Board of Directors & Staff

Bretta Christakos, LDDA Chair

Bretta Christakos joined CenterState Bank in 2013 as Vice President and Branch Manager of the Downtown Lakeland office. She was later promoted to Market Manager and currently holds the position as Senior Vice President-Retail Regional Manager for Polk, Hillsborough, Pinellas and Sarasota/Manatee Counties.

Her present role includes Retail Business and Employee Development, Sales Management with a focus on delivering World Class service.

Bretta currently serves on the Board of the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce, Chair for the Lakeland Downtown Development Authority, Corporate Partner Advisor to the NAWBO Lakeland Metro board and a member of BRIDGE Local.

Bretta Christakos
SVP Regional Manager at CenterState Bank Central Florida, N.A.
500 South Florida Avenue, Suite 100
Lakeland, FL 33801
(863)577-6512
Term Expires December 2021 (3 year term)
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Jeff Donalson, LDDA Co-Chair

Mr. Donalson is the co-founder and Manager of Tom Wolf Company, a diversified real estate development and investment company. Since operations began in 2013, Tom Wolf has successfully acquired and developed over 300,000 square feet of commercial real estate in downtown Winter Haven, Bartow, and Lakeland. One of the largest acquisitions includes to purchase of the Ledger building in downtown Lakeland in December 2016. Tom Wolf has specialized in redeveloping value-add, distressed properties in urban areas. A core principal in Tom Wolf’s redevelopment strategy is finding a way to connect the community with the real estate.

In November 2013, the first project included over 13,000 +/- square feet (SF) and was fully leased and built out by October 2015. The total costs of the Project equaled approximately $1,600,000 and has remained 100% occupied since development was complete.

Prior to the founding of TWC, from June 2011 through November 2013, Mr. Donalson worked as a project engineer and project manager for Reiss Engineering, Inc. at the Winter Haven, Florida office. Mr. Donalson’s responsibilities included local business development, project facilitation and budgeting, project management and project design. In 2013, Mr. Donalson led the design services and construction management duties for the City of Clearwater’s new reverse osmosis water treatment facility. With project costs exceeding $30,000,000, this facility now services the entire community of Clearwater, Florida with clean water, utilizing a delicate blend of fresh and brackish water methodically treated for human consumption with reverse osmosis filtration.

From June 2008 through January 2011, Mr. Donalson worked for Malcolm Pirnie, Inc. (now known as ARCADIS US) as an intern and staff engineer. In such capacity, Mr. Donalson performed project management, design, research, and compiled engineering reports for several engineering projects focused on water resources, and water and wastewater process design.

Mr. Donalson graduated from the University of Florida’s College of Engineering with both a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Engineering degree in environmental engineering with a cum laude designation for academic achievement.

Jeff Donalson
Tom Wolf Co., LLC.
6759 WinterSet Gardens Rd.
Winter Haven, FL 33884
863-287-6873

Term Expires December 31, 2022 (3 year term)
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Tom Anderson, LDDA Treasurer

Tom brings an extensive and diverse real estate background to the Broadway Real Estate Services and StoreRight Self Storage teams, with a strong focus on the financial aspects associated with real estate investments.  He serves as the CFO for both Broadway and StoreRight.  Tom graduated from Florida State University where he graduated Cum Laude with an Accounting Degree.  He went on to receive his MBA from Florida Southern College.  Tom began his professional career at a prominent local CPA firm and then went on to SunTrust Bank where he worked in their commercial lending department.  After SunTrust, Tom went to work for the Century Realty Funds family of projects in various roles dealing with financing and refinancing multiple properties and portfolios. Tom has also been active in the local community, most recently serving on the Board of Directors for Explorations V Children’s Museum.  Tom was recently elected to the Board of Directors of the Lakeland Downtown Development Authority.  Tom has achieved the designation of Certified Self Storage Manager from the Self Storage Association.

Tom Anderson
100 S. Kentucky Ave., #290
Lakeland, FL 33801
(863) 683-3425
Term Expires December 2021 (3 year term)
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Grant Miller, LDDA Director

With degrees in Studio Art and Communications from Furman University, Grant worked as a graphic artist for a major luxury publishing house prior to beginning his career in real estate in 2004. This publishing experience has afforded him an advertiser’s eye for establishing a polished and professional sales strategy, put to effective use for both his residential and commercial clients. Through community and civic involvement, he has his finger on the pulse of Lakeland; the opportunities, and the personalities.

