Putnam Makes Staff Hires

By: Michael Peltier, The News Service of Florida
By: Michael Peltier, The News Service of Florida


Incoming Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam on Tuesday named top staffers who will accompany when he takes office next month.

Leading Putnam’s team of advisors and administrators is Mike Joyner, who will become assistant commissioner and Putnam’s chief of staff. Joyner is a lobbyist for fruit and vegetable growers, among other clients. He also has worked at the Florida Farm Bureau and the Florida Forestry Association, and served as chief of staff at the Department of Environmental Protection.

Marion Aller will become acting deputy commissioner. She joined the agency in 1986 and has previously served as director of Food Safety and held several technical positions in the Bureau of Pesticides, rising to chief in 1992.

Jay Levenstein will remain as deputy commissioner, a position he has held under outgoing Commissioner Charles Bronson. Levenstein joined the department in 1993. He has also been the agency’s state-federal relations director, legislative affairs director, chief of the Bureau of Animal Disease Control and senior attorney.

Shannon Shepp will be acting deputy commissioner. She joined the Department in 2001 as assistant division director and has served as the Fruit and Vegetables Division director since 2004. Prior to working in the agency, her career included public affairs management in the citrus and home building industries and worked as a legislative aide to Sen. J.D. Alexander, R-Lake Wales.

Jim Boxold becomes director of Cabinet affairs. He joined the agency in 2003 and served as Bronson’s chief Cabinet aide. Prior to that, he served as a Cabinet aide to Gov. Jeb Bush and worked as legislative director for Congressman Porter Goss.

Cheryl Flood becomes director of external affairs. She follows Putnam from Congress, where she was his chief of staff. She previously worked in the Agriculture Department as deputy legislative affairs director under Bronson.

Grace Lovett takes over as director of legislative affairs. She moves over to the Capitol from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, where she served as deputy director and acting director of the Office of Legislative Affairs. She has also previously worked for the Florida Public Service Commission.

Sterling Ivey becomes Putnam’s press secretary. He joins the Department after having served a two year stint as Gov. Charlie Crist’s press secretary. Ivey has held similar posts at the Departments of State and Department of Corrections.

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