SUN ‘n FUN Fly-In Names New Executive Director at Aerospace Center for Excellence

Lakeland, FL: The Aerospace Center for Excellence (ACE) is proud to welcome its new Executive Director, Ed Young. Hailing from the State of Kansas, Young’s background as a pilot, flight instructor, attorney, professor, conflict resolution specialist and experienced public safety official will be utilized starting day one as he takes the helm of ACE. The success of the organization has become nationally recognized as a leader in addressing the aerospace industry’s shortage of professionals and it was the opportunity to grow its programs that interested Young to make the move to Lakeland, Florida.

Located on the SUN ‘n FUN Expo Campus in Lakeland, Florida, ACE is known for its annual SUN ‘n FUN International Fly-In and Expo fundraising event as well as the Aerospace Discovery Museum which is Florida’s Official Aviation Museum and Education Center.  “We are thrilled to have the skills and capabilities in both the worlds of aviation and education that Ed brings to our organization, “ said John “Lites” Leenhouts, President & CEO of SUN ‘n FUN Fly-In.

Young started his career in local government serving as a city administrator, county administrator and county counselor for three Midwestern communities. He was appointed Director of Aviation for the state of Kansas in 2003. During his tenure, the State received several National awards. Since 2013, he has been in the private sector consulting on various airport and state aviation system planning projects.

Young worked as an instructor for Kansas State University Polytechnic in the airport management program, where he taught undergraduate and graduate courses in a variety of subjects. Young also has a significant public safety background, receiving recognition as both a police and fire instructor. He received his Bachelor of Arts, Master of Public Administration, and Juris Doctorate from the University of Kansas. He also has a certificate in Airport Safety and Risk Management from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.

Young is currently the President of the Fly Kansas Foundation and the Past President of the Kansas Commission on Aerospace Education. He is a founding member of the Clyde Cessna Homestead Preservation Board.

This past October, Young was recognized with the title of Distinguished Flight Instructor as part of the 2018 AOPA Flight Training Experience Survey. He is a commercial pilot with single-engine land and sea, multi-engine land, certified flight instructor with instrument, multi-engine flight instructor and remote airman ratings.

“Every time I teach a student to fly, I look back and relive those memories. It’s a huge change in someone’s life,” Young said. “I am excited to join the Aerospace Center for Excellence because its programs and scholarships change the lives of 30,000 students a year by engaging them to all the aerospace career possibilities they can pursue as well as preserving the legacy of aviation”.

About Aerospace Center for Excellence, Inc.:

The Aerospace Center for Excellence (ACE), a 501(c)(3) non-profit, has emerged as a nationally recognized leader in STEM-related and aerospace education through its various learning centers, outreach programs, summer camps and scholarships aimed at preparing students for tomorrow’s aerospace challenges. Located on the SUN ‘n FUN Expo Campus in Lakeland, Florida, the organization is known for its annual SUN ‘n FUN International Fly-In and Expo fundraising event as well as the Aerospace Discovery Museum which is Florida’s Official Aviation Museum and Education Center. ACE is the world’s leader in producing licensed teenage private pilots and delivers youth programs that engage over 30,000 students a year. For more information, www.ACEedu.aero.

About SUN ‘n Fun Fly-In, Inc.:

SUN ‘n FUN Fly-In is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit whose mission is to preserve and enhance the future of flight through world-class events, inspiring and educating people of all ages. Year round events, including the SUN ‘n FUN International Fly-In and Expo which is one of the world’s largest of its kind, raise funds for the Aerospace Center for Excellence (ACE). SUN ‘n FUN Fly-In annually raises over $2M for ACE enabling the delivery of STEM-related and aerospace education programs engaging over 30,000 youth each year. Additionally, ACE manages and allocates up to $430K/year in aerospace scholarships. For more information, www.flysnf.org.


FSC’s Barnett School of Business and Free Enterprise on Princeton Review’s List of Best Business Schools


LAKELAND  – The Barney Barnett School of Business and Free Enterprise at Florida Southern has been included as one of the nation’s 252 outstanding on-campus Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs in The Princeton Review’s Best Business Schools for 2019, released Wednesday. This is the second consecutive year FSC has been selected for inclusion in the nationally respected school guide for students and parents.

The Princeton Review’s report is based largely on data from surveys of students enrolled in business schools nationwide, with additional input from school administrators. Student input for the on-campus category came from surveys of 18,400 MBA students enrolled in on-campus business schools

Dr. James W. Fenton, dean of the Barnett School, said the College’s inclusion in the prestigious annual guide is both positive and flattering.

“This publication is all about being of high quality,” Dr. Fenton said. “Our students are of high academic quality in entering our program, and they are taught by high-quality faculty who are the essence of teacher-scholars. This powerful mix generally produces great results, such as an enviable job placement rate. Our accounting and finance majors typically have 100 percent job placement within nine months of graduation.”


