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TaxWatch Professional Team

Full Time Staff

Dominic M. Calabro

President & CEO

In addition to serving as President & CEO of Florida TaxWatch, Calabro also serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Prudential Productivity Awards, which recognizes, rewards, and works to replicate outstanding government productivity and innovative cost-saving achievements throughout Florida government worth more than $9 billion to date.

Calabro is an "almost native" Floridian, having moved to South Florida from New York at the age of eleven. After attending Catholic school, including four years at Catholic Seminary, he graduated with high honors from Broward Community College, later receiving his Bachelor's degree with highest honors from Florida International University. He also holds a Master's degree from Florida State University and will soon receive a second Master's degree in public finance and budgeting.

Before joining TaxWatch in early 1980, Calabro served as a graduate budget analyst with the Florida Senate Ways and Means Committee (later split into Appropriations and Finance and Taxation).

Under Calabro's leadership, Florida TaxWatch has earned and maintained the respect of the state's most highly regarded and influential leaders, and has earned the credibility and respect of the citizens of Florida as well as the state and national media.

In addition to many business and civic honors, Calabro was named by the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce as one of the nation's Ten Outstanding Young Americans in 1994, and in 2006 Calabro was named the "Executive of the Year" by the Florida Society of Association Executives (FSAE), it's highest honor, and was recognized by Florida Trend magazine as a "Must-Know Floridian" in 2013.

Professional, Civic, and Community Service 

Florida Commission on Government Accountability to the People (GAP)
   Commissioner (1995-1999)
   Chairman of Government Accountability Committee (1997-1999)
Communities in Schools of Florida, Inc., Chairman (1996-1998)
   Board of Trustees (1991-2015)
National Taxpayers Conference, Chairman (1990-1993)
   Member of the Board of Directors (1986-1998)
   Member (1986-present)
Enterprise Florida, Inc., Member of the Board of Directors (2005-present)
Florida Council of 100
    Partner-Member of the Big Five Group (1986-present)
Leadership Florida Class IV, May 1986-present, Governing Board of Regents (1991-1993)
   Candidate Selection Committee (1987-1990 & 1993-1996)
Leadership Tallahassee Inaugural Charter Class, Board of Governors (2005)
   Charter Class Member (June 1984-present)
Greater Area Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce
   Board of Directors (1990-1993)
   Member (1983-present)
Florida Taxpayers' Bill of Rights Task Force (created by Florida law), Chairman (1989-1992)
Florida Civil Service Reform Commission (created by Florida law), Commissioner (1991-1994)
Florida Productivity Advisory Board (created by Florida law), Member (1991-1994)
Florida State University College of Social Work, Board of Advisors (1990-present)
Florida Network of Youth and Family Services
   Board of Trustees (1988-2006), Board of Directors (2006-Present)
   President/Chairman (2007-2013)
   Currently Immediate Past Chairman
Citizens Against Waste    State of Florida Coordinator (1986-1994)
Graduate, Institute of Organizational Management, United States Chamber of Commerce and American Society of Association Executives at the University of Delaware (1985-1990)
American Society of Public Administration (1984-2004)
American Society of Association Executives (1985-2004)
Florida Society of Association Executives
   Member of the Board of Directors (1998-2004)
   Chairman of the Governmental Affairs Committee (2005)
   Chairman of the Special Issues Committee (1997)
   Member of the FSAE CEO Selection Committee (2000)
   Member of the Education Committee and Program Committee    FSAE Member (1983-present)    Association Executive of the Year - FSAE's highest honor (2006)
Tallahassee Society of Association Executives, President (1990)
   Board of Directors (1986-1991)
   Member (1983-present)
Leon County Mental Health Association
   President (1983-1984)
   Board of Directors (1981-1987)
United Way of the Big Bend, Board of Directors (1985-1991)
   Leadership Contributor (1990-present)
United Way of Florida, Board of Directors (1998-2002)
Good Shepherd Catholic Church Building Committee, Chairman (1991-2000)
Governor's Paperwork Reduction Task Force (Created by Governor's Executive Order), Member,1995-1997)
Kids Count Advisory Board (1990-2005)
Knights of Columbus (Fr. Ronn J. Barton) Council #12146)
   Founding Member and Charter Trustee (1996-present)
Southern Scholarship Foundation, Chairman (2005)
   Member of the Board of Directors (1994-2007
   Executive Committee Member (1997-2007)
Florida House (The Only State Embassy in the Nation’s Capital) Board of Directors (2007 - Present)
Chairman of the Florida Commission on Review of Taxpayer Funded Hospital Districts (Pursuant to Executive Order of the Governor) 2011)
Florida Education Foundation
   Chairman of the Board(2012-2014)    Vice President (2010-2013)
   Treasurer (2007-2010)
   Member of the Board of Directors (1995-2014)
Governmental Research Association    Board member (2012-present)

