Posted Thursday, May 5, 2022 12:00 am
By Shaun Ryan
Anyone who has attended an event, organized a class or set up a business at the link in Nocatee has worked with Jeff Tawney, the director of operations. He is one of the people who keeps the innovative facility running smoothly.
Tell me about your role as director of operations for the link. What are some of your responsibilities?
My role as director of operations at the link is very rewarding! I enjoy the interaction with people on a day-to-day basis. Many of our members host private events at the link, and I enjoy working with them to make their vision become reality. I also work with families to secure various classes that we offer at the link.
For example, Mom might be taking a pilates class while the kids could be in a dance or martial arts class. I enjoy working with our staff to create the overall schedule such as our day-to-day classes, as well as our summer camps. I meet with teachers, discuss options and goals and help make them happen.
Young people may wonder how they can establish themselves in a given career. Can you tell me about your background, what you studied and how you established your career?
My father and stepfather were both in the military, so I was raised as an Army brat. At a young age, I moved around a lot — California, Texas, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii and even Panama South America.
I attended high school in a small farming community — New Home, Texas. I was very active with the FFA — Future Farmers of America. I raised and showed pigs all through high school and competed in various local and state shows annually. I was a member of the horse judging team as well as parliamentary procedures team.
I graduated from New Home High with a class of 12 students! After high school, I wanted to travel and pursue a career in the hospitality Industry. I was successful for sure as I had some great jobs ... corporate travel agent in Northern California, hub supervisor for an International Charter Airline in Orlando, resort representative for a British holiday company where I worked in Orlando, Breckinridge, Vail, Lake Tahoe and Margarita Venezuela.
A lot of local residents came to Northeast Florida from elsewhere. Have you lived here long? What brought you to the First Coast?
My wife and I moved to Jacksonville, Florida, in 2004 from Atlanta, Georgia. We initially purchased a home in Duval County. We moved to Nocatee, Florida, about five years ago for the St. John's County School system. We love the area and enjoy seeing the growth year after year. Our daughter has thrived in the school system, and we take full advantage of the lifestyle Nocatee offers.
What do you like most about living in this area?
I love that you can drive your car about 10 minutes in each direction and you come to water — lakes, ponds, Intracoastal, beaches. My family enjoys the sights and sounds of the area we live in. We take full advantage of outdoor events, beaches, festivals, etc.
What do you like to do in your free time?
My family and I love to travel. We love to go to different places, see new things. We love to take cruises! It's great that we have so many cruise ports here in Florida — Port Canaveral, Fort Lauderdale, Miami and of course right here in our back doorstep of Jacksonville.