College Alumni Awardees
Every year, the four colleges select graduates who have made outstanding professional achievements in their chosen fields to receive an Outstanding Alumni Award. Candidates are recognized at the annual Homecoming Gala.
College of Engineering and Science
Outstanding Alumni Award Winners
Wassim M. Haddad received B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering from Florida Tech in 1983, 1984, and 1987.
From 1987 to 1994, he served as a consultant for the Structural Controls Group of the Government Aerospace Systems Division, Harris Corporation in Melbourne, FL. In 1988, Dr. Haddad joined the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department faculty at Florida Tech, where he founded and developed the Systems and Control Option within the graduate program. Since 1994 he has been with the School of Aerospace Engineering at Georgia Tech; he holds the rank of Professor, the David Lewis Chair in Dynamical Systems and Control, and Chair of Flight Mechanics and Control Discipline. He also has a joint professor appointment with the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech. He is the Co-Founder, Chairman of Board, and Chief Scientific Advisor of Autonomous Healthcare, Inc.
Dr. Haddad has made numerous contributions to the development of nonlinear control theory and its application to aerospace, electrical, and biomedical engineering. His transdisciplinary research in dynamical systems and control is documented un over 680 archival journal and conference publications and eight books in the areas of science, mathematics, medicine, and engineering. Dr. Haddad os an NSF Presidential Faculty Fellow, a member of the Academy of Nonlinear Sciences, an IEEE Fellow, an AAIA Fellow, and the recipient of the AIAA Pendray Aerospace Literature Award.
Dr. Beltran is currently the Head of Biology at BridgeBio Pharma, Oncology Therapeutics in the Bay Area, California. Pedro and his team of experienced drug hunters are dedicated to developing novel therapeutics to target RAS, the most frequently mutated human oncogene found in ~35% of all human cancers.
Pedro received a B.S. in Molecular Biology from Florida Tech and a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology from the University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center under the mentorship of Isaiah J. Fidler, DVM, Ph.D. He was awarded a Lois Pope Fellowship for post-doctoral work in Neuroscience at the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis at the University of Miami.
Pedro has a long track record of dedication to discovering novel medicines to treat serious illnesses. Prior to BridgeBio Pharma, Pedro led the Biology Team at UNITY Biotechnology, a company dedicated to preventing, halting, and reversing diseases of aging. His team's work was published in Cell Metabolism and resulted in the identification of UBX1375, currently in Phase 2 clinical trials for vascular eye diseases.
Pedro started his career as a Scientist at Amgen, Inc., where he led multiple Drug Discovery Research programs focused on oncology, including Imlygica for Melanoma and ganitumab for pancreatic cancer. As Executive Director of Discovery Research at Amgen, he led a large team of Scientists and helped progress more than ten development candidates into the clinic.
Pedro believes in a robust industry-academic partnership in the drug developing process and has strongly supported productive collaborations with leading academic groups in oncology and aging. Pedro has authored more than 40 peer-reviewed manuscripts and abstracts. He has been an invited speaker in multiple national and international conferences and holds patents describing novel ways to treat malignant disease.
Outside the laboratory, Pedro tries to influence his two beautiful daughters, Sofia and Valeria, into becoming valued members of the world community and visiting home (Lima, Peru) with his wife, Vanessa
Don Woodruff, DBIA is a Design Build Professional and the president of Woodruff Construction, LLC, with offices in Ames, Iowa City, Waterloo/Cedar Falls, and Fort Dodge, Iowa. He has enjoyed over 30 years of service and leadership with the company. Don earned his bachelor of science in civil engineering from Florida Tech, as well as a master of construction management and an MBA, both from Washington University in St. Louis.
Woodruff currently serves as Master Builders of Iowa Chairman of the Board and is a member of the Florida Tech Construction Advisory Board and the Florida Tech Civil Engineering Advisory Committee. In addition, he is a part of the Fort Dodge Growth Alliance, Fort Dodge REC Foundation Board, Iowa Lean Consortium, CIRAS Advisory Board, Construction Financial Management Association, EFP Investment Club, University of Iowa Business College of Health Business Leadership Council, the Mid-Iowa Growth Partnership, and the City of Fort Dodge Board of Appeals.
Don has been married to his wife Michelle for 29 years and together they have four children and one grandchild. In his leisure time, he enjoys sailing, hot air ballooning, and brewing his own beer at home. Woodruff also coaches basketball and has been an active Scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts of America, winning Scoutmaster of the Year in 2006. Don received the Outstanding Service Award from the Florida Tech College of Engineering.
Gretchen is a dynamic IT professional with over 20 years of experience guiding major communications organizations to meet and exceed corporate goals. She has a successful track record of creating and leading high-performing teams through significant change while achieving or exceeding financial targets. Gretchen is currently a VP in the IT organization at Charter Communications. Under Gretchen’s leadership, her team is working to smoothly integrate and support communication systems like email, messaging, identity management, file services, and collaboration tools. Gretchen consistently drives continuous improvement into her programs and processes; this has enabled her to manage large portfolios of highly impactful technical projects. Gretchen’s teams pride themselves on adhering to best practices and promoting overall operational excellence. Prior to Charter, Gretchen has held leadership positions at Bright House, Cbeyond Communications, Premiere Technologies, and Verizon.
Outside of work, Gretchen is actively involved in her community and has held leadership roles in a number of organizations. She is currently a board member for the Women in Cable & Telecommunications (WICT) Midwest Chapter. Gretchen has also lead the Careers in Action program for the Women in Technology Leadership (WIT) Foundations. She is a former board member and committee chair for the East Atlanta Kids Club, a non-profit organization that provides mentoring and enrichment activities for 7 to 17-year-old disadvantaged kids. She is an active volunteer for WICT and the MS Society. Gretchen is a member of the parish at Ascension Church.
Mojy Chian is currently chief executive officer and chairman of Silicon Cloud International. He has a rich blend of private and public company senior executive management experience, business acumen, customer relationships and hands-on technical experience in integrated circuits product design, software development, process technology, design infrastructure and wafer manufacturing. He has provided consulting services for new business development, strategy for adjacent markets, system-on-a-chip development strategy in leading-edge process technologies, and engineering and business modeling to Qualcomm and CSR.
From 2009 to 2012, Mojy was senior vice president of design enablement at GlobalFoundries. In that capacity, he was responsible for all design, design services, design infrastructure functions and customer tapeout operations.
He was also the head of the transformation office, overseeing all company transformational initiatives. He was vice president of technology development at Altera Corporation from 2006 to 2009, managing all development, infrastructure and manufacturing aspects of silicon process technologies.
Previously, Mojy served as senior vice president of engineering and core technology at Mindspeed Technologies. He was responsible for all engineering disciplines for several product lines and for all central engineering and common technology activities. Mojy has earned a B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in electrical engineering, as well as an M.S. in applied mathematics—all from Florida Tech.
Trent Smith is currently the project manager for NASA’s in-orbit gardens on ISS Veggie and works for the ISS Program at Kennedy Space Center with the goal of maximizing ISS science in the orbiting laboratory. He received both his B.S. and M.S. in chemistry from Florida Tech. After graduating with honors with his Bachelor of Science degree, he worked in polymer chemistry developing new materials with professor Gordon Nelson while earning his master’s degree.
Trent has enjoyed an extended career at NASA. He started his work there as a polymer chemist, later going on to serve as a part of the Commercial Crew Program where he worked to get NASA astronauts back into space on U.S.-led space systems. Trent was also a NASA detailee and technical advisor to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. He also worked as the vehicle processing engineer for Ares I-X, providing technical and operational leadership for the Launch Vehicle Processing Directorate. He served as the transition project lead for Kennedy Space Center facilities for the transition and retirement of the space shuttle program. He also led the team that decommissioned and retired MLP1, as well as safed and transferred Pad B to the Constellation Program while still safely launching shuttles from Pad A.
Trent has received several awards during his 15-year career at NASA, including a Spaceflight Awareness Award, a KSC Certificate of Commendation for Outstanding Leadership, two NASA Superior Accomplishment Awards for Leadership, R&D100 Award, NASA’s Commercial Invention of the Year Award, Silver Achievement Medal, Exceptional Service Medal and more than 18 Space Act Awards for inventions and innovations. Smith also has 10 patents granted or pending and has authored two book chapters and more than 18 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles and government reports.
