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