The Board of Advisors to JU’s Public Policy Institute is made up of an extraordinary cadre of respected, distinguished community leaders. Putting their vast professional and institutional knowledge to work, they will help determine the mission, scope and success of the Institute.

Announced by Institute Director Rick Mullaney in January 2012, the non-partisan Board contains Republicans and Democrats. It boasts members with diverse professional strengths and public policy interests.

Among members’ expertise and passions are health care, education, economic development, international business, international trade, finance, downtown development, the environment, transportation, banking, and public infrastructure.



Fernando Javier Acosta-Rua

Fernando Acosta-Rua is the Chief Operating Officer of American Pet Resorts – a chain of upscale pet boarding facilities located throughout the southern United States. He has served as COO since January 2007 and has been involved with the company since August of 2004. Prior to APR, he was a partner at the Connecticut based private equity group L&L Capital Partners. Mr. Acosta-Rua led an investment group to invest $11 million in American Pet Resorts, LLC from October of 2005 through December 2006. Mr. Acosta-Rua earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Florida and an MBA from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management.


Ronald R. Austin, Esquire

Ronald R. Austin, Attorney at Law is engaged in the private practice of law as a principal in the firm of Austin & Austin, Jack­sonville, Florida. The firm concentrates in representing governmental entities and in eminent domain, land use, mass trans­portation and bond/corporate matters. Mr. Austin is "AV" rated by Martindale-Hubbell. He is also listed in Martindale-Hubbell's Register of Preeminent Lawyers in America. Mr. Austin formerly served as Deputy General Counsel for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in Tallahassee, Florida and as an attorney representing the Florida Public Service Commission. Mr. Austin earned a bachelor's degree from Alabama A&M University and a law degree from the University of Florida.


Yank D. Coble, M.D.

Dr. Yank Coble is Distinguished Professor and Director of the Center for Global Health and Medical Diplomacy, University of North Florida, and Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of Florida. From 2002 to 2007, Dr. Coble served on the USA and WMA Delegations to the World Health Organization and Assem­bly. An endocrinologist in Jacksonville, FL for over 35 years, Dr. Coble is also active in his community. He served on the founding boards of the Jacksonville Community Council, Inc. and Leader­ship Jacksonville and as President of Jacksonville Community Council, Inc. Coble has medical degrees from Duke University School of Medicine and the London School of Medicine.


Gary R. Chartrand

Gary Chartrand is the Executive Chairman of Acosta, Inc. Acosta is a leading full-service sales and marketing agency. The Company employs over 21,000 associates and operates 64 offices in the U.S. and Canada. Mr. Chartrand received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the State of Florida in May 2001. He cur­rently serves on the Board of Directors for the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation, St. Vincent's Healthcare System, The Jacksonville Public Education Fund, State Board of Education, and the KIPP schools in Jacksonville. Mr. Chartrand earned his bachelor's degree from the University of New Hampshire.


Robert M. Clements

Mr. Clements has served as Chairman and Chief Executive Of­ficer of EverBank Financial Corp and its predecessor companies since 1997. Mr. Clements joined the EverBank family of compa­nies in 1994. Mr. Clements was previously a Vice President at Merrill Lynch & Co., where he was a member of the firm's lever­aged buyout group, Merrill Lynch Capital Partners, Inc. Mr. Clements earned his bachelor's degree in economics from Dartmouth College and an MBA from Harvard Business School.


Joseph N. Debs, P.E.

Joseph Debs is a member of the Board of Directors of RS&H and serves as Executive Vice President/Chief Marketing Officer. Prior to moving into the CMO position, Mr. Debs served as Senior Vice Presi­dent and Director of RS&H's national transportation and infra­structure practice, a practice that spans 14 states and the District of Columbia. Mr. Debs has been active in the planning and design of transportations system for 35 years with responsibilities for many nationally recognized and innovative highway, bridge, transit, rail and port projects. Mr. Debs earned his bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Florida and an MBA from the University of North Florida.


G. Ray Driver, Esquire

G. Ray Driver, Jr. practices in the areas of mergers and acquisi­tions, venture capital finance, securities law and general corporate law and is a partner in the law firm of Driver, McAfee, Peek & Hawthorne Mr. Driver has experience in representing publicly owned and privately held businesses in a wide range of corporate transac­tions. Mr. Driver is a member of The Florida Bar, the American Bar Association and the Jacksonville Bar Association. Mr. Driver earned a bachelor's degree in Business Administration and Accounting from the University of Montevallo, and a Master's degree in accounting and a law degree from the University of Florida.


