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Nick Howland Segment
Pete: Our first guest today, and I’m really proud to have him on the show he’s a US Navy veteran, was an officer in the Navy. His name is Nick Holland and Nick, I’m going to tell you some things about Nick. Nick is a very successful businessman, father of two young boys. He and his wife lived in intercoastal West area for the past 11 years. Okay. But Nick, beyond being a successful businessman and father and all this good stuff, he’s always. He’s been on the board of First Coast Manufacturers Association. He’s been on the city of Jacksonville’s environmental protection board. And I’ll tell you what, it’d be in the father of a couple of young boys and I’m a father myself. I see them out at patent park on Saturday and Sundays, you know, where the kids play soccer. There was a few thousand people it seems like every weekend I know what I’m trying to pull out of that park. Doggone it takes forever, but Nick gives back and now Nick is running for the Duval County School Board and the unique. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background and why Nick, why now?
Nick: Thank you Pete, and thank you for having me. So why am I interested? I always tell people the very first thing is that it’s in my blood. So my dad was in my school board growing up and school board member. My mom helped found an inner city charter school. I grew up in the area of Chicago. She helped found a school that is in an underperforming, a neighborhood in the inner city where the schools were letting the children down in the school that, that she helped found, gave better educational outcome for the kids. So, it’s always been something I’ve been interested in now. Why now? I’m really the generated interest started with Parkland and I continue with the blood metaphoric, Kind of got my blood boiling and when the current guy and decided, Scott Shannon decided not to run for reelection. I stepped in, I was in about 48 hours after that and really I thought for about 48 hours, that’d be the only guy. And I thought, Oh, this is an easy election, but it turns out there are four others running.
Pete: So it’s never easy. All you got to fight a little bit for us. So that’s good. Walk me through your career a little bit and let’s start with number one. Thank you for your service. I know you’re a former United States naval officer and that’s fantastic. Walk me through your career progression.
Nick: Sure. Well, you know, began. I grew up in Chicago. I went to college in North Carolina on a Navy ROTC scholarship, so I was an officer in the Navy for four years, two years on a destroyer out in the west coast, and then two years at a Navy seal unit that was a boat unit. So we delivered the seals up and down rivers and then pick them up. But wow, it’s so happened that I was in between the Gulf War and Operation Iraqi Freedom. And so I didn’t see much action besides training. But I got out of the Navy, went and got an MBA and a while I was getting my MBA, 9/11 happened and all my buddies who were in the Navy went to war. And here I was at business school thinking, what am I going to do, be an investment banker or be a management consultant. And none of that felt right. And then Raytheon came to my campus to interview and the CFO of Raytheon at the time was a — went to University of Chicago, to get his MBA like I did. And he said, who wants to come serve their country by working at our firm and help develop and that’s where he got you in. I was doing mergers and acquisitions for them, helping them kind of develop technologies, acquire technologies and acquire companies that mostly out a homeland security and intelligence bend to them. After that while I was doing all that mergers and acquisitions, work armor holdings here in Jacksonville, came in and offered me a job and I relocated to armor and pretty soon after about a year after I was at armor, a BA systems and other big defense company acquired armor and they put me into running a business that made tactical products for military and law enforcement. And I did that for awhile before I got hired by the company I’m at now where I’m president of a, a manufacturer of inflatable marine life rafts. So survival equipment for commercial and recreational. And that’s 3SI times the parent company out of the UK and the subsidiary here in the US is called Revere Survival based on the west side. And we manufacture the life rafts, they are 2,500 life rafts a year pump out of that,
Pete: Who the buyers? Like, who were the folks that buy the merchandise to make?
Nick: Sure, we offer products that cater to commercial fishermen, oil and gas, offshore supply vessels, regulated products that the Coast Guard regulates. We also sell to recreational boaters. Just people who go offshore fishing and go far enough out that they want a life raft for safety purposes. And how can people learn more about your company or perhaps call if they, if they’d like to, to place an order or learn more. Sure. Easiest way is a www.reveresurvival.com. So revere, just like the name Paul Revere, reveresurvival.com. They can get all the information there.
Pete: So, let’s talk a little bit more about you, your, your school board, Ron, and what distinguishes you from the other folks that might be in the mix.
