Florida Polytechnic University

Florida Poly is the nation’s leading institution of change, engineered from the ground up to push the boundaries of education in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Florida Poly has about 1,500 undergraduate and graduate students and offers more than 31 programs of study. The University is the only state university in Florida dedicated exclusively to STEM education.




Randy K. Avent

Dr. Randy K. Avent is the founding president of Florida Polytechnic University, the newest of the state’s 12 public universities and the only polytechnic university in the State University System of Florida.

As Florida Polytechnic University’s inaugural president, Avent is responsible for the development and operation of the university and is committed to strategically developing Florida Poly as a research and jobs university, an agent for growth and a beacon for the economy.

His career exemplifies the qualities of innovation, leadership and entrepreneurship the university seeks to instill in students. An accomplished academician, senior administrator and research scientist, Avent has an extensive background teaching and directing research at higher-education institutions dedicated to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

At Florida Polytechnic, Avent focused on the core STEM disciplines of engineering, mathematical and physical sciences, which are considered key to economic growth and prosperity for Florida and the nation as a whole. He created a strategic plan that addressed the four largest pressures on higher education in Florida – degree alignment, student success, economic development and affordability – and helped open the university in under two years by creatively building the campus using combinations of state funding, private investments and Public-Private Partnerships (P3s). He formed over 200 partnerships with industry and is working with a local developer to create a 4,500 acre “live-work-play” research park that brings together industry, government and academia. Under Avent’s leadership, the university received both SACSCOC and ABET accreditation in under five years and have built relationships with Fulbright, Killam and other international partners in India and Brazil.

Randy K. Avent
President

Hillsborough Transit Authority (HART)

Created on October 3, 1979, the Hillsborough Transit Authority (HART) is the regional mobility provider in Hillsborough County, serving a population of more than 1.4 million residents in the cities of Tampa, Temple Terrace, and parts of unincorporated Hillsborough County, the fourth most populated county in Florida. Its total service area covers 1,000 square miles. HART operates fixed-route local and express bus service, door-to-door paratransit service, flex-route service, and manages the TECO Line Streetcar System.

HART’s mission is to Take People to Places that Enhance Their Lives.




Scott Drainville

Before coming to HART, Drainville served as the director of transportation and maintenance for CitiBus in Lubbock, Texas. He has also held transit leadership positions at the D.C. Circulator in Washington, D.C., and served as a mechanical foreman with the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority for more than 18 years.

Drainville attended Bryant University’s Executive Development Center for Business Management. He holds certifications from the National Transit Institute in Senior Maintenance Leadership, Procurement and Contract Administration, as well as multiple certifications in heavy-duty maintenance and repair. He started his career as a diesel technician in the late 1980s and has more than 30 years of public transportation and fleet maintenance experience.

Scott Drainville
Chief Executive Officer, Hillsborough Transit Authority (HART)

USF Health

The University of South Florida has transformed a community medical school, established by the Florida Legislature in 1965, into a major academic medical center known statewide and nationally for its innovative curriculum with an emphasis on improving health through interprofessional education, research and patient care. 

USF’s medical school, which enrolled its charter class in 1971, was named the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine in 2011, signifying its leading role in changing how medical schools teach physicians of the future. Fully accredited by the Liaison Committee for Medical Education, the college awards doctorates in Medicine (MD), and through its School of Biomedical Sciences, PhD and MS degrees in Medical Sciences. The college’s SELECT MD program, in partnership with Lehigh Valley Health Network, focuses on emotional intelligence and leadership development. The School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences, established in 1998, offers Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) and transitional DPT degrees. Additionally, the college’s Athletic Training Education Program offers two tracks for MS degrees. Specially designed programs are available, including combined MD/MPH program and an Honors Research program. To meet the growing demand for a workforce skilled in science and technology, the college proves a wide range of master’s degrees and graduate certificates in emerging fields, such as biotechnology, bioinformatics, and metabolic and nutritional medicine. 




