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Are you interested in becoming an Ambassador? Ambassador Application (.pdf)
Ed Mercel was born in Toronto, Canada and attended Ryerson Institute of Technology, where he majored in Radio and Television Arts. After college, he worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and then the CTV Television network. While in television as a Producer/Director, Ed worked on many different kinds of productions, but finished up in sports where he produced and/or directed for a multitude of networks in many sports including ABC, ESPN, Turner Broadcasting and CTV. In addition, he has produced and directed at seven Olympic Games.
Ed moved to Jacksonville in 1996 to work for the PGA Tour and in 1998, he switched careers receiving his Real Estate License then earned his Brokers License and began a career in general real estate. In 2004, he became a site agent for several condo projects and recently joined Queens Harbour Real Estate. Ed is married with two children in college and enjoys bike riding, skiing, fishing and martial arts holding a second degree black belt in karate.
Lori Adams was born and raised in upstate New York, in the beautiful Thousand Islands Region. Having lived in Watertown and Sackets Harbour, New York for most of her life, Lori moved to Ponte Vedra Beach when she transferred with Smith Barney twelve years ago on a one way ticket from Syracuse, New York. When asked what she does for a living Lori’s response is, “I have a few livings!” She presently works full time as an Operations Manager for Harbor View Advisors, a local boutique investment banking firm. In addition, she works part time at the TPC Sawgrass golf shop as a Sales Associate. Lori also works part time as an Independent Fashion Consultant with a direct sales company. Lori loves fashion and enjoys helping women with fashion. She feels she can offer direct service to women by doing home shows for her clients as well as private appointments with her sample line of clothing that she owns. In her spare time, she enjoys golf, wine, horses, traveling and assisting with charity events and fundraisers.
Rich Alleger was born and raised in Zionsville, PA just northwest of Philadelphia. After graduating high school Rich attended the University of North Florida where he played rugby until he obtained his bachelor’s degree in 2008.
Rich currently serves as the Membership Director at the Winston Family YMCA. He began his career with the YMCA as an after school supervisor to school-aged children and previously served as the Director of Tennis and Associate Membership Director at the Williams Family YMCA in Mandarin.
When Rich is not serving his community he can be found coaching the UNF rugby team, playing for the Jacksonville Axemen, cycling, or relaxing on the beach.
“I am very excited to serve as an ambassador for the Ponte Vedra Chamber. I have always enjoyed helping others and this will be an opportunity to branch out and serve a community I have been a part of for the past 10 years in a different capacity.”
Bob Baer was born in Chicago, and grew up in Mt. Vernon, New York. He has a BA from Champlain College and a MS in Advertising and Marketing from The Graduate School of Business, Columbia University. Bob started in sales in 1940 selling The Saturday Evening Post – winning a hunting knife in a sales contest. After selling advertising space for trade publishers in New York, he started his publishers’ representative firm in 1968. Bob currently is an advertising representative for H Magazine – published by The Florida Times-Union. He is also the United State advertising representative for publications in London and Singapore.
Steven Beyer was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida. Steven currently has an under graduate degree in Business Administration and is close to obtaining his graduate degree in Business Administration. After high school Steven immediately began his career with VyStar Credit Union where he currently serves as the Branch Vice President of the Jacksonville Beach location. Steven believes it is important of be an active part of the community and dedicates time and resources to the March of Dimes, United Way of Northeast Florida, and the YMCA. In my spare time, he enjoys following all types of sports, but mainly soccer and supporting the hometown Jacksonville Jaguars!
April Biller, with over 15 years in the hospitality industry, has worked for several prestigious hotel companies promoted from Conference Services Manager to Director of Sales and Conference Services. She is a Certified Meeting Planner and a member of the North Florida Chapter of MPI. She calls Ponte Vedra Beach home after relocating from Boca Raton, Florida five years ago. In her free time, April enjoys spending time with her family, playing tennis and golf and volunteering in the local community.
