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  • Editorial Board

    Scott Costello

    Charles W. Anchors, Jr.

    Anchors Photo 2015-03

    JR is currently the General Manager of Comfort Keepers in Gainesville, Florida that services clients from Lake City to Clermont including Gainesville, Ocala, and The Villages. He provides leadership and direction and is responsible for managing the daily operations within a corporate operated Comfort Keepers®.

    JR has been in healthcare since 2006 and prior to Comfort Keepers held the position of Assistant Vice President at North Florida Regional Medical Center overseeing the Geriatric Service Line. Before that, JR was the Director of Finance for Shands HomeCare in Gainesville, Shands Home Health Services of Jacksonville and ElderCare of Alachua County.

    JR was also previously the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Compliance Officer with Koss Olinger Financial Group and was charged with overseeing the day-to-day operations of the firm. Prior to joining Koss Olinger he helped individuals as a Financial Advisor with American Express Financial Advisors in Orlando, Florida specializing in asset allocation, portfolio management, and equity research for young professionals. JR has also worked with a four-person OTC equity trading team during the height of the bull market at Paragon Capital Markets in Boca Raton, Florida.

    JR began his professional career in 1991 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida with a start-up Broker-Dealer, Barber & Bronson, Inc, where his first experience was in the capacity of a Commodity Trader. He continued his professional growth by becoming an Equity Broker, Operations Manager, and Head of Trading. He was involved in managing the firm’s trading, day-to-day operations, financial accounting and reporting, and investment banking activities in micro-cap companies.

    JR is active in the Gainesville community supporting programs such as ElderCare of Alachua County – Board and Fundraising Committee Member, Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce – Public Policy Member, Junior Achievement – Board Member and Golf Chair, Leadership Gainesville Alumni Association Past Treasurer and Board Member, and is a member of Leadership Gainesville Class 32.

    He has an MBA from the University of Florida and an accounting degree from Grove City College in Grove City, PA. JR is originally from Pittsburgh, PA, he is an Eagle Scout, and is married with 2 daughters and 2 step-daughters.

    Collin Austin

    Collin Austin BEarly in 2004, an opportunity presented itself that would forever change the direction of Collin’s life and the culture of an entire community. Collin would sit at a bus stop day after day trying to catch an RTS bus to campus and this bus would pass by with the words FULL BUS displayed across the top. This opportunity merged with a drop shipping and importing opportunity with one of his best college friends and ultimately led to the creation of New Scooters 4 Less in March of 2004. 10 years later (now as sole owner), New Scooters 4 Less (NS4L) is one of the largest scooter dealerships in the southeastern United States and continues to break it’s own records and the sales records for some of the top scooter distributors in the country. NS4L has provided jobs to tons of amazing people, reached millions of dollars in revenue, sold thousands of scooters, and has serviced thousands more. NS4L is well-known within the business community for it’s unique, eccentric, and innovative culture developed around a single core value: Create and recreate the ultimate customer experience, or UCE. Focus is put on their employees and customers and let the rest play itself out!

    As an entrepreneur and COE, Chief of Everything, at NS4L Collin is aiming to change the world. After leading the dealership for 10 years, he has found the “entrepreneurial itch” to take his values, ethics, UCE, and business strategies and apply them to a completely different industry. His newest venture is with Gulejo Coffee .  Gulejo is a socially responsible coffee company that aims to deliver the highest quality coffee and gives back 10% of every transaction to fuel entrepreneurship and empowerment of the individual.

    Colin’s personal fuel comes from motivating and empowering others! He ‘fills up his tank’ by speaking to student classes, student organizations, business networks and teams on numerous topics. Collin is very active in the Gainesville Community. He speaks up for small business, mentors students and entrepreneurs, facilitates a group of young CEO’s in an Entrepreneur Roundtable created by the Chamber, and serves as the Connections Chair on the Diplomat Leadership Team for the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce.  In addition to all of these roles, Collins sees his most important role as a follower of Jesus Christ, a husband to wife Shannon, and a father to  two sons, Schaefer and Maddox.

    You can sit back and watch life pass you by… or you can be the change in today’s world! Let’s get to work!


