Ron DeSantis names CEO of highly used COVID-19 vaccine contractor to FIU Board of Trustees

fiu
The appointment pends Florida Senate confirmation.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has appointed engineering, emergency management and medical services executive Carlos Duart, whose company has received hundreds of millions of dollars in COVID-19 contracts, to the Florida International University Board of Trustees.

DeSantis’ office made the announcement Tuesday. The appointment pends confirmation by the Florida Senate.

No comment from the Governor was included in the announcement, which was sent by email at about 5 p.m.

Duart is president of CDR Maguire, a Miami-based company that provides nationwide services for engineering, design, emergency management, construction management, disaster relief, and health and infectious disease aid, including COVID-19 test site logistics and alternative care sites, according to its LinkedIn page.

DeSantis and former Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz gave CDR Maguire a significant chunk of federally funded state contracts for COVID-19 response. By January, the Tampa Bay Times reported the state had signed at least $246 million in purchase orders with CDR Maguire since the pandemic began.

The company reached 1 million COVID-19 vaccine doses in Florida in March with partner Coastal Cloud.

Duart earned both a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in taxation from FIU. He is a recipient of FIU’s Outstanding Alumnus Medallion and School of Engineering Torch Award. He’s also served on the FIU Foundation board and is a member of the school’s Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame.

Though DeSantis’ announcement did not say whether Duart will replace a current FIU trustee, the group’s present membership includes several notable names.

The Board of Trustees webpage shows 12 members. They include board Chair Dean Colson, a partner at law firm Colson Hicks Eidson; Vice Chair Rogelio Tovar, president and chair of investment firm RT holdings, which owns numerous car dealerships across the country, among other businesses; Cesar Alvarez, chair of law firm Greenberg Traurig; health care entrepreneur Jose “Pepe” Armas, chairman of MCCI Medical Group; Donna Hrinak, senior vice president for new corporate affairs at Royal Caribbean Group; Natasha Lowell, senior vice president at First National Bank of South Miami; Gene Prescott, president of the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables and principal shareholder of Seaway Hotels Corp.; Joerg Reinhold, a professor of physics at FIU’s College of Arts, Sciences & Education; Chanel Rowe, general counsel and partner at global asset placement agent and fintech platform Stonehaven; Mark Sarnoff, partner at Miami law firm Schutts & Bowen; former U.S. Ambassador to the Organization of American States Carlos Trujillo, now a partner at consulting firm Continental Strategy; and FIU Student Body President Alexander Rubido, who has interned for Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez and law firm SMGQ.

The group is scheduled to next meet Oct. 29, when it will discuss, among other things, matters regarding the FIU College of Communications, Architecture + The Arts and a $40 million gift author MacKenzie Scott, the former wife of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and one of the wealthiest women in the world, and her new husband, Dan Jewett, gave the school in June.

A past president of Miami-Dade County-headquartered firm Metric Engineering, Duart has donated to political campaigns since at least 2013. He gave nearly $20,000 to a political action committee backing former President Donald Trump in 2019. That same year, he donated $1,000 to Democrat Charlie Crist’s bid for Congress. Last year, he wrote a $50,000 check to a PAC backing President Joe Biden in 2020.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.



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