Calabro resides in Tallahassee with his wife, Debbie, and four children.

 

EMAIL DOMINIC

Robert E. Weissert, Esq.

Executive Vice President & Counsel to the President & CEO

Robert E. Weissert is the Executive Vice President & Counsel to the President & CEO for Florida TaxWatch. Robert oversees the research agenda and coordinates our efforts to increase government efficiency, improve accountability, and enhance effectiveness. Robert also served TaxWatch as a Research Analyst, Director of Communications, Director of Research, and Vice President for Research before being promoted to lead the Research Team

Before joining Florida TaxWatch in 2007, Robert worked in Washington, D.C. as a policy analyst for the majority staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and before that as a research analyst for the Congressional Research Service. Robert has a Juris Doctorate from the University of Virginia School of Law (Charlottesville, Virginia) and a B.A. with Honors in Political Economics and Political Theory & Constitutional Democracy from James Madison College at Michigan State University (East Lansing, Michigan). 

Robert was selected for Leadership Florida's Connect Florida Leadership Institute Class I and was featured as a "Must-Know Floridian" by Florida Trend magazine in March 2011.

Keith Dean, CPA

Chief Financial Officer

Keith Dean, the managing principal of Association CFO – a consulting firm specializing in association and nonprofit fiscal and administrative management, has spent nearly two decades in the industry. After a five-year tenure, he left the public accounting firm Purvis Gray and Company where he specialized in association and nonprofits to serve as the Chief Financial Officer of the Florida Home Builders Association (FHBA). 

While at the fiscal helm of the association, Keith built the financial infrastructure to support FHBA’s explosive growth into the preeminent state association in the country. FHBA’s growth afforded Keith the additional opportunities to serve as CFO of its $77 million dollar insurance programs and General Managing Agency, CEO of its investment real estate holding company, engage in its government relations, establish its foundation and effectively manage its seven political organizations.

In anticipation of the housing declines effects on the association, Keith founded the Association CFO firm to utilize the experiences obtained at FHBA for other nonprofits and associations.  He was quickly tapped to lead the fiscal operations at the Florida Network of Youth and Family Services and the Florida Sheriffs Association.  The Sheriffs charged Keith with establishing and managing the Florida Deputy Sheriffs Association which he took from a concept to a vibrant 5,700 member association with member insurance programs.

Currently, Keith and his staff of CPAs, grant administrators and accountants manage the administrative and fiscal operations of multiple associations and nonprofits including Florida Tax Watch.

With a post graduate degree in Accounting from Florida State University, Keith is a licensed Certified Public Accountant.  He returned to FSU to serve as Supervising Instructor of political science courses focusing on political organizations.  He also serves on the Florida Institute of CPAs’ Legislative Committee and as a resource to legislators and government agencies as an expert in nonprofit subject matter.

Steve Evans

Senior Advisor

Steve Evans retired from IBM in the fall of 2003, with over 30 years of Sales, Operations, Marketing, and Executive experience. During his career, he developed a wealth of knowledge and successful business practices from working with small, medium, and large enterprises throughout North America in the Government, Health, and Education industries. 

After graduating from the University of Michigan, Steve played in the St. Louis Cardinal Baseball organization for six years before joining IBM. In 1986, he and his family moved to Tallahassee, Florida where he assumed responsibility for IBM’s Public Sector Industry and served as Senior State Executive for IBM. In 1997, he became IBM's Vice President of Marketing and Sales for North America and its Global Education division, while maintaining responsibility as IBM's Senior State Executive until his retirement. 

In addition to serving local, state, and national organizations on their boards, Steve has served as Florida TaxWatch′s Immediate Past Chair and currently serves as its Chief Operating Officer.

