Assistant director Holder to retire
Thursday, June 13, 2013
Media contact: Gary Morse, 863-227-3830
(Back to Commission meeting news)
Gregory Holder, assistant executive director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), is retiring after a distinguished 33-year career with the state agency. During its public proceedings today in Lakeland, the Commission formally recognized his retirement and dedicated, lifelong commitment to conservation.
“Greg has been a big part of the FWC family and he will be missed. All Floridians who enjoy our wildlife resources have benefitted from his career with the Commission,” said FWC Chairman Ken Wright.
Holder began his government career in 1980 as a biologist with the then-Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission (GFC), managing alligators and aiding private landowners with conservation planning. Holder earned a B.S. degree in Forestry Resources Management and an M.S. degree in Wildlife Ecology at Mississippi State University before his employment.
A series of agency promotions were in store for Holder throughout his career. In 1988, he became the first coordinator for the GFC’s new Surface Water Improvement and Management (SWIM) Program. From that position he was promoted to regional biological supervisor in the West Palm Beach regional office.
Another promotion in 1992 moved Holder back to Lakeland as regional director. Arguably, it was from this post as that Holder made some of his most significant contributions to the conservation of Florida’s native fish and wildlife. Holder’s leadership role in three critical areas was instrumental in helping shape the FWC’s business model and its conservation efforts for imperiled species:
- The merger of the GFC with the Marine Fisheries Commission and elements of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to create the FWC in 1999.
- Gopher Tortoise Team 2, which developed Florida’s first comprehensive Gopher Tortoise management plan in 2007.
- Imperiled Species Management System leadership team that created a new way of conserving Florida’s threatened species.
In 2009, Holder was promoted to the agency’s assistant executive director. For his lifetime of significant contributions to conservation, Holder was recognized in April 2013 with the Louise Ireland Humphrey Achievement Award, the highest honor the FWC bestows.
“How quickly some 30-odd years have passed, and in that time, it has been my honor to serve with and for my co-workers and all the agency’s Commissioners. It’s amazing that in that time, how much good the agency has accomplished for conservation and the people of Florida, and of that I am very proud,” said Holder.
Holder will officially retire at the end of August. He and his wife, Melinda, will continue to reside in the Tallahassee area in his retirement, where he is considering doing volunteer work for a nonprofit conservation organization.