Category Archives: Announcements


Chad McLeod Announces Run for Lakeland City Commission

Chad McLeod Announces Run for Lakeland City Commission

Lakeland business owner to seek at-large seat on Nov. 5

LAKELAND, Fla. (April 16, 2019) – Lakeland business owner and Polk County native Chad McLeod today announced his campaign for the Lakeland City Commission at-large seat. McLeod is the owner of McLeod Communications, a public relations and communications consulting firm based in downtown Lakeland. He filed pre-qualification documents with the city clerk’s office on Monday.

“I’m excited to announce my candidacy for the Lakeland City Commission,” McLeod said. “When I think about what’s ahead for Lakeland, it’s a promising time for our community and important that we have strong leadership. I look forward over the next few months to meeting with my fellow residents, hearing their ideas and sharing my vision for our city.”



Chad McLeod is a business owner and the president of McLeod Communications, a PR and communications firm based in downtown Lakeland. He works with organizations at the local, state and national levels on communication strategy, media relations, issues management and more. Since starting the firm six years ago, he has worked with companies such as AAA, Auto Club Group Traffic Safety Foundation, TECO Energy and many others.

Born in Bartow, Chad is the son of the late Nolan McLeod, who was a Bartow police officer for 22 years and the police chief in Auburndale until 2012. Chad worked for U.S. Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL) for five years, traveling the state and meeting with community leaders. He spent two years as the senator’s Southwest Florida Regional Director, where he worked on issues such as housing and urban development, agriculture, the environment and more.

Chad is a past president of the Florida Public Relations Association, Tampa Bay Chapter, and also served for two years on the FPRA State Executive Committee, helping to direct the organization’s strategy, budget and membership. He is a cancer survivor and is involved with advocacy efforts for Moffitt Cancer Center’s Adolescent and Young Adult Program. Chad is married to Erin Larson McLeod, who grew up in Plant City and graduated from Lakeland Christian School. They are active members of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Lakeland and live near Lake Hollingsworth with their children.


Service Industry Executive Harvey L. Massey Speaks at Florida Southern on Business Leadership

LAKELAND (April 11, 2019) – The Barney Barnett School of Business and Free Enterprise at Florida Southern College today welcomed Harvey L. Massey, Chairman and CEO of Massey Services, Inc., to give an executive lecture on the topic of “Leadership Lessons” during a luncheon event in the George W. Jenkins Field House on the FSC campus.

Mr. Massey is an industry leader with more than 55 years of experience in the service business, having started his career in 1963 and being steadily promoted to management and executive positions with Orkin Pest Control and Terminix International.

In 1985, Mr. Massey bought an Orlando-based extermination company, renaming it Massey Services, Inc. in 1987. Under his leadership, Massey Services, Inc. has grown to become the largest privately held family company in the industry. Mr. Massey’s company “has been blessed with 34 years of profitable growth,” he added.

“Mr. Massey represents the essence of success in our Free Enterprise system,” said Dr. James W. Fenton, Jr., dean of the Barney Barnett School of Business and Free Enterprise. “He is the epitome of a successful entrepreneur who grew a weak business to become the fifth largest pest control company in the nation. You could not ask for a better role model for our students than what Harvey Massey represents. We were fortunate enough today to have him on our campus, lending his insights and executive experience to our students and the public at the luncheon.”

The business Mr. Massey bought was 55 years old, having been founded in 1930, and had just four offices in central Florida. “The two years before I purchased the business, 1983 and 1984, the company did not make money; it lost money,” Mr. Massey said. “To date, we have expanded from four service centers to 142 service centers in seven states, and are running approximately 1,900 vehicles a day servicing 600,000 customers.”

To explain his company’s success, Mr. Massey said, “Above all, we believe in outstanding quality service, from our people and from our company overall. First-class quality service is still, and always has been, non-negotiable with us.” Speaking to a large audience of business students, faculty members, and friends of the College, Mr. Massey also stressed, “There isn’t any such thing as a permanent business model, because you and I never stop changing. Our wants, needs, and expectations never stop changing.”

During his presentation, Mr. Massey shared two inspirational ideas from statesman Winston Churchill that have guided his personal approach to business. On the topic of philanthropy and giving, Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” In concluding his talk, Mr. Massey also reminded his audience, “Success is not final; failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that truly counts.”


About Florida Southern College

Founded in 1883, Florida Southern College is the oldest private 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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Peace River Center to Host Free Mental Health First Aid Course on May 15 in Lakeland

Lakeland, FL – Peace River Center is offering a free Mental Health First Aid course on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at its Lakeland Crisis Campus, 715 North Lake Avenue, Lakeland, FL 33801. Made possible thanks to funding from The GiveWell Community Foundation, the Mental Health First Aid course teaches attendees how to help someone who may be experiencing a mental health or substance use challenge. Like CPR, Mental Health First Aid prepares participants to interact with a person in crisis and connect the person with help. First Aiders do not diagnose or provide any counseling or therapy. Instead, the program offers concrete tools and answers key questions like, “What do I do?” and, “Where can someone find help?”

