Diane is General Counsel for Johnson & Blanton, LLC, a full-service government relations firm headquartered in Tallahassee. Diane began her career at the intersection of law, policy, and politics as a legislative intern for the Florida House of Representatives while still in law school at Florida State University. She rounded out her law school experience serving as Executive Editor of the Law Review, a member of the Moot Court Team, and as the recipient of a Public Service Fellowship. On graduating from F.S.U.’s College of Law she returned to the Florida House as Counsel to the Commerce Committee where she learned to navigate the legislative process from the inside.
Over the past 25 years Diane’s career has evolved to encompass association management, private law practice, public administration, and lobbying. She has been recruited by the Governor and Cabinet for multiple regulatory and executive positions, including appointments to the Board of the Florida Workers’ Compensation Guaranty Association, as Chair of the Florida Workers’ Compensation Joint Underwriting Association, and as Secretary of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, where she led the agency that licenses and regulates 30-plus categories of business and professionals that touch all aspects of the lives of Florida’s 17 million citizens.
Currently, Diane relies on her public- and private-sector backgrounds to develop and advance legislative, regulatory, and political strategies as a lobbyist for clients from diverse segments of commerce and industry ranging from Fortune 500 companies to trade associations comprised of highly regulated businesses and professionals. Additionally, Diane serves as the firm’s General Counsel, advising the principals on administrative, operational, and transactional matters.
Long devoted to community service, Diane volunteers as a Guardian ad Litem and is a graduate of Leadership Florida. She is active in local and state bar associations, and is a Florida Chamber Foundation Trustee. While in private law practice she was selected by her peers as one of the Best Lawyers in America for Government Relations Practice, and in Administrative/Regulatory Law. Since joining Johnson & Blanton in 2015, she has continued to promote professionalism among lawyer-lobbyists as a founding member of the Florida Bar’s Governmental and Public Policy Advocacy Committee.
Kevin Carr is the President and CEO of FloridaMakes, a statewide, industry-led partnership established in 2015 to strengthen and advance Florida’s manufacturing sector through talent development, technology assistance, and business growth. Operating through a network of the state’s regional manufacturing associations, FloridaMakes partners with public and private service providers – including research and education institutions, consultants, and training providers – to improve the overall performance of individual firms, creating and retaining an advanced manufacturing workforce and improving Florida’s manufacturing economy.
Kevin has dedicated most of his career to enhancing the nation’s manufacturing sector, with a focus on improving the competitiveness and profitability of small and medium-size manufacturers. Kevin came to FloridaMakes after 10 years as a private consultant advising technology-based economic development organizations, manufacturing businesses, and the Department of Defense.
Prior to managing his own small business, Kevin led the Manufacturing Extension Partnership at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Joining NIST in the first year of this experimental program, Kevin eventually became the first NIST MEP Director, building the program from just 7 pilot states to a nationally system serving manufacturers in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Under his leadership with state and federal policymakers, Kevin has worked to increase manufacturers’ access to advanced manufacturing technology and resources through the federal labs and centers of excellence, and has challenged the MEP system to cultivate best practices, best-in-class services, and promote increased use of existing public and private resources to improve the foundation and future of American manufacturing. To date, MEP nationally has worked with more than 80,000 manufacturers, leading to $88 billion in sales and $14 billion in cost savings, and has helped create more than 729,000 jobs.
Kevin has been recognized by the Service to America for Business and Commerce and Harvard’s Innovation in Government Awards as a finalist. He was awarded the U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Medal for building MEP’s national system and was recently inducted into the NIST Gallery of Distinguished Scientists and Engineers for “outstanding leadership of the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership and implementing it into a model federal program with national impact on business development, innovation and job creation.”
Kevin studied electronics engineering at Widener University and technology management at the University of Maryland.
Bill Dagnall is the Assistant Vice President of Business Development for Greater Pensacola Operations. He is responsible for planning, organizing and directing Navy Federal’s business development activities and strategies that promote brand identity and growth for the organization in Northwest Florida.
Bill has been employed with Navy Federal for 23 years, starting his credit union career as the Singapore Branch Manager in 1995. Prior to relocating to Pensacola in 2008, Bill held leadership positions within the organization in Jacksonville, FL and Virginia Beach, VA.
Bill currently serves on the Board of Directors for Florida’s Great Northwest. He also serves on the Achieve Escambia Operational Support Team, Greater Pensacola Chamber Military Affairs Committee, Greater Pensacola Defense Community Alliance, and the Pensacola International Airport Air Service Development Committee. Bill is a graduate of the Greater Pensacola Chamber’s Leadership Pensacola program (LeaP Class of 2014).