    Deborah V. Bowie, CCE, IOM

    Deborah Bowie

    Deborah is the CEO and President of the United Way of North Central Florida. A native of Miami, FL, Deborah received her undergraduate degree from Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans in Communications and is a graduate of the Institute of Organization Management at the University of Georgia in Athens. She spent 10 years of her early career as a broadcast journalist, working at TV news stations in Birmingham, Alabama, and Chicago, Illinois, before eventually entering the chamber industry as a Vice President for Community Development at the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce, the largest regional chamber in North Central Alabama.

    Prior to joining the Gainesville team, Deborah served as the only registered chamber lobbyist in the 14-county footprint of SW Georgia. As the Senior Director of Public Policy and Communications for the Albany (GA) Area Chamber of Commerce, Deborah helped the organization in 2012 to win the Gold Award for Communications Excellence (ACE) from the American Chamber of Commerce Executives.

    In 2013, Deborah earned the national industry designation of Certified Chamber Executive (CCE), the highest designation in the profession. ​Previously, Deborah served as Chief of Staff to the Mayor of the City of Birmingham, where she oversaw the implementation of nearly $1 billion in capital investment projects city-wide.

    Deborah is a past fellow in regional sustainability via the Ford Foundation. She is the proud mother of triplets and a college junior majoring in biology on a full academic scholarship.

    Susan S. Crowley


    Susan Crowley serves as the Assistant Vice President for Community Relations. She is responsible for facilitating the relationship between the university and the community. She works to promote communication and mutually beneficial interactions between the two entities.  In addition, she serves as the Executive Director of the UF employee Campaign for Charities that raises about $1 million annually for area charities. The UFCC is one of the top academic campaigns in the nation.

    Susan is a graduate of the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in English. When she came to UF in May 2007, she brought many years of experience in nonprofit organizations to her position.   Serving as the Executive Vice President of the Alachua County Medical Society for 11 years, Susan interfaced with local physicians, hospitals, the Alachua County Health Department, and local emergency services.

    During these years, she served as the president of the Conference of Florida Medical Society Executives and served on the Board of Governors of the Florida Medical Association. In addition, she led the lobbying efforts of the ACMS with state government.

    Prior to 1996, Susan spent three years as the Executive Director of the North Central Florida Safety Council – involved with the business community, the court system, and law enforcement.

    Susan has been actively involved in the service and charitable organizations in Gainesville since the late 1970s.  She was named one of the 2013 Women Who Make a Difference by the Girl Scouts of Gateway Council.

    She is a member of the Junior League of Gainesville and the Gainesville Women’s Forum – having served as president of both organizations – and is a graduate of Leadership Gainesville. A member of the Rotary Club of Gainesville, Susan has served twice on the Rotary board.

    Bryan da Frota

    CEO Bryan da Frota - no tie

    Bryan da Frota currently serves as CEO of Prioria Robotics, Inc.  Mr. da Frota received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Florida.  He has extensive experience with highly complex technical sales, creating strategic partnerships and relationships, investor relations and program management.  With his entrepreneurial background, Mr. da Frota applied embedded technology to unmanned systems building a successful company focused on Maveric, the world’s first “smart” unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).  To grow Prioria, Mr. da Frota has organized multiple financing rounds, as well as leading the charge in strategically selling the company’s products and services to other businesses.  Mr. da Frota has led the company to win major defense programs to governments unseating entrenched incumbents.   Since its inception, Mr. da Frota has led Prioria to be recognized by the Inc.5000 Fastest-Growing Private Companies multiple years in a row, Florida Companies to Watch, State of Florida’s Qualified Target Industry and Quick Action Closing Fund awards.  He has served on the State of Florida’s cabinet level Homeland Defense & Security Target Industry Cluster Task Force.

    In his spare time, Mr. da Frota enjoys spending time with his family, competing in triathlons, gardening and is an avid salsa dancer.  He believes in supporting causes and organizations for which he feels passionate.  Mr. da Frota has served as the assistant fencing coach at the University of Florida and is a Trustee and Past President of the Board of Dance Alive National Ballet, and Board Member of Meridian Behavioral Healthcare’s Board of Directors.


