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2019 WLI Alumni Spring Updates

We have A LOT of wedgworthy stories and updates for the start of the 2019 year! Be sure to scroll all the way down!

New Beginnings

AAWLI President and Class VIII member Amanda Taylor and new husband, Derek Houston

Our Alumni Association President Amanda Taylor (Class VIII) was married earlier this year on January 5th, 2019. Amanda Taylor married Derek Houston, her law partner at Houston Taylor, at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC. They have worked together for 14 years.

We are so excited and thrilled for our Alumni President, and we wish her and Derek many years of happiness and wedgworthy adventures!

New Additions

Greyson James Hayes, son of Jamie Hayes (Class VIII)

There are more exciting news coming from Class VIII!

Jamie Hayes (Class VIII) and his wife Paola welcomed Greyson James Hayes on 1/29/19.

Congratulations, Jamie and Paola! Enjoy your new blessing!

Class VIII Member Retires from SRWMD

Featured: a group of WLI alumni who gathered for Darrell Smith’s (Class VIII) retirement from the Suwannee River Water Management District.  There was a celebration on February 8th of Darrell’s impact on agriculture and water policy in the state.

On February 8, 2019, over a hundred people gathered for Mr. Darrell Smith’s retirement from the Suwannee River Water Management District.  Darrell is a member of Class VIII of the WLI and has worked within Florida agriculture and water policy in various capacities with the Suwannee River Partnership, FDACS and the SRWMD. 

His influence and leadership will certainly be missed but we wish him all the best as he spends more time with his family and expands his blackberry operation!  We had a wonderful group of WLI alumni there to wish him well in his retirement!

Florida Ag Hall of Fame

WLI alumni at the Florida Ag Hall of Fame dinner on February 12th.  We had a great group there to celebrate the induction of the newest members of the Hall of Fame.

On February 12, 2019, a large group of WLI alumni were at the Florida Ag Hall of Fame Dinner–I think most were captured in the group photo though we may have missed one or two!  Mr. Mike Stuart, former CEO of FFVA was inducted into the Hall of Fame and we are grateful for his continued support of this program through the years.  The benefit auction at FFVA’s annual convention began as a way to support the first endowment campaign for this program!

Farm Credit Retreat

Farm Credit of Central Florida Leadership Session with Jennifer Parrish (Class IX) and David McDonald (Class VI)

On February 18, 2019 – Hannah had the opportunity to work with the staff of Farm Credit of Central Florida during their annual retreat.  It was a wonderful way to give back and repay this organization and it’s people for all the steak dinners that they have cooked and hosted for various class of this program!  It was a fun day and Hannah greatly appreciates Jennifer Parrish (Class IX) and David McDonald (Class V) for the invitation! 

Lykes Wishes Hannah Farewell

WLI alumni gathered at Lykes Bros for a farewell reception for Hannah

On the evening of February 18, 2019, an informal reception was hosted at the Lykes guest ranch for alumni in the area–it was a wonderful evening to reconnect with classmates, alumni and to wish Hannah all the best as she gets ready to head north to Maine.  Special thanks to Joe Collins (Class VII) for making this evening possible and to all the alumni who came out on a Monday night!  

Class X members with Hannah at the Lykes reception
Class IX members with Hannah at Lykes
Class VIII members with Hannah at Lykes
Jim Snively (Class VI) and Hannah at Lykes
Casey Wohl and Chad Rucks (Class V members) at Lykes

Region IV Event

On February 23, 2019, there were two WLI regional meetings–it was a very “Wedgworthy” day of programming!  The first was Region IV’s meeting at Joe Hodges’ Circle H Ranch.  There was a large group in attendance and enjoyed a wonderful BBQ meal, hearing from Mike Joyner and John Hoblick on updates of what is happening in regards to ag at the state and federal level and then some parting words from Hannah.  Afterwards, there were hayrides, boat rides and games.  Thank you to Joe Hodges and his family, David McDonald and Jennifer Parrish for putting this event together!

Region III Event

WLI alums and families at Region III event

Also occurring on February 23rd was an amazing afternoon at Hinton Farms and Fish Hawk Sporting Clays.  WLI alumni and families got to pick strawberries, shoot sporting clays and then enjoy a fantastic steak dinner!  Special thanks to Buzz and Cammy Hinton for hosting, cooking and touring and for Marcie Downing for coordinating everything!

WLI Alumni Reception

Class X members with Hannah at the WLI Legislative Reception

Our Annual Legislative Reception was held on March 6th, 2019, in Tallahassee. Many alumni members were in attendance to enjoy fellowship and discuss session issues. We owe special thanks to the Florida Forestry Association for consistently hosting our Annual WLI Legislative Reception.

We also appreciated Commissioner Fried for taking the time to stop by.

FDACS Commissioner Fried speaking to WLI alumni
Class VII members with Hannah at the WLI Legislative Reception

Words from Hannah

“It’s been quite a spring and I have so enjoyed seeing so many alumni at all the various events!  It’s bittersweet to be thinking about leaving, but as I’ve been saying, it’s only “so long for now” not good bye!  I hope that I’ll see more folks at other events in the next month.  I want to thank you all for the words of appreciation, encouragement for my new adventures and love that I have received these past few months.  Leaving you all and this program is incredibly hard, but I’m so thankful for you all!”

-Hannah Carter, WLIANR Program Director