Craig grew up on the shore of Lake McLeod, a fourth-generation Floridian amidst small town politics in Eagle Lake. Somewhere between GenerationX and Millennial, he experienced Winter Haven’s golden years as a child bewildered by the nostalgia and joy of treasures such as Major League Baseball Spring Training, Florida Citrus Festival, the sweet scent of orange blossoms, and historic Cypress Gardens – Florida’s first theme park. Life along the Florida Ridge meant fishing, swimming, and riding wake on local waterways, golfing year-round, and day trips to the world’s best beaches and attractions. Upon returning to the Polk County after college, Craig discovered a new appreciation for the Central Florida lifestyle infused with tropical laze, southern charm, and a vibrant culture.
Craig’s introduction to outdoor recreation came through his childhood experiences with Royal Rangers. He earned his PADI Rescue Diver certification in 2007 and has logged more than 100 dives from the Caribbean to the Pacific Coast, including many sites in Florida’s oceans and freshwater springs. He began instructing standup paddleboarding and guiding tours on the Winter Haven Chain of Lakes with our local operator in 2014. In 2018, Craig became a Certified Hospitality Industry Professional with Visit Central Florida and is currently enrolled in the Florida Master Naturalist Program through the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences (UF/IFAS).
A former student and teacher in Polk County Public Schools, Craig is a Life Member of the Florida State University Alumni Association and graduate of the Educator Preparation Institute at Polk State College. As an advocate for education, Craig serves on the Board of Directors for both Cypress Junction Montessori public charter school and the Public Education Partnership of Winter Haven (PEP), supporting these organizations concurrently on the organizing committee for the annual Celebrity Lip Sync Battle fundraiser and member of the PEP Arts & Music Alignment Team. Although no longer in a professional capacity, he continues to work with students in the classroom as a Junior Achievement facilitator, Key Club Advisor, and reading to Head Start preschool students with Kiwanis’ Read Around the World. After volunteering on the Youth Leadership Polk Advisory Council. Craig was hired as a consultant for Polk Vision in 2018 to coordinate community engagement efforts supporting pilot initiatives in local public elementary schools to increase student attendance and improve school health.
Craig was recognized for his professional and civic contributions as a recipient of the 2014 Polk Emerging Leaders Awards. During his eight years as a teacher at Winter Haven High School, he transformed the fledgling Homecoming parade into a community-wide celebration as Faculty Advisor for Key Club, and developed a leadership course introducing students to employability skills by engaging community leaders and professionals through programs such as Toastmasters Youth Leadership and Junior Achievement. Craig was selected as the Outstanding Club President for the Florida District of Kiwanis International in 2016 when he led efforts to endow college scholarships for graduating high school seniors. He extended his leadership in Florida Kiwanis as District Chair for Florida Key Leader and Lieutenant Governor representing Polk, Hardee, Highlands, and Desoto counties on the Florida Kiwanis Board of Directors and Long Range Finance Committee.
First introduced to philanthropic service through his college fraternity, Craig has leveraged his social capital through peer-to-peer fundraising efforts to generate support for local nonprofits as a Celebrity Dancer in Polk Education Foundation’s 2015 Stepping Out for Education, Leaders of Polk Jockey for Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine’s 2016 Lakeland Derby, 2016 Guest Bartender Bash benefiting Citrus Center Boys & Girls Clubs, and 2017 Real Men Wear Pink of Polk County benefiting the Polk County Chapter of the American Cancer Society. He served as Chair for the Winter Haven Kiwanis annual Pancake Breakfast and Charity Golf Challenge fundraisers. In addition to volunteering with Kiwanis programs benefiting children, Craig has served with Special Olympics as a Coach for the Polk County Standup Paddleboard team since its inception in 2015, contest judge for the Miss Florida Scholarship Organization, and member of the Humane Society of Polk County Advisory Board as well as the United Way of Central Florida Young Leaders Society.
Craig was appointed to by the City Commission and elected Vice Chair for the City of Winter Haven Charter Review Committee in 2017 and serves on the Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce Government and Legislative Affairs Committee. A member of Leadership Winter Haven Class 38 and graduate of Emerge Serves Class 6, he currently serves as Vice Chair for the Endeavor Winter Haven young professionals group. Through his company @theClevision, Craig guides new and potential residents through familiarization tours helping his guests assimilate to the community while introducing locals and visitors to the lakefront lifestyle along Florida’s Inland Coast.