Dr. Steven Atkin is a distinguished engineer and the chief globalization architect at IBM and is responsible for establishing the globalization strategy for IBM. Steven has been working on globalization issues at IBM for over 20 years and is focused on improving the global user experience of IBM’s solutions by addressing the needs of IBM’s diverse worldwide client base. Steven’s recent focus has been on the acceleration of cloud-based innovations—with an emphasis on interoperability and cloud-based service solutions. Steven has a long history of contributions in advancing development and testing methodologies for software globalization, maturing the globalization support of computer programming languages, and readying the deployment of cloud and cognitive solutions for a global market.
Dr. Hugh Thompson has more than a decade of experience creating methodologies that help organizations build demonstrably more secure systems. He joined Blue Coat in 2012, and was named CTO of Symantec after the acquisition of Blue Coat in August 2016. Thompson has co-authored three books, written more than 80 academic and industrial publications on security, and been interviewed by top news organizations including the BBC, CNN, MSNBC, Financial Times, Washington Post and others. In 2006, Thompson was named one of the “Top 5 Most Influential Thinkers in IT Security” by SC Magazine and has, for the past several years, served as the program committee chairman for RSA Conference, guiding the technical content the world’s largest information security gathering. He also sits on the editorial board of IEEE Security and Privacy Magazine, and is an adjunct professor at Columbia University in New York. Thompson holds a B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in applied mathematics from Florida Institute of Technology.
Doug Schuler received his electrical engineering degree from Florida Institute of Technology in 1972 and an M.S. in management in 1991 from FIT’s Redstone Arsenal campus in Huntsville, Alabama. He started his career with Stone & Webster Engineering Corp. in Boston and currently works for Westinghouse Corp. in Canton, Massachusetts. as a senior controls engineer and computer control specialist. He previously worked for Chicago Bridge & Iron.
Schuler is currently a controls specialist on four AP1000 next-generation nuclear plants being constructed in China. He has been a lead engineer and project supervisor on five gas co-generation power projects in the U.S. and in Canada, a project engineer and lead on a gas refinery in Algeria for Sonatrach and one in Texas for Texaco. Part of his design involvement has been proposing Scada systems that remotely access offsite control rooms. He was an electrical controls engineer on five new nuclear projects designed and built in the U.S. and Taiwan and a design specialist working with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission analyzing engineered safeguards systems for nine operating nuclear plants. He was also a team leader consulting for Ontario Hydro in Toronto, Canada, supporting an analysis of the state of the Pickering Station design configuration.
Schuler continues to be an active and supportive member of the FIT community. In 2013 he generously established the Douglas M. Schuler Endowment that funds an electrical and computing engineering scholarship. He is a member of the College of Engineering Advisory Committee, the secretary for the Greater Boston Alumni Chapter and is a current member of alumni board of directors. As an enthusiastic alumnus, he has invested in senior design projects and is a major donor to the Harris Student Design Center providing means for equipment, tooling and supplies. Schuler has also contributed to the New Boathouse Fund, Flight Test Engineering, A Day of Giving and much more.
Schuler grew up in New York City and chose FIT because of his interest in aerospace and FIT’s proximity to Kennedy Space Center. He lives in the Boston area. For fun he performs in a 40-piece wind ensemble community band and enjoys playing with a string quartet as the only clarinetist. He is an active general aviation commercial pilot and occasionally flies gliders in Vermont.
A native of Brevard County, Wadad Brooke Dubbelday graduated from Florida Tech in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in physics. She went on to earn her M.S. and Ph.D. in electrical engineering and applied physics from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), both of which she accomplished while working full time at the U.S. Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific (SSC Pacific), where she has spent her entire 35-year career. In May 2016, Dubbelday was named SSC Pacific’s first chief distinguished scientist, along with being the senior scientific and technical manager for Science and Technology Forecasting, Assessment and Transition and the Deputy Chief Technology Officer for the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR). She began her career at SSC Pacific researching circuit fabrication nanotechnology and has held increasingly responsible positions, both technical and managerial, ever since, with duties in such disparate fields as drug interdiction, transportation and logistics, homeland security, and naval intelligence. In her new role, she will lead strategic initiatives designed to maximize the Navy’s abilities in information warfare technology.
Dubbelday comes from a distinguished Florida Tech family: her father, Pieter Dubbelday, is retired from two decades of service as a professor of oceanography and physics, and her sister, the Hon. Catharina Dubbelday Haynes ’83, is a federal circuit judge in Dallas. Dubbelday and her husband, Jeffrey Ruthberg, have a teenage daughter. The family resides outside San Diego, where Dubbelday is active in competitive equestrian and dressage events.
Rear Adm. Johnathan White earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Oceanographic Technology from the Florida Institute of Technology in 1981 and holds a master's degree in Meteorology and Oceanography from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School.
After working at sea as a civilian oceanographer on board a seismic survey vessel, he was commissioned through Navy Officer Candidate School in 1983, and assigned as a surface warfare officer to USS John L. Hall (FFG 32) in Mayport, Florida.
White joined the oceanography community in 1987. Since then, he has had operational shore assignments at Jacksonville, Florida.; Guam; Monterey, California; and Stuttgart, Germany, where his joint duty included Special Operations Command Europe, and strike plans officer for U.S. European Command during Operation Allied Force in Kosovo and Serbia. White commanded Naval Training Meteorology and Oceanography Facility, Pensacola, Florida, and was the 50th superintendent of the United States Naval Observatory.
White's sea tours as a naval oceanographer include commander, Cruiser Destroyer Group 12 where he completed deployments on board USS Saratoga (CV 60) and USS Wasp (LHD 1).
White was selected as a flag officer and honorary chief petty officer in 2009 and served as commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command. He was promoted to the rank of rear admiral (upper half) in August 2012 as he assumed his duties as director, Task Force Climate Change, and Navy deputy to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Duane holds a B.S. degree in Zoology from the University of Rhode Island (1976) and M.S. (1982) & Ph.D. (1988) degrees in Marine Biology from Florida Institute of Technology.
Duane was instrumental in helping to secure U.S. EPA National Estuary Program designation for the Indian River Lagoon (IRL) in 1990. In September 2015, his career came full circle when he was named Executive Director of a new special district of the state of Florida (Indian River Lagoon Council) that will serve as the host of a reorganized IRL National Estuary Program. In this new role, Duane is working with federal, state and local government agencies, scientific research organizations, academic institutions, elected officials, industry and the general public. The goal is to develop a restoration strategy for one of the nation's most threatened estuarine ecosystems.
De Freese served as the first program director for the acclaimed Brevard County Environmentally Endangered Lands Program (1991-1998). In that capacity, Duane spearheaded efforts to secure over $20 million in matching funds to acquire properties in the Indian River Lagoon Blueway, Atlantic Coastal Ridge Scrub and southern barrier island Maritime Hammock initiatives. From 1998-2008, Duane served as the first Vice President of Florida Research for Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute. In 2008-2009, Dr. De Freese served a 1-year appointment with the Dean of the College of Sciences at University of Central Florida. He provided leadership at UCF to create a long-range vision and plan for an expanded UCF coastal & sea turtle research center to be located within the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge in partnership with USFWS. That vision is being implemented today. His most recent appointment was as Senior Vice President of Science & Business Development at AquaFiber Technologies Corporation. As an AquaFiber senior executive, Duane provided leadership and oversight for all scientific and intellectual property activities associated with the company.
Duane currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Florida Ocean Alliance (Vice-Chair) and was appointed by Governor Rick Scott to serve on the CareerSource Florida Inc. Board of Directors. Duane just completed a two-year term as the President of the Florida Tech Alumni Association Board.
Dr. Mazurek holds a B.S. degree in ocean engineering and an M.S. degree in civil engineering from the Florida Institute of Technology, and a Ph.D. degree in civil engineering from the University of Connecticut. He was employed by General Dynamics' Electric Boat Division, where he provided submarine construction support, conducted engineering design and analysis associated with pressure hulls and other structures, and completed structural noise and vibration transmission reduction studies. He also taught for one year at Lafayette College just prior to joining the Coast Guard Academy's civil engineering faculty, where he has served for the past 24 years.
