All posts by Cory Skeates


City of Lakeland Launches Website and Survey Seeking Opinions on Lake Morton Drive Safety Enhancements

LAKELAND, FL (September 24, 2018) — A number of incidents have happened on Lake Morton Drive over the past several weeks involving distracted drivers.  Most recently a pedestrian was severely injured when they were struck by a motorist while in a crosswalk.  Seven swans have been hit by motorist and five of those swans have died due to injuries.  All of this happened over a four-week time period.

The City of Lakeland wants your thoughts on what we can do to enhance the safety and mobility for all roadway users on Lake Morton Drive.  A website and survey have been developed so users can learn about the issue, study suggested safety enhancements and share opinions on possible solutions. Visit to take the survey and share feedback. The survey will be open now through Monday, October 8th.


To enhance the safety, accessibility and mobility for all roadway users including the wildlife on Lake Morton Drive in a sustainable (long-lasting) and cost-effective manner that compliments the aesthetics of the surrounding neighborhood.

This objective can be met by managing operating speeds, managing accessibility to the lake and moderating motorist behavior.  The City of Lakeland’s Public Works Department has outlined five possible solutions that meet the objective along with a public safety campaign.  There are examples of each one of these possible solutions on the website and survey link:

  • Marked Parking
  • Raised Crosswalks
  • Rectangular Reflective Flashing Beacon
  • Bulb Out
  • Landscaped Medians


A recent traffic study concluded that there are 5,128 drivers who use Lake Morton Drive on a daily basis with 518 vehicles using the road during the peak hour at 5 p.m. The posted speed limit on Lake Morton Drive is 25 mph. The traffic study indicates drivers average 18 mph while traveling around the lake, so speeding is not the primary issue. All factors indicate these incidents were caused by distracted drivers who are not paying attention to their immediate surrounding. According to the Lakeland Police Department, accidents are up 10-15% because drivers are using their mobile phones and other devices while driving. Lake Morton is home to over 60 swans that are cared for by the City of Lakeland.  There is also a very large population of ducks, geese and other water fowl that call the lake home.  The area is a very popular destination for families, walkers, joggers and cyclists.  Solutions being explored need to enhance the safety, accessibility, and mobility for all of our users and wildlife.

The City of Lakeland was incorporated January 1885 and has grown to become one of the largest inland communities in Florida.  With a current population over 100,000 Lakeland continues to grow. It has been designated a Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area by the US Census Bureau for over 30 years.  With tourist attractions and gulf beaches only an hour away, Lakeland continues to capitalize on its ideal central Florida location along the I-4 corridor.  The City owns and operates Lakeland Electric, the third largest publicly owned utility in Florida and it was one of the first to offer power in the Sunshine State over 115 years ago.

For additional information about the City of Lakeland, please visit  Citizens are also invited to follow the City on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Vimeo, Snapchat and Nextdoor.  Citizens can find the City of Lakeland on these social media platforms by searching lakelandgov.


SEU Hosts Event to Honor Veterans

seu news

LAKELAND, Fla. – This upcoming Veteran’s Day, in honor of those who serve our country, Southeastern University’s College of Arts & Media will host Sinfonia: Connecting the Arts & Community on November 11. Sinfonia is a concert designed to tell the stories of Central Florida veterans and their families in the pursuit of service to our nation – from the decision to serve to deployment, and beyond. Their stories will be told through original compositions of Joseph DeBeasi that will be performed by the Southeastern University Orchestra and the Southeastern University Choir.

DeBeasi is the composer for Clint Eastwood’s Oscar-nominated “American Sniper,” “Eleven Eleven,” and most recently released “Alpha.” In addition to these compositions, DeBeasi has worked on more than 60 feature films, including “The Revenant,” “Prisoners,” “The Book of Eli,” “Because of Winn-Dixie,” “Dirty Dancing,” and “Maid in Manhattan.”

