Susan Davenport

Susan currently undertakes a dual role of President/CEO as well as Vice President of Economic Development for the Gainesville Area Chamber, a five-star accredited Chamber of Commerce with approximately 1,400 members. In her dual role Susan is responsible for the day to day Chamber operations as well as developing and managing a comprehensive economic development program for the Gainesville, Florida MSA with specific focus on marketing, new business attraction, business retention and expansion and capital formation for early stage companies.


Susan received a Master of Public Affairs from The University of Texas at Austin and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from The University of Texas Medical Branch. She is also a graduate of the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma and is associated with the International Economic Development Institute.

Christopher Hoffman

Christopher Hoffman is a mechanical engineer, software developer, and 3D printing enthusiast located in Gainesville, Florida. After graduating with a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida, he found himself a home at OPIE Software, designing clinical software for the Orthotic and Prosthetic industry.

Outside of work, Chris has dedicated himself to the fields of digital fabrication, including 3D printing, 3D scanning, and computer aided design. He enjoys sharing his passion and knowledge with the online community, running a Youtube channel called Hoffman Engineering. There he showcases his own projects ranging from 3D printed, animatronic Pokemon to the latest in open-source CAD software.

While waiting on his 3D prints to finish or his videos to render, Chris can be found at the Gainesville Hackerspace, where he regularly gives demos of the successes and failures of his personal projects. He enjoys teaching classes at the Hackerspace, inviting the Gainesville community to learn from his many mistakes.

Commissioner Ken Cornell

Ken was born and raised in Gainesville, FL and attended Terwilliger Elementary, Ft Clarke Middle School and Buchholz High School prior to college. Following in his parents' footsteps, Ken attended the University of Florida and earned his Master's degree with high honors from the Fisher School of Accounting.


Commissioner Cornell was elected to the Alachua County Commission in November 2014.

James Coats

James G. Coats, CEO & Head of Applied Sciences at Phalanx Defense Systems,  formed his first company, Coats Magic Productions, around a number of different illusions he designed for the magic industry while attending the University of Florida.


Within 12 months of starting Coats Magic Productions, James merged his company and talents with one of the largest manufacturing development companies in the industry.


In 2003 James invented an illusion technology that allowed a person to quickly blend into a background, giving them the illusion of invisibility.  Eventually, James developed the technology into a counter surveillance technology, which was subsequently acquired by one of the alphabet agencies charged with maintaining national security.


In 2007, this led to an a position in the newly formed Advanced Development department of BAE Systems-Safariland division. Shortly after starting, gained training experience from operators at various levels within the special operations community and civilian law enforcement.


James currently sits on the ASTM board for body armor standards and measurements. From APACS (an air-conditioning system for body armor created for the US Army) to electronic weapons resistant body armor (a project for which James was awarded the prestigious BAE Systems Bronze award), James has created defense industry technological advancements, and has contributed to creating many more.

Rob Hyatt
A native of Gainesville, Rob Hyatt is serving in his first term on the Alachua County School Board. He taught in Florida’s public schools for thirty-eight years. Twenty-three years were spent as a high school band director beginning at Key West High School and ending at Winter Haven High School. His final fifteen years of teaching were at Duval (Elementary) Fine Arts Academy where he was named Alachua County’s Teacher of the Year in 2009. In 2016 he received the Elected Official Leadership Award from the Florida Alliance for Arts Education. 

Mr. Hyatt holds three degrees from the University of Florida and has done additional graduate work at the University of South Florida. He also holds certifications in Orff-Schulwerk and World Music Drumming. He has been an active adjudicator for the Florida Bandmasters Association since 1981. Mr. Hyatt has also served as saxophone instructor at the Florida Summer Music Camp and Adjunct Professor at Florida Keys Community College.

Active in community events, Mr. Hyatt has served on the boards of both the Gainesville Youth Chorus and WUFT-FM Classic 89. Rob and his wife Lou retired from teaching in 2011. They have two sons and two granddaughters.

Mayor Lauren Poe

Mayor Poe has lived in Gainesville since first moving here in 1982 as a young child.  Poe is a graduate of Gainesville High School, earned his BA in History and M.Ed. in Secondary Social Sciences from the University of Florida.