Dr. Mazurek's main area of research is in bridge engineering, having authored numerous papers on the subject. He has most recently collaborated with the Federal Railroad Administration to study improved methods for stress measurements of steel bridges. He has also studied vibration-based methods for detecting damage in bridges, ships, and towers. He has conducted structural forensics, investigating the collapses of several Coast Guard navigation and communication towers, as well as superstructure failures of submarines. He has studied risk assessment and building security issues, developing the rather unique undergraduate course entitled Structural Design for Extreme Events, which has blast-resistant design as the main emphasis. In 2005 he joined the Beer & Johnston engineering mechanics textbook team, and has since co-authored four editions of Engineering Mechanics: Statics, the first edition of Statics and Mechanics of Materials, and three editions of Mechanics of Materials.
Dr. Mazurek has served on several national technical committees, most notably being the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association's Committee for Steel Structures, for which he has been an active member since 1991 and is currently Chair of its Subcommittee for Coatings & Special Construction. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers, a member of the Chi Epsilon Civil Engineering Honor Society, and a founding member of Florida Tech's chapter of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society. He was elected into the Connecticut Academy of Science & Engineering in 2013, and was the 2014 recipient of both the Coast Guard Academy's Distinguished Faculty Award and its Center for Advanced Studies Excellence in Scholarship Award. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in Connecticut and Pennsylvania.
Tracey Bailey is the state director for Virginia Professional Educators (VPE), a nonprofit, professional association that serves Virginia's 100,000 teachers by working to improve public education through accountability and higher student achievement, and provides educators with professional support in the classroom.
Mr. Bailey began as a physics and space sciences major at Florida Tech, and in his junior year was offered a teacher scholarship from the State of Florida. He earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees at Florida Tech in science education with an emphasis on instructional technology. As a teacher at Satellite High School, Mr. Bailey won national recognition for his highly innovative science education programs. He developed Satellite High's first advanced placement (AP) program and introduced science research including molecular biology and DNA fingerprinting into the classroom. Within three years, the school's science research program was among the best in Florida, winning many national and international awards. Mr. Bailey was also a developer and author of Florida's state curriculum for instructional technology.
In part because of these successes, Mr. Bailey was named the 1993 National Teacher of the Year, among some 2.7 million teachers nationwide. He then served as the first director of the Center for Space Education at the Kennedy Space Center, later became the state coordinator for education reform programs in the Florida Department of Education, and then served as national director for the Association of American Educators (AAE). He is a member of the Florida Educators' Hall of Fame.
Throughout his career, Mr. Bailey has worked with education leaders nationwide to promote substantive education reform and an increased professionalism among teachers. Mr. Bailey has spoken to Congress on several occasions, and he is often invited to the White House to represent teachers on education reform issues.
Dr. Alavie received the BS, MS and PhD degrees from Florida Tech in electrical engineering with his PhD awarded in 1992. He then became a post-doc at the University of Toronto continuing the work on fiber-optic sensors that he started at Florida Tech.
Dr. Alavie has founded several companies related to fiber optic sensing and the medical field and is now the Executive Chairman of NOVX Systems Inc. and CEO of Qvella Corp. Tino Alavie is a repeat entrepreneur who has been directly or indirectly responsible for creating, managing, and growing seven technology startups in North America and Europe from start to financial exit. Dr. Alavie recently co-founded TimeWyse Corporation. TimeWyse is a new consumer facing App development company. The company’s first product kidQ helps parents with answers to their parenting questions from social to educational to health and time management. kidQ has already been launched on Apple’s App Store and has a 10,000 strong following after only a short period of time. TimeWyse will be adding more features to kidQ and will leverage its intellectual property.
Jonathan Zung, Ph.D. is Vice President and head of Global Development Operations (GDO) at Bristol-Myers Squibb in Princeton, NJ. Global Development Operations integrates all key functions involved in setting up and managing the conduct of clinical trials, site monitoring, data management and review across all therapeutic areas from phase II through registration. The organization consists of 1300+ staff at 19 centers and operates in over 45 countries. Jonathan joined Bristol-Myers Squibb in December 2001 as Executive Director, Project Management. Since joining BMS he has held positions of increasing responsibility, including head of Global Project Management. He was responsible for and led the integration of the $2.1 Billion Medarex acquisition in 2009.
Prior to Bristol-Myers Squibb, Jonathan was with Pfizer Global Research and Development in Groton, CT from 1991 through 2001. At Pfizer he held various positions, with increasing responsibility in the Analytical Research and Development (AR&D) Department and in the Global Project Management organization. While in AR&D he led a group of scientists that supported the development and registration of GeodonIM, along with new and novel dosage forms for the line of extension of approved Pfizer products (Zithromax, Zoloftand Zyrtec).
Jonathan received his Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia and his B.S. degree in Chemistry from the Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Florida. He was named a member of The Florida Institute of Technology Board of Trustees in 2010. Jonathan is also chair of the Operations Committee for TransCelerate BioPharma.
Travis Proctor is the CEO of ndtArtemis. He founded Artemis IT, in 1995 while a sophomore at Florida Tech, and recently merged his company with netDirective Technology. Mr. Proctor graduated top of his class with a degree in computer science information systems. ndtArtemis currently employs 52 people and provides IT management and consulting services to clients throughout the Central Florida region from its offices in Melbourne.
Travis has always been interested in entrepreneurial activities and co-founded his first company, also providing computer support, while a junior in high school in his home community of Montrose, Colorado. In addition to his responsibilities with ndtArtemis, he has founded and manages two real estate investment companies that currently own and operate a variety of residential and commercial rental properties located in Florida and Colorado.
Travis is an active member of the community and serves on several community and company boards. He was the 2008 Chairman of the Melbourne Palm Bay Chamber of Commerce representing over 30,000 employees in the Brevard Community. He is past chair of the entrepreneurial support organization, Founders Forum. In addition, Travis serves as a board member of Florida Tech, the Brevard Heart Foundation, the Brevard Achievement Center, the Brevard Symphony Orchestra, the Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast, the Salvation Army, Junior Achievement, and MyRegion.org.
ndtArtemis has won numerous awards in its field for outstanding service and community support, and Travis has been selected as one of the top 4 leaders under 40 in Brevard County. He is active in his community and serves on several boards of charitable and educational organizations.
Mr. Mutchler has been working on the Hubble Space Telescope for over 22 years -- its entire mission. He was hired just two weeks before the launch of Hubble in 1990, and just a few months before completing his M.S. degree in space sciences at Florida Tech. Thanks to the proximity of FIT to the Kennedy Space Center, he was able to witness the launch of Hubble - and his own career - from the VIP site at Banana Creek.
He is a research and instrument scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute, on the campus of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He manages a group of 35 analysts and scientists, and he continues to make a range of contributions to the Hubble mission.
Mr. Mutchler is an expert on Hubble's cameras. He is a member of the Hubble Heritage team, which has produced many of the iconic images that Hubble is famous for. He also specializes in observations of Solar System objects, often in support of planetary missions such as New Horizons (en route to Pluto) and Dawn (currently exploring the Asteroid Belt). He is a member of a team that discovered several new moons of Pluto, including one last July. Asteroid "6815 Mutchler" was named in honor of his role in these discoveries. This work was featured as the cover story for the August 2006 edition of Florida Tech Today.
He is also involved in a range of educational outreach activities, which has recently included citizen science, tactile images with Braille captions, and the first-ever astronomical star party on the South Lawn of the White House.
Prof. Bagtzoglou earned his Diploma at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, in 1985, his Master's of Science at Florida Tech in 1987, and his PhD at the University of California at Irvine, in 1990, all in Civil Engineering with an emphasis in Water Resources. After his Ph.D., he worked for five years at the Southwest Research Institute funded by the US NRC. His academic career spans the University of Texas at San Antonio, Columbus University and, for the last nine-plus years, the University of Connecticut. At the UConn department of civil and environmental engineering, he has served as ENVE director, associate head of the department and department head. He has authored over 100 referred publications, directed numerous research projects, totaling over $6 million, and served as editor or associate editor for 10 journals. His extraordinary career accomplishments have been recognized through m ny prestigious appointments, honors and awards.
