Men of Influence
Thomas P. Schmitt
Partner, Kogan, DiSalvo and Schmitt
A forensics champion in high school, a debate champion in college and a state Academy of Trial Lawyers champion in law school, Thomas P. Schmitt always knew he wanted to be a trial lawyer.
Now, the founding partner of the personal injury law firm Kogan, DiSalvo and Schmitt in Stuart credits his thorough preparation, reliable experts and sharp memory to growing his practice into one of the preeminent trial law firms in the Treasure Coast.
“I don’t think I’m very intimidating outside the courtroom, but inside the courtroom I’m a formidable opponent. I’m always prepared,” he says.
Case in point: Schmitt’s client was awarded the second-largest motorcycle accident verdict in the state for $15.2 million last May. It’s one of the few large, multi-million dollar wrongful death verdicts on the books.
Born in Miami and raised in Lake Park, Schmitt was a Rhodes Scholar at Exeter College in England and completed law school at Stetson University. The 52-year-old Schmitt plans to live in Stuart for the rest of his career as he does now with his wife, Meaghan, and son.
He enjoys boating and ballroom dancing. And, he’s a concert pianist; he recently purchased the concert grand piano from the Lyric Theatre.
“I don’t think I’m very intimidating outside the courtroom, but inside the courtroom I’m a formidable opponent.”
Executive Director, Business Development Board of Martin County
Overseeing the health of Martin County businesses, Tim Dougher has a big responsibility.
He’s the executive director of the Business Development Board of Martin County, which is tasked with helping local businesses expand while encouraging new businesses to move into the community. The board, which is contracted by the county, recently launched a private funding campaign to enhance investment in business development in Martin County.
“Businesses are the lifeblood of any community,” he says. “Businesses contribute a lot of tax revenue to the county, which is enticing for our quality and way of life.”
Having grown up in North Palm Beach, Dougher received a Division 1 swimming scholarship from the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo. He worked at the Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Business Development Board in Palm Beach County and served as the director of business development for the City of Orlando before becoming executive director locally in 2012.
He also serves as the chairman of the Research Coast, a regional economic development organization, and he’s on the board of directors for Enterprise Florida.
When not helping to boost the local economy, he enjoys being outside, usually on a boat or a ski mountain.
“Businesses contribute a lot of tax revenue to the county, which is enticing for our quality and way of life.”
CEO, Southeastern Printing
Don Mader, the CEO of Southeasten Printing, never meant to get into the printing business. “Printing chose me,” he says.
After moving to Florida from Buffalo, New York as a teenager, Mader took a job silk screening T-shirts, eventually learning color separations and printing using computers. As his skills improved with the new technology, he founded Bluewater Graphics in 1994 with his uncle and mentor, Larry Reger, who passed away earlier this year.
In 2004, they merged companies with Southeastern Printing, which was founded in 1924 by Dr. Edwin Menninger. As technology changed, Mader focused his company on two divisions: commercial printing, including monthly publications, annual reports and business cards, and roll-fed beverage labels for plastic soda and water bottles. Southeastern is the second largest such label printer in the country.
Meanwhile, the 43-year-old, married with two daughters, also oversees Blue Water Editions, a fine art reproduction company in Port Salerno.
Mader serves on the board of directors for both The Pine School and the Stuart/Martin County Chamber of Commerce.
“I am passionate about continuous improvement,” he says. “I like to see growth, both in organizations as well as individuals. I thrive on providing opportunity for people and for myself.”
Commissioner, St. Lucie County
Public service has been Tod Mowery’s passion for most of his life.
“It’s always been a part of who I am,” says the two-term St. Lucie County commissioner and former chairman. “For some people, it’s a job. For me, it’s a calling.”
Also the owner of Red Tail Design Group, a landscape architecture and land planning firm, Mowery worked in city and town management for 10 years throughout the world, holding positions in Switzerland and Zambia, as well as Tennessee, Michigan and (much closer) Jupiter.
He has used his experience to the benefit of St. Lucie County, which continues to see rapid growth. He appreciates how the county works together for the betterment of the community.
But Mowery is most proud of his mission work in Haiti. He’s organized and funded trips for 250 people to provide medical and construction help for the impoverished nation. He’s traveled there 17 times.
“I believe in growing wherever you’re planted,” says the western New York native and Kent State graduate. “I enjoy being a positive, happy person wherever I am.”
Married with two teenagers, Mowery stays active with off-road biking, kayaking and CrossFit, as well as coaching soccer.
“I believe in growing wherever you’re planted. I enjoy being a positive, happy person wherever I am.”