Personnel notes: Adam Putnam announces five new key hires at Dep’t of Ag

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Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam  Putnam announced Thursday five new appointments at the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Alan Edwards, former director of the Office of Policy and Budget, is now Director of Administration. Before spending two decades at Policy and Budget, Edwards was a controller for a construction company and the owner of a CPA firm.

Derek Buchanan was named Director of Policy and Budget. He joined the department in 2008, holding various positions in finance and accounting, as well as roles in the Office of Policy and Budget. Buchanan also served as a Senior Auditor for the Florida Auditor General’s Office. Since 2005, He has been both a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Public Manager.

Putnam named Brooke McKnight Cabinet Affairs Director, a promotion from Deputy Cabinet Affairs Director, a role she has held since 2011. Before that, McKnight had been Senior Legislative Assistant for Putnam during his time as U.S. representative for Florida’s 12th Congressional District. She had also worked in the office of Florida State Rep. Rich Glorioso.

Jessica Field is the new Deputy Cabinet Affairs Director, starting Oct. 1. Field served with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection since 2008, most recently as an environmental consultant within the Siting Coordination Office. Prior to her stint at the FDEP, she was a Senior Aide in the Florida Cabinet. Field has also held positions at Southern Strategy Group and the Florida Department of Financial Services.

Jon Rees was named Deputy Legislative Affairs Director, starting Monday, Oct. 7. He is a former governmental and political affairs coordinator at the Associated Industries of Florida. Most recently, Rees served as a legislative aide to State Rep. Ross Spano. 

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.