Who’s Who In the Loop
Meet Our Hard-Working Team of Volunteers
President | Co-founder | Director
Marguerite (Maggie) Ellen Ardito
Maggie is a passionate and active advocate for trails and cycling. She believes that active mobility and safe, bikable, walkable places, are keys to a healthy, active, self-reliant, sustainable and equitable future for individuals and communities. She advocates low-speed pedal-assist bicycles (Class 1 e-bikes also called ped-elecs), cargo bikes, folding bikes and other personal transportation innovations that can enable replacing car-trips with healthier options for people and the planet. In addition to her dedicated work with the River to Sea Loop Alliance, she also serves on the board of directors for the River of Lakes Heritage Corridor Florida National Scenic Byway, which follows the path of the Loop.
After a long career with high-tech companies such as Harris and Computer Sciences, and owning a government contracting company that specialized in data and knowledge management, she is now enjoying an active semi-retirement. In 2004, after 35 years as a software and systems engineer that included 3 year tours in Munich and Seoul, she founded a company specializing in enterprise information architecture and semantic technologies, providing consulting services to help national intelligence agencies make better more actionable use of intel. Since retiring, she and her husband Jim have focused on cycle touring, and trail exploration and advocacy. They have explored many of the destination trails in Europe and North America, studying various approaches to afety and bike-friendliness. The photo was taken at Green Springs Volusia County Park. Maggie hails from Missoula, MT, holds degrees in math and computer science from the University of Denver, with graduate studies at Purdue and Rutgers, and lives in Deland, FL.
Wendy Anderson, PhD
Dr. Anderson serves as an elected official on the Volusia Soil and Water Conservation District. In that role, she aims to facilitate partnerships throughout the county and across counties to protect Central Florida’s water resources, support local farmers, and promote sustainable communities, including advocating for safe, non-motorized transportation options. She is eager to support the work of the St Johns River- to-Sea Loop Alliance!
She is the former Chair of the Department of Environmental Science and Studies at Stetson University. Dr. Anderson has helped grow the environmental programs and establish the allied programs in Sustainable Food Systems and Environmental Health. She is an environmental scientist and educator who focuses on future environmental leaders, maintaining biodiversity, and promoting sustainable businesses and communities. Her areas of scientific expertise include nutrient flow through ecosystems, strategies for maintaining biodiversity, and promoting sustainable businesses and communities. As a Professor and the former Chair of the Department of Environmental Science and Studies at Stetson University, Dr. Anderson has helped grow the environmental programs and establish the allied programs in Sustainable Food Systems and Environmental Health. She also co-led the launch of Stetson’s Institute for Water and Environmental Resilience in 2015, and contributed to the planning of the new Sandra Stetson Aquatic Center at Lake Beresford, which showcases green infrastructure, a native botanical garden including pollinator gardens, bioswales, and nutrient management strategies for stormwater ponds.
Jason Aufdenberg, PhD
Trained as an astrophysicist, Jason has been a professor of physics and astronomy at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach since 2006. He has been bicycling for transportation for over 20 years and has served on the River-to-Sea Transportation Planning Organization’s Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee, representing Volusia-at-Large, since 2012. He is a member of the League of American Bicyclists and attended his first National Bike Summit in 2015. He tweets at @bicycledaytona and blogs at bicycledaytona.org.
Jason thinks cargo bikes are the wave of the future and enthusiastically supports the “Less Car More Go” kickstarter project to document on film the cargo-bike boom which became the MOTHERLOAD documentary, of which Jason is a co-producer. He is interested in safer streets for people who bike, walk and roll, and in traffic-stress maps to help cities create comfortable bicycle networks and direct resources to linking low traffic-stress neighborhoods. Jason supports Cycling Savvy education to build rider confidence and safety when and where infrastructure lets cyclists down.
Jerry Mayes is Deltona’s Economic Development & Ecological Tourism Sustainability Manager. He has a passion for making Deltona an Eco-Tourism destination and his vision for Lake Monroe/Lakeshore Drive and the Deltona world class trail and park network is a key component in Deltona’s economic future. His vision includes connecting the St Johns River-to-Sea Loop/Coast to Coast trail to the Lake Butler Chain of Lakes, Rookery, Blueways Trails and access to Deltona’s Nature Parks throughout the City. Deltona has more than 100 miles of bike lanes and trails making cycling one of the best ways to take it all in. Many of these bikeways run right through the heart of Deltona’s Nature Parks and past popular attractions, shops and restaurants.
