Meet the Trustees

Edward E. "Ed" Burr, Chair

Edward E. 'Ed' Burr

Edward Burr is president and chief executive officer of GreenPointe Holdings, LLC, a diversified holding company he founded in 2008. After graduating from FSU College of Business with a B. S. in Accounting in 1979, he began his career with Coopers & Lybrand LLP. He founded the LandMar Group LLC in 1987 and led the company's creation of master-planned, award-winning communities in Florida and coastal Georgia. Ed also co-founded Hampton Golf & Lifestyles Management.

Ed has served on Board of Trustees of the FSU Foundation, the board of the Seminole Boosters and the Executive Board of the FSU Center for Real Estate Education and Research in the College of Business.

Throughout his career, Ed has been actively involved in business, civic and community organizations. He has served as chairman of the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce and is currently on the Chamber Board of Directors overseeing the Downtown Development Council. Burr was named Developer of the Year by his peers and accepted a gubernatorial appointment to the Jacksonville Transportation Authority. He is actively involved in the Urban Land Institute, the National Association of Home Builders and the Northeast Florida Builders Association. A longtime advocate for bettering the lives of children, Ed is founder of the Monique Burr Foundation for Children, a foundation committed to the prevention of child abuse.

Maximo Alvarez

Maximo Alvarez

Maximo Alvarez was born in Havana, Cuba in 1948, the son of Spanish immigrants. In 1961 at the age of 13, he came to America as part of Operation “Pedro Pan.” He stayed in a children’s welfare home with Monsignor Bryan O. Walsh who was also the Catholic Priest responsible for the Operation in which over 14,000 children under the age of eighteen were given refuge from Communist Cuba. Maximo attended La Salle High School and was a part of the school’s very first graduating class in 1965. He then attended Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina from 1965 to 1967. In 1967 he transferred to Florida State University in Tallahassee, where he received his bachelor’s degree in 1969 and his Master’s degree in 1970.

Soon after graduation, Maximo began his career in the oil industry with Cities Services Oil Company (CITGO Petroleum) where he worked from 1971-1973. In 1973 Maximo switched to Mobil Oil Corporation working as a marketing representative in Tampa, Florida. In 1976, Maximo left the corporate life and decided on his first business venture as an independent entrepreneur opening Sunshine Citrus Corp. Sunshine Citrus enjoyed a successful 11 year run as a citrus gift packing and shipping enterprise. In 1987, when the expansion of I-595 caused Maximo to re-locate his business, he had the opportunity to purchase four underperforming gas stations from Southland Corp, (7-Eleven).

These four gas stations were the cornerstone of Sunshine Gasoline Distributors, Inc . From barely two hundred thousand gallons per month, Sunshine Gasoline grew to over half a billion gallons sold per year. As of today, Sunshine operates over 300 locations and supplies another 250 branded retail facilities (Chevron, BP, Shell, Citgo, Marathon and Exxon/Mobil). Sunshine Gasoline is one of the largest independent branded suppliers for all of their represented brands in the South Eastern United States. In 2016, CSP (Convenience Store and Fuel News) named Sunshine Gasoline as #31 in their “Top 101 Convenience Stores” list, which ranks the largest convenience store chains by store count in the United States and Canada.

Because of his humble beginnings, Maximo has always believed in helping the community as well as the industry in which he has spent most of his career. Maximo has been extremely involved in the Florida Petroleum Marketers Association and was elected Chairman of the Board in 2000 and inducted into its Hall of Fame in 2005. He has worked closely with the Petroleum Council as a tireless advocate for the industry and currently serves on the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Florida Consumer Council. He has also received awards for his work in Hope for Vision and the Transplant Foundation. In 2006, Maximo became a trustee of Pedro Pan Group, a non-profit organization for immigrant children. In 2010, he was inducted into the Belmont Abbey Wall of Fame and later received a doctor’s degree honoris causa in 2015. He also serves as a trustee for The First Tee, a junior program that sets out to positively impact the lives of young people through the game of golf. Sunshine has been a constant sponsor of Miami Children’s Hospital and the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Maximo’s biggest dream was recently fulfilled when Centro Hispano Catolico opened its door to over 300 children. The Centro Hispano Catolico is a day care center for under privileged children created in honor of Monsignor Bryan O. Walsh. Maximo is a strong believer in the philosophy that every new generation must be better than the last. This philosophy is carried out by his legacy of generosity that began when he was thirteen years old. Ever grateful of the country that allowed him to be where he is today and proud of his success, Maximo states; “If I were to give back everything I have today, it would only be 10% of what was given to me”.

