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Governor announces 19 state board appointments

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On Friday, Gov. Rick Scott announced a wave of 19 appointments to a variety of state regulatory boards.

Port St. Joe Port Authority

Scott began by announcing two appointments and one reappointment to the Port St. Joe Port Authority. Located in Gulf County, the Port of Port St. Joe is a deep-water seaport with a bulkhead of nearly 1,900 linear feet at the ship channel turning basin. The port accommodates both bulk and cargo shipments, with access to rail, highways and the U.S. Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.

Guerry Magidson, 61, of Port St. Joe, is the owner of Comprehensive Corporate Strategies and GPM Financial LLC. He currently serves as the president of the Gulf County Chamber of Commerce and previously served as the chair of the Gulf County Economic Development Coalition. Magidson succeeds Johanna White for a term ending July 25, 2019.

James “Matt” Terry, 35, of Port St. Joe, is the owner of Appraisal Group of North Florida and has SRA designation with the Appraisal Institute. He currently serves as a member of the Gulf County Economic Development Coalition and the Gulf County Planning and Development Review Board. Terry succeeds Leonard Costin for a term ending July 18, 2019.

Jessica Rish, 39, of Port St. Joe, is a partner with Gulf Coast Real Estate Group and JS Gulf Consulting LLC. She currently serves as a member of the Junior Service League. Rish is reappointed for a term ending Sept. 7, 2019.

Palm Beach County Housing Authority 

Scott next made two appointments and two reappointments to the Palm Beach County Housing Authority, which provides safe and affordable housing to low-income residents of Palm Beach County.

Digna Mejia, 51, of West Palm Beach, is an academic coordinator for Florida Atlantic University. She succeeds Roger Rukin for a term ending Jan. 14, 2018.

Brenda Clements, 54, of West Palm Beach, is medical administrative support for the West Palm Beach Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center. She fills a vacant seat for a term ending Jan. 15, 2020.

Paul Dumars, 35, of Royal Palm Beach, is the chief financial officer for Penn Dutch Food Center. He is reappointed for a term ending March 2, 2019.

Charles Fetscher, 69, of Palm Beach, is a retired manager from IBM. He is reappointed for a term ending Jan. 20, 2017.

Big Cypress Basin Board

Scott announced named David Weston to the Big Cypress Basin Board. The Basin is one of two major watershed basins within the 16-county region of the South Florida Water Management District. The Basin includes Collier County and part of Monroe County.

Weston, 56, of Naples, is the chief operating officer of Naples Lumber and Supply. He succeeds Alice Carlson for a term ending March 1, 2018. His appointment is subject to confirmation by the Florida Senate.

Technology Advisory Council

Scott then named Dr. Susan Amat to the Technology Advisory Council, a seven-member board within the Agency for State Technology: four members appointed by the Governor, two members from the private sector. The council makes recommendations on enterprise information technology policies, standards, services and architecture.

Amat, 42, of Coral Gables, is the founder and chief executive officer of Venture Hive. Amat also developed The Launch Pad at the University of Miami. She currently serves as the chair of Startup Florida, and is a recipient of both the Women to Watch and Carolyn Leighton Women’s Leadership Award by Women in Technology International (WITI). Amat is appointed for a term ending June 30, 2018.

Sarasota County Charter Review Board

Scott named Joseph Hudgins to the Sarasota County Charter Review Board, a 10-member board with two members from each of the five county commission districts, who serve staggered terms of four years.

Hudgins, 60, of Sarasota, is the senior executive vice president and chief credit officer of First Florida Integrity Bank. He previously served as a member of the Sarasota County Planning Commission and the City of Sarasota Police Pension Board. Hudgins is appointed to fill a vacant seat, for a term ending Nov. 15, 2016.

Northeast Florida Regional Planning Council

Lastly, Scott announced nine appointments to the Northeast Florida Regional Planning Council, a network of local governance that serves seven counties – Baker, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Putnam, Nassau and St. Johns – and the associated 27 municipalities. It is one of 10 such boards in the state of Florida.

Doug Conkey, 53, of Orange Park, is the president of the Clay County Chamber of Commerce. He fills a vacant seat for a term ending Oct. 1, 2016.

Helga Van Eckert, 52, of Palm Coast, is the executive director of Flagler County Department of Economic Opportunity. She succeeds Robert Sgroi for a term ending Oct. 1, 2018.

John Drew, 42, of Yulee, is the tax collector for Nassau County. He succeeds Aaron Bell for a term ending Oct. 1, 2018.

Larry Harvey, 53, of Interlachen, is a county commissioner for Putnam County Board of County Commissioners. He succeeds Jeovanny Palencia for a term ending Oct. 1, 2018.

Michael Bourré, 43, of Fleming Island is the president of Bourré Construction Group, LLC and is a Clay County Planning and Zoning Commissioner. He fills a vacant seat for a term ending Oct. 1, 2016.

James “Jimmy” Johns, 48, of Saint Johns, is the president of Solid Rock Engineering Consultants, Inc. and a Saint Johns County Commissioner.  He fills a vacant seat for a term ending Oct. 1, 2018.

Ronald “Ron” Timonere, 67, is a regional director of business development UF Health Jacksonville. He fills a vacant seat for a term ending Oct. 1, 2018.

Gregory Strong, 50, of Ponte Vedra Beach, is the Northeast District Director for the Department of Environmental Protection. He succeeds Ernest Frey for a term ending Oct. 1, 2018.

Curtis Hart, 65, of Jacksonville, is the owner of Hart Resources, LLC. He fills a vacant seat for a term ending at the pleasure of the Governor.

Each of the appointments is subject to confirmation by the Florida Senate.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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