With a background in Applied Economics and Finance and Degrees in History and English, Jerry is very active in Volusia County, ensuring that the Deltona message is heard through involvement in many organizations related to economic initiatives. In addition to the River to Sea Loop he is involved with Team Volusia, CEO Business Alliance, Townhall Workshops, Chambers of Commerce, and many others.
AICP | Director
B. Kraig McLane
Kraig has advocated and actively worked on the expansion of rail trails and multipurpose trails since 1987. Projects and visions include the Withlacoochee State Trail, Lake City to St. Augustine Rail Trail, St. Johns River to Sea Loop Trail, and Putnam County, Florida’s Trail Hub and associated trail master plan (2009). He believes that multifaceted community support is essential. Prior to work to promoting trails in NE Florida, he has served as board member for Friends of the Withlacoochee State Trail. In NE Florida, he was the chairman of NE Florida Associated Trails. Inc., facilitator for Leaders of the Lake City to St. Augustine Rail Trail, president and board member Florida Chapter-Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, co-chair NE Florida Regional Greenways Task Force (DEP), chair Putnam County Chamber of Commerce’s trail development committee, and vice-chair Putnam County Waterways and Trail Committee (advisory to BCC), and is active member of Putnam Blueways and Trails Citizens Support Organization.
He was recognized as the Florida Trail Leader of the year by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (2004), Founders Award by Bike Florida and Florida Bicycle Association (2016), and Trail Promoter of the Year (2018) by Florida Bicycle Association. He grew up in Tampa, Florida, holds a BS in Geography and MS in Urban and Regional Planning (FSU), historic family ties in Florida and Montana, and has enjoyed hiking, bicycling, and backpacking trails across the U.S., as well as Italy, Scotland, and Canada. He currently lives on the Palatka-to-Lake Butler State Trail in Carraway, FL with his wife Betty, daughter Laura Ann and son Alan Graham.
Pat Northey served as a Volusia County Council Member from January 1993 through December 2004 and January 2007 through December 2014 as an At-Large member and District 5 representative to the Volusia County Council. During her 20 years of elected service, Ms. Northey represented Volusia County on the River to Sea TPO, twice serving as Chair of the Board. In addition, she served on many local and state regional transportation boards and initiatives including Chair and member of the Central Florida MPO Alliance; FDOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Partnership Council and FDOT Strategic Intermodal System Steering Committee.
Pat is a long-time trails advocate and is widely known as “The Volusia Trail Queen”. She was a primary moving force for the selection of the St Johns River-to-Sea Loop as a Florida SUNTrail Priority Trail. Many trails bear Pat’s name in Volusia County including the including the Pat Northey Trail that heads north from Lake Monroe Park past Gemini Springs and the Pat Northey Trail in Holly Hill.
AICP | RLA | Director
Karl is vice president of landscape architecture and graphics at ETM, Inc. He has built a strong reputation as the designer of public spaces. His 19 years of experience in landscape architecture have included the development of parks and recreational facilities, transit planning, trail development, and private developments.
He has overseen many large scale landscape and planning projects. His specialties include: site planning, project visioning, transit planning, trail planning, landscape design, hardscape design, wayfinding plans, graphics, and project sustainability.
In addition to his professional experience, Karl is involved with several local and national organizations including: Trail Council membership for the East Coast Greenway Alliance, St. Johns River Alliance Board, and Florida Water Star Technical Advisory Committee.
Co-Founder | Past President
Herbert Lewis Hiller, JD
Herb is Co-Founder and Past President of the St Johns River-to-Sea Loop Alliance, and a well-known advocate of ecotourism, trails and bicycling. In the early 1970s as executive director of the Caribbean Travel Association, he became an early leader in ecotourism. In 1977 he led modern-day revival of the Florida bicycling movement. He was the original visionary of the St Johns River-to-Sea Loop and has been advocating its development since 2008. His writing and advocacy have launched the Florida bicycling, bed-&-breakfast and urban tourism movements. He has served as Southeast Region Program Consultant for the East Coast Greenway Alliance and consulted with various preservation and tourism companies.
Additionally, he has sat on the boards of the Florida Humanities Council, St. Johns River Alliance and the Florida Greenways and Trails Foundation. He’s written 2 top-award winning books and his articles have appeared in American Trails, The Atlantic, National Geographic Traveler, Land & People, and Florida Trend. He grew up on Long Island, NY, and lives in DeLand.
