Florida Board of Trustees
These committed leaders provide oversight and balance to our work in Florida.
Meet the Florida Board of Trustees
Our Florida Board of Trustees demonstrates outstanding personal commitment of service to The Nature Conservancy in Florida, providing oversight and balance to our work in the sunshine state. Our dedicated trustees fulfill several distinct and significant roles and responsibilities including guidance, strategic thinking and problem-solving for all aspects of our conservation efforts. They help to establish effective relationships with leaders in the spheres of philanthropy, public policy, science, education and other sectors to promote our mission and goals; and they represent TNC and our work in their communities, personal and professional networks and in the public eye.
Apalachicola, trustee since 2015
Patrick J. Balthrop, Sr. is the founding principal of Apalachee Ventures, LLC. He has over 30 years of experience building, growing and turning around businesses and commercial enterprises around the world, most recently as CEO of a publicly-traded company. Pat is a demonstrated thought leader in the healthcare and medical device industry. He is currently on the board of directors of several companies, including Agendia, Inc.; Discovery Life Sciences; Oxford Immunotec PLC (NASDAQ: OXFD); Personalis, Inc. (NASDAQ: PSNL); and Pattern Bioscience. Pat was CEO, President and a member of the board of directors of Luminex Corporation (NASDAQ: LMNX), prior to which he served as President of Fisher Healthcare. and enjoyed a 20-year career at Abbott in clinical diagnostics and medical devices. Pat has an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management of Northwestern University. His undergraduate studies were at Princeton University and Spring Hill College. He earned a BS in Biology from Spring Hill.
Sanibel, trustee since 2012
Walt spent his professional and management career with the Corporate Research function of the General Electric Company where he worked with many of GE’s businesses and remained closely tied to early stage product development for the medical imaging business. Walt served three terms with the Eastern New York Chapter of The Nature Conservancy from 1993-2002, and three terms with the New York State Board retiring from that position in 2011. In 2011, he co-chaired the Trustee Financial Advisory Group, which was chartered by the Trustee Council to advise the development of TNC’s five-year financial plan.
Thomas (Tom) Costello
Sarasota, trustee since 2016
Tom Costello is co-owner of Costello Companies, which work to make long-range investment decisions, long-term commitments and long-term relationships to create affordable housing solutions for future generations. He is a fourth-generation leader from a family committed to making a difference in the affordable housing industry. The Costello family history with real estate began in the 1930’s when Tom’s great- grandfather ventured from his furniture store business into real estate development. As of today, the Costellos have developed and manage more than 4,000 units in six states. Since joining the family company in 1989, Tom has developed over 80 affordable housing communities, many of which have been with nonprofit partners. In 1998. In 2000, Tom was one of only 100 in the nation to receive the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) “Best of the Best” award for best practices in the development of affordable housing.
Miami, trustee since 2014
Mark is Vice President, SAP. Prior to joining the software company in 2007, he was an associate at McKinsey & Company. His relationship with TNC began when he was living in New York City and helped establish the New York Young Professionals Group (YPO). He has been actively involved with fundraising and donor engagement efforts for TNC in Miami, participating in Young Professionals events and on the Miami Committee for “Design For A Living World.” He is a board member of the Columbia Business School Alumni Club of South Florida. He was raised in Titusville and still has family living in Central Florida. Mark is a Trustee Legacy Club Ambassador.
Miami, trustee since 2019
Carlos was born in Miami, Florida, to political refugees who fled tyranny and oppression Cuba. He earned his Bachelor’s and Masters degrees at the University of Miami. Carlos founded a media and public relations firm, served as State Director for U.S. Senator George LeMieux, and was elected to the Miami-Dade County School Board. In 2014 Carlos was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. While in Congress Curbelo led on climate policy, immigration reform, and gun safety. He co-founded the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus. In 2017 he was honored by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation with the New Frontier Award for promoting bipartisan cooperation on environmental policy. In 2018 he filed the landmark Market Choice Act, ambitious legislation that would invest nearly a trillion dollars in American infrastructure while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by pricing carbon. He was ranked the fourth most bipartisan Member of the House until returning to the private sector in 2019.
