By LIZ HARDAWAY
BABCOCK RANCH — The duties for Al Dougherty, Babcock Ranch’s COO of Communities for Kitson & Partners, expanded Thursday along with a new title: COO of Babcock Ranch.
As COO of Babcock Ranch, he will oversee all operations of the town, including day-to-day duties such as land sales, builder partnerships, marketing ancillary businesses, retail, food and beverage and business development.
“Al has played an integral role in the success of Babcock Ranch from the very beginning, so expanding his leadership role is a natural transition,” said Syd Kitson, the CEO of Kitson & Partners. “His extensive professional experience has long been an asset at Kitson & Partners, and we are fortunate to have him at the helm at Babcock Ranch.”
This comes after the departure of Rick Severance, who served three years as president of Babcock Ranch. Severance took a position with residential home builder Mattamy Homes in West Villages, according to Babcock Ranch spokesperson Tina Matte.
Dougherty joined Kitson & Partners in 2013 as the director of development for Talis Park, Matte said. Since then, he has managed planning, land development and construction of America’s first solar-powered town.
“It has been rewarding to watch Babcock Ranch evolve from a vision into a vibrant, fast-growing hometown,” Dougherty said. “I look forward to working with the dedicated Babcock Ranch team as we continue to create an authentic new destination for homebuyers in Southwest Florida.”
Before joining Kitson & Partners, Dougherty had decades of experience in community development and served as the deputy secretary of land and recreation for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. In that role, he oversaw 171 state parks and the acquisition of all state lands.
Babcock Ranch, located northeast of Fort Myers, was created by Kitson & Partners with “respect for the natural environment and the philosophy that smart growth and sustainability work hand in hand,” the company said in a statement. Half of the 18,000-acre town is set aside as greenways, lakes and parks.