Steve and his wife, Linda, live in Tallahassee and have two grown children (Chip and Stephanie).

Kurt Wenner

Vice President of Research

Kurt Wenner is a mainstay on the Tallahassee state budget watchdog scene and is the second-longest serving staff member of Florida TaxWatch, celebrating his 30th anniversary in March of 2011.

Kurt began as an intern in 1981 when our organization was called the Citizens Council for Budget Research. He was part of the so-called "Little Band of Researchers" when the organization disclosed state government boondoggles while developing its budget, tax, and program evaluation muscle. In the years since, Kurt has worked as a Research Analyst, a Senior Research Analyst, Director of Tax Research, and in 2010 was promoted to Vice President of Tax Research.

Kurt has authored all of the major tax publications produced by Florida TaxWatch, including a 1989 & 1990 two-volume report on Florida's Intangibles Tax, which kicked off the modern effort to repeal the tax, and led to the final repeal in 2007.

Kurt is also TaxWatch's go-to guy on sales, property, and business tax issues. He was the principal author of a 2003 joint TaxWatch task forces report, which recommended $4.2 billion in revenue through tax modernization, productivity cost savings, and sales tax exemptions review. The report is still referenced today in the current debate on eliminating exemptions and taxing services.

For more than three decades, Florida's taxpayers, along with Florida TaxWatch members, have relied on Kurt's keen taxpayer-driven analysis, through his popular tax manual, "How Florida Compares", the annual "Taxpayer Independence Day" report on tax burdens, and the annual "Budget Turkey Watch", a favorite among legislators.

Robert G. Nave

Vice President of Research

As Vice President of Research, Nave will serve as a Senior Education Policy Analyst and lead efforts by Florida TaxWatch to ensure Floridians receive the best value from their nearly $20 billion annual investment in education.  Prior to joining Florida TaxWatch, Nave spent 27 years as a public servant with the State of Florida as an executive level policy advisor, developing and executing state policy in the fields of criminal justice, emergency management, growth management, gaming, K-12, and higher education. As Chief of Staff of the Florida Lottery, Nave implemented strategies that dramatically increased annual Lottery sales, while reducing the size of the Lottery's workforce by almost 40% and reducing operating costs to the lowest level in more than a decade.  Following his public service career, Nave served as Vice President of Convergys HR Management, where he secured a 5-year renewal of the $350 million People First contract with the State of Florida.

Robert D. Cruz, Ph.D.

Chief Economist

Dr. Robert Cruz comes to Florida TaxWatch after serving as Department Chairman of the Business School at the Kendall Campus of Miami-Dade College. Dr. Cruz received his PhD in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1985, and his Bachelor of Arts degree from Georgetown University in 1978. Dr. Cruz is a recognized expert in quantitative economic analysis with particular specialization in regional economic development, macroeconomic forecasting, and modeling and simulation analysis. His professional career spans 33 years as a university professor, academic researcher and economics consultant to private sector firms and public sector agencies.

Dr. Cruz held the rank of full professor in the Andreas School of Business at Barry University prior to joining Miami-Dade County as its Chief Economist, and began his academic career in 1981 as faculty member in the economics department at Florida International University. During his academic career, he supervised masters and doctoral theses, published many articles in academic journals, and reviewed articles for academic publications.

Anita Mitchell

Corporate Vice President

Mitchell is the owner and president of The Mitchell Group in West Palm Beach. In her role with Florida TaxWatch, she will be a leader in continuing the nonprofit research institute’s growth and success by expanding membership statewide. Since 1994, Mitchell has been the owner and president of The Mitchell Group – one of Florida’s best known marketing, event planning and corporate relations firms in the state. She has been featured in numerous publications and has served in high-level civic roles including serving on the boards of the Leukemia Society, the American Cancer Society, the Palm Beach County Sports Commission and the Florida Department of Children and Families Health and Human Services Board. She was also elected as the first woman President of The Forum Club of the Palm Beaches as well as serving on its board.

Chris Barry

Director of Publications

As Director of Publications, Chris is responsible for the visual design and layout of TaxWatch research, publications, marketing materials, and the assorted websites of Florida TaxWatch.

