HIGH SKILL, HIGH WAGE

The High-Skill initiative focuses on recruiting and retaining companies which support high-skill, high-wage employees and manufacture complex research-oriented products. The initiative is funded and supported by 23 investor companies, separate from the LEDC budget.

Pursuing high-skill, high-wage jobs that will improve Lakeland’s quality of life involves: developing higher education and economic development partnerships, facilitating the development of high-skill infrastructure (including a research university, Florida Polytechnic), downtown development, redevelopment, addressing healthcare needs, marketing, incentives, and city visits. 

HIGH-SKILL, HIGH-WAGE INVESTORS

 

Dr. Randy Avent

President at Florida Polytechnic University

Dr. Randy K. Avent is the founding president of Florida Polytechnic University. Dr. Avent brings a wealth of experience as an administrator, scientist, scholar, professor and resea...

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Dr. Randy Avent

Dr. Randy Avent

President at Florida Polytechnic University

Dr. Randy K. Avent is the founding president of Florida Polytechnic University. Dr. Avent brings a wealth of experience as an administrator, scientist, scholar, professor and researcher whose background includes serving in leadership roles at some of the nation’s top research universities and at the U.S. Department of Defense. Prior to coming to Florida Poly, he was the Associate Vice Chancellor of Research and a Professor of Computer Science at North Carolina State University. Dr. 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.

Chris Bailey

Dir. of State Gov. Affairs at Charter Communications

Chris is experienced in government administration, nonprofits, politics, policy analysis, and strategic planning. He joined Charter in 2018 and is the Director of State Government ...

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Chris Bailey

Chris Bailey

Dir. of State Gov. Affairs at Charter Communications

Chris is experienced in government administration, nonprofits, politics, policy analysis, and strategic planning. He joined Charter in 2018 and is the Director of State Government Affairs for Florida.

Bill Beasley

County Manager at Polk County Government

County Manager Bill Beasley began his career with Polk County in 2006 as the Deputy County Manager over the county’s Infrastructure Group. As County Manager, Beasley is responsib...

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Bill Beasley

Bill Beasley

County Manager at Polk County Government

County Manager Bill Beasley began his career with Polk County in 2006 as the Deputy County Manager over the county’s Infrastructure Group. As County Manager, Beasley is responsible for the proper administration of all affairs of the county and executes the Board of County Commissioners policy directions, manages budget and staffing resources, engages in community relations, fosters economic development, confers in land use planning and ensures regulatory compliance.

Prior to Beasley’s tenure with Polk County, he served in various engineering and administrative capacities with the Virginia Department of Highways and Transportation, the U.S. Department of Navy, and local government in the Charlotte Metropolitan Region in North Carolina. He earned a bachelor of arts degree from Lycoming College in Williamsport, Penn., a bachelor of science in civil engineering from Pennsylvania State University, and a master’s degree in engineering administration from the George Washington University. He and his wife, Cynthia, have three children and three grandchildren.

(330 W. Church St.)
Drawer BC01, P.O. Box 9005
Bartow, FL 33831-9005

Wesley Beck

President at Aspyre Properties and Beckryger

Wesley Beck is President of Aspyre Properties and BecKryger Capital Partners LLLP,  private equity firms focused on investments in a variety of industries and industrial developme...

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Wesley Beck

Wesley Beck

President at Aspyre Properties and Beckryger

Wesley Beck is President of Aspyre Properties and BecKryger Capital Partners LLLP,  private equity firms focused on investments in a variety of industries and industrial development. He also serves as CEO of Advanced Concept Innovations, a medical device company and was formerly a founding partner in Florida Flavors, a specialty manufacturer of flavors and fragrances. Wesley is currently serving as chair of the LEDC High Skill Committee.

 

Steven Boyington

Principal at The Lunz Group

Steven has thirty plus years of experience as a licensed professional architect, battle tested in the arena of tackling tough problems. Steven’s forte is taking on clients with t...

