Meet the Team

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James H Coppens

Chairman, Florida Friends of Hostelling

  • Jim Coppens managed the efforts of the HTML team that constructed this website, www.hiflorida.org, from scratch. 
  • Jim has been HI Vice President for the Southern Region, a Member of HI's National Board, President of the Florida Council and  presently Chairman of Florida Friends of Hostelling. 
  • Back in the 90's. while serving in the US Air Force, Jim managed the development of a website for a Major Command for the Air Force. 

∼∼∼Our amazing volunteers spanning nearly all time zones∼∼∼

Web Creation Volunteers

Mansa Pryor
  • New Jersey native currently residing in Maryland
  • Web Designer and Visual Artist
  • Currently working on WebVR projects
Vijay
  • Originally from Hyderabad, India
  • Achieved Master's in Computer Science from NDSU
  • Currently working as Associate Software Engineer at Sundog Interactive, Fargo.
Milan Shah
  • Originally from Maharashtra, India
  • Enjoys programming, travelling, painting
  • Experienced iSeries developer
  • Achieved Master's in Computer Science from UCM
  • Volunteer with Hi Florida and ASI
  • currently working as System Engineer at Caleres
Ji Young Yoon
  • A .net programming student.
  • Has a pet betta fish named cheese.
  • Enjoys reading books, watching netflix, and other outdoor activities.
Tim Caldwell
  • Tim is from Clearwater, and helped us get the website started.  He has vast web experience beginning 1994. 
  • He volunteered in Sep 2016, and got our project off the ground. 
  • Unfortunately, in April 2017, just as we were getting rolling Tim got pulled away for overtime on his day job, so could not continue volunteering.
Oliver Earl
  • Originally from Birmingham, England but currently works remotely from a coastal town in Wales.
  • Interested in psychology, programming, writing and travelling.
  • Graduating from his Bachelors in Computer Science from Aberystwyth University in the summer of 2018.
  • Currently works part time for his university as a teaching assistant and volunteers with both HI Florida and the Nightline Association.
  • Has three pet dogs, all of which are pugs, named Toby, Toffee, and Luna (They’re a bit of a handful!).
Tia Rose
  • Navy brat; Grew up in Sicily, Italy but lived in Scotland and London
  • Mom to a very curious and determined toddler.
  • Enjoys programming, traveling, reading, and eating.

Web Maintenance Volunteers

George Johnston
  • Retired mining engineer and naval flight officer.
  • Stayed in hostels from Tallinn, Estonia to Dalyan, Turkey; Ottawa, Canada to San Diego; Most of Western Europe.
  • Biked from Den Haag, NL to Iskenderun, Turkey on small wheeled folding bicycles in  links over 22 years.
  • Biked the Danube River from the origin in the Black Forest to the delta on the Black Sea in Romania.
  • Worked on three canal camps in England restoring canals for narrow boating, while living in hostel like accommodations in village halls.
  • Posted trip reports on the Florida hostel site about many of these trips
Chuck Gooley
  • From Los Angeles, California.
  • Helps to manage the site, eliminate spam when it occurs, and posts articles to the site, since 2012. 
  • Chuck's profession is a freelance web developer. 
  • His hobbies are gardening and photography.
Edgar Vega
  • Entrepreneur, dreamer, parent.
  • Computer Science and Finance Grad.
  • Working with technology. 
Lynda D
  • From Vancouver, Washington.
  • Helps to manage the site, eliminate spam when it occurs, and posts articles to the site, since 2014.
  • Lynda's profession is project manager, testing manager, and webmaster.
  • Her hobbies are music, sailing, gardening, photography, spending time with family and friends.  Go, Seahawks.
John Stevens

Involved as treasurer for Florida Council of Hostelling International since initial involvement in early 1990’s until dissolution, a term of almost 25 years.
Currently volunteer for web maintenance.
Retired as Assistant Controller for UCF in 2006, Manager of private boarding school 10 Years, currently Maintains accounting/tax practice as consultant and practitioner


