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Kimberly Jowell

New Position: Executive director, Suncoast Safety Council, Clearwater. Previous Position: Executive director, Pinellas Village, Largo

By Times Staff Writer
Published January 30, 2006

As the new executive director of the Suncoast Safety Council, Kimberly Jowell always has safety on her mind.

The nonprofit organization provides safety-oriented classes for motorists and employers. Jowell oversees the council's 40 employees, who include a number of adjunct instructors who teach court-ordered classes for DUI offenders as well as other safe-driving courses. The council also provides occupational safety training programs to meet OSHA standards.

"My job is to provide program development and see how we can grow," Jowell said.

The council's corporate offices are in Clearwater with branch offices in St. Petersburg and Tarpon Springs. Classes also are taught at other sites, Jowell said.

"I think there's a potential to look at human resources professionals who must get Continuing Education Units and help them get these CEUs locally," Jowell said. "There's also the potential to really market more of the classes we provide already on the Suncoast."

Jowell says she expects to hold numerous meetings at the council's various offices as well as out-of-town meetings with the Florida Association of Safety Councils and related organizations.

"Collectively, we work together to enhance the driving programs and different court-ordered programs to serve occupational safety and traffic safety," Jowell said.

A native of Bethesda, Md., Jowell's moved to the Tampa Bay area with her family as a youngster. At 14, she joined the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office Police Explorer program, "looking at law enforcement as a career. But I'm only 5 (foot) 1, so I would have to work really hard to be a threat for someone on the street. So I looked for different avenues with the sheriff's office," Jowell said. "I've always been an overachiever. I've always wanted more."

As a result, after high school, Jowell took a position in the communications center of the sheriff's office. After a while, she said, "I decided that was an arena I wanted to stay in." She eventually became communications supervisor.

While working at the sheriff's office, Jowell began attending St. Leo University in Deland, graduating in 1998 with a bachelor's degree in criminology. She also became a victim advocate, providing assessment and crisis intervention to victims and their families as well as providing assistance for victims of felony crimes.

In 1999, Jowell took a position as director of family services for Pinellas Village, a nonprofit apartment complex in Largo that helps single-parent families become self-supporting. In 2000, she was promoted to executive director.

Jowell said she was motivated, in part, to take the position with the Suncoast Safety Council because of the organization's mission to reduce traffic accidents. "I've always had a desire to work with people and try to make an impact on our community," she said.

With that in mind, Jowell is also a volunteer with state and national crisis response teams. Her crisis response team provided counseling for union workers cleaning up at Ground Zero in New York City after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and for victims of the wildfires in San Diego two years ago, as well as responding to some local events, "crime cases that impacted the community."

Jowell is on the board of directors of several organizations, including the Florida Crisis Response Team, the Gulf Coast United Soccer Club and the Lighthouse Credit Foundation.

She and her husband, Sean, live in Palm Harbor with their two sons, Trevor, 11, and Connor, 9.

Jowell, 35, said she and her family prefer to take educational trips when they travel, to such destinations as Colonial Williamsburg and the Grand Canyon. And each year, they try to take at least one cruise aboard on the Disney cruise line, "mainly because of the kids. There's a different theme every night. There are lots of other kids on the boat. Also, one tier is for the adults - the best of both worlds."

[Last modified January 24, 2006, 20:20:02]

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