TALLAHASSEE — The United Way of Florida hired its new president Aug. 3.

Rick Owen, most recently president and chief executive officer of United Way Emerald Coast, will serve as chief professional officer of the organization.

He will ensure that United Way of Florida’s fiscal, operations, public policy, fundraising, marketing and programmatic strategies are effectively implemented across all segments of the organization, according to a press release from the United Way.

United Way fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community in Florida.

“We are thrilled to have a talent like Rick spearheading United Way of Florida. He has 15-plus years of executive level leadership experience with non-profits, the government and military organizations, and has successfully tackled complex, critical challenges,” Kathleen Cannon said. Cannon is president and CEO of UW of Broward County and incoming chair of United Way of Florida.

In his new role, Owen will oversee statewide partnerships and corporate development. He will also lead and direct corporate policy, provide statewide leadership, coordinate disaster preparedness and response, and will assist United Ways throughout the state as they address their communities’ most pressing needs.

Before leading the local United Way, Owen served as chief of staff to the Okaloosa County Administrator, where he managed grant applications associated with the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourism, Opportunities, and Revived Economy (RESTORE) of the Gulf Coast Act of 2011. Owen also played an important role as a member of the steering group overseeing construction of the $14 million Okaloosa County Administration Building.

A 27-year veteran of the United States Air Force, former Chief Master Sergeant Owen served his country in various capacities. His decorations include the Air Force Meritorious Service and Commendation Medals, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, and National Defense Service Medal. 

Owen holds a master’s degree in Human Resource Management, a bachelor’s degree in Professional Aeronautics, as well as Master Certificates in Strategic Leadership, Organizational Management, and Human Resource Management. He is also a graduate of Dale Carnegie training.

He and his wife, Kimberly, have three children: Nicole, age 31, of Seattle, Washington; Corey, age 23, who serves in the Air Force in Colorado; and youngest daughter, Reagan, age 10.