Leadership Pasco Newsletter - Fall 2021

The Leadership Pasco Newsletter is published quarterly. SINCE 1991, THE MISSION OF LEADERSHIP PASCO is to identify and recruit current or potential leaders of Pasco County, facilitate the development and interaction of those leaders, and to foster an issues-oriented learning environment for these leaders and the citizens of Pasco County in order to encourage an ex-change of ideas and generate enthusiasm for community growth and development.

The Leadership Pasco Newsletter is published quarterly. SINCE 1991, THE MISSION OF LEADERSHIP PASCO is to identify and recruit current or potential leaders of Pasco County, facilitate the development and interaction of those leaders, and to foster an issues-oriented learning environment for these leaders and the citizens of Pasco County in order to encourage an ex-change of ideas and generate enthusiasm for community growth and development.


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Fall 2021

Criminal Justice Day

Leadership Pasco's Class of 2022 Meets In Person

To Our Leadership Pasco Family,

Welcome Back! So much has changed over the last 20

months and the Leadership Pasco Class of 2022 is no different.

I am overjoyed by the character and courage of our

community. We saw our first virtual class orientation and

the establishment of the Harold Sample Lifetime Achievement

Award. A big thank you to Tom Celotto for his vision

and determination to establish this award.

Thank you so much to the sponsors who have made a

commitment to Leadership Pasco and the class of 2022

through in-kind support or funding. They are listed with links to their company/organization on the following


As alumni, you all have rallied around our community during this pandemic and I cannot express my

gratitude enough for all that you do. As with any non-profit, your gifts to the Leadership Pasco Program are

more important than ever. We rely on your dues to keep the program exciting and relevant. We hope you will

take the opportunity to pay your 2022 dues in the amount of $50, and ensure the continued success of this

unbelievable program.

Thank you for your continued support and commitment to Pasco County and Leadership Pasco as we move

through this pandemic.

With gratitude,

Manny Long, Class of 2016

President, Leadership Pasco

Finance Director, Pasco County Clerk & Comptroller





PASCO is to identify and recruit current or potential

leaders of Pasco County, facilitate the development

and interaction of those leaders, and to foster an issues-oriented

learning environment for these leaders

and the citizens of Pasco County in order to encourage

an exchange of ideas and generate enthusiasm

for community growth and development.

The Leadership Pasco Newsletter is published quarterly.

Please direct correspondence about this publication

to Leadership Pasco, P.O. Box 695, Elfers, FL,

34680. Readers also may reach staff by sending an

email to administration@leadershippasco.com.

Editorial Staff

Carla Armstrong '14


Amanda Hart '14


Jason Longo '17


Photo Credits

Kimberly Thompson '15, Siva Yarrabilli '22, and


Board Members

Don Anderson '16, Immediate Past President

Manny Long '16, President

Tara O'Connor '16, President Elect

Chuck Anderson '20

Nichole "Nikki" Alvarez-Sowles '13

Carla Armstrong '14

Stefanie Ambrosio Pontlitz '13

Angel Cook '18

Angie Gardner '11

Brendan Gorman '18, Secretary

Kim Hamm '15

Amanda Hart '14

Crystal Lazar '13

James Mallo '12

Tara O'Connor '16

Thomas O'Connor Bruno '20

Joseph Poblick '14

Laura Raposa '19

Kim Rymanowski '19

James Walters '15

John Willis '15, Treasurer


© Leadership Pasco. All rights reserved.



4 8 12










Meet the Class of 2022

Harold Sample Lifetime Achievement Award

Presented to Harold Sample '91

Honoring Doreen Packard for a Lifetime of

Dedication to Youth Leadership Pasco

Judith Rochelle Award Presented to Nichole

"Nikki" Alvarez-Sowles '13

Crystal Lazar '13: 40 Under 40, Tampa Bay

Business Journal

Class of '22 Starts on a High Note

A Message from the Class of 2022 Officers

Youth Leadership Pasco Returns


Bay to Bay Roofing

Bene's Career Academy

Blackjack Media Group

Centennial Bank

Clearwater Gas System

Duke Energy

Greater Dade City Chamber of Commerce

Greater Pasco Chamber of Commerce

Jarrett Ford

Land O' Lakes High School Culinary Arts Program

Laporte, Mulligan & Werner-Watkins, P.A.

