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Movers and Shakers: March

Movers and Shakers: March

By Laureen Young 

Kristen Bryant 

The Gainesville City Commission has unanimously voted to make Kristen Bryant the permanent City Clerk, filling the final position of the city’s remaining charter office vacancies. Bryant has served as the Interim City Clerk since July, stepping in after the resignation of Omichele Nattiel-Williams.  

This decision, as well as a 2.5% budgeted pay increase to all charter officers, followed positive annual performance reviews. Bryant and other officers, including City Manager Cynthia Curry, City Attorney Daniel Lee, Interim City Auditor Brecka Anderson, and City Director of Diversity and Inclusion Zeriah Folston, received an average rating of 4.3 out of 5, exceeding job standards.  

Ashley Baird 

Ashley Baird, Alachua County’s Accreditation and Grants Manager, has been appointed as the new president of the Association of Pretrial Professionals of Florida (APPF). In this role, she aims to bring about positive changes not only within the association and Florida pretrial agencies but also within the county and the Department of Court Services. Baird played a crucial role in helping the Alachua County Department of Court Services achieve re-accreditations from the Florida Corrections Accreditation Commission and the National Association of Pretrial Service Agencies in 2023. Her dedication reflects a commitment to maintaining high standards and effective practices. 

Dwynette Smith 

Metcalfe Elementary School music teacher Dwynette Smith has been named Alachua County’s 2024 Teacher of the Year. With over two decades of teaching experience, Smith’s philosophy centers on creating a space where students feel respected and valued while exploring a diverse musical landscape. Inspired by her own challenging childhood, she emphasizes the positive impact teachers had on her and remains dedicated to instilling a deep appreciation for music in her students. Smith will represent the district in the Florida Teacher of the Year program.  

Chad Colson 

Planning and engineering firm CHW has promoted Chad Colson to the role of director of surveying, transportation and geospatial services in their Alachua office. With over 12 years of experience in managing survey projects, Colson has been instrumental since joining the team in 2020. His responsibilities include overseeing surveys, field crew organization and creating maps for both in-house and independent projects. Praised for his exceptional leadership, Colson, a licensed professional land surveyor, holds a Bachelor of Science in geomatics from the University of Florida and is a member of national and state surveying organizations. His promotion reflects the firm’s confidence in his talents. 

Madelyn Urbine 

For the second consecutive year, Buchholz High School’s Madelyn Urbine, a junior, secured her place as a finalist in the esteemed U.S. Navy Band Young Artist Solo Competition. Urbine’s selection as a French horn finalist comes after a video audition, earning her a chance to compete in Washington D.C. this March.  

As a finalist, she will perform alongside the Navy’s Concert Band and receive personalized coaching from one of its members. The grand prize winner will perform as the featured soloist with the Concert Band in May.  

See Also

Dr. J. Nathaniel Southerland 

Dr. J. Nathaniel Southerland has been appointed as the new Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Santa Fe College. He brings extensive leadership experience from his previous roles as Provost at Coconino Community College and Associate Provost at Salt Lake Community College. His expertise in working with university and community partners, demonstrated during his time at St. Johns River State College, will aid in promoting student success at Santa Fe College. Dr. Southerland’s background also includes developing academic master plans, launching innovative academic programs and advocating for dual enrollment. His appointment is set to commence on March 11, marking a pivotal moment for the college’s academic enterprise. 

Nick Banks  

Nick Banks, a 30-year commercial real estate veteran, has been appointed as CEO of Concept Companies. With a proven track record in strategic planning, operational management and financial acumen, Banks will contribute to the company’s next phase of growth and community impact. His experience as the founder and CEO of Front Street Commercial Real Estate Group, along with his collaboration with Concept Companies on key projects, positions him to lead the company’s aggressive growth trajectory. Banks’ appointment reflects Concept Companies’ commitment to sustainable growth and long-term success. A graduate of the University of Florida, with a degree in finance and a concentration in real estate, Banks’ vision aligns with the Concept Companies mission to drive economic growth and make a meaningful impact on the communities they serve. This strategic move marks a significant milestone as Concept Companies celebrates its 20th year in business and expands into high-growth markets nationwide. 

John Spence 

John Spence has been recognized as one of the top 50 global thought leaders and influencers on Business Strategy for 2023. This Thinkers360 designation is awarded to those who exemplify outstanding thought leadership and authentic, effective influence in the arena of business organization methods and planning. His previous accolades include being named one of America’s Top 100 Business Thought Leaders and Top 50 Small Business Experts. Also, Spence was shortlisted as one of the top eight in the world for the Distinguished Achievement Award by Thinkers50. With a history of serving as a CEO and board member, his expertise in strategy execution and leadership has earned him a place among the most influential voices in the field of business strategy. 

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