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Gov. Rick Scott picks CPA Robert Watkins to replace Al Austin on TIA board

Gov. Rick Scott on Friday appointed Tampa certified public accountant Robert I. Watkins to the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority board, which oversees Tampa International Airport.

Watkins, 60, owns Robert Watkins & Co. He concentrates on accounting, tax, management and consulting services for businesses and individuals.

His wife, Nancy, also is a CPA and handles campaign finances for Republican candidates and political entities. She has served as treasurer for dozens of state and federal candidates' campaigns and political action committees. Former clients include U.S. Reps. Vern Buchanan and Gus Bilirakis and former U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris.

Watkins' term began Friday and runs through June 30, 2015. He replaces longtime board chairman Al Austin, who served 12 years.

In an interview, Watkins called the airport "one of Florida's jewels'' and an important economic driver for the Tampa Bay area. He's a private pilot with a multiengine rating, but says he rarely flies any longer.

In addition, he is audit committee chair for the Republican National Convention 2012 host committee and on the finance committee of Palma Ceia Golf & Country Club.

Steve Huettel can be reached at huettel@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3384.

Gov. Rick Scott picks CPA Robert Watkins to replace Al Austin on TIA board 08/19/11 [Last modified: Saturday, August 20, 2011 12:05am]

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