2016 Alumni Meeting Day 3—Saturday, August 6th, 2016

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2016 WLI Youth Leadership Program


WLI Youth Leadership traveled to the Florida Agriculture Museum in Palm Coast on August 6th. The interim executive director, Kara Hoblick (wife of Class II member, John Hoblick) welcomed our group (picture 1) to the 460-acre property filled with livestock and historic structures.

Our tour guide, Mary, showed us around a 1930’s citrus business, a reconstructed dairy farm and the 1890’s pioneer homestead of the Whidden-Clark family.  The Strawn Citrus Complex moved 5 buildings from their operation to the present location in Palm Coast including a Bell Barn, Wagon Shed and a uniquely designed granary.

The Whidden-Clark family homestead was inhabited by the family until 1970 when the buildings were moved to its present location. This family farmed only one crop for sale, cane sugar syrup (picture 3).  The students loved the experience of petting ducks and rabbits, using the hand water pump, sounding the bell, and meeting Tucker, the resident hound dog.

For more information about the museum or to make a donation, please visit http://www.floridaagmuseum.org.


 2016 Annual Alumni Business Meeting


Alumni Association of the Wedgworth Leadership Institute

Annual Membership Meeting

August 6th, 2016

Here are the highlights from this year’s annual business meeting:

  • President-Elect Ray Royce was nominated and elected to serve as the 2016-2018 AAWLI President.  Ray will serve alongside Treasurer Matt Webb, Secretary Lisa Lochridge, and Past President Sean Brantley.

  • 2015 Annual Membership Meeting minutes were approved.

  • Treasurer Matt Webb reported current financial standings.

  • Alumni Coordinator Valerie McKee reported what she has done since starting in her position in February.  Valerie hopes to provide better communication to the association through the new alumni website (to be created) and social media.  Valerie also wants to offer herself as a programming resource for regional and class meetings.

  • Several alumni events were announced and shared.  The alumni trip to Cuba was the first ever alumni trip. Shane and Carol Platt and Lisa Lochridge, who went on the Cuba trip, discussed some of their experiences. Dr. Carter shared that she would like to do an alumni trip every year; the destination for such a trip would depend on domestic or foreign issues. The 2017 destination will be determined at a later date. Upcoming alumni events include the FNGLA’s The Landscape Show on Sept. 15 at the Orange County Convention Center, the alumni Gator tailgate at UF on Nov. 19, and a gathering in March in Tallahassee in conjunction with the Class X seminar.

  • Class IX members Erin Archey and Brittany Lee shared a report on Class IX’s legacy project, the Florida Ag & Natural Resources Impact Fund. Class IX hopes to give out their first grant next year.  More information on how to contribute will be shared soon. The goal is to give $100,000 in grants over four years for technology and conservation projects that impact agriculture.

  • Class II member Rick Roth announced that he is running for the state House of Representatives, District 65, and asked for WLI alumni support.

  • Past President Sean Brantley and Event Coordinator Lisa Ashley reported that the site selection for the alumni meetings for the next few years is underway and will be presented to the board soon.

  • Dr. Hannah Carter announced that Class X has been selected but not officially announced. The nomination process was more targeted this year. One hundred fifty nominations were made; 60 applications were processed and 30 people were chosen. That compares with 384 nominations for Class IX, with 60 applications processed and 30 people chosen. She noted that seminars for Class X will begin on Tuesdays, and one seminar was added to the program.

  • Elections were held for new directors in Regions 2, 4 and 6.

    Region 2: Stacy Simms and Jeffrey Spencer

    Region 4: Erin Archey

    Region 6: Toby Basore and Sandy Stein


 “To Catch a Thief”
Presented by: Kevin Cross, Founder of Account417

Kevin is the founder of Account417 and serves as the Stewardship Director at Fellowship Bible Church in Roswell, GA.  To share his biography would give away much of his story and presentation, but you should know Kevin came to us very highly recommended by the graduates of Commissioner Putnam’s Legacy Leadership Program—he has spoken to both classes of that program and is one of the highest rated speakers from that program.


 2016 Charity Golf Tournament

This year’s Charity Golf Tournament was yet again a success!

Ten golfers participated in the lunch and golf tournament on Saturday.  The team of Burt Martin, Bill Lewis, and Dave Dymond won the tournament.

Many thanks are owed to Mr. Kevin Huesman, Class I, for organizing the tournament.  Raised funds from the charity tournament go towards the WLI Care Fund.

Annual Alumni
Dinner & Awards Banquet

The 2016 Annual Alumni Meeting Dinner and Awards Banquet was a huge success!


Retiring President Award
2016 Recipient: Sean Brantley, Class VII
Presented by: 2016-2018 President, Ray Royce, Class VII
 sean and ray

2014-2016 President Sean Brantley was recognized at the Awards Banquet for his term as President of the Alumni Association.  We are so grateful for his enthusiastic and dedicated leadership, and we hope Sean continues to stay engaged in the association as Immediate Past President and as a servant leader.  Thank you, Sean, for all of your hard work over the last two years.  Your legacy will not be forgotten.

