About the FVMA and our team
The foundation for the FVMA began in early 1999 when Andy Lewis and Tracy Maxwell were discussing a forum for the training and continuing education credits for herbicide applicators. Prior to this time, Walter Dykes of Florida Power Corporation sponsored an annual training event for individuals applying herbicides, ambulance primarily for FPC, in Bartow, Florida. Due to a change in Walter’s job responsibilities this annual meeting would cease to exist. Andy and I talked about taking the event over and implementing some changes. We met with Walter and discussed our ideas and said that we would continue the meetings, thus the genesis of the Florida Vegetation Management Association.
"Our mission would be twofold"...
To provide training for applicators in practical field skills and to earn their continuing education credits to meet the state licensing requirements and to provide an educational forum for supervisors and managers to learn about regulations, new chemistry, vegetation management programs and other developments that could enhance their existing programs. Initially our program model would be based on providing information on the implementation and management of comprehensive vegetation maintenance programs and training, hopefully with some hands-on, for the field applicators. As our ideas evolved, we wanted the meetings to be held prior to spray season so that the field applicators could obtain some practical skills and useful knowledge that could be directly put to use. It was also important to accomplish this phase in a single day to lessen any financial impact on their employer. As could be expected, all presentations on that day were to be focused on the needs of the field applicators. The second day was to be dedicated to the supervisors and managers and focused on more technical and managerial issues. We also wanted to provide our sponsors with the opportunity to highlight developments in their particular areas and time to interact with meeting participants. Our first annual meeting was held in Gainesville with a combination of field demonstrations in the morning and a series of educational presentations in the afternoon of the first day. The evening of the first day was an informal social meet and greet for sponsors and managers. The second day focused on presentations for supervisors and managers as well as product updates by our sponsors.
Steve has been employed by the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) since 1993, where he is responsible for the planning and implementation of hazardous and exotic vegetation removal, bank stabilization and right of way revegatation projects for more than 2500 miles of the District canals and levees. Additionally, during significant weather events Steve also serves as one of two, emergency debris removal officers for the Districts’ Emergency Operation Center. Prior to SFWMD Steve worked as an assistant golf course/landscape superintendent at a private country club in South Florida and as an area supervisor for a nationally recognized landscape management company. Steve is an active member of the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association (FNGLA), where he currently serves on the landscape certification committee. Steve received an A.S. degree in Landscape Operations form Lake City Community College (1988), B.S. degree in Landscape Design and Management from Florida A & M University (1991) and an MBA from Columbia Southern University (2012). Steve is also a FNGLA certified Landscape Designer (FDLD) and maintains a FDACS pesticide certification in the categories of right of way and ornamental and turf.
Certified arborist and utility specialist and hold commercial applicator license State of Florida with 35 years’ experience in utility line clearance and vegetation Management. Currently Manager for Burfords tree LLC region 344 in Florida. Past experience Davy tree expert and Asplundh tree expert Arborist for Ocala electric utilities, Vegetation management specialist for progress energy, and Divisional forester for Duke Energy and a proud member of FVMA from Day 1
Linda received a Masters in Business Administration – Environmental from Florida Atlantic University and a B.S. degree in Environmental Sciences from Florida International University. Linda and has been employed by the South Florida Water Management District since 1989 where she is currently a Supervising Lead Scientist in the Vegetation Management Section, Canal/Levee and Aquatic Plant Management Unit. Linda's work at the District involving hazardous and exotic vegetation removal along the District's canals and facilities put her in the forefront of emergency debris management operations. She is now an expert in the field of land and water based emergency debris management operations. Linda enjoys volunteering at the Oakland Park Bark Park and is always jumping in to extend a helping hand.
Jess Mason’s UVM career began in 1989 around the Central Florida area. He spent the first 16 years of his career working with vegetation management programs for various Utilities, Municipalities and Government agencies across the state as a Tree Contractor. Joining ACRT in 2006, Jess continues to dedicate his time and energy to our industry as their Southeastern Operations Manager. As a 21 year Certified ISA Arborist / Utility Specialist, Jess serves Utility programs throughout the state of FL, managing roughly 45 Contract Arborist. Jess also participates as the Southeastern Representative for the UAA where he submits UVM related articles and works with other area representatives as part of their bi-monthly publications.
