Judith Turner is executive director of Florida Cooperative Empowered Economic Development. The organization is a nonprofit, working as a resource center to provide education about cooperatives and technical assistance to develop cooperative businesses.
In St. Petersburg, Florida CEED works as a partner with Pinellas Technical College on creating new ways to apply cooperative development to the hands-on work force. Judith is also president of e-construction group Inc., which specializes in restoration and renovation of single- and multi-family properties.
Topaz Hooper is a member of the board of directors of North American Students of Cooperation and coordinator of diversity programs and multicultural affairs at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg.
She serves as a resource for faculty and staff for guidance concerning diversity and support of students of color, ethnic minorities, and LGBTQ students. Topaz is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder with a bachelor of arts in geography and human geography, speaks Spanish and Russian, and has done volunteer work with the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital, where she conducted workshops with theater techniques to help combat veterans.
Sophee Payne is a community health planner with the Florida Department of Health, based in Sarasota. She works to improve public health in the built environment, focusing on public health initiatives involving land use, transportation and community environmental health. She is a graduate of Florida State University, where she earned a master’s degree in Science of Planning.
Sophee has done work in Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, rebuilding structures after the 2004 hurricane season and teaching math and science to children, and worked for sustainable living in a project in Nepal.
The United Tiny House Association and Georgia Tiny House Festival, originally the Georgia Tiny House Association, was founded in 2015 by John and Fin Kernohan to support the tiny house movement and for people living the tiny house dream, wanting to start their own tiny house journey, or those simply interested in tiny living.
The Kernohans built their 304 square foot, known as Beloved Cabin, in 2011. They live in the woods of Georgia, where they have embraced solar energy, rain water collection, raise chickens, and grown their own vegetables and fruits. Fin is a vegetarian and fitness expert, while John is the handyman of the property and an avid outdoorsman, where he fills the freezer with fresh game (much to Fin’s despair).
After years of organizing not-for-profit concerts and festivals as fundraisers for students and college-bound homeschool students, John, along with Fin and United Tiny House Association board member Shorty Robbins created the state-level Tiny House Festivals, which embrace all modalities of tiny living, from professional-built tiny homes to private-owned tiny houses, DIY structures, tree houses, skoolies (converted school buses), yurts, campers, and any other tiny structure someone calls home.
The festivals are designed to support local communities and charities through the fundraising activities and by giving charities and non-profit organizations a platform to share with others.
Debbie Caneen is founder of Circle Pond, a private tiny home community under development in Ruskin, in South Hillsborough County. With a focus on nature, accessibility and tiny living this community is situated on almost five acres centered around a two-acre lake.
The village provides 24 tiny house spaces, available for monthly or yearly rent, on a quiet setting around a pond with lush green spaces, organic gardening and freshly made honey from local bees.
Andrew Bennett, founder of Trekker Trailers, believes in thinking outside the box to experience life and make a difference in our world. Andrew found a way to really live life. Traveling around the United States and the world, including South Africa, Zambia, Scotland, England, Canada and more, he has been able to share encouragement globally.
Andrew believes that anyone can live a life of availability for adventure. "We all have something to contribute to humanity" says Andrew. "And the world is counting on us to share it."
Shaun Amarnani is a senior counsel with Trenam Law in St. Petersburg, specializing in areas including land use, rezoning, commercial real estate leases, commercial mortgages, and purchase and sale agreements.
He is a graduate of the Florida State University College of Law and did his undergraduate studies at Florida State in finance and real estate.
He has also worked for St. Petersburg as a manager in the City Development Association.
Elizabeth (Birdie) Womack and Laura Oldanie are co-hosts of the Tampa Bay group for Minimalist.org, which includes 100 Local Meetup Groups in 100 cities across 8 countries.
The organization, created by The Minimalists, helps people connect with online and in person with other people interested in achieving a minimalist lifestyle without adhering to a strict code or an arbitrary set of rules.
In a nutshell: "Minimalism is a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives. By clearing the clutter from life’s path, we can all make room for the most important aspects of life: health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution," The Minimalists founders Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus write on their website. "Getting started is as simple as asking yourself one question: How might your life be better if you owned fewer material possessions?
Chris Short grew up in Virginia, splitting time between his parents house in the city and the family farm in the countryside. With three generations of professional carpenters in his family, building is in Chris's blood. He spent summers helping his grandfather and father build and remodel homes. On weekends he worked on the farm, and that sparked a passion for horticulture and organic home gardening. After a cross-country trip and a technical degree, Chris worked in operations and program management in the mortgage, recruiting and software development industries.
As a co-founder at Tampa Bay Tiny Homes, he leverages his years of operations and project management to ensure the design and build processes go smoothly. You may find him working on the latest build, discussing design with clients, investigating new products or researching local zoning regulations. Through his work at Tampa Bay Tiny Homes, he aims to create a fully compliant tiny home construction company that suits the needs of individual clients while growing into a volume producer leveraging the benefits of repetitive processes and bulk procurement.
The city department enforces zoning regulations, noise regulations and land development regulations, in addition to such duties as maintaining the city’s comprehensive plan and giving guidelines for green building. www.stpete.org/planning_zoning,