Foley & Lardner LLP announced today that Herschel Vinyard has joined the firm’s Government & Public Policy and Environmental Regulation Practices as of counsel in its Jacksonville and Tallahassee offices. Vinyard recently completed a four-year term as Secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) during Florida Governor Rick Scott’s first term, where he was involved in the regulation of nearly all aspects of development in the State of Florida, including environmental permitting, water rights and real estate development.
“With the addition of former Secretary Vinyard to our team, we gain one of Florida’s preeminent authorities on Florida environmental law and regulation,” said David Ralston, chair of Foley’s Government & Public Policy Practice. “Herschel’s service as Florida’s highest environmental officer and his earlier private sector experience will equip him to provide Foley clients with unique insights into the Florida environmental and regulatory approval process for development projects. He also will deepen the firm’s considerable environmental law and public policy capabilities across the country.”
With 25 years of environmental law, business and government experience, Vinyard will counsel clients in industries including manufacturing, real estate and construction on a range of economic development, land use, environmental and other regulatory matters. He also will provide traditional public affairs counsel to assist clients with navigating the legislative, regulatory and political landscape in Florida.
“Our clients will greatly benefit from Herschel’s experience with Florida’s complex environmental regulations, as well as his relationships within government offices in Florida as well as in Washington, D.C.,” said Kevin Hyde, managing partner of Foley’s Jacksonville office. “He brings a wealth of knowledge on the challenges and opportunities for our current and future clients looking to do business or expand their operations in Florida.”
During his time as Secretary of Florida’s DEP, Vinyard ended a two-decade-long legal dispute over restoration of the Everglades, established a nutrient reduction program for waterways and worked to protect the state’s natural springs. He also continued to increase access to Florida’s state parks and, under his leadership, the Florida Park Service won a National Gold Medal Award from the National Recreation and Park Association, designating the park system as the best in the nation.
“It is an honor to join such an esteemed law firm with robust experience advising on regulatory and public policy matters in Florida and nationally,” said Vinyard. “I look forward to leveraging my public and private sector experience to counsel the firm’s clients on a range of business and regulatory matters.”
Prior to serving the State of Florida, Vinyard was engaged in marine manufacturing as the director of business operations at the Southeast Shipyards division of BAE Systems, one of the world’s largest defense contractors, where he was responsible for strategic planning, business development, and regulatory and government affairs. Vinyard served on the board or in officer positions at numerous organizations, including the Jacksonville Port Authority, Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce, Jacksonville Area Ship Repair Association, Manufacturers Association of Florida, Shipbuilders Council of America and First Coast Manufacturers Association.
Vinyard’s addition marks the third professional with significant government experience to join Foley in Florida in the recent months. Karen Bowling joined the firm’s Government & Public Policy Practice as public affairs director after serving as chief administrative officer with the city of Jacksonville and an appointee of Mayor Alvin Brown. Joe Jacquot, who served as deputy attorney general of Florida and chief of staff for the Florida Attorney General from 2007-2011, also joined Foley’s Jacksonville office as a partner in October 2014.
The firm’s Florida government team also includes: Robert Hosay, former Department of Management Services leader and government procurement lawyer; Jonathan Kilman, statewide lobbyist and business lawyer; Erika Alba, past chair of Associated Industries of Florida board of directors and regulatory lawyer; Paul Lowell, former Florida House staffer and lawyer; Christian Caballero, former White House fellow; and former legislative and political aide Jon Yapo.