Rich joined the Lewis Tree Service Team in March 2016 after 15 years in the military. After training in the Tamp area, Rich was promoted to the Division manager position of the Chicago Area in 2017. In January 2021, Rich became the Division Manager of the Southeast Division of Lewis Tree service with responsibility for North and Central Florida. Rich joined the Florida Vegetation Management Association in April, 2021.
Jon Heller (FDOT)
I have been with Florida Department of Transportation for 4 years. I am currently the MRP and Roadside Manager for the Office of Maintenance since October 2016. I came out of Midway Operations Office where I was the MMS/RCI Coordinator for 22 months prior. Before that I was the assistant Bureau Chief at the Division of Licensing in the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. I graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in Aviation Engineering. I also served in the United States Army for thirteen years where I was an Aviation Officer and helicopter pilot.
Guy Murtonen (FDOT Proxy)
Guy Murtonen has more than 28 years of experience in the landscape field, focusing on design , installation, maintenance planning and implantation, exotic/invasive plant mapping and eradication, arboriculture, wildflowers and environmental project management.
Mr. Murtonen has a unique background that blends landscape and environmental knowledge and the ability to apply that knowledge in a comprehensive and practical way. A 10 year career for the Walt Disney World Company that included working as an arborist, gardener specialist, irrigation technician, and golf course superintendent which built a strong foundation in the landscape field. Guy holds an current FDACS pesticide certification in Aquatic, Right-of-Way and Natural Areas. He is also a ISA certified arborist. Guy earned a B.A. degree in Environmental Studies from Rollins College in 2004 and Master in Business Administration from Florida Gulf Coast University in 2011.
For the past 18 years, Mr. Murtonen has assisted the Florida Turnpike Enterprise in a wide variety of roles including landscape program management, implementing BOLD landscaping, landscape plans review, landscape project management, contract development and management, review of outdoor advertising permit applications, wildflower program development, exotic invasive plant management and environmental project management. He has been repeatedly recognized by the Turnpike for his work as a liaison with communities adjacent to Turnpike facilities, other FDOT Districts, and internal Turnpike partners.
Billy has been in the vegetation industry for over 15 years. He started his career as vegetation and right of way manager for one of the nation’s largest investor owned utilities. He currently is a general manager for a large herbicide application company. He has served on the board of directors for several NWTF Chapters and is currently the President Elect for the FVMA. Billy has a degree in Natural Resource Conservation with a minor in Forestry from the University of Florida.
(At Large #1)
Mark Heffley is a Vegetation Specialist with FPL in Ormond Beach, Florida. Mark has 26 years of experience in Utility Vegetation Management, including 16 years with electric utilities and 10 years on the vendor side, (UVM software, lidar and optimization modeling). Mark has a master’s degree in forestry from Duke University and is an ISA Certified Arborist-Utility Specialist, Registered Professional Forester and Florida Certified Pesticide Applicator as well as a former board member of the Georgia Vegetation Management Association. Mark also assists in coordinating the topics for the monthly on-line presentations for the North American Transmission Forum
Georgia Donberg (At-Large #4)
GEORGIA DONBERG WORKING WITH BURFORD TREE AS A (RSS) REGION SAFETY SUPERVIORS. AT THIS
TIME GEORGIA DONBERG LOOKS OVER THE TRANSMISSION CREWS FOR SAFETY. GEORGIA DONBERG
WORKED WITH DUKE-ENERGY FLORIDA FOR 38 YEARS AS A DISTRIBUTION FORESTRY. GEORGIA DONBERG WOULD LOOK OVER THE BUDGET AND WHAT FEEDERS WOULD BE TRIMMED IN THAT YEAR. GEORGIA DONBERG HAS RETIRED FROM DUKE-ENERGY FLORIDA IN 2020.
GEORGIA DONBERG HAS HER HERBICDE LISCENSE AND ARBORISTS LISCENSE. GEORGIA DONBERG GRADUATED FROM VALENCIA COLLEGE IN 1995 WITH AN AA DEGREE GEORGIA DONBERG FINISH FOUR YEAR BUSSINESS DEGREE AT UCF.
GEORGIA DONBERG LOVES RIDING FOUR-WHEELER AND MOTORCYCLES. GEORGIA DONBERG HAS BEEN ON FVMA BOARD FOR EIGHT YEARS. GEORGIA DONBERG HAS TWO CHILDREN
Trace Wolfe (President of Clear Waters, Inc.), (President /Managing director of Applicators Network, LLC.) (President /Managing director of TRM Biologics, Inc.)
