Our Team

Board of Directors

photo of David JonesDavid C. Jones, Founder / Past-President It is rare that someone can take a “tragedy” as an opportunity to change their life and help others. That is exactly what David Jones did. His injury became a personal commitment to help others. In 1988, David Jones was shot in a hunting accident resulting in a serious head injury that left him with permanent paralyses of his left leg, limiting mobility and no use of his left hand. David utilized a wheelchair for one year and gradually increased his mobility to the point where he could walk with a walker and now walks with a slight limp without any device. He remains paralyzed in one arm. In the process of his rehabilitation, he became aware of the importance of recreation for rehabilitation – not only to improve mobility, but to improve mental well-being. David saw this event in his life as a challenge and an opportunity to assist others. This life changing event developed into his personal crusade.  David went back to school and received his Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Florida State University. David Jones overcame the challenge of his disability utilizing sports for himself and others by forming the Florida Disabled Outdoors Association in 1990. This organization came out of the positive experience David had from using sports and recreation for his own rehabilitation.

photo of Gordon PalmerGordon Palmer,  President - Gordon Palmer is a senior attorney with the Florida Reemployment Assistance Appeals Commission, where he has worked for over 25 years.  He was injured in an automobile accident in 1977 where he became a C4-5 quadriplegic.  Not long after his injury, he started doing volunteer and advocacy work for people with disabilities.  His volunteer efforts include: Spinal Cord Society; the Center for Independent Living of North Florida; the Florida Transportation Disadvantaged Commission; the North Florida Spinal Injuries Association; the Florida Independent Living Advisory Council; the James Patrick Work Incentive Program for people with disabilities; and others.  Since the Florida Disabled Outdoors Association was founded in 1990, Gordon has been involved as a participant and volunteer and subsequently a board member since the board's foundation.

Photo of Kristy CarterKristy Carter, CTRS, Vice-President -  Kristy is the Assistant Program Supervisor at the City of Tallahassee Parks, Recreation & Neighborhood Affairs.  Upon graduating from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation and Leisure Services Administration she holds her license as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist while assisting with training and advocacy within the community.  Prior to that time, she served as the Inclusion Specialist for Florida Disabled Outdoors Association along with serving in the community as a recreation therapist in a variety of settings from community recreation, rehab hospital to adult day care.   She has been involved with the Florida Disabled Outdoors Association as a volunteer and then board member since 1998.

photo Ned CampbellNed Campbell,  Treasurer - Ned is Founding Partner of aCG and has 30-years of experience in association management. He has provided visionary, results-oriented leadership through his work with various associations.

photo of Bliss WilsonBliss Wilson, Secretary - Bliss started as a youth board member through Youth Leadership Tallahassee in 2015 and has served as the board secretary since 2018. In 2019, she graduated from Florida State University with her bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology. She is currently applying to medical schools and working in Tallahassee as a caregiver/personal support provider. Bliss is active in all Florida Disabled Outdoors Association programs, especially Miracle Sports. In her spare time, Bliss loves to travel, be outside, and spend time with her two dogs, Costco and Duke.
 
photo of George CoackerGeorge Coaker, Director at Large - George Coaker has been involved with the Florida Disabled Outdoors Association since its inception. He has an Associates of Arts from Tallahassee Community College (formerly Tallahassee Junior College) and a certificate in Graphics from Lively Technical. He worked in the printing industry in Tallahassee for 34 years. George was hit by a drunken driver at the age of 17 crushing the left side of his body. George spent approximately four years recovering from the accident. Since that time, George realized the importance of active leisure in his recovery. He is an avid hunter and a disability advocate.

photo of Jeff DouglasJeff Douglas, Director at LargeAfter graduating from Florida State University with a Master's in Social Work, Jeff stayed and continued working for two decades at the Florida State University Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC), where he provided crisis intervention to students and parents. As a volunteer with the Red Cross Disaster Action Team, he has helped families cope with emergencies and assisted in smoke alarm install installations. Since 2014, he has provided emotional support, financial assistance, and information to help families begin the process of recovery after a fire or other disaster. As an Adult Program Specialist for the Lighthouse of the Big Bend, Jeff provides job assistance, independent living skills, and vocational rehabilitation services to clients who are blind and/or visually impaired. He is someone who loves life and strives to be a better person today than the day before. He spends his leisure time Living. He has been involved with the Florida Disabled Outdoors Association off and on since 1991, as a participant and volunteer and subsequently as a board member.


Staff

photo of Laurie LoRe GussakLaurie LoRe-Gussak, MBA, IOM, CAE,  Executive Director - Laurie has over 25 years of experience in the not-for-profit / association management field.  She has worked for SportsAbility Alliance (formerly the Florida Disabled Outdoors Association) since 2002 and volunteered with them prior to that time. Her experience includes serving as Executive Director for ITFlorida and Executive Director of the TalTech Alliance as well as tenure at the Florida Institute of CPAs and the Florida Association of Court Clerks.  She has a Master of Business Administration in Marketing from Rochester Institute of Technology and Bachelor of Science in Management Science from the State University of New York at Geneseo.  Laurie also graduated from the Institute of Organization Management, which is a prominent training program for association executives.  She obtained her certification as a Certified Association Executive through the American Society of Association Executives. She has been active in her professional community.  She served on the Diversity Committee for the American Society of Association Executives and the National Marketing Committee for the United States Chamber of Commerce Institute of Organization Management.  She has also been an active member of the Florida Society of Association Executives chairing various committees and served on the Board of Directors of the Apalachee Blues Society.

Kevin Taylor's photoKevin Taylor, Communications & Marketing Director - Kevin is a digital marketing and communication specialist with a diverse background. His experience includes being a military veteran, a graduate of Tallahassee Community College with a degree in Drafting and Design, and a small business owner. Since 2013 Kevin has been working with nonprofit organizations assisting them with design, digital marketing, and systems improvement. In addition to managing his own marketing agency, he recently served as the Vice Chair on the Healing Arts Alliance board of directors and is an ordained inter-faith minister through the Alliance of Divine Love. When he is not working, Kevin enjoys going camping with his girlfriend and 2 dogs in their travel trailer and trying out different local restaurants and coffee shops wherever they travel.