From an early age, Senior Environmental Scientist Philip Rhinesmith knew he wanted to work in natural resources.
Through an independent study course at Saint Leo University, Philip worked in the District’s Environmental section (now Springs & Environmental Flows). A year later, Philip returned to the District as a co-op student and moved to a full-time chemist position in 1987.
One of Philip’s first projects was collecting wetland and vegetation data at the Starkey Wilderness Preserve in western Pasco County. This past Tuesday, Philip revisited his District roots at the Starkey Wilderness Preserve where he accepted his 30-year service award at the December Governing Board meeting.
A quarter of current District employees have been here more than 20 years, and some, like Philip, have an even longer tenure.
“Working at the District the past 30 years has been extremely fulfilling,” said Philip. “I work with great people and it is rewarding to see projects come to fruition. I have learned a great deal and have been given many opportunities to pursue my interests.”
His study of wetland health at Starkey, the Green Swamp Wilderness Preserve, Morris Bridge Park and other District-owned lands set the tone for his career.
Currently, Philip is part of the Project Management Office and is the lead for the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Wetland Mitigation Program that restores and manages 24 wetland mitigation areas on both local government and District-owned lands.