The District’s Governing Board voted Tuesday for the latest slate of officers for the 2022-2023 term.
Governing Board members are unpaid, citizen volunteers who are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Florida Senate. The Governing Board sets policy for the District, whose mission is to protect water resources, minimize flood risks and ensure the public’s water needs are met.
The new officers are:
Joel Schleicher was elected chair of the Governing Board. Schleicher represents Charlotte and Sarasota counties and is serial entrepreneur and operator of companies. His most recent endeavor is as the founder and executive chairman for Focal Point Data Risk, LLC., a nationwide leader in data risk management, which he founded in 2014. Schleicher was first appointed to the Governing Board in May 2017 and was reappointed in July 2019.
Having grown up in Minnesota, he earned a BSB in accounting from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management and went on to earn a certified public accountant certificate. For more than 30 years, Schleicher has led and founded technology companies selling enterprise solutions. He served as President/COO and a board member of Nextel Communications, Inc. Schleicher is a member of Business Executives for National Security and has served on various corporate and community boards – currently The Argus Foundation and The Van Wezel Foundation.
Ed Armstrong was elected vice chair of the Governing Board. Armstrong represents Pinellas County and is an attorney with Hill Ward Henderson in Clearwater. He was first appointed to the Governing Board in June 2014 and was reappointed in October 2020.
A lifelong Florida resident, Armstrong graduated from Dunedin High School. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting, Cum Laude, from the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland and a Juris doctorate degree from Vanderbilt University School of Law in Nashville, Tennessee. Armstrong has extensive experience representing private sector development clients.
Michelle Williamson was elected secretary of the Governing Board. Williamson represents Hillsborough County and is operations manager of G&F Farms. She first served the Governing Board in August 2016 and was re-appointed in December 2020.
Williamson has served as a board member for the Florida Strawberry Growers Association, Florida Farm Bureau State Board of Directors and Hillsborough County Citizens Environmental Advisory Committee. She currently serves on the Hillsborough County Farm Bureau Board of Directors, Hillsborough County Agriculture Economic Development Council and International Responsible Farming Council Board of Directors.
In addition, Williamson also has served as the state chair of the Florida Farm Bureau Women's Leadership Committee and the chair of the Florida Farm Bureau Women's Leadership Committee for District 5.
John Mitten was elected treasurer of the Governing Board. Mitten represents Hernando and Marion counties and is the franchise owner of Chick-fil-A in Spring Hill. He was first appointed to the Governing Board in October 2020.
Mitten has a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from Florida State University. He is a former Hernando County commissioner and volunteers on numerous boards and committees, including Pasco-Hernando State College and the Greater Hernando County Chamber of Commerce. Mitten also is a commissioned Kentucky Colonel, which is the highest title of honor bestowed by the Governor of Kentucky and recognizes individual’s noteworthy accomplishments and outstanding service to the community, state and nation.
The new officers will start 24 hours before the June Governing Board meeting and serve a one-year term.