Lauren has been a teacher in Alachua County since 1998, teaching American History at Ft. Clarke Middle School for four years before accepting a job as a Professor at Santa Fe College. Poe teaches Economics and Government in the High School Dual Enrollment Program.

Mayor Poe was first elected to two terms for a total of six years on the Gainesville City Commission. His service on the commission included a year as mayor pro-tem, chair of the Community Redevelopment Agency, chair of the Metropolitan Transportation Planning Organization, chair of the Regional Utilities Committee, and chair of the Recreation, Cultural Affairs & Public Works Committee.

Lauren is married to Emily Monda Poe and has two spirited and beautiful daughters Elizabeth (4) and Beatrice (1).

Mayor Poe enjoys reading, cooking, spending time with his family and watching sports.


Former Mayor Ed Braddy

Former Mayor Braddy served over a decade in the greater Gainesville region, serving first on the Gainesville City Commission from 2002 to 2008. As commissioner, he chaired both the Public Safety and Regional Utilities committees and also served on key transportation boards including the Metropolitan Transportation Planning Organization and the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council.


Braddy is a lifelong Floridian – born in south Florida; raised in north Florida – and graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in history, one of his greatest passions. He is the father of five children ranging in age from eight to 18 and often enjoys fishing and boating with his friends and family.

Scott Karwan

Scott is a professional mechanical engineer with a background in mechanical systems and materials as well as computer graphics and art.


He attended the University of Florida where he received a Bachelor of Science in Digital Arts and Sciences and a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering. He currently works for a local environmental engineering and consulting firm as a project engineer providing engineering services to a variety of public and private sector clients.


When not at work, Scott can usually be found tinkering on his car or one of his many bicycles, developing with microcomputers, mountain biking at San Felasco Hammock Preserve, competing in Sports Car Club of America solo events, or creating new recipes in the kitchen.

Jessica Hurov

Jessica has been at the Hippodrome for ten years. In her current role as the Hippodrome’s Managing Director, Jessica oversees administrative areas of the theatre including fundraising, subscriptions, memberships, and patron relations. During her career, both in Boston and Gainesville, she has worked in market research, event planning, communications and theatre administration. She has worked with Gainesville’s professional arts organizations on the Gainesville Entertainment Sampler, the Chris Morris Arts Education Endowment at P.K. Yonge, the University of Florida’s P.K. Yonge Performing Arts program, and is a design partner for Dance Alive National Ballet. She also serves as a board member of the Gainesville Downtown Owners and Tenants Association (GDOT). Prior to moving to Gainesville, Jessica was the Administrative Manager of the Tsai Performance Center in Boston and a national research director at a marketing agency.


Jessica graduated with honors and has dual degrees in English and Psychology from Boston University. She is proud to play her part in supporting the Hipp’s artistic mission, and through her work, create a sustainable and thriving artistic home at the Hippodrome.

Paige Beck

Paige is a native of Princeton, West Virginia, and a graduate of West Liberty University in West Liberty, WV. She's been a member of the WCJB TV20 since 1989.  She currently co-anchors WCJB TV20's 5:30 Live, 6:00 Report and the 11:00 pm Nightbeat.


As a child in rural West Virginia, Paige says the 'Golden Rule' was a guiding principle instilled by her parents. It's a philosophy she brings to her work with charitable groups, and anyone in need.  Whether it's helping someone find a state agency to solve a problem, or calling and emailing viewers, Paige is always giving of her time to benefit North Central Floridians.


Her hobbies include cooking (she was a finalist in the U.S. Chef's Open), painting, gardening and antiques. She's also graduate of Frank Hawley's Drag Racing School and an avid Gator football and basketball fan.


Paige was honored as a "Woman Who Makes A Difference" by the Gateway Girl Scout Council and was named an "Outstanding American" by Alachua County's African American Cultural and Historical Society as well as a Woman of Distinction by Santa Fe College. She was inducted into the West Liberty Wall of Fame in 2009 for her outstanding community service. It is a prestigious honor given to only one graduate every year.