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  • Val Schoger


    After nine years of working in media, PR and marketing with international engagements in Germany, England, the Caribbean, and the United States, Val first traveled to the Gulf Coast and subsequently to Navarre, Florida in 2003. She was immediately smitten with Northwest Florida and considers it her chosen home. She is excited about the opportunity to share perspectives, innovative ideas, and success stories as the publisher of a magazine that helps promote one of Florida’s fastest growing areas.

  • Laura Roesch

    Book Review Editor

    Laura Roesch, born and raised on Florida’s east coast, earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Radford University and a law degree from Indiana University School of Law. A retired judge, she is a voracious reader with a lifelong passion for books. She and her husband collect vintage cars and motorcycles. You may see her driving around town in “Maybelline,” a purple 1956 Chevy Belair–her favorite in their collection.

  • Cyndi Ainsworth

    Business Development

    With more than 30 years of experience in advertising and marketing, Cyndi Ainsworth has joined Panama City Living as account executive and community outreach coordinator with the goal to achieve advertising success for businesses that strive to make an impact in Bay County and surrounding markets.

    Cyndi has built extensive business relations and gained valuable knowledge of the local market in her previous role as Director of Membership Services for the Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce.

    Born in Riverside, New Jersey, she spent 23 years in Colorado Springs before moving to Florida where she has lived and been an active part of the business community for the past 22 years. She takes an active part in Ambassador Committee and Business Connections Group in the Panama City Beach Chamber. In her free time, she loves to travel and spend time with her husband of 35 years, Ken, their three children, and two adorable grandchildren.


  • Jeffrey Bacen

    Business Development

    Born in Hollywood, Florida, but raised in Panama City, Jeff is proud to call himself a native Floridian. After graduating from Florida State University, Jeff has worked in a variety of capacities all over the country in the non-profit, government, and education sectors. Jeff is a proficient freelance writer and worked in marketing and sales before joining Panama City Living Magazine. He is a veteran of the United States Navy and served on the U.S.S. David R. Ray. When not cooking, Jeff enjoys reading, sports, wine, and old movies.

  • Mike Fender

    Photographer and Contributor

    Mike Fender moved from Indiana to Panama City Beach i 2018. He spent 30 years working as a newspaper photojournalist in Indianapolis but lived in a small town outside the city. Mike covered Super Bowls, NBA Finals, climbed Mt. Whitney, and has been sent to Africa to tell a story. When not on assignment, he roams the coastal area trying to capture moments for the “perfect” photograph.

  • Sarah Hough

    Contributor/Copy Editor

    Sarah moved from Michigan to the Panama City area in 1985. She is an avid traveler, having visited more than 21 countries in the last 10 years. Instead of getting shorter, her bucket list keeps getting longer as she finds more and more places to visit. Sarah is a dedicated volunteer with the Guardian ad Litem program. She is a member of the St. Andrew Bay Quilters’ Guild and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.



    Building a high-profile career and working in trusted positions with several of the most influential people of his generation, Robert Higdon’s life was exciting and demanding.
    Excerpts from his obituary in the Washington Post: Robert M. Higdon, a close associate of President Ronald Reagan and  first lady Nancy Reagan, who became a leading fundraiser for the Reagan Presidential Library and Foundation and later led foundations associated with former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher and Britain’s Prince Charles, … he was particularly close with Nancy Reagan … he left the Prince of Wales Foundation in 2011 … and then established an interior  design business in Washington, with high-profile clients including comedian Joan Rivers … After a life-long career in Washington D. C., he moved back to his native Panama City in 2017. In Panama City Living Magazine’s May-June 2018 issue he invited our readers on a tour of his eclectic waterfront home, offering fascinating glimpses into a lifelong career. He mourned the loss of many old friends. He started exploring his roots and made new friends but the ones he lost or mourned were irreplaceable. He loved his trusty companion, Wilby, a Yorkie, but was also still heartbroken about the loss of Wilby’s predecessor, Digby. Robert Higdon’s passion of collecting art and antiques led him to local vendors and craftsmen, one of which, Richardson’s Refinishing and Antiques, he paid tribute to in this issue–read the entire article here. He passionately shared stories, he loved to entertain, and he had impeccable taste. Some of his earlier writings can be found on his website, Roberthigdondesign.com. At age 58, Robert Higdon was too young to die but much too saddened to live. Our thoughts, love, and prayers go out to his family, friends, and everyone who knew his story and cared. His friends know, “He had a great sense of humor … he was a bright light…”