One of the original compositions for this fall’s concert was debuted in March, at the first Sinfonia concert. This piece, entitled “One More Minute,” was inspired by the interviews DeBeasi conducted with several Central Florida veterans spanning the breadth of American conflicts from World War II to the current conflict in the Middle East.

DeBeasi will also be presenting a new piece, “A Thousand Faces,”  inspired by interviews conducted with the families of Central Florida veterans – giving voice to the often-overlooked perspective of the families of our service-members.

“‘A Thousand Faces’ is a story of community, companionship, and survival,” said DeBeasi. “It is for each of us who have wrestled with grief, despair, and darkness and have persevered.  With the help of those around us, we are able to endure.”

“I met with several military families. Some are new to the military, others have been military families for generations. Their stories ranged from pride and excitement to anxiety, grief, and despair. When it came time for me to compose this piece, I was deeply moved by the stories, especially those of loss and isolation. I wrestled with darkness and isolation until finally writing it into the composition,” he said.

Sinfonia will take place at the Polk Theatre at 2:30 p.m. Special pricing is available for active military and veterans. Tickets are available at

For more information, contact Dr. Craig Collins at or call 863.667.5657.


Saint Leo University Named As Best Value in South for 2019 by U.S. News

BC-RegUniversities-South best-colleges-RU-Best Value_2019
























LEO, FL – Saint Leo University was named as one of the best regional universities and best values in higher education in the 2019 U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges, which was released Sept. 10. In addition, Saint Leo was named one of the Best Colleges for Veterans.

The university was No. 14 among Best Value Schools in the South. To determine which colleges and universities offer the best value for students, U.S. News takes into account both academic quality and cost.

This year, Saint Leo also claimed its spot in the top 50 “Best Regional Universities” and ranked 47th among Southern universities. This rank is up from last year’s rank of 61st among universities in the South. Regional universities offer a full range of undergraduate programs and provide graduate education at the master’s level. Saint Leo also offers three doctoral programs.

To receive a “Best Value School” ranking, U.S. News calculated the university’s academic quality as indicated by its 2019 U.S. News Best Colleges ranking, and the 2017-2018 net cost of attendance for a student who received the average level of need-based financial aid. “The higher the quality of the program and the lower the cost, the better the deal,” U.S. News & Report stated in its listings. “Only schools ranked in or near the top half of their categories are included because U.S. News considers the most significant values to be among colleges that are above average academically.”

The university also was named one of the Best Colleges for Veterans among regional universities in the South, ranking 31st. Saint Leo has a proud history of educating veterans and military students. Schools named to the list participate in federal initiatives helping veterans and active-duty servicemembers pay for their degrees.

“Saint Leo University provides a terrific educational value for students of all ages and from all backgrounds, and we are pleased that the U.S. News & World Report’s rankings recognize the quality and excellence offered by the university,” said Dr. Jeffrey D. Senese, university president. “We’re proud of our Catholic heritage and commitment to higher education. These rankings point to our student-centered mission, our caring faculty and staff, and our dedication to student success.”

For information about Best Colleges 2019, visit

About Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University ( is a modern Catholic teaching university that is firmly grounded in the liberal arts tradition and the timeless Benedictine wisdom that seeks balanced growth of mind, body, and spirit. The Saint Leo University of today is a private, nonprofit institution that creates hospitable learning communities wherever students want to be or need to be, whether that is a campus classroom, a web-based environment, an employer’s worksite, a military base, or an office park. Saint Leo welcomes people of all faiths and of no religious affiliation, and encourages learners of all generations. The university is committed to providing educational opportunities to the nation’s armed forces, veterans, and their families. Saint Leo is regionally accredited to award degrees ranging from the associate to the doctorate, and the faculty and staff guide all students to develop their capacities for critical thinking, moral reflection, and lifelong learning and leadership.