Maximo has been married to his wife, Esther, for over forty years and has three children, Sandra, Maximo Ricardo and Eduardo. His two oldest children are following in his footsteps, working at Sunshine Gasoline and his youngest child, Eduardo began his career as a mechanical engineer after his graduation from the University of Miami. Maximo and Esther are also the proud grandparents of Samuel, Eric, Lucas and Maximo Jose.

Kathryn Ballard

Kathryn Ballard

Kathryn Ballard has a long history of charitable and community work, including service on the Board of Directors of the Florida Special Olympics, the Florida State University College of Human Sciences Board and the Board of Trustees of the Maclay School of Tallahassee. She also served as Chairman of Maclay School Capital Campaign.

A lifelong FSU fan, Mrs. Ballard has been honored for Outstanding Achievement by the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation and the Tallahassee/Leon County Historic Preservation Commission for her efforts to restore Tallahassee's historic Lively House.

Mrs. Ballard graduated from Florida State University in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science degree from the College of Human Sciences.

William “Billy” Buzzett

William 'Billy' Buzzett

William (Billy) Buzzett has almost 30 years experience in engineering, law, and development. With an undergraduate degree in civil engineering, he practiced for several years in New Orleans before advancing to law school at Florida State University. After graduating from law school, Buzzett worked in private practice, for the Florida Legislature, as an Assistant General Counsel to Governor Bob Martinez, and as the Executive Director to the 1997-1998 Constitution Revision Commission.

From 2001-2009, he worked for The St. Joe Company, and in 2011, under appointment from Governor Rick Scott, Buzzett served as the Secretary of Florida’s Department of Community Affairs – Florida’s land planning agency. He is currently a partner with the law firm of Harrison, Rivard, Duncan & Buzzett, located in Panama City.

In 1996, Buzzett was instrumental in creating one of Florida’s first charter schools, the Seaside Neighborhood School. As the Chairman of the Board of Directors for 6 years, he helped guide the school to its current designation as one of the highest performing middle schools in the state of Florida.

Buzzett is a fifth-generation Floridian, whose family hails from Apalachicola. He is married to FSU law graduate, Kelly Haynes Buzzett, and resides in Grayton Beach. They have two sons, one of whom is a recent graduate of Florida State University.

Eric Chicken

Eric Chicken

Dr. Eric Chicken joined the faculty of Florida State University in 2002 as a professor of statistics focused primarily in the fields of function estimation and statistical process control. His research is broadly interdisciplinary, with applications and collaborations in engineering, medicine, hydrology, education and operations research. He has been funded by the Department of Defense, the Department of Education, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Florida Geological Survey. He is a Fellow of the Institute for Defense Analyses (2016) and an Elected Fellow of the American Statistical Association (2015), the main professional association for statisticians, and he has been awarded two Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education Fellowships (2015, 2018).

Between 2009 and 2018, Dr. Chicken advised 11 doctoral students in statistics, and he is currently supervising five Ph.D. candidates. He has also guided two undergraduate honors theses in statistics and been a part of numerous Ph.D. student committees across campus. In 2016, he received the Outstanding Graduate Mentor award from FSU.

Dr. Chicken is active in faculty governance, leadership and service at FSU and elsewhere. He has been a faculty senator since 2007, served on the university’s Graduate Policy Committee for three years, the Undergraduate Policy Committee since 2012 (the last five years as its chair), the Senate Steering Committee since 2016 and performs regular and ongoing service for his department. Beyond FSU, he has served as the president of the Florida Chapter of the American Statistical Association, organized conferences related to his research and remains active in editorial and review duties with journals and grant organizations in his research area.

