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 26 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.

Todd Baylis

President at Cipher Integrations & Qgiv

Todd Baylis is President and a founder of Qgiv, a Lakeland-based company that enables organizations across the US and beyond to quickly, securely and easily receive donations and e...

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Todd Baylis

Todd Baylis

President at Cipher Integrations & Qgiv

Todd Baylis is President and a founder of Qgiv, a Lakeland-based company that enables organizations across the US and beyond to quickly, securely and easily receive donations and effectively manage event registrations. Todd is also President of Cipher Integrations, a network services, internet technology and software development provider in Lakeland. He holds a B.S. in Computer and Information Sciences from Florida State University and Masters in Information Technology from Carnegie Mellon University.

 

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,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.

 

Michael Beckham

Interim General Manager at Lakeland Electric

Mike graduated from Georgia Tech in 1981 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering.  He has held Engineering and Management positions with Southern Company, Tennessee V...

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Michael Beckham

Michael Beckham

Interim General Manager at Lakeland Electric

Mike graduated from Georgia Tech in 1981 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering.  He has held Engineering and Management positions with Southern Company, Tennessee Valley Authority and First Energy prior to accepting the role of Assistant General Manager of Energy Production with Lakeland Electric in 2015.  He recently accepted the position of Interim General Manager of Lakeland Electric, effective April 14, 2022.  This May, he and his wife, Teresa, will celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary, and they have two daughters and two sons, the last of which will graduate from college this June. Email

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.

Maggie Briggs

Director of The Apiary

Maggie Briggs serves as the Director of The Apiary, a new creative services company in Lakeland that specializes in animation, previsualization, and content creation. Overseeing th...

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Maggie Briggs

Maggie Briggs

Director of The Apiary

Maggie Briggs serves as the Director of The Apiary, a new creative services company in Lakeland that specializes in animation, previsualization, and content creation. Overseeing the day-to-day operations of the company, she establishes direction, develops strategy, implements tactics, and oversees their execution as they align with business goals for the organization. Maggie brings ten years of experience in marketing for a wide variety of clients. While serving as a marketing coordinator for a local architecture firm, she found a passion for organizational process that led her to helping establish this new company.

110 S. Kentucky Avenue,Lakeland,33801

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.

 

Jay Chastain

President at Chastain-Skillman

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,...

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Jay Chastain

Jay Chastain

President at Chastain-Skillman

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.

N. Karen Steverson, JD, DBA

President at Keiser University

Dr. Steverson is currently the President of the Lakeland Campus with Keiser University. She has worked for Keiser 12 years, beginning as faculty then moving to the role of Academic...

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N. Karen Steverson, JD, DBA

N. Karen Steverson, JD, DBA

President at Keiser University

Dr. Steverson is currently the President of the Lakeland Campus with Keiser University. She has worked for Keiser 12 years, beginning as faculty then moving to the role of Academic Dean, and just prior to this recent appointment, she was the Associate Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs, working with all campuses in the area of academic policies. She is a licensed attorney in Florida and handles pro bono cases and other specialized cases as time permits. She graduated with her DBA in Marketing through Keiser University, JD from Stetson University College of Law, MBA from Webber International University, and BA in Organizational Management from Warner University. She has a range of work experience, with over 20+ years in Higher Education, including adjunct faculty positions with Southeastern University, Webster University, Polk State College, and Warner University. She began her career with the former SunTrust Banks, where she worked for 11 years, and became the Branch Manager in North Lakeland the last 9 years of her career with them. Her legal career began at the State Attorney’s Office in Bartow. She enjoys music and time with family.

 

Danielle Drummond

President, CEO at Lakeland Regional Health

Danielle Drummond, MS, FACHE, has had a pivotal role in Lakeland Regional Health becoming one of the leading health systems in the state and nation. Her expertise ear...

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Danielle Drummond

Danielle Drummond

President, CEO at Lakeland Regional Health

Danielle Drummond, MS, FACHE, has had a pivotal role in Lakeland Regional Health becoming one of the leading health systems in the state and nation. Her expertise earned her prestigious inclusion among the nation’s Top 25 COOs in Healthcare for 2018, as selected by Modern Healthcare, and led to her selection as Lakeland Regional Health’s next CEO and President in January 2021.

Ms. Drummond joined Lakeland Regional Health in 2013 and previously served as Chief Strategy and Growth Officer, overseeing strategic planning, business development and master facility planning. Email

Courtney Eelman

Chief Strategy and Risk Officer, AgAmerica Lending

Courtney Eelman joined the AgAmerica Lending team in July 2017. She is the Chief Strategy and Risk Officer and her focus is to align strategy, processes, people, techno...

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Courtney Eelman

Courtney Eelman

Chief Strategy and Risk Officer, AgAmerica Lending

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.

 

Gregory Fancelli

Owner, Prestige Worldwide Group

Gregory Fancelli is owner of property management and development company Prestige Worldwide Group. Born and raised in Florence Italy, with a bachelor’s degree in Business Adminis...