The university remains the faithful steward of the beautiful lakeside University Campus in the Tampa Bay region of Florida, where its founding monks created the first Catholic college in the state in 1889. Serving more than 13,000 students, Saint Leo has expanded to downtown Tampa, to other sites in Florida and beyond, and maintains a physical presence in seven states. The university provides highly respected online learning programs to students nationally and internationally. More than 93,000 alumni reside in all 50 states, in Washington, DC, in three U.S. territories, and in 76 countries.


50 Florida Companies You Will Want to Pay Attention to

Pensacola, Florida (9/20/2018) — Digital Boardwalk is pleased to announce the 50 statewide companies expected to see significant growth over the next several years.

Digital Boardwalk was selected from more than 500 nominees for Florida Companies to WatchSM, a statewide program managed by economic development group GrowFL, in association with the Edward Lowe Foundation.

Digital Boardwalk’s management team, competitive market position and strong community involvement were among several factors that put them in contention for the award.
“These stand-out companies are all led by entrepreneurs, and have demonstrated their capacity and intent to grow,” said Dr. Tom O’Neal, GrowFL executive director. “They also all have critical intellectual property or a niche position that gives them a competitive edge in their markets,” he said.
“This year has marked a huge milestone for digital boardwalk,” says Tim Shoop, CEO. “We have grown 81% over the past three years and added many jobs right here in Florida. My favorite part of the growth is that we not only create jobs, but it allows us to give back to our local community and foster more growth around us. We have an amazing entrepreneurial culture that instills in our team a passion and drive that our customers experience on a daily basis. I am proud of our team and Florida Companies on Growth Watch couldn’t have achieved any of this without their dedication to our mission. Our goal is to help other businesses scale through proper technology implementations and planning, while backing that up with award-winning help-desk support.” Florida Companies on Growth Watch

Joining Digital Boardwalk on the Florida Companies to Watch list are the following Florida based businesses:
Company Name City County Primary Business
8-koi Melbourne Brevard Management Consulting Services
Alluvionic, Inc. Melbourne Brevard Management Consulting Services
ArgoTrak Naples Collier Other Services (except Public Administration)
Artemis Plastics, LLC Ocala Marion Manufacturing
AXI International Fort Myers Lee Manufacturing
Beast Code, LLC Fort Walton Beach Okaloosa Computer Systems Design and Related Services
Benseron Hospitality Naples Collier Computer Systems Design and Related Services
Body Details, LLLP Boca Raton Palm Beach Other Services (except Public Administration)
Burgess Civil, LLC Tampa Hillsborough Construction
Company Name City County Primary Business
Bush Brothers Provision Company West Palm Beach Palm Beach Wholesale Trade
CloudHesive Fort Lauderdale Broward Information Technology
ContentBacon Davie Broward Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services
Cornerstone Fabrication, LLC Debary Volusia Manufacturing
Cruise Car, Inc. Sarasota Manatee Manufacturing
Custom Manufacturing & Engineering Pinellas Park Pinellas Manufacturing
DAK Resources, Inc. Jacksonville Duval Administrative and Support Services
Digital Boardwalk, Inc. Pensacola Escambia Information Technology
Digital Resource, LLC West Palm Beach Palm Beach Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services
Easy Foods, Inc. Kissimmee Osceola Manufacturing
Electronic Locksmith, Inc. Apopka Orange Retail Trade
EPIC Engineering & Consulting Group, LLC Winter Springs Seminole Information Technology
Expert Shutter Services Port St. Lucie St. Lucie Manufacturing
Firehawk Helicopters Leesburg Lake Other Services (except Public Administration)
Flame Boss Orlando Orange Manufacturing
Forcura Jacksonville Duval Information Technology
Fountainhead Commercial Capital Lake Mary Seminole Finance and Insurance
FYZICAL Therapy and Balance Centers Sarasota Sarasota Health Care and Social Assistance
G.S. Gelato & Desserts, Inc. Fort Walton Beach Okaloosa Manufacturing
Germfree Ormond Beach Volusia Manufacturing
GM HILL Jacksonville Duval Architectural, Engineering, and Related Services
Hesperos, Inc. Orlando Orange Scientific Research and Development
Intellisteel Group, LLC Leesburg Lake Manufacturing
Knight Federal Solutions Orlando Orange Scientific and Technical Consulting Services
Matthews Design Group, Inc. St. Augustine St. Johns Architectural, Engineering, and Related Services
Motorworks Brewing Bradenton Manatee Manufacturing
Next Horizon Sanford Seminole Information Technology
Oasis Senior Advisors Bonita Springs Lee Health Care and Social Assistance
Florida Companies on Growth Watch 4/5
RND Automation Sarasota Manatee Manufacturing
Sarasota Medical Products, Inc. Sarasota Sarasota Manufacturing
Structural Composites, a division of The
Composites Company W. Melbourne Brevard Scientific Research and Development
Sunrise Capital Investors Clearwater Pinellas Real Estate and Rental and Leasing
Sus Hi Eatstation Orlando Orange Accommodation and Food Services
The Collage Companies Lake Mary Seminole Construction Orlando Orange Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services
Triple E Equipment, Inc. Pompano Beach Broward Retail Trade
US Submergent Technologies, LLC Sarasota Sarasota Waste Management and Remediation Services
Vac-Tron Equipment Okahumpka Lake Manufacturing
Vectra Digital Fort Myers Lee Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services
VetCor, LLC Tampa Hillsborough Other Services (except Public Administration)
World Housing Solution, Inc. Sanford Seminole Manufacturing
“This is a strong group of companies that deserve this special recognition given annually to the state’s top second stage companies,” said Dr. Chris Morton, GrowFL Chairman of the GrowFL Advisory Board, CEO of NanoPhotonica and a 2015 Florida Companies to Watch honoree. Second stage companies are defined as those with 6 to 150 full-time employees and between $750,000 and $100 million in annual revenue. There are many programs and incubators promoting start-up businesses; GrowFL is the only Florida program that focuses exclusively on second-stage companies.

