The Greater Pine Island Civic Association (GPICA) was created more than 40 years ago as a voice for residents and business owners, advocating for the health, safety and quality of life in our community. Our goal is to work for the betterment of the entire community — north to south and east to west — Matlacha, Pine Island Center, St. James City, Pineland and Bokeelia. Over the decades, GPICA has worked to preserve and maintain a desirable, livable community that promotes smart growth and preserves sensitive natural areas by working with Island residents to develop a future land-use plan — the Pine Island Plan — that governs growth rules.
President: Claudia Bringe
Claudia Bringe lives in St. James City and moved to the island in 2014 from Marietta, Ga. She became involved in the GPICA to help maintain Pine Island’s beauty and its unique lifestyle.
Claudia has an MA in School Administration and Supervision from CW Post College, where she is an adjunct professor, and a BA from Mercer University. During her career, she worked with staff to create the Open Admissions Program for City University of New York and served as Director of Career Counseling. She also taught history and was an Assistant Principal and County Coordinator for discipline in the Fulton County (Ga.) School System. She has volunteered in her sons’ schools and sports programs, on political campaigns, her national sorority, her subdivision board and is a member of DAR. (Bylaws Chair)
Vice President: Scott Wilkinson
Scott Wilkinson was born in Lawrence, Mass. He received his BA (Cum Laude) from the University of New Hampshire. He’s been a Florida resident since 2005 and has lived in Bokeelia since 2008. He served active duty in the U.S. Army from 1971-1973 and was honorably discharged in 1977. Scott worked for the USPS from 1974-1975, then became a U.S. Department of Labor Wage & Hour Division Field Investigator from 1975-2001 in Manchester, N.H. From 2001-2005, he worked in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management, U.S. Department of Labor. He retired in 2005. He is a current member of the American Legion Pine Island Post 0136, Loyal Order of Moose Pine Island Lodge 1954, Greater Pine Island Civic Association, Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program — Civilian Advisory Committee, Calusa Land Trust, Charlotte Shores One Property Owners’ Association, S. W. Florida Central Labor Council.
Secretary: Nancy Harwood
Nancy Harwood grew up in a small town in Wisconsin and earned her B.A. (Cum Laude) from Lawrence University. She taught high school English in Japan, California, Missouri and at North Fort Myers High School in Lee County. She lived in south Fort Myers from 1977 through 1994, when she moved to Matlacha, which she still calls home. She was drawn to the area because of its focus on preserving habitat and a coastal-rural way of life. She has volunteered for the Matlacha Civic Association for more than 15 years, was a member of the Matlacha Overlay Committee and currently serves on the MCA Board of Directors. “Our little paradise in the Greater Pine Island area has been assailed on multiple fronts for decades,” she says. “Greater Pine Island Civic Association has been the umbrella organization leading our defense. I wish to do what I can to aid in that defense.”
Treasurer: Nadine Slimak
Nadine Slimak received her BS from Kent State University in journalism and was a reporter and editor at newspapers in Ohio, upstate New York and Fort Myers for 15 years before joining Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Fl., where she served as Director of Communications for 11 years, directing national, regional and local media activities, handling crisis communications and helping the organization develop direct communications with its members and supporters. In 2015 (tired of the long commute from Pine Island), she left Mote to develop her own communications and public relations consulting business, Vetted Communications, LLC. Her main clients are nonprofit organizations working in the marine environment and include the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program, the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System, Mote Marine Laboratory and the South Florida Museum. She has lived in Bokeelia since 2000 and joined the GPICA board in 2017 to help protect the coastal-rural lifestyle that drew her to the Island. She also volunteers at Pine Island Elementary School. (Membership & Communications Chair)
Bryan Crane was raised in Tampa and graduated from Florida State University with a BA in accounting. He has extensive experience in federal, state and local government and public entity financial reporting, financial systems and financial and contracts auditing. He has held various positions in certified public accounting firms as well as government agencies, including U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), the U.S. DOT and the state of Maine. At NAVAIR, he was responsible for world-wide accumulation of financial data for certified financial reporting and operation, maintenance and user education for all financial systems; at USDOT, he established and directed a division within the Office of Inspector General that was responsible for conducting certified financial audits of all 30-plus operating administrations (i.e. Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Coast Guard, Federal Highway Trust Fund, etc.) and, for Maine’s State Auditor, managed and directed the Municipal Audits Division providing certified financial audits throughout the state state and local governmental entities, including towns, cities, counties and school districts. He has lived in St. James City since 2002 and became involved with the GPICA in order to protect the character of and accessibility to the Greater Pine Island/Matlacha area.
