John Darrell Rood
The Vestcor Companies,Inc. & JDR Companies,Inc.
Mr. Rood began his real estate career in 1983 as founder of The Vestcor Companies. Under his direction, the company focused on brokerage of multifamily properties and then expanded into real estate investments, development, and construction. As the managing partner for over 59 investment partnerships, Mr. Rood was responsible for acquisition or development, management and disposition of properties in the portfolio. Approximately 44 communities, consisting of over 10,000 units, have been acquired or developed by partnerships managed by Mr. Rood.
The firm began developing multifamily communities for sale in 2001. Under Mr. Rood’s leadership, six communities, consisting of approximately 1,100 condominium units, have been developed.
Vestcor has undertaken two historic renovations: The Carling and 11E. Both properties are located in Jacksonville, Florida and have been a significant stimulus for downtown housing development.
In September of 2004, President George W. Bush appointed Mr. Rood as United States Ambassador to the Commonwealth of the Bahamas where he served until 2007. An April, 2005 article from The Freeport News, commented, “John D. Rood is the quintessential diplomat. Ever since he presented his credentials to Governor General Dame Ivy Dumont, he has been a model diplomat, as he has sought to keep the promise he made to “work with my Bahamian friends, old and new, to advance our common interests and to help attain lasting prosperity and security for our two countries and the region.” In his role managing the Embassy and its 300 employees, Ambassador Rood worked to resolve bilateral issues with the Government of the Bahamas, improve relations between the two countries, oversee Consular Services and use public diplomacy to share United States values with The Bahamas. Ambassador Rood said that public diplomacy was his favorite aspect of his ambassadorship. “It was very important to share with the people of the Bahamas what we as Americans value. We are so often misunderstood, so I made extra efforts to meet with everyday people. I talked about democracy, human rights, our fight against HIV/AIDS and our support for literacy.” Visiting 55 elementary schools he took a special interest in improving literacy among the Commonwealth’s children.
Ambassador Rood returned to Jacksonville in 2007 as chairman of The Vestcor Companies. He formed The JDR Companies upon his return to develop multifamily properties in Florida, the Carolinas and Texas. The JDR Companies also assumed sales and management responsibilities for the firm’s condominium communities.
As chairman of JDR Construction, Ambassador Rood insures the company exceeds the expectation of the firm’s customers. As a provider of construction services to JDR Companies as well as third party clients, JDR Construction is committed to providing superior products on schedule and within budget. Mr. Rood has directed some 40 projects consisting of more than 9,400 units and 74,000 square feet of commercial space.
Mr. Rood has been recognized for his leadership in the corporate community and in his public service. As Ambassador he was honored by Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice for his strong leadership and management skills. As a business leader, he was named by Ernst & Young as the 2001 Entrepreneur of the Year and Vestcor was named the Florida Times-Union First Coast Company of the Year in 2002. In 2007, Vestcor was selected as one of the Top 25 Places to Work in Jacksonville.
The Ambassador’s commitment to public and professional service is reflected in his many activities outside his professional life. In 2002, he was appointed by Florida Governor Jeb Bush as a commissioner of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission where he served as a commissioner and chairman until 2004. Mr. Rood is a former board member of the James Madison Institute. He has also served as a mentor to youth in the Kesler Mentoring Connection, as Housing and Education committee chairman of the Jacksonville Downtown Master Plan, past membership chairman and a member of the executive committee of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, as honorary member of the board of directors for the Florida Apartment Political Action Committee (FAPAC), and as member and past president of the Rotary Club of Mandarin. Mr. Rood has also served as a board member for the Jacksonville Symphony Association and the Jacksonville Housing Partnership. He was a member of the University of North Florida Business Advisory Council and has served as a visiting professor at the university. He is a founding board member of the First Coast Family and Housing Foundation, a nonprofit organization that owns and develops affordable housing. Mr. Rood also served on the board of trustees for Fresh Ministries, an interfaith-based nonprofit organization. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez appointed Mr. Rood to the Advisory Council on Renewal Communities to help local communities take advantage of tax incentives to stimulate job growth and economic development. Mr. Rood is a board member of the Tiger Academy, scheduled to open August 2009, which will provide the children of the northwest quadrant a structured and nurturing learning environment. In 2009, Ambassador Rood was appointed by Florida Governor Charlie Crist as the Republican Party of Florida Finance Chairman.
Mr. Rood is the proud father of three children. He is a licensed pilot, an avid sportsman and fisherman.