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Bike/Walk Central Florida Welcomes Three New Board Members

Bike/Walk Central Florida (BWCF) is proud to announce three additional members are joining the organization’s board of directors. Patrick Panza, an urban planner, GIS specialist, and assistant planning manager for GAI’s Community solutions group; John Paul (JP) Weesner, a landscape architect at Kittelson Associates; and Douglas Henley, the vice president of Owens Realty Services, are welcomed onto the board alongside ten other members. All are working to advocate for bikeable and walkable communities through supporting infrastructure changes, raising awareness throughout the community, and helping to incorporate cycling and walking into people’s daily activities.  

“Bike/Walk Central Florida has an active, hands-on board of directors, who work on behalf of local pedestrians and bicyclists to advocate for safe and convenient transportation infrastructure regardless of where they live or where they need to go,” said Emily Hanna, BWCF executive director. “Each of these new board members has unique qualifications that will further our mission.” 

Patrick Panza 

Panza brings fifteen years of professional experience in interdisciplinary collaboration, specializing in data collection and analysis, public engagement implementation, and development of policy recommendations onto the board. His primary work efforts involve development of master plans, GIS solutions, and public engagement strategies for park systems. Panza has been involved in planning numerous significant projects, including LIFT Orlando, Florida Avenue Bikeway, and OBTNext Community Hub. 

“I believe that the safety of cyclists and pedestrians is one of the most important issues facing our region,” Panza says. “Increased cycling and pedestrian activity lead to individual and systemic benefits too numerous to list, however few, if any, can be recognized without first securing safety.” 

JP Weesner 

Weesner brings more than two decades of experience in landscape architecture to the organization, having provided urban-design and placemaking solutions through projects not only walkable and livable, but also sustainable. Weesner has led several efforts focused on creating a more pedestrian friendly environment, planning and designing bike and walkway systems that enhance the overall community living experience, some of which include the Robinson Street Complete Street Study and the Hickory Streetscape in Melbourne, FL. He also served as senior urban designer for the widely successful citywide redevelopment effort  to reshape downtown Orlando – the Community Venues Master Plan – leading to five completed construction projects derived directly from the Master Plan. 

“My passion has always been to connect with communities and generate feasible projects that benefit them directly, and many walking and bicycling projects do just that; they expand connectivity, improve an individual’s health, help balance community equity, all while positively contributing to the environment,” said Weesner. 

Douglas Henley 

Henley offers years of experience and expertise in community outreach, project management, and operational leadership. He is currently a vice president at Owens Realty Services, and was previously the Director of Facilities and Operations at the Capitol Region and Education Council. In addition to his primary occupation, Henley brings an abundance of experience with other non-profit organizations to Bike/Walk Central Florida. Henley is also a long-distance road cyclist, with insight to the dangers faced daily by pedestrians and cyclists alike. 

“In preparation for my relocation to Central Florida, I researched what the cycling community was like.  I was saddened to learn of the distinction of the area being the worst for pedestrians and cyclists alike,” said Henley. “The Best Foot Forward Program is critically important to fight the war against unsafe driving practices. Look up and slow down for people walking and bicycling.”

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