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Movers & Shakers

State's first Insurance Consumer Advocate back on the job

Steve Burgess, who was the state's first Insurance Consumer Advocate in 1990, has returned to the position for a third time.

Burgess, 65, of Tallahassee, became the first insurance consumer advocate when he was appointed by then-Insurance Commissioner Tom Gallagher. Burgess held the position until 1997 when he was involved in a showdown with then-Insurance Commissioner Bill Nelson. Burgess returned to the position from 2004 to 2007 when Gallagher, then CEO, put him back in the job.

Burgess most recently served as the staff director of the Florida Senate’s Committee on Banking and Insurance. He also served as an associate and deputy public counsel and received his bachelor’s degree in accounting and his law degree from Florida State University.

Burgess replaces Robin Westcott, who left in September to return to the private sector.

Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater had this comment about Burgess in a press release: “Steve’s career experience and his understanding of the insurance industry will help further our efforts to hold insurance companies accountable and ensure that Floridians are being treated fairly. He is a proven advocate for Florida consumers and I am confident he will represent the best interests of Florida families.”

New leader named for health plan association

Audrey Brown has become the new president and CEO of Florida Association of Health Plans.

She was most recently chief of staff to Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty. She served as McCarty's chief policy advisor, chief lobbyist on agency fiscal matters and managed the operations of the Office of Insurance Regulation.

Brown also worked as deputy chief of staff to McCarty from June 2007 to November 2007 and she workedin the executive office for Gov. Jeb Bush.

 New press secretary named for education advocacy group

Lane Wright, a former spokesman for Gov. Rick Scott, will be the new Florida press secreary for StudentsFirst.

Earlier this year, StudentsFirst hired Troy Bell as its Florida outreach director, plus Kelly Garcia and Jamona Hayling as field coordinators.

Nikki Lowrey, state director for StudentsFirst, said the education advocacy group aims to “help people understand how elevating teachers, empowering parents, and spending our tax dollars wisely will improve our children’s education.”

Scott appointees

Scott has made four new appointments and three reappointments to the Board of Nursing Home Administrators: Newcomers are: Patricia Ann Feeney, 78, of Pompano Beach, a health care consultant with VITAS Innovative Hospice; Michael K. Helmer, 61, of Naples, a consultant with GDI InfoTech Inc.; Scott Lipman, 58, of Boca Raton, a nursing home administrator and chief operating officer at the Marrinson Group Inc.; and Thomas O. Schroeppel, 70, of Tampa, a self employed author and publisher.

Chantelle Fernandez, 37, of Weston, a nursing home administrator at the Fountainhead Care Center, succeeds Patricia Freeman on the board. Henry Gerrity, 37, of Winter Springs,a nursing home administrator at the Tuskawilla Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, succeeds Robert Rosenthal; and Christine Hankerson, 65, of Wesley Chapel, a registered nurse and director of learning with Opis Management Resources, succeeds Jeri Francoeur.

Appointments are subject to approval by the Florida Senate.

Hollywood resident Juan A. Selaya, 78, and the owner of JAS Property Marketing Corporation, has been reappointed to the Broward County Housing Authority.

Scott announced three appointments and two reappointments to the Board of Funeral, Cemetery and Consumer Services: James Davis, 61, of Tallahassee, the owner of James Davis CPA, succeeds Nancy Hubbell. Keenan Knopke, 62, of Palm Harbor, the president of Curlew Hills Memory Gardens Inc. succeeds Gail Thomas-Dewitt. Vanessa Oliver, 32, of Punta Gorda, general counsel at Ambitrans Medical Transport Inc., succeeds Donald Stiegman.

Reappointed are Joseph “Jody” Brandenburg, 70, of Jacksonville, the president of Hardage Giddens Funeral Home and Cemeteries, and Lewis “Lew” Hall, 54, of Lakeland, the president of Gentry-Morrison Funeral Homes.

Scott appointed three new members to the Community Association Living Study Council: Rosa de la Camara, 56, of Miami, an attorney with Becker & Poliakoff PA; William Guthrie, 45, of Orlando, an attorney with Foley & Lardner LLP; and Jonathan Peet, 59, of Tallahassee, the owner of Jonathan Peet CPA LLC.

The governor has appointed two new members to the South Browad Hospital District Board of Commissioners and two reappointments.

 Vijay “Vic” Narang, 47, of Davie, the chief executive officer of GDKN Corporation, a global technology services firm, succeeds Kathleen Durham.

Douglas Harrison, 44, of Pembroke Pines, a senior litigation counsel for the city of Hollywood and an adjunct professor at Broward College, succeeds Alfredo Avalos on the board.

Laura Raybin Miller, 50, of Hollywood, is a financial advisor with UBS Financial Services, Inc., is reappointed.

Jose Basulto, 49, of Hallandale Beach, the founder and president of Basulto Management Consulting, Inc., has been reappointed.