Charles J. Lockwood, MD, MHCM

As executive vice president of USF Health, Dr. Lockwood leads the Morsani College of Medicine (MCOM), the Taneja College of Pharmacy, and the Colleges of Nursing and Public Health, as well as the School of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Sciences and Graduate Biomedical Sciences. He also oversees the USF Health faculty group practice, which with more than 1,000 providers is one of the largest multispecialty practices in Florida. Dr. Lockwood also serves as the MCOM dean and as a professor in its Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He holds a secondary appointment as a professor in the USF Health College of Public Health. Lockwood assumed all these leadership roles when he joined USF Health in May 2014 and has served as an EVP at Tampa General Hospital (TGH) since 2015.

Charles J. Lockwood, MD, MHCM
Executive Vice President of USF Health, Dean of USF Health Morsani College of Medicine

Ultimate Medical Academy

 

 

Ultimate Medical Academy is a nonprofit healthcare educational institution with a national presence. Headquartered in Tampa, Florida and founded in 1994, the school has more than 40,000 alumni and offers content-rich, interactive online courses to more than 15,000 students as well as hands-on training to hundreds of students. UMA students have access to academic advising, one-on-one or group tutoring, resume and interview coaching, job search assistance, technical support and more. UMA is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).




Linda Mignone

Linda Mignone joined Ultimate Medical Academy in August 2018 and is responsible for overseeing UMA’s marketing, communications and admissions efforts. In this role, she helps to elevate the institution’s brand, engage new learners, spur adoption of new programs and technologies, and champion student outcomes.

Linda brings 25 years of experience to her role at UMA in strategic, brand, digital, and direct marketing in multiple industries—from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. These include higher education providers like Kaplan, Inc. and transportation and logistics companies like DHL.

Mignone has been a contributor to Fortune and CNN in the areas of leadership and management, and she serves as an advisor to Merci360 and other start-up and incubator organizations. She earned her BBA in Marketing and MBA from Dowling College in Oakdale, New York.

Linda Mignone
Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer

University of Tampa

 

 

The University of Tampa is a world-class institution of higher education, offering dynamic opportunities for all learners. Celebrated scholars from around the globe and 7,500 students from all 50 states and 136 countries join in the daily rigors and rewards of an innovative curriculum focused on students’ success. A medium-sized, private university in the heart of downtown, UT offers 150 areas of undergraduate study, 12 graduate programs and ample opportunities for continuing education. The University’s 105-acre residential campus in downtown Tampa provides a historical and cultural setting for learning both on and off campus. With its emphasis on academic excellence, personal attention and real-world experience, UT is ranked as one of the best environments in the country to live and learn.




Ronald L. Vaughn, Ph.D.

Ronald L. Vaughn has served as President of The University of Tampa since January 1995. During his tenure, University of Tampa’s enrollments has nearly tripled, new enrollment records have been set in each of the last 17 years, and academic programs have been expanded to more than 150 areas of study, including 12 graduate programs with nine concentrations in the fields of business, nursing, education, writing and exercise science. Vaughn came to The University of Tampa in 1984 as the coordinator of the marketing department and holder of the Max H. Hollingsworth Endowed Chair of American Enterprise. He also served as director of the MBA program, dean of the College of Business and Graduate Studies and co-chief academic officer. Vaughn has a bachelor’s degree in marketing and a master’s of business administration from Indiana State University, as well as a doctorate in marketing from the University of Georgia.

Ronald L. Vaughn, Ph.D.
President

University of South Florida

 

 

The University of South Florida is a high-impact, global research university dedicated to student success. USF is a Top 50 research university, among both public and private institutions nationwide in total research expenditures, according to the National Science Foundation. Serving nearly 48,000 students, the USF System has an annual budget of $1.5 billion and an annual economic impact of $4.4 billion. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference.




Rhea Law

Rhea Law is a proud fifth-generation Floridian who is passionate about the success of the state. Actively involved in corporate, public policy, civic and charitable work, Law holds top leadership positions with many Florida-based organizations. She received gubernatorial appointments to serve on the inaugural Board of Trustees for the University of South Florida, as well as the Board of the Florida Council of 100, the public policy liaison with Florida’s governor, cabinet, legislative leadership and Supreme Court. Rhea served as Chair of the Board for both organizations. Further, she served on the Presidential Search Committee for the University of South Florida in 1999 and 2019. In addition, she was a two-time Chair of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation and the Tampa Bay Partnership during times of reorganization and expansion. She also served as Chair of the University of South Florida Health Professions Conferencing Corporation which operates the Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation and Chair of the Stetson University College of Law Board of Overseers, as well as serving on the Board of Trustees of Stetson University.

