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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<strong>Newsletter</strong><br />

<strong>Fall</strong> <strong>2021</strong><br />

Criminal Justice Day<br />

<strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong>'s Class of 2022 Meets In Person

To Our <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong> Family,<br />

Welcome Back! So much has changed over the last 20<br />

months and the <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong> Class of 2022 is no different.<br />

I am overjoyed by the character and courage of our<br />

community. We saw our first virtual class orientation and<br />

the establishment of the Harold Sample Lifetime Achievement<br />

Award. A big thank you to Tom Celotto for his vision<br />

and determination to establish this award.<br />

Thank you so much to the sponsors who have made a<br />

commitment to <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong> and the class of 2022<br />

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

page.<br />

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

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

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

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

unbelievable program.<br />

Thank you for your continued support and commitment to <strong>Pasco</strong> County and <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong> as we move<br />

through this pandemic.<br />

With gratitude,<br />

Manny Long, Class of 2016<br />

President, <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong><br />

Finance Director, <strong>Pasco</strong> County Clerk & Comptroller<br />

<strong>Leadership</strong><br />

<strong>Pasco</strong><br />

<strong>Newsletter</strong><br />


PASCO is to identify and recruit current or potential<br />

leaders of <strong>Pasco</strong> County, facilitate the development<br />

and interaction of those leaders, and to foster an issues-oriented<br />

learning environment for these leaders<br />

and the citizens of <strong>Pasco</strong> County in order to encourage<br />

an exchange of ideas and generate enthusiasm<br />

for community growth and development.<br />

The <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong> <strong>Newsletter</strong> is published quarterly.<br />

Please direct correspondence about this publication<br />

to <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong>, P.O. Box 695, Elfers, FL,<br />

34680. Readers also may reach staff by sending an<br />

email to administration@leadershippasco.com.<br />

Editorial Staff<br />

Carla Armstrong '14<br />

Editor<br />

Amanda Hart '14<br />

Editor<br />

Jason Longo '17<br />

Design<br />

Photo Credits<br />

Kimberly Thompson '15, Siva Yarrabilli '22, and<br />

others<br />

Board Members<br />

Don Anderson '16, Immediate Past President<br />

Manny Long '16, President<br />

Tara O'Connor '16, President Elect<br />

Chuck Anderson '20<br />

Nichole "Nikki" Alvarez-Sowles '13<br />

Carla Armstrong '14<br />

Stefanie Ambrosio Pontlitz '13<br />

Angel Cook '18<br />

Angie Gardner '11<br />

Brendan Gorman '18, Secretary<br />

Kim Hamm '15<br />

Amanda Hart '14<br />

Crystal Lazar '13<br />

James Mallo '12<br />

Tara O'Connor '16<br />

Thomas O'Connor Bruno '20<br />

Joseph Poblick '14<br />

Laura Raposa '19<br />

Kim Rymanowski '19<br />

James Walters '15<br />

John Willis '15, Treasurer<br />

FALL <strong>2021</strong> NEWSLETTER<br />

© <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong>. All rights reserved.

6<br />

10<br />

4 8 12<br />

Features<br />

2<br />

4<br />

6<br />

8<br />

9<br />

10<br />

12<br />

13<br />

Meet the Class of 2022<br />

Harold Sample Lifetime Achievement Award<br />

Presented to Harold Sample '91<br />

Honoring Doreen Packard for a Lifetime of<br />

Dedication to Youth <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong><br />

