By Jeff Littlejohn
Since our fathers were involved in the Summer School from its beginning, Ryan Matthews and I have been coming to Marco Island most of our lives. I’ve always known this was a special place, and over the years, I’ve come to appreciate this conference as a great place to bring your family, catch up with friends and colleagues, and learn from the best and brightest in our environmental industry.
Much like the Environmental Permitting Summer School, the Florida Specifier in continuous publication since 1979 has been a constant in the Florida environmental ecosystem for much of my life. I think I first saw the Florida Specifier in my dad’s office, and as I’ve grown up in this industry, I’ve always appreciated its environmental focus and relevance. The Specifier is one of the first state-based news sources in the country published for environmental professionals and has thousands of readers. When we had the opportunity to acquire the Specifier, we jumped at it.
Specifier Publishing is the new owner group, and we have assembled a great team of professionals and contributors to upgrade the Specifier’s news quality, with the goal of establishing “Florida’s Environmental News Source of Record.” The Specifier will continue to be focused on news content of interest to the environmental industry, and we will expand our coverage of state and federal regulations that affect Florida, emerging policies, significant water or land projects being discussed by state and local governments, key upcoming events, and other interesting topics to our readers. We will tell the many environmental stories that are happening in Florida and often not being told.
The newspaper is currently published six times a year and is delivered to about 5,000 subscribers. Last year, FloridaSpecifier.com was created to reach our readers online, and the digital version of the Florida Specifier is available there. This year, we are recording several of our Summer School courses for rebroadcast on demand, and going forward, we will expand our online library with the high-quality content you come to see here in Marco.
Over time, the Specifier will expand its online presence with staff-produced and expert-submitted content that is more relevant, timelier, and more comprehensive. We will also expand our social media presence, produce exclusive content, and cross-collaborate with podcasts, such as Brett Cyphers’ fantastic Water for Fighting podcast.
We will also provide a platform for contributors to share their unique experiences and knowledge with our audience, so FloridaSpecifier.com is the first place environmental professionals go for timely and relevant news about our industry.
We hope you agree that the Summer School is an ideal time to announce these changes and either introduce or re-introduce you to the Florida Specifier.
The new owner group provides a connection between these two great institutions, and our hope is that the Specifier can grow in quality and draw new and varied readers as we refresh the publication.
Ultimately, we believe that firms, associations, businesses, government agencies, and others will look to the Specifier to provide key environmental news in Florida and as an opportunity to get their message out. We are also interested in ideas you may have to improve the publication and the way we connect with the environmental community in Florida. Please come talk to us. ●