Agriculture Commissioner-elect Nikki Fried continues to appoint members of her new staff as she prepares to take office next week. Fried, who will be sworn-in as commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services on Tuesday, announced Thursday morning her selection of appointees to key leadership positions.
Franco Ripple will serve as Communications Director, Max Flugrath as Press Secretary, Karen Skyers as Minority Affairs Director, Rachel Morgan Garland as Rural Outreach Director, and Matt Gotha as Cabinet Affairs Director.
“We’re pleased to announce these new hires who will serve the Department and the people of Florida. Franco, Max, Karen, Rachel, and Matt bring a wide array of experience to the administration that will help Commissioner-elect Fried pursue the priority issues she campaigned on,” stated Transition Chair Patrick Murphy.
Ripple moves to the Fried administration from CATECOMM, a statewide public relations firm, where he counseled senior elected officials. He has also served as a communications advisor to various campaigns, including Fried, Andrew Gillum, and Charlie Crist’s 2016 and 2014 campaigns.
Flugrath worked as communications director for the Nikki Fried for Commissioner of Agriculture and Philip Levine for Governor campaigns during the 2018 election cycle. He also served as Communications Director for Leader Janet Cruz in the Florida House.
Skyers served as the Fried campaign Field Director for the Tampa and St. Petersburg area before joining the administration. She recently worked for the statewide law firm, Becker & Poliakoff, P.A., where she represented private and public sector clients before the Florida Legislature.
Garland joined the Department in 2016 as an environmental manager with the Division of Fruit and Vegetables and went on to serve as the Federal Affairs Director under Commissioner Adam Putnam.
Gotha comes to the Fried administration from the campaign, where he served as an advisor to Fried. Prior to working on the campaign, he was the Chief of Staff for Broward County Mayor Mark Bogen for nearly four years.