Ron DeSantis names four dozen economic advisory committee members

DeSantis Transition 5 (3)

Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis on Wednesday announced nearly four dozen members of his Transition Advisory Committee on the Economy, with several business leaders and some former lawmakers making the list.

Among the 45 members are former House Speaker Allan Bense, JAX Chamber president Daniel Davis, Tampa Bay Buccaneers COO Brian Ford, JAXPORT CEO Eric Green, Gulf Power exec and retired U.S. Navy Capt. Keith Hoskins, Tampa International Airport CEO Joe Lapano, Dosal Tobacco head Yolanda Nader, former state DOT secretary and incoming Florida Transportation Builders Association president Ananth Prasad, Vestcor Companies Chairman and former Ambassador John Rood, Florida Power & Light CEO Eric Silagy, real estate developer and Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik, and AT&T Florida president Joe York.

Some of the committee members are noteworthy for their lack of support for DeSantis’ gubernatorial campaign in either in the primary or the general election, indicating a willingness to build bridges after the contentious 2018 election cycle.

Rood and Vestcor donated nearly $100,000 to the political committee of departing Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, DeSantis’ Republican primary opponent. Bense was also a Putnam donor. Both men, however, followed up with contributions to DeSantis’ political committee after his decisive victory in the primary election.

The committee members were revealed a day after former House Speaker Will Weatherford was named the committee’s chair and GrayRobinson lobbyist Chris Spencer was tapped as the transition team’s deputy director of economic policy.

In the Weatherford/Spencer announcement, transition team head James Blair issued the incoming administration’s guidelines: Maintaining a low-tax environment for individuals and businesses; creating a predictable and reasonable regulatory environment; providing a reliable and advanced hard and soft infrastructure; building a well-trained and highly skilled workforce; and fostering a responsive, efficient and accountable government.

The economic advisory announcements follow a number of recent reveals by DeSantis, who will take over as Governor in January.

On Monday, the Governor-elect announced that Shane Strum will serve as his chief of staff when he takes office in January.

Earlier Tuesday he and wife Casey DeSantisannounced the leadership team for their 2019 Inaugural Committee, which will be chaired by Florida and Washington, D.C. lobbyist Brian Ballard, and his wife, Kathryn Ballard.

The full economic committee member list is below:

— Maureen Adams; President and General Manager, Calder Casino And Race Course

— Kumar Allady; Founder & CEO, Radise International

— Max Alvarez; Owner, Founder & President, Sunshine Gasoline Distributors

— Joe Anderson; President, Anderson Columbia

— Tom Barry; Senior Vice President, Atkins

— Allan Bense; President, Partner, GAC Contractors; former Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives

— Locke Burt; Chairman and President, Security First; former state senator

— Matt Connell; Co-Founder & CEO, Total Military Management

— Chris Corr; Senior Vice President, Real Estate, Public Affairs and President of Raydient, Rayonier

— Daniel Davis; President & CEO, JAX Chamber

— Susan Fernandez; Director of Corporate Communications and Government Relations, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas

— Bob Flowers; President, CW Roberts Contracting

— Brian Ford; COO, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

— Blake Gable; CEO, Barron Collier Companies

— Danny Gaekwad; Founder & CEO, NDS USA And Founder, Danny G Hospitality Management

— Eric Green; CEO, JAXPORT

— Tony Grippa; Former Senior Vice President, Brown and Brown; former Leon County Commissioner

— John Hamlin; President, Hamlin and Associates

— Steve Herrig; CEO, Sunz Insurance

— Chuck Hinson; Vice President State and Community Relations, TECO Energy

— Eric Holm; Owner, Golden Corral

— Capt. Keith Hoskins, USN (Ret); West District General Manager, Gulf Power

— Ron Howse; President, Real Deal Development Group; member of the Florida Transportation Commission

— Manny Kadre; Chairman & CEO, MBB Auto, and Director, Home Depot

— Benny Klepach; Founder, Chairman & CEO, DFASS Group

— David Kulik; Retired Former CEO, CEVA Logistics

— Tom Kuntz; Former CEO, SunTrust Banks, Florida

— Robert “Bob” Lloyd; Executive Vice President, Brown and Brown

— Joe Lopano; CEO, Tampa International Airport

— Rick Murrell; CEO, Tropical Shipping

— Yolanda Nader; CEO, Dosal Tobacco Corporation

— Lauren Oakley; Co-owner, Cassidy Development and Homes

— Ananth Prasad; President-Designate, Florida Transportation Builders Association; former Secretary of Florida Department of Transportation

— John Ritenour; Co-Founder and Chairman, Insurance Office of America

John Rood; Chairman, The Vestcor Companies; former Ambassador to the Bahamas

— Joel Schleicher; Executive Chairman and Founder, Focal Point Data Risk

— Eric Silagy; President and CEO, Florida Power & Light

— Rick Sontag; President, Spring Bay Ventures

— Jamal Sowell; Chief of Staff, Port Tampa Bay

— Bill Spivey; Executive Director, Florida Development Finance Corporation

— Capt. Sam Stephenson; President, Florida Harbor Pilots Association

— Jeremy Susac; Vice President of Government Affairs, Lennar Homes and SunStreet

— Jeff Vinik; Owner, Tampa Bay Lightning and Owner, Strategic Property Partners

— Bob Ward; President and CEO, Florida Council of 100

— Lenny Wolfe; Owner, Cornerstone Group

— Joe York; President, AT&T Florida, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.



    November 28, 2018 at 7:59 pm

    You need to get a better pic of our new governor.

  • Charlotte Greenbarg

    November 29, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    More Vinik bad judgment. He left Magellan under a scandal. He closed his own investment firm – google him. He is not a developer & that certainly shows.
    He hit success with the Lightning, found under priced property around the arena coming out of the recession, came up with big redevelopment plans promised that he has not begun to complete but got electeds to hand all kinds of subsidies and goodies and then he sticks everyone in the eye by funding a massive tax hike that will increase the value of his property exponentially.
    Oh and he got the state legislature to give his district special powers including revenue raising powers AND they appropriated tens of millions of dollars to move the Morsani (who also funded the rail tax) College of Medicine to Vinikville. Where’s all those regional and corporate HQ’s he promised?

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704