The P.I.E. Board of Directors has a minimum of 9 and a maximum of 13 volunteers serving each year. Yearly elections are held at the Annual Membership Meeting in January. Ballots are included with our membership renewal forms.
Lou Ellen Wilson - President
I came to Florida in 1965 therefore my two sons call themselves native Floridians. Settled in the Tampa area and found my first piece of “Old Florida” on two acres on the Little Manatee River in Ruskin.
In 1972 went to work for the developers of Sun City Center. Working as the administrative assistant to the owners, I quickly saw the opportunity to work with the residents and attorneys forming the condominiums association and then homeowner associations. Promotions came fast – including manager of the condominium section called Kings Point, then promoted to Vice President of amenity operations – this included responsibility for the golf courses; clubhouses; forming, managing and turning over to resident control all condominiums, homeowner associations and working with governmental agencies.
In 1982 was promoted to Senior Vice President of Sunmark Homes when the corporation was sold to the Palmieri Group. Our team managed 8 large planned unit communities. I responsible for all amenity operations. 1989 was sold again to WCI and in 1990 decided that I would start my own consultant and homeowner management company – L.E. Wilson & Associates. Company portfolio grew to 110 communities (representing over 15,000 homes) with ten employees when I sold in 2015.
I built my “rental/vacation/retirement” home on the north end of Anna Maria Island in 1982. After serving on the Planning and Zoning Board for two years, realized there was nothing I could do to stop my dream island from becoming the vacation spot of the world with it taking sometimes during season 2-1/2 hrs. to go the last 7 miles to my home. So, in 2013 sold and purchased my home at 65 Palm Drive becoming a full- time resident in 2016.
I currently volunteer one day a week at the CARE (Center for Abuse & Rape Emergencies) office in Englewood, play bridge, yoga, bible studies and my beach walks are priceless. Also serve on the steering committee for Island Fellowship Church.
I desire a board position because I would welcome an opportunity to work with other residents of the island, local and state governmental agencies to ensure that our unique island remains “Old Florida” where people, native wild life and plants co-exist in harmony.
Heather Stout - Vice President
I am excited to have an opportunity to serve on the PIE Board. My husband Ben and I along with our son Teegan visited this island in 2012 and we were hooked! We made a plan, worked our plan and 3 yrs later here we are, full time island residents. I just can't imagine a more wonderful place to raise our son. We love the family feel of the island and have made wonderful friends on the island. I have worn a few hats over the years, I grew up in the family business of raising, training and showing Quarter Horses. I have had the joy of working in the creative field of special event management (think weddings and parties) and I worked my way up to Regional Director of a property management company that focused on college markets. I am now blessed to be a full time mom to our 6 yr old son Teegan and I can say with glee in my heart I have become a darn good fish catcher. My husband Ben is an oil response Boat Captain so he helps keep our beautiful Gulf of Mexico waters clean and safe. Ben and I see this island as our forever home and we want to preserve the wonder and beauty we experienced the very first time we backed off the ferry. I feel becoming a member of the PIE board will allow me to learn from those who have worked to be good stewards of the island and allow me to have a hand in preserving this paradise.
Pat Gordon - Secretary
I am a genuine Florida native, living here on Don Pedro full-time since 1998. I have served on the PIE board for 17 years as Secretary, President, and Treasurer. I have been a member of the Sea Turtle Patrol for 19 years as well as the Gopher Tortoise Team since its inception. Hobbies and interests include tennis, reading, Bridge, island landscaping, and rescue of injured critters. I support maintaining a clean environment while living the island life style we currently enjoy…it is why we all live here!
