Peter Antonacci became Executive Director of the South Florida Water Management District in October 2015. He brings more than three decades of extensive experience in Florida state government, finance and law to this leadership role.
He served as General Counsel to Governor Rick Scott from 2013 to 2015 and previously as State Attorney for the 15th Judicial Circuit in Palm Beach County. He served as a Governing Board member at the Northwest Florida Water Management District from 2006 to 2012. From 1991 to 1997, he was Bob Butterworth's Deputy Attorney General where he managed major litigation involving a variety of issues, including state lands.
Raised in Hialeah, he attended Hialeah High School and Miami Dade College. He also attended Florida State University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts as well as a master's degree in Urban and Regional Planning. He earned his Juris Doctorate from the Florida State University College of Law. more »
As executive director of the state's largest water management agency, Antonacci leads the District in carrying out its mission to balance and improve flood control, water supply, water quality and natural systems across the region. Under his direction, the agency provides flood protection to South Florida through one of the largest water management systems in the world; works with utilities and stakeholders to develop long-term water supply plans; and is implementing landmark restoration strategies to improve water quality, expand water storage and restore more natural flows to America's Everglades.
Len J. Lindahl, P.E., Assistant Executive Director
Contact: Candy McCulloch
Len J. Lindahl, P.E., has more than 18 years of experience in water resource engineering and complex project management. His diverse expertise ranges from developing and implementing comprehensive strategic plans and operational budgets, to a wide spectrum of civil and environmental engineering services.
Prior to joining the District in 2013, he served as vice president of Florida operations for a multinational Fortune 500 company providing technical and management support in a variety of markets including energy, water, transportation and the environment. Lindahl also has served as District Engineer for a number of South Florida local water control districts, responsible for regulatory, construction and operational components. His professional affiliations include the Florida Engineering Society, National Society of Professional Engineers, American Water Resources Association, Florida Association of Special Districts and the Water Management Institute.
Lindahl has a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Lafayette College and a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from Lehigh University. A life-long Jupiter resident, he is a professional engineer registered in the state of Florida. more »
Lindahl supervises the agency's core mission functions: water management operations, maintenance and construction; water resource science, engineering and planning; Everglades restoration; and regulation. In addition, he supervises Information Technology and real estate.
Brian Accardo joined the District in January 2016 as General Counsel. He previously held leadership positions at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for five years, serving as a program director and as special counsel.
In 2013, the American Bar Association awarded Accardo the Distinguished Environmental Advocates Award for his accomplishments and contribution to the development of law, policy and programs in the areas of energy and the environment.
Prior to joining the Department of Environmental Protection, Accardo practiced environmental law in Tallahassee. Earlier in his career, he worked as a project manager at a South Florida engineering and construction firm.
Accardo received a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science from the University of Florida and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Miami School of Law. more »
Accardo provides and supervises legal services in support of the agency's mission responsibilities. Key program areas include negotiations and dispute resolution, resource protection rulemaking, litigation, preventive law, public records and Sunshine Law.
Tia Barnett, Governing Board & Executive Services
Contact: Haley Koptak
Tia Barnett took over responsibility for Governing Board and Executive Services in February 2016. Since joining the District in 2000, Barnett has spent many years supporting the agency's legislative agenda and community outreach.
In her most recent role, Barnett was the Water Resources Advisory Commission (WRAC) Coordinator, working closely with Governing Board and WRAC members, advocacy groups and interested citizens. Earlier in her career, she worked in the Engineering and Construction Bureau and supported several senior managers. She also has private sector experience as a manager in the hospitality industry.
Barnett earned a Bachelor of Applied Science degree from Palm Beach State College. more »
Barnett is responsible for coordinating the District's Governing Board meetings and other scheduled events with Governing Board members. She also serves as the agency's Ombudsman and supervises the District Clerk, Public Records, Records Management, Reference Library, mailroom and related functions.
Richard Bassell joined the District in November 2012 as part of the Real Estate group. His depth of experience in acquisitions, marketing and sale of properties helped support the District's comprehensive land assessment process, completed in 2013.
Bassell brings extensive experience in real estate asset management, highlighted by resolving a $200 million portfolio of properties and loans in the private sector. Prior to District service, he was an executive with several Florida-based real estate investment and development firms.
He has a Master of Science in Urban and Environmental Studies from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Bachelor of Arts from the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh, double majoring in environmental studies and philosophy. more »
Bassell is responsible for the District's extensive property interests, which include more than 1.4 million acres of land with a combined value of more than $2.5 billion. He and his staff handle all real estate acquisitions, exchanges, sales, leasing and asset management for the agency.
