Betsy VanderLey (left), vice-chair of Orange County Planning and Zoning Commission, was honored for District 1 at the recent Florida Neighborhoods Conference. With her is Diana M. Garcia, aide to District 1 Commissioner S. Scott Boyd.
Betsy VanderLey, of Oakland, was one of seven individuals recognized for making exceptional contributions to Orange County and its citizens during the municipality’s 2014 Florida Neighborhoods Conference earlier this month. Mayor Teresa Jacobs presented the plaques and medallions.
VanderLey — the business development director for DRMP Inc., a civil engineering firm in Baldwin Park — is the vice chair of the Orange County Planning and Zoning Commission/Local Planning Agency and is the P&Z representative on the county’s Affordable Housing Board.
“Ms. VanderLey’s numerous contributions span from fundraising and sponsoring charity events to conscientiously casting critical votes as the District 1 Planning and Zoning representative,” Orange County District 1 Commissioner S. Scott Boyd said. “Despite the many demands of her professional and advisory board commitments, she still finds the time to volunteer her talents in a multitude of other roles, including mentoring her peers through voluntary professional development courses. She has positively impacted the quality of life for countless residents who will benefit for generations to come, and I am thrilled to see her receive this honor.”
VanderLey has been a small-business owner, an entrepreneur and a business developer. Her involvement in the community includes having managed numerous local political campaigns and assisting local non-profits with everything from public relations and marketing to fundraising.
"I have been privileged to live in West Orange County for many years and benefitted from learning from many community minded, hard working family and friends,” VanderLey said. “I am proud to follow their example and invest my time and talent here as well and am grateful that Commissioner Boyd nominated me for this honor."
When nominating VanderLey, Boyd wrote that she “embodies the qualities of leadership, selflessness and integrity at a level worthy of being labeled a ‘Life Coach.’ Anything placed in her capable hands always far exceeds expectations, producing remarkable results that ultimately improve the lives of those around her.
“In every effort and accomplishment, Ms. VanderLey has set the bar for excellence at an incredibly high level. She is a role model who actively encourages and engages others,” Boyd wrote.
VanderLey stays involved in the community. She is a member of several organizations, including Commercial Real Estate Women, Society of American Military Engineers, Winter Garden Rotary, West Orange Chamber of Commerce and Orlando Health’s Women of Influence Advisory Board. Her accomplishments include serving as public relations and marketing for Home at Last (providing handicap-accessible, mortgage-free homes for combat-disabled veterans; organizing a large fundraiser for Matthew’s Hope, West Orange County’s homeless ministry; co-chairing the Rotary’s Evening at the Pops concert on Lake Apopka; and organizing and facilitating a panel discussion about Horizon West and its projected impacts for the West Orange Chamber.
The honoree and her husband, Todd, moved to Central Florida in 1971 and have raised three children in West Orange County.
The county also recognized these citizens as community champions for local neighborhoods: Regina Melvin for District 2, Azalea Park Little League for District 3, Pastor Abner Adorno for District 4, Timothy McKinney for District 5 and Pastor Michael Kimbrough for District 6.
In addition, Sharon Warner received the Mayor's Distinguished Citizen of the Year award. She is the founder of Family & Friends United Inc., a program started locally more than 20 years ago that gives children the tools they need to better deal with challenging situations they might encounter at school and outside the home.
The conference was organized by the Neighborhood Preservation & Revitalization Division. More than 350 neighborhood and community leaders attended the event.