Andrew Brandler was raised in Washington, D.C.. He graduated from Hood College in Frederick, Maryland. In Washington, D.C. he owned an emergency road service business, worked in the radiologic technology field, and served as a marketing manager for a rheumatology practice specializing in pharmaceutical studies. Andrew moved to Ponte Vedra Beach in 1997 with his wife and two sons. He worked at Shands Jacksonville, Baptist Medical Center, Beaches and South. When Florida State College at Jacksonville started its radiologic technology program, Andrew began teaching as an adjunct instructor and became the program director in 2006. In 2009 Andrew became the radiologic technology program director for St Johns River State College in St. Augustine where he still teaches as an adjunct instructor. In 2012, having missed the business world, Andrew started Select Coffee Service – a coffee and espresso beverage service which provides an improved coffee service for businesses seeking to impress their employees, clients, and customers. Select Coffee Service offers businesses the advantages of flexibility and no-contracts. Andrew enjoys tennis, biking, and travelling.
Brian Crooke is a native Floridian who was born in Pensacola and relocated to the Jacksonville Area in 1994. He is a graduate of The Davis College of Business at Jacksonville University. Brian began his banking career locally in 2005 providing financial services to the beaches community. As of 2010, Brian took on the role of Assistant Vice President/ Financial Center Leader at the Ponte Vedra Beach location of BB&T. He currently resides in South Jacksonville Beach with his wife Merry Anne.
Kimberly Deas specializes only in selling businesses. She focuses on your specific industry to find the right buyer. This means faster results for you. With experience and integrity, she brings marketing experience not frequently seen in the industry. Her service, dedication and drive is your guarantee. If you are prepared to sell your business, she is ready to sell it for you.
Joe Flask became President/COO of BrightLink Technology on 11/1/2011. BrightLink Technology is an I.T. Managed Services Company that caters to the small business community in Jacksonville and NE Florida after more than 20 years of successful senior management in the consumer finance industry. Joe’s responsibilities include management of day-today operations, business development and overall growth of the company. In addition to his success in business, Flask has been an active part of the Jacksonville community, dedicating time and resources to the March of Dimes, First Coast Soccer Association and the Children’s Home Society. Joe graduated from Jacksonville University in 1990.
Jill Ketron currently serves as the Assistant to the Executive Director at the Bayat Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) public charity that is dedicated to raising money to help rebuild Afghanistan by supporting women, constructing orphanages and hospitals, and promoting education. In 2009, Jill graduated Magna Cum Laude with dual B.A. degrees in History and Women’s Studies from Virginia Commonwealth University, and she was awarded the 2009 award for “VCU Outstanding Senior in Women’s Studies”, and has also completed coursework on women’s issues and international aid at the Graduate level. Jill moved from Virginia to the Ponte Vedra area in March 2012, and is looking forward to using the Ponte Vedra Chamber of Commerce to become more involved in the community.
Dana Merrill, a Licensed Real Estate Agent since 2003, is a University of North Florida graduate. She uses her degree in Communications and Graphic design to effectively and attractively market homes with an upscale, professional edge that makes them stand out among the rest. Along with her partner, Pennie S. Cobb, Dana has her own successful real estate company, Home Star John Merrill Realty Network.
Dana has experience marketing and selling residential real estate in every price range, and spent several years of her career working extensively with the sale of distressed and foreclosure properties. A Jacksonville resident for 15 years, Dana’s wide knowledge of the city’s neighborhoods helps her to accurately price property in any market. She has remained in touch with many of her customers, and often gets referrals from satisfied buyers and sellers.
In addition to real estate sales, Dana acts as Marketing Director for her husband Adam’s construction, renovation, addition and cabinetry business, John Merrill Homes. Between the services of Home Star John Merrill Realty and her responsibilities with John Merrill Homes, Dana and Adam can offer a full range of real estate services. The two companies have proven to be an asset to one another. Dana’s passion for health and fitness has lead her to become is a direct distributor for Juice Plus+ products. Understanding the need for complete health for herself and their two young children, Dana personally endorses the Juice Plus line, which offers quality products for the entire family.
Margaret Miele joined BBVA Compass in January 2006. In 2006, she was appointed vice president and preferred client manager of Northeast Florida. In 2008, she was named district sales manager of the Retail Banking Branch which involved supporting relationships with 35 branch networks. Margaret has been the Business Relationship Manager of the Ponte Vedra Branch since 2010. She focuses on helping local business owners with all of their business banking needs; such as helping them manage cash flow, providing financing for growth, helping them think strategically and plan for the future. Prior to BBVA Compass, she spent 10 years working for MBNA America Bank in Cleveland, Ohio in a variety of management positions.