Brenda B. Ezell, Esquire

Brenda Ezell is the founder of the Ezell Law Firm, practicing in the areas of commercial real estate and business transactions and state and local government law. Ms. Ezell is an active in community volunteer, currently serving as a mem­ber and immediate past chair of the OneJax board of directors, a member of the board of Habitat for Humanity of Jacksonville, Inc., and the Mandarin Museum and Historical Society. Ms. Ezell earned her bachelor's degree in business administration from Jacksonville University and a law degree from the University of Florida.


Steve T. Halverson

Steve Halverson is President and Chief Executive Officer of The Haskell Company, one of the nation's largest integrated design-build organizations, with operations throughout the United States and Latin America and headquarters in Jacksonville, Florida. Mr. Halverson is Chairman of the Florida Council of 100, Past Chairman of the Florida Chamber of Commerce and is Vice-Chairman for St. John's University. Mr. Halverson earned his bachelor's degree from St. Johns University, law degree from American University and completed executive business education at Dartmouth College and the University of Pennsylvania.


Preston H. Haskell

Preston Hampton Haskell, III is founder and chairman of The Haskell Company, the largest privately held construction company in Florida and a top design/build firm in the United States. He was a minority owner of the National Football League Jacksonville Jaguars, prior to its recent sale. He attended Princeton University and earned a Civil engineering degree with honors in 1960; received an MBA with distinction from Harvard Business School in 1962 and continued his studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Building Engineering and Construction.


Cyrus M. Jollivette

Russ Jollivette is Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida's se­nior vice president of Public Affairs. In this role, Mr. Jollivette provides executive leadership for community affairs and government and legislative relations. Prior to joining BCBSF in 2002, Mr. Jollivette had a distinguished career in university administration and public and government relations. More recently, he founded a successful consulting practice representing private sector clients in Washing­ton, D.C. Mr. Jollivette earned his bachelor's degree in business administration from C.W. Post College, an MBA from Long Island University and a law degree from the University of Miami.


Kelly Madden

Kelly Madden is the North Florida Wholesale Regional President for Wells Fargo Bank. A 24-year veteran of the company, Ms. Madden started her career in 1988 with First Union National Bank, a predecessor institution of Wells Fargo. Prior to her current role, she served as North Florida Regional President. Ms. Madden has earned numerous awards in her career, including  First Coast Business Hall of Fame from the Florida Coun­cil on Economic Education, Women of Influence award from The Girl Scouts,  the MS Hope award, and Top Women in Leadership award from the United Way. Ms. Madden received her bachelor's degree in Marketing from Florida State University.


Douglas C. Miller, P.E.

Douglas Miller's 35-year public works and engineering career has incorporated both private consulting and municipal engineering. For the past 30 years, he has been a managing principal of Eng­land, Thims & Miller, Inc. Mr. Miller has directed construction manage­ment and contract administration services on construction projects valued in excess of one billion dollars. Mr. Miller serves as District Engineer for multiple Community Development Districts in Florida. Miller earned his bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Florida.


Honorable John Peyton

John Peyton was named President of GATE Petroleum Company, one of the largest privately-held companies in Florida, in January 2012 after serving two consecutive terms as Mayor of Jackson­ville, Florida. He has been actively involved in the community serving as chairman of the Jacksonville Transportation Agency, Jacksonville Symphony Association and Greenscape of Jackson­ville. In 2006, President George W. Bush appointed Mr. Peyton to the board of trustees of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation. Mr. Peyton earned his bachelor's degree from Mercer University and completed the Harvard Executive Education Program.


C. Daniel Rice

C. Daniel Rice has served as President and CEO of Mayport Venture Partners, LLC since its founding in 2000. Mr. Rice cur­rently serves on the Board of Directors of American Pet Resort, Inc. and has been an adviser to other portfolio companies on issues such as strategic partnerships, fundraising, business plan development, operational issues and restructuring. He currently serves as Chairman of the Board for Saint Vincent's Healthcare System.  Mr. Rice received his bachelor's degree from Clemson University and an MBA and law degree from the University of Florida.


