All posts by Cory Skeates


Chastain Honored at Florida Engineering Society Banquet

Dr. Jim Chastain’s inventive work on several engineering projects was recognized publically at the Florida Engineering Society’s 2011 Ridge Chapter’s Annual Awards Banquet, when the Society presented him with the Outstanding Technical Achievement Award.

The Outstanding Technical Achievement Award is given to someone who has made an innovative technical achievement that has enhanced the engineering profession and made a positive impact on the public.  “It is an honor to receive this award,” said Dr. Chastain.  “This is a reflection of a number of innovative projects that we’ve worked on over the years in which we’ve applied new research or computational techniques to create better solutions for our clients.”

Dr. Jim Chastain, PE is president of Chastain-Skillman, Inc. and is responsible for the management of all corporate operations and provides oversight of environmental and public health projects at Chastain-Skillman, Inc.  He is a Diplomate of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and an IPEP Qualified Environmental Professional.

Chastain-Skillman, Inc. (CSI) is a consulting firm of design and public health professionals that has been an integral part of Central Florida for over sixty years where it has contributed significantly to the development of Polk County.  CSI offers engineering, surveying and environmental/occupational health & safety services and has offices in Lakeland, Tampa, Sebring and Tallahassee.  For more information, please visit


Charter High School Events to Raise Funds for Scholarships

Chain of Lakes Collegiate High School on the Winter Haven campus of Polk State College is sponsoring two fundraising events on Wednesday, April 20, 2011. According to principal Bridget Fetter, proceeds from a cake auction and test drive event will directly benefit students at the high school.

The cake auction takes place in the Student Center from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. to raise funds for the Amber Shaw Memorial Scholarship, which was established by the National Honor Society in memory of a former student. According to Fetter, there are three ways to bid on the cakes: online at, via phone at 863-298-6800, or in person. As an “added bonus,” Fetter noted, the first 100 people to bid in person will receive a free cupcake.

That same day Winter Haven Chrysler Dodge Jeep will conduct a test drive event to benefit the school’s Booster Club, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the Fine Arts Auditorium parking lot. The Booster Club’s funds will be dedicated to the Chain of Lakes Collegiate High School student activity account, enhancing student life at the school. According to Fetter, the local dealership has pledged $20 to the Club for every licensed driver 18 years or older who completes a test drive during the event.

For more information on either event or to learn more about the charter school, call (863) 298-6800.


New Ways to Benefit From Chamber’s Web Site!

The Chamber’s Web site,, attracts both consumers and businesses in search of information about our community and local businesses.

Several members are experiencing tremendous results due to increased exposure on the Chamber Web site. To support members seeking additional opportunities to promote their businesses and target their audiences, the Chamber has asked Internet Marketing Consultant Jason Balchunas to meet with members to discuss our Web site marketing program.

The Chamber Web site, which is offering great value to members, delivers more exposure for your business, and drives more opportunities to you. Now is a great time to increase your visibility on the Chamber’s Web site, strengthen your connection to the Chamber, and demonstrate your commitment to our community.There are options for businesses of all sizes!

A limited number of premium marketing positions are available and special discounts have been made available through May 6.  Advertising spaces are filling quickly – take advantage of this opportunity to increase your exposure AND save money doing it. To learn more, contact Jason Balchunas at or call him at (877) 231-4970 Ext. 144.


Chick-fil-A Leadercast May 6

Stinson Carpets and The Rock Community Church invites you to attend a one day seminar on Leadership.  We are sponsoring the Chick-fil-A Leadercast at 270 East Highlands Drive, Lakeland, FL 33813.

Use your leadership voice to impact lives around you.  Broadcast LIVE from Atlanta, GA to hundreds of sites throughout North America on Friday, May 6, Chick-fil-A Leadercast offers a unique opportunity to learn from the world’s most influential voices:

  • Seth Godin: Renowned marketing blogger & author
  • Robin Roberts: Anchor of ABC’s Good Morning America
  • John Maxwell: Leadership expert & best-selling author
  • Dave Ramsey: Author of The Total Money Makeover
  • Sir Ken Robinson: Best-selling author on creativity
  • Dan Cathy: President & COO of Chick-fil-A, Inc.
  • Muhtar Kent: CEO of The Coca-Cola Company
  • Suzy Welch: Best-selling author, television commentator, and journalist
  • Mack Brown: Head Coach of the Texas Longhorns
  • Erin Gruwell: Founder of Freedom Writers Foundation
  • Frans Johansson: Renowned author, The Medici Effect

You will learn:

– How to lead based on respect and relationship rather than rights and position.

– The difference between dynamic leadership and mediocre management.

– Ways to move past the brainstorming phase to actually implement ideas.

– How to provide exceptional customer service and create a culture of servant-hood.

– The keys to finding your passion and unlocking creativity in your workplace.

– Way to incorporate innovation in your organization.

Your voice is a voice of change, and change creates new possibilities.

Cost is $50.00 per person, which includes lunch.  Registration starts at 8:15, event  starts at 9:00am and goes through 4:30pm.  You can register online at or contact Mark Watson at (863) 665-4434.   To learn more about this event, go to


Southeastern University SIFE Chapter Advances to National Competition

Nine Southeastern University students who represent a service organization’s local chapter — fresh from victory in a regional competition where they showcased their chapter’s successes in the greater Lakeland area — will advance to a national competition next month in Minnesota.

The organization is Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE), a non-profit international entity with about 1,500 university chapters that use business concepts to help their local community. The concepts are: evaluate the situation, determine the need, design and carry out a project to fit the need, measure the project’s scope, and evaluate the results.

Southeastern’s SIFE team advances to the 2011 USA National Exposition to face off against victorious university teams from 11 other regionals that were held throughout the U.S. in recent weeks. The Exposition is set for May 10-12 in Minneapolis; the winner there will go on to international competition in Malaysia in October. At each level, business leaders serve as judges.

About four dozen Southeastern students actively participate in SIFE. Faculty co-advisor Timothy Welch, an associate professor in the College of Business & Legal Studies, describes them as “a group of students who work together on service projects to improve the lives of others. It’s all about empowering people to improve their situation.”

The regional competition that Southeastern’s SIFE team aced was held in Atlanta on April 4th. Aided by a multi-media presentation, they gave a 24-minute oral overview of what Southeastern SIFE students have done this school year to help the community through nine service projects that encompassed a total of 5,000+ hours. Judging was based on the quality of the students’ presentation, and the quality/results of the service projects.

Among those nine projects, Southeastern students said they:

  • Befriended and mentored more than two dozen boys and girls who live in a nearby residential program that serves abused, abandoned and troubled children.
  • Donated 5,000 pounds of food to a local food pantry.
  • Helped a homeless-shelter resident seek a job by helping her create a resume, coaching her on interview skills, and driving her to interviews.
  • Worked with economically-struggling small businesses along a major thoroughfare that had been closed, thereby forcing potential customers to a bypass; Southeastern SIFE students helped the businesses set up online marketing such as Facebook, Twitter, and web sites to market their products and services on the information highway.

Professor Welch said Southeastern’s SIFE team raises money to support their activities and travel by participating in sponsored events such as a 5K run, and seeks donations from businesses and individuals. Donations may be sent to Southeastern University, Development Office, 1000 Longfellow Blvd., Lakeland, Fla. 33801; checks should be payable to the university and have “SIFE” specified in the memo field.

Southeastern University has more than 2,800 students. It is a private, liberal arts school accredited to offer 44 programs leading to bachelor’s degrees and nine programs leading to master’s degrees. For more information, call (863) 667-5000, email, or go online to