We are proud to be an emergency gap funder, often the first on the scene, for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and its partners. We also annually support the Rodney Barreto FWC Employee of the Year and the Louise Ireland Humphrey Achievement awards, which include a $2,500 and $5,000 stipend respectively.
The Rodney Barreto FWC Employee of the Year Award is given to an employee who has made a significant contribution to FWC’s mission of safeguarding Florida’s natural resources. Jessica Pfohl, the Statewide Intelligence Supervisor since 2017, is known for her commitment across divisional lines within FWC and has been instrumental in enhancing the intelligence capabilities of the agency.
Jessica and her team have responded to over 1,700 requests for information related to identifying subjects, groups, and businesses involved in illegal resource activities in the past year. She spends hours monitoring and analyzing social media sites for threats to FWC staff and contractors during high-profile events. Jessica has also created new positions within her team and designed a state-of-the-art Intelligence Command Center to accommodate the expansion of her unit. The center serves as a security hub for commission meetings, public outreach events, and a local emergency operations center for natural disasters or other unusual occurrences. Jessica’s analytical and administrative expertise has received numerous accolades, including her role in Operation Triple Play, a two-year transnational wildlife smuggling investigation involving 3,600 native flying squirrels that were unlawfully poached from central Florida and laundered through captive wildlife licenses.
The Louise Ireland Humphrey Award for 2022 was awarded to Kathy Guindon, who recently retired after a 27-year career. Kathy was known for her enthusiastic approach to fisheries research and her excellent communication skills. She was particularly involved in studying economically valuable inshore fish, as well as being the scientific lead on several tarpon projects. She even obtained a doctorate degree focused on evaluating catch-and-release mortality in the recreational tarpon fishery while working full-time with FWC.
Kathy’s commitment to science education and collaboration with recreational fishers and guides led to her selection as the director of the Suncoast Youth Conservation Center, which opened in 2016. Under her leadership, the Center has positively impacted the lives of thousands of children, providing field and classroom-based science education on coastal and marine ecosystems. Kathy has since moved to Virginia to take up a faculty position at the Airfield 4-H Conference and Educational Center, where she will continue to build on her education legacy. Her achievements with FWC and her positive, productive example will be an inspiration to others for years to come.