Gov. DeSantis appoints three to small business development board
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Election 2022 Florida Governor Debate
The three entrepreneurs include a manufacturing executive, a restaurateur and an economics consultant.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has filled three vacancies on a board that next year will celebrate 10 years of advising the agency that serves as “the principal business assistance organization for small businesses in the state.”

DeSantis’ office announced the appointment of three entrepreneurs and business executives — Barbara Bonarrigo, Jordan Johnson and Marielena Villamil — to the State Advisory Board of the Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network.

Lawmakers created the advisory board in 2013 to better steer the services and operations of the SBDC Network, which provides companies access to “robust databases, business research resources and knowledgeable experts” online and at more than 40 locations across the state.

The board is comprised of 19 members, including three apiece selected by the Governor, Senate President, House Speaker and SBDC Network CEO, who is also a member.

Other board members include high-ranking representatives from the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise Florida, National Federation of Independent Businesses, United Business Association and an appointee of the University of West Florida, which hosts the SBDC headquarters.

Bonarrigo of Ormond Beach is the co-founder and CEO of CJ Manufacturing, an aerospace and manufacturing company based out of Daytona Beach that she co-owns with her husband, Christopher Bonarrigo.

In 2020 — the same year she made an unsuccessful run at the Volusia County Council — the Volusia Manufacturing Association named her “Woman Manufacturer of the Year.” She earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration in Germany.

Johnson, of Tampa, is the founder and CEO of Naked Farmer Food Group, the parent company of a growing restaurant chain with four locations across Florida.

He earned a bachelor of economics from the University of Florida.

Villamil is the CEO of The Washington Economics Group, a Coral Gables-based consulting firm she co-founded in 1993 with her husband, Tony Villamil.

A former English-as-a-second-language teacher at Miami Dade College, she is the current chair of the South Florida Humanitarian Network for Cuba and a past board chair of the American Red Cross of Greater Miami and the Keys.

She holds a master’s degree from Middlebury College.

Other advisory board members include FloridaMakes CEO Kevin Carr, Sports Facilities Management CEO Jason Clement, CareerSource Florida President and CEO Michelle Dennard, Florida United Businesses Association Executive Director Thomas Sthal and Okaloosa Economic Development Council Executive Director Nathan Sparks.

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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