Meet the Experts

Kathy Castor

Commissioner Kathy Castor

Ms. Castor is the Hillsborough County Commissioner representing District 1 since 2002.  She is involved in a number of local organizations such as the Agency on Bay Management, Metropolitan Planning Organization, and the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, and is the community liaison to the Southwest Florida Water Management District.  Ms. Castor served as Assistant General Counsel to the State of Florida Department of Community Affairs before pursuing a private law practice in governmental and land use law.

Rhonda Storms

Commissioner Ronda Storms

Ms. Storms has represented District 10 of the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners since 1994.  She serves as the board elected chair of the Environmental Protection Commission and as a board member of the Metropolitan Planning Organization, Tampa Port Authority, and Tampa Bay Water.  Previously, Ms. Storms has been involved with Keep Hillsborough County Beautiful, Hillsborough River Board, and the Public Transportation Commission.

Susan Latvala

Commissioner Susan Latvala

Ms. Latvala represents the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners as a member of Tampa Bay Water as well as a number of other organizations.  She is currently Chairwoman of the Statewide Water Policy Working Group and President-elect for the Florida Association of Counties.  She has also served as a member of the Florida Chamber Water Task Force.  She was elected to the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners representing District 4 in 2000 and served as its Chairwoman in 2004. Ms. Latvala is a twenty-six year resident of Pinellas County and has been actively involved in the business community as a real estate broker and owner of a property management company.

Ronnie Duncan

Commissioner Ronnie Duncan

Mr. Duncan is the 2006 Vice Chairman of the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners and represents District 1-At Large.  Mr. Duncan has served as Chairman for a variety of the Pinellas County organizations and has been a member of a number of advisory boards and chambers of commerce.  Most notably, Mr. Duncan was appointed to the Governing Board of the Southwest Florida Water Management District in 2000, serving as its Chairman for two years.  He also served as co-chair ex officio of the Pinellas-Anclote River Basin Board.  Mr. Duncan has a broad background in urban planning and development, and real estate and has been recognized by many Tampa Bay area agencies and corporations for leadership, water stewardship, and community education. 

Eileen Hart

Eileen Hart

Ms. Hart is a Florida native who has lived in the Tampa area for over 38 years.  She spent 12 years fighting the Tampa Bay Water Wars with the Keystone Civic Association to ensure diversified sources of water. She has been a Master Gardener since 1980 and a volunteer with the Keystone Civic Association, which has allowed her to be active in helping to protect local water supplies.  As a result of her efforts, Ms. Hart earned the 1996 Moral Courage Award from Hillsborough County.

Pick Talley

Pick Talley

Mr. Talley is the Director of Utilities for Pinellas County, a position he has held for 15 years.  Previously, Mr. Talley served as Director of Public Utilities and Safety in Pinellas County, Hillsborough County Commissioner, Assistant Director of the Tampa Water Department, and board member of the former West Coast Regional Water Supply.  He is currently the President of the WateReuse Association.  Mr. Talley is Tampa native.

Derrill McAteer

Derrill McAteer

Mr. McAteer is a long time resident of Florida with an extensive background in agriculture.  He was appointed to the Governing Board of the Southwest Florida Water Management District where he served as its chairman for 11 years.  After leaving the District, he was appointed chairman of the Charlotte Harbor Commission.  Mr. McAteer worked 23 years with Lykes Bros., Inc. in the cattle feeding division.  In the 1990s, he served as president of the Florida Agricultural Council, Inc. through the University of Florida.  He currently is vice chairman of Cortez Community Bank in Brooksville, Florida.

David Fischer

David Fischer

Mr. Fischer is the current President and CEO of the Tampa Bay Community Foundation.  In addition to being active in many organizations including Past Chairman of Tampa Bay Water and the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, he also served as the mayor of St. Petersburg for ten years.  Mr. Fischer has received many awards for his leadership abilities from many organizations such as the University of South Florida, Suncoast Tiger Bay Club, Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, City of St. Petersburg, and the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce.

