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
Brian Smith, FAICP, Vice President
Brian Smith was the Director of Planning for Pinellas County for thirty years. He retired in November of 2011 with the commitment to continue to be involved in planning work without being a consultant for hire. Brian also served as the Executive Director of the MPO for over 30 years.
Brian 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.
Brian has a Masters Degree in Urban Regional Planning and a Bachelor's in Physics from the Florida State University. He is a Charter member of the American institute of Certified Planners and was inducted as a Fellow of the Institute for his contributions to the profession and community. He is also a Governor's appointee to the Florida Greenways & Trails Council and is the current chairman.
Bob Romig, Treasurer
Bob Romig is a transportation policy consultant serving public and private sector clients. Bob formerly served as Staff Director of the Florida House of Representatives Committee on Transportation; held several leadership positions with Florida Department of Transportation where he was responsible for the department’s legislative, planning, and environmental programs; and, most recently served as Executive Director of the Florida Transportation Commission. Bob has more than 40 years of governmental planning and policy experience and has been closely involved in Florida’s public policy process including transportation planning and environmental programs at the federal, statewide, regional, and metropolitan levels. Bob is a seventh-generation Floridian with a strong interest in the natural environment and outdoor recreation. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Florida State University.
Carl Mikyska, Secretary
Carl started his career in transportation planning in 1990 when he went to work for the Illinois Department of Transportation. Carl’s journey in transportation planning has lead him to positions with the Chicago MPO, the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration and he is now the Executive Director of the Florida MPO Advisory Committee. The Florida MPOAC is the collaborative forum where the twenty-seven MPOs in Florida come together to collectively advance urban transportation issues of benefit to the residents of, and visitors to, Florida. Carl has found the most rewarding part of transportation planning is when he is assisting local units of government, focusing transportation discussions on quality of life and economic development issues and advocating for persons with mobility limitations.
Growing up in the Midwest, Carl developed an appreciation for outdoor activities, especially cycling and camping. In his spare time Carl enjoys spending time with his children, woodworking, cycling, being outdoors and traveling. Carl is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Springfield where he earned his M.B.A.
Prior to moving to Ocala, Jena lived in Tallahassee and served the state of Florida for 19 years in various capacities. She was Director of the Office of Greenways & Trails in the Department of Environmental Protection 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, and in positions within the Department of State and the Florida Senate.
She has been a member of various statewide boards for Visit Florida and FDOT, and worked on projects involving land management issues, land conservation and acquisition, trail planning and advocacy, multi-agency partnerships, and statewide planning efforts for regional trail development. She is also a board member of the Fine Arts For Ocala (FAFO) which plans, staffs and presents the Symphony Under the Stars and the Ocala Arts Festival every year.
Jena is a graduate of Florida State University with a BA in English and communications.
Christin Collins is from Southwest Florida, where she works for Lee Memorial Health System as the Health & Wellness Strategic Partner. She is personally and professionally passionate about wellness, connectivity and convening with nature. In partnership with Healthy Lee, she hopes to help move the needle in reversing and preventing chronic disease through nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress reduction and living a purpose driven life.
Christin holds a BS in Secondary Education from the University of Connecticut, and moved to Southwest Florida in 1999. She is married to David Collins, and is the proud stepmom to Brendan Collins (Columbus State University 2015) and Meghan Collins (Florida State University 2016). She and her family love to boat, bike ride, participate in triathlons and most important, serve their community.
Karl Froelich is currently a business consultant specializing in new business development and product commercialization for small startup businesses in the energy storage, water treatment, and gas transfer industries. One company is currently converting seawater into drinking water using renewable wave energy only.
To fulfill his personal passion for greenways, Karl served on Mecklenburg County’s greenway advisory council, became a Park and Recreation Commissioner for Mecklenburg County, and joined the Trust for Public Land as a project manager working on various greenway projects. Karl recently was the Director of the Carolina Thread Trail a planned 1500-mile regional trail system for the Charlotte metro region.
