Collier Merrill / Merrill Land Company and Great Southern Restaurants
Mr. Collier Merrill is the president of Merrill Land Company, a real estate development company, which specializes in condominium development along the Northwestern Gulf Coast. He is the president of Great Southern Restaurants, Inc., which owns and operates The Fish House, Atlas Oyster House, Jackson’s Steakhouse, Five Sisters Blues Café, The Palafox House, and Great Southern Weddings, Catering & Events. Additionally, Merrill is a partner in the Lee House: A Boutique Inn and Event Venue. Merrill is a graduate of the University of West Florida with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management.
Jim Rhodes / IT Gulf Coast and ITEN Wired
A Pensacola native and graduate of UWF, Jim relocated to Charlotte in 1997 to pursue a career in banking. After several years at his “dream job” he realized that his real passion was technology. After obtaining his IT degree and working several years in that sector, he relocated back to Pensacola in 2007 with his wife and two sons. He has been employed by AppRiver since his return where he leads their mobile solutions team. His passion is promoting the technology sector in this areas and that has lead him to become the president of IT Gulf Coast, director of ITEN Wired, and serve on the board of Innovation Coast.
Nicole Dixon / Gulf Coast African American Chamber of Commerce (GCAACC)
Nicole Dixon is a native to Pensacola and growing up in a family of entrepreneurs, Nicole knew she wanted to be a business professional as a child. Nicole has coined herself as A.K.A”TheSolutions Lady” because she will find a solution to your small business problems! She has always made it a point to strive for her goals to be a successful, professional woman.
She has worked in a variety of professional capacities from business consulting, personal & business tax preparation, bookkeeping, marketing, professional presentations and countless other fields in the business community. She is currently seeking her degree in Digital Design and is expected to graduate in December 2015. In the role as HR Resources Manager of The Cell Phone Place, Nicole helped the company grow from one store in Pensacola to a total of 4 stores in over 3 years, while grossing over 1 million dollars in sales and managing over 50 employees. Nicole was the owner of Small Business Administrative Solutions a company that provided administrative solutions for small businesses in Escambia County for 5 years and decided to close it down and do something she really loved which was helping others to find employment. She is currently the owner of Key 2 Success an Employment Recruiting Company and under her leadership has provided over 1000 local jobs to residents in Escambia County.
Hong Tran / Pensacola Young Professionals
Dr. Brendan Kelly / University of West Florida (UWF)
Dr. Brendan Kelly was named Interim Vice President for University Advancement at the University of West Florida in April 2013 and appointed the permanent position in July 2014. Prior to his appointment, Dr. Kelly served as the Director of the School of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts and Chair of the Department of Communication Arts at UWF.
In his role as Interim Vice President, Dr. Kelly serves as a member of the President’s Cabinet and provides executive leadership to a team of more than 60 professionals in the Division of Advancement, overseeing the university’s integrated marketing and communications efforts, as well as all of the development and alumni relations’ activities. In addition, he oversees the UWF Foundation, whose current endowment investment pool exceeds $60 million. As the institution’s chief philanthropic officer, Dr. Kelly is responsible for the university’s 50th anniversary campaign (2017), which is currently in the feasibility-testing phase.