Conversation Cafe Volunteers

Sri Rangaswamy
  • Started as Communication Secretary for Hosteling International, then became a President of Florida Hi Council
  • Love Hosteling and traveling
  • Always loves volunteering and also make people smile 🙂
  • Have a patent for Dr.justkidding .com
  • Is passionate about life
  • Loves and admires Mrs.Mother Teresa and Abraham Lincoln
  • Member of two nonprofit websites: http://www.saisharan.info/  and  http://globalsainaamjap.com/
Tom Lager
  • Helped form and kick-off Conversation Cafe
  • Enjoys traveling with wife, Carmen, sons and grandchildren
  • Visited: London, England; Paris/Versailles, France; Geneva, Switzerland; Florence, Rome and Venice, Italy; Vienna, Austria; Prague, Czech
  • Republic; Niagara Falls;Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Brazil.
John Michael
  • a local businessman who loves travel
  • traveled and stayed at HI hostels all over the world
  • is also volunteer for our local travel discussion group
  • done several presentations and has chaired the meeting several times
Julie Regier
  • a retired local executive
  • delivered HI brochures to the Orlando library main branch and other branches from 2009 to 2013
Paul Clark
  • a retired local executive from Osceloa County
  • sent out our email notices of meetings and other pertinent emails beginning in 2017, thru 2010

Communications Volunteers

Rod Hit
  • Has been associated with Florida Friends of Hosteling for the past seven years
  • Present accounts of past travels to the group's monthly meetings
  • Act as communications volunteer
  • Is a graduate of Texas Christian University (Go Froggies!!)
  •  a retired executive  and vice president of Pinkerton's, Inc. (formerly known as Pinkerton's National Detective Agency)
  • Rod and Ronnie are avid travelers, having visited nearly every western and many eastern European countries, as well as numerous others including Egypt, Israel, Morocco, Tahiti and Mexico
  • Among his interests and hobbies is flying, fishing and baseball.
  • a licensed commercial aircraft pilot and a dedicated fresh-water fisherman
  • His philosophy regarding travel can be summed up as "The most rewarding aspect of travel is the journey, not the destination"
Barbara Coleman
  • A BIG football fan. Go Cowboys!
  • Enjoy listening to music, traveling and spending time with family.
  • A retired City of Austin Employee who also does volunteer graphic design work for various non-profits as needed.
  •  Also involved in web maintenance for the website.
Bob McDonald
  • Lived most of his life in Scotland.
  • Grandfather walked into the US around 1900, speaking only Scottish Gaelic.
  • Active in Scottish Community, mostly in CA for 46+ years.
  • Joined Hosteling as a life member while living in CA, and enjoyed many hotels around the San Francisco Bay Area.
  • Have not had the time to enjoy hostels in Florida, YET.
  • Have been to Nova Scotia 3 times to visit family, once to Scotland, a couple times to Windsor, CN, across the boarder a couple times to Mexico, 10 days to the Philippines, and most recently 7 days in Wuhan, China.
  • Teach high school math in Gulfport, FL.
  • A volunteer in communication and web maintenance of hostelling International-Florida.
Ben Moser
  • I am Ben Moser, age 55. I have been a member of HI since my 30s.
  • I enjoy travelling (duh, or I wouldn't be here!). I made two epic trips of Europe (1994, 1995) much of it at hostels.
  • In past ten years I have travelled to Mexico (4 times) and one each Panama, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. I've stayed at USA hostels a few times.
  • Most recently I was recruited to be active as a HI volunteer. As a result, I have vacationed at Miami and most recently a week in the fine hostel in Richmond VA. I am embarrassed to say, I've finally toured the capital city of my home state! 
  • I was fortunately retire fairly young and until recently was a "professional student." I most recently have studied Spanish Literature. I hope to do more travel in Latin America.
  • Other than my almost non-existing volunteering for HI. I also volunteer at local Humane Society and help with a twelve step program.
Mike and Candy Break
  • Mike is a retired college administrator and was in the Air Force Reserves for 30 years.
  • Candy was a payroll manager before she retired. Both Mike and Candy enjoy traveling--especially to national and state parks in the U.S.
  • Each year they spend many weeks planning our special trip for the year.
  • This past summer they traveled to Oregon, Washington and California. 
  • They have enjoyed sharing their experiences at the Conversation Cafe and learning from other members. 

"I have been an HI volunteer for 20 years.  The new volunteer rewards program is great!" ... Jim Coppens

One can understand the real meaning of 'giving' when they start 'volunteering'! ...Vijay

Be a part of something bigger than yourself!  ...Milan

"The most rewarding aspect of travel is the journey, not the destination" .. Rod Hit

'I wouldn’t be where I'm now without partaking in volunteering & volunteer projects.It’s incredibly rewarding!Join us!' ..Oliver