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 Member Jena Brooks

Jena Brooks, Board Member

Jena is currently an Associate Vice-President with Genesis Group in the Ocala office. Genesis has lead the planning and design on multiple notable greenway and trail projects such as 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, as well as the Recreation Master Plan for Babcock Ranch Preserve.

She previously served as Director of Operations for the national real estate auction company, Tranzon Driggers, in Ocala.

Prior to moving to Ocala, 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 nearly 10 years and prior to that served as Chief Cabinet Aide to the Florida Commissioner of Education, legislative liaison for the Department of Insurance, as well as positions within the Department of State, and the Florida Senate.

She has served as a member of various statewide boards for Visit Florida and FDOT, 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: Board Member for Fine Arts For Ocala (FAFO), Board member of the Wakulla Environmental Institute Advisory Council, the Marion County Literacy Council, Cross Florida Greenway, and Ocala Mountain Biking Association.

Jena is a graduate of Florida State University with a BA in English and communications. She 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, & 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 in 1987 and currently serves as the firm's President and CEO. Genesis 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, Vice President

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. He is also a Governor's appointee to the Florida Greenways & Trails Council and is the Vice-Chairman.

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.

Photo of the Foundation Member Heidi Bogardus McCree

Heidi Bogardus McCree, Board Member

Heidi McCree of Tampa is an attorney who has been involved in greenways, water and land conservation policy throughout her career. Heidi is a member of Leadership Florida, Class XXV. She was honored in 2009 as the Audubon of Florida Women in Conservation Special Places Award recipient.

She is a founding Board member and President of the Tampa Bay Conservancy. In 2008, she served as President of Preserve Hillsborough, the successful campaign to renew Hillsborough County's Environmental Lands Acquisition and Protection Program (ELAPP).

She served on the Southwest Florida Water Management District Governing Board from September 2000 through April 2008. In 2005, she was unanimously elected as the first female Chairperson of the Governing Board. She served as Founder and Chair of the District's Basin Board Land Resources Committee. She served as the District's liaison to the Florida Greenways and Trails Council and to the Tampa Bay Estuary Program. Additionally, McCree was a member of the Governing Board Planning Committee and chair of the Resource Management and Development Committee and served as Chair ex officio of the Hillsborough River Basin Board.

McCree served as Executive Director of the Hillsborough River Greenways Task Force from 1996 to 2000. She is a member of the Alliance of Florida Land Trusts, was a delegate to the Florida Water Congress and member of the Tampa Bay Partnership Vision 21 and One Bay efforts. She was Chair of the Cone Ranch Advisory Committee. Other involvement has included the Hillsborough County Bar Association, Hillsborough Association of Women Lawyers, Hillsborough County League of Women Voters and the Water Issues Coalition.

Heidi is a Board Member of the Florida Children's Campaign and the William A. Gregory Scholarship Foundation. She has also been involved with the Hillsborough Education Foundation, has supported Nature's Classroom and served on the Foundation's fundraising committee. She is a Junior League member and has served on various Boards and committees for her children's schools and church activities.

McCree received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Vanderbilt University in 1986 and a juris doctor from George Mason University School of Law in 1992. She received certification from the Florida Conflict Resolution Consortium in 1996 for negotiating and resolving public disputes. Prior to serving as Executive Director of the Greenways Task Force, she worked for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Prior to moving to Florida in 1995, she worked for two governors of Maryland in their Chesapeake Bay and Save Our Streams programs. Prior to law school, Heidi was Director of Membership Services for the United Shareholders Association in Washington D.C.

Chris Rodatz, Board Member

Chris Rodatz is a retired Marine Corps officer both active duty and reserve who served in Vietnam. Chris also is a small business loan officer (SBA) for over 25 years with several Banks in North Florida.

He is an avid trail ultrarunner who has completed numerous 100 mile races. Chris became involved with the Florida Rail Trail system and the development of the Palatka/Lake Butler trail when he decided to found his own race. The race is the internationally known Iron Horse 100 Mile, 100 KM and 50 Mile Endurance Race which is run annually on the Lake Butler/Palatka Trail. In 2015 the race will celebrate it's 10th anniversary. Chris also is a bicyclist who rides the Jacksonville/Baldwin Trail and the Palatka/Lake Butler trail.

He is active in the affairs of Clay County, has served as Chairman of the Clay County Chapter of the American Cancer Society, is a board member of the Military Museum of N. Fla., and is a member of the Florida Trail Assoc.

Chris graduated from Auburn University with a double major in Psychology and Philosophy.

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