Chris came to TaxWatch after spending three legislative sessions with the Governmental Affairs department of The Nature Conservancy, and the Florida Trucking Association. Prior to those positions, Chris worked for former State Senator Alex Villalobos, the Department of Community Affairs, and ADG Business and Governmental Consultants.

Elle Piloseno

Research Analyst

Elle Piloseno was the first recipient of the Dr. Neil S. Crispo Memorial Fellowship at Florida TaxWatch. Now full-time staff as a Research Analyst, her work focuses on developing policy recommendations to improve social programs in Florida as well as in the state’s juvenile and criminal justice systems.  Elle has academic and professional experience in research and analysis and is proficient in SPSS and Stata statistical packages.  She holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in psychology from Tulane University and a Master’s of Science degree in criminology from Florida State University. 

Kyle Baltuch

Economist & Director of Development

 

A graduate of Florida State University, Kyle double majored in Economics and International Affairs, and earned his Master’s in Applied Economics from FSU’s College of Social Sciences and Public Policy.

In 2014, Kyle joined the Florida TaxWatch team and has since worked on a variety of topics affecting public policy in Florida. Kyle’s economic expertise has led the non-profit watchdog’s analysis of tourism, economic development, job creation, manufacturing, healthcare, and municipal pensions.

Mr. Baltuch is also a fixture at the Capital Building during legislative session and has testified on a variety of subject matters before House and Senate committees.

When he’s not crunching numbers, Kyle enjoys playing golf with friends and attending Florida State Football games. 

Allison Wiman

Research Analyst

Allison Wiman brings a diverse set of expertise to Florida TaxWatch.  She received a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Agronomy from Purdue University.  After graduation, Allison worked in the field of environmental consulting for 15 years, focusing mainly on the human health and environmental impacts of anthropogenic contamination.  

She went on to obtain her Bachelor of Nursing from Florida A&M University (Summa Cum Laude) and her Master of Public Health at Florida State University.  Prior to joining Florida TaxWatch, Allison was registered nurse with the Department of Health in Leon County.   While at DOH, Allison spearheaded a number of important projects that contributed to an understanding of health issues facing Florida’s children.  She continues to maintain her nursing license in the State of Florida.

John Beck

Director of Charitable Contributions

John Beck joined Florida Tax Watch in February 2017 as Director of Charitable Contributions. John has extensive experience as a Business Development Manager and Senior Account Manager with JohnsonDiversey Corporation (Milwaukee, WI) for over 25 years. While based in Atlanta, GA, John's territory included the entire United States prior to his move to Tallahassee in 1999. Awarded several Top Producer awards throughout the years, John is known for his creativity, strategic planning and follow-through, excellent customer relationships and passion for his work. 

John retired from the food service industry in 2012 and volunteered countless hours to Florida TaxWatch throughout the past four years. 

Brooke Bustle

Director of Memberships & Sponsorships

Brooke joins the Florida TaxWatch team as the Director of Memberships and Sponsorships after previously serving in many areas of Florida State Government including the Governor’s Office of Policy and Budget and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Most recently, she served the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles as their Teen Outreach Coordinator, a program she assisted in developing while working in the Department’s Strategic Management Office prior to this role. A Bradenton native, Brooke earned her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Political Science from Florida State University. She is currently completing her Master’s in Public Administration from Florida State University where she also serves as the President of the Public Administration Graduate Association.

Jasmyne LeCappelain

Events Coordinator

Jasmyne LeCappelain transitioned into the Events Coordinator role in 2014, after serving as Executive Assistant to the President & CEO. As the Events Coordinator, her duties range from contract negotiations to event logistics to thank you notes and everything in between. 

Jasmyne comes to Florida TaxWatch with over a decade of experience in the legal, administrative, and events fields including work for the Virginia Beach-based firm, Wolcott Rivers Gates, the top trailer manufacturer in the U.S., Universal Trailer Corporation, and Consumer Attorneys of San Diego.

Joshua Gabel

Outreach Coordinator

Joshua Gabel joined Florida TaxWatch as the Outreach Coordinator in May 2015. A Florida State University graduate in Political Science and Economics, Joshua has experience working on multiple high profile political campaigns in the state of Florida. He worked as an intern for Governor Mitt Romney's presidential campaign in 2012 and then joined The O'Rourke Group to assist on Governor Rick Scott's re-election campaign. Most recently, he worked as campaign staff on Lenny Curry's campaign for Jacksonville Mayor.