The 50 companies named the 2018 Florida Companies to Watch generated nearly $1 billion in revenue and added nearly 1,000 jobs between 2014 and 2017.

Together, the companies project a 50 percent increase in revenue and 40 percent increase in job growth in 2018 compared to 2017.

Companies named to the list will be officially recognized February 9, 2019 at the Straz Performing Arts Center in Tampa, FL. Tickets are on sale now for the awards ceremony.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

About Digital Boardwalk:
Digital Boardwalk provides comprehensive technology management and consulting services for small
and medium-sized businesses throughout Florida and beyond. We help customers achieve reliability,
security, and peace of mind through award-winning support, cybersecurity, cloud computing, and
backup services. We know that technology is integral to your business, so we work diligently to keep
your technology working for our clients. Our team of certified technology specialists bring their
individual expertise and knowledge to each job at hand. Together, we promise to provide you with the
best customer service experience, industryleading technology, and continuous innovation, all catered
to your specific needs.
Florida Companies on Growth Watch 5/5
About GrowFL:
GrowFL provides strategies, resources and support, including strategic research and peer-to-peer
CEO mentoring and leadership development, to second-stage Florida companies. Created by the
Florida legislature in 2009 and grounded in the philosophy of Economic Gardening® — growing
existing businesses in a community, region or state — GrowFL is a critical component of the state’s
economic development strategy and Florida’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. GrowFL is certified by the
National Center for Economic Gardening through the Edward Lowe Foundation. Website:
About the Edward Lowe Foundation:
Established in 1985, the Edward Lowe Foundation is a national, nonprofit organization that supports
entrepreneurship through research, recognition and educational programs, which are delivered
through entrepreneur support organizations (ESOs). The foundation focuses on second-stage
companies — those that have moved beyond the startup phase and seek significant, steady growth.
In addition, the foundation has a second mission of land stewardship and is committed to preserving
the natural resources and historically significant structures at Big Rock Valley, its 2,000-acre home in
southwest Michigan.