Ambassador John D. Rood (Ret.)

John Darrell Rood is the Chairman of The Vestcor Companies, Inc. and The JDR Companies, Inc, both real estate development companies. In September of 2004, President George W. Bush appointed Mr. Rood as United States Ambassador to the Commonwealth of the Bahamas where he served until 2007. He is a member of the Board of Governors of the State University System and a member of the Board of Trustees of Flagler College. Mr. Rood earned his bachelor's degree in Business Administration from University of Montana.


Robert T. Shircliff

Robert T. Shircliff has distinguished himself as a successful leader in business, civic, volunteer, philanthropic, and religious organizations. He had a successful business career with the Pepsi-Cola bottling companies. He founded a consulting group specializing in equity enhancement and retired in 1988. He served at various times as president of the National Pepsi-Cola Bottlers Association and as a director of General Cinema Corporation, Atlantic National Bank of Jacksonville, EverBank Financial Corporation and others. He served as Chair of the Jacksonville University Board of Trustees and JU's Campaign 2000. Mr. Shircliff earned his bachelor's degree in Marketing from Indiana University.


Richard L. Sisisky

Richard L. Sisisky is President of The Shircliff & Sisisky Company, a management-consulting firm based in Jacksonville, FL. His company has had consulting agreements with more than 200 clients, primarily franchised bottlers of Pepsi-Cola products in the United States, Mexico, Canada and Middle East. Mr. Sisisky currently serves as Lead Director of Stein Mart, Inc. and has held leadership positions in many not-for-profit organizations includ­ing Baptist Health System, Jacksonville Children's Commission, The Bolles School, Jewish Federation of Northeast Florida and United Way. Mr. Sisisky earned his bachelor's degree from The College of William and Mary and a law degree from the University of Richmond.


Jay Stein

Jay Stein served as president of retail chain Stein Mart Inc. from 1979-1989, when he was elected as chairman and chief executive officer, and more recently as chairman. He is the principal architect of the company's growth. In Jacksonville, he served on the board of The National Conference of Christians and Jews and the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Stein is a past member of the Mayor's Select Committee on Ethics in City Government. He is a trustee of the executive committee of the Board of New York University. In 1993, he received the Humanitarian Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews. He was a founding member of The Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. Mr. Stein attended college at NYU.


William H. Walton, III

Bill Walton is a founding member of Rockpoint Group, L.L.C., a global real estate investment management firm with offices in the U.S., Europe and Asia.  In 1994, Mr. Walton also co-founded Westbrook Real Estate Partners, L.L.C., a similar firm which the Rockpoint managing members continue to control.  Since 1994, the Rockpoint managing members have invested over $10 billion of equity capital in almost $40 billion of real estate around the world. Prior to co-founding Westbrook, Mr. Walton was a managing director in the real estate group of Morgan Stanley & Co. Incorporated, which he joined in 1979.   Mr. Walton has served as a Director or Trustee on the Boards of several public companies, as well as private and non-profit organizations, including the American Enterprise Institute, Princeton University and Princeton University Investment Company.  Mr. Walton received an A.B. in 1974 from Princeton University and an M.B.A. in 1979 from Harvard Business School.


Nina Waters

Nina Waters is the President of The Community Foundation in Jacksonville. Ms. Waters was promoted to this position in January 2005 after serving as Executive Vice President for three years. Her primary responsibilities include the leadership and management of donor services, grant making and ad­ministrative services functions of the Foundation. Prior to joining the staff of the Foundation, Ms. Waters served as Executive Director for the PACE Center for Girls Jacksonville program for twelve years. Ms. Waters was the recipient of the JU Distinguished Alumni Award, Scouts Women of Distinction Award, and is chairman-elect of the Southeastern Council of Foundations. Ms. Waters earned her bachelor's degree in Sociology from Jacksonville University.


Ben Warner

Ben Warner is President & CEO of the Jacksonville Community Council Inc., Northeast Florida's longstanding center for civic engagement in public policy. He is globally recognized for his work in community consensus-building around data-driven public policy issues, and has served as President of the National Association of Planning Councils and the international Community Indicators Consortium. Mr. Warner earned his bachelor's degree in Sociology from Brigham Young University and his Master's in Social Work from Florida State University.