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Downtown Vision, Inc. elects new Board Chair, Treasurer and Members

Downtown JacksonvilleDowntown Vision, Inc. (DVI) announced the election of Board Chair Debbie Buckland, Treasurer William R. Prescott and members Vicki Burns, Dorothy Merrick, Allison Naseri, Karen Perkner and Numa Saisselin to its 2013-2014 Board of Directors. The board also welcomes ex-officio member Aundra Wallace of the Downtown Investment Authority.

Chair Debbie Buckland is executive vice president and commercial banking manager for SunTrust in Northeast Florida, and is Jacksonville City president. Buckland serves on the Foundation Board for River Garden, is past chair for the Jacksonville Women’s Business Center and is a trustee of JAX Chamber. She is a past board chair of the American Cancer Society Duval Board and served on the Florida Division Board. She is a member of Wolfson Children’s Hospital Women’s Board, Jacksonville Women’s Network and the Women’s Giving Alliance. She was also named a 2006 Woman of Influence by the Jacksonville Business Journal, is a 2009 Graduate of Leadership Jacksonville, and in 2011, was named by the Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women as one of Jacksonville’s Women Making a Difference.

“I am pleased to take on this new role with DVI,” said Debbie Buckland, Chair of Downtown Vision, Inc. “There is such great momentum Downtown and with new members dedicating their resources to Downtown, we are better positioned than ever to contribute to the collaborative revitalization efforts for Downtown Jacksonville.”

Treasurer William R. Prescott is a principal with Heritage Capital Group. Prior to joining Heritage, Prescott owned and operated Prescott Consulting and was the chief financial officer and senior vice president of Stadium Operations for the Jacksonville Jaguars NFL franchise and provided financial and operational leadership to the executive team since its inception in 1993. He is a member of the executive board and chair-elect of Visit Jacksonville, a member of the Executive Committee of Downtown Vision, Inc., a member of the Advisory Board of One Spark, and treasurer of Jacksonville’s Downtown Marketing Collaborative.

Vicki Burns is property manager at Regency Centers for the North Florida region and a Jacksonville native. She oversees all areas of operations for 17 retail properties, totaling 1.38 million square feet. Burns joined Regency in 1995 when the company owned 35 properties. As Regency expanded, she began managing properties in Georgia, North Carolina and Florida. Today, Regency owns 343 retail properties, totaling 45.9 million square feet nationwide. Burns is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers and holds a Florida broker’s license. During the school year, she tutors at a local elementary school through a YMCA-affiliated program and supports HabiJax and the United Way of Northeast Florida.

Dorothy Merrick moved to Jacksonville from Atlanta with her husband in 2006. They enjoy living Downtown because of their riverfront location, diverse lifestyle, proximity to work and walking distance to a variety of restaurants, sports and entertainment venues. She has been a licensed real estate broker since 1977 and is now an associate broker with Warren & Co. Commercial Properties, holding an active Florida and Georgia broker’s license. As a member of the Downtown Jacksonville Chamber, Urban Core CPAC, president of The Plaza Condominiums Association and advocate for improvement of our city, she understands the success of mixed use planning and living.

Allison Naseri has an MBA in entrepreneurship and business analysis with a market research certification. She has worked for market research firms with a focus on customer research and shopping center development. She currently owns a small consulting company, where she coaches small businesses on best practices. Naseri is the marketing and logistics coordinator for Jacksonville Fashion Week, on the board of directors for Braided Light Dance Project and an active member of the Junior League and Fashion Group International. She also performs regularly with Turn Point of Dance in San Marco.

Karen Perkner is an executive vice president of EverBank. She serves as the director of Corporate Real Estate, Quality and Productivity and the Strategic Initiative divisions. EverBank is the largest bank headquartered in Florida with more than $18 billion in assets and $13.7 billion in deposits, as of July 30, 2013. Perkner also served in leadership roles at Bank of America, Barnett Technologies, CoreStates Financial, First Pennsylvania Bank, and Arthur Andersen (Accenture). Additionally, she serves on the Board of the Duval Regional YMCA.

Numa Saisselin is president of the Florida Theatre. Saisselin has built an award-winning career directing nonprofit performing arts centers, especially historic theaters, and developed a reputation for leading organizations from uncertain circumstances to annual profitability. Most recently, from 2002 to 2012, he was the CEO of the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, New Jersey. During these 10 years, the organization grew from a $1.5 million-a-year operation with an ongoing annual deficit into an $8.5 million a year organization that enjoyed nine years of cash surpluses. He has been a board member of the League of Historic American Theatres, president of the Consortium of Eastern Regional Theatres and a panelist for numerous foundations and grant makers.

Downtown Vision, Inc.’s 2012-2013 board officers include: Chair Debbie Buckland, SunTrust; Vice-Chair Dan King, Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront; Secretary Oliver Barakat, CB Richard Ellis; Treasurer William R. Prescott, Heritage Capital Group; and Immediate Past Chair Michael A. Jennings, Prudential Financial.

For a complete list of board members and bios, visit downtownjacksonville.org.

About Downtown Vision, Inc.

Downtown Vision, Inc. (DVI) is a dynamic, not-for-profit, 501(c)6 organization tasked with building and maintaining a healthy and vibrant Downtown. Created by commercial property owners through a self-assessment and governed by a board representing Downtown property owners, DVI administers a 90-block Downtown Improvement District to provide a multitude of services over and above what the City of Jacksonville provides: cleaning and safety via the Downtown Ambassador program; activation with more than 50 event days annually, like the award-winning First Wednesday Art Walk; marketing, communications and partnerships; comprehensive information resources and ombudsman services; stakeholder support and advocacy; and business retention and attraction support.
For more information, visit downtownjacksonville.org.


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