Karl grew up in Miami, Florida and went to school at the University of Miami and then the University of Florida where he received BS and MS in degrees in Mechanical Engineering.
Currently a senior Vice-President with Merrill Lynch Wealth Management in Tallahassee, Felton Wright brings a triathlete and runner’s perspective to the work of the Foundation. He has served as president and on the board of Gulf Wind Track Club, which recognized him as “Race Director of the Year” and elected him to the club’s hall of fame. He is a former member of the board for the Goodwood Gardens and Museum and the Tallahassee Symphony.
Felton enjoys running, swimming and biking. He competes in 15-20 road races per year. He has done three Ironman triathlons and is currently participating in the 50 state marathon with a goal to run a marathon in every state.
He earned his B.A. in Economics from the University of the South, Sewanne, Tennessee, and his MBA from the University of Oregon.
Becky Afonso, Executive Director of the Florida Bicycle Association, is a native Floridian from the Tampa Bay area who has favored bicycle commuting since her grade school days. Her interest in road and off-road riding evolved in the late 1990s, becoming a member of the Suwannee Bicycle Association, SWAMP and a charter member of the Suncoast Cycling Club. She served on each club’s board and held additional leadership roles. She has over 20 years of cycling experience in project management, route logistics, event directing and marketing from positions at Bike Wisconsin, Bike MS Breakaway to the Keys and Bike Florida. Her certifications include League of American Bicyclists Cycling Instructor (LCI), certified bicycle helmet fitter and a graduate of CyclingSavvy. In addition to being a Florida Senate appointed and current vice-chair to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Greenways and Trails Council, she is the vice-chair of the Forward Pinellas Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee and chair of the Bicycle/Pedestrian Safety committee of the Florida Suncoast SAFE KIDS Coalition (Pinellas Council). Becky is committed to the principle that Florida trails provide an opportunity for many different people to experience the single greatest resource Florida has – the natural environment.
Elisabeth Manley is a registered landscape architect with over seventeen years of experience in the design of trail, park, and transportation-related projects throughout Florida. She is the principal of Manley Design, LLC, a landscape architecture and site planning firm located in Gainesville, Florida, that serves both public and private clients. Elisabeth is a strong advocate for parks and trails, which she believes are essential components for successful community development and are central to quality of life for all Floridians. She has served as the Florida Chapter American Society of Landscape Architects representative to the Florida Greenways and Trails Foundation since 2015 and also serves locally on City of Gainesville’s Public Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. She holds a Master in Landscape Architecture degree from the University of Florida with a thesis focus on ecological greenway planning.
Don Philpott has almost 50 years' experience as an award-winning writer, journalist, marketing consultant, public relations practitioner and passionate campaigner for conservation and the environment. He has authored more than 215 books and published over 5,000 articles in newspapers and magazines.
The founder of Mediawise Communications, a specialist writing and PR firm, he developed an international client list and trained thousands of senior managers on effective media relations. In 1994, he became President of Mediawise U.S., based in Orlando, with clients that included Walt Disney World, NASA, Northrop Grumman, International Red Cross, Sara Lee and Wrangler.
Currently the executive director of Friends of Florida State Parks, Don volunteers at Wekiwa Springs State Park where he helps run the nature center and interpretive programs, both within the park and as part of the outreach program. In 2005 he was Florida State Parks Volunteer of the Year for services to the park service.
He is a Florida Master Naturalist Instructor, Florida Master Gardener and a Certified Nonprofit Executive.
Terry Palmeri, Associate Regional Director of the Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association and the International Mountain Bicycling Association is a native Floridian from Miami. Growing up riding a bike in Coconut Groves Commodore Trail offered unfettered exploration of neighborhoods and fostered a lifetime passion for cycling. Her mountain biking career started in 2004 when she met her future husband, Mike Palmeri. After 12 years of being a roadie, she was introduced to mountain biking on a trip to Wales, England. Touring the premier mountain biking trail systems in Wales inspired her to help her adopted community of Ellijay to become a mountain biking destination. After years of advocating for mountain biking as President of the Ellijay Mountain Bike Association and Office Manager for the Cartecay River Bicycle Shop, she was hired by IMBA-SORBA to assist communities and chapters across the Southeast to create, enhance and protect great places to ride mountain bikes.
