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Institute of Environmental Research and Education

Community Council

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The Institute of Environmental Research and Education (IERE) Community Council was established  to provide an opportunity for community and industry leaders to contribute to the mission of the IERE. All programs supported by the IERE rely on external funding, including donations and grants.

The Community Council will assist in the identification and cultivation of donors to raise critical support for scholarships, research, and program development. Members of the Community Council will assist in raising the profile and success of the IERE and its students within the community. The continued active and involved participation of each member will ensure the Community Council’s success and prove to be a distinguishing feature of the IERE.

Community Council Members

Chuck GedChuck Ged

Advanced Environmental Laboratories

Chuck Ged '86 is the owner of Advanced Environmental Laboratories (AEL), which is headquartered in Jacksonville and has six additional locations in Florida. AEL is a state and federal certified environmental testing laboratory specializing in the analysis of drinking water, wastewater, groundwater, soil, and hazardous waste.

Chuck is a graduate of the University of North Florida and received his B.S. degree in chemistry.

Chuck’s background includes seven years with the Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA) and five years with commercial labs in Jacksonville before starting AEL. At AEL, he is responsible for the overall operations and direction of the company.

In 2007, Chuck and his wife Jennifer established the Ray Bowman endowment in honor of UNF Chemistry Professor Dr. Ray Bowman, who was also the founding director of the Institute of Environmental Research and Education (IERE). The endowment supports the IERE with funding for research, scholarships, curriculum development, etc. Chuck also supports chemistry majors through the Mr. and Mrs. Charles M. Ged Sciences Scholarship. Chuck is a big UNF basketball fan and has gone on several trips with UNF Athletics teams to attend away games.

James RichardsonJames Richardson, II

City of Jacksonville Environmental Protection Board

James A, Richardson, II is a native of Jacksonville.  Since April 2012, he has worked with the City of Jacksonville as Program Administrator for the Jacksonville Environmental Protection Board which has regulatory authority for environmental issues within Duval County with a focus on air, odor, noise and water.  In this capacity, he ensures compliance with Open Government and Sunshine Laws for the volunteer board and oversees their education and outreach program.  He represents the JEPB in the community and state.  

With a common theme of engaging people, James has had a successful career that has also led to several volunteer opportunities and community leadership roles.  He currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, is President of the Board of Directors for the Florida Local Environmental Resource Agencies (FLERA), Vice-Chair of the Northeast Florida Clean Fuels Coalition, a member of the JASMYN Properties Board, a member of the Northeast Regional Council of Leadership Florida and a member of the Leadership Florida Special Council on Equity, Equality and Justice.   

Rhodes Robinson 

Occupation: Currently a Principal at Environmental Services, Inc. Rhodes is a wildlife biologist, Certified Environmental Professional, and Professional Wetland Scientist. During his career, he has conducted environmental studies throughout the Southeastern United States and Eastern Caribbean on over 1,000,000 acres of land. He has extensive experience in large-scale planning and permitting projects, conducting and coordinating master plans, developments of regional impacts, environmental impact statements, and mitigation banks. 

Education: North Carolina State University, B.S., Textile Technology; North Carolina State University, B.S., Wildlife Biology; North Carolina State University, M.S., Wildlife Biology

Personal: Rhodes and his wife Sarah live in Queens Harbor.

Jim SchwarzJim Schwarz

James “Jim” Schwarz works with business leaders, organizations, and business groups enabling them to achieve their strategic goals. His approach to coaching and consulting combines this pragmatic business experience with his intuitive nature to provide actionable insights. Jim often helps organizations going through structural and cultural change including merger and acquisition, re-structuring, senior leadership transitions, strategy shifts, personnel up-skilling and implementing a new company vision.

Jim lives in Jacksonville, Florida with his wife Trisha Meili. He is a passionate outdoors enthusiast and loves to fish, kayak, hike, and run.

David Strickland

A native of Daytona Beach, Florida, David Strickland retired from EverBank in 2013 after 42 years in banking. He served in senior management positions at Trust Company of Georgia, Barnett Bank of Florida and EverBank, where he was the founding president and CEO. He was the interim President and CEO of the Jacksonville Symphony in 2019, where he has been a Board member since 2012 and currently serves as Chairman of the Board. His other current activities include Chairman of the Jacksonville University Public Policy Institute and board member of the Cummer Museum and the Marine Science Research Institute. He served as chairman of the World Affairs Council of Jacksonville from 2016 to 2018 and currently serves as its advisory council chair. Strickland’s prior community and educational service includes being chair of Habitat for Humanity of Jacksonville, the North Florida Land Trust, the Youth Crisis Center Foundation and positions on the boards at Stetson University and the Coggin College of Business at the University of North Florida. He has degrees from Emory University, Rutgers University and the Harvard Business School.