Judith Rochelle Award Presented to Nichole<br />

"Nikki" Alvarez-Sowles '13<br />

Crystal Lazar '13: 40 Under 40, Tampa Bay<br />

Business Journal<br />

Class of '22 Starts on a High Note<br />

A Message from the Class of 2022 Officers<br />

Youth <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong> Returns<br />

Sponsors<br />

Bay to Bay Roofing<br />

Bene's Career Academy<br />

Blackjack Media Group<br />

Centennial Bank<br />

Clearwater Gas System<br />

Duke Energy<br />

Greater Dade City Chamber of Commerce<br />

Greater <strong>Pasco</strong> Chamber of Commerce<br />

Jarrett Ford<br />

Land O' Lakes High School Culinary Arts Program<br />

Laporte, Mulligan & Werner-Watkins, P.A.<br />

Medical Center of Trinity<br />

Micro Solutions<br />

O'Connor Law Group, P.A.<br />

Oliver & Fox PA<br />

Olympus Limo, Inc.<br />

<strong>Pasco</strong> County Clerk & Comptroller<br />

<strong>Pasco</strong> Economic Development Council<br />

<strong>Pasco</strong> Education Foundation<br />

<strong>Pasco</strong> County Sheriff's Office<br />

<strong>Pasco</strong> Hernando State College<br />

Pontlitz Asset Advisors<br />

Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point<br />

Saint Leo University<br />

Simpson Environmental Services, Inc.<br />

TECO Energy, Inc.<br />

The Bank of Tampa<br />

Time Trap Escape Room<br />

United Way of <strong>Pasco</strong> County<br />

<strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong> LEADERSHIPPASCO.COM 1

Meet the Class of 2022<br />

John Allgeier<br />

Director, Real Estate &<br />

Construction Finance —<br />

Moffitt Cancer Center<br />

Gary Bradford<br />

President,<br />

Bradford Group, LLC<br />

Anna Farrell<br />

Attorney, Doran, Beam &<br />

Farrell<br />

Sara Hill<br />

Program Director, East<br />

and West Regions —<br />

SuitUp, Inc.<br />

William Labbancz<br />

Angela Leischner<br />

Catherine Mansfield<br />

Kathy Masucci<br />

Broker & Owner,<br />

Sailwinds Realty<br />

Business Division Insurance<br />

Agent, Comegy's Insurance<br />

Agency<br />

Senior Staff Attorney, <strong>Pasco</strong><br />

Sheriff's Office<br />

Business Development<br />

Manager, Graybar<br />

Jennie Sammur<br />

Sally Sherman<br />

Taiwan Simmons<br />

Scott West<br />

Economic Development<br />

Manager, <strong>Pasco</strong> Economic<br />

Development Council<br />

Assistant County<br />

Administrator, <strong>Pasco</strong> County<br />

Development Services<br />

Director of Operations,<br />

Community Victory Family<br />

Services, Inc.<br />

HX Compliance Superisor,<br />

<strong>Pasco</strong> County Property<br />

Appraiser<br />

2 FALL <strong>2021</strong> NEWSLETTER

’22-2 Legit 2 Quit<br />

David Ishaq<br />

Teacher, Florida Autism<br />

Center of Excellence<br />

Jennifer Kilburg<br />

Partnerships Director, <strong>Pasco</strong><br />

County — Big Brothers Big<br />

Sisters of Tampa Bay<br />

Laura Knight<br />

Senior Associate,<br />

United Way of <strong>Pasco</strong> County<br />

Ken Kupferman<br />

President, Affordable Lock &<br />

Security<br />

Brandon May<br />

Josephine Ploettner<br />

Troy Powell<br />

Samuel Rockwell<br />

President, Mortan Plant<br />

North Bay Hospital<br />

Court Services<br />

Assistant Director,<br />

<strong>Pasco</strong> County Clerk &<br />

Comptroller<br />

Senior Product Manager,<br />

Creative Contractors, Inc.<br />

Financial Advisor,<br />

Raymond James<br />

Siva Yarribilli<br />

Vice President, Van Bebber<br />

and Associates<br />

<strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong> LEADERSHIPPASCO.COM 3

Harold Sample Lifetime Achievement<br />

Award Presented to Harold Sample '91<br />

By Jason Longo ’17<br />

Harold Sample '91 was honored at a surprise ceremony in<br />

September as the first recipient of The Harold Sample Lifetime<br />

Achievement Award.<br />

Director Emeritus Tom Celotto '11 proposed this new award at a<br />

Board meeting including a second recipient, Doreen Packard for<br />

her work with Youth <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong> (See pages 6 and 7). Both<br />

the award concept and the recipients were unanimously approved<br />

by the <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong> Board of Directors and the work<br />

to quietly create the awards and plan presentations was quickly<br />

underway.<br />

Unlike the Judith Rochelle Award, this is a non-annual award.<br />

The honor may be provided to an individual who has committed<br />

10 or more years to the organization, having never received<br />

compensation, who is a non-<strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong> board member.<br />

