Donnie Horner III is a military veteran, successful businessman, and community leader whose dedication to public service spans numerous nonprofit enterprises focused on making Northeast Florida a better place for families, individuals, and job-creators.
The son of a retired U.S. Army officer and West Point graduate, Donnie learned the importance of military service at a young age. He went on to graduate with merit from the United States Naval Academy, where he was a two-sport athlete, company commander, and was trusted with the exemplary honor of delivering the game ball to the annual Army-Navy football game prior to the coin toss in 2007. Subsequently, he is class president.
Donnie was stationed as an officer aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD6) in San Diego, Calif., and logged more than 200 days at sea. As conning officer and junior officer of the deck, he was responsible for the safe navigation of the vessel while at sea. Subsequently, he served as the Deck Department’s 2nd Division Officer and 1H Repair Locker Officer, leading teams of 35 and 18 sailors, respectively. He also served as the Religious Lay Leader for the ship’s more than 1,000 Catholics and presided over spiritual services when there was no priest available for daily Mass. In his time aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard, Donnie took part in RIMPAC 2008, the world’s largest maritime warfare exercise featuring navies from 22 countries.
Following his career in the service, Donnie earned his Master’s in Business Administration from Jacksonville University. While a graduate student, he and two of his classmates developed a business plan for what would become MainOcean Port Services, a ship-service company that now serves seaports in four Southeastern states. At MainOcean, Donnie was Vice President of Business Development and responsible for client origination and retention, as well as marketing efforts to brand the company.
In 2014, Donnie joined Beaver Street Fisheries as a national sales representative, responsible for the growth of retail sales for Sea Best seafood. The Sea Best line is the second-best-selling frozen seafood brand in America and is sold in some of the most well-respected grocery stores in the country.
Donnie developed a passion for community service from the example that his parents set while he was growing up. Donnie is a graduate of Leadership Jacksonville’s Class of 2015 and also serves on boards for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Jacksonville University Alumni Board of Governors, the River Club, and the Propeller Club. Donnie and his wife, Dr. Kristen Horner, are active members of their church, Our Lady Star of the Sea, and are also Bronze Circle members of the Florida Forum benefitting Wolfson Children’s Hospital. Kristen is a Jacksonville dentist with an office at the River City Market Place.