Officers & Directors Bios

CCJS officers and directors come from varied backgrounds.
A brief introduction to our leadership and staff.

Lynda Platt

Lynda Platt

Lynda Platt

A native of Kentucky, Lynda and her husband relocated to Florida in 2015 after living in South Carolina for 12 years. She is a graduate of Bethany College (WV) with a degree in Elementary Education. In addition to teaching, her professional career includes experience in business administration, commercial banking, retail, events production, jewelry design, health care, art gallery supervision and radio broadcast. While residing in Cleveland, Ohio, she served as Executive Director of Kidsacks, which made and distributed over 6,000 sleeping bags to homeless children. Other non-profit associations include board positions with The Lydia Project, Relay for Life, Aiken Women’s Heart Board, and founding member of the Aiken Jazz Soceity (Aiken, SC). Since taking up residence in Florida, Lynda has served on the Lung Cancer Research Council and the Hope Academy of Music (now under the umbrella of the Punta Gorda Symphony). She is a volunteer at the Peace River Wildlife Center, where she serves as an owl handler, tour guide and member of the education outreach team. Lynda is proud to have been elected as the first woman president in the 32-year history of CCJS.

Aaron Lucas

Aaron Lucas

Aaron Lucas

Aaron Lucas is a native of Louisville, Ky., where he was educated in the public schools and the University of Louisville. He practiced general, thoracic and cardiovascular surgery in the Louisville area for 30 years. He played trombone in elementary school, high school, college and medical school in orchestras, concert bands and various jazz ensembles. During his years of medical practice, Aaron also performed in and managed a big band consisting mostly of doctors. After his retirement, he expanded his interest in musicology and instrumental performance involving early traditional jazz and Big Band Swing. Aaron lives in Punta Gorda, and performs with the Charlotte County Big Band and Tamiami Brass Quintet.

Dan Cobb

Dan Cobb

Dan Cobb

Dan grew up near Detroit Michigan. He joined the U.S. Navy where he served, after two years of schooling, aboard a Polaris Missile Nuclear Submarine. Dan then worked at a civilian Nuclear Power Station until gaining employment at Marion Power Shovel which provided large mining equipment to the surface mining industry. There he served in several management positions. Later he served as Safety Service Director for the City of Marion, Ohio. In between times Dan obtained a series six securities license as well as licenses for Life and Health insurance. Dan currently serves as Board Treasurer.

Pam Koontz

Pam Koontz

Pam Koontz

Pam Koontz is a native of Newark, New Jersey. She performed extensively in the New Jersey/New York area with the likes of Chico Mendoza (piano/vibes) and Freddie Roach (musician/playwright) before moving to Florida. Since then she has teamed up with such musicians as Nathan Page, Kenny Soderblom, Jack Petersen, Marcus Hampton, Richard Drexler and John Lambert. She has also enjoyed a career as a stage and TV actress, appearing at Lincoln Center and other noteworthy venues. Pam joined the CCJS Board of Directors in 2014 and currently serves as Secretary.

Dave Nims

Dave Nims

Dave Nims

Dave Nims, past president of CCJS, also serves on the Community Partners and Concert Series committees. Originally from New Hampshire, Dave earned Bachelor’s and Masters degrees from Keene State, with additional study at Oberlin and Trinity Colleges, University of Illinois at Urbana, University of New Hampshire and Northeastern University. He was a teacher of English, grades 9-12 for 40 years, and department chairman in New Hampshire and Massachusetts public high schools. A largely self-taught pianist, Dave has performed with several small jazz and dance groups over many years beginning in high school. A member of CCJS since 2000, Dave joined the board in 2008 and recently completed an 8-year stint as president. Dave was awarded a Lifetime Membership in recognition of his many years of supporting CCJS with a mission to promote quality jazz in Charlotte County.

Herb Bruce

Herb Bruce

Herb Bruce

Herb Bruce is a former member of the U.S. Army Band and recently retired after serving 28 years as a reserve Army officer. He continues to be involved in U.S. Army musical groups. A world-class trombonist, he has toured and recorded with many leading pop and jazz groups. He traveled with Boots Randolph, Denny Davis, and the Nashville Brass, and is in demand at leading jazz festivals in the U.S. and Europe. Herb is a part of the Salvation Army International band program and tours on their behalf. He has released several albums under his Herbicide label. Herb also plays with the Venice Florida Symphony Orchestra as Principal Trombonist. He joined the CCJS board in 2021 as a consultant and concert coordinator.

