Advisory Board

The IOP@FSU Advisory Board is made up of distinguished individuals drawn from politics, private industry, public service, and the non-profit sector. We are thrilled to announce that the Advisory Board is led by Advisory Board Chairman Cardenas, who works directly with the IOP’s Director, Dr. Hans Hassell to advance the mission and activities of the Institute. We anticipate holding our first Advisory Board meeting in Spring of 2022 as we look ahead to the IOP@FSU’s activities in the 2022-2023 academic year.

Chairman Al Cardenas
Al Cardenas
Al is a nationally recognized leader in law, business, and politics. He has served as an adviser to U.S. Presidents, as counsel of record in a number of precedent-setting and published court decisions, and as a commentator and writer on issues of national importance. He is a frequent contributor on NBC, CNN, FOX, MSNBC, Telemundo, and Univision, and is an opinion writer for a number of national publications.
He is recognized in The Best Lawyers in America and has been named one of Washington DC’s top lobbyists by The Hill. Al is rated AV by Martindale-Hubbell and was named one of “The Most Influential Leaders in the Latino Community Today” by a number of leading national publications. As a senior partner in the firm, he chairs the Latin America and Florida Public Policy Practice Groups and is Deputy Practice Leader of the Public Policy Group.
Al is the Vice-Chairman of No-Labels, as a member of the International Republican Institute (IRI) International Advisory Board, and formerly as Chairman of the American Conservative Union (ACU). He previously served two terms as Chairman of the Republican Party of Florida and three consecutive terms as its Vice-Chairman.
Ronald Reagan chose Al for his transition team, leading the effort to organize and restructure the Department of Commerce. President Reagan also appointed him to chair the President’s Commission on Small and Minority Business Affairs and later as Special Ambassador to St. Kitts-Nevis upon that nation’s independence. Presidents Reagan and George H. W. Bush appointed Al to the Board of Directors of the Federal National Mortgage Association. He also served on the President’s Trade Policy Commission.
Governor Jeb Bush appointed Al as a member of the Board of Trustees of Florida Agriculture and Mechanical University (FAMU). He is a former Trustee of Miami Dade College and was named to its “Hall of Fame.”
Former U.S. Senator Mel Martinez
Former U.S. Senator Mel Martinez
After fleeing Cuba in 1962 to escape an outbreak of violence in his hometown, Mel Martinez settled in Florida. He served in local government and in President George W. Bush’s Cabinet before being elected as the first Cuban American to serve in the U.S. Senate.
In 1998, he became chairman for Orange County (during Martinez’s tenure, the position was relabeled mayor) and served as mayor through the end of 2000.
Martinez took an active role in the 2000 presidential campaign as co-chairman of the Florida operation for Republican nominee George W. Bush. After the election, President Bush nominated Martinez as Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and he was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate on January 23, 2001. He was the first Cuban American to serve in a President’s Cabinet.
At HUD he established a $1.7 billion tax credit program for investors building affordable housing and a $1 billion program to help 650,000 low-income families make down payments.
Martinez was elected to the United States Senate in 2004. Representing Florida as a U.S. Senator, he served on several committees, including Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Armed Services, and Foreign Relations. While serving in the Senate, Martinez led efforts to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and was a trusted voice on foreign policy issues throughout the Western Hemisphere.
After more than a decade of public service, Martinez joined JPMorgan Chase & Co. in July 2010. Based in Florida, he represents the firm to clients throughout the Southeast – from individuals and businesses to large corporations, governments, and nonprofit organizations.
Prior to his public service, he practiced law for 25 years. He received both his B.S. and J.D. from Florida State University.

Check back for updates as we release the full Advisory Board for the IOP@FSU.