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Our Team

W.A.R. is a small all-volunteer organization led and supported by a team of dedicated residents interested in preserving the quality of their Lower Withlacoochee River lifestyle.

Board Members

From the start, W.A.R. has been driven by the deep commitment of its members. Like any small grassroots organization, over the years many individuals have gone the extra mile, bringing leadership and administrative effectiveness to the organization by serving on our Board of Directors.

Jack Schofield, President  

A retired business executive from the wholesale and retail apparel industry, my desire for protecting the environment comes from my conservative background that allowed me as a youth to experience the outdoors. Whether it be fishing at my favorite stream or Long Island sound as a youth, to exploring the wild of Philmont New Mexico Scout Ranch as a young teen, or exploring over 30 of our National Parks , I feel that restoration and protection of our natural resources is very important. My education includes: •Mitford Academy Milford Connecticut 1964-68 •United States Marine Corps 1970-76 •York College of Pennsylvania, BS Business 1970-74 I’ve belonged to many service and civil organizations including: •Assitant Scoutmaster BSA •Rotary international •Friends of the Withlacoochee Gulf Preserve •Withlacoochee Gulf Area Chamber of Commerce •Yankeetown Town Council 2008-2012 •Mayor of Yankeetown 2017-2016 In addition to W.A.R, Inc., I also support charities, Tunnel To Towers and Digg Deep

Phil Sprinkle, Treasurer

BS Electrical Engineering NC State University, MS Management Science Fairleigh Dickinson University I was raised in North Carolina and early years included a lot of outdoor activities. In 1966 I was drafted into the Army and spent 1967 in Viet Nam. After returning in 1968 I married my wife Billie and entered NC State University on the GI bill. Upon graduation, I was employed as an Army Civilian engineer and Project Manager in several locations in the US and Europe. The majority of my career concerned Army Soldier Training Devices and Systems. In 1975 the job brought me to the Army’s PM for Training Devices in Orlando, FL, where I was able to take advantage of the state’s outdoor lifestyle. From 1977-1991, with two friends, I spent a week, boat camping on 14 different Florida rivers, from the Everglades to the Panhandle. This experience provided me with an appreciation and first-hand knowledge how beautiful some Florida rivers were… and how they could be destroyed by damming, dredging, straightening, and other man-made activities. My first look at the Withlacoochee River was in 1981, when we camped and explored the lower river, and in 1988 when we camped and explored the upper Withlacoochee River. After retirement in 2000, I remembered the Withlacoochee River and we moved to Inglis. I became a volunteer Inglis Firefighter, was certified, and served the Fire Department in all capacities for 18 years. We still enjoy the watching the river flow by our home and River activities but are dismayed with the degradation and increased bottom muck over the years. Thankfully, WAR is focusing attention and trying to bring our river back to its natural beauty.

Laurie Jaggers, Secretary

BS 1982 Environmental Technology/Aquaculture, Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) MS 1987 Computer Science, Fairleigh Dickenson University My career as a Software Engineer working in Electronic Warfare Systems spanned nearly four decades. With my husband David, we built a 40-foot steel sailboat, our home in New York Harbor’s Liberty State Park for several years. Living in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty led to many sailing adventures out to Shelter Island and Block Island. We also had a home in Sittee River Village, Belize for more than 16 years, which allowed us to explore many Central American countries. In 2015, we purchased our Inglis home, where we retired in 2019 -- just in time for Covid. We enjoy boating, fishing, SCUBA, wildlife, NASA, gardening, and not shoveling snow. As a recent addition to W.A.R. I look forward to supporting their river restoration mission as Board Secretary.