“Sean Brantley never does anything without giving his 110%–except being president of this alumni association–he gave his 200%! He put his heart and soul into this organization and lead the board and alumni through several significant changes, which will only allow the association to continue to grow and truly be the association that Dr. Trotter dreamt of when he began this program. I am grateful for the time and efforts that Sean put into his presidency and look forward to Ray and the new board continuing to build on this momentum.” -Dr. Hannah Carter, WLIANR Program Director



Dr. Burl Long Award
2016 Recipient: Roger Scarborough, Class V
Presented by: Representative Halsey Beshears, Class V

roger halsey stage

A recipient of the Dr. Burl Long Award is someone that is connected to the Wedgworth Leadership Program and reflects the ideals that Dr. Long embodied and shared with participants of the program including: A sense that “speech without reflection is just chatter”, while embracing a thought process of thinking more deeply before speaking or acting.  The recipient should also be an individual that’s life perspective or mission further developed during, or as a result of, the program, perhaps as a result of an “ah ha” moment.

This year’s award winner is the backbone for many agricultural organizations and is the quiet, thoughtful leader that so many rely on for his wisdom, his humor and his experiences in this industry.  Roger Scarborough is most deserving of this award, and we are grateful for how he carries the legacy of Dr. Long in his continued service and leadership.

Honorary Director Award
2016 Recipient: Brittany Lee, Class IX
Presented by: Dr. Hannah Carter, WLIANR Program Director 

hannah and brittany

A recipient of the Honorary Director Award is someone that has provided exceptional support to the Wedgworth Leadership Program.  The recipient should be someone whose continued involvement has made a tremendous difference in the success and longevity of the program.

This year’s award winner is someone Dr. Carter knows would gladly step up to the plate to serve as program director should she be hit by a bus any time soon.  Since graduating from the program, Brittany has jumped on board many times to assist Dr. Carter and program efforts, including offering her blueberry farm as a location for a professional UF/IFAS photo shoot.  Brittany is a rising star in our association, and we could not be prouder to award her with this recognition for her service and dedication to the program.

Farm Credit Award
2016 Recipient: Will Womack, Class VIII
Presented by: Shane Platt, Class II

shane platt and will womack

Farm Credit has a long history of leadership and this award was one of the founding awards of the WLI Alumni banquets.  This award is to recognize a WLI alumni member who has applied what they learned in the program to make an immediate impact on their industry, organization and community.

While many alumni fit this criteria, only a few seem to have enthusiastically jumped into leadership positions like our award winner has since his graduation from Wedgworth.  His call to service was strong and he has answered this call by putting his talents and efforts to work for several organizations that support not only his industry, but also all of Florida agriculture and natural resources.  We are thrilled to recognize Will for his commitment to service, leadership, and representing the program well beyond graduation.

Eugene Trotter Leadership Award
2016 Recipient: Pamela Fentress, Class II
Presented by: Dr. Joe Joyce, 2015 Recipient

The Wedgworth Leadership Institute Alumni Association sponsors the Eugene Trotter Leadership Award as a tribute to Dr. Eugene Trotter, the founding director of the Wedgworth Leadership Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources.  Dr. Trotter served not only as the leader of leaders in the making of five two-year classes but also as a personal mentor to all who participated in the program during his tenure.

The Eugene Trotter Leadership Award is intended to:

  1. honor leaders in the agriculture industry who have exemplified personal values, performance, and achievement in Florida;

  2. recognize high standards of conduct, leadership, innovation, and accomplishment for agriculture;

  3. publicize and build more awareness for excellence in agriculture, while establishing role models for young people entering the industry; and

  4. utilize this quality forum to promote more individual leadership, innovation, and desire to excel in the agricultural field.

Pam Fentress embodies this award.  She is a determined and passionate advocate for the citrus industry, for Highlands County, but even more so, for Florida and for Florida agriculture and natural resources.  Unable to take “no” for an answer (and also unable to say “no” when called upon to serve)—she applies her knowledge, her talents and her resiliency to many committees, organizations and industry groups.

As a Supervisor for the Highlands Soil and Water Conservation District, she holds the position of Secretary/Treasurer and serves the Association of Florida Conservation Districts as its current Secretary/Treasurer. As a member of the USDA Farm Service Agency’s County Committee, she serves as the Committee Chairman. She also sits on the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Assoc. Board and the FFVA’s Water and Land Use and Advocacy Committees. In addition to her agriculture interests, Pam serves as the Treasurer of the Lake Placid Elementary PTO.

As her numerous board positions reflect, she has always given back to her community by serving; she has received deserved recognition for her dedication: Farm Credit of Florida Leadership Award; Wedgworth Leadership Program for Agriculture & Natural Resources Honorary Director Award; Dal Hall Memorial Award, the Chamber Charger Award and Outstanding Service Award from the Lake Placid Chamber of Commerce; Service Award from Highlands County Citrus Growers, as well as being a past HCCGA Board member. Pam is proud to be a Past-President of the Highlands County Farm Bureau, but equally honored to have served as a Past-President for the Lake Placid Jaycees.

After her graduation from Class II, Pam was invited to serve on the South West Florida Water Management District board and also the SWFWMD Peace River Basin Board for a four-year term.  Pam prides herself on serving in all her capacities with a sense of respect, trust, honor, fairness and well thought-out discussion.  Pam resides in Lake Placid with her daughter Tressa.