After approximately a year-and-a-half with the county, Brad Burbaugh has a new title and expanded duties — which now include oversight of the ECHO and Volusia Forever programs.
Burbaugh was hired in November 2019 as the county’s extension service director, where he and the staff partner with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) to provide programs and practical education in areas such as agriculture and natural resources, urban and commercial horticulture and family and consumer sciences.
In mid-May, the Volusia County Council embraced a plan to restructure the cooperative extension services division and rename it the resource stewardship division.
The decision to move management of the ECHO and Volusia Forever programs to that division comes as the county prepares to ramp up both programs now that voters have renewed them for another 20 years.
Volusia Forever finances the acquisition and preservation of environmentally sensitive lands, as well as water resource protection and outdoor recreation land, forests and farmlands.
The ECHO program provides grant funds to finance the acquisition, restoration, construction or improvement of facilities for environmental, cultural, historical and outdoor recreational purposes.
Given the natural connections between the ECHO and Volusia Forever programs, the land management activities that go with it and the mission of the extension service, county officials decided it was the logical choice to combine the programs and Burbaugh was the natural choice to run them.
The Volusia County Council made it official June 1 by confirming Burbaugh as director of the resource stewardship division.
“This is a case here where we’ve asked someone who already held a leadership position to take on more within the organization,” County Manager George Recktenwald told County Council members in picking Burbaugh for the job.
Council members wholeheartedly agreed that Burbaugh was a perfect fit for the position.
Burbaugh said he was honored to be entrusted with managing the ECHO and Volusia Forever programs after voters overwhelmingly supported their continuation.
“I think the community reaffirmed their values in November and told us what their values were,” said Burbaugh. “And I plan to implement those values with our partners with integrity and transparency.”
A Volusia County native, Burbaugh served as an extension agent in Virginia and Duval County before being appointed as agriculture extension director in Clay County, where he also held the title of mosquito control director.
He has a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education and communication from the University of Florida, a master’s degree in government policy and administration from the University of North Florida, and a Ph.D. in agricultural, leadership and community education from Virginia Tech.