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Charlotte Board of Trustees



Rick Bissonette

From a young age, Rick loved music and learned to play 16 instruments. Rick played in rock bands throughout the New England area but soon realized how difficult it is to be on the road all the time so he became a hair stylist. However, Rick quickly found himself traveling again, this time to teach hair styling at Vidal Sassoon in London and Framesi in Milan.
Rick fell in love with the Punta Gorda area in 1994, finding it reminiscent of Hyannis Port on Cape Cod where we grew up. Rick stayed and opened a salon in Punta Gorda called Bisous, which means “a kiss” in French.

Rick is blessed with twin teenage boys, one of whom has Cerebral Palsy. Over the years, Rick coached a Special Olympics basketball team to the semi-finals and volunteered with the Punta Gorda Police Department’s Jammers program, a kid’s basketball team on which both sons played. Jammers was invited to appear on Good Morning America due to the inclusion methods taught in the program.

Rick helped develop many programs in Punta Gorda, including the co-founding of Punta Gorda’s first trolley company, the Old Time Trolley Company, which provided transportation to needy residents after Hurricane Charley. Rick has also been active with Team Punta Gorda and Downtown Focus. In addition to still running Bisous, Rick has gotten back into the music business.



Jaha Cummings

Jaha is a 5th generation resident of Punta Gorda. He graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in Asian Studies. Jaha has amassed 20 years’ international experience as a strategy consultant, researcher, and trainer in the fields of international business development and cross-cultural communications in Asia, Europe, and Africa. He operated in two primary roles: International Business Development Manager and Lead Project Director. In these roles, he provided comprehensive global sales and marketing solutions to C-Level Executives and Senior Government Officials, leading market entry, brand management, and sales activities for global brands; and provided executive, management and strategic consultative services to major corporations, the US Navy, and to government agencies. Jaha also established a publishing company in Japan.

In the civil society arena, Jaha served as a volunteer legislative advisor for 10 years, and has been very involved in the non-profit sector. He served on the executive board of the Western Pacific region’s largest human services non-profit for 8 years; serving as its liaison to the Federal Government; and helping achieve national accreditation (CARF) of its youth residential facilities and mental health services.

The city of Punta Gorda is experiencing a renaissance, reclaiming its grand past as a centerpiece in cultivating its new path towards the future. Jaha appreciates that his role on City Council is to be a steward of the city throughout its rebirth. He is committed to ensuring that Punta Gorda enhances and maintains its historical identity, takes good care of its elders, creates the best possible environment for children and families, and develops its commercial base, all of which are necessary for Punta Gorda to thrive well into the future.