Florida TaxWatch Announces Executive Officers for 2021 Board of Trustees
Sen. George S. LeMieux Named Chairman of Florida TaxWatch Board of Trustees
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Florida TaxWatch (FTW) announced the appointment of its Executive Officers for the 2021 Board of Trustees and named former U.S. Senator George S. LeMieux as Chairman of the Board. In support of Sen. LeMieux, the Florida TaxWatch Board also includes Chairman-elect Piyush Patel, President & CEO of Kyra Solutions, Treasurer James Repp, President & COO of AvMed Health Plans, Secretary Marva Johnson, Group Vice President for Charter Communications, and Immediate Past Chairman Sen. Pat Neal, CEO of Neal Communities. The Executive Officers were formally appointed to their posts during Florida TaxWatch’s 41st Annual Meeting held on October 29, 2020.
Florida TaxWatch Chairman and former U.S. Sen. George S. LeMieux said, “In the historic and unprecedented times we find ourselves in today, the hard work, oversight, and data-driven research of Florida TaxWatch has never been more important. I am truly honored to serve as Chairman of this respected and valuable non-partisan research institution and look forward to continuing our critical work with Florida’s government and business leaders to ensure a strong future for our state and its taxpayers.”
Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic M. Calabro said, “Florida TaxWatch is humbled by the dedication of our volunteer leadership and grateful for their commitment to serve not only our organization but the taxpayers of our state. Since our founding, the success of Florida TaxWatch has been built on the shoulders of great leaders. That tradition continues with these new Executive Officers and our entire Executive Committee. We are thankful for the hard work and guidance of Immediate Past Chairman Sen. Pat Neal and look forward to the good work of our new Chairman, Sen. George S. LeMieux, and the rest of our talented Executive Officers as we fight together on behalf of Florida taxpayers.”
The complete list of 2021 Officers and Executive Committee members are as follows:
Chairman: Senator George S. LeMieux, Gunster
Chairman-Elect: Piyush Patel, Kyra Solutions
Treasurer: James M. Repp, AvMed Health Plans
Secretary: Marva Johnson, Charter Communications
Immediate Past Chairman: Senator Pat Neal, Neal Communities
Ms. Samira Beckwith, Hope HealthCare Services
Mr. Colin W. Brown, JM Family Enterprises, Inc.
Ms. Claudia Davant, Adams Street Advocates
Mr. John Provenzano, Publix Super Markets, Inc.
Mr. Steve Evans, IBM (ret.)
Mr. Mike McCann, Prudential
Mr. Tom Hoban, Kitson & Partners
Ms. Belinda Keiser, Keiser University
Ms. Natalie King, RSA Consulting
Mr. Daniel Martel, Florida Power & Light
Governor Bob Martinez, Holland & Knight
Ms. Michelle Robinson, Verizon
Senator George S. LeMieux
For more than twenty years, George S. LeMieux has been lead trial counsel in federal and state courts, in civil and regulatory matters, before juries, judges, and arbitrators. His clients include financial institutions (Wells Fargo, TD Bank), telecommunications companies (AT&T), healthcare providers (Cleveland Clinic, Broward Health, Memorial Healthcare), real estate developers (Ram Realty Services, Falcone Group), and during the course of his career prominent individuals including President-elect George W. Bush, Governor Jeb Bush, and Raymond Perelman. He has argued cases before the United States Supreme Court, the Supreme Court of Florida, and Florida’s intermediate appellate courts. His practice includes defending clients in enforcement matters brought by state attorneys general, advocating for clients in administrative law proceedings including bid protests, and counseling governmental bodies on public records and public meeting requirements. He has successfully litigated business disputes and intellectual property cases to verdict; his practice also includes professional liability defense.
George is an advisor to Fortune 500 companies, their officers, and boards. He leads internal corporate investigations representing boards of directors and has experience in representing independent committees of boards in related party transactions.
George served as Florida’s 34th United States Senator in the 111th Congress. In the United States Senate, he served on the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, the Armed Services Committee, and the Special Committee on Aging. He successfully passed legislation on health care fraud, export promotion, rating agency reform, small business promotion, as well as a treaty resolution on tactical nuclear weapons.
He also served as Florida’s chief deputy attorney general, overseeing more than 400 attorneys, and as the governor’s chief of staff overseeing all state agencies and operations. In that role, he negotiated a gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
At the request of Governor-elect Ron DeSantis, George co-chaired the DeSantis/Nunez transition in 2018.
George is the chairman of the board of Gunster. He is the founder of the LeMieux Center for Public Policy at Palm Beach Atlantic University. He is also the author, along with Laura Mize, of the award-winning book, Florida Made, The 25 Most Important Figures Who Shaped the State.
Piyush Patel, a fourth-generation entrepreneur, is the Chairman of the Board and CEO of Kyra Solutions, which he founded in 1997. Prior to Kyra, Piyush worked for 9 years in technical and managerial positions for an automotive safety systems company. He also served as a Research Affiliate at MIT.
Piyush received his business education at the University of Michigan and Harvard Business School (Owner/President Management Program.) He has an M.S. in Computer Science from Stevens Institute of Technology, New Jersey, and a B.E. in Instrumentation and Control Engineering from Gujarat University, India.
In the past he has volunteered on the boards of Associated Industries of Florida, Boys and Girls Clubs of Mulberry and Lakeland, and Florida Education Foundation, to name a few. He has been on the Florida TaxWatch board since 2012 and served as its Secretary (2016-2018) and Treasurer (2018-2020) prior to becoming Chairman-Elect.
