Mike joined the Navy after high school and spent his first enlistment as a shipboard electrician. Upon reenlistment, Mike completed UDT/SEAL training and joined the elite UDT/SEAL Teams. He attended college during his off-duty hours earning his Associate of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees.
In 1983, Mike received his commission after graduating from the Navy’s Aviation Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, serving as the class Commander of Second Battalion. Several years and deployments later, Mike returned to the Panhandle becoming an Instructor Pilot at the Whiting Field ITU in Milton teaching student aviators and instructor pilots.
He headed up the Operations center as a Lieutenant Commander in the VR-57 squadron where he controlled a budget of 2.3 million dollars, managed operations consisting of three DC-9 jet aircraft, and led over 250 reservists. He also served as the squadron’s deployment officer during Desert Storm, successfully deploying the entire squadron—fully equipped and battle ready—from N.A.S. San Diego to the staging area in Simback Germany in five days from Orders to arrival. He remembers it fondly as akin to (and about as much fun as) herding cats in the dark during a snow storm.
While providing logistical support in the Gulf War, Mike’s DC-9 came under fire during a SCUD missile attack. In a sky filled with flak and other airplanes, he successfully maneuvered and evaded damage, saving his crew and earning him a Naval Commendation Medal upon their safe return home. He also received two Navy Achievement Medals. Over his extensive career he piloted the H-46 helicopter, the T-34C turbo prop, the C-9 transport jet, and the C-130 Mighty Hercules. He is a 1993 graduate of the Air Force’s prestigious Air Command and Staff College.
Mike retired after twenty one years of service in 1994. He then attended Florida State University earning both a Juris Doctor and a Masters of Public Administration. He has worked as an attorney for Legal Services of North Florida, a Senior Attorney for the State of Florida, and now owns his own firm. Additionally, he served two years as the town attorney of Greensboro in Gadsden County. In his 13 years of practice, Mike has tried well over a hundred bench and jury trials in Civil, Family, Criminal, Dependency, and Bankruptcy areas of law and he is a Qualified Arbitrator. He has extensive experience in consumer protection. He has successfully sued debt collectors and defended collection actions and foreclosures. The vast majority of his consumer cases have been resolved through negotiation or mediation.
As a result of his free legal service to the less fortunate citizens in the 14th Judicial Circuit, Mike received The Florida Bar’s President Pro Bono award in 2007, and the Bay County Bar Association Pro Bono award in 2005. Mike is a member of the National Association of Consumer Advocates, a member of the North Florida Bankruptcy Bar Association, and is a past member of The Florida Bar’s Consumer Law Committee.