Medical Center of Trinity

Micro Solutions

O'Connor Law Group, P.A.

Oliver & Fox PA

Olympus Limo, Inc.

Pasco County Clerk & Comptroller

Pasco Economic Development Council

Pasco Education Foundation

Pasco County Sheriff's Office

Pasco Hernando State College

Pontlitz Asset Advisors

Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point

Saint Leo University

Simpson Environmental Services, Inc.

TECO Energy, Inc.

The Bank of Tampa

Time Trap Escape Room

United Way of Pasco County


Meet the Class of 2022

John Allgeier

Director, Real Estate &

Construction Finance —

Moffitt Cancer Center

Gary Bradford


Bradford Group, LLC

Anna Farrell

Attorney, Doran, Beam &


Sara Hill

Program Director, East

and West Regions —

SuitUp, Inc.

William Labbancz

Angela Leischner

Catherine Mansfield

Kathy Masucci

Broker & Owner,

Sailwinds Realty

Business Division Insurance

Agent, Comegy's Insurance


Senior Staff Attorney, Pasco

Sheriff's Office

Business Development

Manager, Graybar

Jennie Sammur

Sally Sherman

Taiwan Simmons

Scott West

Economic Development

Manager, Pasco Economic

Development Council

Assistant County

Administrator, Pasco County

Development Services

Director of Operations,

Community Victory Family

Services, Inc.

HX Compliance Superisor,

Pasco County Property



’22-2 Legit 2 Quit

David Ishaq

Teacher, Florida Autism

Center of Excellence

Jennifer Kilburg

Partnerships Director, Pasco

County — Big Brothers Big

Sisters of Tampa Bay

Laura Knight

Senior Associate,

United Way of Pasco County

Ken Kupferman

President, Affordable Lock &


Brandon May

Josephine Ploettner

Troy Powell

Samuel Rockwell

President, Mortan Plant

North Bay Hospital

Court Services

Assistant Director,

Pasco County Clerk &


Senior Product Manager,

Creative Contractors, Inc.

Financial Advisor,

Raymond James

Siva Yarribilli

Vice President, Van Bebber

and Associates


Harold Sample Lifetime Achievement

Award Presented to Harold Sample '91

By Jason Longo ’17

Harold Sample '91 was honored at a surprise ceremony in

September as the first recipient of The Harold Sample Lifetime

Achievement Award.

Director Emeritus Tom Celotto '11 proposed this new award at a

Board meeting including a second recipient, Doreen Packard for

her work with Youth Leadership Pasco (See pages 6 and 7). Both

the award concept and the recipients were unanimously approved

by the Leadership Pasco Board of Directors and the work

to quietly create the awards and plan presentations was quickly


Unlike the Judith Rochelle Award, this is a non-annual award.

The honor may be provided to an individual who has committed

10 or more years to the organization, having never received

compensation, who is a non-Leadership Pasco board member.

Recipients should be committed to Leadership Pasco's integrity

and promote the ideals of the organization.


Harold was a part of Leadership Pasco's first class and has been

involved ever since. There isn't an alumnus who has not met Harold

Sample through his work on the Bus Tour program days. Due

to COVID concerns the class of 2022 tour has been postponed.

Tom Celotto had these words for Harold during the presentation.

"In 1991 Leadership Pasco Organization originated and among its

classmates was one person who would become committed to the success

of the organization for decades to come. Each year as new class

members joined LP, the initial impression of our organization was led

by that one classmate from that class of 1991 who introduced Pasco

County to them with such passion and love.

Harold you are an amazing person, your Leadership for our organization

goes unmatched, The Board and Alumni of Leadership Pasco

would like to recognize your 30 plus years to our organization with this

Harold Sample Lifetime Achievement Award.

This Award will be used to recognize others who have dedicated themselves

as you have to Leadership Pasco."

