C-Suite Spotlight is pleased to announce The Top 25 C-Suite Executives of Jacksonville for 2023. Situated halfway between Miami and Atlanta, Jacksonville is central to the Southeast and the most populous city in the state of Florida. The strength of the city's economy lies in its broad diversification. This is balanced among many industries, including distribution, financial services, biomedical technology, consumer goods, information services, manufacturing, insurance, and other industries. This year’s awardees are executives who helm companies across Jacksonville, exemplifying why this is one of the fastest-growing cities in the southern US.
Among this year’s awardees is Austin Forbrick, Chief Operating Officer of Parallon, who oversees all aspects of full revenue cycle operations for the company’s client facilities across 16 states. Awardee Dana Higginbotham, Chief Financial Officer at Magellan Transport Logistics is a multifaceted executive who has overseen the company’s unprecedented growth. Also awarded is Mitchell Rhodes, the Chief Executive Officer of Gate Petroleum Company. He's been with the company for over 55 years, joining as a service station attendant and rising to the top position over half a century.
Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of The Top 25 C-Suite Executives of Jacksonville for 2023.
1. Bradley Talbert
Chief Executive Officer, HCA Healthcare
Bradley Talbert is the Chief Executive Officer of HCA Healthcare. Since arriving at Memorial, Talbert has led significant change and improvement in many areas of the organization. Under his leadership, Memorial had the highest physician engagement performance in over thirteen years in 2022, reaching the 76th percentile nationally. His leadership has also improved quality and patient safety, as the facility was recently recognized in 2018, 2019, and 2020 with the Healthgrades “Excellence in Patient Safety” Award. Under Talbert’s leadership, the hospital earned final Accreditation as a Level 2 Trauma Center, completed a $23 million expansion of the Emergency Department, a $25 million expansion of the OR, and completed the addition of a $13 million, 36-bed tower expansion.
Prior to joining Memorial, Talbert was the CEO of the Piedmont Medical Center. During his 10-year tenure with Tenet Health, he had stints as VP of Business Development, COO, and CEO at two hospitals. Talbert earned his bachelor’s degree in finance at Wofford College and his master’s degree in health administration at the Medical University of South Carolina.
2. Todd Johnson
Chief Legal Officer, Acosta Sales and Marketing
Todd Johnson is the Chief Legal Officer of Acosta Sales & Marketing. He’s responsible for overseeing all legal affairs. Johnson is experienced in a wide variety of legal and regulatory issues, including mergers and acquisitions, corporate and commercial transactions, and corporate governance. Previously, he served as Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary for Lender Processing Services.
Johnson also held similar roles for two Fortune 500 publicly traded companies and was a partner in the Corporate and Securities practice group of Holland & Knight. He is a member of the American Bar Association, Association of Corporate Counsel, Society of Governance Professionals, and National Association of Corporate Directors. Johnson is a Board Member of Communities In Schools and serves on the Board of Advisors for JAXUSA Partnership. Johnson graduated from Duke University School of Law with a JD, the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie-Mellon University with an MBA, and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Florida.
3. Anthony Hucker
President & CEO, Southeastern Grocers
Anthony Hucker is the President and Chief Executive Officer for Southeastern Grocers, parent company and home of Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie grocery stores. Hucker came over to Southeastern Grocers from Schnucks Markets, where he served as President and COO as well as President of Giant Food. Previously, Hucker was at Walmart in domestic and international leadership positions.
Hucker first got his start working for Aldi in leadership assignments in the US, Germany, and Austria and was a member of the original startup leadership team that set up Aldi UK. He is also on the Board of the National Retail Federation, Food Marketplace, and Symphony RetailAI. Hucker received an undergraduate degree from The University of Manchester.
4. Austin Forbrick
Chief Operating Officer, Parallon
Austin Forbrick is the Chief Operating Officer of Parallon. Forbrick oversees all aspects of full revenue cycle operations for Parallon’s client facilities across 16 states. His team of 340 colleagues manages and collects over $3 billion annually through innovative solutions and best-in-class billing and collection efforts. Before his current position, he was an assistant CFO, where he was responsible for overseeing accounting, financial analysis, and all post-payment discrepancy analysis functions for our client business. His primary focus was to support the Client COO and the back-end financial processes for 23 facilities across the US.