Trace has spent over forty five years in the Vegetation Management Industry, mostly in aquatic plant management. Regional Manager for AmerAquatic, Inc, managing operations in four offices Stuart, Port Orange and Jacksonville Florida, and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
His career began in 1974 at the Coral Springs Improvement District as an applicator. Then in 1977 moved to the private sector joining Florida Aquatic, which eventually grew out of the state of Florida, then becoming AmerAquatic. AmerAquatic was then sold in 1995.
Helena Chemical Company.(1996-2002). Trace spent five years with Helena Chemical Co. in the Specialty Division in Florida. Providing aquatic and vegetation management expertise to customers across the state. Branch manager in 2000-02. Achieved the Helena Chemical Company Top Gun Award 1998-2002. Sales Person of the Year in 1998.
Clear Waters, Inc. in October 2002- present as a managing partner and Vice President taking over responsibility for Sales and Marketing. Since then developing new business in Right of Way Vegetation Management, Aeration, Fountain Sales and the development of the product Bio-Zyme.
TRM Biologics, LLC. was formed in 2008 to promote the use of Bio-Zyme an all-natural product used for biological augmentation in lakes. A new tool for aquatic management.
Trace was a founding member and has been involved with the Florida Vegetation Management Association as a sponsor and Board member since 1998.
Memberships also include: Florida Aquatic Plant Management Society, Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Foundation, Florida Vegetation Management Association, SePro Preferred Applicator 1996-Present, SePro Preferred Applicator Advisory Board. SePro Stewards of Water Applicator of the Year 2011
Tim McDuffie (Manufacturer-Distributor)
Bio Coming Soon
Josh Campbell (Natural Resources - Uplands)
Bio Coming Soon
Jason graduated from the University of Georgia with a B.S. degree in wildlife biology and forest management in 2001. He has worked as a contract forester for Davey Resource Group with FP&L and Georgia Transmission Cooperation before working for Progress Energy. He is currently a Forester with Duke Energy. Jason is an ISA certified arborist and a licensed state pesticide applicator.
Tamron Fernandez Graduated Missouri Southern State University with a B.S. in Business Management and holds an A.A.S. in Horticulture. Tamron has worked as a trimmer, General Foreman, and Operational Supervisor for Nelson Tree Service and is currently a Vegetation Management Specialist for Duke Energy. Tamron is an ISA Certified Arborist and Utility Arborist as well as a state licensed pesticide applicator.
(At Large #3)
Andrew Seibel is the Environmental Specialist for Florida’s Turnpike. He oversees contracts for herbicide application and natural area maintenance. He also manages landscape installation and landscape maintenance contracts. Andrew has a B.S. degree in Environmental Studies from Florida State University and has worked in vegetation management for over 15 years, focusing primarily in south Florida natural areas. He has been involved with FVMA for years but in 2019 became a member of the Board of Directors.
(At Large #2)
Jack Conroy, is an Area Sales Manager for Bayer Environmental Sciences for Florida and Georgia. His market focus are Aquatics, Roadside, Utility, Brush, bare ground Vegetation management as well as the Range and Pasture industry. Jack has been in the Vegetation management business for over 27 years. He graduated from Florida Southern College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Business Administration specializing in Citrus production. He started his career with Monsanto in the Product development field working with research and development to help develop new post and pre-emergent herbicide products across multiple states. Industry associations include Past Florida Citrus Mutual Executive member, Past County Farm Bureau Director, Past Florida Fertilizer and Agrichemical Association BOD member and Crop Protection Committee President, Florida Aquatic Plant Management Association member and Florida Vegetation Management Association Executive member.
(At Large #5)
Buck Lowery is a graduate of the University of Florida with a B.S. in Natural Resources and Conservation. He has been employed by Gulf Power since 2000 where he spent six years in line construction. In 2006 he joined the Vegetation Management Team, where he has worked as an Arborist. Buck has been an ISA Certified Arborist since 2009 and became a Certified Utility Arborist in 2013. He is a licensed state commercial pesticide applicator. Buck lives on a small farm in Northwest Florida where he enjoys the outdoors with his wife Angie.