Tonia Shatzel, chairwoman
Tonia is a retired veterinarian with a passion for Coastal Florida and its rich ecosystem. She became well-connected in the South Walton community after opening 30A Vet in 2013. An entrepreneur at-heart, Tonia founded Lanier Animal Hospital in Sugar Hill, GA in 2002 and was the driving force and a photographer behind the highly popular book The Dogs of 30A which featured local pets in whimsical and charming vignettes and settings.
She earned a Biology degree and certificate in Psychology from Georgia Tech, and later graduated from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine.
A native Floridian, Tonia grew up on Florida’s beaches before moving to Georgia. “The coast is a precious resource, a place where two very different ecologies meet; where sea turtles lay eggs, baby fish grow to be big fish, endangered birds nest, and where people connect with the earth. It has been accessible to all since the beginning of time and should remain that way.”
Married to Rob Wood, she is the proud mother of a “very cool" teenaged daughter and owns a Doodle named Ace. A resident of Santa Rosa Beach, she enjoys SUP, snorkeling and photography.
Pete Foley, Secretary
Pete is President of PeteFoleyCreative, a business consultancy focusing on communication strategy and business writing; including executive speeches and ghost-blogging, web copy, video scripting, ad copy, media releases, etc. He had an extended career as an award-winning Creative Director/Senior Producer at The Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta where he wrote and produced hundreds of programs across America and in 31 countries.
Pete has vacationed in South Walton for three decades and has been a property owner for more than 20 years. As a child growing up in Coastal New England, he was accustomed to free use of beaches and is a strong proponent of the doctrine of Customary Use.
A graduate of the University of Georgia (BA-Journalism), Pete splits time between Atlanta and Santa Rosa Beach with his wife, Sharon. He has four adult children and six grandchildren, and enjoys UGA football, Jimmy Buffett music, and all things coastal.
DANIEL UHLFELDER, attorney, Leadership team
Daniel is a seasoned attorney with more than 20 years’ legal experience in Washington, DC and Walton County, FL. After graduating from Stanford University with a degree in history, he earned his J.D. from the University of Florida College of Law. While in school, he worked as a law clerk, staff aide in The White House, U.S. Attorney General’s office, U.S. Senate, and U.S. House of Representatives.
His firm, located along Scenic Highway 30A in Grayton Beach, handles a wide variety of legal matters for individuals and businesses in Northwest Florida, including civil, commercial and construction litigation; divorce and family law; real estate; personal injury, and criminal law.
Daniel believes strongly in the fundamental right for the ongoing use and enjoyment of all of our beaches.
He is a second-generation Floridian, growing up in Tallahassee and settling in Walton County in 2001. He and wife Michelle live in Santa Rosa Beach with their two children. Daniel enjoys reading, politics, and University of Florida football.
Rob Wood,Leadership Team
Rob is a career entrepreneur, author, artist, speaker and “cheerleader” to people who don’t care to settle for mediocrity. He has a background as a comptroller, human resource manager, business development director, and in raising capital; spanning manufacturing, technology, healthcare, consulting, financial and algorithmic stock trading.
He moved from Atlanta to South Walton County in 2013 and is the author of The Kingfish Way, a semi-autographical parable about a middle-aged man who has lost his way and seeks to reignite his passion for life. Rob has a long history of volunteerism in Georgia and Florida and helped Dr. Tonia Shatzel produce the book The Dogs of 30A with proceeds going to Alaqua Animal Refuge in Freeport, FL. Rob runs the local Georgia Bulldog Club and facilitates Aristotle’s Hobnob, a periodic evening of civil discourse covering a diversity of thought-provoking topics.
He enjoys time spent at the beach, whether it’s early morning sunrises, SUP, or sunsets, and deeply believes Florida beaches should remain open and accessible for all to enjoy as they customarily have for centuries.
He and wife Tonia, her teenaged daughter, and Rob’s son live in Santa Rosa Beach. Rob’s passions include college football, abstract art, start-ups, bold decisions and group discussion with controversial topics.
Dave Rauschkolb, Board Member
Dave, a 32-year South Walton resident, owns three restaurants in Seaside and a bakery/cafe/catering company in Grayton Beach. His flagship restaurant, Bud & Alley’s, located on the beach in Seaside, is the longest established restaurant in South Walton and was inducted into Florida Trend magazine’s Golden Spoon Award Hall of Fame.
In 2010, Dave was named Person of the Year by The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association; received the Key to the City of Destin; and was Conservationist of the Year (Florida Wildlife Foundation). He is a former champion in the Gulf Coast Men’s Division of the Eastern Surfing Association.
A passionate and outspoken advocate for South Walton since moving from Fort Walton Beach in 1986, Dave has a long history of community involvement. Dave has participated on numerous Boards of Directors, including: Seaside Merchants Advisory Board; Seaside Institute Board of Governors; Seaside Neighborhood School; and The Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association. He is Founder of the 30A Scenic Pride Initiative, Co-Founder of The Scenic 30-A Business Association, Founder of Hands Across The Sand (to stop offshore oil drilling in Florida), Stand Your Sand (initiative for Customary Use of Florida’s beaches), and A Better South Walton.
Dave strongly believes sharing the resources we hold dear in South Walton and all of Florida is critical to the well-being of citizens, visitors and economic interests. Humans have enjoyed the state’s beaches for many centuries and a doctrine of Customary Use will ensure reasonable access and enjoyment for perpetuity. “It is my belief there are no private beaches in South Walton, Florida or America,” he says. “Our beaches should be a shared resource, a national treasure, America’s beaches for all!”
Dave lives in Watersound Beach with his wife, Carol, and two young daughters. In addition to time with family, he enjoys the beach, golf, surfing and poker.
Michelle hart, Board Member
Michelle Hart received her degree in Criminal Justice, with a minor in Business Management from the University of Alaska, Anchorage. Michelle went on to work for a family law practice out of college and soon after started her now 19-year career in municipal government. Michelle first earned her professional designation as a Certified Municipal Clerk in 2003, and her Master Municipal Clerk designation in 2008. She has worked at both the county and city levels. Michelle specializes in facilitating the business meeting processes of local governing bodies. Among other duties, she trains boards, commissions, and committees in open government processes and laws, to include open public meetings and open public records.
Michelle was born in Ft. Walton Beach, where her mother and father met in school. With her two siblings, Michelle's family made their way north to Alaska. After growing up in the Last Frontier, she met her husband, Brett, in a snow storm in Juneau, Alaska (while both were in town on separate business conferences). A year of flying back and forth lead to Michelle's move to Bellevue, Washington, with her now 20-year-old daughter, Isabelle, to be with her future husband.
When Michelle's family decided to relocate back to the warm Florida beaches they knew and loved, Michelle and her husband bought property in Walton County in order to be closer to them.
In her private life, Michelle is a gardener and likes being on her feet traveling to new places, enjoying the outdoors. Michelle's greatest treasure is her family and community. She is a proponent of transparent open government, and an active supporter of Customary Use.