Mike Sole is vice president for state governmental affairs with Florida Power and Light. Prior to his joining FPL, Mike served as secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. During his tenure as secretary, he led Florida's initiative on climate change; helped lead the state's efforts in coordinating, preparing and protecting Florida from the largest man-made environmental disaster caused by the Deepwater Horizon Incident.
During his 19 years as an environmental manager, he has undertaken responsibilities ranging from marine turtle protection, beach preservation, wetland protection, petroleum cleanup and waste management.
Mr. Sole was a captain in the United States Marine Corps, serving our nation during the Gulf War. He received his Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology from Florida Institute of Technology.
Dr. Sungjin Park is the president and CEO of The Vine Corporation, offering software solutions that improve the audio clarity of cell phones and other electronic devices. Each year approximately 10 million copies of Vine's clarity software are embedded in products manufactured by most of the mobile phone companies. His company is actively involved in philanthropic activities too.
Prior to establishing Vine, he worked 10 years in the LG and Lotte electronics industry. He directed or co-directed major R&D projects in Israel, India, Russia, Switzerland, USA and elsewhere. He also taught at Florida Tech as a visiting assistant professor. He holds a Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from Florida Tech.
Award Alexis Loo received her bachelor's degree in mathematics in 1975. She retired from the U.S. Navy after 26 years of distinguished service as a Special Duty Cryptologist. She currently holds a position at a federal government agency and is co-owner and CEO of Blue Goose Charters since 1985.
Alexis has been a very strong supporter of Florida Tech throughout the years. She is a recruiter for her current employer and has significantly increased the number of Florida Tech graduates at her firm. She is the secretary of the alumni association's board of directors and is a long-standing member of the nominations/membership committee. She works closely with the university's career management services office and is regularly invited to speak to students in classes, information sessions and career fairs and to assist with résumé critiques and interview preparation. She also interfaces closely with the admissions volunteer coordinator for undergraduate admissions and represents Florida Tech at college fairs in her community and strongly endorses the alumni endorsement grants and visits grants.
College of Aeronautics
Outstanding Alumni Award Winners
Juan is a 1987 College of Aeronautics graduate of Florida Institute of Technology, where he received a bachelor's degree in Aviation Management. He is an active pilot in general aviation and holds a Commercial/Instrument rating, Multi-Engine, Flight Instructor, and Flight Dispatcher Certificates.
For the past 32 years, Juan has worked for Delta Air Lines in various capacities, including 24 years in the Operations and Customer Center (OCC) as a Flight Superintendent, Line Check Dispatcher, and Safety Representative for the Professional Airlines Flight Control Association (PAFCA).
Juan is a native of El Salvador, Central America, and now a proud resident of the great state of Georgia, where he lives with his wife Patricia and son Juan E. Moreno.
2019 Skurla Award
Jason Terreri was conﬁrmed as the new Executive Director of Syracuse Hancock International Airport in April 2019, with a unanimous vote by the SRAA Board. Jason is a seasoned industry veteran with more than 15 years of senior airport management experience. He previously served as the Senior Operations Project Director for Airports Worldwide, Inc., in Sanford, Florida. He was responsible for airport planning and development activities, including the strategic deployment of capital and guiding the eﬃcient execution of projects at various airports within the Airports Worldwide, Inc., portfolio. Additionally, Jason provided guidance and oversight for air service development.
Prior to his tenure with Airports Worldwide, Inc., Jason was the Assistant Director of Airports for the Horry County Department of Airports in South Carolina. In that role, Jason oversaw Myrtle Beach International Airport’s operations and airﬁeld maintenance, the communications center, planning and development, and three general aviation airports. Jason also spent nine years at Hartsﬁeld-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in various business development, properties, and operations roles.
Jason is a licensed commercial pilot and former ﬂight instructor. He graduated from the Florida Institute of Technology with a degree in aviation management and received a master’s degree in public administration with a concentration in aviation policy from the University of Nebraska.
In 2009, Jason earned his Accredited Airport Executive (A.A.E.) designation from the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE). In 2012, he was recognized by Airport Business Magazine as one of its Top 40 Under 40. Having earned his International Airport Professional (IAP) designation for Airports Council International (ACI) in 2014, Jason was elected to the board of directors for the IAP Community of Practice.
2018 Skurla Award
Miguel Estremera is a pilot with United Airlines based at the Newark-Liberty International Airport, currently flying various models of the Boeing 737. Miguel began his airline career in 2001 with Continental Airlines, which later merged with United Airlines. Prior to beginning his career with Continental, Miguel worked in various positions in the aviation industry, including being a cargo pilot flying the DC-3 and as a flight attendant with US Airways.
Miguel’s roots in the community run deep. Miguel has worked as a public school teacher and continues to volunteer in the community promoting aviation to aspiring enthusiasts. In addition, Miguel is involved in the Florida Tech College of Aeronautics Alumni Association, Latino Pilots Association and PALS (Patient Airlift Services) and is currently in the process of becoming an auxiliary police officer.
It was in coordination with PALS that Miguel was able to coordinate transportation of relief supplies while evacuating those in need from Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. Miguel’s proactive approach in identifying relief effort needs enabled San Juan Center air traffic controllers to remain on-station during the initial traffic coordination phase, which saved countless lives during this critical time. Miguel grew up in Dorado and Vega Baja,Puerto Rico, moving to western Massachusetts at the age of 5.
Miguel holds a Bachelor of Science in Aviation Management with Flight from Florida Tech. Miguel has been a vocal supporter of Florida Tech within the aviation and airline industry ever since he graduated and has helped hundreds of students and fellow alumni to get their feet in the door.
He currently resides with his wife and two daughters in Agawam, Massachusetts, where he enjoys spending time with his family and friends.
2017 Skurla Award
Huntley A. Lawrence, a 32-year veteran of The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey who became director of aviation in January 2017, is responsible for managing one of the world’s largest airport systems with revenues of $2.4 billion and a staff of over 1,500 aviation professionals. Prior to becoming director, Huntley served as deputy director of aviation, a role he had held since May 2014.
Beginning his Port Authority career in Airport Operations, Huntley held positions of increasing responsibility at LaGuardia, Newark Liberty International (EWR) and JFK International airports. In 1993, he accepted a position in the Properties and Commercial Development Division at EWR, where he negotiated leases and operating agreements with existing and prospective tenants and managed properties at Teterboro and Newark Liberty International airports. He subsequently joined EWR’s Airport Operations Division and was successively promoted into the positions of manager, Landside & Customer Services; assistant manager, Airport Services; and manager of the Airport Services Division. In the latter position, he was responsible for the Airside, Security and International Facility units and worked successfully in managing the transition from FAA civilian security staff to U.S. Transportation Security Administration officers following the tragic events of 9/11.
In 2006, Huntley became senior manager, Security and Technology for the Port Authority Aviation Department. In this assignment, he developed the Aviation Security Business Plan, managed the department’s $200 million Security Capital Plan, and coordinated security policy for the Port Authority’s five airports. In 2007, he returned to EWR as deputy general manager, New Jersey Airports, a position he held until he was appointed general manager, New Jersey Airports in October 2011.
Huntley holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Florida Institute of Technology and a Master of Business Administration from Dowling College. He is vice chairman of the American Association of Airport Executives’ Airport Legislative Alliance, chair of the International Facilitation Sub-committee, and a member of AAAE’s Policy Review Committee. He is a member of the board at both the Wings Club Foundation and NYC & Co., and a member of RTCA’s NextGen Advisory Committee. He is also a licensed pilot.
2016 Skurla Award
Fin Bonset holds a B.S. in aviation management/ flight and an M.S.A. in airport management and development, both from Florida Institute of Technology, and is currently working on his third consecutive FIT degree for a Ph.D. in aviation science. In addition, he has been involved with the College of Aeronautics as a full-time and part-time professor for over 13 years, was awarded the 2006 James Constantine Faculty Excellence Award and currently teaches classes in airport design as an adjunct professor. He is also a flying enthusiast, holding an FAAcertified commercial pilot license with an instrument rating in both single and multiengine aircraft, also obtained at Florida Tech.