Bill obtained his bachelor’s degree in Speech Communications from Valdosta State University in Valdosta, Georgia. He also holds Executive Leadership Certifications from Columbia Business School and Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.
Bill, a native of Clarksville, TN, proudly calls Pensacola his true hometown, where he enjoys spending quality time his wife Khari, son Logan and daughter Madison.
Ryan is the Director of Corporate Communications for U.S. Sugar. Previously, he served as a Vice President at Hill+Knowlton Strategies in Tallahassee and has worked closely with U.S. Sugar’s communications and public affairs teams for several years. Duffy previously served as communications director to former House Speaker Will Weatherford and as a speechwriter to former U.S. Senators George LeMieux, Mel Martinez, and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.
Duffy holds a master’s in Political Management from George Washington University and a bachelor’s from Florida State University. He is a member of the Clewiston Rotary, St. Margaret’s Parish Council, the Knights of Columbus, and serves on the James Madison Institute Board of Advisors. He was a recipient of the FSU Alumni Association’s 2013 “30 Under 30” Award and was also named one of Florida Politics’ “30 Under 30” rising stars in Florida politics. He and his wife Danielle have two children, Cormac (5) and Donovan (3). Duffy is a Florida native and grew up in Port Charlotte.
About U.S. Sugar
U.S. Sugar is a farming company that grows sugarcane, citrus and sweet corn. The company was founded in 1931 by a visionary leader who hailed from a long line of farmers. Since the beginning, our company’s success has been rooted in traditional farming values and respect for the land. Today, the company helps to feed America by bringing crops from its farms to table through innovative and sustainable farming practices.
Jim Fletcher serves as the Vice President – External Affairs and Corporate Services for Gulf Power Company. 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 previously served as Georgia Power’s Vice President – Governmental and Regulatory Affairs. His primary responsibility was to foster good working relationships with state-elected officials, other Georgia companies and industries and Georgia Power field office management. He also as responsible for managing Georgia Power ’s activities with the Georgia Public Service Commission.
Jim began his career at Georgia Power as a cooperative education student 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.
Jim is active in his community and is a supporter and volunteer for the American Cancer Society and the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. He also is involved in coaching and officiating youth sports.
Jim has also served as a youth leader and teacher at his church and in the Joshua Men’s leadership and service group.
A native of Macon, Ga., Jim is a graduate of Auburn University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business, specializing in industrial and operations management. Jim and his wife Kimberly have been married 27 years and have three sons: Jarrett, Gunnar and Luke.
Felicia Harvey is the Corporate Affairs Lead for Amgen’s Capability Center in Tampa responsible for directing community/corporate relations, philanthropy, internal communications, media relations and local government affairs.
An active and engaged member of her community, Harvey is a past Tampa Bay Business Journal “30 under 30” honoree, 2013 recipient of the Champion of Education Award from the UNCF Bay Area Leadership Council and was honored as the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida’s inaugural Woman of Promise in 2013. Harvey is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Florida Chamber Foundation, Board of Directors of the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida and serves as the Chair of the UNCF Tampa Bay Area Leadership Council. Additionally, she is a member of the Athena Society, Tampa Chapter of the Links, Incorporated, Tampa Metropolitan Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and a graduate of Leadership Tampa (2016) and Leadership St. Pete (2007). Harvey is a graduate of Florida A&M University.
Edward Jimenez is Chief Executive Officer for the University of Florida Health Shands system in North Central Florida. He was Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for UF Health Shands Hospital from October 2010 to June 2014, and interim CEO for 10 months before being named CEO in April 2015. Mr. Jimenez guides the strategic direction for the academic medical center, specialty hospitals and clinical programs, collaborating with UF College of Medicine faculty and UF Health administrators to ensure the delivery of outstanding patient care and quality outcomes and support education and research.
UF Health Shands includes the academic health center’s flagship hospital, UF Health Shands Hospital; UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital; UF Health Shands Cancer Hospital; UF Health Shands Psychiatric Hospital; and UF Health Shands Rehab Hospital. Patients come to UF Health Shands from all 67 Florida counties and throughout the region, nation and a dozen countries each year. UF Health Shands has operating revenues of approximately $1.4 billion and employs more than 9,400 employees.
Mr. Jimenez has led improvements in all operating categories, financial performance and employee engagement. He has led construction projects, including construction for the new UF Health Heart & Vascular Hospital and UF Health Neuromedicine Hospital, a $415 million project to create the Southeast’s most advanced home for the care of patients with heart, vascular and neurological illnesses, which will open in late 2017. He also has overseen electronic medical record implementation and national accreditation surveys in addition to having a key role in establishing several regional relationships and affiliations with other health systems.
