Commissioner Nicole “Nikki” Fried today announced more new hires for her administration with the addition of a new Deputy Commissioner, Veterans Affairs Director, and additional external affairs leadership roles.
Deborah Tannenbaum, a veteran of Florida’s agriculture community, will serve as Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture. Ed Rodriguez, a U.S. Navy veteran, will be the Department’s Director of Veterans Affairs, a new position established to ensure Florida’s veterans have a voice within the Department. Helen Miller and Dick Crockett will serve as External Affairs Directors for the Central and North Florida regions respectively.
“I’m thrilled to welcome Deborah Tannenbaum, an experienced veteran of Florida agriculture, to the Department as we work to support our state’s farmers and ranchers, said Commissioner Nikki Fried. “Deborah will play a key role in ensuring our agriculture community has the tools they need to remain competitive and successful.”
“Florida is home to more than 1.5 million veterans, and one of our Department’s priorities will be ensuring our veterans have access to information, resources, and opportunities within our agriculture industry,” continued Commissioner Fried. “Ed will be instrumental in delivering on that mission, and as a consumer protection resource for our veterans. Helen and Dick have deep roots in their communities, and will help us continue building an accessible, responsive Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service.”
“Agriculture is Florida’s second largest economic driver, one that is key to our state history and future. We have a long agricultural heritage that I’m proud to have the opportunity to support. As Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture, I will work closely with Commissioner Fried to ensure our agriculture community is prepared to face tomorrow’s challenges — because when Florida growers and ranchers succeed, Florida succeeds,” said Deborah Tannenbaum, Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture.
Deborah Tannenbaum — Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture
Tannenbaum previously served as the Executive Director of the Florida Peanut Federation (FPF), a trade association that promotes, educates and markets the benefits of Florida peanuts to the public, which has engaged the public in over 90 peanut education events reaching over 300,000 in Florida. Tannenbaum has decades of experience in strategic development for trade associations, non-profit organizations, issue advocacy, and campaigns in Florida and throughout the country. Prior to FPF, Tannenbaum served as Chief of Staff for Cannae Policy Group, a government affairs firm in Washington, DC, where she managed day to day operations, client relations, and developed strategic legislative plans and priorities. Tannenbaum is a native of Lake City, Florida, and is a graduate of Florida State University and George Washington University.
Ed Rodriguez — Director of Veterans Affairs
Rodriguez is a United States Navy veteran, having served as a Hospital Corpsman embedded with the Marine Corps, and fighting in the Second Battle of Fallujah in 2004. Rodriguez recently served as the Deputy Policy Director for Andrew Gillum’s gubernatorial campaign, and was the Deputy Policy Director for the Gwen Graham campaign during the primary election. Before returning to Florida in 2018, he worked for seven years in Washington, D.C. as a legislative staffer in the U.S. Senate, a political consultant, and veterans advocate. Rodriguez is a native of Naples, Florida, and holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Florida with majors in Linguistics and Political Science.
Helen Miller – External Affairs Director, Central Florida
Miller most recently served as the Central Florida Regional Director for U.S. Senator Bill Nelson. She previously worked for former State Representative Karen Castor Dentel and has been involved in several local and statewide campaigns. Prior to her career in public service, Miller had a career in banking, insurance, recruiting, and business development. Miller is a lifelong resident of Central Florida and a graduate of Florida Southern College.
Dick Crockett – External Affairs Director, North Florida
Crockett comes to the Department with over 25 years of experience in Florida agriculture. He has been active in the citrus and beef industries, as both an executive and owner, holding several agriculture leadership positions and actively working with various governmental agencies promoting the smooth interaction between the private and public sectors. Early in his career with an investment banking firm, he gained experience in land permitting and state contract negotiations. Crockett was born in Gainesville and graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in communications and business.