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BOARD OF DIRECTORS

THOMAS G. GATES

CHAIRMAN

Tom Gates graduated from the University of South Florida and is currently President of TGGates & Associates, LLC. Mr. Gates is a United States Air Force veteran who served two combat tours in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam Era. His eight years of military service was followed by a career in the FBI, retiring in 1996.

Mr. Gates’ experience includes high pressure management roles, implementation of new use of operating systems, program and certified project manager with IT production. He is also recognized as a Subject Matter Expert in Homeland Security matters and Fusion Center development and training.  As a contractor, he managed DOD analysis projects. Mr. Gates consults for two corporate Board of Directors as well as being Chairman Emeritus of a 501(c)(3) Foundation. He also currently serves on the board of the Copperheads Charities, Inc. as well as three advisory committees at the University of South Florida.

PATRICIA THOMPSON

VICE CHAIR

Patricia Thompson attended Hillsborough County Public Schools and earned her B.A. and M.Ed. degrees from the University of South Florida in Elementary Education and Educational Leadership, respectively. Mrs. Thompson served as a teacher and school administrator for 15 years with Hillsborough County Schools. Her strong leadership and dedication steered her to many opportunities during this time such as opening a new middle school, presenting at state and national educational conferences and participating in many large projects including the inception of magnet schools.

In April of 2014, Mrs. Thompson was selected to be the CEO of the Chris T. Sullivan Foundation where she oversees all policies and procedures of the foundation and works closely with Mr. Sullivan to ensure the mission and vision of the foundation are realized. Aside from her work with the foundation, Mrs. Thompson continues to volunteer with various organizations and is on the Executive Committee and Board of Directors for the Veterans Alternative and ART International.

SCOTT CRAWFORD

TREASURER

Scott Crawford is a 14-year Veteran of the United States Military. Mr. Crawford’s military career started in 1985 when he enlisted in the United States Air Force right after high school. Mr. Crawford served 4 years and was honorably discharged in 1990; however, after September 11, 2001, Mr. Crawford answered the call to serve his country yet again. Unable to join active duty due to age, he enlisted with the Florida Air National Guard as a tactical communications operator. Mr. Crawford deployed to Iraq in 2008 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and was selected to support a Navy Special Warfare SWCC Boat team in various areas throughout Iraq. Mr. Crawford earned the Joint Service Commendation Medal for outstanding service.

Mr. Crawford is currently the owner and operator of Rock Bottom Divers in Dunedin, Florida. Rock Bottom Divers is a Scuba Schools International Diamond full service center. Rock Bottom Divers sets itself apart from all other dive centers by focusing on veterans. The Rock Bottom Divers team are all certified to train in adaptive diving. Mr. Crawford and his team train wounded veterans with injuries such as paraplegia, quadriplegia, traumatic brain injury, amputation, blindness, and Post Traumatic Stress. Rock Bottom Divers has also been approved by the VA for Vocational Rehabilitation.

Mr. Crawford and his team remain active in the community by volunteering their time to various veteran and non-veteran non-profit organizations throughout the area, and by organizing beach/reef cleanups, food drives, and toy drives.

JERRY CUSTIN

SECRETARY

Jerry Custin attended St. Joseph’s College in Philadelphia earning a degree in Political Science. Mr. Custin pursued an extensive military career, serving in the United States Air Force, where he received advanced training, flew 130 combat missions over Laos and Vietnam, conducted defense analysis, and then finally completed his thirty-year career at the National Security Agency as the Director of the Office of Electronic Intelligence, and the Chairman of the National Electronic Intelligence Group.

After retirement, Mr. Custin served as an outreach counselor for economically disadvantaged youth to recruit them for summer employment under the Pinellas Workforce Development Board. In this capacity, he was responsible for building cooperation and coordination between and among various social services organizations.

Mr. Custin then became the Business Assistance Specialist for the Oldsmar Chamber of Commerce, where he helped expand the footprint into Hillsborough County and renamed it the Upper Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce. He later served as President/CEO of the chamber and developed the Upper Tampa Manufacturers Association serving Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas Counties. He currently serves the chamber as the Director of Business, Manufacturing and Education.

AMANDA MURPHY

DIRECTOR

Amanda Murphy attended Florida State University, where she earned her Bachelor’s in Political Science. As a Wealth Management Specialist, Ms. Murphy is a leader in the not-for- profit and foundation arena, with extensive familiarity and experience in managing several prominent Tampa Bay Area Foundations. She works with major philanthropists in the region through charitable giving, legacy planning, and private family foundations. Her areas of expertise include 144 equity selling, equity trading, commodities, cashless options, estate planning, defined benefits, and charitable giving.

From 2013 - 2016, Ms. Murphy was elected to public office and served as the State Representative for District 36, West Pasco, Florida. As the State Representative, Amanda represented, not only her constituents in Pasco, but all Floridians. She was the Ranking Member on the Healthcare Appropriation Subcommittee. Her other committees included: Children, Families and Seniors Subcommittee, Joint Legislative Auditing Committee, Local Government Affairs Subcommittee, and The State Affairs Committee. Through this work she gained vast knowledge of our state and the inner workings of our government.

 

 

OUR SPONSORS

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VETERANS ALTERNATIVE

1750 Arcadia Road, Holiday, FL 34690
727-939-8387 | info@veteransalternative.org