 

Grant’s past community involvement includes:

  • Member of the City of Lakeland Historic Preservation Board
  • Member of City of Lakeland Design Review Committee

Grant’s is currently:

  • Director of Lakeland Downtown Development Authority
  • Vice President of Historic Lakeland, Inc.
  • Member Board of Directors, Polk Theatre
  • Member Lake Morton Historic Neighborhood Association
  • Member Dixieland Historic Neighborhood Association

Grant Miller
Sage Realty
Lakeland, FL 33803
863-698-2160
Email Grant
Term Expires December 31, 2023 (3 year term)

Eric “Bro” Belvin, LDDA Director

“Bro” is the managing partner for Linksters Paddywagon and Central Tavern in Polk County in conjunction with Bob Snow. He has been working with Linksters for 10 years. Eric has lived in Lakeland since 1978 and has one son named Conor. He is a graduate of Southeastern University.

 

 

Eric “Bro” Belvin
Linksters Taproom
209 E. Main Street
Lakeland, FL 33801
(863)683-7195
Term Expires December 31, 2023 (3 year term)
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Greg Sanoba, LDDA Director

Greg is an attorney, a business owner and a real estate investor and his experience in these areas brings unique perspective to the LDDA Board. He is President of The Sanoba Law Firm and has lived in Lakeland since 1973.

 

 

Greg Sanoba
The Sanoba Law Firm
422 S. Florida Ave.
Lakeland, FL 33801
(863)683-5353
Term Expires December 2021 (3 year term)
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Julie Townsend, LDDA Executive Director
E-mail Julie

My career has been dominated by marketing, though that was not by design. I have always been driven to be helpful, trying to make things better for the little guy. I started in non-profits, using my psychology background to run a school-based mentoring program. But non-profits have their own set of issues that, for one reason or another, left me unsatisfied.

My first formal taste into the world of marketing was as a sales representative at my local newspaper – The Ledger. I was lucky enough to get assigned the downtown territory and quickly became involved as a volunteer in the district’s marketing organization. I am a strong believer in buying local and supporting the businesses where the owner is often the one serving you behind the counter. So getting involved beyond the sale of ads was a natural fit for me both professionally and personally.

I quickly joined the organization’s board of directors and worked tirelessly with two local merchants to establish a recurring monthly event – First Friday, now 15+ years strong. I left The Ledger and became the first Executive Director of the Downtown Lakeland Partnership where I spent 5 years, working to promote Downtown Lakeland.

The relationships I built while the Executive Director served me well. My last position was with MIDFLORIDA Credit Union, whose corporate office is in Downtown Lakeland, as their Targeted Marketing Specialist. MIDFLORIDA is no mom and pop small business, I know. But the credit union philosophy aligns strongly with my own – helping its members make better financial decisions and improve their lives.

Since April 2014,  I have been the Executive Director of the Lakeland Downtown Development Authority (LDDA).  The LDDA owns and operates the monthly First Friday and the Downtown Farmers Curb Market, an open air market on North Kentucky each Saturday. I get to work with Downtown businesses and property owners to make Downtown Lakeland a more vibrant community for business and residents. I love what I do and I look forward to work each day!

Phyllis Sharp, LDDA Administration
email Phyllis

Phyllis is a native Floridian, born in Miami and raised in Palm Beach County. She moved to Lakeland in 2004 with her husband Steve.  They have three grown children and two granddaughters. Phyllis has worked in customer service and sales for many years, in many different environments. She has volunteered locally at Lighthouse Ministries, served on the Board of the Learning Resource Center, and was a former Rotarian at the Lakeland Christina Club. She enjoys gardening, reading, organizing and helping others. She is excited to be working for the LDDA as she loves the City of Lakeland and its unique history and is thankful for the opportunity to assist Julie in her endeavors to make Downtown Lakeland a vibrant community for businesses and residents!

Brittany Melson, Marketing & Events Manager
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Brittany manages the First Friday events, the Downtown Farmers Curb Market each Saturday, and other Downtown shopping events, like Girls Night Out and Downtown Date Night. She also writes the weekly email newsletters and create the social media and website content. She is a long time resident of Lakeland, an alumni of Florida Southern College, and a former middle school English teacher.