Northwest District Hosts Open House to Educate Community Partners on DEP Programs

On March 6, 2014,  the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Northwest District Panama City branch office hosted more than 80 community members at an open house event aimed at growing the community’s awareness of the organization’s mission, increasing communication and developing collaborative relationships with community partners.

Guests were invited to the Northwest District’s Panama City office to meet the Panama City office staff, District Director Shawn Hamilton and new Assistant Director Ben Blitch. Experts from each of the District’s regulatory programs — Waste, Air, Water, Environmental Resources Permitting and Compliance Assurance — attended to answer questions and provide information on their respective programs.

“We promote environmental protection through regulatory consistency, accountability and partnerships with our stakeholders,” said Hamilton. “I appreciate opportunities like this one today which allow me, and the District’s staff, to hear first-hand how our stakeholders think we are doing and what they think we can do better.”

Attendees also had an opportunity to learn more about the Department’s online resources. As the Department continues its efforts to become paperless, many forms and records are now available online. Staff provided overviews of what is available and showed those who were interested how to access those databases.

Most importantly, the Northwest District open house provided an opportunity for the District to receive feedback. The Department is constantly looking for ways to improve services and informational exchanges, such as this open house forum. The feedback received helps drive strategy moving forward.

For those who were unable to attend today’s open house event, the Northwest District Tallahassee office will also be hosting the public in the coming months.

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