Meryl Schaffer - Corresponding Secretary
I have been a resident of Don Pedro Island since 2000. In 2003, I began publishing "Spindrift -- the Island Times," which became the official printed newsletter of PIE for 3 consecutive years. I have been a volunteer in the community as part of the Turtle Patrol, a member of the Island Advisory Committee and served on the PIE Board from 2004-2007. Upon returning to the Board in 2012, I served as Vice President of the Board and designed the first update for the PIE website which was launched in 2013. I remained the "PIE Webmistress" through 2015 handling email correspondence to keep PIE in touch with members and Island homeowners. I love the Island and enjoy contributing to the community in any way I can.
Lindsay Yates - Treasurer
After many years of searching for “Old Florida” and thinking that it no longer existed, my husband Jon Goranson and I discovered this wonderful island in the late 1990s and purchased a vacation home in 2001. We were able to make the transition to full-time residency in 2008, leaving behind 40 long, cold winters (and cold springs and cold falls) in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. I have been fortunate to be able to continue working as an accountant for my long-time Colorado employer, a company with diverse interests in mining, ranching and land development. On the island I am currently on the Sea Turtle Patrol and the Roads and Bridges Committee. I am interested in preserving and protecting the natural island environment. I have long been a supporter of PIE, have been a volunteer worker for many PIE functions, and look forward to having an opportunity to work on advancing the common interests of the island residents by serving on the PIE board.
Craig Baresel - Director
My partner Teressa Fesperman and I discovered and became full time residents of this wonderful island paradise in late 2016. Teressa and I met in North Carolina 18 years ago. Her family is still there although we are trying to convince her son with our 2 and 3 year old grandbaby girls to move here. I grew up in a small town in northern Illinois. I went to the University of Illinois and received a degree in Economics. I moved to Jacksonville FL to accept my first sales job. I then took a job with Genuine Parts Company (NAPA) which began a 36 year career with them from which I retired in 2015. With GPC I was transferred 7 times all across the United States. My most recent position was President/General Manager of NAPA Atlanta. I was responsible for roughly $130 million in sales, the resulting profits, over 500 employees, 45 corporate NAPA Auto Part stores, and financial advisor for 47 owners of 83 independently owned NAPA stores. I particularly liked working with the front line people, store owners, and customers. Teressa and I have met so many nice people here. We enjoy walking, riding bikes, kayaking, and boating around the island. We are very much looking forward to contributing and being a part of the island community.
Candyce Cohen - Director
My husband David and I stumbled on Palm Island in the summer of 1990 and bought an Island House unit before the year was out. We both worked crazy hours in Tampa/St. Pete and made our way to the island most weekends to decompress. Our first island outing was a FART party to support the volunteer Island Fire and Rescue Team where we met many locals dedicated to saving our paradise. Many may remember my parents, Nancy and Blackie Hunt, who became full-time islanders in 1991. We followed soon thereafter and became full-time islanders in the early 1996 and were blessed to have so many years with my parents before they passed. My mom loved walking the beach, her orchids and bridge with the girls, my dad loved telling tall tales at Rum Bay.
David and I met in New College and married long ago. We ended up working together a dozen years which is quite an accomplishment itself, but we are both sworn to secrecy about what that is really like! It did allow us to travel together across 6 continents for our work in financial technologies, but the island has always been our favorite place in the world - even in the summer! In addition to our day to day work, we are both very active in fundraising for the Light of Day Foundation, a charity organized to use the awesome power of music to raise money and awareness for the fight against Parkinson’s and related diseases. A few years ago, we began hosting some of our favorite NY and NJ musicians for a Parkinson’s Concert, Light of Day Palm Island, to share our love of music and to help raise funds to fight this terrible disease. The concert has become one of those very special evenings on the island and it usually gets more than a few of us dancing. In our “spare” time, I love island sunsets, tending to my orchids, live music, collecting bling from half marathons, scuba diving and baking.