Terrie Bates joined the District in 1985 and has gained wide-ranging experience in environmental regulation, water supply, water quality, wetland mitigation, ecosystem restoration, applied science and watershed management issues. She directed a streamlining effort in environmental permitting to combine the state's surface water management, dredge & fill and sovereign submerged lands programs and to create the mitigation banking program.
Bates has held executive management responsibilities for overseeing the District's water shortage and drought response in 2006-2007 and again in 2011.
Born and raised in Palm Beach County, Bates received a Bachelor of Science in Forest Resources & Conservation from the University of Florida and a Master in Public Administration from Florida Atlantic University. more »
Bates manages the agency's scientific focus on ecosystem and technology research, water quality monitoring and analysis, water supply planning and resource evaluations.
Jill Creech, P.E., joined the District as the Regulation Division Director in February 2016 after serving five years as director of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Southeast District Office in West Palm Beach. In addition to her public service experience with South Florida's regulated community, Creech brings an extensive private sector background to the District. She was president and co-owner of her own engineering firm for 18 years and also worked as a project engineer at several national firms.
Creech has a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and is a registered professional engineer in the state of Florida. more »
Creech manages the agency's regulatory programs, which help protect, manage and improve regional water resources. The District's streamlined permitting process and online database provide ready access to historical and current regulatory information, including pending applications.
Karen Estock initially joined the District in 2004 as Director of the West Palm Beach Field Station and most recently served as Bureau Chief for Infrastructure Management. Her responsibilities included supervising the District's structure inspection program, surveying and hydrologic data acquisition and management.
Previously, Estock worked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for 22 years where she rose to Chief, Field Operations and Readiness, in the Clewiston Office. Her duties included operations and maintenance of the Herbert Hoover Dike, Lake Okeechobee, the Okeechobee Waterway and its associated infrastructure.
She has a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resource Management from Pennsylvania State University and is a graduate of the Corps' Emerging Leaders Program. more »
Estock manages the operations and maintenance functions conducted by the agency's eight field stations to provide year-round water management system readiness. She also supervises the District's canal and levee rights of way and stewardship of public lands.
Ernie Marks, Everglades Policy & Coordination
Contact: Lourdes Elias
Ernie Marks joins the District in March 2016 as Director of Everglades Policy and Coordination, bringing extensive knowledge of Everglades restoration and water resource issues to the agency. Before joining the District, he served as the South Florida Regional Director for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. He previously worked for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection as Director of the Office of Ecosystem Projects and as a regulatory manager.
Marks earned a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Economics and Natural Resource Management from the University of Rhode Island. more »
Marks coordinates, develops and implements comprehensive policy and projects to preserve, restore and protect the South Florida ecosystem while recognizing the needs of external constituents and stakeholders. He supervises interactions with the agency's restoration partners at both the federal and state levels.
John Mitnik, P.E., Operations, Engineering & Construction
Contact: Candy McCulloch
John Mitnik was named Director for Operations, Engineering and Construction in February 2016. He previously served as Engineering and Construction Bureau Chief after working as a section administrator and a supervising engineer with that group. Before joining the District in 2004, he worked as an environmental administrator and engineer for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
Mitnik has a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering from the University of Florida and an MBA specializing in Environmental Resource Management from Florida Atlantic University. He is a professional engineer registered in the state of Florida. more »
Mitnik manages around-the-clock water control operations and monitoring of the regional water management system and coordination with local entities. He also supervises the inspection and refurbishment of existing facilities, along with the design and construction of new projects and infrastructure.
Duane Piper became the agency's Chief Information Officer in 2011. He brings 25 years of Information Technology experience, including 11 years at the District and 14 years in the private sector, helping businesses remain competitive through the efficient use of technology. His experience with large information systems in complex operational environments includes international and multi-site settings in the manufacturing, database and publishing industries.
Piper earned his Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Florida Atlantic University and a Master of Science in Management of Technology from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He is also a Certified Project Manager (PMP) and a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).
Additionally, Piper serves on the Technical Advisory Committee for the Palm Beach County School Board. more »
Information Technology supports critical work throughout the agency. Piper supervises network infrastructure, systems engineering, software applications, data security and desktop resources. He and his staff enable District functions that include Everglades restoration modelling, project planning and design, geospatial mapping and water resource and water supply monitoring and analysis. They also manage systems that support the agency’s financial and regulatory operations.