Recipients should be committed to <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong>'s integrity<br />

and promote the ideals of the organization.<br />

4 FALL <strong>2021</strong> NEWSLETTER

Harold was a part of <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong>'s first class and has been<br />

involved ever since. There isn't an alumnus who has not met Harold<br />

Sample through his work on the Bus Tour program days. Due<br />

to COVID concerns the class of 2022 tour has been postponed.<br />

Tom Celotto had these words for Harold during the presentation.<br />

"In 1991 <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong> Organization originated and among its<br />

classmates was one person who would become committed to the success<br />

of the organization for decades to come. Each year as new class<br />

members joined LP, the initial impression of our organization was led<br />

by that one classmate from that class of 1991 who introduced <strong>Pasco</strong><br />

County to them with such passion and love.<br />

Harold you are an amazing person, your <strong>Leadership</strong> for our organization<br />

goes unmatched, The Board and Alumni of <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong><br />

would like to recognize your 30 plus years to our organization with this<br />

Harold Sample Lifetime Achievement Award.<br />

This Award will be used to recognize others who have dedicated themselves<br />

as you have to <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong>."<br />

Harold provided these heartfelt comments regarding <strong>Leadership</strong><br />

<strong>Pasco</strong> and his lifetime achievement award.<br />

"Understanding the history, diversity, and challenges facing a<br />

community is crucial for effective leadership. For over 30 years<br />

<strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong> has played a key role in helping to provide this<br />

to hundreds of now alumni, creating a huge network of knowledgeable,<br />

involved, civic-minded citizens.<br />

Manny Long '16, Board President presents Harold Sample '91 with<br />

the Harold Sample Lifetime Achievement Award.<br />

I have had the pleasure to be a part of this program since its<br />

inception and to have met so many great people who are driven<br />

to make <strong>Pasco</strong> County a better place to live.<br />

Receiving this award is very, very special. I’m especially honored<br />

and humbled by having a <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong> service award named<br />

for me. I know there are many who have worked harder than me<br />

over the years to make this program the success that it is. It is my<br />

hope that they too will be recognized for what they have continuously<br />

contributed."<br />

Future Nominations for the<br />

Harold Sample Lifetime Achievement Award<br />

At any time, <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong> alumni in good standing may<br />

nominate an individual for this award based on the criteria.<br />

Self-nominations will not be considered. Nominations should<br />

be communicated to the current <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong> Board<br />

President, who may request support documentation.<br />

After a nomination has been received, the Past Presidents'<br />

Council will meet and review the information that qualifies<br />

them to be nominated for this award. The Council may grant<br />

multiple Lifetime Achievement Awards annually, but this<br />

award is not an annual expectation.<br />

Harold Sample '91 with Tom Celotto '11 at the award presentation.<br />

<strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong> LEADERSHIPPASCO.COM 5

Honoring Doreen Packard for a Lifetime of<br />

Dedication to Youth <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong><br />

By Jason Longo ’17<br />

Doreen Packard, lifetime volunteer of <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong>'s Youth<br />

<strong>Leadership</strong> Program was the first recipient of The Harold Sample<br />

Lifetime Achievement Award.<br />

The honor may be provided to an individual who has committed<br />

10 or more years to the organization, having never received<br />

compensation, who is a non-<strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong> board member.<br />

Recipients should be committed to <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong>'s integrity<br />

and promote the ideals of the organization.<br />

Barbara DeSimone '96 presented the surprise award to Doreen<br />

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

wrote a letter read by Barbara.<br />

"Doreen:<br />

When I served on the board for <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong> and had the<br />

opportunity to follow the Youth <strong>Leadership</strong> Team (You, Rob, and<br />