Dr. Chicken is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Madison (B.S., Mathematics, 1986), the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (M.S., Applied Mathematics, 1993), and Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana (Ph.D., Statistics, 2001). Before his academic career, he was a commissioned officer in the United States Air Force. His principal assignment was in Space Command with satellite engineer as his primary duty. He left the service in 1996 at the rank of captain.

Emily Fleming "June" Duda

Emily Fleming Duda

Emily Fleming Duda, of Oviedo, is an active member of the FSU Booster Club board, serving five years on the board's executive committee. She was awarded the Godfrey Smith Award for Outstanding Service to the board in 2000.

Ms. Duda also served on the board of directors of the Florida Leadership Program for Agriculture and Natural Resources, which is administered through the University of Florida Institute for Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Jorge Gonzalez

Jorge Gonzalez

Jorge Gonzalez is president and chief executive officer of The St. Joe Company, a Florida-based real estate development and operating company with additional interests in resorts, leisure and forestry. The St. Joe Company was incorporated in 1936 and is publically traded (NYSE: JOE).

Jorge holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Florida State University. He serves or has served on various community, civic, and business related organizations including the Florida Chamber Board of Directors, Enterprise Florida Board of Directors, Bay Economic Development Alliance (current Chairman), Northwest Florida Manufacturer’s Council, Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center, FSU Panama City Development Board (former President), The St. Joe Community Foundation Board of Trustees, and Panama City Beach Chamber Board of Directors.

Jorge is married to Pamela, who is also a proud FSU graduate, and they have one son, Jake.

Jim W. Henderson

Jim W. Henderson

Jim Henderson is Chairman, CEO, and Founder of AssuredPartners, a national insurance brokerage firm. Prior to establishing AssuredPartners in March of 2011, Jim Henderson brought his insurance expertise to Brown & Brown when he joined the company as its CFO in 1985. Jim served in a variety of roles including President and Chief Operating Officer as well as Vice Chairman. In 25 years at Brown & Brown and its predecessor company, Jim executed 300 plus acquisitions, grew revenues from $7 million to $1 billion. Earlier, Jim joined Ormond Reinsurance Group as its CFO and Treasurer in 1975. He began his career in Audit and Consulting for the insurance and healthcare practice at Ernst & Whinney (now EY). Jim is a graduate of Florida State University with a BSBA in Accounting and Economics.

Jim’s civic and professional services include: Chairman of the Board for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Hallmark Insurance Company Board, Ironshore Insurance Company Board, Citizens Property Insurance Corporation (Florida), Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers Board, Stetson University Business School Board, Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Advisory Board Chairman, Alaqua Country Club Board, Ronald McDonald Homes of Central Florida Board, Kiwanis Club, Boy Scouts of America, and United Way.

Jim and his wife, Carole, reside in Longwood, Florida, and have three (3) children and eight (8) grandchildren that all reside in Florida.

Jonathan Levin

Jonathan Levin

Jonathan Levin is a senior, studying International Affairs and Aerospace Studies with certificates in U.S. Intelligence Studies and Emergency Management and Homeland Security. Jonathan currently serves as the Student Body President. Elected by the student body, he administers and enforces all laws of the student body.

Jonathan was born and raised in Coral Springs, Florida, and attended Pompano Beach High School. For the past three years, he has been a cadet within the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps. In 2018, he was awarded the Commander Scholarship, which contracted him within the U.S. Air Force. In the summer of 2019, Jonathan was ranked in the top 10 percent of cadets nationwide at the ROTC Field Training at Maxwell Air Force Base. At Detachment 145, he has served in multiple positions, most recently as the Mission Support Group Commander.

Other campus involvement includes serving as a Student Senator in the 71st and 72nd Student Senate, Director of Local Affairs on the Office of Governmental Affairs Board, Director of NolePac and the founding Co-Director of the Fallen Heroes Ceremony. Jonathan is a proud brother of Pi Kappa Alpha and a member of Garnet and Gold Key Leadership Honorary.

Upon graduation, Jonathan will commission into the U.S. Air Force as a 2nd Lieutenant with the goal of becoming a pilot. He serves on a variety of university boards and committees such as the Student Affairs Advisory Council, the Athletics Board, and the Foundation Board of Trustees.