I always thought my unpredictable work travel schedule would prohibit me from doing more with PIE, but today’s technology allows participation with the monthly board and committee meetings from any location. It’s about time I did more to help protect, preserve and prioritize this little piece of paradise I’ve called home the last twenty-odd years! My concerns and interests range from the administrative and accounting oversight on costs allocated to our MSBU/MSTU (I serve on the Barrier Islands Fire Service Unit advisory board) to addressing the issues with postal code verifications required by the Patriot Act which cause chaos for islanders who try to use many computer-based systems from Rocket Mortgage and Zillow to your insurance underwriters. As a director, I hope to use my computer “geekiness” to help the island face the changes that we can’t avoid with the least disruption to our peaceful, native island lifestyle.
Linda Cotherman - Director
Born in a small town near Buffalo N.Y., I discovered the Island in 1974 and moved with my husband and two children into our almost finished, before the ferry, self-built house in 1979. My daughter Kelly was 10 and son Cory was 8. They both graduated from Lemon Bay High School and continue to visit with their children.
I’ve had many occupations over the years, including being a general contractor, septic tank and drain field designer/installer, day care operator, project manager for a local engineering and surveying firm, pub owner/operator, and charter fishing captain/mate on Boca Grande and in Key West.
I attended college in Buffalo as well as Edison and Gulf Coast Universities in Fort Myers, receiving an AS degree in Paralegal Studies. I am presently pursuing a degree in psychology. I have also volunteered for Habitat for Humanity International, Red Cross Disaster Preparedness and am now a Guardian ad Litum for Children in the foster care system in Charlotte and Lee County. I was honored to be recognized by the United Way of Charlotte County by receiving a 2016-2017 Community Spirit Award and Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition.
Here on the Island I was involved in establishing the Island Fire Brigade, and was in the first class of volunteer firefighters; and the establishment of PIE, being on the original board of directors. I went with two other islanders to Tallahassee to testify before the Public Service Commission in protest of the proposed water rate increase. I participate in our Gopher Tortoise Team and Sea Turtle Patrol. I am presently a board member of the Bocilla Islands Conservancy and the Chairperson of the Charlotte County” Road and Bridges” Advisory Committee. I love our Island and hope to continue my involvement to keep it our little bit of Paradise.
Sally Johnson - Director
Living on our Island is a blessing and I often reflect on how fortunate we are to have found this amazing place to call our home. My husband and I have been here since 2002. The moment we took the ferry across and saw the beautiful beach, the natural environment and met our neighbors, we knew we found paradise.
Before arriving on Knight Island I owned an acting studio in New York City called, “The Sally Johnson Studios”. I ran this successful business training actors for over 20 years. I also acted myself in many national commercials.
I have been a board member of PIE for 6 years. I am the Chair for “Info-Central.” Information regarding, taxes, roads, dredging Stump Pass, beach renourishment, Fire and Police protection, Panama Road parking and other concerns have been addressed over the years. When PIE members are concerned about an issue we attempt to have the person in charge come speak to us and answer our questions. The first month of this year, we will have our new Fire Chief Bill Van Helden and County Commissioner Bill Truex as speakers.
My concerns and interests while serving on the PIE Board will continue to be: environment
property taxes, insurance costs, police coverage during high occupancy times of the year, water rates and service, beach renourishment and ourEMT/Fire protection.
I hope to continue being on the board and providing information about the interests and concerns you might have while living here.
Cori Palmere - Director
I had a rewarding 25 year career in elementary education in Michigan with special training and emphasis in Gifted and Talented Services. During this time I lead many academic and social committees and served on district-wide boards including curriculum council and long range planning. A fellow teacher invited me to join a group that rented one of the “browns” on Don Pedro for spring break in the early 1990’s. The island’s spell had me that first trip and I have been back each year since. My husband and I bought our beach house here two years ago. We also have a home in New Jersey where we spend summers and the winter holidays with family and friends. Some interests of mine include acting with the Royal Palm Players on Boca Grande and Lemon Bay Playhouse in Englewood, playing tennis, traveling, quilting and riding around the island on my bicycle. As a P.I.E board member I will work to preserve what is special about our island and collaborate with P.I.E. members to address challenges of the future.