Florida Blockchain Taskforce Begins; Chair and Vice Chair Chosen

The Florida Blockchain Task Force held its inaugural meeting Monday, September 23, 2019. Created by a bill this past session (SB 1024), the group is made up of people from the government and the private sector.  It’s tasked with studying how blockchain can improve record-keeping, security, and delivery of services in government.

The 13-member task force is required to include three agency heads or executive directors of cabinet agencies, one certified public accountant with experience in blockchain technology, and nine private sector members “with knowledge and experience in blockchain technology.

Currently, there are 8 members appointed with 5 vacancies. The names and bios of the current appointed members and who they were appointed by are as follows: 

Ronald Brise
(Appointed by CFO; Elected Chair of the Committee)
Ronald Brisé leverages a wealth of experience in governmental, legislative, political, and business arenas to represent the interests of clients in matters that include appropriations, business development, education, governmental and legislative affairs, public policy, and economic development.

Ronald is an accomplished commissioner, legislative leader, and senior executive with more than 20 years of experience in telecom, energy, utilities, government, and business. He has established himself as a thought leader in telecom having testified before the U.S. Senate on telecom issues, served on the joint board on universal service and on the Universal Service Administrative Company.

With Miami-Dade County roots and his involvement in both Central and South Florida, Ronald’s in-depth experience working in Florida’s government began with his election to represent District 108 in the Florida House of Representatives at the age of 32 for his first term running through 2006 – 2008.

During his time in the Legislature, Brisé was designated democratic whip and served as vice-chair of the Florida Conference of Black State Legislators. Following his tenure in the Florida Legislature, Ronald was tapped to serve on the Florida Public Service Commission where he served multiple terms including in the role of chair.

Ronald is passionate about bringing together different people and interests to accomplish a common goal and leverages his relationships with policymakers both nationally and internationally on behalf of clients.

Ken Lawson (Appointed by Governor; Elected Vice-Chair)
Ken Lawson is the Executive Director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO). Prior to DEO, he served as the CEO and President of Visit Florida and the Secretary of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR).

Lawson has also held several positions within law enforcement agencies and began his legal career in the U.S. Marine Corps. He is a native Floridian and a graduate of Florida State University and the Florida State University College of Law.

Charles Ghini (appointed by CFO)
With over 33 years of service to the state, Charles Ghini worked his way up from a COBOL/database programmer to his current role as Chief Information Officer (CIO)/Director of the Office of Information Technology (OIT) at the Florida Department of Financial Services in 2013.

Charles oversees network and computer operations; application development; product development; and IT support to the Department, as well as the Office of Financial Regulation and Office of Insurance Regulation.

He leads at DFS the development and implementation of policies and procedures for IT security, quality control, application development/maintenance, and system availability.

Charles brings extensive technical and leadership experience from his previous roles as Director of the Division of Telecommunications at the Department of Management Services, Chief Operating Officer of the State Technology Office, and Network Director at Florida A&M University.

Charles has had direct involvement in several critical enterprise IT projects, including SUNCOM, MyFloridaNet, and ERP implementation. He has focused his career on leveraging technology to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of State of Florida agencies. Charles holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from University of Grenoble in France, and a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Florida State University.

“I am honored to have been selected by CFO Patronis to be a part of the Blockchain Task Force. l am excited at the prospect of working with CFO Jimmy Patronis and the members of this task force to help bring this innovative and life-changing technology to the State of Florida and its Citizens.”

Terry Rhodes (Appointed by Governor)
Terry L. Rhodes was appointed to the role of Executive Director of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) in May 2014.

As Executive Director, she is responsible for the overall direction and management of one of the nation’s largest safety and consumer-oriented agencies and leads law enforcement, public education, and service activities of more than 4,400 members throughout the state.

Under her leadership, FLHSMV has implemented forward-thinking policies with the primary focus of protecting consumers and improving customer experience.

Such policies include combatting, deterring, and detecting fraud by creating a robust quality assurance program, initiating Motorist Modernization, a multi-year IT project, which will modernize department systems and technologies, and employing data-driven analytics to guide strategic decisions and highway safety policy.

A seasoned public servant and native Floridian, Director Rhodes has served in leadership and policy positions at various state agencies including the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Florida Senate. Director Rhodes earned her Bachelor of Science Degree from the Florida State University.

Jonathan Satter: (Appointed by Governor)
Jonathan R. Satter was appointed as Secretary of the Florida Department of Management Services (DMS) by Governor Ron DeSantis in 2019. DMS, through a team of 1,000+, and an $800 million budget, is the business and workforce arm of Florida government.

The Department’s primary mission is to support sister agencies as well as current and former state employees with workforce and business-related functions.

DMS provides services to state government, state universities, counties, local municipalities, and independent taxing districts throughout Florida. Prior to his appointment as Secretary, Jonathan spent 28 years in the banking, commercial real estate and logistics industries.

With his recent appointment by Governor DeSantis, he has served the State of Florida in various capacities under four governors. In addition to a wide variety of community and business activities, he currently serves as Vice Chairman of The Michelle McGann Fund, a charity focused on juvenile diabetes founded by his wife Michelle McGann, and as a Board Member of Rendina, a national health care real estate services development firm.