Craig Mateer

Craig Mateer

Craig Mateer, CEO and Founder of Orlando based Bags Inc., graduated from Florida State University with a bachelor’s degree from the College of Social Sciences in 1988 after attending the university on a basketball scholarship. Mateer was a member of the Florida State University Men’s Basketball team during his college career.

Shortly after graduation, Mateer founded his first valet parking company which he has transformed into Bags Inc., a diverse aviation, logistics and hospitality services company that operates in more than 250 cities across the United States, Canada and Europe. The Orlando-headquartered company generates over $150 million in revenues annually and is listed as one of the top 15 employers in Central Florida.

Mateer’s innovations and accomplishments have recently been recognized when he was selected as a finalist for the EY Entrepreneur of The Year 2014 Award in Florida and a CEO of the Year honoree by the Orlando Business Journal. Bags is routinely on the list of Central Florida’s top 100 privately held and 50 fastest growing companies.

Mateer is an active philanthropic supporter of the disadvantaged, multiple health initiatives and Florida State University and has served on numerous community boards including Visit Orlando, The Salvation Army and YMCA among others.

Craig’s support and dedication to FSU is apparent as a member of the prestigious Micco Club, the FSU Varsity Club, and a Seminole Boosters Platinum Chief. Mr. Mateer resides in Orlando, Florida, and has 4 children.

Bob Sasser

Bob Sasser

Bob Sasser is the Executive Chairman of Dollar Tree, North America's leading operator of discount variety stores.

Bob is a graduate of Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing. He was inducted into the College of Business Hall of Fame in 2009. Bob serves on the FSU Board of Trustees and he formerly served on the Foundation Board of Trustees. He is a lifetime member of the FSU Alumni association, a member of Seminole Boosters, and a member of the FSU Presidents Club.

Married for more than 40 years to Pamela Sunderland Sasser, they have 2 children, Robert and Jennifer, and 3 grandchildren, Caroline, Catherine, and Harper. Active in civic and community affairs, Bob serves as a Trustee for the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges and The Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, Virginia.

Brent W. Sembler

Brent W. Sembler

Brent Sembler, of St. Petersburg, is vice chairman of The Sembler Company, one of the country's most recognized shopping center development and management companies responsible for over 130 major shopping center projects and over 165 freestanding retail stores since its inception.

Mr. Sembler serves on the boards of the Republican Jewish Coalition, Gulf Coast Community Care and All Children's Hospital. He is a past member of Shorecrest Preparatory School's Board of Trustees. He and his wife Debbie established a philanthropic fund that benefits numerous Bay Area charities.

Born in 1957 in Dyersburg, Tennessee, Mr. Sembler earned a B.S. degree from Florida State University in 1980. He and his wife have three children: a daughter and two sons, one of whom currently attends Florida State University.

John Thiel

John Thiel

John Thiel, an FSU alumnus and former Merrill Lynch executive, is a dynamic board director, trusted business advisor and visionary financial services CEO.

During his 28-year career with Merrill Lynch, Thiel served as head of U.S. Global Wealth Management, steering the iconic financial firm through a period of unprecedented change, including its acquisition by Bank of America and overseeing a $15 billion business with 23,000 employees.

Thiel currently serves on the boards of Decker Communications and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Investor Education Foundation, which promotes initiatives focused on improving the financial literacy of underserved populations.

Thiel, who earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from FSU, was inducted into the College of Business Alumni Hall of Fame after many years of service in a variety of capacities. A longtime advocate for curing cancer, he serves on the board of the V Foundation for Cancer Research and chairs the board’s Don’t Ever Give Up support organization.

In July 2018, Thiel joined My Next Season as a partner and senior adviser. His work involves strategy consulting and business development for the organization, which specializes in executive retirement and career transitions. He also advises and mentors not-for-profit CEOs in developing strategy and proactively responding to change.

Thiel is a frequent speaker and has presented at a variety of venues and made multiple appearances on FOX Business Network and CNBC. He was Florida State’s spring commencement speaker in both 2014 and 2019 and served as a Charles A. Bruning Distinguished Speaker at the College of Business.

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