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Mayor Mel Ponder
Current Term

Biographical Information
A Florida native, Mel was born and raised in Ocala. He married his wife, Mona, in 1991 and they have three children, Preston (19), Casey (17) and Grace (9). From 2002-2006 he served the City of Destin as a councilman. During this time, Mel helped institute the Destin Week of Blessings. This annual event unites the pastors and area churches to pray blessings and protection over the fishing fleet, marketplace, families, children and overall City of Destin. This event has now spread to multiple cities around Florida, as well as to Australia and New Zealand.

Mel wants residents and visitors to Destin to experience a family atmosphere, a place where families are refreshed and reconnected to one another. He says, "We should think of ourselves as the Destin family and make decisions that will be good for the family and not just the individual. New business and development should line up with the city's vision and return a yield on the community. Our focus should be family and what affects the family affects the city. Destin should be an example to other communities that when we work together, nothing is impossible." 

Council Appointments to Local & Regional Committees
  • Okaloosa County League of Cities - Primary Appointee

Mel is the founder and president of Business Empowered (BE) and a loan officer with Prime Lending. Business Empowered is a marketplace ministry headquartered in Destin with a mission is to equip, encourage and empower individuals in their calling and in their community.  

Previously, Mel was the director of regional marketing programs for the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association. And, just prior, he served as the executive director of Coastal Vision 3000/THE Beach in Destin.  

Other experience includes senior vice president of the mortgage division for The Bank of Bonifay, branch manager for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, account manager with Hershey Foods, and account executive for Morgan Stanley/Dean Witter. 

  • Bachelor's Degree in Finance from Florida State University

Community Involvement
Mel and Mona are actively involved in both their church and community, and have served on the board of directors for multiple ministries and non-profits.  He also enjoys serving the city and community in other voluntary positions throughout the year.

His greatest joy is seeing people work together in a unified effort to achieve something greater than they could accomplish alone.  That is why he has worked with Captain Mike Parker, area pastors, and some area business leaders on the Destin Week of Blessing for the past 11 years and his passion is just as strong as the first year.  He believes that a city that focuses on honoring one another will be a city that moves forward and accomplishes great things. 

Favorite Quote
Community spheres of influence were meant to complete each other, not compete with each other - Ed Delph

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Mayor Mel Ponder


City of Destin 
4200 Indian Bayou Trail
Destin, FL 32541

Ph: (850) 837-4242