The Senate Rules and Judiciary Committee approved 10 nominations to various governmental boards at Thursday’s hearing at the Earle B. Ottley Legislative Hall. All nominations were vetted in prior committees and have been forwarded to the Committee of the Whole for further consideration.
The nominees are:
V.I. Board of Pharmacy nominee Amy Durand
Born and raised on St. Thomas, V.I. Board of Pharmacy nominee Amy Durand said she first discovered pharmaceutical work after interviewing a nurse for a class project at the University of the Virgin Islands. Her interest grew until she achieved a Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2008.
Now Durand and her husband own The Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy in Havensight. Though busy with her business, Durand said she would be committed to serving on the board.
“I would like to help the Virgin Islands Board of Pharmacy develop the necessary standards, rules and guidelines to be in line with the rest of the industry nationwide,” Durand said. “Pharmacy is definitely an area with constant change and the Board of Pharmacy must stay aware of these changes to keep us from becoming antiquated. I want to see the V.I. Board of Pharmacy have a strong relationship with the local pharmacists and provide education and support as well.”
V.I. Board of Social Work Licensure nominee Amialyn Augustus
V.I. Board of Social Work Licensure nominee Amialyn Augustus has served 20 years in her profession and desires “to see and actively contribute to the positive continuation and any improvements that are being made in the social work profession.”
“While I realize that the board, for quality assurance, may discipline, review, regulate and set standards for qualification, I am also aware that that same board can be a dynamic supportive catalyst with a positive impact in the community,” Augustus said. “I am grateful to be given the opportunity to serve, and believe that my exposure and experiences, professional and personal, can help to assist the board with goals of fostering purposeful productive collaborations while meeting the duties and responsibilities of the Social Work Licensing board.”
V.I. Housing Finance Authority Board nominee Maureen Burke-Ventura
V.I. Housing Finance Authority Board nominee Maureen Burke-Ventura has a bachelor’s degree in architecture and has worked with the Department of Planning and Natural Resources for 11 years.
If approved for the board, Burke-Ventura said she has several short- and long-term goals focused on design concepts for low- and middle-income housing development guidelines.
“Professionally I have spent 34 years in design development, construction, building code compliance, safety, inspection, enforcement, permit administration, plan review, construction management, project management, and facilities management,” Burke-Ventura said. “My contributions to the Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority Board will be deliberate and measurable.”
V.I. Board of Aquaculture and Mariculture nominee Kirk Lewis
V.I. Board of Aquaculture and Mariculture nominee Kirk Lewis is a science teacher at Ivanna Eudora Kean High School who developed the first aquaponic system in the Virgin Islands public school system.
Lewis said the territory has the best of location and environmental conditions to support the “rapidly expanding” industry.
“It is my belief that the development of aquaculture and mariculture could lead to a viable industry in the Virgin Islands. It has been said many times that we need to diversify our economy. This is true, and it is time for us to start doing,” Lewis said.
UVI Board of Trustees nominee Erica Johnson
UVI Board of Trustees nominee Erica Johnson has a bachelor’s degree in marketing and a master’s degree in public relations management.
Johnson hopes to extend her current work with the University of the Virgin Islands by being positioned on the board. She aims to do this “by engaging with projects like the university’s Business Innovation Center and the Ideation and Innovation labs and student and faculty and staff recruitment strategies.”
“I also am interested in efforts focused on operational excellence and plan to support institutional advancement, work growing endowments and funding for various plans,” Johnson said. “In general, I expect to participate wherever I might add the most value to support UVI’s uniquely American and Caribbean position among historically black colleges and universities, and in higher education at large.”
V.I. Board of Architects, Engineers and Land Surveyors nominee Raymond Burton Jr.
V.I. Board of Architects, Engineers and Land Surveyors nominee Raymond Burton Jr. has been a licensed professional engineer in the U.S. Virgin Islands since 2015.
Burton has worked at the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority for 15 years and is the operations officer and deputy base civil engineer at the 285th Civil Engineer Squadron of the Virgin Islands Air National Guard.
“I am well aware of the scarcity of engineers in the territory. I am also aware of the difficulty that young engineers have in circumventing the licensure process,” Burton said. “I am hopeful that my nomination leads to a more functional board, one that will strive to ensure that we are up-to-date in the standards of licensure, as well as continue to make meaningful recommendations to protect the interest of public health and safety.”
V.I. Board of Architects, Engineers and Land Surveyors nominee Damian Cartwright
V.I. Board of Architects, Engineers and Land Surveyors nominee Damian Cartwright has spent 20 years in the civil engineering profession, sharpening his skills in structural engineering, transportation, and water resources.
“I am truly honored and humbled to be considered for such a prestigious board that plays a pivotal role in the advancement of the territory, and in ensuring and protecting the interest of the general public,” Cartwright said. “If my nomination is approved, I intend to contribute immediately alongside the other board members to establish a comprehensive strategic plan, both short-term and long-term.”
V.I. Real Estate Commission nominee Karen Korsgren
V.I. Real Estate Commission nominee Karen Korsgren moved from Chicago to St. Thomas in 2004 and has been selling real estate in the territory since 2005.
If appointed to the commission, Korsgren said she would like to assist with updating the licensing laws, revising the test for receiving a real estate license, defining what having a real estate license means and requires, and would like to see continuing education become a mandatory requirement to remain licensed.
V.I. Public Services Commission nominee Pedro Williams
V.I. Public Services Commission nominee Pedro Williams has served on several governmental boards already, like the Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority, Legal Services of the Virgin Islands, Women’s Resource Center, the Virgin Islands Bar Association, the Virgin Islands Law Revision Commission and Prophecy Academy Inc.
If Williams’ nomination is confirmed, he said, “I pledge that I will use the legal skills I have developed over the past 35 years to benefit the people of the Virgin Islands. I will use my ability to analyze complex and voluminous information and other issues to make prudent, fair and reasonable decisions.”
Department of Public Works Commissioner designee Derek Gabriel
Department of Public Works Commissioner designee Derek Gabriel has three long-range goals should his nomination be confirmed.
Gabriel said he would like to assist in establishing a Territorial Cemetery Enhancement Plan, engineering recruitment and scholarship program and convert 20 percent of the department’s fleet to electric vehicles by 2026.
Sens. Milton Potter, Kenneth Gittens, Novelle Francis Jr., Carla Joseph, Franklin Johnson and Genevieve Whitaker were present for the hearing. Sen. Steven Payne Sr. was absent from the hearing. Additional non-committee members were also present.