A lifelong Republican, William Douglas grew up working class family in Springfield, Ohio, where his father was employed by the state of Ohio and his mother worked in the steel industry.
In 1984, he moved to Collier County from London, Ohio to manage the Ponderosa Restaurant on the East Trail. In 1990, he married Lisa Malinowski, whose family was involved in the fire service. Their daughter Kayla was born in 1992, and son William in 1996.
Inspired by Lisa’s family, William felt called to the fire service in 1987. He completed his fire training and began is career with the East Naples Fire & Rescue District, now Greater Collier Fire Rescue. During his 30 years with the district, he worked hard to advance his career, including service as a firefighter, EMT, Driver Engineer, and Acting Battalion Chief, before retiring as a Lieutenant in 2017.
William and Lisa are loyal supporters of Lely High School, from which Lisa and both of their children graduated. They are also active in their church, Shepherd of the Glades Lutheran, and serving their community.
After retirement, William quickly realized he had much more to give to his community. With the support of his family, he decided to put his experience to work for others by running for District 1 Collier County Commissioner.
Past President Florida Jaycees
Past President Naples Jaycees
Member JCI Senate
Member East Naples Civic Association Member Union Collier County 2396
Member Marco Island Chamber of Commerce
Past President Lely County Club Property Owner Association
Member of Men’s Republican Club
Member Naples Republican Club
South Collier Republican Club
Member of the Republican Executive Committee
Member of the BEONE (formally known as East Naples Merchant Association)
Douglass grew up in a working class family in Ohio. His father worked for the state of Ohio and his mother worked in the steel industry.
He married Lisa Malinowski at Shepherd of the Glades Lutheran Church on March 24, 1990. Their first child, Kayla Marie was born on January 28, 1992; their second child, William Tyler, V, was born on July 26, 1996. Both children were baptized at Shepherd of the Glades Lutheran Church.
The Douglass’ supported Lely High School with countless donations of time and money for various causes. Long before their children attended LHS, Douglass spent Friday nights working football games. Kayla participated in Cross Country, Track and Field, Swimming, Soccer teams and was active on in her Class leadership. She graduated with summa cum laude in 2010. Their son participated in Track and Field, Swimming, Wrestling teams and competed at the State Wrestling Tournament his Senior year. He graduated cum laude in 2015.
Kayla continued her education in Gainesville at the University of Florida and graduated in 2014 with a degree in Applied Biology, going on to earn a Master of Health Administration and Master of Business Administration. She is employed at Moorings Park, a continuing care retirement community as an executive to the Chief Operating Officer. Her husband Kody Crawford is employed with TLC Engineering in Fort Myers.
William continued his education in Fort Myers at Florida Gulf Coast University and graduated with an Associates of Arts. After achieving this degree, he attended Emergency Medical Technician school and graduated in 2018. He is working towards a career in public service.
On September 1, 1987 William Douglass was hired to the East Naples Fire Control and Rescue District. He began his career as a Firefighter. He became an Emergency Medical Technician; studied and promoted to Driver Engineer; obtained officer certification and was promoted to Lieutenant. For the last 5 years he served as the Acting Battalion Chief for the Department, known since 2014 as Greater Naples Fire Rescue.
Douglass has a wide range of training and knowledge that sets him apart from others. He has proven leadership in the fire service and his community for over 30 years. He has dedicated his life to serving others right here in District 1.
As a fire professional, William understands the responsibility to conduct oneself in a manner that reflects proper ethical behavior and integrity.
“By engaging diverse thoughts and opinions, while respecting each person, the overall discussion will yield the best solution,” he says.
In his roles in the community he has upheld a position of public trust and knows that it requires honesty, stewardship, professionalism, competence, respect and loyalty in the performance of the duties.
In 1996 while vacationing with relatives in Orlando, William attended a Jaycees meeting. He was extremely impressed with the organization and when he returned to Naples, he learned the local chapter had expired.
Understanding the impact the organization could achieve in the community, he reached out to the State organization and re-established the Jaycees in Naples. For William, the Jaycee Creed embodied everything he and Lisa cherished and believed in, including:
- Belief that faith in God gives meaning and purpose to human life
- The brotherhood of man transcends the sovereignty of Nations
- Economic justice can be best won by free men though free enterprise
- Government should be of laws rather than of men
- Earth’s great treasure lies in human personality and that service to humanity is the best work of life.
Douglass became President of the re-charter and worked to establish a July 4th fireworks festival at Sugden Regional Park. Twenty-one years later, this celebration continues. As local chapter President in 1998, the chapter worked on disaster relief for fire victims in Central Florida and again in October of 1998, for Honduran victims devastated by Hurricane George. Douglass and the Board jumped into action coordinating with local fire departments in Southwest Florida as collection points for donations from the community. Douglass brokered a deal with Dole Citrus to donate shipping containers to carry the donations to the tatter community in Honduras. Thanks to the giving community, two 53’ shipping containers were filled to the top with much needed supplies.
Closer to home, Douglass saw needs in his community, too. He worked tirelessly to help underprivileged children receive back to school supplies, Thanksgiving food baskets, Christmas gifts and food baskets, even playing Santa when needed. Douglass provided opportunities for young leaders to find business opportunities and training to aid in their career development. Many local teenagers considered Douglass as a second father figure as he assisted them in character development and mentoring.
His leadership was recognized by the national organization as the best in America obtaining the Charles Kulp Memorial Award for outstanding leadership to one’s community.
Douglass continued his service to the Jaycees on the State level as the 78th President of the Florida Jaycees. He took his passion for service to communities across Florida. A state-wide project to serve veterans made state and national news. The project, Serving Those Who Serve, was a partnership with Hurlburt Field, in the Florida Panhandle, to ship paperback books to staging areas in the middle east where US soldiers waited for deployment assignments. This project set up essential libraries for the service personnel additionally, provided free greeting cards for various occasions for them to select from.
Understanding that to create positive change, one must take collective action to improve oneself and the world around us. Douglass again was recognized to be the one of the best leaders in America and received the Clayton Frost Memorial Award for his distinguished and unselfish service to the Jaycee movement.
Douglass worked as a subcontractor owning Douglass’ mobile maintenance and working on fire vehicles in East Naples and on Marco Island. His strong technical skills, leadership, communication skills and excellent teamwork allowed his business to flourish. He left his family during two hurricanes and was present on Marco Island to better respond to vehicles that needed service or repair, before, during and after the storm.
In 2004, Douglass purchased Margaritas and More and operated business until 2015. This service industry business allowed him to have the flexibility and financial means to assist his family and deal with the special needs of his son.