Gov. DeSantis announces numerous appointments to state college boards

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The Governor announced over two dozen appointments.

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday announced numerous appointments to various college boards across the state.

The Governor appointed Daniel O’ Keefe to the Seminole State College District Board of Trustees.

O’Keefe, a certified public accountant and fraud examiner, is the Managing Shareholder of MSL Certified Public Accountants and Advisors in Orlando.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Canisius College and his master’s in business administration from Florida State University.

DeSantis appointed Ashley Bell Barnett, Gregory Littleton, Teresa Martinez and Mark Turner to the Polk State College District Board of Trustees.

Bell Barnett, a fifth-generation Floridian, is a former Polk County Public Schools workforce development analyst and educator. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Florida Southern College, a Master of Public Administration from the University of South Florida and a leadership management certificate from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Littleton is the president and CEO of Citizens Bank and Trust of Lake Wales. He holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Freed-Hardeman University and an advanced banking degree from Louisiana State University’s Graduate School of Banking.

Martinez is the president and founder of the Institute of Spanish Communication. Previously a Polk County Schools Spanish and ESOL teacher, Martinez holds an associate degree from Polk State College and a bachelor’s degree in Spanish education from the University of Central Florida.

Turner is an attorney and Partner with Straughn and Turner. He is also a former member of the City of Winter Haven Planning Commission. Turner earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and his law degree from Stetson University.

DeSantis appointed Terry Atchley, Lana Puckorius, Patrick Wright, Kris Rider and Tamela “Tami” Cullens to the South Florida State College District Board of Trustees.

Atchley serves as the Wauchula City Manager and is the co-owner of Giovanni’s Main Street Kitchen. He previously served as a Hardee County Commissioner and volunteers frequently at various institutions including the Hardee County Chamber of Commerce.

Puckorius is a certified financial planner and the retired president of Puckorius and Associates. She’s also served on the South Florida State College District Board of Trustees since 2011. She previously served as president of the South Florida State College Foundation.

Wright, of Avon Park, is the president of V & W Farms and a former Avon Park City Councilman. He earned his bachelor’s degree with honors in finance, a Master of Business Administration and a law degree from the University of Florida.

Rider is a Michael A. Rider law office bookkeeper. A 50-year resident of Highlands County, she volunteers often with several institutions including the Lake Placid High School Advisory Board and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. Rider is a South Florida State College graduate.

Cullens has worked at several family business: Saxon Groves, Glisson Animal Supply, Two F Brands and the Sebring International Raceway.

She is also a Past Chair of the South Florida State College District Board of Trustees. She holds a bachelor’s degree in retail management from Webber International University.

The Governor appointed Graham Fountain, Lori Kelley, Donald Litke, Thomas Wright, Fox “Reynolds” Henderson and Charlotte Ann Flynt to the Northwest Florida State College District Board of Trustees.

Fountain has served in various public service roles including as Okaloosa County Commissioner and Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners. He holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and political science from Troy University and a master’s degree in management and leadership from Liberty University.

Kelley is a certified public accountant and partner with Warren Averett. She is involved in several groups including the Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. She holds an associate degree from Northwest Florida State College and her bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of West Florida.

Henderson is the owner of Continenal Pacific, a real estate investment firm. He also volunteers at various institutions including American Enterprise Institute and Seaside Neighborhood Charter School. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama.

Flynt is the owner of Two Oaks construction. The licensed general contractor is involved with several groups including Daughters of the American Revolution. She studied at Santa Fe Community College and the University of Florida.

The Governor appointed Brian Lametto, Nancy Watkins and Gregory Celestan to the Hillsborough Community College District Board of Trustees.

Lametto is the corporate vice president of marketing at New York Life. Previously, he was corporate vice president of strategy development and corporate vice president and chief retention officer with New York Life. He earned his bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Alabama.

