KISSIMMEE, Fla., Sept. 29, 2011 – A record 13 individuals have submitted applications to fill a vacancy on the Kissimmee Utility Authority board of directors, the largest number of applicants in the Authority’s 26-year history. The deadline for completed applications was 5 p.m. on Sept. 29.
The vacancy is the result of the Aug. 16 resignation (and subsequent death) of vice chairman James R. “Jim” Kasper. The utility charter requires that a nominee be presented to the Kissimmee City Commission after an unforeseen vacancy. The unfinished term expires on Sept. 30, 2014.
Applicants must reside within the KUA service territory and should demonstrate a successful business or professional management career.
The applicants are:
– JUAN ARAUJO is an electrical engineering consultant with 30 years of experience. He holds electrical engineering degrees from New York University and University of Massachusetts and has been a resident of Kissimmee for four months.
– CLEMENTE CAJIGAS is an engineer with Boeing Defense, Space & Security. He holds a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Puerto Rico and is a five-year resident of Kissimmee.
– THOMAS CHALIFOUX, JR. is a 40-year resident of Kissimmee. A previous board member with the Osceola School District, Chalifoux is president and CEO of three local companies. He is a 30-year veteran of the Army and holds a graduate degree from Pepperdine University.
– JOSEPH COLON is retired and a 10-year resident of Kissimmee. He currently serves on the boards of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority and MetroPlan Orlando. Colon is a graduate of the Kissimmee School of Government and holds a business management degree from Pace University.
– OLGA GONZALEZ is president of the Church and Community Assistance Program and a 13-year resident of Kissimmee. She holds an Associate of Arts degree from Bronx Community College.
– SHAWN JOHNSON is a 16-year resident of Kissimmee and holds an Associate of Arts degree from Strayer University. He is a former manager with Don Asher & Associates in Orlando.
– TWIS LIZASUAIN is the public and media relations director for the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office. She holds a communications degree from the University of Central Florida and is a 10-year resident of Kissimmee. She currently serves on the boards of Osceola Regional Medical Center, Junior Achievement and Help Now of Osceola.
– RODGER MINGO is a retired manager of the Federal Aviation Administration’s William J. Hughes Technical Center in New Jersey. He is a nine-year resident of Kissimmee and holds degrees from Stockton State College and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Mingo serves on the board of the Rotary Club of Kissimmee.
– PATRICIA ORNER is a retired AT&T marketing manager. She is a four-year resident of Kissimmee and serves on the board of the Kissimmee/Osceola County Chamber of Commerce’s Poinciana Area Council.
– DONALD SHEARER is owner of Auction Services and a 40-year resident of Kissimmee. He is a former administrator with Walt Disney World and retired employee of the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office. He holds a degree from Valencia Community College and is a former KUA board member.
– HARRY SWART is a senior partner with Swart Baumruk & Company CPA. He is a 28-year Kissimmee resident and holds an accounting degree from Pace University. He sits on the board of the Kissimmee/Osceola County Chamber of Commerce.
– JEANNE VAN METER is a 38-year resident of Kissimmee and a realtor. VanMeter is a former Kissimmee City Commissioner, and previously served on the boards of Valencia College, Greater Orlando Aviation Authority and the Kissimmee/Osceola County Chamber of Commerce. She’s a past chair of Help Now of Osceola.
– JOSÉ VARGAS is a former production manager for concerts, art shows and events. He is a one-year resident of Kissimmee and holds degrees from University of Sacred Heart, Interamerican University and Ramirez College in Puerto Rico.
The KUA board will interview applicants at its regular meeting on Oct. 5. The board will then select one applicant whose name will go before the city commission on Oct.18 for confirmation. The candidate confirmed by the city commission will be sworn in at the board’s November meeting.
Founded in 1901, KUA (http://kua.com) is Florida’s sixth largest community-owned utility providing electric and telecommunication services to 64,000 customers in Osceola County, Fla.
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Chris M. Gent