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.
Matt Caldwell A 7th generation Floridian, Mr. Caldwell is a former member of the Florida House of Representatives from 2010 until 2018. He chaired several committees related to agriculture, natural resources, public lands, transportation, and governmental. Specifically, he oversaw the Agriculture and Natural Resources committee and was its chair during his last two terms. Mr. Caldwell received his Associates Degree from Edison College and his Bachelor of Arts in History from Florida Gulf Coast University. Prior to serving in the Florida House, he pursued a career as a real estate appraiser with Maxwell & Hendry Valuation Services in Fort Myers. He has attained the highest appraiser certification and is qualified as an expert witness in multiple states and in federal court. In 2019, Mr. Caldwell became a partner in TM Strategic Consulting. In 2020, Matt was elected to serve as the Lee County Property Appraiser, following the retirement of 40-year incumbent Ken Wilkinson. Matt is a current board member and past chairman of the FGCU Center for Agribusiness Advisory Committee and also serves on the board of the Florida Association of Property Appraisers, Florida State Parks Foundation, and the Richloam Museum.
Miller Couse Chairman of the Board at First Bank, Clewiston, Florida. In 2012 Mr. Couse served as Chairman and treasurer of the FGCU Foundation Board. He also is Chairman, President and CEO of Pioneer Bankcorp, Inc.
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.
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 regions 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. 

Joe Hilliard, II Partner in Hilliard Brothers of Florida, LTD. Hilliard served as president of the Florida Cattlemen's Association, and on the board of directors of the Gulf Citrus Growers Association.
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.
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 provides 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. 
Stacy Mello Sr. Director of Ranches and Resource Management for A. Duda & Sons, Inc. Previous she served as Duda’s senior Director for Planning and Communication. DUDA is a diversified land company, headquartered in Oviedo, Florida, with agricultural and real estate operations. Mello began her 20-year career in 1996 as a marketing manager in her family’s sod business. Her talents shifted in 2004 to support the corporate strategic planning area.  In her current role, Mello is part of DUDA’s senior management team and works closely with the executive team and various governance leaders. In addition, she serves as chair of the Duda Family Council. Ms Mello earned a bachelor’s degree in 1995 from the University of Florida’s Food and Resource Economics Department.
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.
Dr. Ken Smith Florida Gulf Coast University Trustee, 2015 through 2020. Dr. Smith is partner/owner, President & CEO of the Tarpon Blue family of companies involved in real estate, land & resource management, and insurance. The company also oversees the 70,000-acre Babcock Ranch Preserve in Charlotte County with operations involving cattle ranching, land management, vegetable farming, sod, and Eco-tourism. Previously, Dr. Smith served as the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Alico, Inc.; as the Vice President of Agricultural Operations for the Atlantic Blue Group, Inc., and in numerous management positions for Purina Mills. Dr. Smith also serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for The Nature Conservancy. He has BS and MS degrees from West Texas State University in Animal Science and a Ph.D. from Texas Tech University.
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.
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.
Jaime Weisinger Director of Community Relations and Government Relations, Lipman Produce. He is a 4th generation Lipman family member, serves on the Lipman Board of Directors, and presently manages the company’s real estate holdings as well. Lipman is the largest open field grower and distributor of fresh tomatoes in North America with 28 locations throughout the country, including greenhouse growing operations in Canada and the Midwest. In 2017, Governor Rick Scott appointed Mr. Weisinger as one of 9 members of the governing board of the South Florida Water Management District and served until 2019. He also serves on the Government Relations Committee with the United Fresh Produce Association and Florida Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association respectively. In his community role, he is a member of the executive board of the Redlands Christian Migrant Association (RCMA), FGCU’s Athletic Advisory Council, Naples Botanical Gardens, the Farm City BBQ executive board, and led Lipman’s annual backpack giveaway events that have raised over $200,000 and distributed over 8,500 school kits to students in Collier County over the last 7 years. Mr. Weisinger earned a BS degree in Finance from Boston University in 1992. Mr. Weisinger is a current board member and past chairman of the FGCU Center for Agribusiness Advisory Committee.

October 27, 2023