Tony Abbott, PhD
Tony Abbott is a Professor of Environmental Science and Studies at Stetson University, serving as its director from 2005 to 2014. His eclectic research interests include sustainable agriculture and agrodiversity, landscaping for energy conservation, social conflict emerging from the siting of wind power facilities, environmental and cultural impacts of surfing culture, sustainability in the university setting, and most recently William Bartram as a subject for heritage tourism. His work with William Bartram landed Abbott on the board of the River of Lakes Heritage Corridor. His work in Latin America informs his service with the Florida-Colombia chapter of Partners of the Americas. His GIS students have supported the mapping work of the St Johns River-to-Sea Loop Alliance for years. His interest in cycling and cycling activism emerges from his lifestyle as a pedestrian and cycle commuter. Abbott’s dedication to cycling culture developed through owning a crate bike as a child and, as an adult, cycle-commuting in Atlanta and Athens, GA, Minneapolis, MN (year-round) and in Ecuador. He continues to commute by foot or bicycle year-round.
Christine is a Sports Event Manager for runDisney at the Walt Disney World Resort where she payed an integral role in planning and executing youth and amateur sporting events and road races for the past 22 years. She hails from Peralta, NM just south of Albuquerque, where she graduated from the University of New Mexico. She is a proud aunt to five nieces and nephews.
Christine has been and avid cyclist for as long as she can remember, using her bike as a way to stay active and explore her surroundings. In 2020, she logged over 2,500 miles on bike trails in Florida, Colorado and New Mexico, enjoying the unqiueness and beauty that each has to offer, and sharing that enjoyment with others. Chrisine has loved biking some of the amazing trails Florida currently has to offer, and she looks forward to exploring more trails – both existing in devleopment. .
Christine lives in the Davenport with her two dogs Chewie and Champ – who also enjoys exploring new bike trails from the comfort of his very own bike basket.
Laine Berman, PhD
Laine Berman, PhD, has just moved to DeLand after a long career as social researcher, post disaster first responder in violence prevention, and professor of Asian Languages and Studies. Laine was born in New York but left the US in 1977 and made her home in Indonesia since 1981. She has led research and evaluation teams in West Africa, Ethiopia, Uganda, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Thailand, Timor Leste, the US and Australia.
Laine has been an avid bicyclist for many years as well as an organic urban farmer and community activist. In DeLand she is a volunteer Guardian ad Litem (court certified child protection advocate), and either on her bike somewhere or at home slowly converting her Florida lawns into productive food forests.
Dan Burden is the Director of Innovation and Inspiration at Blue Zones, as well as cofounder and former Executive Director of the Walkable and Livable Communities (WALC) Institute, a nonprofit organization that works throughout North America and the world to create healthy, connected communities that support active living and advance opportunities for all people through walkable streets, livable cities, and better built environments. In his work, Dan brings together many disciplines and issues, such as street design, public safety, economic development and land-use planning, to create a holistic vision for healthy communities that are pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly. He is considered an international expert in walkability, bikeability, traffic calming, and road diets. Burden has spent more than 40 years helping to get the world ‘back on its feet.’ His efforts earned him the first-ever lifetime-achievement award, issued by the New Partners for Smart Growth and the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals. Additionally, in 2001, Burden was named by TIME magazine as ‘one of the six most important civic innovators in the world.’ Also that year, he became Distinguished Lecturer for the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences. In 2009, a user poll by Planetizen named him one of the Top 100 Urban Thinkers of all time.
In the 1970s, Burden co-founded Bikecentennial which later became Adventure Cycling, along with his wife Lys, and he led a bicycling expedition from Alaska to Argentina. He and Lys also worked with 90 governmental agencies to develop the longest recreation trail in the world: the 4,300-mile-long TransAmerica Bicycle Trail. In 1977, Burden worked to create the Bicycle Federation of America and served as its director for its first two years of operation. Beginning in 1980, he served as the country’s first statewide Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator, which soon became a model for other statewide programs throughout the nation. Dan lives in Port Townsend, WA.
Linda Crider, PhD
Linda Crider has been advocating cycling and trails in Florida for nearly 40 years. She is the former Executive Director of Bike Florida and former FBA president and board member. In 2012 she was honored with Rails To Trails Conservancy’s National Trail Champion Award. She studied at the University of Florida and resides in Palatka.
Steven Davis, PLA
Steven Davis is a landscape architect with the City of Jacksonville Planning & Development Department and a lifelong advocate of cultural, heritage, rural and nature tourism.
Mr. Davis served for three years on the East Coast Greenway Alliance Trail Council where he assisted with route identification, trail designation, and grant writing.
In 2011, Steven’s work on the Florida Civil War Center was published by the American Society of Landscape Architects when he combined a trail-supported tourism destination (TSTD) with green infrastructure and stormwater management. He is also the landscape architect of record for two award-winning Jacksonville TSTDs: Castaway Island Preserve and Camp Milton Historic Preserve.