Nick: Sure, sure. Well, I am a Navy veteran, um, and I think that matters because I’m a, uh, there’s a lot of Navy families in the district that I’m running for the district I’m running for is basically Kernan boulevard to the beaches and it encompasses all the intercoastal west from the river down to Butler and all the beaches areas, so including Mayport, Atlantic beach and Neptune beach. So, you live right in the area in which you live right in there. You have to, as a requirement of running for that seat. I’ll Duval split into seven districts. Mine happens to be that one. Um, so I understand the concerns of Navy families when they transitioned into the area. I’m also having been in the military when I think through decision making, I was taught a lot in the Navy about when and how to make a decision and how to make tough decisions. I think that that is applied in my business career and I think it’ll apply for the school board because looking forward we have a lot of tough decisions to make. We have budget to balance. We’ve got decisions to make on how to attract, retain, and recruit the best teachers in the world in order to drive Duval county to be one of the best school districts in the country. So, my Navy experience, I believe sets me apart from the other candidates. I’m also a business leader, we talked about. So one of the big challenges at Duval County public schools is balancing the budget and we have a serious concern if you’re looking at the news right now, you’ll notice that we have a whole of $62 million dollars to close before entering the school year and that’s because of erroneous budgeting and poor practices. So I would like to kind of stabilize that and I know how to analyze complex budgets and monitor and track them. And I’d like to do the same on the, on the school board
Pete: As a fellow service member. And I talk a lot about my Navy experience seven years in the Navy. Yeah, consistency was really important. And one thing I say as a leader, being consistent and making those hard decisions, making good decisions, smart decisions. But having a consistency across the board about the decisions that you make so the people know what to expect and I tell stories about it and in business I had a boss one time that if he came into the room and he had a newspaper under his arm, I didn’t know if he was going to read it to me or hit me in the head with it. He was so erratic depending on what he did the night before and what was going on in his life. He just, I didn’t see him as a stable and consistent person. And I think your military experience combined with, you know, you know, I know you’ve been a very senior leader in the business that you’ve done. It requires that level of consistency and a consistent decision making. I would talk to that a little bit.
Nick: Well, absolutely. You’re 100 percent spot on with that. And I think it also, you and I both probably have approached our lives post-Navy careers with when we do something, we keep the mission in mind, right? The mission is always in mind when you approach the decision making and when you, when you’re running a business, you know that the mission is not only, you know, driving value for your shareholders, but taking care of your employees and your customers when you’re, as I approached the school board, what the mission is for me is doing what is right for our kids and what’s right for our community. I mean there’s simply, those are the two lenses that all look at when I make a decision mission in mind. I think that’s something that you take from the Navy
Pete: And if people want to learn more about your platform or perhaps make a donation to your cause, how can they do that?
Nick: Well, that’s a great question. Thank you for asking. The way they can do that is going to www.howlandforschoolboard.com. Or they can go to the facebook page, Howland for School Board.
Pete: Okay. Fantastic. Nick, any other parting thoughts for our listeners and I want you to maybe put on that your business leader hat right now and I want you to think the folks that usually turn it into this show are — they’re workers, right? This is a show that’s all about dedicated to the workforce. I don’t know any real trust fund babies that don’t need a job, right? We all have to work to pay the bills and you know, you get all these folks out there that are thinking, you know, maybe I want to earn that next step in my professional career. I want to have a career as distinguished as Nick’s. What can I do? What, what can I do right now? No matter if I’m turning wrenches or selling widgets, what are some things that I can do is I approached my day to help me be more effective and productive and maybe stand out from the crowd a little bit.
Nick: Sure. Well, one of the things that I’ve tried to do in my career that has helped a lot to stay active in the community and network. and by Staying active in the community and do what you can to help you know, develop your own community, you bring and attract families and jobs and companies to the county and you create more opportunities for yourself and maybe it’s a more of a longer term thing and you don’t see the immediate direct results, but you know, in taking the time I think during your career to also get your head out of the sand and pay attention to what else is going on and seeing what you can do to help your community and what other opportunities might be out there I think is critically important. And you know, you see it in school board too. If we can. You look around the city of Jacksonville. We’re a great town and I think the thing holding us back from being a city like Indianapolis, Denver, Portland, some of the Austin, some of these cities that are really are second tier, top, top, second-tier cities. I think are the things holding us back or crime and education, you know, that’s why I want to get involved in the scene doing what I can to help the education, advanced education and get a better outcome for Duval county. We’re making improvements. I think we’re on the cusp of being one of the best large municipalities and the
Pete: in the country. Oh, so well said. And you know, when I think about it, Tomorrow’s workforce, they’re getting educated today. They need a good education and it starts with our kids right up through secondary education as well. I certainly appreciate having you on, Nick, today. I think you’re a great guest! Guys, as you heard Nick, one more time, how can they get a, how can they learn more about your platform and how can they, if they’d like to give a donation or learn more about you running for Duval County school board, what do they do? The
Nick: The best way is to go to my website at www.howlandforschoolboard.com and you can find more information about the platform there and there’s a donate button if you wish to contribute to the campaign.
Pete: Fantastic. Thank you very much, Nick. Thank you Peter. I appreciate it.
In this episode:
Nick Howland, Candidate for Duval County School Board, District 2
Donate or learn more about Nick here.
Lloyd Corricelli, U.S. Air Force Veteran
To hear, Lloyd’s single “Summer’s Over,” click here.