Bonset has been an aviation planning and design consultant for 18 years and has worked at over 160 airports worldwide. Currently, he holds the position of sector manager of aviation planning for Atkins North America, a large multinational design firm where he is responsible for all national planning projects ranging from passenger terminal capacity studies to taxiway design projects at airports such as Philadelphia International Airport, Las Vegas McCarran International and Southwest Florida International Airport. Before joining Atkins, his career path fueled his desire to travel and literally spans the globe, having completed airport projects in countries including Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, Taiwan, Vietnam, Croatia and China. During that time, he created and operated his own planning consultancy firm and also worked for airport design software firm Simtra AeroTech/Transoft Solutions and international design firm Louis Berger Group.
His active involvement in aviation planning industry trade organizations, FIT alumni programs and his goals of implementing real-world airport design methodologies in his design classes has resulted in many of his FIT students being able to obtain that first foot in the door at the world’s best design firms. He is known for helping students fulfill their full potential by mentoring them on résumé writing, technical writing, interview skills and placement within airportrelated job pipelines.
Bonset was born in The Netherlands, raised in Australia and Aruba, and is now a 24-year loyal Melbourne resident. He enjoys the Florida lifestyle with his artist wife Jennifer and their two crazy Boxer dogs Mollie and Gage.
2015 Skurla Award
Greg Donovan, A.A.E. is the executive director of Melbourne International Airport (MLB) responsible for overseeing the authority's $28M budget and operation of a 2,750 acre airport. Donovan previously served as director of Pensacola International Airport (PNS) and was responsible for a $27M operation handling 1.5M passengers annually on six scheduled commercial airlines. From 2008-2013 Donovan served as the director of Okaloosa County's three airports consisting of Northwest Florida Regional Airport (VPS), Destin Airport (DTS), and Bob Sikes/Crestview Airport (CEW). Donovan has a total of 24 years of airport management experience. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation Management from Florida Institute of Technology in 1991, professional accreditation from the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) in 2004, and holds a private pilot's license. Donovan received the state's top recognition in 2011, being named Aviation Professional of the Year from the Florida Department of Transportation and has served on the board of directors and as president of the Florida Airports Council (FAC).
2014 Skurla Award
Mr. Johnson assumed his position as Executive Director of the Florida Airports Council in September of 2001. The Florida Airports Council is a state-wide professional association representing Florida's publicly-owned and -operated airports with a membership of more than three hundred airport, aviation, governmental, educational, and industry representatives.
Prior to joining the Council, Mr. Johnson was the Director of Economic Development for City of Tallahassee, Florida; where he had also served as Director of Aviation at Tallahassee Regional Airport.
Prior to assuming his position with the City of Tallahassee he served as the Aviation Manager for the Florida Department of Transportation, an Assistant City Manager and Director of Economic Development for the City of Fort Lauderdale and Airport Manager for Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport.
In addition to his position with the Council, Mr. Johnson administers the FAC Education Foundation, providing scholarships and internships to students in Florida, where he also serves as liaison with the Council's two student chapters.
Mr. Johnson began his aviation career in 1978 at the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority. He has a Master's Degree in Aviation Education and Bachelor's Degree in Aviation Administration from Middle Tennessee State University and an Associate Degree in Flight Technology from Florida Institute of Technology.
Mr. Johnson is an Accredited Airport Executive (AAE) and licensed pilot.
2013 Skurla Award
Nelson Cambata graduated from FIT in 1978 and began working for the family business. He is now the Chairman and CEO of Cambata Aviation. Cambata Aviation is an international company employing over 7,000 people worldwide. StarPort Aviation is one of the US companies that was started by Nelson. StarPort is a full service FBO and maintenance facility (www.starportusa.com) located in Sanford, FL.
His passion for aviation is evinced by possession of both fixed wing and rotary-wing ratings. Nelson is type certificated in the BE400, MU300, BE350, and more. Nelson’s hobbies include car racing, motorcycles, competition shooting, and scuba diving.
He married the former Heidi Hartline in 1984. They have two children, Michael and Christopher. Michael recently graduated from F.I.T and now owns his own business, Dimension Ten, LLC. Christopher currently attends Embry Riddle University. Heidi spends a great deal of her time helping the community through The Marine Discovery Center and the local soup kitchen.
Nelson supports multiple charities including the Miami Center to Cure Paralysis, Mother Teresa’s Mission, Experimental Aircraft Association, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Angel Flight, Coronado Methodist Church, and St. Jude Children’s Hospital to name a few.
Nelson is a board member for Business Executives for National Security, a member of the President’s Circle for the Experimental Aircraft Association, a member of The Green Jacket Club, and the Explorers Club.
2012 G.O.L.D. Award
Mr. Fernando graduated from the College of Aeronautics in 2002 with a Bachelor's degree in aviation management. He began his career at Wyle Labs as an aviation analyst conducting aircraft and weapons noise analyses for military and civilian clients and subsequently joined HNTB Corporation, where he utilized his expertise in aircraft noise to support airport/airspace NEPA projects.
He is currently a senior environmental specialist/associate at Booz Allen Hamilton in Washington D.C., supporting the FAA's NextGen Initiatives with a focus on performance based navigation, environmental modeling and NEPA Compliance.
Mr. Fernando also supports his local community as the co-director and a member of the board of directors of Hands on DC, an all-volunteer, non-profit organization that is dedicated to improving the learning environment in D.C. public schools.
He has also been instrumental in revitalizing the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area chapter by reaching out to younger alumni. He has strengthened communications with the alumni through the creation of the chapter's FaceBook page. Mr. Fernando has also organized several chapter events in 2012.
2012 Skurla Award
Dr. Byers is a 1978 graduate of the College of Aeronautics holding a B.S. in Air Commerce (transportation technology). He also holds a Master of Business Administration in Aviation from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. In 2004, Dr. Byers received his Ph.D. in Science Education (Aviation) from FIT's College of Science, the first aeronautics candidate to complete the program. Dr. Byers currently serves as an associate professor for the Aviation Institute at the University of Nebraska, teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in airport development, management and aviation policy.
In addition to his academic credentials, he has 35 years of experience in airport development, environmental analysis, and financial planning for commercial service and general aviation airports throughout the U.S. He is currently blending his academic and professional experience by leading a team of researchers and engineers in the development of a Synthetic Air Traffic Advisory System (SATAS), designed to enhance flight safety at busy airports where manned air traffic control towers are not practical.
A charter member and past president of FITSA, Aeronautics' alumni affinity group, Dr. Byers has worked over the years with many graduating students and alumni to network with industry professionals for career and project teaming opportunities. Dr. Byers holds a commercial pilot license and is a certificated aircraft Airframe & Powerplant Mechanic. He is also a certified member of the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) and the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP).
2011 Skurla Award
David Cruciger graduated from the College of Aeronautics in 1984 with a bachelor's degree in aviation. He currently works for US Customs and Border Protection in Homestead ARB, Florida as an Aviation Interdiction Agent.
Mr. Cruciger is a standardization instructor pilot in Citation C-550, King-Air BE200, and Dehavaland DHC-8 aircraft. He is responsible for training and evaluation of all Fixed-Wing Pilots at the Miami Air Branch. He provides training for Sensor Operators in C-550 aircraft using advanced Infra-red and radar systems and flies coastal patrols around South Florida, the Bahamas and Caribbean islands and South America.
Mr. Cruciger was instrumental in developing the program for operating the Bombardier, DASH-8 (200 and 300) in hostile environments. He was designated as Subject Matter Expert (SME) in the DASH-8. He worked closely with FlightSafety and CBP's training and standards division to ensure the safe and effective operation of this critical ground breaking law enforcement asset. His program set the standard for DASH-8 crew training and proficiency, and also for the law enforcement tactics used in Miami Air and Marine Branch operations.
In his spare time, Mr. Cruciger serves the public as an emergency medical technician (EMT/Paramedic), working as a first responder helping to save lives in South Florida.
2010 Skurla Award
Clara Bennett is the manager of Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport directing the day to day operations of one of the busiest general aviation airports in the country, which is home to over 700 aircraft and nearly 200 aviation-related businesses.
