Board of Directors & Staff

 

Jeff Donalson, LDDA 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, 2025 (3 year term)
Email Jeff

 

Bretta Christakos, LDDA Co-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, Highlands and Osceola counties at SouthState Bank.

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

Bretta currently serves as a Director of the Lakeland Downtown Development Authority, Member of the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce serving on the Small Business Award committee and a member of BRIDGE Local.  Her past community involvement included being on the board of the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce and Corporate Partner Advisor to the NAWBO Lakeland Metro board.

Bretta Christakos
SVP Regional Manager at SouthState Bank N.A.
500 South Florida Avenue, Suite 100
Lakeland, FL 33801
(863)577-6512
Term Expires December 2025 (3 year term)
Email Bretta

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)
Email Eric

Michael J Kincart, LDDA Director

Michael Kincart was born and raised in Lakeland, Florida and is an attorney working in the downtown Lakeland office of Peterson & Myers, P.A.  Michael focuses his practice on business law and real estate transactions, such as sales, purchases, development, leasing, title insurance and financing.  Prior to joining Peterson & Myers, P.A., Michael worked in Publix’s in-house real estate legal department, a national law firm in Orlando, and another local law firm here in Lakeland.  Michael received his B.S.B.A. in Finance from the University of Florida and his Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Stetson University College of Law.  Prior to law school, Michael worked in Bartow at his family’s environmental consulting business, A-C-T Environmental & Infrastructure, Inc.

Michael is a member of Access Church and has been involved in various civic and community organizations, including the United Way of Central Florida’s Young Leaders Society (Chair and Steering Committee), EMERGE Lakeland (Steering Committee), Lakeland South Rotary Club (Board of Directors), and Leadership Lakeland (graduate of Class XXXI).  Michael and his wife, Ashley, live in Lakeland with their three children. Outside of the office, he enjoys spending time with his family and friends, being a part of the community, exploring local restaurants, traveling, going to the beach, running, swimming, high intensity fitness, obstacle races (such as Savage Race), music and all things Florida Gators.

Michael J. Kincart, Attorney
Peterson & Myers P.A.
225 E. Lemon St. Ste. 300
Lakeland, FL 33801
863-683-6511
Term Expires December 31, 2024 (3 year term)
Email Michael

Donna De Stefano, LDDA Director

Donna De Stefano is the senior special projects manager at Summit, where she has served for 18 years. Donna has called Lakeland home for the last 40 years, since moving from Boston, Massachusetts in 1982. Donna most recently directed Summit’s move to the beautiful new Downtown Lakeland office building overlooking Lake Mirror. She oversees the facilities and real estate operations for Summit’s three office locations in Lakeland, Gainesville, Ga., and Baton Rouge, La.

Donna has spent her time over the years on the board of several local organizations. She served on the board of directors for the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce, as president of the Leadership Lakeland Alumni Association and is a current member of the Lakeland Economic Development Council. When Donna isn’t working and devoting her time to the community, she loves to kick back, relax and spend her time with nature. Donna’s favorite time of the year is Fall, when football kicks off and she gets to watch her LSU Tigers take on the rest of the SEC.

Donna De Stefano, Senior Special Projects Manager
Summit, the people who know workers’ comp®
117 N. Massachusetts Avenue
Lakeland, FL 33801
Term Expires December 31, 2024 (3 year term)
E-mail Donna


Michael Musick, Commissioner

Mike Musick is the owner of Musick Construction & Roofing and has lived in Lakeland for more than 40 years. He is a 1991 graduate of Lakeland Christian School (LCS), where he won multiple state championships as a member of the track team. For the past 12 years, Mike has coached cross country and track at LCS.

Mike is married to Niki Edel Musick, a 1992 graduate of Lakeland High School. She serves as an Assistant Professor of Nursing at Southeastern University. The couple has three college-aged children — Parker, Remington, and Britain.

Mike currently serves as a deacon and a member of the missions committee at Heritage Baptist Church. He serves on the board of directors at Camp Gilead in Polk City, as a Group Leader for Christians for Worldwide Evangelism (CWE Missions) and founded Leverage Ministries, a Lakeland-based nonprofit serving underprivileged youth. Mike and his family have been on dozens of mission trips to more than 20 countries around the world.

In the past, Mike has served on the Zoning Board of Adjustments and Appeals as well as the Lakeland Historic Board.

Michael Musick
Commissioner
City of Lakeland
228 S. Massachusetts Avenue
Lakeland, FL 33801
863-834-6000
Email Michael

 

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
email Brittany

Brittany manages the First Friday events and the Downtown Farmers Curb Market each Saturday. 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.

 

 

Alejandro Aybar-Mota, Clean and Safe Manager
email Alé

Alejandro, or Alé (pronounced Ollie), as he is more commonly called, was born and raised here in Lakeland, Fl. His family is originally from the Dominican Republic before they settled on moving here to Lakeland in the early 90’s. He is a native Lakelander and was one of the first batch of students to attend the Central Florida Aerospace Academy of Kathleen Senior High School. He started working for the City of Lakeland Parks and Recreation Department when he was 16 as a lifeguard, where he stayed for ten years, working many different positions as a lead lifeguard as well as an Aquatic Facility Operator and most recently as a Recreation Leader at Kelly Recreation Complex prior to starting with LDDA. His parents still live here and his sister is currently in medical school where she is studying to be an OB/GYN. He is in a happy relationship with his girlfriend who will be commissioning into the United States Air Force where she will work as a Finance Officer.
Krista Butler,  Marketing Assistant
email Krista
Krista is the Marketing Assistant and is in charge of Tasty Tuesdays and Festive Flix. She also assists in the management of First Fridays and the Farmers Curb Market. Krista is the gal on the street –  distributing posters and meeting with business owners about events, promotions and the annual visitor’s guide. Krista has lived in Lakeland for almost 20 years, and is a single mom to two teenage boys. She is dedicated to her family as a caregiver and small business owner. Her hobbies include crafts and gardening. Krista has a degree in Business Administration/Management.