​The mission of the Davis Leadership Forum is to provide opportunities for discovery and discussion within the Jacksonville community through scholarly and life-enriching topics.

The JU Davis College of Business hosts business and civic leaders each year to complement academic coursework at JU.  Beginning with the 2017-18 school year, the Forum will extend beyond JU and engage not only our students, but the greater Jacksonville community, fulfilling the University's mission of "life-long success in learning, achieving, leading and serving."


2017 Spring Speakers


Terry Patrick WaltonTERRY PATRICK WALTON, Founder, 20'sEmpowered

Tuesday, January 10, 5:00 p.m., DCOB 171

Ms. Walton, former executive search firm partner and college recruiting manager, has founded several businesses and websites focused on career coaching, successful job search, and helping people find great careers.  She is the author of "Yes! The Job is Mine. 4 Steps to Get the Job," and founder of 20'sEmpowered, focusing on helping 20-somethings make the most of their lives and careers in this important decade.


Nat FordNAT FORD, CEO, Jacksonville Transportation Authority

Tuesday, January 24, 5:00 p.m., DCOB 171

Mr. Ford's career spans more than three decades, including 15 combined years as CEO of the JTA, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, and the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority.  Ford is a champion of multimodal transportation, walkable neighborhoods, public-private partnerships, and transit-oriented development.  Ford is also a visionary who embraces change and technology that promotes sustainability.


Debbie BucklandDEBBIE BUCKLAND, Market President, BB&T

Thursday, February 9, 5:00 p.m., DCOB 171

Ms. Buckland is the Market President for BB&T in Jacksonville.  She began her career in financial services, continuing a long career that included time in many different roles, in many different markets in Mid-Atlantic.  Ms. Buckland joined BB&T in 2014 - believing strongly that their community banking model is the best model to serve clients in the highly competitive marketplace we have today. 


Mike WachholzMIKE WACHHOLZ, President, Pontoon Solutions

Thursday, February 23, DCOB 171

Mr. Wachholz is the President of Pontoon Solutions, a business unit of Adecco Group S.A.  Headquartered in Jacksonville, Pontoon is a leading global HR outsourcing company with operations in nearly 100 countries and more than 1,600 colleagues worldwide.  Mr. Wachholz's responsibilites with Pontoon and Adecco have taken him to more than 30 countries across EMEA, APAC and the Americas.  During his tenure at Pontoon, he has been recognized by Staffing Industry Analysts as one of the 100 most influential figures in the world of contingent work.


Lane Gardner


Tuesday, March 7, 5:00 p.m., DCOB 171

LANE GARDNER, Managing Director, Hines - Mr. Gardner is Managing Director of Hines, a privately owned global real estate investment, development and management firm.  Mr. Gardner is responsible for identifying, developing, managing, financing, leasing and marketing select projects in the SE Region of the United States.  



William (Tripp) Gulliford, Senior Managing Director, CBRE, oversees Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville for the commercial real estate firm. Mr. Gulliford brings more than two decades of commercial real estate, banking and management experience to CBRE.




jenksTraci Jenks, Senior Director, Cushman Wakefield, specializes in leasing of office and flex properties in the Jacksonville market and represents tenants and owners of real estate. Ms. Jenks started her career in commercial real estate in 1992 after graduating with a BBA in Real Estate from the University of Georgia.






Thursday, March 30, 5:00 p.m., DCOB 171

verlanderC. ALAN VERLANDER, Executive Director and COO, JAXSPORTS Council and TaxSlayer BowlMr. Verlander became the Executive Director and COO of the Jacksonville Sports Council (JAXSPORTS) and TaxSlayer Bowl in 2013. His duties include raising the sports profile of the NE Florida area and working to increase the sports culture and tourism of the region. Prior to this, Mr. Verlander served as the Executive Director of Sports and Entertainment for the City of Jacksonville and Director of Athletics at Jacksonville University.

babbyKEN BABBY, Owner and CEO, Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp - Mr. Babby became the Owner and CEO of the First Coast's longest-tenured sports franchise in September 2015, and introduced the team’s new identity as the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp on Nov. 2, 2016. Babby, 36, is the youngest multi-team professional sports owner, owning the Akron RubberDucks since October 2012. Prior to then, Babby spent 13 years in marketing positions with the Washington Post and its online and social media counterparts. He was named one of Sports Business Journal's 2016 "Forty Under 40," recognizing excellence and innovation in sports business careers.



Past Speakers


Fall 2016

Steven Grossman     CEO Jacksonville Aviation Authority
Frank Lonegro EVP and CFO CSX Corporation
Anthony "Tony" Kurlas Market Director Merrill Lynch Bank of America
Jonathan Bennett Chief Merchandising Officer Interline Brands
Ted Baker II President Bluegrass Materials
Greg Strong Director Florida Department of Environmental Protection


2015-16 School Year

Name ​Title ​Company
David Davis ​EVP, Commercial Banking BBVA Compass
Phil Ward ​Chief Operating Officer ​Community Hospice of NE Florida
​Kathleen Brandt ​President ​CSX Technology, Inc.
Matt Kane ​Chief Executive Officer ​​Greenshades Software
​Renee Finley President ​Guidewell Innovation
Don Fox ​Chief Executive Officer ​Firehouse Subs
Frank Martire​ ​Executive Chairman of the Board, Former CEO ​Fidelity National Information Systems, Inc. (FIS)
​Anthony Catanese ​Co-founder and Product Manager ​Ignite
​Gary Chartrand ​Executive Chairman ​Acosta
​John Fricks ​President ​AntonWest Advertising
Michael Grebe ​Chairman of the Board of Directors ​Interline
​Josh Martino ​President and Legal Counsel ​Bono's Pit Bar-B-Q, Inc. and Willie Jewell's Old School Bar-B-Q, Inc.
Michael Diaz Co-Founder and CFO ​St. Augustine Distillery Company


2014-15 School Year

​Name ​Title​ ​Company
​John Hirabayashi ​Chief Executive Officer ​Community First Credit Union
​Bruce Ferguson ​Chief Executive Officer ​CareerSource North Florida
​Chris Turner ​Chief Executive Officer ​Advantage Business UK
​Jonathan Bennett ​Chief Merchandising Officer ​Interline Brands
​Mark Frisch ​Executive VP ​Beaver Street Fisheries
​Michael Brannigan ​Chief Executive Officer ​Suddath
​Peter Huwiler ​Former Executive ​Merryvale Vinyards
​Laura Angellini ​President, North America & Global Strategic Marketing ​Johnson & Johnson- Vistakon
​Jim Graham ​​Chief Pilot ​Delta Air Lines
​Asok Chaudhuri ​President ​Heritage Capital Group
​Shane Snow ​Chief Creative Officer ​Contently
​Rob Chell ​Director of International Partnerships ​University of Highlands and Islands, Scotland
​Charlie Tomm ​Chief Executive Officer ​Brumos Automotive
​Josh Newsteder ​Chief Executive Officer ​City Link Air
​Frederick Eliasson ​Chief Financial Officer ​​CSX Transportation, Inc.