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Vince Cavin
Jax Daily Record Thursday, Sep. 4, 201412:00 PM EST

One Spark's Vince Cavin chosen as Hemming Park executive director

by: Max Marbut and Marilyn Young

Ability to raise money? Yes.

Created big and small events? Indeed.

Business acumen? Check.

The skill set the board of the Friends of Hemming Park wanted in its first director was extensive.

“There were 100 different tentacles,” Wayne Wood, president of the Friends board, said of the criteria.

After reviewing more than 100 applications and interviewing 15 or so candidates, only one met all the board’s needs.

Vince Cavin, events and operations director for One Spark, was introduced this morning as the executive director of Friends of Hemming Park.

“He was the one who had the full package,” Wood said of Cavin.

Two days after his 38th birthday, Cavin said in a news release the mission is to transform the park across from City Hall into a modern urban space.

“Starting today, we are embracing a place, a plaza, a park, soon to be transformed into a vibrant cultural center,” he said.

Wood said Cavin was one of the architects of One Spark, that brought 260,000 people Downtown in April.

Cavin also is president and co-founder of Party, Benefit and Jam, a nonprofit series that organizes pop-up events to raise money for charities. Among those events was a dinner under the Fuller Warren Bridge at Riverside Arts Market and one on the roof of the Museum of Science and History.

He said Cavin thought through the process of setting up the enterprise more than any other candidate. He created a week-by-week timeline of what needed to be done and who would do it, Wood said.

Cavin also provided a list of ideas for events, large and small, including town hall meetings, dance parties, showcasing the zoo, symphony spotlight and nonprofit crowdfunding festivals.

Friends board member Diane Brunet-Garcia said 25 candidates made the first cut and were asked some follow-up questions.

City Council approved last week a $1 million contract for the first 18 months of management of Hemming Plaza.

Under the agreement, the group is required to raise $250,000 in private donations in the first 12 months of operation. Brunet-Garcia said Cavin will be involved in that effort, but that work will be done primarily by the board.

In addition to hiring an executive director at a salary of $60,000 plus benefits, an operations manager with a salary of $40,000 and administrative support and volunteer coordinators at salaries of $35,000 each were outlined in the Friends’ proposal to the city.

Two cleaning and beautification positions, each at $12.52 per hour, two safety and hospitality positions at $12.93 per hour and a social services outreach specialist to be paid $22.32 per hour also were specified in the business plan.

[email protected]

(904) 356-2466

[email protected]

(904) 356-2466

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