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Steven Boyington

Steven Boyington

Principal at The Lunz Group

Steven has thirty plus years of experience as a licensed professional architect, battle tested in the arena of tackling tough problems. Steven’s forte is taking on clients with tight budgets and conceptual barriers and providing them with the vision, clarity, and confidence to maximize their return on investment.  Steven is a registered architect in the state of Florida and California, and a member of the Tampa Bay American Institute of Architects. He is the principal of The Lunz Group.

Mark Cabrera

CEO at Saddle Creek Logistics Services

Mark Cabrera is CEO of Saddle Creek Logistics Services, an omnichannel supply chain solutions company headquartered in Lakeland. Cabrera, who joined Saddle Creek in 2001, was name...

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Mark Cabrera

Mark Cabrera

CEO at Saddle Creek Logistics Services

Mark Cabrera is CEO of Saddle Creek Logistics Services, an omnichannel supply chain solutions company headquartered in Lakeland. Cabrera, who joined Saddle Creek in 2001, was named CEO in July 2019. Previously, he served as chief operating officer (COO) and chief financial officer (CFO) for the company. Prior to joining Saddle Creek, Cabrera spent 15 years in financial roles in a variety of industries for companies including Arthur Andersen LLP, GTE, National Insurance Services and Reeves Steel, Inc.

Cabrera holds a degree from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla., and is a graduate of Leadership Lakeland Class XX. He is a member of the International Warehouse Logistics Association Insurance Company (IWLAIC) executive committee and serves on Lakeland Economic Development Council’s High Skill Investors Group.

 

Jeff Chamberlain

VP of Real Estate at Publix Super Markets, Inc.

Jeff serves as Vice President of Real Estate where he is responsible for the entire real estate department, as well as the strategy required to successfully grow Publix Super Marke...

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Jeff Chamberlain

Jeff Chamberlain

VP of Real Estate at Publix Super Markets, Inc.

Jeff serves as Vice President of Real Estate where he is responsible for the entire real estate department, as well as the strategy required to successfully grow Publix Super Markets through new stores, new markets and acquisition. Jeff served as the 2011-2012 LEDC Chairman and is the 2015-2016 LEDC High Skill Chairma

Jay Chastain

President at Chastain-Skillman

Jay Chastain was recently named the President of Chastain-Skillman, Inc. Jay is the third generation to assume the role of President as he carries on the tradition of his grandfath...

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Jay Chastain

Jay Chastain

President at Chastain-Skillman

Jay Chastain was recently named the President of Chastain-Skillman, Inc. Jay is the third generation to assume the role of President as he carries on the tradition of his grandfather Roy Chastain, who founded the firm 65 years ago. Like his father, Jim, Jay was a fixture around the office during his teen years and learned much about the firm’s operations and computer systems from an early age. Under Jay’s leadership the firm went through a complete rebranding and implementation of a state-of-the-art IT system. Jay received his Bachelors in Business Administration from the University of Florida and is a proud Gator. In addition to his involvement with the firm, Jay is an active in the Leadership Lakeland Alumni Association, United Way, Leadership Winter Haven.

Tony Delgado

City Manager at City of Lakeland

City Manager Tony Delgado began work with the City of Lakeland in January 1997 as Assistant Director for The Lakeland Center. He became Assistant City Manager in November 2000 and ...

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Tony Delgado

Tony Delgado

City Manager at City of Lakeland

City Manager Tony Delgado began work with the City of Lakeland in January 1997 as Assistant Director for The Lakeland Center. He became Assistant City Manager in November 2000 and was appointed City Manager in January 2016. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Parks & Community/Commercial Recreation from Southern Illinois University. Tony has been active in the community including serving on the boards of: Central Florida Speech and Hearing, the United Way, VISTE, and Interact Alliance. He is a graduate of Leadership Lakeland XVIII and Leadership Polk Class II.

Dr. Angela Garcia Falconetti

President at Polk State College

Dr. Falconetti, a native Floridian, has extensive experience in all aspects of higher education administration. She holds a bachelor’s degree from New York University and master...