Barbara) I was truly amazed at how much you did. At the time I<br />

did not know much about you, so I learned through Barbara and<br />

Rob your many roles in keeping YLP running smooth.<br />

As time went on, I would see you at the YLP Graduations, say<br />

hi and always made sure to thank you for being a part of the<br />

program.<br />

Doreen, your selfless giving of your time, love, and passion for<br />

our YLP program has not gone unnoticed by our Board and<br />

Alumni.<br />

Our Board unanimously voted to not only present this award to<br />

you, to also create an award specifically for you to honor you in<br />

such a manner.<br />

Harold Sample was recently awarded a Lifetime Achievement<br />

award for his continued commitment to our LP program.<br />

Today you are the first recipient of the Harold Sample Lifetime<br />

Achievement award for your 20 plus years of hard work and<br />

dedication to our Youth and the YLP program.<br />

I am sorry I could not be in person when you received this award,<br />

that does not mean I am not thinking of you each day and pray-<br />

6 FALL <strong>2021</strong> NEWSLETTER

ing for you to get better.<br />

Thank you again Doreen.<br />

Your Friend,<br />

Tom Celotto"<br />

Doreen is courageously battling an illnesss, and this year she<br />

will not be abe to volunteer with Youth <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong>. She<br />

created an amazing foundation for the program and how it operates,<br />

and several alumni are dividing up the many duties which<br />

she performed with reliabilty, expertise, and joy for many years.<br />

We appreciate all that Doreen has done for our community and<br />

our youth program and wish her good health and happiness.<br />

I have been involved in the Youth <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong><br />

program with Barbara De Simone, Rob Aguis, and Ben<br />

Diel. It has been a truly wonderful experience working<br />

with the youth of <strong>Pasco</strong> County. I was honored to be a<br />

part of the team.<br />

I also, became the first recipient of the Harold Sample<br />

Lifetime Achievement award this year. What a surprise<br />

and honor that was. It really meant a lot to me and I<br />

hope to continue to be a part of the YLP team. Thank<br />

you so much for this recognition.<br />

Doreen Packard<br />

Doreen Packard, Barbara De Simone '96, and Ben Diel '16,<br />

volunteering at one of many past Youth <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong> events.<br />

<strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong> LEADERSHIPPASCO.COM 7

Judith Rochelle Award Presented to Nichole<br />

"Nikki" Alvarez-Sowles '13<br />

By Jason Longo ’17<br />

Initiative – fosters an awareness of our community resources and<br />

demonstrates an ability to lead by recruiting new candidates, promoting<br />

participation in community service to <strong>Pasco</strong> County. Has<br />

a life-long bond and personal commitment to see <strong>Pasco</strong> County<br />

grow and prosper.<br />

Creativity – promote a greater understanding of issues through<br />

interaction and problem solving with peers and community leaders.<br />

Dedication – is recognized by others for being dedicated to<br />

<strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong>, Alumni and Youth <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong>. Accomplishes<br />

much within the community by his or her pursuit, courage,<br />

enthusiasm, and passion.<br />

Recognition – recognized by their peers for their commitment to<br />

the success of <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong>.<br />

Examples of Nikki's pursuits include:<br />

<strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong>, board member and past president<br />

West <strong>Pasco</strong> Bar Association, member and past president<br />

Rotary Club of New Port Richey, member<br />

Member of various committees and workgroups devoted to performance<br />

excellence in government work, such as:<br />

Nichole "Nikki" Alverez-Sowles '13 was selected as the <strong>2021</strong><br />

recipient of <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong>'s highest honor, the Judith Rochelle<br />

Award.<br />

In her role as <strong>Pasco</strong> County Clerk & Comptrolle, in her work with<br />

the <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong> Board of Directors, and in her many other<br />

volunteer roles, Nikki exceeds every one of the award criteria.<br />

<strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong> alumni who have at least five years of serving<br />

the organization are nominated by their peers as Judith Rochelle<br />

Award candidates and the Past President's Council meets and<br />

reviews each nominee based on the following:<br />

<strong>Leadership</strong> – ability to motivate and inspire others to action<br />

throughout East, Central and West <strong>Pasco</strong> County to accomplish<br />

our mission; to train and unite leaders.<br />

Florida Clerks & Comptrollers’ Best Practices Workgroup<br />

Supreme Court workgroups<br />

Florida Bar Small Claims Rules Committee<br />

<strong>Pasco</strong>-Hernando State College Technical Advisory Committee for<br />

