Steve Young – Chair
Steve Young is a dedicated husband and father who loves observing nature and working with the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance. He is a retired Fortune 500 company executive who enjoys investing, kayak fishing, and cycling. Most days start with a cup of coffee on the dock to watch the sunrise over the Bay. He has a passion for sustainable living and is committed to preserving the Choctawhatchee Basin for future generations. He has a BS in Chemical Engineering from Colorado State University.
Involvement with the CBA started with water monitoring, then grew to include oyster gardening. He also enjoys supporting the CBA as a Citizen Scientist. He currently sits on the CBA advisory committee and, at one time, served on the executive committee as Secretary.
Jerimi Nuckolls – Vice-Chair
Jerimi Nuckolls is Director of Development with Coastal Ridge Real Estate, a full-service real estate investment firm executing on core, core plus, value add, and ground-up development investment strategies in the multifamily real estate asset class across 39 distinct markets. Jerimi is responsible for guiding and driving new development projects from conception through completion. He oversees all aspects of the development process including planning, visioning, acquisitions, entitlements, and comprehensive financial management. Before joining Coastal Ridge, Jerimi served as the Director of Development and Senior Financial Analyst for The St. Joe Company, a resort community and commercial developer in Northwest Florida. He later served as the Vice President of Community Development with the Southern Land Company in Nashville, Tennessee, and as Vice President of Planning and Entitlements for the Howard Group, a mixed-use developer in Miramar Beach, Florida. Before graduate school, Jerimi was a land planner for an Atlanta-based firm providing master planning and project management services for a variety of developments ranging from urban mixed-use projects to resort communities, located in the Southeastern United States and many Latin American countries.
Mr. Nuckolls received a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture and a Master of Business Administration with concentrations in finance and real estate from the University of Georgia. A licensed Professional Landscape Architect and, an active member of the Urban Land Institute’s Florida Community Housing and Development Product Council. Jerimi and his wife Kelly are proud to call Northwest Florida home and play active roles in shaping and supporting their community. They have two young boys, a dog Alys, and reside in Watersound, Florida.
Monica Wallis – Post Chair
Monica M. Wallis, P.E., is a native of Destin. Monica is an alumnus of UF with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Civil Engineering as well as Troy University with a Master’s degree in Public Administration. She currently works as the Operations Manager for Destin Water Users, Inc. Monica serves as the Secretary/Treasurer for the Northwest Florida Utility Managers Council and as the vice-chair of the Florida Section AWWA Utility Council. Monica is also the Chair of the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance Advisory Board. In the past decade, Monica has volunteered with the Destin History & Fishing Museum board and local school PTOs & SACs. Monica has been active in the community as a graduate of the inaugural class of Destin Forward (2008), where she was honored with the Destin Forward Leadership Award and a graduate of Leadership Okaloosa (2009). Her hobbies include scrapbooking, taking photos, being out on local waters, and spending time with family.
Julie Terrell – Treasurer
Julie Terrell is the Director of Northwest Florida State College’s DeFuniak Springs location—the Chautauqua Center. In her current role, she is also responsible as the Grant Administrator of the Adult General Education Program. For seven years (2006-2013), she was the Director for the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance.
Before working at NWF State College, Julie worked at the University of Florida as a regional coordinator with the Florida LAKEWATCH program. She received her Bachelor of Science in Forest Resources and Conservation and a Master of Science in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences from the University of Florida. Ms. Terrell has worked on aquatic resources throughout Florida for over 20 years and has authored several publications in peer-reviewed journals using data collected by both CBA and Florida LAKEWATCH.
Ms. Terrell completed Walton County Area Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Walton Class in 2010 where she also received the Outstanding Dale Carnegie Project award. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for both the Walton County Area Chamber of Commerce and the Chautauqua Offices of Psychotherapy & Evaluation, Inc. (COPE). She also served two consecutive terms as a Director for the Florida Lake Management Society (FLMS), an organization whose mission is to promote protection, enhancement, conservation, restoration, and management of Florida’s aquatic resources.
Emily Gregory – Secretary
Emily is a lifelong resident of Fort Walton Beach. Growing up as a native Floridian, she has explored the local rivers, Gulf of Mexico, and Choctawhatchee Bay and knows what they offer our great community. These experiences inspired her to obtain a degree in Environmental Science Policy from the University of West Florida after graduating from Fort Walton Beach High School. Currently, Emily is the Property Manager and Leasing Director for the commercial division of The Jay Odom Group and has been with the company since 2008. Here she utilizes her conservation skills, balancing the need for economic development and conservation of natural resources that make Northwest Florida a beautiful tourist destination and coveted spot the locals call home. Emily has been a volunteer in the CBA water quality monitoring program since the Fall of 2014. Emily also serves as a Committee Member for her son’s Boy Scout troop and as chairperson for one of their many fundraising endeavors. One of her current long-term goals is section-hiking the Appalachian Trail between her other responsibilities and labors of love such as yoga, raising chickens, and bike riding.