Doug Manson

Doug Manson

Mr. Manson is a natural resources lawyer with Carey, O’Malley, Whitaker, and Manson, P.A. practicing administrative, environmental and water law.  He represents public supply, industry, business, and agricultural clients seeking regulatory authorization for their operations and takes on issues such as water use, surface water permitting, sovereignty submerged land and ordinary high water lines issues, water and soil contamination remediation, regulatory compliance, and enforcement issues.  A native of Florida, Mr. Manson is a member of Hillsborough County’s Agriculture Economic Development Council.

Ed de la Parte

Ed de la Parte

Mr. de la Parte is Vice President of de la Parte and Gilbert, P.A. specializing in water law and utility issues.  He has represented many counties and cities in Florida as well as the West Coast and Lee County Regional Water Supply Authorities regarding water supply issues.  He has also represented many government-owned utilities including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the South Florida Water Management District, the Southwest Florida Water Management District and the St. Johns River Water Management District involving water utility issues.  His more significant cases included the adoption of water quality standards by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency pursuant to the Safe Drinking Water Act, the adoption of CERP programmatic regulations by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the adoption of the Underground Injection Control Program rules by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the adoption of minimum flows and levels and the Group A and B water use permitting rules by the South Florida Water Management District, and the establishment of the water use permitting program by the Southwest Florida Water Management District.  Mr. de la Parte is a native of Tampa and is recognized as a “Leading Florida Lawyer” and “Preeminent Attorney in Environmental Law” in the fields of land use and environmental law.

Bart Weiss

Bart Weiss, P.G.

T. Barton (Bart) Weiss is the Division Director of the Water Resource Team of Hillsborough County Water Resource Services. A registered professional geologist with the state of Florida, he has more than 16 years of experience in the water resource industry.  He is an active member of Leadership Tampa Bay.  His leadership at the County has not only been recognized internally but also externally by the State for his contributions toward protecting and improving the water resources of the Hillsborough River Basin.  Prior to joining the County Bart worked at the Southwest Florida Water Management District as a senior project manager where he was involved in policy development, rulemaking, and project management including development of the Northern Tampa Bay Partnership Agreement, the Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Minimum Flows and Levels Rules, Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Demineralization Discharge Rules.

John Heuer

John Heuer

Since 1978, Mr. Heuer has worked with the Southwest Florida Water Management District.  He began his tenure as a water resource planner and moved on to the positions of hydrologist, manager of Well Construction & Enforcement and director of Tampa Regulation before becoming the District’s current Deputy Executive Director of the Division of Resource Regulation.  A professionally trained geologist, he has played a key leadership role in implementing the District’s water use, well construction and environmental resource permitting programs. 

John Parker

John Parker

Mr. Parker has worked in the water use regulation program at the Southwest Florida Water Management District since 1985.  He is presently a Water Use Regulation Manager for areas of the District north of Tampa Bay and a member of the Northern Tampa Bay Phase II Technical Advisory Committee.  A professional geologist with a specialty in hydrogeology, Mr. Parker was among many who worked to lay the foundation for the Northern Tampa Bay New Water Supply and Ground Water Withdrawal Reduction Agreement.  He has also managed regulatory issues associated with spring withdrawals in the District. 

Sonny Vergara

*Ed “Sonny” Vergara

Mr. Vergara served as the executive director of both the St. John’s and Southwest Florida Water Management Districts.  He also formerly worked for the Peace River/Manasota Regional Water Supply Authority.

Judy Williams

Judy Williams

Ms. Williams moved to the Tampa Bay area in 1978.  She became involved in the Tampa Bay Water Wars and served as a community spokeswoman for preserving hydrologic cycles, improving water quality and quantity, and maintaining quality of life.  She has been a member of the Coalition of Lake Associations and she has received special recognition from the St. Petersburg Sierra Club for her activist efforts.  She continues to be actively involved in water conservation activities around the Bay area.

 

 

Throughout this website, you’ll have the opportunity to play small videos of people who were involved in shaping Tampa Bay’s water policy. They include activists, elected officials, lawyers and experts. All of them were involved in what is called, “Tampa Bay’s Water Wars.” We thought you’d like to hear what they have to say in their own words. We think you’ll appreciate their very different perspectives.

Meet the Experts