In this episode, Brett gets to spend some time with the new Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy in Florida – Greg Knecht. They talk about growing up outdoors in Polk County; his life as a cave diver and dive instructor; and how his wife has been the catalyst for the most consequential decisions of his life and career. They also discuss his father’s influence on how he approaches controversial issues; the important mission of The Nature Conservancy; and how the Conservancy has expanded its mission over the years to help solve some of Florida’s biggest restoration and preservation challenges.
In his second-to-last episode of the season, Brett sits down with attorney, lobbyist, and former secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection – Ryan Matthews. They discuss his family’s deep roots in Upstate New York; the example left behind by a renowned attorney and lobbyist father; the joys and challenges of leadership; and his flirtation with a life of crime.
In this episode, Brett has a conversation with recently retired Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Chief of Staff – Jennifer Fitzwater. They discuss how a kid from the Midwest makes her way to law school and a career in resource protection; what it’s like to have been the Chief of Staff for two separate state agencies; the difficult and complicated work going into solving challenges like manatee habitat loss and red tide; and what life’s been like since she rowed off into the sunset.
In this episode, Brett talks with one of the most renowned environmental advocates in Florida – Eric Draper. Draper is most known for his advocacy on behalf of Everglades protection and the Florida Forever land-buying programs, but he recently served a successful tour as the Director of the Florida State Parks Service. They talk about effective environmental advocacy; Eric’s continued concern about the global effects of climate change; and the importance of developing partnerships instead of enemies.
In this episode, Brett sits down with Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Executive Director – Brian Armstrong. Armstrong has a career in water management spanning 25 years, nearly all of them at the same water management district. They discuss growing up on the water; the importance of alternative water supplies; who’s cooler, geologists or engineers; and an incredible story of lake and wetland restoration that doesn’t get nearly the recognition it deserves.
In the very first Water for Fighting podcast, Brett has a conversation with the Godfather of Florida water management – Henry Dean. Dean currently serves on the St. Johns County board of county commissioners, but his thirty-year career in water resource protection spans five governors, two water management districts, and various other committees and agencies. They discuss the dawn of water management districts and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection; management styles; and a career ultimately defined by its successful relationships.