  • Jody Wood-Putnam


    Jody Wood-Putnam holds bachelor’s degrees in physics and mathematics from Western Carolina University and a master’s in materials science from the University of Virginia. She moved to Panama City in 1983 and worked for 33 years as a research physicist at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City. In 2004, she became a Florida Master Gardener, following completion of the comprehensive course offered by the UF/IFAS Bay County Extension Office. She remains active in this program and has had many opportunities to expand her gardening knowledge; she frequently gives presentations on different aspects of gardening. She is a member of the Florida Native Plant Society and is co-president of the local Sweetbay Chapter.



  • Judge Don Sirmons


    Don Sirmons is a third-generation Floridian and a graduate of the University of Florida Law School. He became a judge at the age of 28, the youngest person ever to serve as a judge in the State of Florida. He served in the 14th Circuit in Bay County for 33 years, retiring in 2010.

  • Jackie Kolk


    A native Floridian, Jackie Kolk has a Bachelor’s degree in history from Emory, a Master’s in history, and a law degree from the University of Florida. She was a partner in a local law firm for many years and now manages a construction company. She serves on the Bay County Conservancy’s Board of Directors and chairs its land acquisition committee.


  • Olivia Crosby


    Olivia Crosby is a long-time native of Florida, born and raised in Panama City. Olivia is Congressman Neal Dunn’s Regional Director. She is a member of the Emerald Coast Junior Women’s Club, a member of Bay County Chamber’s Leadership Bay Steering Committee, and a big sister in Big Brothers big sisters program. Prior to joining Dr. Dunn’s team, Olivia has had ten years of experience working in politics and government for the private sector, along with state and local officials. Olivia graduated Florida State University with her Bachelor’s in Political Science and Communications.

  • Brittany Rock


    Brittany has recently moved to Panama City Beach from Pensacola and is getting acquainted with all that Bay County has to offer. She earned her bachelor’s degree in marketing and communications from the University of West Florida, worked as an Account Executive for Panama City Living Magazine, and is currently a Communications Coordinator at CareerSource Gulf Coast. She enjoys making memories with her boyfriend and their dog, exploring Northwest Florida with hopes of many travel opportunities in the future.

  • Jennifer Sheffield


    Jennifer Sheffield pursued graduate work, studying print journalism at Boston University after getting a degree in Anthropology from Skidmore College and University College, London. In between, she worked in media relations for the U.S. Olympic Committee. The Albany Times Union, Forest Hills Times, The Chronicle of the Horse, and MUST SEE Magazine have published her stories. She lives in Apalachicola, Florida where she is a freelance contributor to The Times, and works at an accounting firm. She is active in her church, practices yoga, loves local music, and walks a small brown dog.

  • Robert Hurst


    Robert (Bob) Hurst holds degrees in Anthropology and Archaeology from FSU, and the University of London. A high school project culminated in his article “Mapping Old St. Joseph, Its Railroads and Environs,” published in 1961 in the Florida Historical Quarterly. His continuing research in historic trails in North Florida will soon result in his book The Spanish Road, Travels along Florida’s Royal Road, El Camino Real.

  • Nick May


    Nick May is a native Floridian who grew up writing and playing in the Panama City arts and music scene. He is the author of “Megabelt, Minutemen and Molecricket” and lives along the Gulf Coast with his wife, Kayla, and their dog, Brother. Currently, he is working on a fantasy series for kids and young adults. Find Nick online at heynickmay.com

  • Dr. Glenda Walters


    Glenda Walters, born and raised in Atlanta, has called Lynn Haven, Florida home since 1965. She began her teaching career at Mosley High School in Lynn Haven and earned a Ph. D. in History from Florida State University. After retirement from Bay County Schools, she continued to teach as an adjunct instructor at the Florida State University Panama City campus and at Gulf Coast Community College/Gulf Coast State College. Dr. Walters has published two books in the Arcadia Press Images of America series. In 2013, she was appointed to the Florida Humanities Council. She is also serving in her second term as president of the Historical Society of Bay County and is active in numerous other local organizations.

