Updated January 2015
1000 Friends of Florida maintains an experienced, professional staff to monitor ongoing local, regional and state growth management activities and recommend actions to 1000 Friends’ Board of Directors. The staff also coordinates with other public and private organizations involved in growth management issues.
Ryan Smart, President (Joined 1000 Friends in December 2014)
Ryan works with the Board of Directors to implement the policies and programs of the organization. For two-and-a-half years, Ryan managed the Florida Conservation Coalition (FCC), bringing much-needed attention to some of the most critical issues facing our state, from springs protection to water conservation. By the end of his tenure, Ryan Smart had encouraged more than 50 organizations around the state to join the coalition, and organized events including Speak Up Wekiva, a day-long call to action that attracted thousands of people supporting efforts to protect and restore this impaired river. Prior to his time at FCC, Ryan was a Program and Special Project Director with the Consumer Credit Housing Services of Delray Beach where he assisted with securing and administering a HUD grant for a housing counseling program. This 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization provides a variety of housing services to the local community. Ryan received his Masters of Public Affairs with an emphasis on Florida environmental policy from the University of Florida.
Charles Pattison, FAICP, Policy Director (Joined 1000 Friends in June 1998)
Charles works with Florida’s citizens and communities to promote efforts to build better communities and save special places in Florida. He also works with the state’s executive and legislative branches on land use and long range planning issues. Pattison received his Master’s degree in Urban and Regional planning from the University of North Carolina in 1976. He has thirty-one years experience at private, local, state and regional levels. Prior to joining 1000 Friends of Florida, he served as the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Director for the Division of Resource Planning and Management from 1989 to 1992, he worked as a Field Representative with The Nature Conservancy in Virginia and as Executive Director for the Monroe County Land Authority in the Florida Keys from 1985-87. Pattison is a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners.
Jaimie Ross, Affordable Housing Director (Joined 1000 Friends in July 1991)
Ross is responsible for working with local governments and with the nonprofit and for-profit development communities in the provision of affordable housing through the state’s growth management laws. She promotes affordable housing through policy and administrative advocacy with state, regional and local agencies and by developing other organizations involved in low-income housing issues; providing technical assistance and legal expertise. The affordable housing program receives its primary funding from the Florida Bar Foundation. Before joining 1000 Friends of Florida in 1991, Ross practiced with the Orlando firm of Pleus, Adams & Spears, P.A. The emphasis of her practice was in the area of real estate, land use and local government law. Ross is the director of the Florida Community Land Trust Institute, a collaboration between 1000 Friends of Florida and the Florida Housing Coalition. She chairs the Affordable Housing Committee of the Florida Bar Real Property Probate & Trust Law Section. Ross is the President of the Florida Housing Coalition, and serves on the Board of the Innovative Housing Institute, and the Wachovia National Community Development Advisory Board. She served from 1992-2002 on the Florida Affordable Housing Study Commission and served on the Board of the National Low Income Housing Coalition from 1997- 2003. In 2004, Ross was named a James A. Johnson Community Fellow by the Fannie Mae Foundation for her accomplishments in affordable housing.
Toni Russell, Office Manager (Joined 1000 Friends in January 2015)
Russell assists with development efforts and financial and office management. She also provides administrative support to the President and serves as the liaison to the Board of Directors. She previously served for seven years as Deputy Director of Philanthropy for The Nature Conservancy, where she was responsible for the management of office support for a major gifts fundraising team. She also managed the annual membership renewal process, miscellaneous donor mailings, budgeting, allocation of donor funds and tracking finances. Prior to that she was TNC’s major gifts manager for two years. Earlier, she coordinated membership and development for the Orange County Regional History Center where she assisted in organizing fundraising campaigns and managed special events. She has her B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Florida.
Vivian Young, AICP, Communications Director (Joined 1000 Friends in April 1996)
Vivian handles the communications activities of 1000 Friends. She coordinates publication of the newsletter, Foresight, and annual reports. She works with the media, preparing news releases and op eds on timely issues. She also manages and updates 1000 Friends’ website, administers e-mail alerts, and coordinates the monthly webinar series. Young handles the Better Community Award Program and also assists with fundraising and development activities. Additionally, she coordinates special reports and publications, and undertakes other projects on behalf of the organization. From 1987 until 1996, Young was the planner for the Historic Tallahassee Preservation Board. In that capacity, she worked with the City and County on the development and implementation of the Historic Preservation Plan, ordinance, and economic incentive program, and staffed the Architectural Review Board. From 1984 until 1987 she served as Florida’s first Main Street Coordinator. In 2005 she received an individual achievement award from the Florida Heritage Foundation and Tallahassee Trust for Historic Preservation for her two decades of contributions in historic preservation. She received her Master of Urban Planning degree with honors from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners.
Robert N. Hartsell, P.A. (Of Counsel to 1000 Friends since October 2014)
Recognizing the pressure on Palm Beach County to approve several extremely large developments through the approval process, 1000 Friends has moved into this legal arena be selecting Robert N. Hartsell, P.A. to represent its legal interest there. Mr. Hartsell is the principal in the Law Firm of Robert Hartsell, P.A., a private public interest law firm providing exceptional representation to the environmental community in south Florida. The firm’s primary focus is environmental, land use, zoning, permits, Fair Housing Act and everglades restoration law in South Florida. Click here to find out more.