    Randi Elrad

    Randi Elrad

    (bio coming soon)

    Rose Fagler

    Rose 2 - October 5 2011

    Rose Fagler is responsible for Community Relations for Plum Creek in Florida. Her main focus has been involving the communities with potential large-scale economic development and conservation projects including Envision Alachua, the visioning effort for Plum Creek’s 65,000 acres in Alachua County.

    With 30 years of experience, Mrs. Fagler’s background includes community relations for Progress Energy Florida, advertising and marketing for specialty businesses including Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU), the former brand businesses of The Limited, Inc. – Structure and Lane Bryant – as well as advertising agency work. While at Progress Energy, Mrs. Fagler worked with the UF Foundation to help secure the grant to launch the UF Water Institute. At GRU, Ms. Fagler’s department was the recipient of the Beacon Award for Excellence in renewable energy marketing awarded by the Center of Resource Solutions, the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
    She is the co-chair of Innovation Gainesville (iG). She also serves on the advisory board for The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Public Issues Education Center – the PIE Center.
    Mrs. Fagler has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Frostburg State University in fine arts and graphic arts. She and her husband Chauncey, a former UF swimmer, live in Gainesville. They have two grown daughters.

    Dug Jones

    Dug Jones 2007 big fileDug Jones, associate vice president for economic development, Santa Fe College
    Dug Jones has 28 years of experience in higher education and currently is Santa Fe College’s associate vice president for economic development where he has overall administrative responsibility for the Center for Innovation & Economic Development (CIED), which includes Continuing Education & Corporate Training, Community Education, and the Entrepreneur Incubator. He also provides leadership for the incubator program at the Gainesville Technology Entrepreneurship Center (GTEC) in east Gainesville. His educational background includes a Bachelors in Therapeutic Recreation, a masters in education, and a Juris Doctorate, all from the University of Florida. Throughout his career, Dug has often chosen community service activities that connect his skills and experiences to issues and projects impacting the educational and developmental needs within the community. Dug is currently the board president for both the Education Foundation of Alachua County and for the Gainesville Area Innovation Network (GAIN). Additionally, he serves on the board for the Non-Profit Center of North-Central Florida and represents Santa Fe College to the Economic Development University Community Committee (EDUCC) for the City of Gainesville and to the Economic Development Advisory Council for Alachua County (EDAC).

    Nona Jones

    nona hi res-15

    Nona Jones is Chief External Affairs Officer at PACE Center for Girls, Inc.. In this role, she advocates for the interests of GRU and its customers at the federal and state levels of government and she is also responsible for maintaining positive working relationships between GRU and the various stakeholders it serves. Additionally, she manages GRU’s community investment program, encompassing employee volunteerism, charitable contributions, and community-based partnerships.
    Nona’s community leadership is extensive and diverse. She is Board Chair of the Girl Scouts of Gateway Council Board of Directors, Vice Chair of the PACE Center for Girls Board of Trustees, President of the Gainesville Women’s Forum, and Immediate Past President of the Education Foundation of Alachua County. She also serves on the AvMed Health Plans Community Advisory Board and is Secretary/Treasurer of the Florida Municipal Electric Association Board of Directors, placing her in line to become President of the state-wide association of municipal electric utilities. Nona has been profiled by ESSENCE Magazine as an “Under 40 Woman to Watch,” Florida Trend Magazine as one of Florida’s “30-Something All Stars,” Business in the Heart of Florida Magazine as a “40 Under 40 Community Leader,” and Home Magazine as a “13 Under 30 Community Leader.” She is a graduate of Leadership Florida, Leadership Gainesville, and the Political Leadership Institute. She was honored as a “Woman Who Makes a Difference” by the Girl Scouts of Gateway Council and received the 2014 Robert F. Roundtree Rising Star Award from the American Public Power Association, an award that recognizes her at the national level for leadership in energy policy. Nona is a double Gator, holding a Bachelor in Telecommunication and Master of Business Administration from the University of Florida where she has been recognized as a University of Florida Outstanding Young Alumnus. She is married to Pastor Timothy L. Jones and is the proud mother of two boys, Timothy, Jr. (4) and Isaac (1).

