Gov. DeSantis appoints aeronautics school head, beef jerky magnate to Enterprise Florida board

Desantis, Ron - 2
The appointments require Senate confirmation.

Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed two new members Friday to the Board of Directors for Enterprise Florida, the state’s main economic development arm. They’ll join a passel of industry and government leaders who help steer Florida’s financial future.

New to the Board are Rodney Cruise, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and Troy Link, president and CEO of Link Snacks Inc., which is best known as the producer and marketer of Jack Link’s Beef Jerky.

The appointments came without comment from the Governor. They are subject to confirmation by the Florida Senate.

Cruise has been with Embry-Riddle since March 2013. While there, he has overseen more than $800 million in construction projects on all campuses. He also has supported Embry-Riddle’s Research Park to attract aerospace groups and technology businesses to Florida, lead government relations initiatives and expand research, entrepreneurship and employment.

A former vice president of business development for food services company Sodexo, Cruise serves on the Daytona Beach Regional Chamber of Commerce Executive Board of Directors. He’s also chair of Daytona State College’s Facilities and Capital Planning Committee.

Last Friday, Rep. Tom Leek of Volusia County filed a bill requesting $25 million for the construction of a 65,000-square-foot facility abutting Embry-Riddle’s Research Park. Leek this week withdrew the bill, saying the amount requested was inaccurate.

Link, the son of Jack Link’s eponymous founder, joined the family business while in high school and rose through its ranks to become CEO in 2013.

He gave a political committee backing DeSantis’ 2018 gubernatorial run $50,000. This year, he gave the PC, Friends of Ron DeSantis, $80,000.

DeSantis chairs Enterprise Florida’s Board of Directors, whose membership list exceeds 60 people. Other Florida public officials serving on the board include Rep. Bryan Avila, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, Attorney General Ashley Moody and Financial Service Director Jimmy Patronis.

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 Jess[email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


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