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Ken Welch Names Transition Team in St. Petersburg

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On Wednesday, incoming St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch announced his transition director and key leaders of his transition team who 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 is the director of the transition team and served as Welch’s campaign manager.

“It has been an honor to serve the Mayor-elect through his historic election victory, and I am excited to be continuing to work with him as he prepares to take office,” Owens said. “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. 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; the Departments of Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and 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 are:

Trevor Burgess, the president and 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, the founder and CEO of Will Packer Media
Melissa Seixas, the president of Duke Energy Florida
Lorna Taylor, the president and CEO of Premier Eye Care
Troy Taylor, the chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola Beverages Florida.
Tonjua Williams, the president of St. Petersburg College.

Cynthia Johnson, the 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 she 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,’’ 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,’’ Taylor said. “I have no doubt that Ken will be a great mayor for St. Petersburg.’’


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Ed Dean is a leading radio and news media personality including hosting the #1 statewide radio talk show in Florida. Contact

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