Ms. Bennett was named the 2004 General Aviation Airport Manager of the Year by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Southern Region Airports Division and received the National Air Transportation Association Airport Executive Partnership Award in 2006.
Ms. Bennett is a native of the Dominican Republic and a mother of two. She has a Bachelor of Science in Aviation Management from Florida Tech and a Master of Business Administration from Florida Atlantic University.
College of Business
Outstanding Alumni Award Winners
Kelle Wendling is president of the Space Systems sector within L3Harris’ Space and Airborne Systems segment. Space and Airborne Systems covers an extensive portfolio of solutions in intelligence, surveillance, small satellites, electronic warfare, avionics including carriage and release systems, wireless solutions, and C4I systems.
Prior, Wendling was president of the Mission Networks sector in the Aviation Systems segment of L3Harris Technologies. Mission Networks includes the following divisions: Managed Services and Surveillance and Automation Solutions. She assumed the position of president for Mission Networks in 2019. Reporting to the president of the Aviation Systems segment of L3Harris Technologies, she provided strategic leadership of the sector’s two operating divisions.
Previously, she served as vice president of strategy and business development for the Harris Electronics Systems segment, providing portfolio leadership and technology management for solutions including electronic warfare, avionics, wireless solutions, and C4ISR systems.
She is an Air Traffic Controllers Association member and collaborates with the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics.
Wendling has a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science and an MBA from the Florida Institute of Technology. She is a graduate of the Harris Leadership Directions Program at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business and completed the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management Product Design and Development program.
Monique Picou is the Senior Vice President of Flow & Fashion for Walmart, Inc. where she is responsible for driving the efficient product movement from supplier to shelf. Her primary focus is on improving customer availability while lowering supply chain costs through cross-functional collaboration and capability building. She is an enthusiastic and proactive proponent of diversity throughout Walmart and emphasizes the importance of women’s roles in Supply Chain.
Picou has over 25 years of experience in consumer packaging goods and supply chain. She spent the majority of her career with Procter & Gamble but also spent a year in Private Equity. While at P&G, she worked across multiple business units within the Product Supply organization; this included Food & Beverage, Fabric Care, Gillette, and Corporate Functions. She lived abroad in Europe for six years between Switzerland and England. She has delivered strongly in developed and developing countries in both local and global roles.
Monique sat on the Board of Directors for United Way, US Chamber of Commerce, GS1 UK, and the Cranfield University Advisory Board. She was a state-appointed Board Director for Workforce Development and for Families with Dependence, as well as a member of the State Economic Development Board. Picou is a former instructor of Economics & Math for the University of Phoenix.
James Wong is currently the executive director of Hon Kwok Land Investment Co. Ltd., which was founded by his great-grandfather in the 1920s to build China’s railway system. James also serves as executive director for the Chinney Group, which includes four publicly listed companies in Hong Kong focused on high-tech engineering, construction, trading, investments and real estate. The businesses’ work ranges from building an 80-story Hon Kwok Tower in Shenzhen to installing the air traffic management radar at the Hong Kong Airport. He also holds a position as a member of the executive committee of the Urban Land Institute in Hong Kong.
James currently serves on the Florida Tech board of trustees and is also an adjunct professor for Florida Tech’s online programs teaching business and healthcare law. James has held various positions as a lawyer on Toyota’s eDiscovery team and as a tax lawyer at Baker and McKenzie as well as PricewaterhouseCoopers. James has published and spoken widely on subjects including eDiscovery, social media policy in the workplace, China for newbies and, more recently, China and the Belt and Road Initiative. Wong previously served as a delegate to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference for Jiangsu Province from 2013 to 2018.
James completed his undergraduate work at the University of Washington in 1984. He went on to earn his Master of Science in Information Systems Engineering from Florida Tech in 2007 as well as a Juris Doctor from the University of California Hastings College of Law.
Christine received a B.S. in Business Administration from Florida Institute
of Technology in 1987 and went on to study for a master’s in taxation at the
University of Central Florida. She is a member of the American Institute of CPAs, Australian Institute of CPAs, Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand and the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
E. Davon Kelly ’90 is president and CEO of NOVAD Management Consulting. While earning his bachelor’s degree in finance, Mr. Kelly learned about teamwork and sportsmanship on the basketball courts at Florida Tech. As he ventured into the business world, he brought those same lessons with him and has since shared them in his book, From Courtside to the Boardroom: A Legacy in the Making. Mr. Kelly donates all the proceeds from his book sales to The 13th Man, an organization he founded to provide training, mentoring, leadership development and enrichment activities to move young men from feeling inadequate to feeling like part of the “starting lineup.”
Throughout his career, Mr. Kelly has continued to leverage his business acumen, opening My Barber’s Lounge, a chain of upscale barbershops in Maryland. The barbershops, which won the 2014 Ford Motor Co. Neighborhood Award, have become additional vehicles through which he mentors and supports the development of successful entrepreneurs.
Mr. Kelly earned his MBA from Bowie State University in 1995. He is a member of the board of directors for Boys Town of Washington, D.C., and the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship. In addition, he is a member of Bowie State University’s Entrepreneurship Academy Advisory Council.
Mr. Rick Rowe is President and CEO of Think Tek, Inc. – Think Tek Globally. Mr. Rowe started his career in the United States Air Force at Homestead AFB. He received his first U.S. patent before the age of 20. Over the next 30 years, Mr. Rowe went on to work as an engineer, manager, and executive at a number of corporations including: Watkins Johnson Company, Lockheed Missiles and Space, and International Game Technology. For over twelve years, Mr. Rowe has taught computer science at Mission College in Santa Clara, California. He started his own intellectual property consulting and development company in 2008; and co-founded a next generation city transportation corporation in Nice, France. Mr. Rowe is a named inventor on over 100 patents and is a registered patent agent. Today, Mr. Rowe provides consulting for business startups, and he also continues inventing, patenting and starting new businesses to bring innovations to market. He has degrees in Avionics Systems Technology and Computer Science and an MBA; and he has FINRA licenses: Series 7, 24 and 79. Mr. Rowe is a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and the Delta Mu Delta International Honor Society in Business. He is an alumnus of Florida Tech.
Alan is a Senior Vice President of Investments with Wells Fargo Advisors in Melbourne Florida. He has been a Financial Advisor since 1989, and is a graduate of Florida Tech with a BS and MBA in Business. His professional practice is centered on financial planning and portfolio management for individuals prior to and during retirement.
He serves on the board of directors in several community organizations including Health First, the Brevard Neighborhood Development Coalition, and the Evans Center. Previous community involvement includes 18 years on the Florida Institute of Technology Alumni Association BOD, Brevard Cultural Alliance (BCA) Board of Directors, The Masters Workshop Board of Directors and the Carriage Gate neighborhood association Board of Directors.
Alan is president of the Hosts of Brevard, and is active in ministries at his church. He enjoys action movies, jazz concerts, dancing, great restaurants and traveling the US and abroad with his wife, Katie.
Teresa Ho received her MBA from Florida Institute of Technology in 1998, and currently serves as the CFO of Artemis IT in Melbourne, Florida. Teresa was born and raised in Colon, Panama and moved to the United States to attend FIT after one year abroad at the University of Nottingham in England.
Teresa started her career with Artemis as the company’s office manager, later being promoted to director of business operations, and then to her current position as CFO. During her tenure at Artemis, she has managed the company’s HR and financial initiatives as the business grew from five employees to nearly 60 full-time staff. In addition to daily fiscal management, she was responsible for the financial integration of both an acquisition of a local telecom interconnect company in 1999 and then the strategic merger with NetDirective Technologies Inc. in 2012.
She states that her drive, passion, and work ethic come from lessons learned while working in the family business in Panama. However, it is her education at Florida Tech that she credits to arming her with the tools required to achieve her professional success.
Grateful for the success they have been afforded, Teresa and her husband, Travis, are strong community advocates, support many local non-profit organizations, and encourage entrepreneurial initiatives county wide. It is, however, the arrival of their 21 month old son that is the pride and joy of their lives.
