I enjoy positioning clients for success in front of federal, state, and local governments. This success comes from having a firm grasp of the law, the public policy behind the law, and connecting with public servants dedicated to solving problems.
With three decades of experience spanning the practice of law and the government sector, Herschel Vinyard represents clients where regulatory issues, business and political concerns and legal questions intersect. Herschel is one of Florida’s preeminent authorities on state environmental law and policy.
Herschel works with clients on government affairs, environmental regulations, and permitting. He brings a creative approach to his work that helps projects move forward. As an example, Herschel has secured multiple innovative permits for waterfront, transportation, and industrial projects. He has also worked on governmental land swaps, Florida Cabinet matters, water policy, significant wetlands issues, and major residential developments, bringing an understanding of regulatory processes and business goals to the table to get deals done. He also successfully navigates Florida's new YOY wetlands permitting program.
As a former executive for a Florida-based shipyard, Herschel was responsible for strategic planning, business development, and regulatory and government affairs. This background helps him understand the pressures and challenges businesses face, as well as how to help clients overcome them. His own business experience includes successfully working with Congress for legal changes to obtaining permits for a major expansion, and working with state legislative and regulatory agencies to allow his business to become more competitive. This experience helps him be an effective counselor and advocate for his clients’ interests. Herschel was also an executive for an electric, water, and sewer utility.
Herschel served as Secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection from 2011–2014 after being appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Florida Senate. In that role, he was involved in all aspects of Florida environmental policy, including permitting, water policy, wetlands, state conservation lands, cabinet affairs and ecosystem restoration. His clients benefit from his track record of being able to build coalitions and reach consensus. He worked successfully with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, environmental interests, agriculture interests, and businesses to adopt new water quality criteria and resolve disputes over ecosystem restoration projects that effectively ended federal litigation.
Herschel is experienced with issues falling under the scope of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), Clean Water Act (CWA), and Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA, also known as Superfund), including state environmental statutory counterparts. He is a frequent, sought-after speaker on these topics at Florida’s most prominent environmental conferences.
- Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center, J.D., 1990
- Louisiana State University, B.S., 1986
- District of Columbia
- United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida
- Episcopal School of Jacksonville, Former Board Member
- World Affairs Council of Jacksonville, Board Member
- Leadership Florida, 2006
- Leadership Jacksonville, 2008
Professional Affiliations & Memberships
- Associated Industries of Florida, Former Executive Committee and Former Board Member
- Manufacturers Association of Florida, Former Vice President and Board Member
- Jacksonville Port Authority, Former Treasurer and Board Member
- Shipbuilders Council of America, Former Chair and Board Member
- Mobile Chamber of Commerce, Former Board Member
- Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, Board of Trustees and Government Affairs Committee Member
- Jacksonville Chamber Environmental Former Committee, Chair
- First Coast Manufacturers Association, Former Tri-Chair
- Jacksonville Economic Development Commission, Former Commissioner
- Northeast Florida Builders Association, Member