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2021 GCBX Board of Directors

2021 Executive Committee

Russ Bobbitt ~ Purmort & Martin Insurance Agency              



Mr. Bennett took office as Manatee County Supervisor of Elections on January 8, 2013. Prior to that, he served in the Florida Senate from November 2002 until November 2012, Representing District 21, consisting of Manatee and Lee Counties and parts of Sarasota, Charlotte and DeSoto Counties. Mr. Bennett served in the Florida House of Representatives from 2000 to 2002. He was involved in chairing and the directing Senate committees responsible for building codes, land regulation and other rules and regulations affecting the construction and development industries. Mr. Bennett was a legislator known to be a champion of business, a community leader, and someone who gets things done. He remains committed to those principles.

Born in Brainerd, Minnesota, Mr. Bennett moved to Bradenton with his family at 10 years old and is a proud graduate of Sarasota High School. Following high school, he joined the Navy and served 4 tours in Vietnam. After graduating with a BA and MBA from Drake University (Des Moines, Iowa), Mr. Bennett worked as an Associate Professor in the College of Business at Iowa State University, and subsequently at Drake University. From there he embarked on a business career ultimately founding Aladdin Ward Electric in Bradenton in 1985, and growing it into a thriving enterprise employing 175 people.

Currently, in addition to his duties as Supervisor of Elections, Mr. Bennett is a business development consultant with Bright Future Electric. In his spare time he serves on numerous community boards including the SANCA Foundation, the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange, the Florida Maritime Museum, and the Florida Defense Support Task Force. Mr. Bennett is an enthusiastic supporter of Mote Marine Laboratory, The Greater Sarasota Sertoma Club, and Southeastern Guide Dogs among others.

As a military veteran (U.S. Navy 1963 – 1967) Mr. Bennett remains devoted to veterans’ causes. His most treasured accomplishment is the fact that his lovely wife Dee said “yes” when he asked her to marry him. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in November 2016.

Immediate Past Chairman


David Karins is founder and president of Karins Engineering Group, Inc., a professional service firm headquartered in Sarasota, FL offering Civil and Structural Engineering services for new construction and existing structures to government and industry. He is also president of the structural engineering consultant firm KWA Engineers, LLC headquartered in Tampa, FL. With well-established offices around Florida together the companies provide structural design engineering services throughout the United States; and forensic, building envelope and restoration consulting services throughout the state. Mr. Karins has civil engineering experience with practice specialization in structural engineering. His experience encompasses all aspects of the typical engineering project including analysis, design, plan preparation, specification writing, and report preparation, consulting during permitting and bidding, and field observations of work-in-progress. Mr. Karins is also specialized in commercial and residential structural design and threshold inspection for buildings ranging from one to twenty-six stories, and structural restoration consulting including damage survey, diagnosis, repair design, specification preparation, and field observations of work-in progress. Site development coordination, quality control and materials testing is also conducted by his firm.
Raised in St. Petersburg and a graduate of Florida State University, David came to Sarasota in 1995. David along with his wife Beth are the parents of four and love golf and boating.



Mark Freeman is the President and one of the shareholders of McIntyre Elwell & Strammer General Contractors, a Sarasota-based commercial construction company founded in 1987. Mark started with ME&S immediately after earning his Master of Building Construction from the University of Florida in 1998 and has been a corporate officer since 2008. Mark also holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering and has been a licensed Florida contractor since 2000.

Over Mark’s two decades working in Sarasota, he has been responsible for Construction Management services on hundreds of projects including Nursing Homes, Schools, Churches, Retail Buildings, Warehouses, Offices, Grocery Stores, and various other types of Commercial Buildings.

Mark and his wife, Stacy, are the proud parents of three children and have been very involved in supporting youth athletics. Mark has been a volunteer soccer coach for various recreational and competitive soccer teams and is very involved in supporting numerous community and industry organizations including serving as a Board Member for the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange, the Manatee Education Foundation, and the University of Florida M.E. Rinker, Sr. School of Construction Management Advisory Council.



Bio Coming Soon

Bill North, Jr. ~ HBK CPAs & Consultants

Bill is a Principal in the Sarasota, Florida office of Hill, Barth & King LLC (HbK). He became a Certified Public Accountant in 1998 and joined HbK in 2009.
Bill has extensive experience in the areas of taxation and business consulting for the construction industry. In 2005, he became a Certified Construction Industry Financial Professional. Bill also provides tax and accounting services to various closely-held businesses as well as individuals.
  • B.S. degree in Accounting from the University of South Florida
  • Certified Construction Industry Financial Professional
Professional/Civic Associations
  • Member, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)
  • Member, Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants (FICPA)
  • Board Member, FICPA
  • Member, Sarasota and Manatee County Home Builders
  • Member, Gulf Coast Builders Exchange
  • Member, Sertoma Club of Sarasota
  • Member, Construction Financial Management Association
  • Treasurer, Argus Foundation



Brett Raymaker is a Project Executive and shareholder of Willis Smith Construction, a privately held construction management firm based in Sarasota since 1972. Brett is a graduate of the University of Florida where he earned a degree of Bachelor of Science in Building Construction and has been a Certified General Contractor in the State of Florida since 2007. Brett joined Willis Smith in 2003 and over the years has completed projects that range from educational and healthcare facilities to museums and performing arts venues. 

Brett and his wife Brigette have recently welcomed the birth of their daughter Brynn. When not working or spending time with his family he is typically found enjoying some golf. 

Ex Officio Board Member
John Brown ~ Attorney's Title Fund Services, LLC

Mr. Brown is a Florida board certified attorney in real estate and a member of both the Florida and Kentucky Bars. He earned his J.D. from Salmon P. Chase College of Law in 1981.

Prior to joining the Fund, Mr. Brown has represented national retailers in purchase contract negotiations, leasing, site evaluation, engineering, permitting, land use, environmental evaluation and compliance, survey review, title and closing. He has represented private and public companies negotiating the terms of operational and construction financing. He has represented governmental entities through closing on multiple land parcel exchanges and during the issuance of municipal bonds for utility financing. His practice also included structuring and consummating 1031 exchanges, joint development projects, cellular tower site evaluation and closings, hotel project development and closings and a variety of commercial due diligence efforts.

Mr. Brown is a member of the Real Property Probate and Trust Section of the Florida Bar, NAIOP, CREW Tampa Bay and the International Council of Shopping Centers.

2021 Board of Directors
Russ Bobbitt ~ Purmort & Martin Insurance Agency
Mary Forristall ~ Forristall Enterprises, Inc.
Kevin Hicks ~ Gator Grading & Paving

Brian Leaver ~ Tandem Construction

Maurice Opstal ~ Stellar Development, Inc.

Steve Padgett ~ Fawley Bryant Architects, Inc.

Lemuel Sharp III ~ Sharp Properties, Inc.
Paul Stehle ~ Climatic Conditioning Company, Inc.   
Darrell Turner ~ Turner Business Development, LLC
Burt Whitenight ~ Service Contracting Solutions
John WisemanJP Wiseman Construction Services LLC

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