Business Council names new director

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By Jeff M. Hardison

From a field of 12, one person stood out as the best choice to replace former Nature Coast Business Development Council (NCBDC) Executive Director Pam Blair, according to a panel of community leaders.

Amanda Douglas, the 28-year-old daughter of Chiefland Police Chief Robert Douglas, received approval and was confirmed by the NCBDC Board of Directors in her new post on Dec. 6, NCBDC Chair Carol McQueen said.

Starting salary is $31,000 and after six months the annual salary will be $31,500, McQueen said. There are no benefits. Douglas understands this, she said.

Since the resignation of Blair during the first week of October, a selection committee has been interviewing applicants. NCBDC Vice Chair Dr. Rayanne Giddis led the committee, which included NCBDC members Doug King and Walt McJordan.

Other than McQueen, Giddis, King and Jordan, the NCBDC Board of Directors includes Thad Barber of Gulf Hammock, Sharon Battles of Williston, Tommy Dunford of Bronson, Secretary-Treasurer Skipper Henderson of Bronson and Cliff Norris of Bronson. There are two vacant seats on the NCBDC.

The selection committee chair expressed her endorsement for the choice of Douglas.

"We felt that she had a lot of energy and an eagerness to learn," Giddis said of Douglas. "She is committed to her long-term future in Levy County. She is a person who understands what is needed to build and maintain relationships, which are a key factor to helping existing business grow and to attract new business to Levy County.

It was a very competitive search, Giddis said, and many of the other applicants had positive skills and experience.

"She was the best fit," Giddis added.

The NCBDC chair also endorsed the pick. McQueen said she found Douglas's energy to be impressive. The woman's enthusiasm is strong, McQueen said.

"The board was very excited to have someone who brings energy and enthusiasm to this position," McQueen said. "She has the business and professional demeanor we were looking for."

Douglas was born in Ocala and graduated Vanguard High School. She attended Central Florida Community College and is about a semester shy of having enough credits for an Associate of Arts degree, she said.

She spent a year in Haiti as a missionary, after attending Jerry Savelle Bible Institute.

Her most recent work was in marketing and public relations with a covert equipment sales company.

Douglas said she believes she has the heart and passion for the job in front of her. She wants to remain in the community and to work for the betterment of its people, she said.