Category Archives: Award Winners

Small Business of the Month award winners.


LRH Chief Operating Officer Danielle Drummond Named One of Nation’s Top 25 COOs in Healthcare

Danielle%20DrummondLakeland, FL – Lakeland Regional Health is pleased to share that Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Danielle Drummond, MS, FACHE, is named one of the nation’s Top 25 COOs in Healthcare by Modern Healthcare.

Editors of the publication, a leading national source of news and information for healthcare executives, selected Ms. Drummond for her leadership and sustained contribution to the healthcare industry.

“This year’s class of the Top 25 COOs in Healthcare recognizes executives who have been pivotal to record growth and quality improvement for providers and payers,” said Aurora Aguilar, Editor of Modern Healthcare. “The COO is responsible for navigating all arms of the business, standardizing practices and getting staff to buy in.”

The award honors chief operating officers for working in the complex business of healthcare while delivering top results in quality, safety and efficiency.

“We are deeply proud of Ms. Drummond and the collaborative ways she leads our team to ensure that Lakeland Regional Health efficiently delivers world-class healthcare,” said Elaine C. Thompson, PhD, FACHE, Lakeland Regional Health President and CEO. “She cultivates an environment of innovation and transformation, mindfully placing the patient and family at the heart of all she does.”

Accomplishments at Lakeland Regional Health under Ms. Drummond’s collaborative direction include:

  • Nimble and successful leadership as Incident Commander as the eye of Hurricane Irma passed directly over Lakeland.
  • Recruitment of more than 180 physicians and advanced practitioners brought critically needed healthcare providers to Polk County.
  • Maintenance of a strong operating margin to manage provision of care with an engaged and productive workforce, despite increasing patient volumes, a decline in state Medicaid reimbursement rates, and unplanned personnel expenses incurred during Hurricane Irma.
  • Reorganization of the cardiothoracic service line and construction of a bi-planar suite, where complex neurosurgical interventional procedures can be performed for the first time in Polk County, ensuring the availability of these critical lifesaving services in Polk County.
  • Construction and operationalization of the 32-bed Bannasch Institute for Advanced Rehabilitation Medicine.
  • Oversight of innovative capital projects, including the Carol Jenkins Barnett Pavilion for Women and Children, Hollis Cancer Center and Grasslands Campus.
  • Launch of Gemba, a LEAN-management philosophy, which produced a 28.5% improvement in central line infection rates and 15.2% in falls rates; and reduced readmission rates over the prior year of 16.0% for congestive heart failure, 23.7% for COPD, and 27.4% for pneumonia.

Ms. Drummond joins a prestigious list of COOs, including Dr. Kevin Churchwell of Boston Children’s Hospital, Samuel Hazen of HCA Healthcare, Robert Allen of InterMountain Healthcare, and Dr. Laura Forese, of New York-Presbyterian. For a complete list, visit

About Lakeland Regional Health

Not-for-profit Lakeland Regional Health reaches beyond its hospital walls to promote wellness, education and discovery in new places and new ways, providing a wide range of inpatient and outpatient healthcare services at its Medical Center, Hollis Cancer Center and ambulatory care locations. Lakeland Regional Health earned Most Wired Advanced and Most Wired status four times since 2013 from the American Hospital Association and has earned workplace awards from Forbes, Gallup and Becker’s Hospital Review. Its 849-bed comprehensive tertiary referral hospital, Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center, operates a Level II Trauma Center, a Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, the Bannasch Institute for Advanced Rehabilitation Medicine and the nation’s busiest single site Emergency Department.

About Modern Healthcare

This weekly print magazine, websites, e-newsletters, mobile products and events is ranked No 1 in readership among healthcare executives. Modern Healthcare leads the market in editorial excellence and has received awards from the American Society of Business Publication Editors, American Society of Healthcare Publication Editors, Trade Association and Business Publications International and the Association of Health Care Journalists, affirming Modern Healthcare’s status as a top source for healthcare business and policy news, research and information.

8th grader at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy will represent Polk County at national competition.

Local Teen to Represent Polk County at National Competition

Local Teen to Represent Polk County at National Competition

More than $70,000 in scholarships to be awarded

LAKELAND, FL – April 27, 2018 – The Young Entrepreneurs Academy will host its 10th Annual Saunders Scholars National Conference and Competition on May 4, 2018.

