Mary Alford

​​​ Mary Alford
Mary Alford
Chair - ​District 1
Term Expires: 11/2024
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Mary was first elected to the Alachua County Commission in 2020, after many years of volunteering in the community. She served on the Alachua County Environmental Protection Advisory Board, the City of Gainesville Utility Advisory Board and the Alachua County Code Enforcement Board. She has served on the board of several local non-profit organizations, including Florida Defenders of the Environment, the Cultural Arts Coalition, and the United Way of North Central Florida.

Mary is a sixth generation Floridian who grew up in Gainesville with her eight brothers and sisters. She graduated from PK Yonge Laboratory School and then graduated from Santa Fe College before attending the University of Florida. She worked her way through school as a young, divorced mother and earned an undergraduate degree in Environmental Engineering in 1997 and a Master of Engineering in 2001. She earned additional credentials in Process Engineering and was one of the earliest participants in the Integrated Process and Project Design Program. She was the 1999 winner of the Water Environment Federation’s International Master’s Level Graduate Research Competition.

As an undergraduate Mary worked her way through school at Shands Hospital (now UF Health), and later and as an engineering intern for Gainesville Regional Utilities. After graduation, she worked for Progress Energy as an environmental specialist and then supervising operations at a power plant. She left Progress Energy and then worked as a consultant and project manager for Progress Energy, Duke Energy, the City of Tallahassee and others. During this time, she also studied sustainability and became a LEED Accredited Professional, an energy rater, and began consulting in the areas of energy efficiency and sustainability. In 2007 Mary started The Sustainable Design Group, partnering with local architect Jennifer Langford, to design energy efficient and sustainable buildings. She was responsible for the first ten LEED-certified homes in the Florida. She is a recognized expert and advocate for small and efficient homes, and she also advocates for quality urban development and smart growth.

Mary spends much of her free time with her family. She is the mother of four boys (three living). She has five grandsons and a granddaughter. Most of her brothers and sisters live in and around Alachua County. Mary enjoys working in the community, cooking, gardening, reading, camping, kayaking, and traveling by train or taking road trips “off the beaten path”. She feels passionate about creating opportunities for a dignified and productive life for all citizens through housing, digital connectivity, health and behavioral health access and a beautiful, safe and healthy environment.