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Contact:           Pete Winton, Lee County Administration

(941) 335-2777    

COUNTY DEPARTMENT HEADS NAMED AREA “MEN & WOMEN OF THE YEAR”

FORT MYERS, Fla. (October 4, 2002) – Three Lee County Government department heads have been selected by Gulfshore Life Magazine as among its 12 “Men & Women of the Year” in Southwest Florida.  All are honored in the October issue and received a trophy at an award’s ceremony last night at the Mediterra in Naples.

The honor is the magazine’s annual tribute to those in our area who show success in their private pursuits as well as a healthy interest and influence in the public sphere.  Many in this year’s group, according to the magazine, moved to Southwest Florida from somewhere else yet “want to preserve the good things that brought them here – balancing a healthy environment with a vibrant economy.”

Honored from the county were: Wayne Daltry, Smart Growth Director; Janet Watermeier, Economic Development Director; and D.T. Minich, Director of the Visitor & Convention Bureau.

Other honorees were Clotilde Otranto, Ed Carlson, Lois Thome, Ben Hill Griffin III, Gary M. Sandor, Mary Susan Gallien-Clinton, Mayor Paul D. Pass, Kim Cliett Long and John R. Wood.

Daltry was tapped in February to head the county’s newly created Smart Growth Department and shepherd the citizen Smart Growth Advisory Committee through a process to make recommendations that help balance quality of life, the economy and our environment heading into the future.  Well-known in Southwest Florida, he was formerly executive director of the Regional Planning Council for 20 years and worked for the agency for 27 years.  He is a graduate of The Citadel and has a master’s in planning from Florida State University.

Watermeier has been director of the Economic Development Office of Lee County since 1995, working to bring new business to the area and help existing businesses expand.  Last December, Governor Jeb Bush appointed her to a two-year term on the Florida Transportation Commission – giving Southwest Florida and Lee County an important voice in statewide transportation matters.  She also is chair of Enterprise Florida’s Marketing Committee, vice president of programs for the Florida Economic Development Council and is a member of the Southwest Florida Transportation Initiative and Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council.

Minich has been director of the county VCB for two years and also served as deputy director during his 10 years with the department.  During his tenure the agency has successfully expanded the local tourism economy and won numerous state and national awards for its marketing and promotion efforts.  Minich is a graduate of the International Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus’ (IACVB) executive program in destination management and received his Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME) designation in 1998.

“These honors are reflective of the high quality employees working for Lee County Government and their dedication and commitment to our community,” said County Manager Don Stilwell.