Ken Franckling

Ken Franckling

Ken Franckling

Ken Franckling, of North Port, is a veteran arts writer and freelance photographer specializing in jazz journalism, music photography and occasional portraiture. For over 20 years he wrote a regular column, The Jazz Condition, for United Press International, and is a contributing writer/photographer for Jazz Times, Jazziz, Hot House, AllAboutJazz.com, CCJS InTune, and other publications. In June 2003, Ken was named Jazz Photographer of the Year by the Jazz Journalist’s Association and was presented the Lona Foote-Bob Parent Award.  CCJS is proud and honored to have Ken as its photographer

Chris (Brown) Fitzgerald

Chris (Brown) Fitzgerald

Chris (Brown) Fitzgerald

Chris (Brown) Fitzgerald has been a member of CCJS for 21 years and served as Treasurer for 14 years. Educated in Canada, she taught high school and middle school music while performing in supper clubs, lounges, jazz festivals, radio and television. She did international club dates in North and South America and USO tours with Billy Eckstine. Chris is a frequent vocalist at Jazz Jams and concerts. Chris was awarded a Lifetime Membership in recognition of her contributions to CCJS.

Emilie Deskins

Emilie Deskins

Emilie Deskins

Emilie Deskins, of Port Charlotte, works part-time for CCJS as the administrative assistant. She attended The Ohio State University, studying social work and Marion Technical College, studying real estate. Emilie worked for 26 years in Ohio in the title insurance industry as a licensed title insurange agent. She was part owner and manager of the Ohio office of a large title insurance company and specialized in business development, work flow, and on-line research. Emilie relocated to Florida from Ohio 8 years ago.

Shawn Marren

Shawn Marren

Shawn Marren

Shawn Marren hails from Philadelphia, PA, where he began studying music at an early age. After moving to Englewood, he graduated from Lemon Bay High School, where he was Drum Major in the marching band, participated in the jazz and concert bands, and was a CCJS scholarship recipient upon graduation. Shawn attended the University of South Florida (Tampa), where he studied music performance. In college he was the music director for several local churches and performed extensively through southwest Florida in a variety of symphonies, musical theaters and jazz bands. After collete, he toured extensively as a keyboardist with Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, and then went on to become Music Director of several other historic circuses. After his many years in the circus, Shawn moved to Las Vegas and began composing music and sound effects for Konami, one of the world leaders in the gaming industry. During the COVID pandemic, Shawn and his wife, along with their three sons, returned to Englewood to be closer to family. He currently works from home as a freelance composer and sound designer.

James Mashburn

James Mashburn

James Mashburn

James is a native Floridian dating back 6 generations. He played trombone extensively throughout Florida for many years, beginning at Charlotte High School. While studying for his MBA at Palm Beach Atlantic University, James was one of the founding trombonists for Salsa La Playa — the music with the front beat! He also served on committees to hire music professors which included sitting in with the audition band.

Professionally, James has held positions in manufacturing, including plant manager and chief operating officer in the furniture and yacht industries. He is currently a Series 7 & 66 licenses Financial Advisor in Punta Gorda. James serves on the Stewardship Committee at his church in Punta Gorda. He joined the CCJS board in in 2021, becoming the second scholarship recipient to do so.

Tom Osborne

Tom Osborne

Tom Osborne

Tom Osborne, raised and educated in upstate New York, owned and operated an insurance company before moving to Port Charlotte. For over 50 years he has played drums with jazz combos and big bands in New York state and New England and now in Florida. He joined CCJS in 2010 and has served on the Board since then.

Ron Wallis

Ron Wallis

Ron Wallis

Ron was born and raised in Michigan and educated as an electronic technician. He owned a television and electronics service business until 1983 when he moved to Florida and became a full time resident of Port Charlotte. He belongs to the Charlotte County Computer Group and does some computer repairs in his spare time. He has belonged to CCJS for about 6 years and is pleased to serve on the board.

Charlotte County Jazz Society ...