Mr. Caruso is founder and principal of Omnifirst Capital Corporation, a successful private investment firm focused on opportunities in the technology, health care and entertainment industries. Mr. Caruso is presently the managing partner in nine companies and becomes involved in every aspect of a client's business including arranging appropriate debt and equity funds, debt restructures, and other consulting and advisory strategies that create solutions. He founded Omnifirst in 1984 following a decade of hands-on financing and growth in the banking industry.
Mr. Caruso has brought all of the various operations and strategic partnerships under the umbrella of The Omnifirst Group. After a career of relationship development and coalition building, The Omnifirst Group is uniquely positioned to consider and effectively lead in business development strategies.
Mr. Caruso is the co-founder/owner of the Trenton Thunder Double-A minor league baseball affiliate of the 26 time World Champion New York Yankees and the Lakewood BlueClaws, a Single-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. Both teams have been recognized multiple times for their marketing expertise.
His expertise has been sought by various industry groups such as the New Jersey Banking Association Mortgage Committee and the New Jersey Shore Builders Association, where he served as board member, consultant, and contributing writer for the association newsletter.
Mr. Caruso is a member of the board of trustees for his alma mater, Florida Institute of Technology, and also is a member of the board of trustees for the Pi Kappa Alpha Foundation raising funds to educate and empower principled leaders.
William Roy is a former attorney for Dow Chemical Corporation. Mr, Roy began at Dow first as their international attorney, then as corporate counsel at their world headquarters. During this time, he served on the presidential commission for review of all federal government procurement laws, rules and regulations. Prior to working for Dow, he was employed at the Martin Company at their Test Division, Cape Canaveral, FL, for missiles and rocket testing, as well as similar work for the Air Force. He was then heavily involved as contract manager/director in both NASA's Gemini Project for the launch of two astronauts into space and the Apollo Moon Project at Cape Kennedy. Mr. Roy received a master's degree from the Nathan M. Bisk College of Business at Florida Institute of Technology in 1970.
David Brock was born in Knoxville, Tenn. After serving six years as a Second Class Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, he graduated with honors from the University of Tennessee with a B.S. in Business Administration. He later received a master's in business administration with high honors from Florida Institute of Technology. He also holds a Certified Credit Union Executive designation through the Credit Union National Association and a Certified Chief Executive designation from the Credit Union Executive Society.
Mr. Brock served as the executive vice president of Space Coast Credit Union until 1992, when he became president and CEO of Community Credit Union. He serves on boards of a number of local nonprofit organizations and civic groups, as well as national credit union industry organizations. Mr. Brock, his wife and his youngest son currently reside in Indian Harbour Beach.
College of Psychology and Liberal Arts
Outstanding Alumni Award Winners
Paul Cecala is a certified Global Career Development Facilitator, work search author, and founder of Cecala Career Consultants. He has been coaching since 1999 and has assisted over 3,000 people in either launching careers or mid-career changes.
Paul has helmed the adult continuing professional educational programs for Fairleigh Dickenson University and the County College of Morris, where he was responsible for organizing and facilitating their departmental industry advisory boards. Additionally, he has worked in Workforce Development through his local Chamber of Commerce and One-Stop Career Center.
Paul has published a job search booklet, "Work Search Buddies: Finding A Job With A Little Help From A Friend," and multiple print articles on job search-related topics.
Prior to career coaching, he spent 12 years in corporate aviation working for FlightSafety International, K-C Aviation, Jet Aviation, and ending as Vice President of Aircraft Charter Sales for Atlantic Aviation.
Paul was a board member of the FIT Alumni Assocation from 1991 to 1998, holding positions as President (1996-1998), Vice President (1994-1996), and Alumni Admissions Recruiting Chair (1991-1994). While at Florida Tech, Paul was a student athletic trainer to the men's soccer and basketball teams, held part-time jobs at an ice cream shop and the university mailroom, was the Catholic Campus Ministries Newman Club leader, and was a student ambassador for the Admissions Department.
Paul has been a board member for his church for eight years and a community development corporation for two years. He also spent 25 years in the USAF Auxiliary Civil Air Patrol, advancing to Lt. Colonel and Vice Commander for New Jersey.
Paul lives in Lake Parsippany, NJ with his husband since 1996, fellow Florida Tech graduate Dan Nazzaro ('95 B.S.), and their teenage son.
College of Psychology and Liberal Arts - Sherry Acanfora-Ruohomaki
Sherry is the President and Owner of two companies: K9 Kampus, a luxury Dog Daycare & Boarding Facility in Melbourne, Florida, that expands traditional pet daycare, boarding, and grooming services to encompass agility and training in a spotless, safe, and secure environment; and Facets Consulting Group, which provides expertise in technology start-ups, lean manufacturing principles, business development, and organizational health.
Sherry earned B.S. degrees in both Computer and Electrical Engineering, as well as an M.S in Industrial Organizational Psychology from Florida Tech. She also received an Executive MBA from the University of Central Florida. Sherry was the Director of Operations for Florida TechStart on the campus of Florida Tech, a technology accelerator funded by a 2-year grant from the National Science Foundation in collaboration with UCF’s highly successful Technology Incubator. Sherry co-founded XL TechGroup, focused on technology innovation & company creation.
Sherry is the recipient of multiple business awards in the state of Florida, including the 2016 Small Business Administration’s Business Person of the Year Award, the 2014 Small Business Administration’s Women-Owned Business Person of the Year Award (South Florida District), and the 2016 Space Coast Business Bernie Simpkins Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
Sherry volunteers as a mentor/facilitator in the Ignite Program, hosted by WeVenture at Florida Tech. She serves on the Florida Tech Alumni Board of Directors and is Chairman of the Board of Directors for the No Limits Academy, a not-for-profit school for children with brain and spinal injuries.
Sherry is married to Davin Ruohomaki, Senior Director of planning, engineering, and construction at the Orlando International & Executive Airports. They have a beautiful 9-year-old daughter, Isabella. Prior to receiving her engineering degrees, Sherry was a crew member and mechanic for a Professional Pro Stock Drag Racing Team and enjoyed bracket racing in Englishtown, New Jersey with her own car (that she still owns today). Sherry is a Black Belt in Karate and was a fitness instructor for 17 years.
Deborah Day received her doctorate in clinical psychology from Florida Tech and is a licensed psychologist, licensed mental health counselor, certified family mediator and qualified parenting coordinator. Deborah is in private practice with Psychological Affiliates Inc. of Winter Park, Florida.
Deborah is the co-editor of the book Munchausen By Proxy Syndrome: Misunderstood Child Abuse and has been recently published in the Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice and the Journal of Child Custody. Deborah has extensive television and news experience. She has provided commentary for Court TV, American Health Network, CNN and all the major network news broadcasts.
Deborah was recently appointed to the Florida Supreme Court Parenting Coordination Disciplinary Committee. She is active in the Florida Bar’s Family Law Section, previously vice chair of the domestic violence committee, continuing legal education (CLE) Committee and co-chair of the litigation support committee. She currently serves as special advisor to the legislation committee and CLE committee.
Deborah currently serves as president of the board for the Central Florida Collaborative Law Group. Throughout her career, she has also served on the boards of the Florida Academy of Collaborative Professionals, the Florida Psychological Association Central Florida Chapter and the Florida Association of Family and Conciliation Court.
In 2010, Deborah received the Family Law Section’s Making a Difference award, recognizing her commitment to volunteerism during her career. In 2011, she was honored by the Family Law Section with the Visionary Award, recognizing her long-standing commitment to children and families in the state of Florida. In 2014, she was honored by the Florida Association of Family and Conciliation Court as Volunteer of the Year.
Hector Severeyn Garcia is the sports anchor for Telemundo Atlanta, a premier award-winning Spanish language television station in Duluth, Georgia. He anchors the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. sports segments Monday through Friday for Noticiero Telemundo Atlanta, the local newscast that recently won the coveted News Excellence, Best Newscast and Station Excellence awards at the 2017 Southeast Emmy Gala. Hector joined Telemundo Atlanta in March 2015 becoming the first sports anchor in the station’s history.
