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Meet Ray

Ray Christman and his wife

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Ray Christman was elected to Naples City Council in a special election held on April 2, 2019. He brings to his work on Council a passion for community and the environment, decades of relevant experience, and a belief in ethical, transparent government

Ray was born in Pittsburgh and raised there and in St. Petersburg, Florida. After attending Florida State University and receiving his Masters Degree from the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh, Ray began his career in his hometown of Pittsburgh.

He became head of the City of Pittsburgh’s Urban Redevelopment Authority and was then tapped to become Secretary of Commerce for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He subsequently served as President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Technology Council, an organization that spearheaded Pittsburgh’s transition to a new economy based on technology, health care, and education.

Ray also spent a significant part of his career in banking. He served as head of the Pittsburgh and Atlanta Federal Home Loan Banks and later helped establish Hamilton State Bank, which grew to become one of the largest banks in Georgia before its sale in 2018.

Ray has a long history of involvement in the conservation field, beginning with his first job out of graduate school at the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. He later worked for The Trust for Public Land as Director of Operations for a 22-state region throughout the southeast and midwest, including Florida. In that capacity, he helped lead the effort in 2014 to pass by voter referendum the Florida Water and Land Legacy Act, which now provides significant annual state funding for water and land protection.

Prior to his election, Ray served on the City’s Community Redevelopment Agency Advisory Board (CRAAB). He also served as Executive Director of Ethics Naples, which led to a ballot referendum to establish a new ethics code and independent ethics commission for the City of Naples. That initiative eventually passed in August 2020 with a 63% approval.

As part of his Council duties, Ray now chairs the City’s Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) Board and a newly created City Environmental Advisory Committee. He also serves as the City Council representative on the Collier County Coastal Advisor Committee (CAC).

Ray and his wife, Eileen, celebrated their 40th anniversary in 2021 with family and friends here in Naples. They have three adult children – Margot, Nicholas and Patrick. Ray and Eileen were regular visitors to Naples beginning in the early 1980s, when they first fell in love with our great town. They purchased their home here in 2003 and became full-time residents in 2015. Ray has seen first-hand the changes in Naples over the last four decades and is committed to protecting, preserving, and improving its small-town character and charm.