Taught by Peace River Center’s certified instructor, this public education program introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs, builds an understanding of their impact and overviews appropriate supports. This course uses role-playing and simulations to demonstrate how to offer initial help in a mental health crisis and connect people to the appropriate professional, peer, social and self-help care. The program also teaches common risk factors and warning signs of specific illnesses like anxiety, depression, substance use, bipolar disorder, eating disorders and schizophrenia. The course materials and lunch are provided for free, but space is limited. To register visit

Organizations interested in having a larger group of staff members, volunteers, or other constituents trained in Mental Health First Aid can request training and even break the session into two 4-hour courses if desired. For more information on scheduling Mental Health First Aid visit

Peace River Center

Peace River Center is a licensed and accredited, non-profit provider of mental health, substance use and integrated medical services serving Polk, Highlands and Hardee counties. Peace River Center provides options for people struggling with mental health and addiction, for children and adults coping with the trauma of abuse and violence, crisis intervention for people in acute need, and housing and community support and integration for people affected by domestic violence or whose recovery requires more support and time. Peace River Center offers inpatient, outpatient, home-, school- and community-based services, telehealth and mobile programs to individuals, groups and families. Peace River Center’s dedicated and compassionate staff of more than 400 operate 36 programs out of 27 locations and provide 24/7 emergency psychiatric response services to the community through the mobile psychiatric Crisis Response Team. In FY2018, Peace River Center had contact with and provided services to more than 23,000 children, adolescents, adults and seniors. For more information visit


PCPS Announces Upcoming Hiring Events, Including May 4 Job Fair

The next few weeks are packed with opportunities for job hunters.

Polk County Public Schools is hosting a “transfer” job fair for our existing teachers this Saturday, April 13.

Next Wednesday (April 17), we’re hosting an online chat and virtual job fair exclusively for school counselors interested in a career with PCPS.

Our main teacher recruitment event of the season will take place during a job fair on Saturday, May 4 in Lakeland. We’ll be conducting interviews and making job offers on site as we hire teachers for the 2019-20 school year.

Please see the flyers below for details on each event.

This is a busy time of year for PCPS recruiters, who have spent the past few months traveling throughout the state and country to secure top talent. As all school districts face the challenges of a nationwide teacher shortage, PCPS is refining our approach to attracting and retaining educators.

“This year we’re taking a personalized approach to recruiting,” says Jessica Solano, a former Polk County and Florida Teacher of the Year who now serves as our Teacher Engagement Leader.

Solano notes that PCPS is embracing online chats and virtual job fairs as one way to reach this generation of tech-savvy teachers, in a way that respects their time and reduces the need to travel.

“We are trying to understand the generation that will be teaching our students and the needs of all of our new teachers as they start a job with us,” Solano said. “Our office is constantly seeking ways to make our candidates feel seen, heard, and appreciated; and continue to uphold that standard through teacher engagement initiatives once they come on board.”

When it comes to job fairs and other traditional hiring venues, PCPS is using data to focus our efforts (outside of Florida) on talent-rich states like Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan.

Once new employees are on board, Solano and our HR team are waiting to assist them with resources that include new teacher seminars and peer mentoring programs.

“We’re bringing teachers in to a community that’s ready to support them,” Solano says. “We want to help them take teaching from a job to a career.”

For more information, visit our Employment page here, or click here for our Recruitment page. You can also follow our HR team on Twitter at @pcpsrecruitment and @teachengagepcps.

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Citizens Bank & Trust Shifts Roles; Makes New Hire

LAKE WALES, FL – Citizens Bank & Trust is pleased to announce changes to our mortgage lending team and two new office managers.

Amanda Ambrose Hurls, former VP Office Manager at the Winterset Branch has been named VP Residential Lending Officer. Amanda will now be based out of the Lake Wales Office. Vaughn McAshan, VP Office Manager is the new Office Manager at Winterset.

Mark Shapiro, former Residential Lending Officer has been named Office Manager of the new South Lakeland Office set to open in May.

Alexandra Lee, has joined Citizens Bank & Trust as VP Office Manager at the Downtown Lakeland Office. Alex has been in the banking industry for 13 years here in her hometown of Lakeland and is currently in her 7th year of service on the Explorations V Children’s Museum Board.

“We’re excited about these management changes, as well as the addition of Alex to our team. Leadership is crucial to the service and commitment that we expect to provide our customers and we could not be in better hands with these fine folks”, said Citizens Bank & Trust President Greg Littleton.

Citizens Bank and Trust, founded in 1920 in Frostproof, Florida, is a full service financial institution providing   personal and commercial banking deposit and loan products, along with Trust & Investment services. Branches are located in Auburndale, Bartow, Dundee, Frostproof, Haines City, Lake Wales, Lakeland and Winter Haven. For more information on Citizens Bank and Trust visit