Samuel Thayer (Dundee, FL) (February 2016 – Present)

Samuel Thayer is a transgender man who legally began his transition just a few years ago in 2011. During his late 40s he could no longer live as the sex he was assigned at birth and courageously began his transition into the person he had known himself to be since the early age of 2. Sam has always been a goal setter and hard worker. He attributes this to having a strong inner drive to do his best and to be an example of what a person can accomplish when born with challenges and differences. Sam, then known as “Susie” was on the 1980 Women's Olympic Swimming Team and at the time was ranked 2nd in the World in the 50m Freestyle. Due to the athletic sacrifice of the 1980 Olympic Boycott, President Jimmy Carter gave each Olympic Team member a Congressional Gold Medal of Achievement at a White House Ceremony.

Currently, Sam is the President/CEO of Thayer Industries, Inc. the holding company for Maxijet, Inc. and Mister Landscaper, Inc. He has been overseeing the Maxijet central FL factory along with inventing low volume water conserving irrigation products for the last 32 years. As a 5th generation citrus grower, Sam has focused on helping other farmers by creating innovative US made irrigation products that solve their watering needs while also benefitting the environment by conserving billions of gallons of water. Seven of Sam’s inventions have been patented. This passion has been carried over and applied to helping commercial landscapers and the DIY homeowners who want to water their plants and trees more efficiently. In 1991, Sam started the Micro Spray & Drip Irrigation Company, Mister Landscaper, which has been selling to Lowe’s for over 25 years with products in over 1,000 stores. Due to his company’s passion for excellent customer service and quality products, they have been awarded Lowe’s Vendor of the Year for the Plumbing Department twice.

Sam is grateful for all his experiences in being raised and living in the South as a LGBTQI person. Through his BOD work with GLAAD, Sam’s goals are to help make a more positive impact and to help accelerate acceptance for the entire LGBTQI community.

Sam and his wife/partner of 22 years, Marisha Nowak, love living in the “swamps” of central Florida with their 2 dogs and 2 pigmy goats where they enjoy lots of wildlife.