Tequesta, trustee since 2020
As Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Greg Norman Company, Chris oversees the company’s consumer businesses, joint ventures, real estate, licensing and private equity investments in the U.S., Australia, Asia, Middle East, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Chris is also a co-owner of Florida Living Realty, a boutique residential real estate company specializing in Palm Beach County and Martin County. A native Californian, Chris lived overseas and spent time in 33 other countries, which has informed his perspective as a global citizen. A seeker of adventure, Chris’ heart sings in the outdoors and in wild places as a lifelong mountaineer, fisherman, diver, and distance runner. Chris holds a B.A. from Boston College and an M.B.A. from the University of Southern California. He lives in Tequesta, Florida with his wife and three children, and is committed to land stewardship and the conservation of wild places that will enable these same experiences for future generations.
Vero Beach, trustee since 2016
Ron has spent over 40 years in the Florida agri-business sector. A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Ron was a CPA with Ernst & Ernst, auditing agri-business companies. In 1975 he joined Tropicana as Chief Accountant and rose to Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. In 1986 he joined ConAgra, Inc. as President of their Juice Division. In 1987 Edwards joined Evans Properties, Inc., a closely held family-owned agri-business and real estate company based in Vero Beach with cattle and citrus operations in eight Florida counties, as President and CEO. He has served on the steering committee for Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Cooperative Conservation Blueprint Taskforce. Edwards is a member of the Florida Land Council, and also serves on the Board of Florida Family Growers Association. Ron also serves on the Boards of Viewpost, LLC, Terviva Bioenergy, Inc., Parabel, LLC, and is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AquaFiber Technologies Corporation.
Lynetta Usher Griner
Chiefland, trustee since 2014
A native Floridian, Lynetta is Secretary/Treasurer of Usher Land & Timber, Inc., a family-owned logging, farming and cattle company in Chiefland, Levy County, Florida. She served on the Suwannee River Water Management District Governing Board for 14 years (10 years as Chairman of the Board) and the Florida Forever Advisory Council. Lynetta is past President of Florida Forestry Association (the first female President in its 91 year history) and is the agricultural citizen appointee to the Acquisition ad Restoration Council (ARC). She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Drummond Community Bank. In 2013, she was named Woman of the Year in Agriculture for the state of Florida. Lynetta was honored as the Swisher Sweet/Sunbelt Ag Expo Farmer of the Year for 2018. She is a graduate of the University of Florida College of Law. Lynetta and Ken have one son, Korey, and they live in Fanning Springs on the banks of the beautiful Suwannee River.
Orlando, trustee since 2015
Ted Haddock serves as Executive Director for The Edward E. Haddock Jr. Family Foundation, which invests in restoring relationships between people and planet. Haddock established Common Pictures, to engage pressing social issues through humanizing stories. Ted also established Trust Foundation to address natural preservation and endangered species; The Foundation Hub, a collaborative work-space for non-profits; Kaley Square, an asset-based community development organization in a distressed community; Friends of Tinker Field Foundation promoting Orlando’s civil rights history; and co-manages Orlando Together, a multi-ethnic effort to undermine legacies of racial segregation. Haddock serves on the boards of Institute for Sport and Social Justice, The Human Trafficking Institute based in Washington, DC and is President of the Board of Trustees for Orlando Land Trust. Ted spent ten years as Director of Photography for International Justice Mission where he provided a global voice for survivors of human rights abuses and helped to brand the organization in its formative years. Haddock received his MFA in Photography from Indiana University and his BA from Furman University.