An Emerald Coast “local” since 1973, Joe has been employed in advertising and marketing since graduating from the University of West Florida. Currently, Joe owns Emerald Coast Marketing and Publishing, in addition to managing Homes & Land of the Emerald Coast – a real estate magazine showcasing properties for sale throughout the coast of the Florida panhandle. Joe was introduced to the CBA in 2012 by an advisory member, Tim Norris, and felt compelled to get involved. Now serving on the CBA Advisory Board as Marketing and Events Committee, Joe works closely with CBA’s Marketing Coordinator to spread awareness for the organization that benefits and aids the betterment and conservation of the local waters he had fished, swam, and boated in since childhood. Joe is married and has one daughter who also shares the same love for local waterways.
Tim Norris, son of an Air Force father, grew up in Fort Walton Beach, surfing, fishing, and water skiing throughout the Choctawhatchee Bay estuary. After graduating from Choctawhatchee High School, Tim went on to study at Okaloosa – Walton Community College and then transferred to Florida State University where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing. In 1986, Tim became a licensed real estate agent and began his career at Sandestin Resort in Destin, FL. Now with almost 30 years of experience in the local real estate market, Tim is an agent for Pelican Real Estate and Development, focusing on residential and commercial properties.
From 2007-2011, Tim served on the board for the Northwest Florida Water Management District, where he was first introduced to CBA. During that time, Tim became a big fan of the organization and wanted to get involved, specifically to source funding for the continuance and growth of CBA’s mission in the Choctawhatchee watershed. Once elected to CBA’s Advisory Board, Tim was determined to secure the organization’s future and played a critical role in establishing CBA’s stakeholders. In a recent proposal to acquire funding from the BP oil spill settlement, Tim was instrumental in forming a partnership between CBA and Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission to establish an aqua plant nursery and fishery in Walton County. In addition to being the past Chairman of CBA’s Advisory Board, Tim served on the Walton County Design Review Board, the South Walton TDC, and as Commissioner for the South Walton Mosquito Control District.
As past Chairman of CBA, husband, and father of three girls, and local water-enthusiast, Tim wants the Choctawhatchee Bay estuary to remain as beautiful as he remembers it from childhood. He hopes that through the mission of CBA, future generations will enjoy and appreciate the pristine water resources as he and his family do today.
Dennis Peters is Gulf South Research Corporation’s (GSRC) office and staff manager, responsible for environmental business development and marketing. Dennis also serves in a program and project management role, supporting multiple DOD customers; with a focus on the Navy, Air Force, and US Army Corps of Engineers. Dennis is a seasoned marine and oceanographic scientist, focusing on environmental planning initiatives and natural resource studies of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic.
With over 37 years of marine, estuarine, and aquaculture R&D experience combined, Dennis has had previous employment with Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), Florida Wildlife Research Institute (Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission [FWC]), Hawaii Seafood Growers, Noraqua, Gulfstream Aquaculture, and the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute.
Mr. Peters has recently performed a startup of his private consulting firm, Gulfstream Aquaculture, LLC, in 2018 to provide expertise in open ocean mariculture, permitting and federal agency consultations, aquaculture feasibility studies, and offshore oceanographic siting analyses for future farm sites. Dennis serves as a Board Member of the Marine Resource Education Program’s (MREP) Aquaculture Steering Committee, Gulf of Maine Research Institute, a board of directors of the Northwest Florida State College Foundation (NWFSCF), and additionally, serves on the board of trustees of the Children’s Volunteer Health Network, Inc.
Dr. David Schjott
Dr. David Schjott earned his undergraduate degree in Communication Arts and his Master of Arts degree in Sociology from The University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. He earned a Master of Science degree in Counseling and Human Development at Troy State University and completed his Doctorate Degree in Education with a specialization in Adult Education at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He is employed full-time at Northwest Florida State College as a Professor of Social Science with primary teaching responsibilities in Sociology. David is also an Adjunct Sociology Professor at Gulf Coast State College in the Department of Social Science.
David has served on the Board of Directors for the Mental Health Association of Okaloosa and Walton Counties, the Focus Center, and the Boys and Girls Club of Okaloosa County. He served on the Board of Directors for C.O.P.E. Center (now Chautauqua Healthcare), a not-for-profit community mental health agency in Walton County, Florida, for more than seventeen years. He is currently on the Board of Directors for the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance, an advocacy group focused on protecting natural waterways and habitats in Okaloosa and Walton Counties, and Bridgeway Center, a not-for-profit Community mental Health Center in Okaloosa County, Florida.
David has been an active community volunteer for such civic organizations as the United Way, the Crisis Line of Okaloosa County, The Shelter House (Domestic Violence Shelter), and the Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce.
