provided to The Santiva Chronicle
At their next business luncheon meeting, members of the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce have the opportunity to hear an update on water quality policy and projects from Eric Eikenberg, CEO of The Everglades Foundation, and Chauncey Goss, board chair of the South Florida Water Management District,. Postponed from February due to emergency legislative demands in Tallahassee, it will take place on Wednesday, June 8, starting at 11:30 a.m. at the Marriott Sanibel Harbour Resort in Fort Myers, hosted by Bailey’s General Store and Captains for Clean Water.
Eikenberg, a seasoned political strategist and environmental policy expert, leads one of the country’s most prestigious and respected environmental non-profits. The Everglades Foundation has an annual operating budget of more than $10 million.
As CEO, Eikenberg oversees a team of nationally recognized scientists, educators, lobbyists, and communications and development professionals who work together to achieve a decades-long campaign to restore America’s Everglades – roughly three million acres of endangered habitat that is vital to Florida’s economic and environmental viability.
Appointed CEO by the foundation’s board of directors in 2012, Eikenberg has extensive policy and political experience in Tallahassee and Washington, D.C. He previously served as chief of staff to former Gov. Charlie Crist and former U.S. Rep. E. Clay Shaw, Jr. The latter authored the landmark $8.4 billion Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP).
A sought-after public speaker on the importance of preserving one of America’s most unique natural habitats, Eikenberg is a regular op-ed columnist. He also is a widely quoted source for national and local media outlets, including National Public Radio, CNN, The Associated Press, U.S. News & World Report, Politico, and Miami Herald.
In 2020, Influence Magazine named Eikenberg one of Florida’s Most Influential People in Florida Politics for his advocacy work. In 2020 and 2019, Florida Trend named him one of Florida’s 500 most influential business leaders. Furthermore, he was selected to the 2019 panel of 50 Influential Floridians as part of an initiative led by a group of Florida newspapers to address pressing statewide issues like the environment, climate change, healthcare, and transportation.
Eikenberg currently serves as chairman of the Zoo Miami Foundation board of directors. Following the 2018 election cycle, he served on Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Transition Team, where he participated in a process that led to the governor outlining a bold, comprehensive environmental agenda.
Eikenberg has been a long-time champion for expediting Everglades restoration, with a knack for innovation and engaging partners in the corporate, philanthropic, and political arenas. During his tenure as CEO, The Everglades Foundation has provided scientific, technical, and policy support to numerous decision-makers in executing CERP. Eikenberg’s team helped bring widespread attention to the perennial toxic algae crisis in Florida and across the globe and has been a leading voice on the need to incentivize technological solutions to problems that threaten our waterways, livelihood, and health.
Goss is founder and managing partner of Goss Practical Solutions, a firm that provides federal fiscal policy analysis and budget forecasting. Prior to starting the firm, he served as deputy staff director and director of budget review for the House Budget Committee under Paul Ryan.
Before Capitol Hill, Goss worked for the Executive Office of the President in the Office of Management and Budget’s National Security Division, where he was instrumental in ensuring the Department of Defense and intelligence community were properly resourced. Prior to that, he worked as a strategic planner under contract to the Air Force, Navy, and intelligence community.
As a long-time resident of Southwest Florida, Goss first became involved with water-quality issues as executive director of the Gasparilla Island Conservation and Improvement Association on Boca Grande in the early 1990s.
He grew up on Sanibel Island and currently lives here with his wife and three sons. Goss has served as an elected member of the Sanibel City Council. He sits on the boards of Captains for Clean Water; the Southwest Florida Community Foundation; SCCF (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation); and the United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee counties. He has served as a member of the Lee County Coastal Advisory Council, Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program’s Management Committee, and “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge board of directors.
“When it comes to what’s going on with Everglades projects and policies that will improve the water quality of Southwest Florida, these two gentlemen are the experts,” said John Lai, chamber president and chief executive officer. “They’ll let us in on the outlook for progress in restoring our area’s future where water is concerned.”
The chamber business lunch is a monthly networking opportunity held at various member locations. The chamber strives to provide speakers to discuss relevant business topics for the membership.
Sanibel-Captiva chamber members receive meeting invitations by email. Cost for luncheon attendance is $30 for chamber members only. Advanced registration is required to attend; walk-ins are not accepted. Register by 5 p.m. on Friday, June 3, at sanibel-captiva.org or by calling 239-472-8255. Payment is due at time of registration.