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Dr. Angela Garcia Falconetti

Dr. Angela Garcia Falconetti

President at Polk State College

Dr. Falconetti, a native Floridian, has extensive experience in all aspects of higher education administration. She holds a bachelor’s degree from New York University and master’s and doctorate degrees in Educational Leadership from the University of North Florida with specializations in Instructional Leadership and Postsecondary Education and Adult Learning.

 

David Hallock

Managing Director at GrayRobinson

David commenced the practice of law with the general practice department of a large firm in Miami, Florida. After practicing seven years in Miami, David moved to Lakeland, Florida,...

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David Hallock

David Hallock

Managing Director at GrayRobinson

David commenced the practice of law with the general practice department of a large firm in Miami, Florida. After practicing seven years in Miami, David moved to Lakeland, Florida, in 1997 to focus his practice in corporate business transactions. Presently, David is involved in corporate and business practice, including general corporate and business representation, mergers and acquisitions, real estate, tax, health care law, banking and wealth protection planning.

William Harrell

Dir. of Corp. Compliance & Government Affairs at Harrell's

Will is a native of Lakeland and a part of the fourth generation of Harrells in three-quarters of a century to serve in the company, which was established in 1941. After receiving...

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William Harrell

William Harrell

Dir. of Corp. Compliance & Government Affairs at Harrell's

Will is a native of Lakeland and a part of the fourth generation of Harrells in three-quarters of a century to serve in the company, which was established in 1941. After receiving dual bachelor degrees in Food & Resource Economics and Political Science from the University of Florida, Will went on to earn both his J.D. and M.B.A. from Samford University. Beginning his career as a corporate transaction attorney with Peterson & Myers, P.A., Will left private practice to join Harrell's full time in 2015

Dr. Kent Ingle

President at Southeastern University

A champion of innovative educational design, Dr. Kent Ingle serves as the president of Southeastern University, one of the fastest growing private universities in the nation. Under...

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Dr. Kent Ingle

Dr. Kent Ingle

President at Southeastern University

A champion of innovative educational design, Dr. Kent Ingle serves as the president of Southeastern University, one of the fastest growing private universities in the nation. Under his leadership, the university has seen significant growth. Dr. Ingle has propelled the university’s enrollment from 2,546 students in 2011 to nearly 9,000 students currently, with more than 100 extension sites and 13 regional campuses nationwide. Additionally, multiple building projects have been completed during his tenure, including a 120,000-square-foot Live/Learn building, which houses students, classroom space and a food court. Dr. Ingle is also a founding member of the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration. Before becoming SEU’s president in 2011, Dr. Ingle held leadership positions in higher education and the nonprofit sector in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Seattle.

 

Joel Ivy

General Manager at Lakeland Electric

Joel, the General Manager of Lakeland Electric, has a 30-year career path that includes climbing utility poles to managing multi-hundred million dollar operations with start-ups, i...

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Joel Ivy

Joel Ivy

General Manager at Lakeland Electric

Joel, the General Manager of Lakeland Electric, has a 30-year career path that includes climbing utility poles to managing multi-hundred million dollar operations with start-ups, investor owned and publicly owned utilities. Past experience includes his tenure as Chief Operating Officer at Visible Light Solar Technologies and Vice President of New Mexico Operations for Public Service Company of New Mexico, an investor owned utility with almost 500,000 customers. He most recently oversaw the Energy Department for Imperial Irrigation District, a vertically integrated public electric utility located in El Centro, California. Ivy graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering.

Dr. Anne Kerr

President at Florida Southern College

Dr. Anne Kerr became the seventeenth president of Florida Southern College in June 2004. Prior to her presidency, Dr. Kerr held several distinguished positions in higher education ...

