Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday appointed Melanie Griffin as Secretary of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
A Tampa-native and lawyer, Griffin replaces outgoing Secretary Julie Brown. DeSantis appointed Brown to the position in February. She’ll serve next as the new Chair of the Florida Gaming Control Commission.
“I am excited to get to work advancing Gov. DeSantis’ pro-business agenda,” Griffin said in a statement. “Florida is the best in the nation for business owners, and I’m elated for the opportunity to further advocate on behalf of the business community.”
Brown said she and Griffin will work closely over the next several weeks to ensure there is a “seamless transition” of leadership.
“I personally know Secretary Griffin and can attest to her passion for service,” Brown said in a statement.
Griffin is a lawyer with Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick. She is also a senior adviser for business-to-business relationships for Shumaker Advisors Florida and the founder of Spread Your Sunshine.
Spread Your Sunshine “provides speaking and professional training services and designs, manufactures and sells inspirational products and gifts,” the Governor’s Office explained in a press release.
Griffin has advised and represented businesses of all sizes and types in commercial disputes and litigation, ranging from simple breach of contract actions to complex commercial cases involving intellectual property issues, real estate actions, non-competition and non-solicitation agreements, tortious interference with contracts and business relationships, and substantive employment law issues such as harassment, discrimination, and retaliation, according to Shumaker. She has also represented individuals and entities in trust and estate litigation, having handled several multi-million dollar disputes for prominent Florida families.
“I am so pleased for Melanie to have this opportunity to service the citizens of the state of Florida,” Shumaker Tampa Managing Partner and CEO of Shumaker Advisory Florida Ron Christaldi. “With her depth of experience and her understanding of the business community, she will be an excellent leader of this important state agency.”
A Florida State University grad, Griffin is member of various boards across the state.
She is president of the Hillsborough Association of Women Lawyers Executive Board of Directors and serves on the Florida State University College of Law Board of Visitors.
She is also a Fellow of The Florida Bar Foundation. She holds a bachelor’s degree in finance, master of business administration and law degree from FSU.
In February 2009, Griffin married her husband, Michael Griffin, whom she first met during a student government conference in high school. However, they didn’t start dating until years later, when she was in law school.
DBPR oversees regulated industries such as food service, alcohol and gambling. The department also handles licensing and regulation for a wide range of professions, such as barbers, cosmetologists and real estate agents.
Griffin marks the latest of three DBPR secretaries crowned within the year.
Former Secretary Halsey Beshears stepped down Jan. 29, citing personal health issues. Beshears is a notable figure in the ongoing investigation into U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz. A former Republican lawmaker from Monticello, Beshears was elected to the House in 2012 and was among DeSantis’ first agency-head selections in 2018.
Brown, meanwhile, served the agency for less than a year. She spent 10 years on the Florida Public Service Commission, serving as chair from 2016 to 2018. A lawyer and University of Florida graduate, she previously served on the Florida Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission and is a former president of the League of Women Voters of Hillsborough County.
Florida Politics’ Jesse Scheckner contributed to this story.