Paralegal Studies<br />

<strong>Pasco</strong> County School District and Success Plan Committee<br />

In tireless pursuit of nurturing excellence, Nikki served as a Florida<br />

Governor’s Sterling Examiner and was awarded the Certified<br />

Public Manager designation from the Florida Center for Public<br />

Management at Florida State University.<br />

To learn more about Nikki's experience with <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong>, her career<br />

progression, family, and much more revisit an interview from our <strong>Fall</strong><br />

2020 <strong>Newsletter</strong>.<br />

8 FALL <strong>2021</strong> NEWSLETTER

Crystal Lazar '13: 40 Under 40, Tampa Bay<br />

Business Journal<br />

By Jason Longo ’17<br />

The following Q&A were published in Tampa Bay Business Journal.<br />

Education: Bachelor of arts, University of Central Florida<br />

What was your first paid job?<br />

Ballet teacher<br />

If you were not in your current field, what would you be doing?<br />

Teaching art classes, running my swim school business full-time,<br />

and traveling in an RV.<br />

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned so far in<br />

your career?<br />

Always move forward, tenacity gets things done. There are<br />

times you need to reflect and be flexible, but hold on to your core<br />

values and goals, tightly.<br />

What advice would you give to high school students as they<br />

look toward their future?<br />

Use your next chapter to do something that makes you proud.<br />

There is no wrong or right answer — as long as you chase something<br />

deeply meaningful to you.<br />

Crystal Lazar '13 was selected to be a part of Tampa Bay Business<br />

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

class or had the opportunity to engage with her, you are sure to<br />

agree that this honor is well deserved.<br />

Crystal is the President and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of East<br />

& Central <strong>Pasco</strong> County. She began working with them in 2011<br />

as a volunteer coordinator and was soon promoted to director,<br />

Associate Executive Director, and then Chief Operating Officer.<br />

She has been in her current role since 2019.<br />

In the last year, she increased the organization's net income<br />

by 240% and in October began the permitting process for a<br />

10-home community. Under her leadership, she and her team<br />

developed a sustainable financing model that increased working<br />

capital by 313%<br />

She shares, “I am inspired every day by the brilliant people on my<br />

team and I am surrounded by the gracious mentors. I know that<br />

leadership is about developing new leaders and supporting those<br />

around you to grow into the best versions of themselves and I find<br />

that to be a very fulfilling job.<br />

What do you do to have fun or relax?<br />

I work. Seriously, I have such fun at work and it is an organization<br />

that I spent years volunteering for, I am so thankful to serve<br />

Habitat in my career. However, when I am not on the job I enjoy<br />

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

swimming, playing soccer in the street, or visiting ZooTampa and<br />

The Florida Aquarium.<br />

Favorite movie of all time?<br />

Toy Story<br />

Favorite podcast?<br />

Financial Feminist<br />

What book had a significant impact on you?<br />

The Conscious Parent by Dr. Shefali Tsabary<br />

What are you currently reading?<br />

Dare to Lead by Brene Brown<br />

If you were a professional baseball player, what would your<br />

walk-up music be?<br />

Dirty Heads, Vacation<br />

<strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong> LEADERSHIPPASCO.COM 9

Class of '22 Starts on a High Note<br />

By Craig Laporte '06<br />

Because of the pandemic, the Class of ’22 started its year with<br />

Criminal Justice Day instead of the traditional bus tour. The<br />

condensed class met at nearly sunrise, early on the morning of<br />

Thursday, October 21, <strong>2021</strong> at the <strong>Pasco</strong> County Jail in Land O’<br />

