycling led him and a group of friends to purchase Brick City Bicycles, located in downtown Ocala, Florida, in 2011.

Rob graduated from the University of Central Florida in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering, becoming licensed as a Professional Engineer in the State of Florida in 1998. His professional affiliations include the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Water Environment Federation and the American Water Works Association.

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