In a business where it’s better to keep your friendships at arm’s length, Gene Gardner was my friend.
Posted Apr 25, 2007 by Jessica Balanza
Updated Apr 25, 2007 at 01:14 PM
By JESSICA BALANZA
Rumor has it that it took a bribe of a lifetime supply of sour cream doughnuts to convince Tom Aderhold to agree to take the presidency of the Keystone Civic Association.
While Aderhold joked that did weigh in his decision, he said the clincher was that the opportunity arose at the perfect time in his life.
The volunteer Keystone position has been vacant for about a year, and with Aderhold’s recent retirement, the time just seemed right, he said.
“There was a need for a fundamental change and focus in the association,” he said.
Aderhold, 63, recently retired from PHR Associates, a human resources firm, where he was president. Since then, he has decided to invest more of his time in two organizations – the civic association and the Hillsborough County Anti-Drug Alliance. He serves as vice president of the alliance.
“Because the KCA is unique and does not just deal with bake sales, cutting grass and deed restrictions, it’s very proactive in dealing with issues affecting the way of life,” he said. “It’s not a fluff organization.”
Aderhold, born in Jacksonville, moved to Keystone with his wife, Barbara Dowling, in 1997. It didn’t take long before they both became involved with the civic association.
Soon after the purchase of their home, they were faced with the possibility of having cell phone towers on their property.
Dowling said they both became very concerned and began generating a grass-roots effort, which led to meeting members of the association who helped with the cell phone tower initiative.
“The agreement (with the county) was modified and included more protective elements for the community,” said Aderhold.
Now, some 10 years later, Aderhold has been elected president. After the March 22 election, he said he hopes to go back to the roots of the association and bring in more social aspects.
“The first thing is to have open conversation and meld focus and interest with our member base,” he said.
There are 350 families registered in the association’s membership and Aderhold said he hopes to reach out to many more Keystone residents.
“Everyone in Keystone needs to hear from us,” said Aderhold. “We need to reach out to business owners, homeowners groups and reinvigorate the social calendar.”
Being involved in the community is not something new to Aderhold. Throughout his life he has always managed to involve himself with different organizations.
Aderhold graduated with bachelor’s in psychology and engineering from University of Central Florida and later received a master’s in rehabilitative services from Florida State University.
While in the workforce he held titles like rehabilitation counselor, president of human resources and risk management and has also been involved with other organizations, like the citizens advisory committee for the Metropolitan Planning Organization.
Beyond his present positions, he is also actively involved with current issues, such as property tax reform, the cell phone towers, lake management, “and any other important issue that comes along,” he said.
Dowling said many have been campaigning for some time now for Aderhold to lead the civic association. She added many view him as someone who gets the job done, is tough, fair, open-minded and has the ability to go downtown and present any of their issues.
“Tom’s been in the background for many years, always had a good eye on things going on and how they effect other things, said Woody Wood, director of the civic association. “He’s been involved in many groups and committees within the county. We had long discussed his taking over the president position and his work schedule finally made it possible. Our hopes and his are that we can get more people involved in the association through different programs and events.”
With his new position as president, Aderhold wants to ensure that he maintains open lines of communication with the community.
“I want to know how I affect the community and how people see me,” said Aderhold. “I want feedback this will help reduce barriers.”