Executive Team

Steve Steve Harper (Chief Executive Officer and Partner)
Steve began his career in the PEO industry in 1985, serving as Vice President and Partner of Staff Management Systems. His operational and sales leadership helped Staff Management Systems grow to become a very successful PEO. Staff Management Systems was later sold to ADP; becoming the ADP PEO platform and was renamed ADP Total Source. After continuing to oversee the growth of ADP Total Source and developing the Chicago market, Steve elected to leave ADP Total Source to return to FL and eventually joined Professional Employer Plans. As President and Partner of Professional Employer Plans, Steve helped Professional Employer Plans grow and share the same success he helped Staff Management Systems achieve. Steve left the PEO industry in 2008 to enjoy family and pursue other business interests, returning in July of 2013 to join Choice HR as CEO and Partner.


Chris Chris Cona (President and Partner)
Chris began his career in the PEO Industry in June of 1998. As District Manager and Senior District Manager for Professional Employer Plans, Chris helped drive the growth of the company from a small start-up PEO to a large Florida based PEO with a national presence. After identifying an industry niche offering competent yet basic PEO services to Florida Businesses, Chris helped Professional Employer Plans launch and grow Advantage Employer Solutions. (Professional Employer Plans and Advantage Employer Solutions sold to a large national PEO in 2008.) In November of 2004, Chris resigned from Professional Employer Plans to start Choice HR; a successful PEO Brokerage representing an array of reputable Professional Employer Organizations. Due to client demand, industry opportunities, and a desire to provide existing and future clients with the finest Personalized Customer Service available, Chris elected to expand Choice HR into a full service PEO in January of 2011.


Gary Gary Cona (Partner & President of Choice Benefits)
Gary began his career in the PEO Industry in 2000 as a Sales Manager with Lanier Upshaw, a Central Florida insurance agency and equity partner with Advantec Solutions, a PEO based in Tampa, FL.  He then joined SEMCO, a  PEO in West Palm Beach, as a Regional Sales Manager and was instrumental in growing SEMCO through insurance agency partnerships.  Gary led the sales efforts that drove significant growth for SEMCO, which was acquired by Progressive Employer Services in 2007.  In 2009, Gary joined AlphaStaff, a large national PEO, as a Regional Sales Manager.  Gary continued his sales success and was responsible for AlphaStaff’s largest insurance agency partnership with a large national insurance agency.  In January of 2011, Gary left Alphastaff to start Choice Benefits, a PEO brokerage and Employee Benefits Firm and to help start Choice HR.  Gary received his Bachelor of Science degree from Florida Southern College.


Carrigan Chris Carrigan (Executive VP of Sales and Partner)
Chris began his career in the PEO industry in 2000 with Professional Employer Plans. As the Director of Sales for the South FL market, Chris was instrumental in driving Professional Employer Plans’ growth and success. Professional Employer Plans was purchased by Oasis Outsourcing in 2008, one of the largest PEOs in the country. Chris continued his success as a top Performing District Sales Manager, multiple President Club winner, and managed the flagship office for Oasis Outsourcing. Chris elected to leave Oasis Outsourcing to help grow a family business, and then elected to join Choice HR in 2014 as Regional Vice President and Partner. Chris received a Bachelor of Arts degree from The University of South Florida.


Gene Gene Cabrera (Chief Operating Officer and Partner)
Gene brings 26 years of experience in Operations serving as a Sr. Director, General Manager, Director of Accounting and Controller. Gene’s leadership responsibilities began in the early 90s as the controller of Medical Resources International. His leadership responsibilities quickly grew to the role of General Manager where he directed the growth of the company. Gene left Medical Resources International in 1994 when the company sold and took the position of controller with International Learning Systems. Again, Gene was involved in all aspects of the company and helped its growth until it sold in 2000. Gene then went to work with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2000 as controller. After one year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Gene was promoted to Director of Accounting where he directed the accounting department during the Buccaneer’s Super Bowl season in 2002-2003. In 2004 Gene was hired as Controller for Professional Employer Plans. After one year, Gene moved into the role of General Manager and helped PEP grow until it was sold in 2008 to Oasis Outsourcing. Gene continued his employment with Oasis as Sr. Director of its Business Process Outsourcing Division. Gene helped grow the Division from 2 employees with 75 clients to 30 employees, 750 clients and over $1 million in EBITDA in less than 5 years. Gene decided to leave Oasis Outsourcing to join Choice HR in August of 2014 as Chief Operating Officer and Partner. Gene holds a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of South Florida.