Mayor-elect Ken Welch names transition director and transition co-chairs

Transition Team: Left to right, Stephanie Owens, Trevor Burgess, Ric Davis, Leon Jackson, Will Packer, Melissa Seixas, Lorna Taylor, Troy Taylor, Tonjua Williams, and Cynthia Johnson

ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor-elect Ken Welch announced on Tuesday his transition director and key leaders of his transition team. These qualified individuals will closely advise on efforts to ensure his incoming administration is filled with top talent and well-prepared to lead the city when he takes office in January.

Stephanie Owens, who served as Welch’s campaign manager, was announced as the director of the transition team.

“We are working tirelessly to ensure the seamless continuity of operations, building a strong network of advisors, and collecting critical information that enables the mayor-elect to make key strategic policy and budgetary decisions,” said Owens. “It is my primary goal to make sure the mayor-elect and his senior advisors have the information they need to handle any opportunity or crisis on day one.”

Owens has more than 20 years of public service. She served as an appointee of both President Barack Obama and President Bill Clinton, holding senior positions in the White House, Departments of Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Commerce, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Owens is a St. Petersburg Housing Authority commissioner and principle of Dolphin Strategies, LLC in St. Petersburg.

The transition co-chairs include:

  • Trevor Burgess, President & CEO of Neptune Flood Insurance
  • Ric Davis, business executive, leader of Concerned Organization for Quality Education of Black Students (COQEBS)
  • Leon Jackson, Member of Courageous 12
  • Will Packer, Founder and CEO of Will Packer Media
  • Melissa Seixas, President Duke Energy Florida
  • Lorna Taylor, President and CEO of Premier Eye Care
  • Troy Taylor, Chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola Beverages Florida
  • Tonjua Williams, St. Petersburg College President

Cynthia Johnson, director of Pinellas County Economic Development, will serve the transition team as an Economic Development Advisor.

“These are accomplished leaders who have been successful in the private sector, in the public sector, and in their civic endeavors, and they have significantly contributed to our community,” Welch said. “I deeply appreciate their willingness to help me assemble a great team and ensure we are ready to hit the ground running when I take office.”

Lorna Taylor leads Premier Eye Care, one of the 75 largest privately-owned companies in Florida. She is involved in a variety of community and nonprofit causes, and has board positions with The Dali Museum, Tampa Bay Business for Culture & the Arts, Preserve Vision Florida, and The Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg.

“Ken ran a forward-looking campaign, and he will be a great mayor,” Lorna Taylor said. “I’m excited about the opportunity to help him lay the groundwork for a fast start and to help build a diverse, thoughtful team to bring with him to City Hall.”

Troy Taylor leads the third-largest privately held and sixth-largest independent bottler of Coca-Cola products in the nation. It’s also one of America’s largest Black-owned businesses. Troy is a former board member of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta/Jacksonville Branch and was named EY Entrepreneur of the Year in Florida for the consumer products category in 2018.

“Ken recognizes the importance of continuing to advance the city’s economic resurgence while keeping its hometown feel and protecting the environment, which all make the city a special place,’’ said Troy Taylor. “I have no doubt that Ken will be a great mayor for St. Petersburg.’’

Welch is inviting residents to help shape the city’s vision and future. Welch is holding a series of “Community Conversations” in December. Two of the sessions will be held at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg Student Center, 200 Sixth Ave. S. The third session will be virtual.

Residents are asked to sign up by clicking here for one of the three sessions, with each in-person session accommodating 245 people.

  • Friday, December 10: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. USF St. Pete
  • Saturday, December 11: 9 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. USF St. Pete
  • Monday, December 13: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. (virtually)

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