JAA elects Ray Alfred as board chair

Appointed in 2014, the emergency responder veteran previously led the aviation authority in 2015-16.

 Ray Alfred
Ray Alfred
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The Jacksonville Aviation Authority elected new board leadership for fiscal 2021-22, elevating Ray Alfred to chair.

The board voted at its monthly board meeting Sept. 27.

Alfred, previously vice chair, succeeds Patrick Kilbane as chair. 

Alfred is president and CEO of Emergency Responders’ Industries Inc., a consulting company that specializes in homeland security and hazards issues. He also is past director and the 1995-2003 fire chief for the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department. 

According to myjfrd.com, Alfred became the city’s first African American fire chief when Mayor John Delaney recruited him from Washington, D.C. The Fire and Rescue Department site says that Alfred was a 30-year veteran firefighter in Washington, including five years as chief. In Jacksonville, he oversaw plans to build new fire stations and replace aging equipment.

Former Mayor Alvin Brown appointed Alfred to the JAA board in March 2014 to complete the term of Dr. Chester Aikens, who died Dec. 5, 2013.

Mayor Lenny Curry reappointed Alfred when his first full four-year term expired Sept. 30, 2019. Alfred also served as board chair in 2015-16.

The board comprises seven members, with three appointed by Jacksonville’s mayor and four by the Florida governor. Each member may serve two consecutive four-year terms.  

Also elected to leadership positions:

• Jay Demetree as vice chair. Demetree, a Jacksonville native, is president and CEO of Demetree Brothers Inc., a real estate developer and property manager. Curry appointed Demetree in 2015. 

• Giselle Carson as secretary. She is a shareholder with the Marks Gray law firm. Former Gov. Rick Scott appointed Carson in 2014. 

• Michelle Barnett as treasurer. She is an attorney and a founding shareholder with the Alexander DeGance Barnett firm. Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed her in 2019. 

“As we rebound from the COVID-related challenges presented to the aviation industry, we are fortunate to have this caliber of leadership in place with our new officers,” said JAA CEO Mark VanLoh in a news release.



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