Foley & Lardner partner Kevin Hyde can add another leadership role to his bio – interim president of Florida State College at Jacksonville.
Hyde will take that title after President Cynthia Bioteau’s retirement, which is effective May 31.
Asked if the position could be of permanent interest, Hyde said Wednesday he didn’t know.
“Ask me after I’ve been on the job awhile,” he said.
Hyde, an employment lawyer, has a record of public service, including with the city.
He spent two terms on City Council from 2003-11, serving as president during the 2005-06 council year.
He also served as chief administrative officer, at $1 a year, for Mayor Alvin Brown from July 2011 through August 2012. He then served as Brown’s counselor on the city’s pension plans and reform.
“You think life experiences prepare you, but this is a first-time experience,” Hyde said.
Hyde emphasized the FSCJ role is interim. “It gets us to the next president, to serve as a bridge,” he said.
A search for Bioteau’s successor hasn’t begun, he said. The timeframe hasn’t been defined, but he said searches take three to six months.
He will step in as interim president when Bioteau, 65, leaves on or before May 31. She announced her retirement Jan. 22 after four years as president.
Hyde and the Foley & Lardner firm have been advising FSCJ’s board and have represented FSCJ on matters requested by the General Counsel’s office.
FSCJ said it did not currently have a contract with the firm.
His role included negotiations during former President Steve Wallace’s contentious departure.
Hyde said he was asked if he was interested in the interim role as president and whether he would apply, and said yes to both.
FSCJ Trustees Chair Karen Bowling announced Hyde’s appointment Feb. 13 in a letter to employees.
While it’s not clear how long Hyde will hold that post, it does include the time frame for a budget cycle.
Hyde said FSCJ plays a strong role in the city’s workforce development as it creates training programs for area employees.
FSCJ provides bachelor’s and associate degrees, technical certificates, workforce certification, adult and development programs, online degrees, GED preparation classes and more.
“It’s the gateway for education for many people,” Hyde said. “It’s the natural gateway to continuing education from high school.”
FSCJ serves more than 50,000 students a year.
Concurrently with his role at FSCJ, Hyde will be introducing new University of North Florida President David Szymanski to the community.
As chair of the UNF board of trustees, Hyde led the search to hire Szymanski, a University of Cincinnati dean and professor.
Pending a contract and other formalities, Szymanski becomes UNF’s sixth president after John Delaney retires May 31.
Hyde made the call to Szymanski Tuesday evening “about two minutes” after the trustees’ decision to offer him the job as president-elect.
Hyde and Szymanski will negotiate a contract that will be presented to the board. It then will be considered by the State University System of Florida Board of Governors, which is scheduled to meet March 29 in Jacksonville.
Szymanski, 60, could start as soon as June.
Delaney, 61, announced in March 2017 he would retire in May 2018. The search began soon after, based on protocols.
Hyde said that in September, the trustees began discussing the direction the university should take under new leadership, including its role in research and economic development. Those discussions also took place with the finalists.
He said that in terms of research, UNF will not try to compete with schools like the University of Florida or Florida State University.
Instead, UNF’s research would move more toward supporting local industries, such as logistics.
“There is a role we can play in our economy,” Hyde said.
That includes economic development, where Hyde said the university’s role could include “making sure we have the available talent” for new and expanding companies, such as Deutsche Bank.
“It’s our job as a regional university to make sure we are supplying the region with a trained workforce,” he said.
Szymanski is the dean of the Carl H. Lindner College of Business at the University of Cincinnati and previously was the director of the Center for Retailing Studies at Texas A&M University.
“He has done a lot of work at the University of Cincinnati really helping local economic development,” particularly with providing industries with the employees they need, Hyde said.
Hyde said while Delaney, a former mayor, was well known when he took the job as UNF president, Szymanski will be introduced to the area.
“One of my jobs is to get him out in the community. He will spend a lot of time doing that,” Hyde said.
Hyde is a 1984 graduate of the University of South Florida and a 1988 graduate of the University of Florida Levin College of Law.
Hyde sees the connection between UNF and FSCJ and his role among the two.
“It seemed like a good fit,” he said.