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Wedgworth Alumni News Update

Wedgworth Leadership Institute alumni have had many reasons to gather together this holiday season!

Check out where your WLI alumni family have been seen recently!

Annual WLI Alumni Tailgate – cohosted by The Wheeler Family

On Saturday, November 18, 2017, several Wedgworth Leadership Institute alumni and friends gathered to cheer on the Florida Gators and enjoy time together at the annual WLI Alumni Tailgate.

We want to especially thank the Wheeler family for cohosting and sponsoring our tailgate this year!!

Alumni Represent at House Subcommittee Hearings

Two WLIANR alumnae represented Florida agriculture at House subcommittee hearings last week.

Brittany Lee (Class IX), Vice President and Farm Manager for Florida Blue Farms, Inc., represented the interests of Florida Farm Bureau Federation as she spoke before the House Pre-K Quality subcommittee.

Brittany Lee
Brittany begins speaking at 22:30.  Watch the hearing here.





Chloe Gentry (Class VII), Director of Marketing for IMG Enterprises, represented the interests of nurseries and growers as she spoke before the House Ag & Property Rights subcommittee.  

Chloe begins speaking at 1:50.  Watch the hearing here.




Palm Beach County Farm City Week Welcomes Alumni as Special Guests

The Central Chamber Keynote for this year’s Farm City Luncheon for Palm Beach County was none other than Assistant Commissioner of Agriculture Mike Joyner (Class I).  Other WLIANR alumni and current Class X members were in attendance of the South Florida Fairgrounds luncheon as well.

Featured below:  Keith Wedgworth (Class VII), Farm Manager of Wedgworth Farms, Inc.; Mike Joyner (Class I), Assistant Commissioner of Agriculture for Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; Barbara Miedema (Class IV), Vice President of Public Affairs and Communications for Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida; John Hoblick (Class II), Florida Farm Bureau President;  Kiley Harper-Larsen (Class X) Owner/Consultant, The Ag Safety Lady; and Caroline Villanueva (Class X), SW External Affairs Manager for Florida Crystals Corporation.

Florida Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting Recognizes Alumni

Two WLIANR alumni members were recognized recently at the Florida Farm Bureau Federation 76th Annual Meeting in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, on October 30th-November 1st.

Featured below: Brittany H. Lee (Class IX), was presented the Florida Farm Bureau’s 2017 Achievement in Agriculture Award, which included a grand prize of a brand new Ford F-150 truck!  This award recognizes a young agriculturalist who has excelled at farm management as well as serving in leadership for Florida Farm Bureau.  Congrats, Brittany!

Featured below: Greg Davis (Class VII), President and CEO of Speedling, Inc., was also recognized for environmental leadership and stewardship at the annual meeting.  Greg was presented the Florida Farm Bureau 2017 Ag-Environmental Leadership Award.  Congratulations, Greg!

FNGLA Redux – Annual WLI Reception

The Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association Annual WLI Reception was held on November 2nd at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL during the “Landscape Show Redux.”

Many WLIANR alumni and two current Class X members attended the reception and were able to hear from Commissioner of Agriculture candidate Senator Denise Grimsley as a special guest speaker for the reception.

Thank you, Linda Adams (Class IV), for coordinating this FNGLA alumni tradition! 

(Featured above from left to right)

Back row:  Dr. Hannah Carter, WLIANR Executive Director; Robin Stein (Spouse of Sandy Stein, Class VII); Will Womack (Class VIII), President of Tampa Bay Landscaping, Inc.; Sandy Stein (Class VII), President of The Jungle Nursery Inc.; Jennifer Parrish (Class IX), Loan Officer for Farm Credit of Central Florida; Linda Adams (Class IV), Association Executive for FNGLA; Billy Butterfield (Class VI), President of Ameriscapes Landscape; David McDonald (Class VI), Relationship Manager for Farm Credit of Central Florida; Reba Hicks (Class X), Marketing Specialist, Farm Credit of Florida; Erin Boyd Wilder (Class VII), Sales Manager, Sod Solutions; Christopher Reese (Class V), Marshall Tree Farm;  Keith Wedgworth (Class VII), Farm Manager of Wedgworth Farms, Inc.; Jeremy Fountain (Class VIII), Sales Representative for Wedgworth Farms, Inc.; and Thad Beshears (Class VIII), Vice president/Co-Owner of Simpson Nursery

Front row: Nancy McDonald (Class III), Production Manager for Knox Medical;  Sarah Spatola (Class X), Marketing Coordinator for Ecologel Solutions, LLC; Senator Denise Grimsley, District 26;  Ila Locke (Class VI), Owner of Ila’s Kitchen, LLC; Gary Locke, (Spouse of Ila Locke, Class VI); Katherine Womack (Spouse of Will Womack, Class VIII)

Featured above:  Sarah Spatola (Class X), Marketing Coordinator for Ecologel Solutions, LLC, speaks with Senator Denise Grimsley at the recent Landscape Show Redux.  

Featured above, from left to right: Jennifer Parrish (Class IX), Loan Officer for Farm Credit of Central FloridaNancy McDonald (Class III), Production Manager for Knox Medical; Keith Wedgworth (Class VII), Farm Manager of Wedgworth Farms, Inc.; David McDonald (Class VI), Relationship Manager for Farm Credit of Central Florida; and Reba Hicks (Class X), Marketing Specialist, Farm Credit of Florida

Alumni and Class X Members Represent Industry in the Wake of Irma

Lisa Lochridge, Class VII

Lisa Lochridge (Class VII), Director of Public Affairs for the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association (FFVA), represented the interests of FFVA in a news interview on November 14th, 2017.   Lochridge discussed how Florida fruit and vegetable growers were affected by Hurricane Irma.  She was quoted to say this in the interview:

“There just weren’t many of those crops in the ground when Irma hit, so once [growers] were able to get back in their fields and plant, they were back in the game.”

Click here to listen to the full interview. 

Members from Class X were also interviewed about Hurricane Irma’s impact on their specific commodities during their national trip in Seminar VII.

Tom Mitchell, Class X
Brad Lundy, Class X
Melissa Syfrett, Class X

Tom Mitchell, Brad Lundy, and Melissa Syfrett (Class X) were interviewed by RFD-TV reporter Sarah Mock concerning Florida citrus, sugar cane, and beef and dairy production, respectively.

See their recorded interviews below: