Our Governance Board
Allison is the founding attorney of Making School Work, a private law firm whose mission is to help parents access the right placement – public or private – for their children with special needs. Allison, who is one of only a handful of lawyers in the country with a masters degree in special education, has long been an advocate of school choice and has gained particular expertise in Florida’s groundbreaking McKay Scholarship – a special needs voucher for students with disabilities. She has worked with the U.S. Congress and has spoken nationally about special education law and special needs vouchers. She graduated from Smith College, Columbia University’s Teachers College, and the Loyola Law School of Los Angeles.
Terry Jove is the Charitable Giving Director for Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, North America’s largest wine and spirits distributor, and the preeminent data insights company for alcoholic beverages. In this role, Mrs. Jove is responsible for providing oversight of Southern Glazer’s charitable giving activities. This includes reviewing and coordinating product and financial donation requests, supporting festival-related fundraising, as well as managing and tracking the Company’s multi-year grant programs. Mrs. Jove is an active member of the local community, serving on the Board of Miami Country Day School and as a Board of Trustee for Temple Beth Sholom.
Southern Glazer’s gives millions of dollars annually to charities that focus on responsible consumption, education, health and welfare, disaster relief, cultural development, social services, and environmental sustainability. In particular, the Company supports the world-renowned South Beach and New York City Wine & Food Festivals that have raised a combined $32 million for hospitality education and hunger prevention respectively since their inception. For seven consecutive years, Southern Glazer’s has contributed a record-breaking $315 million to Step Up for Students through the organization’s Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program.
John is co-founder of KLH Capital, a Tampa-based private equity firm that invests in management buyouts of smaller middle-market companies. He created the Children’s Scholarship Fund of Tampa Bay in 1998 to privately fund scholarships for low-income children in grades K-8, and the reaction was so overwhelming he persuaded the Florida Legislature in 2001 to create a statewide Tax Credit Scholarship for all low-income students. He is currently vice chairman of the Alliance For School Choice and the American Federation for Children and serves on the board of The James Madison Institute. He was most recently appointed to serve on the Education Transition Team of Gov. Rick Scott.
Alfred “Al” Lawson
Alfred “Al” Lawson is currently serving as the U.S. Representative for Florida’s 5th congressional district. Prior to his election to the House of Representatives, Al served in the Florida Legislature for nearly three decades, including as Democratic Leader of the Senate. He is a strong educational voice for helping disadvantaged and minority students and, during his tenure in the Florida Legislature, was recognized by a wide spectrum of interest groups, including Associated Industries of Florida, the Florida Sheriffs’ Association, the Florida Student Association and the Nature Conservancy. He was a basketball star at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University and had a brief professional career before later earning his master’s in public administration from Florida State University.
Richard Outram is the EVP and CFO of Signature Consultants LLC, a mid-sized, fast growth private IT staffing company. Prior to his work at Signature Consultants LLC, he held the EVP and CFO position at Heritage Brands Inc, a division of Stocks Spirits Group, a $400M global alcohol distribution company. A Certified Public Accountant in the United States and the United Kingdom as well as a Certified Fraud Examiner, Outram is also the author of a children’s financial literacy book, The Adventures of Exokid and the Teachings of Money.
Paul Sherman is the Chief Financial Officer of ABB OPTICAL GROUP, the nation’s largest independent distributor of optical products. Paul’s unique blend of skills including strategic focus, financial acumen, leader of transformational change and acute attention to detail are invaluable to the ABB OPTICAL GROUP leadership team. In 2011, the South Florida Business Journal awarded him CFO of the Year for the large private company category. Paul has held leadership positions in diverse environments of public, private and private-equity owned companies. His progressive career has been achieved through varied industries including commercial real estate, multi-unit retail and restaurants. Paul served as Chief Financial Officer at LNR Property Corporation and spent 10 years at Burger King Corporation in various finance roles and operations. Paul is a Board Member of the South Florida Business Forum.
Curtis Stokes is a consultant in the financial field. Previously he held the position of Vice President of Community Affairs for Fifth Third Bank. In addition, he held management positions at Norwest Financial and later became Vice President Business Client Manager at Bank of America. His broad community involvement includes serving as a member of the Tampa City Council, as former president of the Hillsborough Branch of the NAACP, past chairman of the Board of the American Cancer Society, on the University Area Community Development Corporation and as area chairman for the United Negro College Fund. In 2002,Tampa Bay Business Journal named him one of the “Top 40 under 40” business leaders in the region.