MBA students at FSC who were surveyed by The Princeton Review praised the Barnett School’s symbiotic partnerships which “enhance both the business school and community organizations,” specifically through Living Case Studies in consultation with local companies. MBA students conduct research about an actual business problem or opportunity, then make real-world recommendations to the companies. FSC students who were surveyed also noted the strong “leadership and experience” of the Barnett School’s faculty, saying they are both “responsive” and “easy to work with.”


Robert Franek, editor-in-chief of The Princeton Review, saluted all the schools in the 2019 guide for the innovative and wide-ranging MBA programs they offer their students.


The purpose of the Best Business Schools rankings is not “to crown any single MBA program or school as ‘best’ overall,” Franek said. “We compile multiple categories of ranking lists and combine them with detailed profiles of the schools to help applicants identify and successfully apply to the best MBA program for them.”


For more information about the Barney Barnett School of Business and Free Enterprise at Florida Southern College, visit www.flsouthern.edu/barnett


About Florida Southern College

Founded in 1883, Florida Southern College is the oldest private comprehensive college in Florida. The College maintains its commitment to academic excellence through 70+ undergraduate programs and distinctive graduate programs in business administration, education, and nursing. Florida Southern has a 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio; is an award-winning national leader in engaged learning; and boasts 30 NCAA Division II national championships. It is ranked among the Top 20 Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report; named a Top Baccalaureate College by Washington Monthly; and included in The Princeton Review’s 384 Best Colleges, The Fiske Guide to Colleges 2018, and Forbes magazine’s America’s Top Colleges Guide. The College is committed to the development of the whole student through vibrant student life programs that prepare graduates to make a positive, consequential impact on society.  FSC is conveniently located within an hour’s drive of both Orlando and Tampa. FSC is home to the world’s largest single-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2012. Named the “Most Beautiful Campus in the Nation” for two consecutive years by The Princeton Review and one of the nation’s “Ten College Campuses with the Best Architecture” by Architectural Digest, Florida Southern is an internationally-recognized place of beauty and academic excellence.


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SEU to Hold News Conference to Announce Innovative Aviation Partnership

seu newsLAKELAND, Fla. – Southeastern University (SEU) will hold a news conference Wednesday, November 14, at 11 a.m. at Lakeland Linder International Airport to announce plans to partner with International Aero Academy (IAA) to offer a student-centric, cost-effective aviation program to meet the growing worldwide demand for pilots.

United Express operated by Trans States Airlines will also be announcing a unique career pathway program in conjunction with SEU and IAA.

The worldwide pilot shortage is a reality. Boeing is projecting a worldwide shortage of nearly 800,000 over the next 15 years, due to a large percentage of the professional pilot population reaching retirement age. Another factor is the rapidly expanding airline industry in Asia, which is fueling demand and competition for professionals.

This innovative partnership will allow students to complete their private pilot license and their commercial multi-engine and flight instructor ratings during their initial eight months of enrollment. This will allow them to work as flight instructors in their first year – building flight hours and earning wages – while accelerating their post-graduate careers.

Both SEU President Kent Ingle and IAA CEO and President Steven Markoff will give remarks at the news conference.

Full details will be released at the news conference.

For more information, or to attend, contact Dana Davis at 863-667-5020, 863-712-1997, or dcdavis@seu.edu.


About SEU

Southeastern University (SEU) is a Christ-centered institution of higher learning. Founded in 1935 and located in the Central Florida community of Lakeland, Southeastern offers more than 80 degree programs including bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. Southeastern’s reach expands beyond the Lakeland campus, with a comprehensive online learning program and more than 100 extension site programs nationwide. The university is accredited by the Southern

Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Official program launch is pending SACSCOC approval. Learn more at SEU.edu.


About IAA

International Aero Academy (IAA) is a Lakeland, Fla.-based FAA-certificated 141 ab initio and accelerated flight school with authority to issue foreign M1 student visas for vocational training. With a focus on training the next generation of domestic and foreign professional pilots, IAA has a growing fleet of aircraft, its own modern 12,000-square-foot maintenance facility with dedicated maintenance professionals, and over 11,000 square feet of office, onsite dormitory housing for students and training space. IAA is owned and managed by former senior executives of international, major, regional, LCC and cargo airlines. For more information about IAA, visit InternationalAeroAcademy.com or call 863-401-3592.


Polk State to inaugurate Dr. Angela Garcia Falconetti as College’s 5th President

Polk State College PSC_Strong_BLK_2Color

Winter Haven, November 8, 2018 — Polk State College will inaugurate Dr. Angela Garcia Falconetti as the institution’s fifth President on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, with an investiture ceremony at 4 p.m. in the Winter Haven Campus Health Center, 999 Ave. H N.E. The public is invited and encouraged to RSVP to Kristie Tapley at 863.297.1071 or ktapley@polk.edu.


