A Third Generation Floridian from South Hillsborough County (Adamsville), I grew up farming tropical fish. In 1996 I started a farm raised catfish operation in the Panhandle producing over 50 thousand pounds of processed catfish a week. In the late 90’s I was the Executive Director for the Ruskin Chamber of Commerce and graduated from the University of Florida’s Wedgworth Leadership Program for Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Currently serving on the Board of Directors for the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame. Previous board of directors for the Bartow Chamber of Commerce, the George Harris Runaway and Crisis Shelter, Dick Pope/Polk County Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association, State FPRA and the Lakes Education Action Drive and supporting improved water quality in Polk County.
As mentioned earlier, I began my life after farming by getting into the world of communication. After the chamber I spent a decade with the Southwest Florida Water Management District. While there, I served as the Government Affairs Manager and during my last year was responsible for fostering a new regional water supply authority. The Polk Regional Water Cooperative is made up of over 15 municipalities and Polk County to ensure a safe and secure water supply future.
Now serving as Executive Director for the International Responsible Farming Council, bringing my communication skills back to the farming community, I place I love dearly.
I am an experienced public/government relations advisor with highly specialized skill in creating and executing strategy, traditional and social media, marketing, community relations, facilitation, and the development of employee communications. With generational knowledge in Florida, I can provide effective communication with key external audiences. As a former president & CEO I have a keen understanding in how to reach senior leadership in order to facilitate direction and change.
Specialized skill in the following areas:
o Public Affairs
o Crisis Communication
o Legislative Affairs
o Strategic Counsel
o Program Implementation
o Corporate Communications
o Executive Consultant
Occasionally, I may get a little political. But please understand the views I express are completely MY OWN. And of course, stem from my Southern Roots.
Oh, and most importantly, I am married to the lovely, talented, and beautiful Cally Kushmer. We have we have four wonderful adult children all making their own contributions to society.