    Joe Lowry Sr.


    Joseph (Joe) Lowry Sr., a native of Coral Gables, FL, is married to the former Gladys Sastre, also of Coral Gables, and they are the parents of 3 married children, and 8 perfect grandchildren. They have lived in Gainesville since 1989.  He is the Senior Partner in the Gainesville-based financial advisory and investment management firm of Lowry Financial Advisors, Inc. and has been extensively involved in a variety of civic and professional organizations, including, Alachua County District/Boy Scouts of America/Past District Chairman; Estate Planning Council of North Central Florida/Past President; Gainesville Association of Insurance and of Financial Advisors/Past President; Society of Financial Service Professionals, Gainesville Chapter/Past President; CrimeStoppers/Past Board Member; University of Florida Performing Arts Advisory Board/Past President and current emeritus board member; Rotary Club of Downtown Gainesville/current member and Paul Harris Fellow; Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Gainesville/Past board member; YMCA of Greater Gainesville/Past board member; Sebastian Ferrero Foundation/Board Member; Gainesville 3rd Ward, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints/currently serving as Bishop; and Biltmore Estates Homeowner Association/President. His professional certifications include:  Accredited Investment Fiduciary®, Chartered Financial Consultant®, Accredited Estate Planner®, and, Chartered Life Underwriter® designations.  Joe has also been the recipient of numerous industry and civic recognitions, including, the Silver Beaver Award/Boy Scouts of America; The Million Dollar Round Table/Life Member; and is also a Community Impact Award Recipient/Greater Gainesville. He is pleased to serve on the editorial board of Advantage Publications.

    Ed Poppell

    Ed Photo-Jan 2011

    Ed Poppell, University of Florida Development Corporation

    Ed has been in Higher Education Administration for over 40 years.  He attended Florida State University where he obtained a B.S. degree in Business, and then a Graduate degree from the University of Florida, where he likes to say “he got an education.”  Ed serves as Vice President Emeritus and former Vice President for Business Affairs & Economic Development.  The University of Florida is an enterprise of over $4.5 billion with 22 million sq. ft. of facilities.  He is a former Board member for the University of Florida Foundation, Shands Teaching Hospital, the University of Florida Research Foundation, and former Treasurer of the University Athletic Association.  He serves as a member of the Proton Therapy Institute Board and various community boards, including member of the Board of Directors and Past President of Oak Hammock Continuous Care Retirement Community at the University of Florida.

    Ed is now guiding the development of Innovation Square, a 40-acre live/work/play urban community adjacent to UF that will encompass 5.5 million sq. ft. of office/lab/retail and commercial space.  In addition, Ed is responsible for the 45 historic properties managed by UF in the City of St. Augustine.


    Ed and his wife, Sharron, have one son, Adam.

    Pete Zimek


    Pete Zimek is the founder and president of iLS network, a collective of online apartment guides serving renters in six cities across the State of Florida. Generating over 60,000 visits each month, the websites use cutting edge technology to match renters with the apartment community that best fits their lifestyle and budget.

    In Gainesville, Pete has served as the President of the Leadership Gainesville Alumni Association and was named one of Gainesville’s “40 Under 40.” Pete also served as a charter board member of Alachua County Emerging Leaders (ACEL) and has spent time serving several local non-profits.

    In the apartment industry, Pete sits on several local apartment association boards across the state, is a faculty member of the National Apartment Association Education Institute, and has been awarded “Social Media Person of the Year” and “Supplier Company of the Year” by the Apartment Association of Greater Orlando.  He currently serves as a delegate to the Florida Apartment Association.

    Pete is also an active member of Leadership Florida.  He was a member of the inaugural Connect Florida Statewide Institute class, Leadership Florida’s program for young professionals.  He went on to serve as Statewide Chair for Connect Florida and currently serves as co-chair of Leadership Florida’s Communications Committee.

    Pete holds a bachelor’s degree in History as well as a Masters in Management from the University of Florida.  A transplant originally from New Orleans, he has made Florida his home with his wife Jennifer and daughters Olivia and Alexis.