Key UF administrator is leaving

Published: Thursday, January 6, 2011 at 7:41 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 6, 2011 at 11:09 p.m.

A senior University of Florida administrator is leaving his position to return to the private sector.

Brian Beach, senior vice president for administration and business ventures, will be working his last day at UF on Jan. 25. He has spent nearly six years at the university in various roles, including serving as UF President Bernie Machen's chief of staff and working on the recently announced Innovation Square development.

"Unique opportunities present themselves at interesting times," Beach said of his departure.

He said he'll be joining the leadership team of a private-sector company, working on strategic initiatives. He declined to name the company at this time, but said it was outside Gainesville.

Machen announced Beach's departure Thursday in a campus-wide memo. He said that Beach's duties will be distributed among existing administrators.

Ed Poppell will have an expanded position of vice president for business affairs and economic development. Former UF Student Government President Jamal Sowell recently joined the university as executive assistant to Machen and will be responsible for relations with the Board of Trustees.

A UF graduate, Beach was managing director at capital investment firm SI Ventures before coming to work for the university. The firm was founded by former UF trustee Manny Fernandez, and Beach initially served as Machen's liaison with the board.

He later served as Machen's chief of staff before assuming his current position in 2008. In the job, he directed changes in UF's budget and financial operations at a time of state cuts.

He also worked on the Innovation Square project that was announced in November. The development is planned to include the Florida Innovation Hub business incubator and other office, commercial and residential projects on 40 acres on and around the old Shands at AGH hospital site.

Beach said he was thankful for the opportunity to work for UF, saying he never imagined he would have ended up working for the university and "enjoyed every minute of it."

He said the Innovation Square development is a long-term project involving the work of many people, and he was optimistic about the prospects for it and the university as a whole.

"I'm really, really bullish about its future," he said.

Contact Nathan Crabbe at 338-3176 or

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