Winter Park, trustee since 2020
A native Floridian, Christie grew up in Jacksonville and Palatka. Her family owned a farm in Palatka and a ranch in Montana, so she grew up enjoying Florida’s outdoor natural treasures and became passionate about protecting her home state. She met her husband, Bill Heavener, while they were both attending the University of Florida. Bill is the CEO of The Heavener Company, holding and managing interests in education, media production, internet services, real estate franchising, publishing, banks and information technology. Bill is also CEO and Co-Chairman of Full Sail University (partner of Garry Jones), Director for Florida Capital Bank, and Chairman of the University of Florida board of trustees. Christie is a trustee for the Thomas T Phillips Jr Foundation. She raised her two sons to care about conservation, bringing her family along on multiple TNC events and field trips over the years. She now has young grandchildren and has decided to devote her time and energy into helping ensure that we protect the planet and nature for generations to come.
Winter Park, trustee since 2011
As President of Full Sail University, Garry Jones is one of the prime catalysts of the university’s forward motion, as he continually works to ensure that the school’s progress maintains the original mission and culture – or “heartbeat” – of the institution. Garry served as a consultant during the creation of Full Sail, and in 1980 joined the faculty as an educator. From 1980 to 1999, he served in a variety of leadership roles across the institution, and was promoted to the role of President in 1999. During his tenure as President, Full Sail University has received a wide range of accolades and awards for its educational approach and the quality of its curriculum. Garry has also received awards for his leadership such as being named ITFlorida’s “IT Leader of the Year” in 2009, recognition on Florida Trend Magazine’s “Florida 500 List” identifying the 500 most influential Floridians across the state, and being named one of the “2018 Men of the Year” by Orlando Family Magazine.
Ocala, trustee since 2016
Amy Mangan is the External Affairs Director for Duke Energy’s operations in Florida. She is responsible for developing relationships with state environmental groups, electric cooperatives, municipal utility leaders and other stakeholders interested in sustainability and energy issues in Florida. For over 25 years, Mangan has worked in Florida's North Coastal communities in community relations, journalism and higher education. She has held numerous volunteer leadership positions in economic and cultural development organizations and has worked extensively in the North Coastal region with environmental causes, including the One Rake at a Time for Kings Bay, Duke Energy’s Eel Grass Replenishment program, Silver River Educational Museum, Silver River Environmental Film Festival and supporting environmental authors focusing on water issues and trends. Amy, also a writer, has been published in magazines including Southern Living, Better Homes and Gardens and Southern Accents.
Sanford, trustee since 2018
Gilbert serves as the Board Chair of the Bradley-Turner Foundation, a 5th generation foundation. He has been involved with the work of the Beloco Foundation for over a decade and a half, formally joining as a trustee in 2000. The grandson of the founder of Beloco, Gilbert has prioritized defining the foundation’s mission and strengthening governance. He is also a trustee of W.C. Bradley Company, Epworth-by-the-Sea, and Andrew College. Gilbert is the immediate past board chair of the Southeastern Council of Foundations. While not in the boardroom, Gilbert manages Kimi Farms Christmas Trees, has a small commercial realestate development partnership, and is working on a series of children's books based on his life in the South. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Gilbert continues to be involved at his alma mater, serving as the Chair of the Dean’s Council of the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. He and his wife, Jamee, have two sons, William and Benjamin.
Key Largo, trustee since 2020
A Chicago native, Bruce served as the 42nd Governor of the State of Illinois from 2015-2019. Governor Rauner’s achievements included equal funding for charter schools, a historic tuition scholarship tax credit program, and criminal justice reforms. Prior to his public service, Bruce was Chairman of private equity and venture capital firm GTCR. Bruce has served on the boards of numerous civic and philanthropic organizations including New Schools for Chicago, and World Business Chicago. Bruce serves on the boards numerous environmental organizations and works with TNC in Montana and Montana Land Reliance. Bruce received Murie-Broome Award from The Wilderness Society for outstanding work in wilderness preservation. Bruce is an avid fly fisher, bird hunter, backpacker, skier, golfer, and motorcycle and horseback rider. Bruce received his B.A. from Dartmouth College and his M.B.A. from Harvard University. Bruce and his wife Diana have six children and one grandchild.
