Saving Special Places • Building Better Communities

Standing Up for You

1000 Friends of Florida maintains an experienced, professional staff to monitor ongoing local, regional and state growth management activities and recommend actions to 1000 Friends’ Board of Directors. The staff also coordinates with other public and private organizations involved in growth management issues.

Updated July 2021

Paul Owens, President (Joined 1000 Friends in July 2018)

Paul works with the Board of Directors to implement the policies and programs of the organization. With the Orlando Sentinel since 2002, Paul served as Opinions Editor since 2013. In that capacity he wrote extensively on growth management, environment and quality of life issues facing Florida. In addition to serving as Opinions Editor, Paul was the Sentinel’s Florida Forward Moderator, organizing and moderating public forums on topics including transportation and affordable housing, and before that was an Editorial Writer and then a Senior Editorial Writer. Earlier he was a reporter and editor with The Associated Press in Baltimore, covering state governments in Maryland and Delaware. He was with the Charleston Daily Mail in West Virginia for nine years, first as Statehouse Reporter, then Associate Editor and finally Political Editor. Early in his career he worked for the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations in Washington, D.C. Paul has a Bachelor of Arts in History with honors from Swarthmore College and a Master of Arts in Journalism from Stanford University. His numerous awards include First Prize in Editorial Writing from the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors in 2016, First Prize from the Florida Bar Media Awards in 2013 for editorials on judicial independence, and First Prize in Editorial Writing from the Florida Society of Professional Journalists in 2012.

Sam Braverman, Intern (Fall 2021)

An undergraduate alumnus and master’s student in urban and regional planning with the University of Florida, Sam Braverman is a proud Tampa native. Having grown up biking in the Lower Hillsborough Wilderness Preserve and paddling the mangrove-lined estuaries of Tampa Bay, Sam translated his passion for natural spaces into a stint teaching environmental science in upstate New York. As a master’s student in urban planning, Sam studies bicycle and pedestrian safety, and the impacts of emerging transport technologies like electric and autonomous vehicles on growth management policies. During his free time, you can find Sam out bicycling rail trails and frequenting the coffee shops around his home in Gainesville.

Haley Busch, Outreach Director (Joined 1000 Friends in January 2020)

Haley joins 1000 Friends to promote sustainable growth through collaboration with civic and conservation organizations across Florida. She works to connect a new generation of Floridians with 1000 Friends’ mission and assists in planning local workshops and other informational events statewide. Prior to working for 1000 Friends, Haley was the Administrator for the Florida Conservation Coalition where she helped conservation leaders build consensus on policy solutions to Florida’s pressing environmental challenges. She is a founding board member of the Florida Futures Project, a statewide scholarship competition for high school seniors to craft solutions to large-scale challenges facing the Sunshine State. A Gainesville native, Haley graduated from Eckerd College, Phi Beta Kappa (St. Petersburg, Florida), and obtained her master’s degree of Public and Urban Policy from the University of Glasgow (United Kingdom). Haley resides in St. Petersburg with her husband where she enjoys kayaking, birdwatching and long runs at Fort DeSoto Park and along the Pinellas Trail.

Carol R. Jones, Office Assistant (Joined 1000 Friends in June 2021)

Carol assists with office and financial management for 1000 Friends of Florida. A long-time resident of Miami who relocated to Tallahassee in 2017, Carol studied business administration at Barry University in Miami Shores and worked in the insurance industry for several decades, serving as Vice President of Claims at American Bankers Insurance Group for 19 years and Vice President of Operations at Financial American Life Insurance Company for 11 years. Carol most recently served as Senior Office Manager for the Tallahassee office of Sunrise Community, Inc., a not-for-profit organization headquartered in Miami dedicated to serving the needs of people with intellectual and physical disabilities. She also served in an administrative support role with the Florida Association of Rehabilitation Facilities.