Marie O’Keefe could almost be called a Florida Native, being born in Miami Florida and then raised in Atlanta, Georgia. Marie is a graduate of the University of North Georgia, in Dahlonega Georgia with a Degree in Business Marketing. She relocated to the Jacksonville Area after being set up with her husband by his Mother! After one meeting she knew she was going to marry him, took a transfer down to Florida and within months they were engaged. Marie comes from a background of Hospitality with a company called Aramark, she even worked at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. As a newly-wed she decided to make a career change into her father’s field of work and become a Financial Representative with
Northwestern Mutual. Marie has a passion for helping people achieve financial security for themselves and their family, dreaming big, making goals and helping them plan and achieve those Goals! She has her Florida Life, Health & Variable Annuity Insurance license and is working towards becoming a Certified Financial Planner with Northwestern Mutual Financial Network. She currently resides in Saint Augustine with her husband Tucker. In her free time she enjoys traveling, cooking, reading, wine tasting learning to play golf, and you may have even pass her along A1A riding her Road bike alongside her husband, while they are training for the MS150.
Heather Senterfitt owner of First Coast Focus, is “almost” a native of the Jacksonville beaches. Her dad came to sunny Florida in the middle of a Maine snowstorm to interview at the University of North Florida. Not surprisingly, he accepted their offered professorship. Heather grew up around the beaches and attended San Pablo Elementary and Fletcher Junior and Senior High Schools. She graduated from Jacksonville University with a degree in Business Administration and went on to complete her Master’s in Management at Webster University. After nearly 11 years of not-for-profit work with the University of North Florida, she went out on her own and began consulting with a variety of individuals and companies. In 2009, Heather turned her consulting work into First Coast Focus, which offers creative, customized business solutions to small businesses and independent contractors with limited time and staff. Her company handles marketing, organization, coordination, facilitation and research services so that you can focus on the aspects of your business that you love.
Kari Zerrahn was born and raised in the Olympic Village of Lake Placid, NY and attended Plattsburgh State University, obtaining a degree in communication disorders and sciences. After college she got involved in the family business and managed the Mountain View Inn located in downtown Lake Placid.
Upon relocating with her husband to Florida in 2011, Kari obtained her Life, Health, and Variable Annuity Insurance License and began her career as an Independent Agent for American Family Life Assurance of Columbus (AFLAC). Her primary function is to educate employers about the opportunities of enhancing their current employee benefits packages with supplemental insurance at no cost to the business, and to evaluate the health insurance needs of their employees. She offers affordable products such as Dental Insurance, Hospital Confinement and Sickness Indemnity, Cancer Indemnity, Short Term Disability, Accident Protection, and Life Insurance.
Kari is also the Club Secretary for Arlington Civitan of Jacksonville, a volunteer service organization that emphasizes awareness and support for those with developmental disabilities. Kari currently lives in Ponte Vedra Beach with her husband Ian, and their two cats, Alice and Napoleon.
Amanda Jones was born and raised in Kingsbay, GA. She grew up in a huge family (Oldest of 6). She graduated at age 16 from high school so was able to pursue numerous different occupations. She worked at Ameris Bank for 2 years as a Head Teller/Personal Banker then went on to be a dually licensed real estate agent in GA and FL for 3 years. She was number 2 in her county for 2 consecutive quarters. She now works at First Citizens Bank in Sawgrass/Ponte Vedra Beach location as a Business Sales Representative. Working at First Citizens Bank (A Five Star Bank) allows her to represent and service her clients at a top notch level. She is able to utilize the tools First Citizen Bank has provided to help assist in excelling businesses to their full potential. And in her words “I love my job which makes me very good at it!”. On her free time she loves the beach, cooking/baking, running events, and volunteering in her community.
Hamilton Horne was born in Marietta, GA and moved to Ponte Vedra Beach, FL in 2000. I come from a very close family, including one older sister. I graduated from Allen D. Nease High in 2006 and left Florida to attend The University of Alabama, where I received my degree in Criminal Justice, in 2010. While in college I was very active in the community representing Chi Phi Fraternity. After college I started working for a small retail company, before joining First Citizens Bank as Sales and Service Representative. In 2012, I returned to Ponte Vedra Beach and currently live in Jacksonville. In my free time I enjoy camping, fishing, hiking, and hanging with friends. As an Eagle Scout I service my customers everyday with honor and integrity by reducing stress in their banking needs.