provided to The Santiva Chronicle
At the first SanCap Chamber business luncheon on Sanibel since Hurricane Ian, Eric Eikenberg, The Everglades Foundation CEO, will speak about Everglades restoration progress Wednesday, Aug. 23, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Rosalita’s Cantina. Sponsor for the August luncheon is Bank of the Islands, who is celebrating moving back into their main original bank building after months of operating from an onsite mobile unit.
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.
“Eric is the expert on Florida’s most fragile and important ecosystem,” said John Lai, chamber president and CEO. “With water-quality issues as a top chamber legislative priority, we look forward to hearing his report on where Everglades’ restoration stands.”
The chamber business lunch is a monthly networking opportunity held at various member locations. The chamber strives to provide speakers to discuss business topics relevant to the membership. SanCap Chamber members receive meeting invitations by email. Cost for luncheon attendance is $35 for chamber members only.
Advanced registration is required to attend; walk-ins are not accepted. Register by 5 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 18, at sanibel-captiva.org or by contacting Aaron Walton at email@example.com or 239-472-8759. Payment is due at time of registration.