The Florida Keys History and Discovery Foundation Board of Directors is comprised of members of the community who have demonstrated an interest in preserving the history of the Upper Keys, while linking that history to the overall history, geography and experience of the entire Florida Keys. Members serve voluntarily without compensation.
Mr. Russell is the great-great grandson of Islamorada’s original settlers, Richard H. and Mary Ann Russell (1854). A 1975 graduate of Coral Shores High School, he has been an educator and coach since 1979, the past 24 years as athletic director. His is a graduate of the University of Miami, where he played football on a full scholarship. He is owner and sole proprietor of First Family Rental and RCR Enterprises (lobster and stone crab business). He writes the music for and sings lead in the Island Quartet, a Southern Gospel Quartet, which recently released their fifth CD. Mr. Russell also serves as chairman for the Village Historical Preservation Commission; is a member of Village Park and Recreation Board; a member of the Island Christian School Board; co-founder of the Upper Keys Foundation (a not-for-profit underwriting athletic expenses at CSHS); and member of the Green Turtle Hammocks Island School Development Board.
Robert (Bob) J. Lodge held a long career in the manufacturing of apparel, including time with JC Penney Co. in New York, and as the founder and CEO of Ivory International beginning in 1976. A long-time resident of Miami Shores, he served on the city’s council and served as mayor. Mr. Lodge also founded additional companies: Lodge Enterprises, a company that owns and develops real estate, and Lodge Consultants, which advises garment manufacturers. He became a part-time Upper Keys resident in 1977. Mr. Lodge served as the president of the Islamorada Fishing Club for five years and is a current director emeritus. He also is active with the Islamorada Moose and the Elks Club in Tavernier. He is an avid hunter and fisherman. He lives in Islamorada with Patty, his wife of more than 40 years. They have three children and seven grandchildren.
Roberto I. Alonso is the owner/operator of Borland & Associates Insurance in Key Largo and currently serves as the chairman of the Key Largo Chamber of Commerce. Born in Cuba and raised in Miami-Dade, he was a resident of Hialeah for many years. He is a graduate of Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton with a bachelor’s degree in political science, and has been a Key Largo resident since 2005. Alonso has been coming to the Keys since the 1970s spending time fishing from the Bahia Honda Bridge and in Tavernier. He has been married to his wife Ana for 50 years, has two children and five grandchildren.
Kate DeLoach, a founding member of Flagler’s Folly Society, a young professionals group supporting the Foundation, is a partner with Southern Strategy Group, a government relations firm. Previously she served six years as district and legislative aide to State Representative Holly Raschein. DeLoach grew up in Key Largo and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Arts from Flagler College in St. Augustine and her Master of Arts degree in International Relations from The City College of New York. She is a graduate of Leadership Monroe Class XXIV and a commissioner with the Monroe County Historic Preservation Commission. She lives in Tavernier with her husband John, and enjoys reading, fishing, scuba diving, and Florida Keys history.
Michael P. Crosby, Ph.D., president and CEO of Mote Marine Laboratory (Mote). Crosby was appointed to the leadership position of Mote, based in Sarasota, Fla., in May 2013, after spending three years as Mote’s Senior Vice President of Research. Mote is an independent research institution that has been a leader in marine research for 60 years. Previously Crosby spent time Associate Vice President for Research at George Mason University and Vice Chancellor for Research at University of Hawaii-Hilo, and he held several positions with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Crosby has led major national and international multi-discipline, multi-year research projects, and has published more than 50 articles in professional and scientific trade journals. He received his Ph.D. from University of Maryland, and his B.S., M.S. from Old Dominion University.
David was the long-time owner of the Islander Resort until earlier this year. He has an immense love for the Florida Keys and its great history. He was instrumental in bringing the idea of a museum in Islamorada to fruition, providing the building and start-up funds. He is now retired, splitting his time between Tavernier and Arkansas alongside wife Annette Curry.
Mr. Hertel is the owner of IFC Consulting, Inc., and developed the Islamorada Fish Company wholesale/retail/restaurant operations in Islamorada and Dania, FL. He was a real estate developer/builder in Broward County from 1975-1985. Once settled in Islamorada, he was elected to Board of Directors of Florida Keys Electric Cooperative in 2004, 2007 and 2010. He is Board president of the Upper Keys Foundation, a member of the First State Bank Advisory Board, past president and active member of Upper Keys Rotary Club, and twice named Rotarian of the Year.
Long-time Plantation Key resident Donald Horton moved to the Keys in 1977, is a well-known building and permitting expert with decades of experience in the construction industry. He owns Island Construction Management, Inc., and D. Horton Construction, LLC. He previously served as a building official for both Monroe County and Islamorada. An active member of the community, he is on the board of the Upper Keys Rotary Club and serves as chair of the District 6990 Disaster Relief Committee. He is also a board member of the Florida Keys Contractors Association and the Republican Executive Committee of Monroe County. He is engaged to Carla Bahn, has two grown daughters, and one grandson.
Judy Layne is the owner of Image Works Marketing & Communications Corp., which she founded in 2002. She is also a Managing Partner of Mad Dog Mandich Classic, LLC. Judy’s companies specialize in marketing, advertising, and event planning, with a focus on supporting non-profit and civic organizations. She was born and raised in Miami, graduated from the University of Miami with degrees in marketing and broadcast communications. Growing up Judy spent much of her time fishing and diving throughout the Florida Keys. She lives in Islamorada with her husband, Dr. Jerry Layne.
Erin Muir is the Community Engagement Manager for the Upper Keys for Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium. Muir serves as the liaison with the local community, helping to enhance awareness and support of Mote. Erin previously served as the Membership and Events Manager at the Florida Keys History and Discovery Center, where Mote hosts an exhibit focused on Florida Coral Reef.
The Islander Resort
Ms. Mitchell has lived in Islamorada since 2000, and was a member of the Matecumbe Historical Trust for four years. She is actively involved with Voices for Florida Keys Children and a Guardian ad Litem volunteer. She is vice chair for Friends of the Islamorada Area State Parks, a Master Gardener volunteer, and chairman of the Village of Islamorada Landscape Committee. She is a graduate of Leadership Monroe County, Class XV, and a former teacher at Florida Keys Community College and computer science teacher for middle school, high school, and college (Barry University) in Miami- Dade. She authored the National Science Foundation’s curriculum “Teaching the History of Science and Technology” at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Ms. Barley, an Islamorada resident and long-time conservationist, is a founding Board member of the Everglades Foundation, serving seven years as chairperson. She also serves as chairperson of the Everglades Trust, and serves on numerous other conservation-related national boards. Ms. Barley earned several honors for her work, including being named Time Magazine’s Hero for the Planet in 1999 and being recognized in the U.S. Congressional Record during Women’s History Month in 2013. She is an honorary Miccosukee and an honorary Conch.
Mr. Pinder also is a member of one of the Florida Keys founding families and owns Buddy’s Drilling Service. He is a Realtor with H.D. Jacoby Real Estate, as well as a consultant/advisor to Marine Studios, in Marineland, FL, and Atlanta, and to the Jacoby Group, Atlanta. He serves on the Board of the Coral Restoration Foundation, and is vice chair of the Village of Islamorada Historic Preservation Board. In addition, he serves as board member and traveling participant of multiple international missions organizations.
Mr. Wilkinson first came to the Keys in 1947. The president of the Historical Preservation Society of the Upper Key, he has collected and preserved Upper Keys history since the 1970s. He is a mentor to our curator Brad Bertelli. He lives in Tavernier at the site of the original Planter settlement.