Lakes.<br />

After being transported by bus to the sheriff’s aviation hangars,<br />

the class was introduced to the sheriff’s marine unit. During the<br />

explanation of the missions of the marine unit, the class was disrupted<br />

by a high-speed chase being conducted by multiple sheriff’s<br />

specialty units including traffic interdiction, SWAT, K-9 and<br />

aviation. The driver of the pursued vehicle jumped out and ran,<br />

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

was apprehended by SWAT and other officers at gun point. All<br />

the while, the sheriff’s Huey helicopter hovered overhead, providing<br />

coverage for the pursuing officers. Fortunately, the suspects<br />

were apprehended and the class returned to its primary mission<br />

of learning about the criminal justice system in our county.<br />

After touring the facilities and visiting with the specialty units, the<br />

class was transported back to the jail, where they were immediately<br />

immersed in a highly interactive exercise. They were broken<br />

into groups and each group was assisted by a member of Sheriff<br />

Nocco’s command staff as they learned how the sheriff’s office<br />

approaches various scenarios. In this case, they had to direct a<br />

response to a bomb explosion and active shooter at a local high<br />

school using the available resources.<br />

The class members then had a chance to learn about the functions<br />

of the State Attorneys Office, the Public Defender's Office,<br />

the Courts and law enforcement from a panel of distinguished<br />

guests. This year, we expanded the time for the panel and, even<br />

then, ran out of time for questions from the floor. We want to<br />

thank Chief Administrative Judge Shawn Crane, State Attorney<br />

Bruce Bartlett, Public Defender Sara Mollo and Colonel Jeff Harrington<br />

for sharing their expansive wealth of knowledge.<br />

After a working lunch with Sheriff Nocco and members of his<br />

Behavioral Health Intervention Team, talking about the proactive<br />

approach being taken in <strong>Pasco</strong> to identify and assist those<br />

with mental disorders in locating support mechanisms, the class<br />

began its walking tour of the jail. They learned extensively about<br />

the challenges faced by the corrections staff in dealing with<br />

inmates. One clear take-away from the Sheriff and his staff is<br />

that most inmates in the jail suffer from either drug addiction or<br />

mental health issues. The sheriff said that the jail should not be a<br />

mental health or rehab facility, but unfortunately due to a lack of<br />

resources in the community, it had no other choice. That is why<br />

Sheriff Nocco is partnering with many non-governmental agencies<br />

to create a support network.<br />

This year wound up with an expanded and interactive forensics<br />

demonstration. The sheriff’s forensics unit teamed up with Time<br />

Trap Escape Room, operated by LP Alums Jeremy Simons and<br />

Kim Hamm, in putting on a murder mystery requiring the class to<br />

solve clues using high tech forensics equipment. Between lifting<br />

fingerprints, finding blood residue and identifying anthropological<br />

clues, the class ultimately solved the crime.<br />

As the day came to a close, it was obvious the class took a great<br />

deal of knowledge about our criminal justice system home with<br />

them. The interaction between the class and the sheriff’s staff<br />

was outstanding. Once again, we want to thank all of the participants<br />

who made this such a successful day, and especially the<br />

sponsors: Sheriff Chris Nocco, and Laporte, Mulligan & Werner-<br />

Watkins, PA, Attorneys at Law, who made the day possible.<br />

10 FALL <strong>2021</strong> NEWSLETTER

<strong>Pasco</strong> County Sheriff's Office and many other experts wowed the Class of 2022 with expertise and dedication.<br />

Class members got to experience a study in foresnsic science.<br />

<strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong> LEADERSHIPPASCO.COM 11

A Message from the Class of 2022 Officers<br />

By Taiwan Simmons '22 and Laura Knight '22<br />

<strong>2021</strong> has been a whirlwind of change. After 2020, COVID-19,<br />

and government shutdowns it only makes sense that many would<br />

have little expectations about having a successful year. We do not<br />

subscribe to the idea that we are doomed to a less-than-excellent<br />

existence and that all is lost. There are too many things to fight<br />

for: family, friends, and our community. These are all extremely<br />

important to us. We both made a commitment to serve where we<br />

were planted many years ago and we have done our best to hold<br />

true to this commitment. Now, we each have been blessed with<br />

the opportunity to serve <strong>Pasco</strong> County as members of the <strong>Leadership</strong><br />

<strong>Pasco</strong> Class of 2022.<br />

Our community was faced with countless problems that were<br />

either a direct result of the pandemic or severely worsened due to<br />

the pandemic. During this time, our community rallied behind the<br />

major problems affecting all of us and worked together to find<br />

effective solutions. However, our work is not yet done.<br />

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

of so many that are serving at our level and greater. We have so<br />

many men and women that are invested in the success of <strong>Pasco</strong><br />