Forbrick is a proven healthcare leader in the industry, specializing in all aspects of revenue cycle operations. Before Parallon, Forbrick was a Financial Analyst Intern at Siemens. Forbrick graduated from Georgia Southern University with an MBA and the University of Florida Warrington College of Business with a BS in finance and entrepreneurship.
5. John Dulka
SVP & Chief Technology Officer, Black Knight
John Dulka is the Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Black Knight. Black Knight is an award-winning software, data, and analytics company that drives innovation in the mortgage lending, servicing, and real estate industries. In his current role, Dulka utilizes his experience as a senior IT executive to focus on innovative solutions and predictable delivery. He joined Black Knight in 2013 as SVP of Strategic Delivery for the company's RealEC Division.
Prior to joining Black Knight, Dulka was the Director of Real Estate Lending IT at Citi, Technology Director at JPMorgan Chase, and VP of the eBusiness Division at CACI. He began his career as a United States Air Force Computer Programmer. Dulka graduated from Troy University in Montgomery with an undergraduate degree in computer science.
6. Brad Slappey
EVP & Chief Financial Officer, The Haskell Company
Brad Slappey is the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of The Haskell Company. Slappey brings an extensive and diverse background that spans commercial real estate development, investment strategies, acquisitions, finance, and accounting. Prior to his current position, he served as Haskell’s Vice President of Finance and Accounting. He founded and runs Haskell’s innovation arm, Dysruptek, which invests in emerging AEC technologies and performs research and development of new technologies. Prior to Haskell, Slappey worked at The St. Joe Company and served as the CFO of its Commercial group. Prior to St. Joe, he worked for Arthur Andersen in Atlanta and Jacksonville. Slappey graduated from Washington and Lee University with a BS in commerce, business administration, and accounting.
7. Mike Santarone
Chief Executive Officer, Stellar
Mike Santarone is the Chief Executive Officer of Stellar. He first joined Stellar as a Field Engineer in 1986, overseeing the Epping Forest mansion renovation and residential development project. He was then made Division Vice President of the Food & Beverage group before becoming Executive Vice President and eventually the company’s third President. He was responsible for the creation and execution of the company’s strategic vision in 2020 as well as its new strategic plan for 2025. Santarone earned his MBA from Jacksonville University while working at Stellar, and received his bachelor’s degree from the Rinker School of Building Construction at the University of Florida.
8. Marcus Moeltner
Chief Financial Officer & SVP of Finance, Rayonier Advanced Materials
Marcus Moeltner is the Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President at Rayonier Advanced Materials. Moeltner has over 25 years of experience in the forest products industry. Prior to joining Rayonier, he was at Tembec, most recently as the VP of Business Development. Before this, he was the Vice President of Finance at Grant Forest Products. In this role, he was responsible for cost analysis, risk management, treasury, and taxation across six manufacturing units. Moeltner played an integral role in bank financings to support expansion in South Carolina and was also responsible for the integration of two new Greenfield operating facilities. He started his career at Kimberly-Clark as a Team Leader in Business Analysis. Moeltner is a Canadian chartered professional accountant (CPA) and certified management accountant (CMA). He graduated from Laurentian University with an Honors Bachelor of Commerce.
9. Lev Cela
Chief Financial Officer, Baker Distributing Company
Lev Cela is the Chief Financial Officer of Baker Distributing Company. Before joining Baker Distributing Company, Cela was a treasurer and VP of Investor Relations and Corporate Development at Interline Brands. Prior to this, he was an Assistant Controller at Viragen. He also had stints at Burger King Corporation as a Manager of Consolidation and Reporting and SmartDisk as a Corporate Controller. Earlier in his career, he worked with Ernst & Young as a Senior Auditor. Cela graduated from the University of Miami with an MBA in accounting and computer information systems and an undergraduate degree in accounting.