David has researched Domestic Violence and Interpersonal Sexual Assault. Populations for these studies have included Mental Health Providers, Victim Advocates, Law Enforcement, and Victims themselves.
David’s professional career has included working in both retail management and marketing and public relations. He spent many years in public and private psychiatric healthcare as both a consultant and outpatient service director.
David was selected by the Faculty Commission of the Florida Association of Community Colleges as the “Professor of the Year” for Instructional Excellence in 2000. The Northwest Florida State College Alumni Association has also honored David as the “Instructor of the Year” for 2001/2002, 2002/2003, 2007/2008, 2011/2012, 2012/2013, and 2013/2014 – an award selected by student balloting each Spring Semester for the academic year.
David has been a passionate advocate for mental health and social services for many years. He continues to be active in the local community. In his free time, David and his three sons enjoy reading, cycling, tennis, spending time with the family, and living in beautiful Freeport, Florida.
Mark Shaeffer was born in Texas to a US Air Force Air Rescue helicopter pilot father and elementary schoolteacher mother. Mark graduated from Choctawhatchee High School in Fort Walton Beach and has always considered this area his home. Mark graduated with a Civil Engineering degree from the University of Florida, and after a short stint in south Florida, joined Smith and Gillespie Engineers, which later became Jones Edmunds and Associates (JEA). JEA is a Florida-based consulting engineering organization (approximately 225 persons). Beginning in the environmental division of JEA in Jacksonville, Mark later became a Vice President and managed their Northwest Florida regional office in Destin before he joined Baskerville Donovan, Inc. While at JEA, he was involved in the replacement of Destin’s harbor pumping station, designed to improve water quality in the Harbor lagoon system. He also assisted in the development of the City’s stormwater master plan. Mark is currently with Baskerville Donovan in their Destin office and has assisted CBA in previous efforts including a basin-wide water quality history and stormwater impact evaluation. He also assists two utilities in Choctawhatchee Bay. Currently, spending time with his son Reid, enjoying shared interests in cars, fishing, skiing, and watersports are Mark’s favorite pastime activities. Choctawhatchee Bay has and continues to give to Mark’s family in so many ways. Thus, he wishes to give something back and preserve it to benefit the quality of life of others.
Mitch Shank retired from the Naval Oceanographic Office at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi with over 40 years of federal government service, 25 of which were as a senior manager in all aspects of Naval Oceanography and Meteorology. Mitch has a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Meteorology and has served on national and international oceanographic committees, including serving as a US Delegate to the Intergovernmental Ocean Committee in Paris, France, and the World Meteorological Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.
Mitch has served on the CBA Advisory Committee since December 2006, performing multiple terms as Secretary and Vice-Chairman. He held several workshops to identify CBA’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats as part of a strategic planning effort. He has assisted in preparing short-term plans and guided the need to establish metrics to better determine CBA’s progress. Mitch attended several meetings in Walton County to develop the Coastal Dune Lakes Management Plan and participated in the first three Mattie Kelly Environmental Symposiums and several CBA Workshops.
Mitch has resided in Destin at Sandpiper Cove and in Sandestin at One Beach Club since 2005. He served on the Board of Trustees at Sandpiper Cove from 2008 until 2019.
Brittany is a product of Okaloosa County. Upon graduation, she attended the University of Alabama and then, later on, pursued her Masters in Education at the University of West Florida. Brittany currently works for the Okaloosa County School District. She splits her time teaching 7th grade Science at Pryor Middle School and being a grant manager for the Career and Technical Education Department. In addition to teaching, Brittany has worked on and off at Northwest Florida State College since she was eighteen. Her experience includes working with Kids on Campus, teaching General Education and ESOL classes for the Adult Education department, serving two years as an AmeriCorps member, teaching College Success Courses, and working for the beloved Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance as their Education Coordinator for six years. Brittany transitioned into the public school classroom four years ago. However, she still loves to serve on the Advisory Board of the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance. In her spare time, Brittany enjoys running, listening to podcasts, traveling, and listening to live music. She loves creative outlets and also manages to coach volleyball. Brittany also supports her adopted dog named Wilma.
James Ward is retired after being an Okaloosa County businessman for the last 50+ years. Educated at Florida State and Southern Polytechnical State University in Marietta, Georgia, he received his degree in Architectural Engineering Technology in 1965. Some of his past activities include membership in the Florida House of Representatives (1976-1986), Chairman of the Correction Probation Parole Committee (1980-1984), Chairman of the Natural Resources Committee (1984-1986), Vice-Chairman of the Northwest Florida Water Management District Board (1972- 1976), Chairman of the Florida Public Service Commission Nominating Council (1986-1989), and a Member of the Southern Growth Policy Board (then Chaired by Governor Bill Clinton) (1985-1986). He is currently involved in the Boy Scouts of America.