All posts by Cory Skeates


Southeastern University Announces Aviation Program to Meet Current and Future Pilot Shortage

seu news

–Schools Come Together to Develop Innovative, Cost-Effective Aviation Degree Programs–

LAKELAND, Fla. – Southeastern University (SEU) and International Aero Academy, Ltd. (IAA) announced today the launch of an innovative aviation program that will provide a fast track for students to help meet the urgent need for professional pilots in the coming decades.

The pilot shortage is here now. 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 competition for labor.

The partnership will pair four-year and two-year bachelor’s and associate’s degrees from SEU with IAA’s innovative accelerated Federal Aviation Administration Part 141 approved pilot training programs.

United Express operator Trans States Airlines also announced that it will join with SEU and IAA to offer a unique career pilot pathway program.

IAA’s facilities at Lakeland Linder International Airport in Florida will be SEU’s 113th extension site. IAA and SEU designed these programs to provide aviation students with an efficient, cost-effective and student-oriented program.

“We are excited about what this new partnership between Southeastern University and International Aero Academy will bring to our airport and aviation community,” said Gene Conrad, Lakeland Linder International Airport director. “The aviation industry as a whole is struggling to develop skilled aviation professionals, and innovative partnerships like this are imperative to enhancing the future of our industry.”

A distinctive feature of the SEU program is that students may choose to accelerate their flight training and begin their flying career earlier while they complete their degree online. By working as a flight instructor while completing their degrees, SEU students will have logged up to five times the total number of flight hours as compared to peers from other university programs. These logged hours will make them more competitive in the job market.

“Students will have the opportunity to complete their private pilot license and their commercial multi-engine and flight instructor ratings during their first eight months of enrollment, allowing them to work as flight instructors in their first year – building flight hours and earning wages, while accelerating their post-graduate careers,” said Kent Ingle, president of Southeastern University.

Upon acceptance to one of the degree programs, students will have the opportunity to interview with Trans States Airlines and receive a conditional letter of employment for a pilot First Officer position. When qualified students complete their required flight time, they will transition directly into Trans States’ First Officer training program.

“Together with SEU, we will institute a complete paradigm shift in aviation degree programs allowing students to focus first on flight training and attaining their ratings. They will gain valuable flight hours working as flight instructors while completing their degrees and enjoy a defined career pathway to a commercial airline,” said Steven Markhoff, president of International Aero Academy. “Our unique pilot training program provides an excellent opportunity for students to accelerate their pilot training and careers.”

“The ability to provide a career pathway for students at the beginning of their academic career, coupled with an airline transition course specifically tailored for our airline, will both incentivize the next generation of aviation professionals and ensure their success,” said Lee Stelzner, director of flight operations at Trans States Airlines.

Traditional universities known for aviation often do not graduate students with sufficient flight hours to transition directly to the airlines. Once most students graduate, they have to build flight hours, typically as a flight instructor for at least one year to qualify for their airline transport pilot (ATP) certificate. Students in these bachelor’s programs take five years or longer to go from zero flight hours to enough to fly for the airlines.

The SEU program will enable students to earn their seniority sooner, moving from the start of the degree program to a job as a first officer, flying regional jets, in as little as 30 months.

U.S. students can apply for federal student loans to assist with the cost of the program. Courses will be held both online and in classrooms at Lakeland Linder International Airport.

Pending approval from regional accreditors, SEU plans to offer an Associate of Applied Science-Professional Pilot, Bachelor of Science in Aviation Management, and Bachelor of Business and Professional Leadership — Professional Pilot track beginning next fall. Any SEU student will be able to enroll in ground school and flight courses as elective courses beginning in the spring semester of 2019.

SEU students with conditional letters of employment from Trans States will also be eligible for airline pass travel, up to 90 days of airline seniority, as well as an additional bonus to be paid upon completion of First Officer training.

Program Highlights:

  • Graduates will spend less on total tuition and flight costs for an accredited degree.
  • Graduates will enter the workforce sooner than those of most other institutions.
  • Qualified students will be paid for their work as instructors as they complete their degree online.

While at SEU, students may train in a fleet of new, state-of-the-art Tecnam P2008 aircraft that were recently acquired by IAA. The aircraft are equipped with the latest in glass panel cockpit technology.

For more information, contact Dana Davis at 863-667-5020, 863-712-1997, or


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


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 or call 863-401-3592.


About Trans States Airlines

Trans States Airlines serves over 3 million passengers a year, with over 250 daily flights providing service to over 90 cities in North America. Trans States operates an all jet fleet of Embraer 145 aircraft and will fly exclusively for United Airlines (as United Express) starting in December of 2018. Headquartered in St. Louis, Trans States has crew domiciles in Chicago, Denver and St. Louis.

For high res photos, please email

Photo Caption 1: Dr. Joe Childs, director of aviation programs at SEU, speaking with Steven Markhoff, president of International Aero Academy, and Stacey Ross from Trans States Airlines.


Photo Caption 2: SEU students take an inside look at the Tecnam aircraft.


Keiser Launches Fundraiser for Florida Disaster Relief

Keiser University is committed to helping those impacted by Hurricane Michael. The University is launching “Keiser U Cares 4 U,” a fundraising effort with proceeds being donated to Florida Disaster Relief. Many Keiser University students and graduates work in the fields of health care, firefighting, law enforcement, and other ‘first responder’ roles, and many have a heart and responsibility to help those in need. The Keiser U Cares 4 U program is a way for all campuses to combine their efforts to make a collective donation.

To provide help in areas where it is needed most, cash or check donations can be made to “Keiser University Charitable Account.” Or, donations can be made via PayPal with the following link:

Select “Lakeland” as the designated campus.

Keiser University is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. Donations are tax deductible.



Relay For Life Fundraiser Event Dates – American Cancer Society

Join us for a Monthly Spirit Night!
Please spread the word and join us once a month for a fun-meal-raising.
The more members from your team to dine at the locations listed below the more
chances you have of winning the money raised at each event.
Nov. 29 th – Beef O’Bradys Spirit Night – All Day
1070 Wedgewood Estates Blvd, Lakeland, FL 33809 North Side
4810 Florida Ave S, Lakeland, FL 33813 South Side
Dec. 13 th – J Burns Pizza Shop – Lunch & Dinner
2306 E Edgewood Dr, Lakeland, FL 33803
Jan. 24 th – Bd’s Mongolian Grill – Lunch & Dinner
1474 Town Center Dr, Lakeland, FL 33803
Feb. 20 th – Glory Day’s – Dinner Only
3790 Lakeside Village Ct, Lakeland, FL 33803
Directions are simple. Spread the word and come enjoy a meal. Don’t forget to let your server know you are there for the Spirit Night for Relay for Life Lakeland. Do not forget to stop by the relay table and drop your team name in the bucket for the drawing.


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,

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,


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


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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