10. Richard Boland
Chief Operating Office, Ethos Veterinary Health
Richard Boland is the Chief Operating Officer of Ethos Veterinary Health. Ethos is one of the largest pure-play independent specialty veterinary health services providers. Boland is responsible for the oversight and day-to-day operating activities across hospitals, including revenue and sales growth, expense and margin control, facilities management, client satisfaction, supply chain management, and financial achievement for all locations. He provides the leadership, management, and vision needed to ensure that the proper operational controls, reporting, and people are in place to grow the business efficiently. Boland started as a Southeast Region's VP at Pitney Bowes Management Services. From there, he went on to Iron Mountain before eventually rising to COO at LogistiCare. Boland graduated from The University of Georgia with an undergraduate degree in political science.
11. Brian Donohoe
Chief Executive Officer, The Association Partner
Brian Donohoe Chief Executive Officer, The Association Partner As Chief Executive Officer of The Association Partner, Brian Donohoe leads a company that is ensuring that the Best is Yet to Come for trade and professional associations. Since founding The Association Partner in 2018, Brian has been at the forefront of leading a team that has invented brand new marketing and sponsorship offerings that have helped associations generate millions of dollars in additional revenue streams, so that they can continue fighting and advocating for their respective industries. The Association Partner was recognized as the #3 fastest growing company in Northeast Florida by the Jacksonville Business Journal’s 2022 “Fast 50” Awards.
Since joining the association space in 2010 at Naylor Association Solutions, combined with his current tenure as CEO of The Association Partner, Brian and his teams have helped more than 100 different associations across a variety of industries including healthcare, hospitality, utilities, infrastructure, construction, architecture, veterinary, financial services, aviation, transportation, manufacturing, sports management, and more. Before founding The Association Partner, Brian helped lead several airport advertising programs by developing new go to market strategies for sales and marketing campaigns that were seen by tens of millions of travelers annually, while simultaneously brokering the sale of a professional sports team to its new owner and managing partner. In his earlier career, after graduating from the University of Florida, Brian was a middle school teacher and coach. Brian is actively involved in coaching his sons’ baseball teams, and enjoys looking for ways his company and his family can give back to the community.
12. Gwendolen Pechan
Chief Information Officer, Flagler College
Gwendolen Pechan is the Chief Information Officer of Flagler College. She leads technology strategy, operations, and the institution's business continuity and technology security programs. She has over two decades of technology leadership experience. She's currently a Steering Committee Member.
Prior to Flagler, Pechan was the Director of Information Technology at the University of Pittsburgh, where she established the architecture and governance processes and a business intelligence program from inception. Before this, she was the IT Manager at BodyMedia, the Applications Development Manager at the University of Pittsburgh, and the Manager of Information Systems at Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority. She's also had stints at Highmark, AIRes, and Carnegie Group. Pechan graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a master's degree in management of information systems, an MBA, and a BS in information sciences.
13. Jake Gregory
Chief Operating Officer, The Association Partner
Jake Gregory is the COO of The Association Partner. The Association Partner (TAP) is a marketing and sponsorship sales organization for professional and trade associations. In four short years, TAP has generated millions of dollars for associations and landed the #3 spot on a list of Jacksonville’s fastest-growing companies in 2022. Jake is an active member of the Florida Society of Association Executives (FSAE) and is a passionate advocate for the association industry and is committed to helping associations reach their goals. He is a leader in the industry and is dedicated to helping grow revenue and increase impact. He regularly consults with associations for marketing strategy and is committed to helping them succeed.
Prior to serving as COO of TAP, Jake was the VP of Sales at Eventplicity and owes a considerable debt of gratitude to his mentors, Bryan Edelstein and José Luna for their investment in his professional development. He is known for his leadership, problem-solving, and revenue-generation skills. He is a predictable revenue sales expert and is well-versed in behavioral economics and organizational psychology.
Jake is committed to mentoring young professionals for their growth and development. He is an active member of his local community and is involved in various charitable organizations and is committed to making a positive impact in the world. He is a dedicated husband and a father to two young daughters and values spending quality time with his family and traveling with them. He works to ensure TAP is a family-first business and believes businesses should be life-giving environments that allow employees to return home to be the leaders they are called to be for their families.