Harold provided these heartfelt comments regarding Leadership

Pasco and his lifetime achievement award.

"Understanding the history, diversity, and challenges facing a

community is crucial for effective leadership. For over 30 years

Leadership Pasco has played a key role in helping to provide this

to hundreds of now alumni, creating a huge network of knowledgeable,

involved, civic-minded citizens.

Manny Long '16, Board President presents Harold Sample '91 with

the Harold Sample Lifetime Achievement Award.

I have had the pleasure to be a part of this program since its

inception and to have met so many great people who are driven

to make Pasco County a better place to live.

Receiving this award is very, very special. I’m especially honored

and humbled by having a Leadership Pasco service award named

for me. I know there are many who have worked harder than me

over the years to make this program the success that it is. It is my

hope that they too will be recognized for what they have continuously


Future Nominations for the

Harold Sample Lifetime Achievement Award

At any time, Leadership Pasco alumni in good standing may

nominate an individual for this award based on the criteria.

Self-nominations will not be considered. Nominations should

be communicated to the current Leadership Pasco Board

President, who may request support documentation.

After a nomination has been received, the Past Presidents'

Council will meet and review the information that qualifies

them to be nominated for this award. The Council may grant

multiple Lifetime Achievement Awards annually, but this

award is not an annual expectation.

Harold Sample '91 with Tom Celotto '11 at the award presentation.


Honoring Doreen Packard for a Lifetime of

Dedication to Youth Leadership Pasco

By Jason Longo ’17

Doreen Packard, lifetime volunteer of Leadership Pasco's Youth

Leadership Program was the first recipient of The Harold Sample

Lifetime Achievement Award.

The honor may be provided to an individual who has committed

10 or more years to the organization, having never received

compensation, who is a non-Leadership Pasco board member.

Recipients should be committed to Leadership Pasco's integrity

and promote the ideals of the organization.

Barbara DeSimone '96 presented the surprise award to Doreen

at her home. Tom Celotto '11, who had the idea for this award,

wrote a letter read by Barbara.


When I served on the board for Leadership Pasco and had the

opportunity to follow the Youth Leadership Team (You, Rob, and

Barbara) I was truly amazed at how much you did. At the time I

did not know much about you, so I learned through Barbara and

Rob your many roles in keeping YLP running smooth.

As time went on, I would see you at the YLP Graduations, say

hi and always made sure to thank you for being a part of the


Doreen, your selfless giving of your time, love, and passion for

our YLP program has not gone unnoticed by our Board and


Our Board unanimously voted to not only present this award to

you, to also create an award specifically for you to honor you in

such a manner.

Harold Sample was recently awarded a Lifetime Achievement

award for his continued commitment to our LP program.

Today you are the first recipient of the Harold Sample Lifetime

Achievement award for your 20 plus years of hard work and

dedication to our Youth and the YLP program.

I am sorry I could not be in person when you received this award,

that does not mean I am not thinking of you each day and pray-


ing for you to get better.

Thank you again Doreen.

Your Friend,

Tom Celotto"

Doreen is courageously battling an illnesss, and this year she

will not be abe to volunteer with Youth Leadership Pasco. She

created an amazing foundation for the program and how it operates,

and several alumni are dividing up the many duties which

she performed with reliabilty, expertise, and joy for many years.

We appreciate all that Doreen has done for our community and

our youth program and wish her good health and happiness.

I have been involved in the Youth Leadership Pasco

program with Barbara De Simone, Rob Aguis, and Ben

Diel. It has been a truly wonderful experience working

with the youth of Pasco County. I was honored to be a

part of the team.

I also, became the first recipient of the Harold Sample

Lifetime Achievement award this year. What a surprise

and honor that was. It really meant a lot to me and I

hope to continue to be a part of the YLP team. Thank

you so much for this recognition.

Doreen Packard

Doreen Packard, Barbara De Simone '96, and Ben Diel '16,

volunteering at one of many past Youth Leadership Pasco events.


