NSC Alumnus Thanks Grad Program for Success

Jeff Cole - headshot RESIZED

UCF alumnus, Jeff Cole, ’01, has been named the Public Resources Director for Lake County, Florida. Jeff earned his master’s degree in communication from the UCF Nicholson School of Communication in 2001 and is so thankful to UCF for the progress and growth he has experienced in his field.

“I believe that having the master’s degree helped me advance into management positions, and it was beneficial to have on my resume when I decided to pursue my current position with Lake County.” Jeff explained.  “It’s an accomplishment that certainly reflects a level of determination and commitment.”

Jeff’s position as the director of the Public Resources Department manages the Parks & Trails Division, the Lake County Library System, the County’s partnership with The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences (UF/IFAS) Extension Services and the Lake County Fairgrounds and Expo Center. Jeff is responsible for planning, directing and overseeing operations of the divisions and offices within the Department of Public Resources. He also oversees the establishment of long-range plans, evaluates financial functions and tracks and reports activities internally and externally.

Jeff was previously the Chief of Staff for the St. Johns River Waste Management District. There, he was responsible for overseeing intergovernmental affairs, planning with local and state officials, and public outreach for the district. He and his team worked to protect and manage water resources in northeast and Central Florida.

Jeff stated “…I was very pleased to have joined Lake County’s team of professionals and I am committed to continuing the forward momentum of County projects and initiatives. I recognize the importance of maintaining Lake County’s unique quality of life, and I look forward to enhancing County services such as parks, trails, libraries, and extension services.”

Jeff shares more about his time at UCF, his career, and advice to students in the spotlight responses below.

Why did you choose to attend UCF?

I was interested in pursuing a master’s degree in communication because my career had gravitated in that direction in the 10 years since I had gotten my bachelor’s degree. UCF had a strong graduate program, and UCF was accessible for me to commute to while I worked full-time.

What is your best UCF memory?

My best UCF memory is definitely what I felt being on campus. I started working on my master’s in my mid-30s, so I hadn’t spent much time in an academic setting in a while. There was something really inspiring about being on the UCF campus and being a student again. It was tremendous challenge balancing my classes and studying with my work and personal life, but I was energized every time I stepped onto campus.

What piece of advice would you give to current students as well as UCF alumni?

For current students, I would recommend pursuing as much education as you can because it will only help as you move through your career. Also, when it gets frustrating or seems like you’ll never get your degree, push forward. It will happen and it will always be on your resume, whether you’re wanting to advance within an organization or whether you’re looking for a new job. I have no regrets about the sacrifices that I had to make to get my master’s degree, because the sacrifices were temporary. The degree is permanent.

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