14. Conor Looney
Chief Executive Officer, EXO Edge
Conor Looney is the Chief Executive Officer of EXO Edge, one the fastest-growing private companies. Looney has more than 20 years of experience in the technology and FMCG industries and delivers consistent success across diverse industries and remote teams. Before joining EXO Edge, Looney was the Chief Executive Officer of LDM Global, a firm specializing in providing eDiscovery, AI analytics, cyber incident response, document review, and coding services. Prior to this, he was the Regional CEO at Digicel Group and oversaw European marketing for Mars. Earlier in his career, he was at Coca-Cola as a Business Development Executive. Looney graduated from the University College Dublin with an undergraduate degree in commerce, business, economics, finance, and marketing.
15. Mitchell Rhodes
Chief Executive Officer, Gate Petroleum Company
Mitchell Rhodes is the Chief Executive Officer of Gate Petroleum Company. Gate Petroleum is a privately held diversified corporation. Rhodes has been an integral force in the growth and development of Gate's convenience store operation. He joined the company in 1966 as a service station attendant and has served the company in various capacities. Before becoming CEO, he was the President of the Gate Marketing Division. In this role, he oversaw two retail divisions in five Southeastern states. He was responsible for all operations of the stores, including the acquisition and construction of new units, remodeling and renovating existing units, and the day-to-day business. His wealth of institutional knowledge and experience, which complements the management team, is the result of his impressive 55-year tenure at the company.
16. Craig Radulovich
President, Ventra Health
Craig Radulovich is the current President of the Emergency and Hospital Medicine Division at Ventra Health. Prior to this, Radulovich served as the Senior Vice President of Product Management at One Call Care Management. He has also held positions as the Vice President of Finance at Align Networks and as an Engagement Manager at L.E.K. Consulting. Radulovich began his career in consulting as a Summer Consultant at L.E.K. He advised a global fractional jet operator on revenue enhancements and improved asset utilization by providing a profitability model for the evaluation of target customer segments. He also developed a strategic course of action for a major international energy provider, including market dynamics, competitive landscapes, and regulatory trends.
Radulovich has an MBA from Duke University, The Fuqua School of Business, and a BS in business administration from Carnegie Mellon University.
17. Don Dumond
Chief Financial Officer, Drummond
Don Dumond is the Chief Financial Officer of Drummond. He first joined the company in 2019. He's currently a Board Member of US Preventative Medicine (USPM). Previously, Dumond was a CFO at the USPM and before that, a Project Consultant at Warbird Consulting Partners. Previously, he was a Project Consultant at Huron Consulting Group, CFO at Skinner Real Estate Management Company, CFO at Skinner Nurseries, and the President and Owner of Atlas Worldwide Leasing. He was also Chief Accounting Officer at Physician Sales and Service. Earlier in his career, Dumond worked with Deloitte & Touche as an Audit Manager. Dumond earned an MBA in accounting from Tulane University and an undergraduate degree in business and mathematics from Wake Forest University.
18. Dean Gwin
President & Chief Operating Officer, Gate Precast Company
Dean Gwin is the President and Chief Operating Officer of Gate Construction Materials Group. In this role, he’s responsible for all phases of the construction group. Before being named President and COO, Gwin was Vice President of Marketing for the construction group. During his 20 years at Gate Precast, he has gained extensive experience in manufacturing, shipping, sales, marketing, and management. He has played an active and vital role in Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) activities for nearly two decades. He served as PCI Chairman of the Board in 2014 and serves on the PCI Foundation Board of Directors. He was also the PCI lead in the PCI/NPCA Joint Task Group. Gwin has a Bachelor of Science from Troy University.
19. Mike Bell
President, Johnstone Supply
Mike Bell is the President of Johnstone Supply, a leading HVAC/R wholesale distributor. He previously served as Johnstone Supply’s VP of Sales and Operations, where he managed all sales and store operations and made an impact in all facets of the company. Before this, he was at Baker Distributing Company as a National Refrigeration Manager. Bell managed salespeople in 14 states to increase revenue in the commercial refrigeration market. He was also responsible for vendor management with refrigeration and developed marketing plans for the commercial refrigeration business.
Earlier in his career, Bell worked with Sporlan Valve Company as a Sales Engineer. He graduated from Southern Polytechnic State University with an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering.
