All posts by Cory Skeates


Bonnet Springs Park Receives Major Gift From Hollis Family

Lakeland, FL., January 14, 2020 – The Hollis Family, one of the most philanthropic families of Lakeland, announced a generous legacy gift today to fund the Bonnet Springs Park Welcome Center, set to open in 2021. First impressions are lasting impressions, especially for first-time visitors of Bonnet Springs Park. The two-story, 14,670 square-foot building will be the first of many to be built on the former Lakeland railyard site of 180 acres.

“Lakeland has been very important to our family for over one hundred years, and this is another opportunity for our family to be involved in this transformational project for the city of Lakeland, where our community has sought to improve our landscape. We are fortunate to be able to be involved with such a project,” said Lynn Hollis.

The Hollis Family Welcome Center is the flagship building for the park and the first of many beautifully designed spaces that visitors will first encounter upon arrival at Bonnet Springs Park. Hollis Family Welcome Center will feature a full-service restaurant with a chef-driven menu, regionally relevant selections, and contemporary food options that create the opportunity for a one-of-a-kind dining experience. The restaurant will serve lunch and dinner in an elegant and comfortable destination setting with views to the AgAmerica Heritage Gardens. The second floor of the Hollis Family Welcome Center will feature an exhibition space and administrative offices. The exhibit space will highlight Florida’s citrus legacy and the history of the railroad, prior to its reclamation by Bonnet Springs Park, the rail yard was the economic engine for the growth of Polk County in the late 1800’s, and the largest train repair yard in the state of Florida.

“The Hollis Family name is synonymous with generosity, vision for the community, and bringing beauty and well being to Lakeland. Their participation in this legacy park continues this storied history,” said Bill Tinsley, CEO of Bonnet Springs Park.

Bonnet Springs Park aims to enrich the community by combining and promoting the use of nature, culture, recreation, and education in the area. The Hollis Family Welcome Center will support the community by providing a space to escape, engage, and explore the area all while visitors learn about the extraordinary history of Central Florida’s founding industries.


About Bonnet Springs Park

Bonnet Springs Park is a blended urban/natural 180-acre park centrally located in Lakeland, Florida. Bonnet Springs Park is designed to create spaces to escape, engage, and explore while experiencing and learning about the extraordinary history of Central Florida. The park is slated for completion in 2021. Bonnet Springs Park is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization with a mission to enrich the community through nature, culture, recreation, and education. The Park serves to unify Central Florida’s diverse population, offering public spaces that serve the needs of many by providing engaging and unique opportunities in education and recreation to residents and visitors. The vision of Bonnet Springs Park is to be a place within walking distance to our city’s urban core where art, recreation, fun, and tranquility intersect by design.


We encourage you to learn more about this one of a kind project by visiting: 

web: | FB: @BonnetSpringsPark | IG: @bonnetspringspark | Vimeo: | LinkedIn:



2nd Annual Lakeland Entrepreneur Awards

LAKELAND, FL (January 8th, 2020) — Catapult will be hosting the 2nd annual
Lakeland Entrepreneur Awards on January 28th, 2020, to highlight the city’s
entrepreneurs. The event will take place from 5:30pm-8pm at Haus 820, ( 820 N
Massachusetts Ave, Lakeland).
At the event, three awards will be given to honor the impact of entrepreneurs and
those who support them in our community. The ceremony will consist of a cocktail
hour, dinner, award delegation, and keynote speaker: Troy Carter.
Troy Carter is an entrepreneurial force that evolved from musician and legendary
talent manager to tech mogul, VC visionary, executive producer and member of the
Billboard Power 100. Troy Carter has early invested in some of the most famous
startups including Uber, Spotify, Dropbox, and more.


SPCA Florida Partners with Maine Shelters to Save Lives

SPCA Florida volunteers will depart Sunday, January 19th, to drive 40+ homeless cats and kittens to their new home in Maine. In partnership with Maine no-kill shelters, staff and volunteers will welcome the cats and kittens on Monday, January 20th. The felines will be fully vetted and spayed or neutered according to an agreement between the no-kill organizations.

