Seat 1 candidate: Ila Valcarcel
Candidate name: Ila Valcarcel
Seat sought/district: Matlacha/Pine Island Fire Control District Seat 1. I was unanimously appointed by the Board of Commissioners for Seat 1 in June 2020. I was recently been endorsed by the Southwest Florida Professional Fire Fighters and Paramedics Local 1826.
Party, if applicable: N/A
Education/degrees: Crestwood High School, Ohio, 1980, mechanical engineering drafting; Irvine Valley College, California, 1988, accounting; Edison Community College, Florida, 1996, accounting.
Occupation and place of employment: Cove Systems, Inc.; Cove Farms; payroll and HR manager 35 years.
My husband and I are the owners of Cove Systems, Inc., a successful local business for the past 36 years. We developed an accounting software package used by manufacturers and distributors all over the world. We are also owners of Cove Farms, a palm tree nursery for the past 20 years.
Time in the district in which you are running; years of residency in Lee County: 1995-2020, 25 years.
Business or professional experience applicable to the office you are seeking.: As an owner of two local businesses, my strong accounting background, many years of payroll, tax, and worker’s compensation experience, and high tech computer knowledge make me an asset to the Fire Board. Also the co-owner of Cove Farms, I assist in the supervision and maintenance of a palm tree facility with an estimated net worth of $1 million. I’m is a retired professional baseball umpire and my 20-year umpiring career has taken me from the Greater Pine Island Little League fields to umpiring MLB Spring training exhibition games. My commitment, dedication and persistence has led me to become a Supervisor of Umpires for Perfect Game through Ump Nation and a mentor for female baseball umpires at the Minor League level. My ability to apply rules and regulations in high pressure situations reflect my intellectual strength, honesty and integrity, which are all qualities complementary to me as a Fire Commissioner.
Political Experience/offices held: I have served as an officer at the VFW Auxiliary Post 4353 in St. James City.
Civic/Community involvement: Organizations I have volunteered and contributed to within the community:
* Greater Pine Island VFW Post 4353 — officer of the Auxiliary Post, painted a mural inside and painted the Ceremonial Wall, and volunteered over 300 hours
* Greater Pine Island Kiwanis Club — volunteered hundreds of hours for events: Taste Of Pine Island – every year, ticket sales, garbage collection, music; Waterfront Day; Prom — painting for auction.
* Matlacha Hookers — supported the fundraising events for scholarships given to students from the island.
* Pine Island Elementary — volunteered many hours as a teacher’s helper and field trip chaperone.
* Greater Pine Island Little League — countless hours volunteering as an umpire from T-Ball to Seniors.
* From Our Hearts — volunteered artistic and vocal talents to support events.
* Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce — volunteered hours for set up, tear down and cleanup of Mango Mania for many years; donated use of sound equipment to lower event costs.
I have donated to and/or sponsored several other organizations on the island such as: Beacon of Hope, Pine Island Food Pantry, Pine Island United Methodist Church, Pine Island Community Church, Pine Island Playhouse and Calusa Nature Center.
For the past 25 years, I have donated my talents as an artist, volunteered my time, and sponsored several children in the community by working with many of the nonprofit organizations on the island. My sense of civic duty and commitment to the community has driven me to pursue a seat on the Fire Board of Commissioners
Family: My husband of 25 years, Frank, and I raised four children on Pine Island.
Military Experience: None
Why are you running? I am currently appointed to the seat I am running for and my strong sense of civic duty and community commitment have driven me to continue serving on the Fire Board. I am proud and honored and feel it is both beneficial to me and the District, as a whole.
Planks of your platform:
* Fiscal Responsibility and Accountability
* Safety of the Community
* Safety of the District
My top priorities are that fiscal responsibility, accountability and the safety of the community and District personnel are paramount.
Top three issues:
* Establishing sound policies
* Establishing safe, efficient, and effective operational procedures
* Establishing long-term strategic planning fiscally and perationally
Helping to establish policies, operational procedures, and guiding the District with long-term strategic planning for the betterment of the community are important areas and some of the issues I am and will be addressing.