Agribusiness Advisory Committee

Advisory Committee

We work with the community, and the community works with us too.

Current Members / Emeritus Members

Dr. Greg Adkins Dr. Greg Adkins is a native of Ohio who grew up around that state’s farmland. He graduated from the University of Akron and launched a life-long career as a professional educator. Dr.  Adkins began his 33-year tenure with the School District of Lee County in 1988. During his stint at the Lee County District, he served in a variety of positions including assistant principal, principal, chief of human resources, officer and assistant superintendent for operations. Dr. Adkins retired from the Lee County District on June 30, 2021, after serving as Superintendent of Schools for five-and-a-half years. He and his wife, Teresa, own and operate a farm in Buckingham and enjoy the rural life in that Lee County community.
Jennifer Carpenter

Jennifer Carpenter is the Deputy Executive Director of Conservation and Government Relations for the Florida Chapter of The Nature Conservancy (TNC)—a global non-profit organization dedicated to Conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. At TNC, she oversees the Science and Planning Department, Strategy and Policy Department, Stewardship and Field Programs, and Government Relations.

Prior to joining The Nature Conservancy, Ms. Carpenter spent over two decades with Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection in a variety of roles including the Director of the South District office, where she oversaw implementation of the state’s environmental regulatory programs in the South District.  During her time at DEP, she also worked on large-scale ecosystem restoration projects as well as water quality assessment and restoration work including TMDLs and BMAPS.  Ms. Carpenter has a bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences and a master’s degree in Environmental Science from Florida Gulf Coast University.

Lucas Conran  Lucas Conran is Farm Operations Manager at Lipman Family Farms, North America’s largest integrated, network of growers, fresh-cut processors and distributors of fresh produce. With an impressive 19 year career in farm management, Lucas brings a wealth of experience and expertise to his role at Lipman, where he oversees the day to day operations of cultivation and production of high-quality fruits and vegetables. Over the years, he has held various managerial positions, where he honed his skills in crop production, planning and resource management, and people development. His leadership in farm management is characterized by a focus on continuous improvement, efficiency, productivity, and environmental stewardship. At Lipman, Lucas also works closely with other senior leaders to develop and execute long-term strategies that align with the company’s mission of providing fresh, safe, and nutritious produce to consumers. Lucas' dedication to excellence in farming and his forward-thinking approach have made him a key player in the agricultural industry. Under his leadership, Lipman Family Farms continues to thrive as a leader in sustainable and responsible farming. Lucas is approaching 3 years in his role with Lipman, and prior to, held management roles with Pacific Tomato Growers and Ag Mart Produce.
Ryan Duffy Mr. Duffy serves as the chair of the FGCU Center for Agribusiness Advisory Committee. Director of Corporate Communications, US Sugar Corporation. Duffy holds a master’s in Political Management from George Washington University and a bachelor’s from Florida State University. He is a member of the James Madison Institute Board of Advisors and a member of the Knights of Columbus. He was a recipient of the FSU Alumni Association’s 2013 “30 Under 30” Award and was also named one of Florida Politics’ “30 Under 30” rising stars in Florida politics.
Denise Grimsley 

For eight years, Denise served in the Florida House of Representatives, and has been the only female to ever chair the influential House Appropriations Committee   She then served in the Florida Senate from 2012-2018.  During that time, she chaired several appropriation committees as well as the Energy and Agriculture Committee. During her legislative career, Denise has been recognized by a variety of organizations, including the Florida Chamber of Commerce, for her consistent efforts in fostering an environment for business to prosper.  She is regarded as an expert in state health care policy, a reputation forged out of her concern for patient access to quality, affordable care.  To that point, Denise authored or was a key player in nearly every significant piece of health care legislation passed by the Florida Legislature during her last 8 years in office. A fifth-generation Floridian, Denise Grimsley was born and raised in the Florida’s Heartland.  She graduated from South Florida Community College, Polk Community College and Warner Southern College with degrees in Nursing and Organizational Management. She later earned an MBA from the University of Miami.  In 2013 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters for her work in Health Policy by Nova Southeastern University and in 2018 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Laws by Flagler College. From 2013-2022 she served as a Vice President/Administrator for AdventHealth responsible for the Wauchula and Lake Placid Hospital Campuses as well as several service lines for the Heartland Region. Denise currently serves as the CEO for The Development Group, responsible for growing the economy of Hardee County.

