The Mid-Bay Bridge Authority is seeing three familiar faces return after Gov. Ron DeSantis named his appointments to the panel this week.
Dewey “Parker” Destin continues his service on the Authority as a business owner and former public official — he owns Dewey’s Navarre and Dewey’s Destin Enterprises, and served local residents as a member of the Destin City Council. He currently serves as Deputy Director of the Gulf Coast Seafood Alliance.
Before getting into the seafood business, Destin earned a bachelor’s degree in business management and entrepreneurship from the University of Tampa and his law degree from the Florida Coastal School of Law.
Rejoining Destin is the current Chairman, James Neilson Jr., and Board member Kim Wintner. Neilson is a U.S. Army Reserves veteran with more than 20 years in the insurance industry and 18 on the Mid-Bay Bridge Authority. A former President and General Manager of the Sandpiper Cove Condominium Association, Neilson also served on the Rotary and Kiwanis clubs, the Destin Harbor Board and the Sacred Heart Foundation.
Wintner, President and Owner of Alliance Association Management Company, retired as a Colonel in the U.S. Air Force after 30 years. He presently serves on the Destin Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors and as the Chairman of the Destin Military Affairs Council. He received a bachelor’s degree in police administration from Indiana University and a master’s degree in human resources development from Webster University.
Both Destin and Neilson hail from Destin, while Wintner lives in Niceville.
The Mid-Bay Bridge Authority bills the bridge as “the quickest way to Destin,” a 3.6-mile, two-lane toll bridge that spans the Choctawhatchee Bay. The Authority also oversees the 11-mile Spence Parkway, a “tolled highway that connects the north end of the Mid-Bay Bridge with State Road 20, State Road 285 and State Road 85.” Also included in the Authority’s purview is a 0.8-mile stretch known as Wuerffel Way, which connects U.S. Highway 98 in Destin to the south end of the bridge.
Traffic safety on the bridge has been of recent debate, with the conclusion of a year-long study by the Florida Department of Transportation. A follow-up on the study is planned for the Authority’s meeting Jan. 19.