“We are very pleased with this partnership. Here in Maine, many people have pets and the culture of pet adoption is very strong. Cats, – especially kittens – are adopted very quickly. In fact, there is often a line outside our Adoption Center doors the morning kittens become available. Together with SPCA Florida, we’re able to save even more lives and help more Mainers find their new feline family member,” said Jen Adkins, Animal Welfare Society Transport Program Manager.  Transports to approved shelters in northern states who need kittens is one-way SPCA Florida is saving lives.

Kristen Mitchell, Transport Coordinator for Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland said, “We know that collaboration is the key to advancing animal welfare across the country and we are so proud to work with SPCA Florida to help pets in need. This live-saving journey will end with pets in loving homes here in Maine.” Additional collaborative efforts are underway that include partnerships in Maine, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Virginia, Ohio, and Illinois.

Brittni Flemming, SPCA Florida Operations Manager, stated, “The fact that everyone can work together for the good of the animals shows how far we have come and how much farther together we can go.”

SPCA Florida is asking for financial, foster, and adoption support. To help, go online at and donate, foster or check out our available dogs and cats.

About SPCA Florida

Founded in 1979, SPCA Florida is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization headquartered in Lakeland. Dedicated to improving the lives of pets and people in the community, SPCA Florida provides caring, compassion and hope to more than 6,000 homeless animals entering our doors each year. Open to the public, our McClurg Animal Medical Center is a state-of-the-art veterinary facility that heals and helps 50,000 patients annually. Thousands more pets and people are served through our community outreach and education programs.


Hill Ward Henderson Elects Two New Shareholders

TAMPA – Hill Ward Henderson is pleased to announce the election of two new shareholders: Matthew F. Hall and Zachary W. Watt. This election now brings the firm’s number of shareholders to 66, of 100 attorneys.

Hall is a member of the firm’s Litigation group. His practice primarily focuses on complex commercial litigation, insurance coverage disputes, management-side employment matters and federal court practice. The diversity of Hall’s practice is reflected in the diversity of the clients he represents: from Fortune 100 companies to large insurance companies to small and up-and-coming businesses to individuals. Hall has worked to obtain six-figure recoveries on behalf of his clients in breach of contract actions and successfully defended other clients from multi-million dollar claims of negligence. With his prior experience as a law clerk with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, Hall also assists the firm’s appellate practice group with high-profile federal court appeals. He received his J.D. magna cum laude from the University of Florida Levin College of Law and his B.A. cum laude from University of Massachusetts – Amherst. Matthew is also a veteran of the U.S. Army and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Watt is a member of the firm’s Corporate and Tax group. He advises clients on a variety of corporate and transactional matters, including commercial lending, securities, mergers and acquisitions and corporate governance. Watt has represented financial institutions and borrowers in numerous commercial lending transactions, including secured and unsecured revolving credit and term loan facilities, syndicated facilities, asset-based financings, acquisition financings, tax-exempt bond financings, and letter of credit issuances. He also represents companies in public offerings and private placements, preparation and review of SEC filings, other securities law compliance, and general governance matters. Watt received his J.D. from the Indiana University Maurer School of Law and B.A. from West Virginia University.

Hill Ward Henderson is a full-service law firm with multi-disciplinary practices. Headquartered in downtown Tampa, with over 100 attorneys, the firm has a wide range of local, regional and national clients. For additional information, please visit the firm’s website at


Best-Selling Author Jeff Goins to Speak at SEU Hosted Business Breakfast

LAKELAND, FLA. – The College of Arts & Media at Southeastern University will hold a business breakfast with best-selling author Jeff Goins on Friday, January 31. Goins will speak on introducing the principles of artistry into the workplace. The breakfast will take place at 7:30 a.m at First Presbyterian Church (175 Hollingsworth Drive) in Lakeland.

Goins is a noted author, speaker and writing coach. He has been featured in the Washington Post, USA Today, Entrepreneur, Forbes and Psychology Today. He is best known for his best-selling books, “The Art of Work” and “Real Artists Don’t Starve.” Goins also publishes an award-winning blog,

Additionally, Goins will be the keynote speaker for the Expressions Storytelling Institute and Writers’ Conference on January 31, held on the campus of Southeastern. 

This breakfast event is provided in partnership with the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce. The event is open to the public and the cost is $10. To purchase tickets, visit

For more information, contact the College of Arts & Media at