Lindsay M. Harrington

Lindsay M. Harrington has been a Punta Gorda, Florida resident for over 43 years and has been an active supporter of the region and state’s agricultural and marine industries. Born in Charlottesville, VA, he earned a B.A. in business administration from Virginia Commonwealth University, and a M.A. in human resource management from Pepperdine University. Harrington served in the U.S. Air Force and Air Force Reserve for over 13 years. Harrington was elected in 1996 to the Florida House of Representatives, District 72, which included Hardee, DeSoto, and parts of Charlotte and Lee counties. He held leadership roles on the Agriculture, Natural Resources, Education, Policy and Procedures and Budget Committees. Harrington was selected to serve as Speaker Pro Tempore during his 2002-2004 term. Harrington also served on the Punta Gorda City Council for 8 years and as the city’s Mayor from 1995-1996. Harrington served as a FGCU Trustee from 2000-2005 and on the 2016 Presidential Search Committee. He is a Realtor Emeritus having served SW Florida for over 43 years and has held leadership positions in various real estate organizations. He serves on the DeSoto/Charlotte Farm Bureau board. Harrington currently serves as the Vice Chair for the FGCU Center for Agribusiness Advisory Committee. 

Richard W. Johnson  Richard W. “Dick” Johnson, a 5th generation Floridian, currently is First Vice President-Wealth Management for the Johnson Tamney Group at Morgan Stanley based in Lakeland, Florida. He was born and raised on a cattle and citrus farm in Arcadia, an operation which he still owns and manages. Johnson earned his B.A. degree with a concentration in business and economics at St. Leo College. During his senior year, Johnson joined the U.S. Marine Corps and attended Officer 
Candidate School in Quantico, VA. Following a stint in Vietnam and a tour in California, Johnson worked in Dallas and on Wall Street in New York with Electronic Data Systems. In 1977, he joined Smith Barney Harris Upham & Company (now Morgan Stanley). Many of his clients are engaged in agribusiness. Johnson served in the Marine Corps Reserves and retired at the rank of Colonel following 38 years of service. Dick values community service and leadership and is a trustee for St. Leo University.
John Kiernan

John Kiernan leads Alico (NASDAQ-ALCO) as President, CEO and member of the Board of Directors and previously became CFO in 2015.   He also serves as a board member for Codorus Valley Bank (NASDAQ-CVLY) in York, PA and is a member of its Audit, Compensation and Nominating and Governance Committees. Before joining Alico, John worked as the CFO of Greenwich Associates, a private global research-based consulting firm serving the financial services industry. John previously worked as the Treasurer and SVP for Capital Markets & Risk Management for Global Crossing until its $3B sale to Level 3 in 2011. He was also the VP of Investor Relations for Misys plc, which maintained a public listing on the London Stock Exchange and a NASDAQ listing for one of its subsidiaries, and a Director of Corporate Development for IBM.

Earlier in his career, John spent 12 years as an investment banker and specialized in IPOs and M&A for technology companies during his tenure at Bear Stearns, where he earned the title of Managing Director.

John earned a BA in Finance and History summa cum laude from Saint Vincent College, earned an MBA from the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Virginia School of Law. He is a member of New York Bar, a NACD Certified Director, and a Certified Treasury Professional. John is a proud resident of Fort Myers and his wife, Patty, is the Coordinator of Religious Education for St. Cecilia’s Parish.  John is a member of the Florida Land Council and the Urban Land Institute Southeast Florida. He is the past President of the Camp Fire Conservation Fund Inc. and is a current officer and Board of Governor of the Camp Fire Club of America.  For the past 20 years, John has been a board member for Catholic Charities Community Services with the Archdiocese of New York.

Stephen Massie Produce and Sales Manager at Collier Family Farms | Stephen joined Barron Collier Companies in 2013. Stephen has deep roots in the Big-10 where he earned degrees in Communication at The Ohio State University and Strategic Sales and Marketing from Northwestern University.
Paul Meador Paul J. Meador is a 4th generation Florida citrus and vegetable grower who serves as president of multiple companies based in LaBelle, FL. His companies are identified within the umbrella of “Everglades”. Everglades harvests several agricultural commodities throughout the U.S. including Florida citrus, sugarcane, strawberries, corn, peppers tomatoes and other labor - intensive crops. Everglades also transports crops from the farm to the first point of preparation for the market, as well as providing management services for citrus and other specialty crops. The company employs over 2000 full time and seasonal workers. Meador is actively engaged in many regional, state and national agricultural organizations which address a host of issues including his “specialty” in AG labor. He currently serves as Vice Chairman of the Florida Citrus Commission and Vice President of Florida Citrus Mutual. He also serves on the executive boards of the FFVA and National Council of Agricultural Employers. He is past president of the Hendry/Glades County Farm Bureau and past vice president of the GCGA. 
Jeremy Nipper 