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Dr. Anne Kerr

Dr. Anne Kerr

President at Florida Southern College

Dr. Anne Kerr became the seventeenth president of Florida Southern College in June 2004. Prior to her presidency, Dr. Kerr held several distinguished positions in higher education administration, including vice president at the University of Richmond, vice president at Rollins College, and dean of the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins. Dr. Kerr holds a Ph.D. and M.S. from The Florida State University and a B.A. from Mercer University. She is active in numerous arts and civic organizations and serves on the boards of SunTrust Bank, Mid-Florida; EarthLinked Technologies, Inc.; the Polk Museum of Art; and the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

George Lindsey

Commissioner at Polk County Government

Since his 2012 election to the commission, Lindsey has worked to attract new employers and remove barriers to the expansion of existing businesses in Polk County. He also is workin...

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George Lindsey

George Lindsey

Commissioner at Polk County Government

Since his 2012 election to the commission, Lindsey has worked to attract new employers and remove barriers to the expansion of existing businesses in Polk County. He also is working to increase partnerships between the county and municipalities on matters such as planning, water supply and parks. He was elected chairman in 2014. Lindsey is also president and broker of Lindsey Realty & Development Corporation. He is an Honor Flight 15 guardian, University of Florida sports fan, and a Harley Davidson enthusiast.

(330 W. Church St.)
Drawer BC01, P.O. Box 9005
Bartow, FL 33831-9005

Steve Moseley

Executive VP & President of MIDFLORIDA Credit Union

Steve is Executive Vice President & President of MIDFLORIDA Financial Services. He oversees all branch retail operations, finance related functions, IT, mortgage operations, an...

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Steve Moseley

Steve Moseley

Executive VP & President of MIDFLORIDA Credit Union

Steve is Executive Vice President & President of MIDFLORIDA Financial Services. He oversees all branch retail operations, finance related functions, IT, mortgage operations, and realty services.  Steve obtained his undergraduate degree from Stetson University and his MBA from Florida Southern College.

Bill Mutz

Mayor at City of Lakeland

Bill Mutz, a native of Indianapolis and an Indiana University graduate, moved to Lakeland in 1996 where he became President of the Lakeland Automall. In 2012, Bill left the Lakelan...

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Bill Mutz

Bill Mutz

Mayor at City of Lakeland

Bill Mutz, a native of Indianapolis and an Indiana University graduate, moved to Lakeland in 1996 where he became President of the Lakeland Automall. In 2012, Bill left the Lakeland Automall and took on the role of Managing Partner for both Greenstar Panels & Greenovative Homes. Then, in 2014, Bill became a Senior Consultant for Claridge Associates, where he remains today. Mayor Mutz and his wife, Pam, have been married for over 40 years and are parents of 12 children and have 19 grandchildren.

 

Cory Petcoff

President at Baron Realty

Cory Petcoff, President of Baron Realty, is a seasoned commercial real estate professional with extensive background in investment analysis, property management and leasing. Petcof...

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Cory Petcoff

Cory Petcoff

President at Baron Realty

Cory Petcoff, President of Baron Realty, is a seasoned commercial real estate professional with extensive background in investment analysis, property management and leasing. Petcoff is the recipient of the prestigious Top General Brokerage Producer Award in a seven county region offered by the Florida Gulf Coast Commercial Association of Realtors. He serves as the commercial real estate consultant and manager to multiple insurance companies who have diversified their investment portfolios through high quality investment grade commercial real estate. His background also includes forming and subsequently managing investor owned limited liability companies which seek to develop a high quality real estate portfolio. Petcoff is a licensed Property and Casualty Insurance Agent as well as a Licensed Real Estate Broker.

 

Brian Philpot

CEO/Principal at AgAmerica

Brian Philpot is the CEO and Principal Owner of AgAmerica Lending. His background includes extensive experience in real estate investing, agriculture lending, real estate law, mark...

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Brian Philpot

Brian Philpot

CEO/Principal at AgAmerica

Brian Philpot is the CEO and Principal Owner of AgAmerica Lending. His background includes extensive experience in real estate investing, agriculture lending, real estate law, market analysis, and negotiation. Brian received his B.S. in Finance, cum laude with honors in investments from Florida State University. He earned a Juris Doctorate, cum laude, University of Florida College of Law.

Melody Rider

President at Keiser University

Melody Rider has been in education administration for over 20 years and a college president for 15 of those years. She completed her undergraduate degree at California Lutheran Uni...