A native Floridian, Ken Bryan has been the Florida Director for Rails-to-Trails Conservancy for over 25 years and has played a leadership role in lobbying for the passage of Preservation 2000, Florida Forever, Safe Paths to Schools (Routes on the national level), Conserve by Bike, Florida Greenways and Trails Act, SUN Trail funding and numerous trail friendly State and federal initiatives. Appointed tothe Florida Greenways and Trails Council by Speakers Feeney and Thrasher and serving as Chairman for 5 years, Ken has also been appointed by Governor Crist to the Florida Department of Transportation Transition Team. He currently serves on the DOT’s Florida Transportation Plan – Strategic Intermodal System Steering Committee and the Bicycle and Pedestrian Partnership Council. He feels the tipping point for Florida’s communities towards achieving useful non-motorized systems for travel, personal health and recreation is near at hand and he is more excited and bullish about trails than when he started as a young man coming from local government.
Peggy Mathews, a native Floridian with a BS in Marine Biology, has 35 years of experience as a government relations and environmental management. She has an extensive background in natural resource management, working with state and federal environmental agencies in the areas of research, resource conservation and regulation.
She is a life-long equestrian participating in various riding disciplines. She shows Hunters/Jumpers and coordinates trail riding information throughout the State. She was appointed by the Governor to represent the equestrian community on the Greenways and Trails Council to ensure equine needs were addressed during trail development.
Ms. Mathews was retained by the Greenways and Trails Foundation to provide government relations services during the 2015 Legislative Session. She specifically focused on the allocation of Amendment 1 funds.
Kurt Eichin, Honorary Board Member
On November 4, 2016, the Board of the Foundation passed a resolution recognizing Kurt Eichin as an honorary board member. This recognition was a reflection of the important role he played in crafting what was to become the SUNTrails legislation creating a source of funding for shared-use, non-motorized trails in the state of Florida.
Kurt received a BA degree (1983) in International Affairs and an MS degree (1991) in Urban & Regional Planning from Florida State University. He was a Transportation Planner for the Florida Department of Transportation and subsequently served as a Legislative Analyst and Staff Director for the Transportation Committee in the Florida Senate.
Kurt was born in Titusville, Florida where he spent many hours surfing the waves at Playalinda Beach. He was an avid cyclist, hiker, kayaker, and explorer of nature. His “Crazy Guy on a Bike” blogs are a peek into his adventurous, fun-loving spirit. Kurt passed away on July 4, 2016 after a long, hard-fought battle with prostate cancer.
At his death, a memorial fund was created to which friends, co-workers and family could make Foundation contributions in his memory. To date, more than $3,000 has been contributed to the fund.
Ananth Prasad currently serves as the President for Florida Transportation Builders’ Association (FTBA). FTBA is a trade association comprising of individuals and business firms actively engaged in the construction of transportation systems or in the furnishing materials, equipment or services for such construction.
With more than 28 years of public and private-sector experience in the transportation industry, including 5 years with HNTB, a national infrastructure solution firm where he recently held the position of National Transportation Practice Leader and 22 years with Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) where he held the governor-appointed position of Secretary of FDOT from 2011-2015.
Prasad was named to the National Council for Public-Private Partnerships Inaugural Top 10 P3 Transportation Infrastructure Pioneers in 2017. Prasad also received the ARTBA’s P3 Entrepreneurs of the Year award and Florida Chamber Foundation’s Champion for Florida’s Future award in 2015 and was recognized by Engineering News Record Top 25 Newsmaker of the Year in 2013.
Dale Allen, President
The mission of the Florida Greenways and Trails Foundation (FGTF) is to advocate for and help create a statewide system of trails and greenways to advance health, recreation, transportation and tourism.
Florida Greenways & Trails Foundation, Inc. - ©2015