County and the Greater Tampa Bay area. Our class has character,<br />

personality, and grit. It’s only been a couple of months, yet<br />

we still believe that our motto for the year is more than appropriate.<br />

It’s perfect! ’22- 2 Legit 2 Quit. Regardless of the challenges<br />

that we will face this year, we are determined not to quit or be<br />

defeated.<br />

Our sincere congratulations to the Class of 2020 who pushed<br />

forward in raising nearly $20,000 for their class project despite<br />

all the setbacks that they faced. We would like to thank the<br />

<strong>Leadership</strong>, our <strong>Pasco</strong> Board of Directors, for organizing another<br />

fantastic Class. Our hats go off to the board for adapting the<br />

various instructional days to be COVID-19 safe without losing<br />

the integrity of the lessons. We have begun to see just how much<br />

work goes into planning the Class and we are most appreciative.<br />

Our goal for our class project is to raise the most money in the<br />

history of <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong>. Through our Class Project we will<br />

address a major health and human service need impacting our<br />

community. We will work with a local non-profit agency to creatively<br />

find a solution to a community issue. We know that there<br />

is an organization that will be blessed and so much stronger for<br />

our sacrifice. The people that they serve will also reap the benefits<br />

and <strong>Pasco</strong> County will be better for it.<br />

To our fellow classmates, we are looking forward to a great year<br />

with all of you. Thank you for making the short time we have had<br />

most enjoyable and thank you in advance for all your collaboration<br />

and teamwork. We look forward to the continued journey<br />

with you all!<br />

Warm Regards,<br />

Taiwan Simmons<br />

Class of 2022 President<br />

Laura Knight<br />

Class of 2022 Vice President<br />

12 FALL <strong>2021</strong> NEWSLETTER

Youth <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong> Returns<br />

By Barbara De Simone '96<br />

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

Youth <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong> (YLP) is a leadership development<br />

program that informs, motivates, and increases the awareness<br />

of selected high school sophomores and juniors through<br />

issue-oriented seminars and interaction with community leaders.<br />

Unfortunately, the program was on a pandemic break last year.<br />

The good news is YLP will resume in January 2022. In the interest<br />

of fairness, this year applications will be accepted from seniors. In<br />

addition, the sessions will be held over a shorter time period instead<br />

of the usual one session a month to be able to finish before<br />

the end of the school year.<br />

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

Law Enforcement/Criminal Justice, Economic Development/<br />

Government, Health Care/Community Services and Education/<br />

Career Development. The finale is the graduation where the high<br />

point is when the students make brief comments about what they<br />

liked about the program. Many of the students learn so much<br />

about what <strong>Pasco</strong> County has to offer. The adults who attend<br />

come away with the feeling that the future is in good hands.<br />

Unfortunately, this year we will be running the program without<br />

the assistance of Doreen Packard who is fighting an illness. She<br />

did all the behind the scenes work for almost 20 years and will be<br />

missed.<br />

Seventy-five applicants attending school in <strong>Pasco</strong>; public, private<br />

or home schooled; completed the appliation this year. If accepted,<br />

the fee is only $35 due to support from O’Connor Law<br />

Group, PA, the <strong>Pasco</strong> Education Foundation, Regional Medical<br />

Center at Bayonet Point, the <strong>Pasco</strong> County Sheriff’s office, Fred<br />

K. Marchman Technical College, and several Rotaries (Dade City<br />

Noon, Holiday, New Port Richey, Port Richey, Seven Springs, Trinity,<br />

Wesley Chapel Noon, and West <strong>Pasco</strong> Sunset).<br />

If you have any questions about the Youth <strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong> program,<br />

please email bdesimone03@gmail.com.<br />

Sponsors<br />

O'Connor Law Group, P.A.<br />

<strong>Pasco</strong> Education Foundation<br />

Rotary Club of Dade City Noon<br />

Rotary Club of Holiday<br />

Rotary Club of Hudson<br />

Rotary Club of New Port Richey<br />

Rotary Club of Port Richey<br />

Rotary Club of Seven Springs<br />

Rotary Club of Trinity<br />

Rotary Club of Wesley Chapel Noon<br />

Rotary Club of West <strong>Pasco</strong> Sunset<br />

<strong>Leadership</strong> <strong>Pasco</strong> LEADERSHIPPASCO.COM 13

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