Steven lives in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL where his daily multi-modal commute includes bike, bus, and skyway transportation. Education: Michigan State University, Bachelor of Landscape Architecture
Ryan Gravel, AICP, LEED AP, is the founding principal of Sixpitch and creator of the Atlanta Beltline, the reinvention of a 22-mile circle of railroads that began as the subject of his master’s thesis. A designer, urban planner, and writer, he is increasingly called to speak to audiences across the world on topics as wide ranging as transportation, public health, affordable housing and urban regeneration. Ryan lives with his family in Atlanta.
Atlanta Beltline is changing both the physical form of his city and the decisions people make about living there. Now a $4 billion public-private investment in the early stages of implementation, the project’s health and economic benefits are already evident through record-breaking use of its first section of mainline trail and $3.1 billion of private sector redevelopment since 2005.
Ryan has received numerous awards and press related to his work on the Atlanta Beltline and tells his story internationally, but an essential aspect of his work is yet to come. Alongside project work at Sixpitch and research on similar “catalyst infrastructure” projects around the world, he makes a compelling case about what this movement means and why it matters. In his book, “Where We Want to Live,”, Ryan investigates the cultural side of infrastructure, describing how its intimate relationship with our way of life can illuminate a brighter path forward for cities.
Emery Jeffreys retired after more than 40 years as a news reporter, editor, photographer and network news producer. Despite retirement he continues to write and edit for others.
He began his career at his hometown daily newspaper, The Logan Banner. Less than a month on the job he covered his first national disaster, the Buffalo Creek Flood, when a coal mine retention pond collapsed unleashing a 30-foot wall of water that left 4,000 people homeless and killed 125 people. He covered the aftermath of the mud, muck and misery for years.
After West Virginia he later worked as a reporter for the famed United Press International wire service. Jeffreys has written about war, insurrections, death, destruction, hurricanes, epic bankruptcies and falls from grace. At UPI he covered the ramp-up to the first Gulf War.
His articles and photos have been published in the L.A. Times, New York Times, Detroit Free Press, and Stars and Stripes. His photos of the Buffalo Creek Flood were published in best seller “Death On Buffalo Creek” by Tom Nugent. Jeffreys has reported from several foreign counties including Cuba, Honduras, Nicaragua and armed services ships at sea.
After UPI, he worked as a business editor at the Daytona Beach News-Journal. Later he worked for Time Warner, it’s successor Bright House Networks. He retired as a senior news producer from Central Florida News 13.
He cycles on a nearly daily basis on the Lake Beresford Park trail and the Gemini Springs trail between Lake Monroe and Osteen. Most days he is content to enjoy the views and feel the breeze.
“Everyone I meet has a story to tell — some tragic, some entertaining and all worth telling,” Jeffreys said. “Cyclist, walkers and runners on The St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop has had an adventure worth telling.”
Jeffreys and his wife, Nancy, make their home in Orange City, three-quarters of a mile from The Loop.
Emanuelle D “Mani” Rodríguez Muñiz
Mani Rodríguez is a Professional Engineer (in the State of Florida and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico) in the Transportation Planning and Traffic Operations field. Mani has five-plus years of experience working in various transportation studies and projects varying in scope; he is currently a Project Manager at Kimley-Horn and Associates in the Daytona Beach office. Early in his career, Mani found a passion for bicycle, pedestrian, and other modes of multimodal travel. While pursuing his bachelor’s degree at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (UPRM), Mani led and was part of multiple bike-oriented and Civil Engineering associations, such as Bike COOP, Campus Verde (Green Campus), Ride-a-Bike, American Society of Civil Engineering (ASCE) Student Chapter, Institute of Transportation or Engineers (ITE) Student Chapter, and Co-founder of the UPRM Bicycle Master Plan alongside with its founder, David Soto.
Mani is an avid cyclist, riding both road and mountain bike, and likes to spread the “5-minute-bike-to-work” mindset to anyone who drives to work. He has the vision that every vehicle-oriented City can change into a society where all modes of travel are more than accessible to improve a community’s environmental, social, and economic health. Mani was a board member of the Orlando Bike Coalition (OBC) during the 2021 – 2022 term advocating for world-class bicycle infrastructure and being the voice of the cycling community in Orlando. Mani brings that passion to the east coast to work with elected officials, stakeholders, and board members to advocate for world-class multimodal infrastructure.
Mani believes that life is more fun on two wheels.
Matthew Schrager, PhD
Matt is Professor of Health Sciences at Stetson University. He teaches courses in human anatomy/physiology, the physiology of aging, exercise physiology, biomechanics and research methods. His research focuses primarily on aging, bioenergetics, and functional capacity. He has a secondary research focus on the physiology and biomechanics of mobility and human performance. Matt holds a Ph.D. in Kinesiology (Exercise Physiology) from the University of Maryland and resides in DeLand, FL.