Judith Rochelle Award Presented to Nichole

"Nikki" Alvarez-Sowles '13

By Jason Longo ’17

Initiative – fosters an awareness of our community resources and

demonstrates an ability to lead by recruiting new candidates, promoting

participation in community service to Pasco County. Has

a life-long bond and personal commitment to see Pasco County

grow and prosper.

Creativity – promote a greater understanding of issues through

interaction and problem solving with peers and community leaders.

Dedication – is recognized by others for being dedicated to

Leadership Pasco, Alumni and Youth Leadership Pasco. Accomplishes

much within the community by his or her pursuit, courage,

enthusiasm, and passion.

Recognition – recognized by their peers for their commitment to

the success of Leadership Pasco.

Examples of Nikki's pursuits include:

Leadership Pasco, board member and past president

West Pasco Bar Association, member and past president

Rotary Club of New Port Richey, member

Member of various committees and workgroups devoted to performance

excellence in government work, such as:

Nichole "Nikki" Alverez-Sowles '13 was selected as the 2021

recipient of Leadership Pasco's highest honor, the Judith Rochelle


In her role as Pasco County Clerk & Comptrolle, in her work with

the Leadership Pasco Board of Directors, and in her many other

volunteer roles, Nikki exceeds every one of the award criteria.

Leadership Pasco alumni who have at least five years of serving

the organization are nominated by their peers as Judith Rochelle

Award candidates and the Past President's Council meets and

reviews each nominee based on the following:

Leadership – ability to motivate and inspire others to action

throughout East, Central and West Pasco County to accomplish

our mission; to train and unite leaders.

Florida Clerks & Comptrollers’ Best Practices Workgroup

Supreme Court workgroups

Florida Bar Small Claims Rules Committee

Pasco-Hernando State College Technical Advisory Committee for

Paralegal Studies

Pasco County School District and Success Plan Committee

In tireless pursuit of nurturing excellence, Nikki served as a Florida

Governor’s Sterling Examiner and was awarded the Certified

Public Manager designation from the Florida Center for Public

Management at Florida State University.

To learn more about Nikki's experience with Leadership Pasco, her career

progression, family, and much more revisit an interview from our Fall

2020 Newsletter.


Crystal Lazar '13: 40 Under 40, Tampa Bay

Business Journal

By Jason Longo ’17

The following Q&A were published in Tampa Bay Business Journal.

Education: Bachelor of arts, University of Central Florida

What was your first paid job?

Ballet teacher

If you were not in your current field, what would you be doing?

Teaching art classes, running my swim school business full-time,

and traveling in an RV.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned so far in

your career?

Always move forward, tenacity gets things done. There are

times you need to reflect and be flexible, but hold on to your core

values and goals, tightly.

What advice would you give to high school students as they

look toward their future?

Use your next chapter to do something that makes you proud.

There is no wrong or right answer — as long as you chase something

deeply meaningful to you.

Crystal Lazar '13 was selected to be a part of Tampa Bay Business

Journal's 40 Under 40 this year, and if you were a part of her

class or had the opportunity to engage with her, you are sure to

agree that this honor is well deserved.

Crystal is the President and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of East

& Central Pasco County. She began working with them in 2011

as a volunteer coordinator and was soon promoted to director,

Associate Executive Director, and then Chief Operating Officer.

She has been in her current role since 2019.

In the last year, she increased the organization's net income

by 240% and in October began the permitting process for a

10-home community. Under her leadership, she and her team

developed a sustainable financing model that increased working

capital by 313%

She shares, “I am inspired every day by the brilliant people on my

team and I am surrounded by the gracious mentors. I know that

leadership is about developing new leaders and supporting those

around you to grow into the best versions of themselves and I find

that to be a very fulfilling job.

What do you do to have fun or relax?

I work. Seriously, I have such fun at work and it is an organization

that I spent years volunteering for, I am so thankful to serve

Habitat in my career. However, when I am not on the job I enjoy

time with my kids. They are at such a fun age, we spend hours

swimming, playing soccer in the street, or visiting ZooTampa and

The Florida Aquarium.

Favorite movie of all time?

Toy Story

Favorite podcast?