Sergio (Serge) Rivera
Winter Park, trustee since 2015
Serge has been the CEO of Seaworld Entertainment since November 2019. From 2016 to September 2018, Mr. Rivera served as the Chief Executive Officer and President of the Vacation Ownership segment of ILG, Inc. (a hospitality and leisure services company). Serge is also the former President of The Americas for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (a hotel and leisure company), a position he held from 2012 to 2016, and Chief Executive Officer and President of Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., formerly a wholly-owned subsidiary of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., a position he held from 2007 to 2016. Serge served in a variety of capacities with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. since 1998. Serge serves on the Board of Directors for Welltower (NYSE-WELL) and is a Director on the advisory board of Florida International University Chapman School of Hospitality. His family owns businesses across Florida, including a marine aquaculture company and a resort/marina in the Florida Keys.
Orlando, trustee since 2019
A world traveler, Anne has spent her professional career establishing conservation programs for endangered species. She developed Proyecto Tití, a conservation program designed to conserve Colombia’s most endangered primate, the cotton-top tamarin, making conservation of the cotton-top tamarin a priority in Colombia. Anne is the former Conservation Director for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, supporting Disney’s strong conservation legacy. She has worked with Walt Disney Imagineering to incorporate conservation into many of the theme park attractions and experiences at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and other Disney Parks and Resorts. Anne received her B.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has held numerous leadership positions within Association of Zoos and Aquariums and other scientific organizations. She received the Lowell Thomas Award from the Explorers Club and currently serves on the board of Fundación Proyecto Tití and Foundations of Success.
Charles (Charlie) Sieving
Juno Beach, trustee since 2013
Charlie is Executive Vice President and General Counsel of NextEra Energy, Inc., one of the nation’s leading electricity-related services companies. He is head of the Corporate Legal Department and is responsible for the legal affairs of the company and also oversees the company's environmental services group. Prior to joining NextEra Energy, Charlie was Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of PAETEC Holding Corp., a publicly held telecommunications company, where he had responsibility for all legal, regulatory and legislative affairs. He previously was a partner in the Corporate, Securities and Finance Practice Group of Hogan & Hartson, LLP where his practice focused on representation of public companies in complex securities and business combination transactions.
Robert A. Spottswood, Jr.
Key West, trustee since 2021
Robert Jr. is part of the 7th generation of the Spottswood Family to call Key West home. After attending the University of Florida he went on to study law at Nova University in South Florida. There he worked with several environmental groups including the Everglades Law Clinic to advocate for responsible development and preservation of vital native habitats for endangered and threatened species. Robert has continued to be an advocate for sustainable and environmentally conscious development through his law practice which is focused on real estate development and the hospitality industry. In 2019 Robert Jr. and his wife Stephanie permanently relocated to Key West, where they now reside with their children Florence and Eleanor. Robert serves as President of Spottswood Management, Inc., General Counsel for Spottswood Companies, and is also a Partner at Spottswood, Spottswood, Spottswood & Sterling, PLLC. He is also Board Member of the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida.
Jacksonville, trustee since 2011
JoAnn currently owns J Properties, LLC, a restoration and management company of historic properties in the Jacksonville area. In 2008, she retired as President of the Jacksonville-based National Financial Brokerage, Inc. JoAnn served as Chair for the Florida Board of Trustees from 2016 to 2019. She is a former Board Chair of Resco Products, Inc. and is married to Jack Meeks, a CPA and President of Jack Meeks & Associates.
David (Dave) Watts
Apalachicola, trustee since 2012
Dave is retired from the Watsonville, CA-based Granite Construction Inc., one of the nation's largest civil contractors and construction materials producers. He served as President and CEO from 1987-2003 and as Chairman of the Board from 1999-2011. Dave currently serves as a Director of Bring Me A Book Franklin, a non-profit that he and his wife founded and operate, and which focuses on increasing reading aloud as a way to create a passion for books in children from birth to kindergarten. Dave also serves on the board of the Navy SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce, Florida. Prior to retirement from Granite Construction, he was involved with various business and nonprofit groups in California.