EXPERIENCE

OVERVIEW

 Julie Dennis is a proven leader passionate about helping communities accomplish their goals and solve complex issues.  She was promoted through the ranks of state government from student intern to executive leadership.  Julie is known as a trusted adviser to government leadership with over 15 years of experience in community development, economic development and disaster recovery. She is a seasoned disaster recovery expert who has helped cities and counties recover and rebuild stronger, more resilient communities in the wake of devastating floods and hurricanes. 

 

 

PROFESSIONAL 

EXPERIENCE

 

OVID SOLUTIONS, LLC, Tallahassee, FL

Owner/Consultant (2019 – Present)

 

Launched a consulting business with the mission of helping states and communities accomplish their goals for long-term disaster recovery and economic development.  In this capacity, she is using  the skills and knowledge gained over the past decade in working for the State of Florida to help communities gain access to the dollars they need to grow their economy and fuel recovery efforts after major disasters. Through sub-contracts, she is honored to support some of the hardest hit communities, including recovery for Hurricane Irma in the Florida Keys, recovery from Hurricane Michael in Panama City, FL and recovery from the 2018 wildfires in California with specific focus on Butte County and the Town of Paradise. She is helping these communities evaluate unmet needs and develop long-term recovery plans and projects that harness all resources available to rebuild a community that prepares for the future, in the wake of devastation. 

 

 

STATE OF FLORIDA – DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY, Tallahassee, FL

Director, Division of Community Development (2017 – 2019)

 

Led a division (formerly its own agency) which helps cities and counties accomplish their goals through community and economic development. Directed a team of over 100 individuals and managed an annual operating budget of over $200 million.  Advised the Executive Director on how to solve complex community issues, including the redevelopment of the state in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Michael.  Developed critical solutions to hurricane recovery and workforce housing challenges in the Florida Keys that were adopted by the Governor and Cabinet.  Served on the Board of Directors for the Florida Housing Finance Corporation, a public-private partnership that allocates hundreds of millions of dollars on an annual basis to support affordable housing needs.  Helped Senators and Representatives to solve issues in their districts. Worked closely with base commanders and other top-ranked military base officials around the state to address community development and land use needs.

 

  • Created and implemented a plan to spend more than $1 billion in disaster recovery funding through the federal Community Development Block Grant program.

  • Streamlined a program to protect military bases by making improvements to the grant program. 

  • Led agency implementation of the National Disaster Recovery Framework following Hurricanes Irma and Michael.

  • Served on the 2017 Affordable Housing Work Group, a legislatively created task force comprised of state and local elected officials and other housing experts.

 

STATE OF FLORIDA – DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY, Tallahassee, FL

Staff Director, Division of Community Development (2015 – 2017)

 

Functioned as the Chief of Staff for the Division of Community Development, assisting with all aspects of leading a division which helps cities and counties accomplish their goals through community and economic development.  Coordinate the division management team to ensure important deadlines are met and projects are accomplished.  

 

  • Connected local workforce boards and community action agencies to remove barriers to employment and help people get a job.

  • Managed an annual allocation of $100 million in federal funding to boost the lives of people who need a hand up and help communities thrive by strengthening infrastructure through the Community Development Block Grant Program, Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, and Weatherization Assistance Program.

 

STATE OF FLORIDA – DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY, Tallahassee, FL

Community Program Manager, Division of Community Development (2013 – 2015)

 

Developed Competitive Florida, a program that assists rural areas of Florida by helping these towns set realistic goals for advancing their local economy based on unique local assets such as a historic downtown, proximity to interstates or rail and natural resources.  To-date, this program has helped 18 communities including Port St. Joe, Gadsden County and the Town of White Springs, create and implement economic development strategies based on their unique features.

  • Secured dedicated state funding for the program which has now been included in the annual budget for four consecutive years.

  • Created a network of community champions across the state that are learning from the efforts of other like-minded individuals. 

  • Integrated local community and economic development, workforce development and community services into a comprehensive locally-driven effort.

  • Achieved millions of dollars in grants to small communities across the state to help implement these visions and attract new businesses to their communities.

STATE OF FLORIDA – DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY, Tallahassee, FL

Planning Analyst, Division of Community Development (2009 – 2013)

 

Provided assistance to coastal communities focused on waterfront revitalization, post-disaster redevelopment and sea level rise adaptation planning.  Represented the agency and state on the Gulf of Mexico Alliance, the Governors’ South Atlantic Alliance and State Hazard Mitigation Advisory Team.  Worked in partnership with the Florida Division of Emergency Management to help communities plan for long-term recovery in advance of a storm.  Advised federal officials on the development of long-term recovery coursework for state and local governments and published articles and presented at national conferences on working waterfronts preservation, sea level rise adaptation and disaster recovery.

 

  • Spearheaded state efforts to prepare for sea level rise adaptation by creating the Community Resiliency Initiative in partnership with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection .  This effort resulted in local resilience plans and sea level rise adaptation guidebooks for communities.

  • Managed statewide initiative that encourages communities to plan for long-term disaster recovery under blue skies.  This model was adapted to create the National Disaster Recovery Framework, that encourages non-traditional emergency management agencies to collaborate during long-term recovery. 

 

CSA OCEAN SCIENCES, INC., Stuart, FL

Community Planner (2005 – 2009)

Served as the Tallahassee representative for a marine sciences and planning consulting firm.  Focused on the synergies among emergency management, wildfire mitigation and community planning.  Managed individual projects and assisted with marketing company services and building client relationships.

FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY REGION IV, Atlanta, GA

Hazard Mitigation Planner (2005 – 2006)

 

Managed the review of local hazard mitigation plans to meet the requirements of the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 and provided technical assistance to local governments throughout the Southeastern United States.  Participated in the response and long-term recovery efforts for the Florida 2004 Hurricane Season – the second largest disaster declaration in the history of the United States

 

EDUCATION &

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY, Tallahassee, FL

Master of Science in Planning, Urban and Regional Planning

FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY, Tallahassee, FL

Bachelor of Science, Political Science

AMERICAN PLANNING ASSOCIATION, FLORIDA CHAPTER

Best Practices Award of Merit for “Post-Disaster Redevelopment Planning: A Guide for Florida Communities.”

 

FSU DEPARTMENT OF URBAN AND REGIONAL PLANNING ALUMNI COUNCIL

Charter Member

 

ADDITIONAL INTERESTS

Avid equestrian and level two cowboy mounted shooting competitor. 

(850) 445-1932

info@ovidsolutions.net | Florida

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