Governor appoints three to Clay County Development Authority


CLAY COUNTY – Three new members of the Clay County Development Authority were appointed on July 2 by order of Gov. Ron DeSantis.

“On behalf of the CCDA board, I am excited to welcome these new board members,” said Executive Director Josh Cockrell. “We appreciate the governor’s support for our organization. These appointments will help up us fulfill our mission in supporting, promoting, and facilitating economic development in Clay County.”

Hackney: 'Next five years will be unprecedented'

Originally from North Carolina, Thomas Hackney moved to Florida in 1974 and has lived here since. He is a 12-year resident of Clay County.

Currently, he serves as the Human Resources director for the Hanania Automotive Group. Prior to holding that position, he was a 29-year veteran of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

While serving in a law enforcement capacity, Hackney held multiple positions, including detective and chief of investigations. He was decorated as an officer and has been a member of the Fraternal Order of Police since 1991.

When the time came to hang up the uniform and make the move to “regular life,” Hackney was recommended for the position on the CCDA by connections he had made during his time as a police officer.

“Through connections I had made with the sheriff’s office over the years,” said Hackney of how he got the Governor’s appointment to the position. “I’ve been a Clay County resident for 12 year, so some of the folks I met there made a recommendation to the governor to consider me for that board, knowing that I was transitioning from the sheriff’s office to the private sector, I guess it seemed like a good fit.

“I spent an entire career and adult life serving the public, and knowing how things work, being a good steward of tax dollars. Taking that into the public realm and looking at how to apply that to the board, just seemed like a good fit,” said Hackney.

He plans to go into the board and observe the current state of affairs. He looks forward to using his background and history to provide a fresh set of eyes. He sees this as a honeymoon period, while checking the lay of the land before diving in. He doesn’t have anything specific in mind project-wise at the moment. He plans to see what the goals over the next few years are, and then try to put his on his own spin.

“To be considered and then selected by the governor [for this position], I’d say that’s a huge honor,” Hackney said. “There’s nothing but an unpaved road that we can pave to make Clay… the growth that Clay County, in the next five years will see, will be unprecedented, both residential and commercial.”

Clary: Recruiting new businesses essential to stimulate economy

MIDDLEBURG – Tina Clary was one of three new appointees by Governor Ron DeSantis to the Clay County Development Authority. DeSantis made the appointments on July 2.

Clary is originally from Tennessee and has been a Clay County resident for almost 50 years. Her husband founded their professional surveying and mapping business, Clary and Associates 37 years ago. Following his death in 2018, she took over leadership of the company as principal and Chief Executive Officer.

Her experience in economic development is varied, including working with the Florida Department of Transportation, and both private and commercial development throughout Northeast Florida. She is also involved in community and civic organizations, which allow her to see the needs of the local economy.

“I am a member of the Clay County Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the Florida Survey and Mapping Society and they continue to strengthen my resolve to be proactive in the needs of the county,” Clary said of the relationship between her occupation and its value to the community. “When Co-Chairing the Clay St Vincent Hospital annual fundraising event in 2017, I recognized the need for sustainable businesses in our bedroom community for industry that will attract other industries, provide jobs and add to our tax base. As President of the Council on Aging Board of Directors, I see the differences a strong infrastructure can make in serving our seniors as well as the general population.”

Clary’s goal with the CCDA is to be an essential part of recruiting businesses that would stimulate the local economy.

“I specifically would love to see the connector road ‘Gregory B Clary Way,’ attract businesses and provide jobs that would boost the quality of living in the county,” she said. “Also, the revitalization of the Reynolds Industrial Park, where there is full access to land, air, and water, is something to keep in the coffers of our thoughts as well.”

Clary said she is honored to have been appointed as a member of the board.

Howard: ‘The main focus is to have more jobs’

ORANGE PARK – The Clay County Development Authority will have three new faces. Tiffany Howard is one the appointees made by Governor Ron DeSantis on July 2.

Howard, originally from Michigan, moved to North Florida about 15 years ago. She is an Orange Park resident who moved there about 10 years ago. She makes her living as a realtor and real estate broker.

“Over the last four years, I’ve served on several committees for the Town of Orange Park,” Howard said. “Including the land use and planning committee which then evolved into the economic development committee. I’ve been really active in my town… trying to stimulate our local economy.” Other committees with which Howard has been involved are the Parks and Recreation Committee, and General Government and Policy Committees. She also has been Rotary Club of Orange Park member since 2016.

Howard says she was asked to submit an application and received that call last week that she had been appointed.

“I’m really looking forward to sharing my talents. I’ve been watching all the moving and shaking in the last 15 years,” she said. “There’s going to be funds to be used to help developers wanting to bring new developments that will stimulate our economy, and eventually more jobs. The main focus is to have more jobs in Clay County so people have to do less commuting.”

Josh Cockrell, Executive Director of the CCDA is looking forward to the prospect of working with the new appointees.

Howard will have a four-year term.  Having been in Orange Park for 10 years and watching its growth, she looks forward to the chance to continue.

“One of the things I’m most excited about is to represent the municipality; the town of Orange Park,” Howard said. “To have a seat at that table, for any redevelopment that can be done in our three and a half square miles. I just want to do what I can to serve our residents, protect home values [obviously I have a vested interest in that], school system and quality of life.”


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