Bill Bland

Bill Bland was another Lake Jem resident, but on the opposite end of the spectrum from John.  Bill was an outspoken guy who was primarily in the cow business.  He looked after his groves just like his father looked after them.  Everyone in Central Florida moved to a herbicide and mow program except Bill.  He continued to disc them from drip line to drip line.  Would get a chopper under the limbs every so often and had a crew hand hoe.  Bill was a “character” which means he did things his way and did not hesitate to tell you what he thought.  He was an imposing guy, tall and confident.  I worked with Bill primarily on a project called ReCon which was a two way radio based program that allowed growers to communicate directly with Sheriff deputies (those assigned to agriculture).  Bill was the point man, go to guy and strongest supporter of the program.  He also had the financial ability to gain the ear of the sheriffs!  When cell phones replaced two way radios I did not have much interaction with Bill.  I was a huge fan of the ReCon system, especially on cold nights.  I had a radio in my office and I could key the mike and get weather information out to a large number of growers that were on the system.  Feedback was exchanged with everyone able to listen to the conversation.  Great tool.  Bill and his dad, W.T. have left a legacy in Lake County as the family has been strong financial supporters of many worthwhile organizations (W. T. Bland library in Mt, Dora is one of many).