Jeremy Nipper serves as the Agriculture Sales Manager at Everglades Equipment Group, overseeing all agricultural equipment sales across its 18 dealerships throughout the state of Florida. His focus lies in introducing innovative equipment technology solutions to Florida's farming landscape. With a marketing degree from Valdosta State University, Jeremy initially began his career at Kennco Manufacturing before transitioning to John Deere Equipment with Everglades. Notably, Jeremy was a member of FFVA Emerging Leaders class 12. Outside of work, he prioritizes family, coaching his sons' football and hockey teams, and enjoying quality time with his wife, Kelly, and their three children: Jadyn, Kamdon, and Kolton.

Lucienne Pears  *coming soon*
Arnie Sarlo

Arnie Sarlo has 30+ year of experience in the cattle and the agricultural industries. During his career, he has held various positions on some of Florida’s largest ranches, including Alico, Babcock and Blue Head Ranches. His career began as a cowboy before working his way up to President and then owner/partner. In 2013, he started his own ranch, S&C Cattle, along with Dick Cuda, former owner and CEO of Babcock Ranch.

Arnie & Dick’s children currently own over 12,000 acres of grazing land in Highlands County. Arnie is a principal and partner of Tarpon Blue family of companies. The Tarpon Blue Family of Companies owns and operates a wide variety of large-scale enterprises that focus on the acquisition and management of agricultural, development, and natural resource assets across the United States, including Tarpon Blue Real Estate, LLC, Tarpon Blue Insurance Advisors, Tarpon Blue Ag BRP-Babcock Ranch and Eco Tours and Collier Enterprises, which owns partnership in Immokalee Ranch, Tamiami Citrus and Legacy Partners. Arnie earned a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Florida and a Masters in Business Administration from Florida Gulf Coast University. Arnie serves as a Florida Cattlemen’s Association State Director and serves on the Finance Board at His church, St Vincent DePaul in Alva Fl. He and his wife Dayna have been married for 35 years and have 3 children and 2 grandchildren.

Wayne Simmons Wayne H. Simmons is a citrus grower, a certified crop advisor, a timber farmer and realtor with several years of experience in Southwest Florida. He is President and owner of Simmons Family Grove, Inc., and owner and manager of LaBelle Fruit Company, LLC. In addition, he is a Broker Associate of Southern Heritage Real Estate in LaBelle. Simmons attended Abraham Baldwin Agriculture College and graduated from the University of Florida with a B.S. degree in fruit crops. Simmons has served in several leadership positions including past president of the Gulf Citrus Growers Association and currently as the association’s secretary. Simmons was elected to the Farm Credit of Florida board in 2014 and continues to serve in this leadership role. He is chair of the Credit/Lending Committee and serves on the organization’s Governance and Executive Committees. He is a past director of the Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF), where he served on several operating committees. Simmons is a member of the Hendry/Glades Farm Bureau and the Realtors Land Institute.
Richie Sowell General Manager at Scotlynn USA in Fort Myers. Richie is a native Floridian born and raised in rural Madison, FL. Former FGCU baseball player. Earned his B.A. in History from Valdosta State University in Valdosta, GA.  Moved to Fort Myers in 2012 and started with Scotlynn as a Logistics Account Manager where he worked with several major food manufacturers throughout the U.S. and Canada. In January of 2020, was promoted to General Manager of the third Fort Myers office and led a successful sales team to producing the highest level of service in refrigerated and dry food transportation.
Rachel Syngo 

Rachel graduated from FGCU in 2009 with her bachelor’s degree. She is a proud Eagle and still a resident of Fort Myers, FL. Rachel works for Melon1, a grower, packer and shipper of watermelons on the East Coast of the U.S. She is the currently the Chief Marketing Officer. In addition to her involvement at FGCU, she is on the Executive Committee of the National Watermelon Association, and a member of the Board of Directors for the National Watermelon Promotion Board.

Aaron Troyer President, Troyer Brothers, Fort Myers, FL | Troyer Brothers is a third – generation family owned and operated company. Troyer Brothers specializes in producing the highest quality, best tasting red, yellow, white, and purple potato varieties in winter and spring. All varieties are gluten -free, non-GMO verified and developed using traditional plant breeding techniques.