The Florida Specifier, Florida’s Environmental Newspaper of Record since 1979, is changing editors in 2023. The publication will focus its attention on expert analysis of regulatory policies and legal cases, and act as a resource for the Florida environmental industry to share best practices and understanding of current events.
John Waterman, who helped purchase the newspaper in 2020, is leaving the Specifier to focus on his role of Managing Partner of Best CFOs, where he will assist companies ranging from $5 million to $75 million in revenue, helping business owners run their companies. He has been offering CFO services for companies since the mid-1990s.
Stepping in is Patrick Gillespie, who will take the reins of editorial content decision-making for the publication.
Waterman increased the Specifier’s page count 50 percent from 16 to 24 pages, broadened the number of contributing writers, expanded the geographic coverage to include the entire southeast, and made full color the new standard over the last few years. The Specifier is now active across social media platforms. Waterman brought the publication into the digital age, creating a viable and dynamic online presence to accompany the physical paper, allowing readers to enjoy the Specifier on all their devices.
He grew up in his family’s print shop and previously wrote and ran publications. He learned about the Specifier while he was working for environmental companies. Of the newspaper, he said, “it will be around for another 40 years, serving the professional environment community.”
Gillespie has 20 years of experience in journalism, communications, public relations, and government operations. A graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington, Gillespie spent more than 10 years as a reporter, editor, and public relations advocate.
An award-winning reporter in Texas, Georgia, and Florida, his journalism career focused on reporting about the state and federal criminal justice and court systems. He has covered dozens of criminal and civil trials, written about breaking news matters, and appeared on live television to discuss high-profile cases.
Patrick is a former recipient of the Society of Professional Journalists Sunshine State Award for reporting about the shooting death of Fort Myers Police Officer Andrew Widman in 2008. His coverage led to local and eventually statutory changes in Florida under the Andrew Widman Act, which provided judges additional discretion to hold or set bail for defendants if they are found to have violated probation or committed a new crime.
Following his journalism career, Patrick spent more than two years at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, where he served as Press Secretary, established the Department’s social media policies and accounts, coordinated media responses to local, state, and national media, and organized news conferences and events.