Joshua was honored by Florida Politics in 2016 as a 30-under-30 rising star. He is a brother of Tau Kappa Epsilon and continues to serve the chapter in an alumni capacity.

Tina Grier

Executive Assistant to the President & CEO

Tina is the Executive Assistant to the President & CEO. In this role she provides executive support and  serves as the primary point of contact for internal and external constituencies on all matters pertaining to the Office of the President. She also serves as a liaison to the board of directors and senior management teams; organizes and coordinates executive outreach and external relations efforts; and oversees special projects.   

Jesse Okeefe

Executive Assistant to the EVP & Office Manager

Jesse graduated Florida State University in the summer of 2016, earning a Bachelor’s in Psychology. Prior to joining the Florida TaxWatch team, Jesse spent two months traveling throughout Australia and New Zealand. In her role at TaxWatch, she provides support and serves as the primary point of contact for the Executive Vice President, and works closely with Florida TaxWatch on on-going projects.




Research Fellows

James McGivern

Dr. Neil S. Crispo Fellow

James McGivern graduated from Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania in 2012. He is a graduate student at Florida State University, and is working at TaxWatch as the Dr. Neil S. Crispo Memorial Fellow. James’ previous research focused on molecular biology and evolution, but he is expanding his background to apply the analytical skills he has developed to economic and public policy research.

Allie Pass

Research Fellow

Allie Pass joined TaxWatch in 2016 as a graduate intern. Allie graduated from Florida State in 2010, earning her Bachelor’s in Political Science and Sociology. Allie has experience working as an intern for Representative Mia Jones in the Florida Legislature and is currently a volunteer with the Humane Society of the United States, where she works with lobbyists promoting legislation regarding animal welfare. Allie is currently earning her masters at Florida State in Applied American Politics and Policy. 




Senator Ken Plante Memorial Interns

Sponsored by AT&T

Erin McCord

Sen. Ken Plante Memorial Intern

Erin McCord is a sophomore at Florida State University majoring in Economics and Political Science and minoring in Mathematics. As a part of the Florida TaxWatch Senator Ken Plante Memorial Internship program sponsored by AT&T, she works with the research team to produce high quality research and analyses on issues related to state and local government policies and programs for the Center of Florida Citizenship series. Prior to joining TaxWatch, she worked as the Director of Communications for the FSU Student Government Association's Office of Governmental Affairs, as a research assistant for the Florida Comparative Agendas Project, and for Hurley, Rogner, Miller, Cox, & Waranch P.A.

Patrick Mas

Sen. Ken Plante Memorial Intern

Patrick Mas is a senior at Florida State University. Before joining the Florida TaxWatch team, Patrick interned at the Florida Department of Management Services: Division of State Group Insurance(DMS: DSGI) where he performed various actuarial studies as well as assisted in the development of a model that could calculate the excise tax associated with the Affordable Care Act.  He hopes to become an economist and utilize the analytical skills he has developed to research and explain economic and political phenomena.

Alex Foster

Sen. Ken Plante Memorial Intern

Alex is currently a rising Senior at Florida State University, and is pursuing a major in Political Science and a minor in both Communications and History. He joined Florida TaxWatch as part of the AT&T Senator Ken Plante Memorial Internship program, and worked with the research team writing papers that helped simplify different parts of state and local government as part of the Center for Florida Citizenship series. Following the completion of that internship, he rejoined TaxWatch as part of the research team working on several special projects. His background before TaxWatch includes stints on local, state, and national campaigns for Congress and Lt. Governor in Virginia, and with a presidential campaign in the 2016 cycle.


 

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106 N. BRONOUGH ST., TALLAHASSEE, FL 32301     |     TEL: 850.222.5052     |     FAX: 850.222.7476
106 N. BRONOUGH ST., TALLAHASSEE, FL 32301
TEL: 850.222.5052     |     FAX: 850.222.7476

Media Inquiries:  Contact Josh Gabel by Email or Phone: 850.222.5052

Media Inquiries:
Contact Josh Gabel by Email
or Phone: 850.222.5052