Falconetti assumed the role of President in July 2017, bringing nearly two decades of service in higher education administration at the state and national levels to Polk County’s local state college.


“I am honored to serve Polk County, and I am thankful to Polk State for welcoming me with open arms. I am thrilled to work together in moving our institution forward into a successful future for our students, faculty, staff, and greater community,” Falconetti said. “Student success is our success, and I am excited for this very special event, which will allow our institution to continue transforming lives through the power of education and philanthropy.”


While the investiture ceremony is free to attend, the Polk State College Foundation is accepting donations to Dr. Angela Garcia Falconetti’s Scholarship fund to benefit students. Donations may be made online at foundation.polk.edu/inauguration.


“This is a phenomenal opportunity to give students the gift of a quality higher education, while honoring Dr. Falconetti and celebrating Polk State’s bright future under her extraordinary leadership,” said Ashley Bell Barnett, Polk State District Board of Trustees member and Treasurer of the Polk State Foundation Board of Directors.


Falconetti holds a bachelor’s degree with specializations in Communications and Education Cognate from New York University, and both a master’s degree and a doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of North Florida. Additionally, she completed an endowed post-doctoral fellowship in Community College Leadership with the University of Texas at Austin.


Falconetti began her career as an academic advisor and has served in a variety of roles focused on areas including student services, academic affairs, economic development, resource development, and institutional research. She has also served at the national level as the Special Assistant to the first Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Colleges in Washington, D.C.


Prior to being named President of Polk State, Falconetti served as the Vice President of Institutional Advancement at Virginia Western Community College, and as the Executive Director of the Virginia Western Community College Educational Foundation, Inc.


“The College is incredibly fortunate to have Dr. Falconetti, whose experience and energy has greatly impacted our institution in just her first year,” Polk State District Board of Trustees Chair Dan Dorrell said. “We are excited for the continued growth of Polk State under the leadership of Dr. Falconetti, who has proven her great commitment to our institution and the greater community.”


Falconetti currently serves on the boards of the Central Florida Economic Development Council, CareerSource Polk, Polk Vision, Lakeland Economic Development Council High Skill Initiative, Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce, Winter Haven Economic Development Council, Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce, and Winter Haven Hospital.


“I am deeply devoted to serving our community and Polk State College,” Falconetti said. “I extend my sincerest thanks to students, faculty, staff, the District Board of Trustees, alumni, donors, and everyone who makes a Polk State education possible for our students. Remember – student success is our success, and I could not be more thrilled to work in partnership with the community to ensure access to affordable, quality higher education in Polk County.”


About Polk State College


Located in Winter Haven, Florida, and established in 1964, Polk State College is a multi-campus institution serving more than 16,000 students with Bachelor of Applied Science, Bachelor of Science, Associate in Arts and Associate in Science degrees, as well as a wide range of certificate and workforce training options. The College also operates three charter high schools.


Polk State’s advantages include small class sizes; hands-on learning; dedicated faculty; day and night classes; online options; affordable tuition; excellent financial aid; and a diverse community and vibrant student life, including fine arts opportunities, clubs, and intercollegiate athletics.


Lakeland Christian School Appoints New Director of Advancement

Lakeland, FL: Lakeland Christian School is pleased to announce that Matt Diaz has been appointed as the new Director of Advancement. He will assume the position held by Steve Wilson for the past 16 years.

Matt is a Polk County native and a graduate of Santa Fe Catholic High School. After serving as a two-year starter at Florida State University, he played 11 seasons of professional baseball, primarily with the Atlanta Braves.

During his playing years, MattE and his wife Leslee started and ran the Diaz Family Foundation with the mission of glorifying God by aiding orphaned and disadvantaged children in Polk County, Florida, and throughout the world.

Upon his retirement from professional baseball in 2014, Matt joined the Atlanta Braves pre-game and postgame telecast on Fox Sports South as a contributing commentator. He also served as a baseball analyst for MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM in addition to his day-to-day work as an Investment Advisor Representative at Core Wealth Advisors in Lakeland.

MattE and Leslee have three children—Nathan, Anna and Jake—who attend LCS. They are founding members of Redeemer City Church in Winter Haven, a church plant of Trinity Presbyterian Church.

“After falling in love with Lakeland Christian as a parent, and then beginning to see behind the scenes as a baseball coach, I cannot be more excited to be part of this school,” MattE said. “I will miss the relationships with my financial planning clients and the people at Core Wealth Advisors, but I am so excited for the relationships this role will provide in keeping Lakeland Christian as one of the premier Christian schools in the country.

You can reach MattE at mdiaz@lcsonline.org.