  • Caroline San Juan Czubaj


    Caroline San Juan Czubaj has a Bachelor’s in Exercise Science and a Master’s in Business. She was the former director of two Florida hospital wellness centers, a columnist for The Miami Herald, a wellness lecturer, consultant, and television, radio personality. Caroline returned to Panama City in 2011, with her husband and daughters, and is now a certified yoga instructor (E-RYT 500) and owner of Beyond The Pose Yoga.

  • Dr. Stephanie Cole Jehl


    Dr. Stephanie Cole Jehl is a microbiologist with an interest in global health and infectious diseases. Stephanie received a Ph.D. in Microbiology from Harvard Medical School and an undergraduate degree from the University of Florida. Born and raised in Panama City Beach, Stephanie’s involvement in the field of global health has since taken her around the world, from Cambodia to Cuba, as a laboratory consultant, scientific editor, and lecturer. Whenever possible, Stephanie spends her time traveling with her husband and their two young daughters.

  • Dr. James Cook


    Dr. James Cook grew up in Marianna, Florida, and graduated from Emory University and Emory School of Medicine in Atlanta. He served as a Battalion Surgeon with the 1st Marine Division in Vietnam before returning near home at the Navy Base Dispensary in Panama City. After serving an internal medicine residency, cardiology fellowship, and as Chief Medical Resident at Cincinnati General, he did another cardiology fellowship at the Emory Clinic in Atlanta. In 1977, he married the love of his life, Jan Anderson, and they moved to Panama City to start his practice. Over the years, his practice grew to seven cardiologists and 80 employees while pioneering clot buster therapy of heart attacks, which evolved into angioplasties with stents for the same. Dr. Cook retired in 2005 but remains active in the Bay Health Foundation, Summit Bank, and various charities in Bay County.

  • John Starrett


    John Starrett a Florida Panhandle Native has been immersed in the water man lifestyle and culture his entire life. From surfing and diving at an early age and a 10-year veteran of the United States Life Guarding Association now uses his comfortability in the water to create imagery from below the surface. A published and awarded photographer he also uses his lens to tell meaningful stories from the Pacific Northwest to the streets of Manhattan and everywhere in between.

  • Dr. Frank Merritt


    Dr. Frank Merritt is from Enterprise, Alabama. He studied at Pepperdine University and obtained his medical degree from the University of Alabama School of Medicine (UAB). He has spent the last 10 years working as an emergency physician at Bay Medical Sacred Heart. In 2015, Dr. Merritt founded VitalityPro, a company developing innovative health and performance advantages. In that capacity, he developed “The 17 Hour Fast,” which is now a book. Over his 20-year career, he has been recognized and selected to work with many elite athletes, celebrities and organizations.


  • Robert (Bob) Hurst


    Robert (Bob) Hurst holds degrees in Anthropology and Archaeology from FSU and the University of London. A high school project culminated in his article “Mapping Old St. Joseph, Its Railroads and Environs,” published in 1961 in the Florida Historical Quarterly. His continuing research in historic trails in North Florida will soon result in a book The Spanish Road, Travels along Florida’s Royal Road, El Camino Real.

  • Adam Onnebane


    Adam Onnebane is a wearer of many hats. He lives on the west side of Panama City Beach where he takes advantage of every opportunity to be active outdoors, including freediving, spearfishing, surfing, underwater photography, and even creating stained glass using a magnifying glass and sunshine. Adam started his adventures in Baton Rouge, LA, found true-story trails living in the Appalachian Mountains, and now put his roots down in Panama City Beach. Expect a warm conversation, a warm smile, and picture- worthy moments with Adam.

  • Susan Gunn


    Born and raised in Atlanta, Susan Gunn chose a career path as a first responder. Her work of saving lives jeopardized her own more than once. Those experiences, she says, taught her to look at life a little closer and not take it for granted. She fulfilled her dream of living on the Gulf Coast and moved to San- ta Rosa Beach a few years ago. These days she carries a camera as well as a medical bag. She is a conservationist, a nature and wild- life advocate at heart who still holds licenses as paramedic and rescue diver, and wants to do her part to help protect and preserve the beautiful things she photographs along the coast.

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