Florida Trail Association

Meet the Team

Janet Akerson
Janet AkersonAdministrative Director
Janet Akerson became the part-time bookkeeper for FTA in 2002. Her responsibilities evolved, and in 2009 she became the Administrative Director.

She manages the Gainesville office, supervises the FTA staff, helps with event planning, and continues to keep the books.

Janet grew up in St. Petersburg, FL, and attended Berry College and the University of Florida. Since 1976, Janet and her husband, Randy, have lived in Gainesville, where they managed Burrito Bros. Taco Co. – a popular local restaurant – until 2017. They have been members of the FTA since 1982.

Diane Strong
Diane StrongMembership and Retail Coordinator
Diane is the friendly voice on the other end of the phone at our Gainesville headquarters. She administrates the FTA’s membership, coordinates donations, and manages the store.

Diane came to Gainesville in 1990 for school and never left. She earned a degree in history and secondary education in 1994. After graduation she worked at the University of Florida’s College of Medicine for 15 years.

Diane grew up in Orlando, where she spent a lot of time on the Wekiva and St. Johns Rivers. She is married to an entomologist who works with the USDA on the University of Florida campus.

Diane and her husband enjoy spending their free time kayaking and fishing in the Gulf.

Alex Stigliano
Alex StiglianoFlorida Trail Program Director
“Nature can bring out the best in people. Time spent away from roads, electricity, and commerce challenges us with new perspectives that inspire positive changes to our lives and communities.”

Alex unearthed his love of hiking, camping, and storytelling as a teen in the wild and wonderful mountains of West Virginia and western North Carolina. He channeled this passion into the simple mission of introducing people to the natural world. Alex joined the FTA with over a decade of experience in the outdoor industry. He has lead and directed scores of wilderness adventures in the Southeast, the Pacific Northwest, New England, Nova Scotia and the US Virgin Islands.

Jeff Glenn
Jeff GlennNorth Florida Regional Representative
Jeff Glenn was FTA’s first Regional Representative for the Florida Trail. He manages 300 miles of trail from the Ocala National Forest to Suwanee River State Park.

Jeff works with volunteers and agency partners to coordinate trail construction, maintenance, protection, and outreach efforts. He also engages volunteers in stewardship events on the Florida National Scenic Trail.

Previously, Jeff worked with the Student Conservation Association (’06 – ’13), as both a seasonal trail crew leader and a full-time staff member. For 4 years he managed a large SCA program and maintained 100 miles of the North Country National Scenic Trail through the Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania. He has led crews in Alaska, the US Virgin Islands, Arizona, Colorado, and Kentucky.

Jeff is a graduate of Hampshire College in Amherst, MA, where he studied environmental education and outdoor leadership. An avid backpacker, he loves to spend time out on the trail, as well as playing music, fermenting food, and organic agriculture.

Kelly Wiener
Kelly WienerCentral and South Regional Representative
Kelly is a graduate of the University of Vermont, where she obtained a degree in Environmental Studies. During her four years in the Champlain Valley, Kelly discovered her passion for conservation. She spent a summer abroad at a biological research station in Costa Rica and devoted her senior capstone to an internship at the Lake Champlain Land Trust.

After graduating, Kelly completed a year of service as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer at Boston City Hall. She then went on to manage a regional food access program at a non-profit in Upstate New York.

As our Central/Southern Regional Representative, Kelly manages the 600 miles of trail between the Ocala National Forest and the Big Cypress National Preserve. She is responsible for coordinating trail management, protection and volunteer work in her region.

Adam Fryska
Adam FryskaPanhandle Regional Representative
Adam Fryska is an experienced long-distance backpacker and trail steward. He joined the FTA in 2017 after working in various conservation and stewardship roles along the Appalachian Trail and Vermont’s Long Trail. Adam is a passionate supporter of the National Scenic Trail system; he’s experienced the magic of these trails and their communities first hand while completing the “Triple Crown,” thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and Continental Divide Trail.

Now immersing himself in the unique environments found along the Florida Trail, he’s working to ensure this exceptional resource is developed, maintained, and protected for current and future generations of users.

Adam grew up in northern Indiana. He studied biology at Indiana University, European studies at Jagiellonian University, and environmental law at Vermont Law School. Previously he worked with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Randolph Mountain Club, and Green Mountain Club. As the FTA’s Panhandle Regional Representative, Adam coordinates trail building, maintenance, resource protection, and volunteer work along the Florida National Scenic Trail from to Suwannee River State Park to the Northern Terminus of the Florida Trail at Fort Pickens in Gulf Islands National Seashore.

Van Tran
Van TranCommunity Outreach Coordinator
Van is our first ever Community Outreach Coordinator. Her love of the outdoors, passion for community organizing and commitment to environmental stewardship paved the way for her to join FTA in 2017.

Over the past decade, Van has backpacked several sections of the Appalachian Trail as well as other hikes throughout the country and abroad. She has served as an outdoor guide for youth & adults and has a background in organic farming. Of all the wilderness settings she has explored, Van finds her greatest happiness when she is immersed in the natural Florida landscape where she was born and raised. She considers the Florida Trail to be one of the state’s greatest gems and is enthusiastic to ensure that it is enjoyed by a diverse community of current and future recreationists and stewards.

Van’s professional background includes work at a Florida-based nonprofit organization directing a food access program and years of experience managing volunteers in an organic farm setting. As our Community Outreach Coordinator, Van is responsible for building and improving outreach programs for the FTA by ensuring that volunteer stewardship events are inclusive, fully promoted, well-coordinated, engaging and rewarding.

Van is a graduate of the University of Florida (class of 2011) where she studied Horticultural Science and was actively involved in the university’s outdoor leadership, Travel and Recreation Program (TRiP). In addition to hiking, Van enjoys chasing sunsets on her bicycle, gardening, surfing and finding humor in day-to-day life.