Financial Feminist

What book had a significant impact on you?

The Conscious Parent by Dr. Shefali Tsabary

What are you currently reading?

Dare to Lead by Brene Brown

If you were a professional baseball player, what would your

walk-up music be?

Dirty Heads, Vacation


Class of '22 Starts on a High Note

By Craig Laporte '06

Because of the pandemic, the Class of ’22 started its year with

Criminal Justice Day instead of the traditional bus tour. The

condensed class met at nearly sunrise, early on the morning of

Thursday, October 21, 2021 at the Pasco County Jail in Land O’


After being transported by bus to the sheriff’s aviation hangars,

the class was introduced to the sheriff’s marine unit. During the

explanation of the missions of the marine unit, the class was disrupted

by a high-speed chase being conducted by multiple sheriff’s

specialty units including traffic interdiction, SWAT, K-9 and

aviation. The driver of the pursued vehicle jumped out and ran,

only to be taken to the ground by one of the K-9s. The passenger

was apprehended by SWAT and other officers at gun point. All

the while, the sheriff’s Huey helicopter hovered overhead, providing

coverage for the pursuing officers. Fortunately, the suspects

were apprehended and the class returned to its primary mission

of learning about the criminal justice system in our county.

After touring the facilities and visiting with the specialty units, the

class was transported back to the jail, where they were immediately

immersed in a highly interactive exercise. They were broken

into groups and each group was assisted by a member of Sheriff

Nocco’s command staff as they learned how the sheriff’s office

approaches various scenarios. In this case, they had to direct a

response to a bomb explosion and active shooter at a local high

school using the available resources.

The class members then had a chance to learn about the functions

of the State Attorneys Office, the Public Defender's Office,

the Courts and law enforcement from a panel of distinguished

guests. This year, we expanded the time for the panel and, even

then, ran out of time for questions from the floor. We want to

thank Chief Administrative Judge Shawn Crane, State Attorney

Bruce Bartlett, Public Defender Sara Mollo and Colonel Jeff Harrington

for sharing their expansive wealth of knowledge.

After a working lunch with Sheriff Nocco and members of his

Behavioral Health Intervention Team, talking about the proactive

approach being taken in Pasco to identify and assist those

with mental disorders in locating support mechanisms, the class

began its walking tour of the jail. They learned extensively about

the challenges faced by the corrections staff in dealing with

inmates. One clear take-away from the Sheriff and his staff is

that most inmates in the jail suffer from either drug addiction or

mental health issues. The sheriff said that the jail should not be a

mental health or rehab facility, but unfortunately due to a lack of

resources in the community, it had no other choice. That is why

Sheriff Nocco is partnering with many non-governmental agencies

to create a support network.

This year wound up with an expanded and interactive forensics

demonstration. The sheriff’s forensics unit teamed up with Time

Trap Escape Room, operated by LP Alums Jeremy Simons and

Kim Hamm, in putting on a murder mystery requiring the class to

solve clues using high tech forensics equipment. Between lifting

fingerprints, finding blood residue and identifying anthropological

clues, the class ultimately solved the crime.

As the day came to a close, it was obvious the class took a great

deal of knowledge about our criminal justice system home with

them. The interaction between the class and the sheriff’s staff

was outstanding. Once again, we want to thank all of the participants

who made this such a successful day, and especially the

sponsors: Sheriff Chris Nocco, and Laporte, Mulligan & Werner-

Watkins, PA, Attorneys at Law, who made the day possible.


Pasco County Sheriff's Office and many other experts wowed the Class of 2022 with expertise and dedication.

Class members got to experience a study in foresnsic science.


A Message from the Class of 2022 Officers

By Taiwan Simmons '22 and Laura Knight '22

2021 has been a whirlwind of change. After 2020, COVID-19,

and government shutdowns it only makes sense that many would

have little expectations about having a successful year. We do not

subscribe to the idea that we are doomed to a less-than-excellent

existence and that all is lost. There are too many things to fight

for: family, friends, and our community. These are all extremely

important to us. We both made a commitment to serve where we

were planted many years ago and we have done our best to hold

true to this commitment. Now, we each have been blessed with

the opportunity to serve Pasco County as members of the Leadership

Pasco Class of 2022.