Our Advisory Board
Bryan Anderson is Vice President of Government Relations for HCA’s National Group. In this role, he provides executive strategy for state and federal legislative relations, public policy, political and charitable giving and external communication. Prior to joining HCA, Bryan was Director of Legislative Affairs for Bailey Consulting, a multi-state political and business consulting firm. Bryan is a native of Ocala, and has bachelor degrees in political science and communication from Troy University and a master of arts degree in political science from Auburn University. He is a member of the Associated Industries of Florida, the Board of Governors of the Federation of American Hospitals and the state Neurological Compensation Association Board of Directors.
Benjamin Bright is Director – Sales & Use Taxes at HCA-Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), which is a leading healthcare services company that owns and operates hospitals and surgery centers. This is Benjamin’s second time at HCA. Before having the opportunity to return to HCA, Mr. Bright was Senior Director – State Taxes at VF Corporation, which is a leader in branded apparel, including Lee®, Wrangler®, Nautica®, JanSport®, The North Face®, Vans®, Timberland®, and 7 For All Mankind®, among other leading brands. Mr. Bright has also worked with a regional accounting firm and Service Merchandise Company, Inc.
Mr. Bright has spoken at the Georgetown Advanced State and Local Tax Institute, IPT (Institute for Professionals in Taxation) conferences, has participated as a panelist at several COST (Council on State Taxation) conferences and facilitated at COST’s State & Local Tax Basics School. He has served at the request of the North Carolina Department of Revenue on its Business Tax Advisory Committee. He is on the Advisory Board for Step Up for Students, a Florida Tax Credit program. Mr. Bright is a licensed CPA and member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Tennessee Society of Certified Public Accountants. He received his degree in accounting from Tennessee Technological University.
Michele is Supervisor – Retail Markets Support at Duke Energy. Following its merger with Progress Energy, Duke Energy became the nation’s largest utility serving approximately 7 million customers in the Carolinas and Florida. Prior to its merger with Duke Energy, Michele joined Progress Energy in 1989 and has extensive experience in external relations, customer service and economic development. She is a member of the Public Policy Council and Waterfront Task Force at the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, as well as the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club. Michele received her B.S. in Management from Florida State University and an MBA from the University of South Florida.
Gordon Fales was born in New York City and served in the U.S. Coast Guard before beginning his business career with American Airlines. He and his family moved to Miami where he continued his aviation career. In 2002, he was working as Community Redevelopment officer for Pointe Bank when he became involved with a school in the Overtown section of Miami. The school and the families were significantly supported by and benefitted from Step Up for Students scholarships. It was here that he became enthusiastically involved. Beyond gaining a major contribution from his bank, he continues to be active in introducing other banks and businesses to the program.
Jim Fletcher is Vice President-External Affairs and Corporate Services for Gulf Power Company, a Southern Company subsidiary headquartered in Pensacola Florida. In this role, Jim is responsible for the company’s external endeavors including regulatory affairs, governmental relations, environmental affairs and corporate communications, as well as the security, risk management, facilities and real estate organizations. He also is responsible for the company’s compliance and concerns program.
Jim is active outside of Gulf Power serving on the Board of Trustees with the Florida Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the Board of Directors with the Associated Industries of Florida and the Board of Governors with Ronald McDonald House.
Jim began his career at Georgia Power in 1985 and has held a variety of positions, including Customer Service supervisor at the Central Customer Care Center, Key Account manager on the Central Sales Team, Team manager of the Central Key Account Team, manager of the statewide Customer Choice Team and manager of Regulatory Affairs. Prior to his current role at Gulf Power, Jim served as Georgia Power’s Vice President – Governmental and Regulatory Affairs.
A native of Macon Georgia, Jim is a graduate of Auburn University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business, specializing in industrial and operations management.
Brian, a Partner and Southeast Market Tax Leader with PwC, has over 25 years of experience as a tax professional. He has and continues to serve a wide variety of public and privately held clients in the manufacturing, retail, and distribution sectors. Brian’s client base is comprised of both public and private companies. Brian focuses in the federal tax area, serving clients’ needs for tax compliance and consulting, income tax accounting, acquisitions and divestitures, accounting methods, and IRS examinations. Brian is also responsible for coordinating the work of our specialty tax practices for his clients, such as international tax services, state and local tax, and transfer pricing.