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Gregory Fancelli

Gregory Fancelli

Owner, Prestige Worldwide Group

Gregory Fancelli is owner of property management and development company Prestige Worldwide Group. Born and raised in Florence Italy, with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Florence. For nearly fifteen years Gregory has focused his real estate efforts in Lakeland towards preservation and redevelopment of properties within Lakeland’s historic districts, placing particular effort on protecting the architectural character of Lakeland.

Preservation and re-development are crucial aspects of every city with high quality of life goals, for this reason Gregory and his company have teamed up with many local organizations such as Parker Street Ministries in order to repair and strengthen many of Lakeland’s inner city neighborhoods. Several redevelopment projects have been completed in the Dixieland area, bringing revitalization and infusing new life into the area.

After serving four years on the Polk Museum’s Board of trustees and Florida Polytechnic University’s Foundation Board, Gregory is presently active with Lakeland Regional Medical Center’s Foundation Board and Historic Lakeland Inc.

Additionally Gregory serves on the George Jenkins Foundation board dedicated towards programs in education, welfare, health and human services.

With a deep appreciation for early 20th century architecture, Gregory enjoys traveling, photography, skiing and water sports.

 

2000 E. Edgewood Drive, Suite 102,Lakeland

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.

Jack Harrell,Jr.

Chairman & CEO at Harrell's

Jack Harrell Jr. is the Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Harrell’s LLC based in Lakeland. Jack continues the tradition that his family began in 1941 of offering quality ...

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Jack Harrell,Jr.

Jack Harrell,Jr.

Chairman & CEO at Harrell's

Jack Harrell Jr. is the Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Harrell’s LLC based in Lakeland. Jack continues the tradition that his family began in 1941 of offering quality products and personal service.

Jason Hirsbrunner

CAO, Watson Clinic

Jason brings over two decades of Healthcare Administration experience to Lakeland.  Most recently, he was the COO of physician owned group in Champaign, Illinois and was instr...

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Jason Hirsbrunner

Jason Hirsbrunner

CAO, Watson Clinic

Jason brings over two decades of Healthcare Administration experience to Lakeland.  Most recently, he was the COO of physician owned group in Champaign, Illinois and was instrumental in their growth, development and cultural transformation.  As newly appointed CAO of Watson Clinic LLP, Mr. Hirsbrunner will oversee one of the largest and most successful medical groups in the Southeast. With a total staff of more than 1800 employees, over 300 physicians and providers, 40 diverse medical and surgical specialties and 19 state-of-the-art locations serving close to a million outpatient visits every year. Email

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.

 

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,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.

 

Nick Plott

Regional Manager at Tampa Electric

Nick Plott is the Regional Manager of External Affairs for TECO Energy in Polk County, representing the company in the areas of local government, community relations and economic d...

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Nick Plott

Nick Plott

Regional Manager at Tampa Electric

Nick Plott is the Regional Manager of External Affairs for TECO Energy in Polk County, representing the company in the areas of local government, community relations and economic development. He currently serves on the Boards of United Way of Central Florida, Polk State College Foundation, Polk Vision, the Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce and JDRF- Tampa Bay. Nick received his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Law from Western Carolina University. Tampa Electric, an investor owned electric utility who started business in 1899, serves the eastern part of Polk with 85,000 customers.  Peoples Gas, a natural gas utility that started business in 1895, today has a Lakeland presence with 5800 customers.

Steve Scruggs

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

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.

Shawn Sherrouse

City Manager at City of Lakeland

Prior to this appointment as City Manager, he served as Deputy City Manager for 2 years and as Assistant City Manager for 2 years prior to that promotion. Shawn has an A.A. degree ...

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Shawn Sherrouse

Shawn Sherrouse

City Manager at City of Lakeland

Prior to this appointment as City Manager, he served as Deputy City Manager for 2 years and as Assistant City Manager for 2 years prior to that promotion. Shawn has an A.A. degree in Public Administration from Polk State College, a B.A. in Management from Warner University, and a Master of Public Administration from the University of South Florida. Shawn is a lifelong resident of Lakeland; he is a graduate of Leadership Lakeland Class XXXVII and Leadership Polk Class IV. He serves as Treasurer for Leadership Polk Alumni Association. He also serves on the Camp Fire Sunshine Youth Development Central Florida Board of Directors. He is a member of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and the Florida City/County Management Association (FCCMA), having served on the Board of Directors in 2018 – 2019.

Mike Smith

Senior Vice President at Publix Super Markets

Mike Smith oversees the efforts of Publix’s manufacturing businesses, facilities, distribution facilities, industrial maintenance, industrial operations purchasing, industrial op...

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Mike Smith

Mike Smith

Senior Vice President at Publix Super Markets

Mike Smith oversees the efforts of Publix’s manufacturing businesses, facilities, distribution facilities, industrial maintenance, industrial operations purchasing, industrial operations business development & IT, corporate quality assurance and the flight department.

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.

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