In his aging research, Dr. Schrager analyzes large-scale databases through the National Institute on Aging, and he has published with Stetson students research on blueberries as a potential countermeasure to the functional effects of aging. He is also interested in the role that the “built environment”/bicycling infrastructure has on encouraging or inhibiting physical activity. He has a wide range of relevant research interests including understanding and combatting age-related changes in performance and health.
He recently took a sabbatical in the town of Haarlem near Amsterdam where he learned much from the Dutch cycling culture and infrastructure. He traveled to Copenhagen to meet with Mikael Colville-Anderson, CEO of Copenhagenize Design Co. and author of the book Copenhagenize, The Definitive Guide to Global Bicycle Urbanism, who recently lead a panel on “How to Copenhagenize Miami” held at The Idea Center at Miami Dade College. Matt is continuing to communicate with him on ways to make DeLand and other central Florida cities more bike-friendly.
Bill’s earliest memories of cycling involve being launched down a hill multiple times by his older siblings, on a bike that was much too large for him to reach the pedals at the bottom of the downstroke. Fortunately, his sixty years of riding since then have been less hazardous.
After completing his bachelor’s in Technical Theatre, Bill (like most thespians) went on to employment in the performing arts, retail, construction, food service, manufacturing, and then information technology.
In 2008, Bill retired from his position as Manager of Database Administration at Coty Inc. to spend his time riding and sailing on his and his wife, Laurey’s, 34-ft Gemini catamaran, Solstice, on the Chesapeake Bay. Within a few years, they upgraded to a 54-ft pilot house trawler, Ursa Major, and became official live-aboards.
A late start south in 2014 was the inspiration needed to spend a winter on the St. Johns River. During that winter, they happily volunteered to be marina hosts at Hontoon Island State Park and returned to host again for the winter of 2015-2016, with Bill driving the park’s ferry while Laurey worked in the park store.
Bill and Laurey “swallowed the hook” in 2016 with the purchase of a house in DeLand, Florida. Laurey accepted a position on their neighborhood’s HOA, while Bill has since picked up a part-time job at a local bike shop (to help support his cycling habit).
Bill is a big fan of long group rides and has completed the RAGBRIA, Great Allegheny Passage, and C&O Canal Trail, as well as the New River Trail and the Erie Canal Trail. Bill feels that the St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop has the potential to be one of the best long rides in the USA. Its 260 miles are easily covered in five days, giving riders two days to get here and two days to get home on a week off from work. What could be better than driving out of the winter cold of the Midwest to spend a week riding along the Atlantic coast and witnessing the ‘real Florida’ of the St. John’s River Valley?
Jason Watkins, CPA, A.A.E (Accredited Airport Executive)
Jason Watkins, a Debary resident since 2021, is Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer for the Sanford Airport Authority. In his current role, Jason is responsible for managing the Authority’s Finance, Procurement, Program Administration and Information Technology teams. A key element of his role involves managing a capital development plan that strikes the challenging balance between making targeted strategic long-term investments while maximizing limited financial resources typically found at small hub airports. Now in his 9th year as an airport professional, Jason has supported multiple master planning cycles, has helped facilitate several bond issues to include new money GARB and PFC pledge structures, as well as current and advance taxable refundings. He recently completed a direct placement refinancing of the Sanford Airport Authority’s terminal expansion credit facility. His role offers him many opportunities to engage with the Florida Department of Transportation, the Federal Aviation Administration and many business and government leaders in the region.
Jason originally began his aviation career as the Senior Manager of Financial Operations for the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority where he was later promoted to a Director role. Jason then became the Director of Finance for the Broward County Aviation Department where he helped manage capital programming, budgeting, rates and charges, PFC compliance, general accounting and AP/AR. He also supported development of terminal expansion and automated people mover programming concepts.
Jason holds a BS degree from the University of Florida and an MBA from the University of South Florida. He is a Certified Public Accountant and an Accredited Airport Executive. Starting August 2023, he will be pursuing a Juris Doctorate degree from Florida A&M Law School as an evening student. Jason is also a former Committee Chair and Board Director with the Florida Institute of CPAs and is an active member of the Seminole County Schools Take Stock in Children mentoring program. He currently serves as a Board Director for the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando and is a member of the Seminole County Chamber of Commerce Finance Committee. In his free time, Jason enjoys cycling the incredible trail systems in Volusia, Seminole and Orange counties. He also run-walks many 5K races in and around Central Florida and takes his motorcycle out for a spin while most people are still sleeping.