Dan Hilliard, Director

I have lived most of my life in Florida and have enjoyed the outdoo1rs immensely. I spent my early life in Polk County, and then later-on in various locales on the east coast, always enjoying the water. I've been a commercial diver, fisherman and avid surfer. I have an AS degree in Air Commerce Technology and spent more than 30 years in the world of aviation, as a pilot, aviation accident investigator, and air traffic controller (ATC). Two years after my 2003 retirement, I was invited to join W.A.R., Inc. I accepted leadership of the organization less than a year later, and as the group's president, had the pleasure of getting to know and work with many residents of Inglis and Yankeetown. I've found that things learned in one career can be very useful in another. For example, I learned that in accident investigation and air traffic control the Devil, as they say, is in the details. The endeavors are complicated. The same is true for water science and the protection of natural systems, and we at W.A.R strive to bring that kind of rigor to our conservation efforts. In the process, we've engaged with elected officials at several levels of the state. One highlight of my career as rendering our governor, Charlie Crist speechless at a hearing with one simple question. “Governor, do you know of a water body in the state of Florida that is in better condition today than it was 30 years ago?"

Dave Huffman, Director

Dave worked for 22 years as a marine surveyor, certified by the National Association of Marine Surveyors (NAMS), and specializing in yachts and small craft. Prior to that, he worked as the general manager of the Riverbend Marina, a full-service boat yard in Fort Lauderdale, FL. He also has nearly two decades of experience as a Professional Captain. He was employed as a captain of Virgin Islands charter yachts, Gulf of Mexico oil-field work boats, and private yachts operating in and between the U.S east and west coasts, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean and Central America. He was also employed as the first officer on a 2800 ton Oil Spill Recovery vessel. Dave has been licensed as a captain by the US Coast Guard since 1979, earning a 1600/3000 Ton All-Oceans USCG Masters License. ​ He has spent extensive time working and cruising on a variety of vessels, accumulating an estimated 200,000 miles at sea, including transatlantic passages (in both directions) and Panama canal transits. Dave continues to log cruising miles annually and is a certified diver, a light aircraft pilot, and owns both power and sail boats. Dave is a volunteer with the American Belgian Malinois Club’s rescue association, providing foster care for homeless and needy dogs. He has lived on the Lower Withlacoochee River for over ten years, and during this time he has come to care deeply about restoring this river.

Ursula Schwuttke, Director

Dr. Ursula Schwuttke began her career at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., where she pioneered new software technology automating mission operations for, among other the Voyager grand tour of the solar system, the Galileo mission to Jupiter, and the Cassini mission to Saturn. After 12 years at JPL, she raised $15 million in three rounds of venture capital to launch a private software company she led as CEO and Vice Chairman for seven years. In 2004, she was able to apply that experience to her passion for the environment by providing. business development to a start-up wind energy company. Today. as director of educational outreach at Florida’s Institute of Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC), she is responsible for youth outreach programs. Her interest in informal science learning compliments her commitment to community involvement. Prior to relocating to Florida, Ursula launched the nonprofit organization Partners in Algebra Achievement, which sets up long-term relationships between at-risk students and members of the local professional community for tutoring and mentoring. Ursula graduated magna cum laude from Brown University and earned a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Southern California, and has earned numerous professional awards including

John Westers

John Westers grew up in Michigan with a father that was fully involved in fisheries his entire career, leading John to have a continual interest in ‘everything fish’. Water quality, hatcheries, aquatic health and environmental awareness have always been important in John’s life. John moved to Colorado at the age of 21, which introduced him to a different type of fisheries and habitat, providing an enhanced perspective about water. The true value of water became clear when he purchased water rights and learned a bit of western water law. John started Westers Roofing, Inc. in 2000 and has been involved in all aspects of roofing construction to ownership of a long-standing successful small business. In 2015 John and his wife, Liz, took a fishing vacation to Yankeetown, FL for a month and a half and fell in love with the Withlacoochee River and purchased a home on West River Rd. After befriending Charlie Rector, who became an important and close friend, John learned that he managed water works in Asheville, NC and had an intimate understanding of water and water law. He was very concerned with what he saw in this small village in less than a decade of residing in the area. John’s curiosity became stronger as he spent more time fishing local waters. John attained a Captain’s license in 2017 and opened a guide service specifically directed towards experienced fishermen. This provided him more of an opportunity to know other captains, spend hours upon hours on the river and in the Gulf, seeing changes first-hand. This knowledge reminds him how important it is to restore and protect our precious asset, the lower Withlacoochee River. John’s business and people skills add to his analytical tendencies. John is always looking to solve problems, connect others and build understandings that lead to successful outcomes.

May 2023

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