Toni Russell, Operations and Development Director (Joined 1000 Friends in January 2015)

Toni assists with and manages the fundraising efforts and financial and office management. She also provides administrative support to the President and serves as the liaison to the Board of Directors. She previously served for two years as the Major Gifts Manager and seven years as Deputy Director of Philanthropy for The Nature Conservancy, where she was responsible for the management of the Florida Donor Relations fundraising team, the annual renewals, grant writing, donor database entry, budgeting, allocations of donor funds and financial tracking and for prospecting and stewardship for the Major Gifts fundraising team. Prior to that she coordinated the membership and development efforts for the Orange County Regional History Center where she was responsible for organizing fundraising campaigns and managing special events. She has her B.S. in Business Administration, Finance from the University of Florida.

Jane West, Policy & Planning Director (Joined 1000 Friends in September 2019)

Jane works with citizens, providing guidance on critical growth and development issues facing communities across Florida. She also advocates before the Florida legislature to promote legislation for sound community planning that protects Florida’s lands and waters and quality of life. In addition, Jane coordinates 1000 Friends’ legal advocacy efforts related to growth management. Jane has been practicing law for 21 years, and for the past 7 years has owned Jane West Law, P.L., a boutique litigation law firm focused on precedent-setting public interest land use and environmental cases throughout the state of Florida. She is an AV-rated attorney admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court, the 7th and 11th U.S. Court of Appeals and the Southern and Middle Districts of Florida. She is highly knowledgeable on comprehensive plan amendments, the quasi-judicial process, and zoning matters. The majority of her case load has involved land use litigation in circuit court and the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings (DOAH) along with federal litigation. Previously, she practiced law in Portland, Maine at Conservation Law Foundation, and Jupiter and West Palm Beach, Florida. Jane has a law degree from the Shepard Broad Law Center at Nova Southeastern University and B.A.s in both International Relations and Fine Arts from the University of South Florida. Jane currently serves as the Chairperson of the City of St. Augustine Beach’s Planning and Zoning Board, she was the founding member and President of the St. Johns Association of Women Lawyers and is a long standing member of the Florida Association of Women Lawyers. She likewise is a founding member of GreenHands, Inc., served on the Land Development Committee of Conservation Florida, and chaired the Agriculture and Environmental Council for the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce. Jane was elected to the St. Augustine Port, Waterway & Beaches Commission in November 2020.

Vivian Young, AICP, Communications Director (Joined 1000 Friends in April 1996)

Vivian handles communications and special planning projects, most recently leading 1000 Friends’ successful outreach campaign to curtail M-CORES, the proposed 330-mile system of tolled roads through rural Florida.  She spearheaded Florida 2070/Water 2070 which reveals the devastating impact 15 million new residents on Florida’s lands and waters; building on that she is now focusing on Sea Level 2070.  She launched and coordinates the monthly Dr. John M. DeGrove Webinar Series which has attracted more than 25,000 attendees since 2011 and now averages more than 500 participants per event.  Additionally, she manages 1000 Friends’ website, administers e-mail alerts, coordinates publication of the newsletter and annual report, authors special reports, and undertakes other communications endeavors. Vivian stepped up to serve as Interim President in both 2014 and 2018. Previously, as the Historic Tallahassee Preservation Board Planner she helped craft the historic preservation element, ordinance, and economic incentive program, and staffed the Architectural Review Board; earlier she served as Florida’s first State Main Street Coordinator launching a statewide program that remains vibrant to this day. In 2005 she received an individual achievement award from the Florida Heritage Foundation and Tallahassee Trust for Historic Preservation. She received her Master of Urban Planning degree with honors from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and her Bachelor of Arts from Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland, and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Robert N. Hartsell, P.A. (Of Counsel to 1000 Friends since October 2014)

Recognizing the pressure on Palm Beach County to approve several extremely large developments through the approval process, 1000 Friends has moved into this legal arena by selecting Robert N. Hartsell, P.A. to represent its legal interest there. Mr. Hartsell is the principal in the Law Firm of Robert Hartsell, P.A., a private public interest law firm providing exceptional representation to the environmental community in south Florida. The firm’s primary focus is environmental, land use, zoning, permits, Fair Housing Act and everglades restoration law in South Florida. Click here to find out more.