Brian graduated from Wayne State University (Detroit, Michigan) with a BA in Accounting. Prior to relocating to Tampa, Brian practiced in Detroit and Milwaukee. He has active CPA licenses in Michigan, Wisconsin and Florida. He is a member of the AICPA, FICPA, WICPA, and MACPA and is a former board member of the WICPA Educational Foundation.
Michael is Vice President-Treasurer at Beall’s, Inc., which is the parent company of Beall’s Department Stores, Inc., Beall’s Outlet Stores, Inc., and Burke’s Outlet Stores, LLC. Michael joined the company in 1996 and is responsible for the Tax and Treasury Departments. The corporation, through its subsidiaries, operates about 500 retail stores in 14 different states including an active eCommerce presence. Beall’s has annual sales of more than $1 billion dollars with headquarters in Bradenton, FL. Previously, Michael spent 11 years in public accounting at a firm in Albany, New York. He earned his CPA license in New York and graduated from Siena College in 1985 with a BBA in Accounting and a minor in Computer Science. Michael also sits on the Board of the Manatee Chamber of Commerce and the Tax Committee of the National Retail Federation.
Cole Peacock is a fifth generation Floridian with 18 years of experience in the areas of corporate and governmental relations and non-profits, including charitable giving, community development, investor relations, crisis management and social responsibility. He is a past retail executive at Chico’s FAS, a Fortune 500 corporation, and has also managed political campaigns on the state and local level, served as President of the Lee County YMCA’s, Co-Founded Game Nation Theme Parks and operated as President of his own company, RC Peacock Consulting. Peacock’s consulting clients include Hope Hospice, The Florida Retail Federation, Retail Companies, Game Nation Theme Park and Video Games, Pure Love Organics, Harley Davidson, Imaginarium, Harry Chapin Food Bank, museums as well as political candidates.
In 2002, Peacock began an eight-year career on the retail organization’s corporate executive team where he oversaw corporate relations, internal and external communications, branding programs, associate programs, governmental and community relations as well as managing national charitable giving.
Peacock is a member of the 2013 Florida Gulf Coast University’s Lutgert School of Business Board of Directors, 2011/2012 Leadership Florida Regional Advisory Board, 2008/2009 Leadership Florida Class, past Community Advisor for News-Press Editorial Board, Board Member with the Florida Chamber and Executive Board for the Florida Retail Federation. In addition, he serves on a number of non-profit boards including Chair of the Boys and Girls Club Be Great Campaign, Edison Ford Winter Estates, AMI Kids and the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools.
Jeff is the Government Affairs Manager at Waste Management and has been with the company since 1979. He is responsible for Public Sector Services, based in Hobe Sound, and for interfacing with Government Agencies in the surrounding six counties. Jeff’s role as Government Affairs Manager includes Statewide Strategic Initiative coordination and oversight of outreach activities for Waste Management. Jeff is a charter member of the Keep America Beautiful affiliates of Florida and former chairperson of the Palm Beach Gardens Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. He also serves on the Big Heart Brigade of the Treasure Coast, Keep Martin and Palm Beach Counties Beautiful, Okeechobee County Education Foundation, President of the Business Development Board and board member of the Economic Council of Martin County, Trustee on the Northern Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce, Presidents Council member of the Hobe Sound Chamber of Commerce and former Palm City Chamber of Commerce Board member.
Sally West joined the Walgreens Government Relations team in November of 2012 after serving for nearly ten years as the Director of Government Relations for the Florida Retail Federation. West led the FRF’s Chain Pharmacy Council and successfully championed the passage of major health care price transparency legislation as well as legislation expanding the authority of pharmacists to administer immunizations. At Walgreens, West manages the Government Relations activities for Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and West Virginia. She has overseen healthcare related projects throughout her region, including the expansion of pharmacist scope of practice, increasing awareness of vaccine preventable diseases, and promoting the use of medication therapy management. In addition to her focus on healthcare, West is also an advocate for retail issues, helping to create standards for the prosecution of organized retail crime, reducing taxation and regulatory burdens, and promoting programs for the hiring of employees with special needs.
West is the Past Chair of the Consumer Health Information and Policy Advisory Council at Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration, currently serves as Vice Chair of the South Carolina Retail Association, holds a position on the Executive Committee of the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association, and serves on the Board of Florida’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Foundation.