Gary Hall Pic
Gary W. Hall
UNF Degree: B.T. – ’81
Employment: President, Columbia College – Jacksonville

UNF education propels Hall to varied career

 A varied career ranging from auto logistics to college administration has illustrated the benefits of a UNF education for Gary W. Hall.

Hall, currently the director of Columbia College’s Jacksonville campus, started out wanting to be an engineer. Enrolling at the University of Central Florida, Hall initially majored in engineering until a massive layoff of engineers at Cape Canaveral prompted him to change to sociology and criminal justice. After graduating from UCF he worked for the State of Florida Auditor General’s Office as a fraud investigator.


After five years he accepted a position with Southeast Toyota Distributors Inc. in Jacksonville as safety director. He progressively moved up the ranks being promoted to a group vice president. He was the chief operating officer of auto processing for the facility in Jacksonville and one in Georgia which together handled more than 300,000 vehicles a year and employed 700 workers.


The year he started at Southeast Toyota – 1979 – he also started at UNF. He recalls the university was very new and the engineering program was still in the planning stages. “I was around when UNF was just beginning and I remember there was such a sense of pride that a public university would be located in Jacksonville.”


He enrolled in manufacturing technology and graduated in 1981 with his second bachelor’s degree. “I took most of my classes as night and I remember the great interaction between students and faculty members.”


After a very successful career with Southeast Toyota, Hall became vice president and partner in ATC Logistics International in Jacksonville in 1997. The company is an auto processing firm with facilities in Baltimore, Jacksonville and three sites in Mexico. When the company was sold in 2001, Hall became president and owner of H & J Marine Construction and GWH Marine Services, a consulting firm. In these firms, Hall was involved in all aspects of the business, including sales, creation of contracts, permitting and management of projects.


Hall has extensive experience in truck manufacturing. He was instrumental in the establishment of a truck assembly plant for Hino trucks and also started a truck bed liner manufacturing operation. He also is proud of the U.S. Patent he holds for a truck accessory he invented.


His dream to teach management and international business initially drew him to Columbia College. When the director’s position opened he accepted in 2006. Columbia College is a private, coeducational liberal arts and sciences college offering associate and bachelor’s degrees on campus and online. The Jacksonville campus was established in 2006. Columbia College-NAS Jacksonville, which serves the military population in the area, was founded in 1990.


His active professional life has not prevented Hall from being involved in the community. He has volunteered for a variety of organizations, from the Boy Scouts of America’s Handicapped Scouting Program to Youth Leadership Jacksonville. He has served on the boards of trustees at Pace Center for Girls, Episcopal High School and Families in Action. He was also chairman of the International Committee of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce and vice chairman of the Gator Bowl Association.


He is married to Sharon B. Johnson, a prominent Jacksonville attorney who is also a UNF alumna. The couple has three children and the family enjoys swimming, fishing, kayaking, skiing and hiking.


As the director of Columbia College, Hall’s education has come full circle. He now enjoys a position helping others with an education that hopefully will propel them to equally successful careers.