Dr. Wenying Xu – Board Director
Dr. Xu is a Professor of English at Jacksonville University. From the Summer of 2014 to Summer 2016 Dr. Xu served as Provost and Chief Academic Officer of Jacksonville University in summer 2014. In this role, she oversaw faculty, curriculum, academic programs, and academic and professional accreditations while contributing to the advancement in academic excellence, community engagement and globalization of the University.
Dr. Xu came to JU after serving as vice president for academic affairs at Chatham University in Pittsburgh. Prior to her role at Chatham, Dr. Xu was chair of English and Associate Dean of the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Fl.
During her 30 some years in the higher education, she served as President of the Society for the Study of Multiethnic Literature of the United States (MELUS) and a Fulbright Lecturer at Xiamen University in China.
She is the author of four books, numerous peer reviewed articles, and book chapters.
Her husband, Dr. Henry Ruf, is an Air Force veteran.
Gary D. Brose – Board Director
Gary D. Brose currently flies the Beechcraft King Air 200 and Pilatus PC12 as Captain for a local aircraft charter company.
Prior to his return to flying, he spent 10 years as a Strategic Accounts Manager for Apple, where he supported K12 and Hi-Ed clients throughout north Florida and southeast Georgia.
A retired US Naval Aviator, he started his naval career as an enlisted search and rescue swimmer in the SH-2F Seasprite helicopter. After earning an NROTC scholarship, he enrolled at Jacksonville University where he graduated with a BS in International Business.
Upon completion of US Navy flight training, he flew the SH-60B Seahawk helicopter and UC-12B Huron (Beechcraft King Air 200). He is a certificated Airline Transport Pilot and holds several additional certifications and type ratings.
During his career in the US Navy he served in numerous helicopter squadrons on both the east and west coasts, completed nearly worldwide deployments, served as an Admiral’s Aide for the Commander, Naval Base Jacksonville, and earned an MS in Management at the US Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA.
Gary is a 2010 graduate of Leadership Jacksonville, and has served on several boards and committees in the Jacksonville community, including the Jacksonville University Alumni Board of Governors, the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce Board of Governors, the Employ Florida Banner Center for Creative Industries, and the Jacksonville Chapter of the American Marketing Association.
Gary lives in Atlantic Beach with his wife Nicole and has two daughters, the oldest a recent graduate of University of Central Florida and the youngest currently enrolled at the University of Florida. Their family includes two rescue dogs, a rescue cat, a rescue horse, and a rescue husband. When not flying, he enjoys surfing, mountain biking, live music concerts and golfing.
MG Steven W. Smith (Ret.) – Board Director
Major General Steven Smith, United States Army retired, is a senior level business executive with 40 years of experience in a wide range of enterprises in both the private and military sectors, including cyber defense risk mitigation, strategic planning, complex project management, product development, network operations- telecommunications, and financial management. He has an excellent reputation for building strong teams and work culture that promotes creative, opportunistic and flexible thinking along with rapid delivery of technology solutions.
General Smith has had an influential career spanning business and government assignments and encompassing increasingly authoritative positions. His most recent role was as senior military advisor to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army, Manpower & Reserve Affairs, where he counseled the assistant secretary on all training, readiness, and mobilization issues for the Army. General Smith came to that position after serving as commanding general of the US Army Central Command, 335th Theater Signal Command/Army Central Command (USARCENT) CIO. In that role, he led 2,800 soldiers and civilians deployed across the Middle East, and successfully integrated all theater-wide Army strategic command, control, communications, and computer (C4) systems connectivity. He also provided oversight and accountability for C4 commercialization efforts and tactical network conversion. He managed a $450 million operating budget and significantly improved USARCENT Cyber Defense, earning the formation a “commendable” rating on the US Cyber Command Cyber Readiness Inspection. Prior to his deployment, General Smith developed the Cyber Defense – Information Security strategic plan, policies, guidelines, and standards as chief information security officer in the Office of the Army CIO at Department of the Army Headquarters.
MG Smith served the United States for over thirty nine years on active duty, in the Army National Guard, and in the Army Reserves. He has also served in numerous industry executive positions including as a senior director of Global Clients Services to the Information Technology Group at Convergys Corporation; as a senior management consultant at Barclay’s Bank International; as a vice president of OES & Associates; and as a senior vice president and chief technology officer at Fleet Mortgage Group.
General Smith earned his BS in education from The Citadel, graduating as a distinguished military student. He earned his MS in strategic studies from United States Army War College and his MPA from Western Kentucky University. General Smith holds TS/SCI security clearance.
Kevin Hession – Board Director
Kevin Hession is an experienced human resource professional with a career that has spanned nearly 30 years. Before entering his Human Resources career he was a commissioned officer in the United States Marine Corps serving in an infantry battalion as well as a Marine Corps Security Force unit. Kevin has served in numerous HR positions in various industries including manufacturing, consulting, customer contact, Big Four Accounting as well as transportation and logistics within healthcare. Of particular note was Kevin’s experience in HR consulting when he spent several years in the field of career transition with Right Management Consultants, one of the most recognizable firms in the world, transitioning and coaching employees at different levels and from a wide variety of industries. Kevin is a certified Senior Professional of Human Resources and is a big proponent of giving back to his profession. He has been President of the Jacksonville chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management as well as the state President of the Florida affiliate of SHRM.
Kevin is married to the former Judith E. Munsch, who is herself, a former active duty Marine Corps Officer. They have one daughter, Rebecca, who recently graduated from Georgetown University’s school of International Studies with a graduate degree. When not busy as an human resources professional, Kevin is a student of history with a particular interest in the Founding Fathers.
David is currently the President/CEO Dobson & Associates, Inc., founded in 1990 to provide comprehensive business consulting services, as well as both Staff and Executive professional search & placement services (both contingency & retained) on a national, not just local, basis, with specific specialization in the area of Information Technology. The firm has since expanded its services to include recruitment in the areas of Finance & Accounting, Sales & Marketing, Engineering, Legal & Medical. List of Clients includes many Fortune 500 companies, as well as many other fine firms, both locally in Florida, and nationally. Have served as an advisor and consultant to many of our Client Companies, specifically providing advisement and training in the areas of Business Development, Recruitment, Management Development, Team Building, and the basics of good, solid recruitment and retention of quality professionals.
In 1998 David founded the Dobson Professional Shooting School (DPSS – www.daviddobson.com) specializing in the wingshooting and clay shooting sports (both recreational & competitive shotgun sports). This business provides individual instruction, as well as clinics, and we offer team building via the clays sports for some of our major Fortune 500 Client Companies such as Merrill Lynch and others. This venture has been highly successful, as we have found that many executives are involved in these activities nationwide. The Clay Sports (Sporting Clays, Skeet & Trap) are THE fastest growing recreational element in the USA today, and have become a multi-billion dollar industry. Most significantly, there are only 2 people in the USA to ever attain Level III (Master Instructor) certification in BOTH the NSCA & NSSA certifying organizations. This was accomplished in 8 years, when the average for just ONE organization is 10 years plus. DPSS has added significantly to our ability to provide quality interaction with many of our Client Companies, individual Executives and their Staff. In 2009, David founded and is currently the JU Faculty and Program Director of the Jacksonville University Sporting, Skeet & Trap Shooting Team since. Under David’s leadership the JU Sporting, Skeet & Trap Team are 9 time Divisional ACUI Clay Target National Champions. David also resides on the Board of Directors of the non-profit Family Foundations.
Doug Pickett – Board Director