Pompano Beach, FL
As Director, Communications & Community Relations for Waste Management Inc. of Florida, Dawn McCormick is responsible for external and internal communications and community relations for Waste Management throughout Florida.
McCormick joined Waste Management, a Fortune 200 firm and the nation’s largest environmental solutions provider, in April of 2009 with more than 20 years of Corporate Communications, Public Relations and media experience. She is also currently a board member of Sustainable Florida and Vice Chair of the Legislative Committee of Recycle Florida Today.
Prior to her Public Relations career, she was a Weekend Sports Anchor/Reporter for WFRV-TV (NBC affiliate) in Green Bay, Wisconsin and KNTV (ABC affiliate) in San Jose, CA where she covered numerous national sporting events including three Super Bowls, two World Series and the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
McCormick received her Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from Northwestern University.
She is married to Rev. Dr. Kirk McCormick, Executive Pastor of Royal Palm Church in Lake Worth, FL. They have three young adult children.
Elizabeth Castro DeWitt
Florida Beverage Association
St. Augustine, FL
Elizabeth is the Executive Director of the Florida Beverage Association where she oversees public policy initiatives, and works with local and state governments on issues impacting the Beverage Industry.
Elizabeth previously worked as the Manager of State Government Affairs for the world’s 3rd largest petrochemical company, LyondellBasell, overseeing all legislative and regulatory strategy for the company’s portfolio in the United States. She ensured that business objectives were met through both direct advocacy and liaising with trade associations. In addition, she managed the Political Action Committee (PAC) and all grassroots activities for LyondellBasell.
Beginning in 2007, Elizabeth worked at BP as the Director of the BP Civic Action Program, where she successfully launched a nationally recognized grassroots program. In 2008, she became the Director of BP Civic Affairs, overseeing both grassroots and PAC efforts. In 2010, she served as the Public Information Officer and Operational Liaison in the Joint Incident Command for MC252 (BP Oil Spill). In this role, she managed relationships and communications with key stakeholders at the local, county and state levels.
Elizabeth graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Business from Northwest Missouri State University, as well as, a Master’s of Business Administration.
Publix Super Markets, Inc.
Kim Brunson has held the position of Recycle and Solid Waste Program Manager since 2007. In this capacity, she is responsible for companywide recycling and disposal services for more than 1,076 retail grocery stores in six states, as well as Publix’s manufacturing, distribution centers and support facilities.
Brunson began her Publix career in 1981, as a part-time cashier at Publix Store #001 in Winter Haven, Florida. While working on her degree in computer science, she made the transition from the retail environment to Publix’s Data Processing department, where she enjoyed the balance of working with people and systems. Her skills were put into action during the company’s move to consolidated buying. She later built and implemented a company-wide emergency response program and became a champion for business disruption preparedness. That experience led to her transition into the area of regulatory compliance, implementing processes and controls for various regulatory requirements such as Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Payments Card Industry (PCI) and Technical Guidelines 3 (TG3).
Her current role as Recycle and Solid Waste Manager has allowed her to reconnect with the retail operations of the company, while building and implementing programs for Publix. Her motto is “We turn trash into cash!” Focusing on reusing and recycling, the company’s recycle rate has continued to increase each year.
Brunson has a reputation for turning problems into solutions and creating better processes that bring financial value to the bottom line.
“I love a challenge, and I have a passion for solving problems,” said Brunson. “I got my start in a Publix store, so my greatest satisfaction is now being in a position to support our retail stores.” Currently, Brunson resides in Lakeland where she enjoys entertaining and spending time with friends and family, attending First Baptist at the Mall, as well as raising orchids and roses. Her daughter Laura, is also a Publix associate.
With a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management from Warner Southern College and more than 30 years of grocery retail experience, one thing has remained the same – her desire to serve her customers and to continue to make Publix a great place to work and shop.
Charles “Chuck” Dees is Vice President, Public Affairs for Waste Management and is responsible for government affairs, community relations and communications in the State of Florida. Based in Houston, Texas, Waste Management is North America’s leading provider of comprehensive waste management and environmental services. It is a FORTUNE 200 company with revenues of approximately $13 billion and more than 43,000 employees.
As a 38-year veteran in the waste industry, Mr. Dees has held several positions over the years, gaining significant management, financial, field service and government relations experience.
He holds a bachelor of science in business administration from Mississippi State University.
Steven J Lezman
Senior Director, Government Affairs
Steve Lezman is PepsiCo’s Senior Director Government Affairs based in Bradenton Florida. Steve has 27 years’ experience with PepsiCo including Government Affairs, Environmental Affairs, Public Relations, Plant Operations Management, Facility Planning, and Engineering. Steve’s responsibilities include state and local government affairs in ten states assisting all the PepsiCo brands including Tropicana, Frito Lay, Pepsi Cola, Quaker and Gatorade. Steve also was a Plant Engineer for Ore Ida Foods in Michigan.
Steve has a Chemical Engineering Degree from the University of Michigan.
Director of Government Relations
International Bottled Water Association
With nearly 30 years in the public affairs arena, James P. (J.P.) Toner, Jr. is Director of Government Relations for the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA), where he handles state and local government relations and lobbying and management of the IBWA PAC. In this role, J.P. testifies on legislation, authors comments, works with state and local government organizations, and monitors state and local legislative and regulatory activity across the country on behalf of the association and its members.
Prior to joining IBWA, J.P. was Manager of External Affairs at Edison Electric Institute (EEI), the association of the nation’s shareholder-owned utility companies. In this role, J.P. manages grassroots activities, Internet advocacy and state and local government group relationships for the association.
J.P. worked as Director of Grassroots Consulting for Aristotle, an international public affairs consulting firm, supporting clients in their efforts to improve their grassroots, PAC and advocacy programs.
He came to Aristotle after four years as Manager of Political Involvement Programs at the Public Affairs Council (PAC), the country’s premier association for public affairs professionals. At PAC, J.P. was a resource for grassroots, community involvement, corporate philanthropy and international public affairs for the Council’s members.
J.P.’s first position in the Washington DC area was as a Manager of Legislative Services at Stateside Associates, a state legislative monitoring and issues management firm in Arlington, VA. Prior to moving to the area, J.P. worked for several public and private organizations and specialized in the fields of public affairs, public relations, media relations, community involvement, grassroots organization and campaign work.