Jerry Holland Pic
Jerry Holland
UNF Degree: BBA Transportation – ’83 ME Secondary Education – ’98
Employment: Duval County Supervisor of Elections

Holland works to assure fair elections

 When election day rolls around in Duval County, some 485,000 voters will have an opportunity to cast a ballot because of the efforts of Jerry Holland and his staff. Holland, the Duval County supervisor of elections, is responsible for making sure voting machines are working properly in 285 locations and 3,000 temporary workers are properly trained.

 

Two degrees from UNF have played a major role in preparing him for this challenging job. He has a bachelor's of business administration in transportation and logistics and a master's degree in education.

 

Holland said the bachelor's degree, especially the training in logistics, has been invaluable in planning the massive election undertaking. "There are a lot of eyes watching you and if you make a mistake, you can bet it won't be in the back of the paper."

 

The master's degree prepared Holland for a part of his job that is frequently overlooked by the public - educating young people in the importance of registering and voting. Every year Holland and his staff make a concerted effort to conduct registration drives in high schools and on college campuses. In his first year in office they registered 3,600 young voters. The numbers have consistently increased every year and the effort is now adding nearly 8,000 young voters to the rolls each year.

 

Holland was elected to the supervisor of elections post in 2005 and re-elected in 2007. However, Holland said his prior public service gave him an opportunity to see the necessity of creating a great public university as part of creating a great metropolitan area. Holland served on the Jacksonville City Council from 1999 until becoming supervisor of elections. He served on all seven standing committees and was president of the council in 2002-2003. "I learned UNF really helps us as a community. When we were attempting to recruit new businesses to town, we knew we needed a way to provide a trained workforce. UNF is definitely a partner in fulfilling that responsibility."

 

Holland's UNF degrees also proved beneficial in other areas. He operated his own construction and real estate business for several years and was a substitute teacher in the Duval public schools. He still recalls his urban internship experience when earning his education degree. "You never felt like you were alone when you went out to a classroom. You knew you could pick up the phone and ask for advice."

 

His love of teaching young people extends to the athletic field, as well. When his son Brian was a student at the Paxon School for Advanced Studies, Holland was coincidentally building the school's baseball stadium. When the baseball coach left, he became involved in an unusual arrangement, agreeing to raise the money and finish the stadium pro bono if he could coach the baseball team on which his son played. He ended up being the school's baseball coach for six years. "I love working with young people. You become their father figure and they become your kids." Holland and his wife Beverly enjoy their extended family.

 

Holland admits he is highly competitive and tries to marry his athletic pursuits with charity when possible. He raises money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society by running in marathons. He has completed four marathons and is planning for a fifth in the near future. He also enjoys golf and baseball. Always the coach, he is responsible for organizing the annual softball game when the elected officials take on the media.

Whether on the baseball diamond or in the election office, Holland insists on perfection. Even if he doesn't win a baseball game, he makes sure the rules are followed. That same philosophy extends to the elections office where he prides himself on impartiality.

 

The next time you visit a polling place in Duval County and cast a ballot for your favorite candidate, Jerry Holland will have played a role in giving you a voice in democracy.