Carol D. Crane
Carol Crane has lived in St. James City since 2003 and became involved in the GPICA because of its Land Use Plan, including the protections it has for Little Pine Island, the island lifestyles in Matlacha and Pine Island, the rural living and the natural environment.
She grew up in Maryland, received a BS in Wildlife Management from the University of Maryland. She lived in Albuquerque, Tampa, Maine, Maryland before settling in Pine Island. Carol is a semi-retired fish & wildlife biologist (endangered species programs with USFWS and NOAA/NMFS) and has served as environmental enforcement specialist (Maine DEP), regulatory specialist (Army Corps of Engineers in Fort Myers). She has been a lifelong volunteer for various causes, including founding president of the Maryland humane organization www.cawlrescue.org. She’s been a public advocate/lobbyist for various issues (anti-smoking, health, humane, responsible agriculture, etc.) and is currently a consultant on environmental permitting to protect the natural resources and to represent individuals/COAs vs. state and federal governments. (Environment Chair)
Tim Heitz was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, and now lives in Bokeelia. At 66, he is a Double E Journeyman both as an Electronic Technician and an Electrician. He has two daughters and wife, Patricia, of 40 years. He lives on Pine Island because it’s the last of its kind. (Website & Email Chair)
Shari first visited family on Pine Island in the 70s, with as many as 20 family members eventually living here. Over the years, she attended community events, meetings and enjoyed nature resources in the area. She finally retired here in 2004 from a faculty position at Ohio University.
Shari holds degrees in Parks and Recreation Administration, Environmental Education and Research Methodology in Leisure Behavior from Michigan State University and Indiana University. She held many community board positions including Parks & Recreation Board President for nine years in Stow, Ohio. She has volunteered for multiple community organizations for more than 40 years, most related to community cohesiveness, environmental resources, people’s leisure lifestyles. Shari is a single mother of three and a grandmother of four.
Gabrielle discovered Pine Island in 2003 when she took three of her children to Cayo Costa State Park, via the Tropic Star ferry and camped for two weeks. She fell in love with the environment and became obsessed with the estuary, barrier islands, water and sun. She was a snowbird for 10 years and became a full-time Florida resident in 2014.
She retired as an RN after 34 years, then worked locally as an operating room nurse at Lee Memorial Hospital and Cape Coral Hospital and then at Hope Hospice.
Before moving south, Gabrielle was a member of the Key Paha Homeowners Association in Northfield, Minn., for four years, including two as president.
Gabrielle has also served as a volunteer at Cayo Costa State Park (2005-2015) doing many jobs — from cleaning bathrooms, picking invasives, driving the tram, working the gift shop and doing nature presentations for Cayo Costa visitors and campers, about the island, and barrier islands, estuary, and local flora and fauna. She was also an English as a second language instructor (2014-2016) in Bokeelia.
She currently volunteers as a greeter/docent at the Randell Research Center in Pineland. She donates earrings, attached to RRC photos she’s taken, to the RRC and sells them through the gift shop there.
Gabrielle is also a working artist/craftsperson who makes jewelry sold at Wild Child Gallery in Matlacha and upcycles clothes sold at Island Time Fashions, in St. James City.
She was born in Germany, raised in New York and lived in the Midwest for 40 years. She raised four daughters in Minnesota, where she also opened and ran a bead store for five years.
Anna Stober has been a Bokeelia resident since January 1992 and has been a member of the GPICA since she moved here. She has previously served as a GPICA board member and board president. She is a graduate of the University of Iowa with a major in industrial and personnel psychology. She’s a Midwesterner who has lived in Iowa, Illinois and Michigan who has worked as a vocational counselor and as a human resource manager with a hospital. She was widowed in 1998.
Roger Wood attended Iowa State University for two years then was drafted and served as a combat medic with the Army’s 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) in Vietnam in 1967-68 and was awarded a Purple Heart and Bronze Star with V for Valor. He attended classes at the University of Illinois, Chicago, while working for architectural firms, gaining his architectural registration in 1974. After working for firms and serving as project manager, construction manager, vice president and in other roles, he started his own architectural firm in Arlington Heights, Ill., in 1988. He specialized in restaurants and clients included the Chicago-based Portillo’s Hotdogs, but his architectural experience runs the gamut from residential to commercial and government. He retired in 1998 and moved to Pine Island, where he resides in St. James City. He joined the GPICA board of directors in 2007 and has served as vice president and president. He is also involved with the Calusa Land Trust and is a member of the Pine Island Community Church. He has been involved in land-use issues since the Pine Island Plan’s inception and has played a significant role in helping to promote Smart Growth on Pine Island.