James M. Repp
Jim joined AvMed in 2004 and was named President and Chief Operating Officer in October of 2016. Prior to assuming his current position, he held various roles of escalating scope and accountability within the company, most recently serving as Senior Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer.
As president and COO, he is responsible for the direction and oversight of the company’s various business lines, defining and implementing the company's strategic plan, and ensuring that AvMed maintains a strong culture of quality and customer service. He is also responsible for effectively growing the organization and ensuring its financial strength and operating efficiency.
He currently serves on the Board of Trustees and Executive Committee of Florida TaxWatch, the Nova Southeastern University Ambassadors Board, the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the Orange Bowl Committee, and the Board of Directors of Health Plan Alliance. He is also active in numerous industry groups and community organizations such as South Florida United Way, the Alliance of Community Health Plans (ACHP), and America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP).
Jim completed AHIP’s Executive Leadership Program at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and earned a B.S. in Business Administration from Ohio State University.
He currently resides in Weston, Florida with his wife, Sonia. Sonia is a graduate of the University of South Florida in Tampa. They have two sons. Blake is a student at the University of Florida and Parker is a student at the University of Central Florida.
Marva Johnson is the Group Vice President, State Government Affairs for Charter Communications’ Southern Region. In this role, Johnson evaluates state legislative, municipal, and regulatory policy implications associated with the company’s technological infrastructure, service delivery, and long-term strategy. She also works to establish and drive legislative and regulatory strategies for the company’s video, voice, and broadband services.
Ms. Johnson has over 20 years of experience in the communications industry, including leading the Industry Affairs function for Bright House Networks, serving as General Counsel for Supra Telecommunications, and Vice President and Senior Counsel for KMC Telecommunications where she oversaw KMC’s regulatory, legislative, and industry relations at both the state and federal levels. Prior to joining KMC, she served in several management positions within MCI and BellSouth.
Currently, Johnson serves as the vice chair of the Florida State Board of Education, as a member of the Enterprise Florida Board of Directors, and as the immediate past chair for the Global Board of Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT). She has previously been a member of the Board of Directors of the Florida Virtual Schools of Florida and the Advisory Board for Rollins College’s Crummer Center for Leadership Development.
Throughout her career, Johnson has been passionate about creating educational opportunities that enable success for every child. As a result, she received the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council’s Champion for Digital Equality Award in 2014 in recognition of her extraordinary leadership and advocacy in helping bridge the digital divide in education for low-income families. She has received many other accolades, including being named one of Cablefax: The Magazine’s “MSO Executive to Watch” and in 2010 as one of the “Top Women in Tech.” Johnson is regularly a member of Cablefax’s Most Influential Minorities and the Most Powerful Women in Cable.
Johnson received her J.D. from the Georgia State University College of Law, a Master of Business Administration from Emory University’s Goizuetta Business School, and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Georgetown University. She is admitted to practice law in Georgia. She resides in Winter Garden, Florida with her husband and two children.
Senator Pat Neal
Pat Neal is respected for his business leadership, public service, and philanthropy. A graduate of the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania, Pat is a former state Legislator and Senator. He has been married for over 40 years to Charlene Neal, who owns the successful Manatee County business, PureStyle. Charlene was named Best Interior Designer by Sarasota Magazine. Bringing family members into his growing business is one of Pat’s greatest joys in life. His oldest son, John, serves as president of Neal Land & Neighborhoods, and his son Michael completed the building management program at Neal Communities.
Pat has successfully guided his company through several economic upswings and downturns. The team’s dedication to building high-quality homes and communities that enhance lives has enabled Neal Communities to build more than 15,000 homes, a testimony to the company’s commitment and strength.
Neal Communities was named America’s Best Builder by Builder Magazine and the National Association of Home Builders. In 2015, Neal Communities received the prestigious Builder of the Year award from Professional Builder Magazine.
A former member of the Florida Senate and Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Pat served on Governor Rick Scott’s transition team with oversight of the Department of Management Services. He currently holds a similar role for Governor Ron DeSantis. Pat is a member and former chair of the Judicial Nominating Commission and the immediate past chairman of Florida TaxWatch. He is the former chair of the Florida Commission on Ethics, a state agency established in the Florida Constitution, that oversees the conduct of Florida’s 380,000 public employees.
As chair of the Florida Senate Natural Resources Committee, Pat won every environmental award given to members of the Legislature. Today, he still seeks opportunities that follow his philosophy of considering the land first to maintain it for future generations. As an example, as Natural Resources chair, he was the Senate sponsor of Florida’s first comprehensive wetlands law.
In addition to leading his successful business, Pat Neal is a major philanthropist. Over the past decade, he and his companies have contributed more than $8 million in support of local community organizations, such as The American Cancer Society, Women’s Resource Center, 4-H Club, Child Protection Center, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee and Sarasota.
About Florida TaxWatch
As an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit government watchdog and taxpayer research institute for more than forty years and the trusted eyes and ears of Florida taxpayers, Florida TaxWatch works to improve the productivity and accountability of the Florida government. Its research recommends productivity enhancements and explains the statewide impact of fiscal and economic policies and practices on citizens and businesses. Florida TaxWatch is supported by its membership via voluntary, tax-deductible donations and private grants, and does not accept government funding. Donations provide a solid, lasting foundation that has enabled Florida TaxWatch to bring about a more effective, responsive government that is more accountable to, and productive for, the citizens it serves since 1979. For more information, please visit www.floridataxwatch.org.