Secretary Satter received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rollins College and a Master of Business Administration degree from Nova University.

Woody Pollock (Appointed by the Senate President)
Woodrow “Woody” Pollack is a partner in the Tampa office of Shutts & Bowen, where he is a member of the Intellectual Property practice group. Woody is Board Certified in Intellectual Property Law by The Florida Bar. He focuses his practice on litigating complex patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret disputes.

He litigates matters in state and federal courts as well as patent validity issues before the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board. He also counsels clients extensively in developing patent and trademark portfolios. A Martindale-Hubbell AV® rated attorney, Woody has been regularly recognized in Best Lawyers in America, Florida Super Lawyers, and Florida Trend’s Legal Elite.

Woody also serves on the Executive Council of the Florida Bar Business Law Section. He has chaired its Intellectual Property Committee, and currently serves as the statewide chair of its Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Task Force.

Woody was recognized as a Top Up and Comer by the Tampa Bay Business Journal. Best Lawyers in America named Woody the Lawyer of the Year for Trademark Law in 2015 and Tampa Litigation – Patent in 2016 and 2019. In 2019, Woody was also recognized by Tampa Magazine as a Top Lawyer in Litigation: Patent, Litigation: Intellectual Property, Patent Law and Information Technology Law.

Additionally, in 2017, Tampa Magazine recognized Woody as the Patent Lawyer of the year. Woody is currently one of only nine lawyers in Florida who serves on the Intellectual Property Board Certification Committee. Before starting his career in law, Woody received his Master’s degree in Computer Science from Stanford University and worked as a software engineer in Silicon Valley.

He regularly applies his technical background to assist his clients in sophisticated software and other computer-related disputes.

He has represented clients in a number of technologies, including database encryption, antivirus software, medical devices and mechanical processes. In the community, Woody served extensively on the Board of Directors of Tampa Connection, including serving as its Chair.

Woody currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Southern Florida chapter of Make A Wish.

Mayor Francis Suarez (Appointed by CFO)
Prior to being elected with 86 percent support from Miami residents, Mayor Suarez served as Miami Commissioner for District 4 during eight years.

Mayor Suarez had many legislative accomplishments as Commissioner, including implementing ShotSpotter technology in the City, a state-of-the-art gunshot detection system, setting up a transportation trust fund, which allocates funds for current and future transit projects, and passing the Reverse Redline legislation, authorizing lawsuits against several major banks for discriminatory mortgage lending practices.

As a result, the City’s lawsuit reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled that cities have the standing to sue banks under the Fair Housing Act for such discriminatory practices.

Mayor Suarez also serves as Chair of the Environment Committee, as well as on the Advisory Board of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. In these capacities, Mayor Suarez takes a leading role in collaborating with fellow mayors from around the country to preserve the environment and develop programs and policies that directly benefit the City of Miami.

He also serves as Vice-Chair of the Miami-Dade Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) and is the former President of the Miami-Dade County League of Cities. In his role at the TPO, Mayor Suarez championed the Strategic Miami Area Rapid Transit (SMART) Plan, which was unanimously approved.

The SMART Plan expands mass transit options in Miami-Dade County through six main corridors and new bus routes to ease traffic congestion and support future population growth. Mayor Suarez helped negotiate the TriRail connection to Downtown, offering free ridership to Overtown residents for life.

He also ushered in the free trolley system in Miami, which carries an average of 450,000 passengers per month. The oldest of four siblings, Mayor Suarez was born into a family where, as he describes, “being socially conscious was a kind of requirement.”

As the son of former City of Miami Mayor, Xavier Suarez, he was also exposed to public service since he was a child, growing up around his father’s office at City Hall, the same one he works out of today.

Mayor Suarez earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from Florida International University, graduating in the top ten percent of his class. He went on to receive his law degree from the University of Florida Frederic G. Levin College of Law, where he graduated cum laude.

He is currently an attorney with the law firm Greenspoon Marder, specializing in corporate and real estate transactions.

Robin Wescott: (Appointed by the Speaker of the House)
Robin S. Westcott, J.D. is Vice President of Government Affairs, Legal & Compliance (GLC) at AAIS (American Association of Insurance Services), a national not-for-profit, Memberfocused advisory organization.

Ms. Westcott is an attorney who spent more than 20 years in insurance-related regulatory positions in Florida, most recently as the state’s appointed insurance consumer advocate. She joined AAIS in 2013, where she oversees product compliance operations, consults with state insurance departments about the practical implications of regulatory initiatives, and acts as the general counsel.

The GLC team at AAIS monitors the broader regulatory environment for changes in the P&C marketplace on behalf of AAIS Members. Recently Ms.

Westcott has lead the development of innovative insurance products like CannaBOP, the program solution for businesses in the emerging cannabis industry.

Ms. Westcott is also helping lead the charge in the development of the insurance industry’s first blockchain platform developed specifically for regulatory compliance, openIDL.

openIDL supports regulatory reporting of statistical data and data calls, providing access to timely and accurate information so regulators and carriers receive more holistic and dynamic information, as well as valuable and relevant insights into exposures and market trends.


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