Currently, Law serves on the Board of Directors of Tampa Electric Company, which supplies electricity to the Tampa area, and Peoples Gas, which provides gas throughout Florida. She also serves on the Executive Committee of the Tampa Bay Economic Development Council, the Tampa Bay Chamber, and on the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center Board of Directors and National Board of Advisors. As a member of the USF President’s Council Society, she is among honored donors who have made a lifetime commitment of $100,000 or more or a legacy gift to USF.

Law is the former CEO and Chair of the Board of Fowler White Boggs, a Florida law firm. She led the merger of Fowler with a national firm, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney in 2014 where she continued to serve as Chair, Florida Offices until 2021. The consolidation of the firms created a powerhouse firm with law offices throughout the country and hundreds of lawyers who specialize in a broad spectrum of business areas such as Energy, Finance, Healthcare and Life Sciences.

Her areas of practice included higher education, economic development, government, environment and land use. Over the course of her 35-year-plus career, Law has worked with clients on land use and strategic planning to meet the needs of a growing Florida.

Recent recognitions include:

  • Florida Trend magazine: Named to Florida 500 – Florida’s Most Influential Business Leaders – since 2018; Living Legend in 2021.
  • Tampa Bay Business Journal: Named #6 in the Power 100 – Tampa Bay’s Most Powerful Business Leaders with greatest impact and influence on the local business community.
  • Tampa Bay Times: Named one of the Top 25 Most Influential Business Players in Tampa Bay.
  • The Best Lawyers in America® and Florida Super Lawyers since 2006; “Lawyer of the Year,” Best Lawyers list and in the Top 50 Female Lawyers.

 

 

Rhea Law
President

Saint Leo University

Founded in 1889 as Florida’s first Catholic institution, Saint Leo University has a rich history of providing students with a transformative, values-centered education. With over 40 majors and minors to choose from, our core mission is to inspire students to become their best selves and lead the way for those that follow. St. Leo University offers more than 60 major and minor programs to more than 18,000 students. St. Leo has been ranked one of the Top Universities in the South for multiple years by U.S. News and World Report, as well as a Best College for Veterans. Its Tampa Education Center serves as a support center for online students throughout the world.




Dr. Edward W. Dadez

Dr. Edward W. Dadez joined Saint Leo University in 2000. He was Vice President of Student Affairs; and Continuing Education and Campus Operations for 18 years. He also taught as a Visiting Faculty member in Graduate Education and Undergraduate Business before being named the 11th president of Saint Leo University in July 2022.

He holds undergraduate degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University in psychology and biology, a master’s in student personnel administration from Ohio State University, an M.B.A. from Saint Leo University, and a doctorate in College and University Administration from Michigan State University. Dr. Dadez has been in college administration for more than 40 years, and has worked at Ohio State University, University of Dayton, Michigan State University, Bucknell University and Chowan University.

Dr. Edward W. Dadez
President

Hillsborough Community College

 

 

Hillsborough Community College is a comprehensive community college located in Tampa. Founded in 1968, HCC serves over 46,000 students annually at five campuses, three centers and through online offerings. The college offers more than 160 academic programs including the associate in arts and associate in science degrees, college credit certificates and postsecondary adult vocational certificates. Hillsborough Community College employs more than 2,500 and has an annual budget of $212 million. Approximately 85 percent of all HCC graduates remain in the area, and through their contributions in increased business productivity combined with college operations contribute to an annual economic impact of over $1.1 billion in Hillsborough County. HCC is the fifth largest community college in Florida and is the nation’s fifth leading producer of associate degrees among two-year community colleges. HCC is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.




Dr. Ken Atwater

Dr. Ken Atwater became the seventh president of Hillsborough Community College (HCC) on July 1, 2010. He is the past chairman of the board of directors of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), serves on the Museum of Science & Industry’s National Board, and became the chairman on October 1, 2016 of the Tampa-Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation.

Dr. Atwater earned his Ph.D. from Southern Illinois University, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky.

Dr. Ken Atwater
President