20. Jeff Preuss
Chief Executive Officer, Complete Health
Jeff Preuss is the Chief Executive Officer at Complete Health. He has over 20 years of experience as a senior executive in healthcare, focusing on healthcare services such as value-based care, PPM, and post-acute CEO-level leadership. Preuss has managed a variety of transactions, build-ups, and turnarounds. Before Complete Health, he was Managing Partner at Point Clear for over 18 years. Previously he was CEO of American Hospice, which he led through an acquisition. He was previously the Senior Vice President of Business Development and Integrated Delivery Systems at Viva Health Momentum Health Services. Prior to working in the private sector, he was at Deloitte Consulting, serving as Practice Leader for the Middle Market Consulting Group.
Preuss graduated from The University of Alabama with a business administration and management degree.
21. Dana Higginbotham
Chief Financial Officer, Magellan Transport Logistics
Dana Higginbotham is the Chief Financial Officer of Magellan Transport Logistics. She takes on varied roles as an information technology specialist, human resources go-to, operations adviser, and office motivator. During her almost 15-year tenure at the company, she oversaw the company's unprecedented growth. Before joining Magellan Transport Logistics, Higginbotham was an Assistant Controller at International Transport Logistics (ITL) and, before that, a Finance Manager at Amports Inc. Earlier in her career, she worked with The Jacksonville Port Authority as a Senior Accountant. Higginbotham graduated from Florida International University with an undergraduate degree in accounting.
22. Andrew Teubner
Chief Commercial Officer, Ghost Tequila
Andrew Teubner is the Chief Commercial Officer of Ghost Tequila. His core responsibilities include overall day-to-day management of the GT Spirits company, brand strategy, sales plan, and product development. He established a national distribution footprint and distribution agreement with RNDC and hired and built a total company of 40 people. He built the brand from early stages to in excess of 50,000 cases with distribution in 50 US states and 30 countries. Today, Ghost Tequila is known for bringing high-quality, award-winning tequilas to life.
Teubner first got his start in state management at Seagram Spirits & Wine Group. From there, he went on to Coors Brewing Company before eventually rising to VP of National US sales at Tequila Casa Dragones. Teubner graduated from Stetson University with an undergraduate degree in marketing.
23. Juan Villatoro
Chief Executive Officer, Alquimista
Juan Carlos Villatoro is the Chief Executive Officer of Alquimista. As an entrepreneur, he has a history of encouraging change in the recycling industry. He is a passionate scientist formally trained by the US Navy. Villatoro previously founded Urban Mining PBC, a technology company that transforms the role of electronics recycling into sustainable value streams. Today, he is a sought-after industry leader and speaker with a passion for making the planet a better place for future generations. He believes strongly that education, technology, peer-to-peer knowledge sharing, and sustainable business practices can be a force for good. Villatoro graduated from the University of North Florida with a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies.
24. Nick Largura
Chief Executive Officer, Superior Construction
Nick Largura is the Chief Executive Officer of Superior Construction. He’s actively involved in both the Southeast and Midwest operations to reinforce the company's mission, vision, and core values. His strategic growth plan is backed by his commitment to provide opportunities for employees and the communities the company builds. During his 18-year tenure at the company, Largura has held multiple roles, first joining as a Project Coordinator. He then went on to become Secretary and Treasurer before becoming Executive Vice President. He's also on the Board of Directors. Largura graduated from the College of Charleston with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and management.
25. David Nunes
President and Chief Executive Officer, Rayonier
David Nunes joined Rayonier in 2014 as Chief Operating Officer. He then assumed the additional role of President and CEO following Rayonier’s spin-off of its Performance Fibers business. Nunes has more than three decades of timber industry experience. Prior to joining Rayonier, he served as President and CEO of Pope Resources/Olympic Resource Management. Previously, Nunes spent nine years with the Weyerhaeuser Company. During his time with Weyerhaeuser, he gained extensive experience involving export log sales and marketing, timberland acquisitions, mergers and acquisitions, and capital planning.
Nunes began his career in the forest products industry with the Seattle-Snohomish Mill Company, where he worked in both sawmill operations and lumber sales capacities. He has an MBA from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University and a Bachelor of Arts in economics from Pomona College.