Our community was faced with countless problems that were

either a direct result of the pandemic or severely worsened due to

the pandemic. During this time, our community rallied behind the

major problems affecting all of us and worked together to find

effective solutions. However, our work is not yet done.

As members of the class of ’22, we are honored to be on a team

of so many that are serving at our level and greater. We have so

many men and women that are invested in the success of Pasco

County and the Greater Tampa Bay area. Our class has character,

personality, and grit. It’s only been a couple of months, yet

we still believe that our motto for the year is more than appropriate.

It’s perfect! ’22- 2 Legit 2 Quit. Regardless of the challenges

that we will face this year, we are determined not to quit or be


Our sincere congratulations to the Class of 2020 who pushed

forward in raising nearly $20,000 for their class project despite

all the setbacks that they faced. We would like to thank the

Leadership, our Pasco Board of Directors, for organizing another

fantastic Class. Our hats go off to the board for adapting the

various instructional days to be COVID-19 safe without losing

the integrity of the lessons. We have begun to see just how much

work goes into planning the Class and we are most appreciative.

Our goal for our class project is to raise the most money in the

history of Leadership Pasco. Through our Class Project we will

address a major health and human service need impacting our

community. We will work with a local non-profit agency to creatively

find a solution to a community issue. We know that there

is an organization that will be blessed and so much stronger for

our sacrifice. The people that they serve will also reap the benefits

and Pasco County will be better for it.

To our fellow classmates, we are looking forward to a great year

with all of you. Thank you for making the short time we have had

most enjoyable and thank you in advance for all your collaboration

and teamwork. We look forward to the continued journey

with you all!

Warm Regards,

Taiwan Simmons

Class of 2022 President

Laura Knight

Class of 2022 Vice President


Youth Leadership Pasco Returns

By Barbara De Simone '96

Ben Diel '16, Doreen Packard, and Barbara De Simone '96 volunteering at one of many past Youth Leadership Pasco events.

Youth Leadership Pasco (YLP) is a leadership development

program that informs, motivates, and increases the awareness

of selected high school sophomores and juniors through

issue-oriented seminars and interaction with community leaders.

Unfortunately, the program was on a pandemic break last year.

The good news is YLP will resume in January 2022. In the interest

of fairness, this year applications will be accepted from seniors. In

addition, the sessions will be held over a shorter time period instead

of the usual one session a month to be able to finish before

the end of the school year.

Once again, the program will consist of Orientation/Team Building,

Law Enforcement/Criminal Justice, Economic Development/

Government, Health Care/Community Services and Education/

Career Development. The finale is the graduation where the high

point is when the students make brief comments about what they

liked about the program. Many of the students learn so much

about what Pasco County has to offer. The adults who attend

come away with the feeling that the future is in good hands.

Unfortunately, this year we will be running the program without

the assistance of Doreen Packard who is fighting an illness. She

did all the behind the scenes work for almost 20 years and will be


Seventy-five applicants attending school in Pasco; public, private

or home schooled; completed the appliation this year. If accepted,

the fee is only $35 due to support from O’Connor Law

Group, PA, the Pasco Education Foundation, Regional Medical

Center at Bayonet Point, the Pasco County Sheriff’s office, Fred

K. Marchman Technical College, and several Rotaries (Dade City

Noon, Holiday, New Port Richey, Port Richey, Seven Springs, Trinity,

Wesley Chapel Noon, and West Pasco Sunset).

If you have any questions about the Youth Leadership Pasco program,

please email bdesimone03@gmail.com.


O'Connor Law Group, P.A.

Pasco Education Foundation

Rotary Club of Dade City Noon

Rotary Club of Holiday

Rotary Club of Hudson

Rotary Club of New Port Richey

Rotary Club of Port Richey

Rotary Club of Seven Springs

Rotary Club of Trinity

Rotary Club of Wesley Chapel Noon

Rotary Club of West Pasco Sunset


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