From 2005 to 2010, Mr. Jimenez served as System Vice President for St. Joseph’s Healthcare System, a 900-bed health system in northern New Jersey. He oversaw hospital operations, business development and regional/physician partnerships; he was responsible for the faculty group practice of 200 physicians; and he was president of seven for-profit, joint venture LLCs.
Mr. Jimenez held management positions at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York; University Hospital in New Jersey; and the Valley Health System in New Jersey. He has an M.B.A. from the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College in New York and a bachelor’s degree in politics from Brandeis University in Massachusetts.
Prior to joining FPL in May 2005, Mr. Kiselewski served as a Congressional Chief of Staff and was a 14-year employee of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Don currently serves as Immediate Past-Chair of the United Way of Palm Beach County, Immediate Past-Chair of the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches, Chair of Florida Atlantic University’s Tech Runway Board of Advisors, Past-President of the Forum Club of the Palm Beaches, Past-Chair of the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County, Past-Chair of the Northern Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce and is on the Governing Board for the Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center. He is also a member of Leadership Florida Class XXXIV.
Don holds a B.A. degree in Political Science from Emory University and an M.B.A. from Florida Atlantic University. A 47-year resident of Palm Beach County, Don lives in Jupiter with his wife, Heidi, and three children, Katie, Jackson & Chelsea.
Ergetu Merete is the Florida business banking division manager for Wells Fargo & Company. In this role, he provides executive leadership for business banking operations and oversees more than 285 business banking Team members across the state.
Mr. Merete brings a wide range of sales leadership experience and strong partner orientation to this role, having held key leader positions in both commercial banking and treasury management.
Mr. Merete joined the company in 2000 as a senior treasury officer and by 2005 was a regional sales director for Treasury Services in Delaware, Maryland, northern Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C. He served as regional vice president of the metropolitan Philadelphia /Delaware Commercial Banking Office from 2008 until joining the business banking team as Division Manager for Pennsylvania/Delaware in November of 2010. In 2014, he accepted the position of Division Manager for Florida business banking based in Jacksonville, FL.
Mr. Merete has a B.A. in Finance and Real Estate from the University of Cincinnati and an MBA from Xavier University in Cincinnati. He served on the boards of the Main Line Chamber of Commerce and the Corporate Partners Program of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Karen is founder and CEO of Moore Communications Group. In the 20 years since she began Moore Communications Group, Karen has amassed an astonishing amount of success on behalf of regional, statewide and national clients. The firm is ranked a top 100 agency by O’Dwyer’s PR Report, recognized by GrowFL as a “Company to Watch,” named to the prestigious Inc. Magazine Inc. 5000 and recognized by Florida Trend as a “Best Place To Work.” Karen and her team have been awarded the highest honor in the public relations industry – a Silver Anvil Award of Excellence from the Public Relations Society of America.
A leader in the advocacy arena, Karen has successfully built more than 40 state and national coalitions addressing health care disparities and impacting important legislative issues. She is recognized as an expert on shaping conversations surrounding critical patient access policies using a smart mix of grasstops, grassroots and strategic alliance development efforts. As a collaborator on economic development, health care and education initiatives, she often serves as a facilitator bringing various viewpoints to help form common objectives and unifying solutions.
Karen has conducted media training sessions for Fortune 500 companies, elected officials and the British Olympic Team. As an industry thought leader, she has shared her insight into integrated communications and crisis communication through articles published in numerous publications. She is also a renowned public speaker, having addressed more than 200 organizations on topics such as media relations, strategic planning, crisis communications, marketing, grassroots coalition building, and networking.
Recognition for her work has brought numerous honors including the Distinguished Leader Award by the National Association of Community Leaders.
She is one of less than 100 individuals in the nation who holds both an Accredited Public Relations (APR) and Certified Public Relations Counselor (CPRC) designation.
Now a published author, Karen leverages her advocacy expertise and thought leadership to present strategies that transform the perspective of business leaders across all industries in her book Behind the Red Door: Unlock Your Advocacy Influence and Success.
Forty-five years of total transportation engineering experience, 34 with the Florida Department of Transportation and 11 years as a consult.
While at the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Mr. Morefield held the position of Assistant Secretary for Engineering and Operations, State Highway Engineer (Chief Engineer), District Secretary for District Two (Jacksonville), Design Director, State Roadway Design Engineer.
As a consultant Mr. Morefield held the following positions while employed at Jacobs Engineering from 2004 to 2014: National Highway Practice Leader, Florida Operations Manager and Southeast Region Manager.
Currently Mr. Morefield works for HNTB, an engineering firm, as the North Florida Regional Business Development Leader and the Jacksonville, FL Office Leader.