With over 10 years experience in broadcasting, Hector has covered many world-renowned sporting events across the globe and earned a grand total of six individual Emmy Awards for his work, including Sports Reporter of the Year in 2015 and Sports Anchor of the Year in 2016. His pieces have gone beyond the sidelines and scoreboard, exploring human aspects in the field like the connection between an NBA basketball star and his mother in the Emmy winning news series “Arelis Reynoso: A Mother up to the Task” as well as the dreams of a Paralympics athlete in “Dreaming on Wheels: Working on the Paralympic Dream,” a piece that garnered another Emmy Statuette in the single news category. He has also been praised for his interviewing skills, earning another Southeast Emmy for “Nuestros Bravos,” a series of five interviews with Latino players in the Atlanta Braves organization where their tough upbringing, Hispanic idiosyncrasies and path to the Major Leagues are explored.
He has covered events like the College Football Playoff, Copa America Final, Copa Oro Semifinal, NBA Playoffs, Davis Cup of tennis, World Cup Qualifiers in Brazil, Venezuela, Paraguay and Argentina, just to name a few. In 2017 Severeyn reached his longtime goal of covering a Super Bowl when he reported for Telemundo Atlanta during Super Bowl LI in Houston, Texas.
Before moving to Georgia, Hector served as sports anchor for Univision Orlando in Altamonte Springs, Florida. He won the 2014 Paoli Award for Hispanic Sports Anchor of the Year thanks to his work in Central Florida.
Hector received his Master of Science degree in Global Strategic Communication for Florida Institute of Technology.
Elizabeth Webbe Lunny is the vice president of Luxury and the publisher of T Magazine for The New York Times. She joined The Times in March 2016 to assume these roles. Her experience has lent itself to driving digital, activating integrated strategies across media platforms, managing teams, defining and marketing brands and growing revenue in both startup and mature organizations.
Previously, Lunny was the associate publisher of Women’s Health, where she generated the digital, social and print advertising revenue strategy. Before that she was vice president of integrated sales and marketing for Three Lions Entertainment, garnering experience in global marketing and activating tent-pole events on behalf of fortune 500 clients for live network television programming. Lunny held five senior positions at Condé Nast between 2001 and 2013. Perhaps her most prominent role during that time was as global advertising director at Vogue in which she managed an 18-person sales team while increasing revenue across all brand platforms. However, Lunny was also an associate publisher for Women’s Wear Daily and an executive marketing and sales director of the Condé Nast Media Group, creating integrated marketing programs that ranged between $5 million and $36 million. She was responsible for closing a $36 million deal, which at the time, was the largest deal in Condé Nast’s history.
Earlier in her career, Lunny worked at Harper’s Bazaar and Teen Vogue. Her deep knowledge within the fashion and luxury space combined with her digital, marketing and multimedia prowess are invaluable with her positions at The Times. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from Florida Institute of Technology, majoring in humanities. She currently resides in Connecticut, where she is married with two sons.
Manny Rodriguez is the Director of Continuing Education and Product Development for ABA Technologies, Inc., a leader in professional development, training and consulting in the field of behavior analysis.
Manny's experience spans various industries working with organizations such as Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Kraft Foods, Syncrude, Cigna, Heinz, Canadian National Railway, Duke Power, ADM, Blair, Bell Canada, Stewart Enterprises, and FMC Corporation. Manny has led large scale change efforts, providing one-on-one coaching with executives and senior managers, developing and delivering engaging professional development learning events, and led teams of professionals to achieve significant performance. His leadership in the science of human behavior has impacted the lives of thousands of leaders and employees nationally and internationally. Manny currently serves on the board of directors as the current president-elect for the Organizational Behavior Management Network, a 500-member special interest group within the Association for Behavior Analysis International.
Manny achieved his Master of Science degree in Applied Behavior Analysis with an emphasis in Organizational Behavior Management from the Florida Institute of Technology. During his time at Florida Tech, Manny was the co-creator of the Organizational Behavior Management track, now its own Master's degree within the School of Behavior Analysis, and he was the co-founder of the Society for Performance Management, now celebrating its twelfth year. Before joining Florida Tech, Manny earned a dual Bachelor's of Science in Psychology and Criminology from Florida State University where his professional career in behavior analysis began. He and his wife Kelly, daughter Sabrina, and son Aidan enjoy living in Florida, and look to make Melbourne their long-term home.
Jim Taylor earned his master's degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology (I/O) in 1989 from Florida Tech. He is currently Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Career Partners International - Florida & Caribbean. Jim directs the company's business development, executive search and executive coaching activities, and run a national 20+ person team for executive, professional and volume recruiting for multiple industries. He is a valued business partner with expertise in aligning people strategies with business goals. Jim has over 24 years' experience in talent management, executive recruiting, assessment, career transition and executive coaching. His experience also includes 10 years at Johnson & Johnson World-Wide Headquarters, in addition to a number of years in the Wealth Management practice of Merrill Lynch. Jim is on the Board of the Children's Home Society of Brevard. He served for two years as Board Chair and is currently Chairman of a Fund Raising Capital Steering Committee.
Gregory P. Lee, Ph.D. is President of the American Board of Professional Psychology and Professor of Neurology at the Medical College of Georgia where he is Director of the Adult Neuropsychology Service. Dr. Lee is board-certified in Clinical Neuropsychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology and is a fellow of the American Psychological Association and the National Academy of Neuropsychology. In addition to overseeing neuropsychological services for the Departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Dr. Lee also teaches courses in the behavioral neurosciences for medical, allied health, and neuroscience graduate students and serves as the Director of Clinical Training for the medical school’s postdoctoral neuropsychology fellowship program. Professor Lee is also an active researcher with over 200 publications dealing with human cerebral hemispheric specialization for memory functions, language, emotion, and other cognitive functions primarily using functional neuroimaging and epilepsy surgery models. Dr. Lee is a 1980 graduate of the Clinical Psychology PhD program at Florida Tech. He completed postdoctoral fellowships in neuropsychology at the University of Houston and Baylor College of Medicine (1983-84) and at the University of Wisconsin Medical School, Department of Neurology (1984 – 86).
Candace (Boyer) Bowering is head of global marketing communications at St. Jude Medical, located in Minneapolis, St. Paul. She manages a multimillion dollar budget and leads a team of professionals responsible for marketing communications, events and digital marketing for global markets in Europe, North America, Japan and Asia Pacific. St. Jude Medical has $5.6 billion in sales, 16,000 employees worldwide, and operations and manufacturing facilities worldwide, with products sold in more than 100 countries. It is a Fortune 500 company and ranked No. 1 on FORTUNE Magazine's 2011 list of "World's Most Admired Companies" in the Medical Equipment category.
Prior to St. Jude Medical, Ms. Bowering was with Philips Healthcare, which offers diagnostic imaging systems, healthcare information technology solutions, and patient monitoring and cardiac devices. As the marketing communications director for North America and later as the global integrated communications campaign director, she developed global campaigns to establish Philips Healthcare as the clinical thought leader in cardiovascular and radiology science.
Ms. Bowering enjoys international travel, reading, fine arts, swimming and photography and also serves as an adjunct faculty member for Florida Tech's College of Psychology and Liberal Arts.
Kathy Meehan graduated from Florida Institute of Technology in 1992 after earning her Associate of Arts from Brevard Community College. She currently serves as vice mayor for the City of Melbourne, is president of the board of directors for the Space Coast League of Cities for 2009-2010, and serves as a member of the Space Coast Transportation Planning Organization. Prior to election to the City Council, Vice Mayor Meehan had served the city as a member of the Planning and Zoning Board and has been actively involved with several local community organizations. She is employed as a sales representative with Meehan's Office Products and has also worked as a case manager with Community Care for the Elderly.
Vice Mayor Meehan has been married since 1984 to Dennis. They have a son who attends the University of Central Florida and a daughter who attends BCC.
Svafa Grönfeldt earned her master's degree in technical and professional communication from Florida Tech in 1990. She then attended the London School of Economics where she earned her Ph.D.
Her accomplishments since earning her degrees have been stellar. She was one of the founders and managing directors of Gallup and Deloitte Consulting in Iceland and then Deputy CEO of Activis Group, one of the world's largest generic pharmaceutical companies. Most recently she was president of Reykjavik University.
Since her resignation from the university earlier this year, she has co-founded another generic pharmaceutical company, clearly demonstrating her exceptional entrepreneurial spirit.