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Melody Rider

Melody Rider

President at Keiser University

Melody Rider has been in education administration for over 20 years and a college president for 15 of those years. She completed her undergraduate degree at California Lutheran University in Liberal Arts with a teaching credential. She continued her education accomplishing two masters’ degrees in Business and Compliance and Ethics. Ms. Rider is in the final stages of completing her doctoral degree in Education Leadership from Capella University. She is the mother of a very active thirteen year old daughter and loves giving back to her community.

 

Steve Scruggs

President at Lakeland Economic Development Council

Steve Scruggs is President of the Lakeland Economic Development Council (LEDC), a private, non-profit organization with approximately 140 member companies. He has been with the LED...

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Steve Scruggs

Steve Scruggs

President at Lakeland Economic Development Council

Steve Scruggs is President of the Lakeland Economic Development Council (LEDC), a private, non-profit organization with approximately 140 member companies. He has been with the LEDC over 30 years. Steve received a Bachelor’s of Science Degree from Troy State University in Troy, Alabama and his Master’s Degree in Economic Development at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Steve is married to Tammy and they have three children. He is a member of Trinity Presbyterian Church.

Dr. Elaine Thompson

President/CEO at Lakeland Regional Health

Elaine joined Lakeland Regional Health in 2010 and immediately began the process to create a strategic vision centered on medical staff collaboration and performance, and patient s...

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Dr. Elaine Thompson

Dr. Elaine Thompson

President/CEO at Lakeland Regional Health

Elaine joined Lakeland Regional Health in 2010 and immediately began the process to create a strategic vision centered on medical staff collaboration and performance, and patient safety improvements. Her initiatives include a multi-disciplinary performance improvement garnering international attention for the largest single site Emergency Department in Florida, and digitization of the Medical Center using a single electronic health records system. Elaine’s fierce passion for patient and community wellbeing leads her to work tirelessly with community, legislative and business leaders, and physicians to improve health services. She has been named each year since 2012 to Becker’s Hospital Review “Top 100 Non-Profit Hospital CEOs to Know”, “130 Women Healthcare Leaders to Know” and “130 Nonprofit Hospital and Health System CEOs to Know” annual national recognition lists.

Karen Turner

Senior Manager at Lockheed Martin

Karen Turner is the Senior Manager of Billing and Fixed Assets Accounting for Lockheed Martin. She oversees a team that bills more than 300,000 invoices (approximately $42 billion)...

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Karen Turner

Karen Turner

Senior Manager at Lockheed Martin

Karen Turner is the Senior Manager of Billing and Fixed Assets Accounting for Lockheed Martin. She oversees a team that bills more than 300,000 invoices (approximately $42 billion) annually. In her current position, she is also responsible for the asset capitalization, maintenance, retirements, transfers and standard tax reporting for approximately $12.6 billion in gross assets.  Karen has a diverse background in various staff and management positions and has held positions of progressive responsibilities in domestic and International Accounting and Finance. Karen began her career with IBM Federal Systems Division in Owego, N.Y. She was born and raised in Birmingham, Ala. and holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Alabama A&M University as well as an MBA from The Johns Hopkins University.

Jason Witty

VP of Operations at Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits

Jason Witty is the Vice President of Operations for the State of Florida. Jason started with Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of New Mexico in 2002, as the Information Techno...

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Jason Witty

Jason Witty

VP of Operations at Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits

Jason Witty is the Vice President of Operations for the State of Florida. Jason started with Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of New Mexico in 2002, as the Information Technology Manager. In 2005, he and his family moved to Florida, to take the Director of Information Technology role. Jason has worked with both corporate supply chain leadership as well as the Florida Operations team to evolve the SGWS distribution network into an efficient, centralized service model. Jason has his undergraduate degree from Florida Southern College and his sons are pursuing their undergraduate degrees from the University of South Florida.

READY TO JOIN?

CALL ASHLEY TO LEARN MORE.

(863) 687-3788

You can also email her at acheek@lakelandedc.com.