Watkins is a certified public accountant with the Robert Watkins & Company accounting firm. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Florida Institute of Public Accountants. She is a Hillsborough Community College and the University of South Florida graduate.

Celestan is the CEO and owner of Celestar Corporation. He previously served as chairman of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, director of The Bank of Tampa and chairman of the Tampa General Hospital Foundation.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in engineering and Russian studies from the United States Military Academy at West Point and his master’s degree in international affairs from the University of Washington.

DeSantis appointed Kevin Lacz, Marjorie Moore, Troy Tippett and Julian MacQueen to the Pensacola State College District Board of Trustees.

Lacz is a physician assistant with Regenesis and former Navy SEAL who served two tours of duty in Iraq. He earned a Bronze Star Medal with a Combat V, two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals and two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals during his service.

Lacz earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Connecticut and his master of medical science from Wake Forest University.

Moore is a financial advisor with Merrill Lynch. She’s volunteered with multiple organizations including Baptist Health Care and Manna Food Pantry.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Georgia.

Tippett is a neurosurgeon, medical director and owner of The Neurosurgical Group. He served honorably in the United States Air Force and United States Army Reserve.

He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri and his medical doctorate from the University of Tennessee.

MacQueen is the founder and CEO of Innisfree Hotels. He was recognized as 2012 “Business Leader of the Year” by the Pensacola Bay Area Chamber of Commerce and was inducted into the Hotelier Hall of Fame by the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of South Alabama.

The Governor appointed Ronald Howse, Edgar Figueroa and Robert “Bruce” Deardoff to the Eastern Florida State College District Board of Trustees.

Howse is the president of Real Deal Development Group and the current chairman of the Florida Transportation Commission. He’s served on the Eastern Florida State College District Board of Trustees since 2015. He earned his bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of Central Florida.

Figueroa is a trauma surgeon at Health First Holmes Regional Medical Center. Prior to that, he was medical director at the University of Florida Health Science Center.

Figueroa is a graduate of the University of Puerto Rico, Humacao College and earned his doctor of medicine from the University of Central del Este.

Deardoff is chairman of Deardoff Automotive Group. Previously, he served the Canaveral Port Authority as commissioner for seven years. He earned his bachelor’s degree in marketing from Fordham University.

DeSantis appointed Omar Soto-Jimenez, Patrice Bishop and Melissa Friedman-Levine to the Palm Beach State College District Board of Trustees.

Soto-Jimenez is the chief technology officer at Rybovich Boat Company. He is also an Army veteran who was discharged honorably from the Army Signal Corps.

He earned his bachelor of engineering degree in computer science from the United States Military Academy and his Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix.

Bishop is executive vice president of human resources and risk management for Kitson & Partners Management Services. She has multiple involvements including the Society for Human Resources and the Executive Women of Palm Beaches.

Bishop earned her bachelor’s degree from Western Kentucky University.

Friedman-Levine is a medical doctor and Fellow of The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists practicing at Women’s Healthcare Associates of Boca Raton.

She earned her bachelor’s degree and medical doctorate from the University of Florida before completing her residency at New York Hospital, Cornell.

DeSantis appointed Wendell Davis and Judson Sapp to the St. Johns River State College District Board of Trustees.

Davis is a retired executive vice president of Watson Realty Corp and former Clay County Commissioner. He was discharged honorably from both the U.S. Army and U.S. Army reserves. Davis has served on the St. John River State College District Board of Trustees since 2014.

He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Florida.

Sapp is the Owner of W.J. Sapp & Son, a railroad contractor business founded in 1970. He is also a U.S. Navy veteran.

Sapp earned an associate degree from Lake City Junior College and his bachelor’s degree from Florida State University.

All appointments are subject to Senate confirmation.

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the state capital for Florida Politics. After a stint with the U.S. Army, Jason attended the University of Central Florida where he studied American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. Throw him a line at [email protected] or on Twitter at @JasonDelgadoFL.



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