Student semifinalists from YEA! chapters across the country will travel to the Rochester Institute of Technology to present their business ideas to a panel of judges.

Saunders Scholars is funded by entrepreneur and philanthropist E. Philip Saunders who began paving his business dreams while working at his dad’s gas station as a teenager. He recognized the need to provide truck drivers with more than just a fill up. He went on to create a national chain of truck stops known as Travel Centers of America.



Sachin Sivakumar, 8th grader and local YEA! Semifinalist (YEA! Polk)

Lawton Chiles Middle Academy, Lakeland, FL

Star Scout, Boy Scout Troop 711

8th grader at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy will represent Polk County at national competition.

8th grader at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy will represent Polk County at national competition.


Sachin was selected to compete in the final competition after successfully pitching his business concept to local business leaders in the YEA! Semifinals, or Shark Tank, held on April 4, 2018, at Southeastern University.


His business, ScoutVenture, involves solving for a common problem faced by many Boy Scouts. ScoutVenture is an app that helps Boy Scout Troops manage themselves and plan for the future.


Sachin travels to New York on Thursday, May 3 but is available for interviews Monday through Wednesday upon request.

MEDIA CONTACT:          Rebecca Fortier, (863) 688-8551, ext. 229, or cell (863) 221-2678,

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THE YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS ACADEMY (YEA!)                                                YEA! Is a national non-profit organization that teaches and empowers students ages 11 to 18 to launch and run their own real, small businesses through an exciting, projects-based program. Founded in 2004 with support from the Kauffman Foundation, today YEA! has empowered over 9,000 students at over 100 locations across the United States with international classes underway in India and Shanghai. YEA! graduates have been featured on TV’s hit show Shark Tank, raised tens of millions of dollars in seed capital, won millions of dollars in college scholarships, have been featured in the nation’s top publications, from The New York Times to Forbes Magazine, and have graduated from top business schools and colleges including the Harvard Business School, Wharton, Stanford, Cornell, RIT, Saunders, Simon, among others.

YEA! provides young people with the ability to recognize opportunities and shows them the power of their potential. YEA! students learn the magic formula on how to transform an idea—their idea—into an enterprise that creates value. YEA! teaches students how to unleash their imagination by introducing them to the formula of entrepreneurial success—at an early age.


Each year, students from every YEA! site across the country compete to be named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneur and win college scholarships at the YEA! Saunders Scholars National Competition. The Saunders Scholars program is named for and supported by Rochester area business magnate E. Philip Saunders. In 2008, the Saunders Foundation awarded YEA! a transformational gift to provide young entrepreneurs, innovators and inventors an opportunity to earn significant college scholarship awards.

Lakeland Chamber of Commerce

The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce represents 1,400 member businesses in the Lakeland area and provides opportunities for networking, professional development and advocacy for companies of all sizes. Five-Star Accredited by the US Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber upholds the following vision and mission statements:

Vision Statement

The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce will be the premier catalyst for the advancement of Lakeland’s economic growth and enhancement of quality of life– creating Florida’s community of choice.

Mission Statement

The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce is the leading organization dedicated to creating a climate where business can prosper.

Pictured in photo left to right:  Alexander Thomas, Miracle Murff, Zyad Elmasri, Skyler Hollinger, Om Taropawala, Sachin Sivakumar, Grant Gable, Shelby Claville.


Shark Tank Students1

LAKELAND, FLORIDA (April 10, 2018) — Students from the Young Entrepreneurs Academy of Polk County (YEA! Polk) were awarded start-up funding to launch their businesses after pitching to a panel of local investors.

The event featured eight students, from middle through high school ages, all from Polk County, who are members of the 2017-18 Young Entrepreneur Academy of Polk, or YEA! Polk. They pitched their business ideas and plans to four local investors who would decide whether their ventures were worth funding.

The panel included community business leaders – Dr. Lyle Bowlin, Jannetides College of Business & Entrepreneurial Leadership at Southeastern University; Craig Hosking, Maximize Digital Media; Kate Lake, My Office & More; and, Harold M. McLeod, III, SunTrust – and awarded $6,500 in funding.

Here’s how the teen business owners fared:

  • Alexander Thomas, 14-year-old high school freshman and CEO of Aerial Perspective, a drone photography and videography service, was awarded $1,300.
  • Zyad Elmasri, 8th grader at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy and CEO of Drink I.D., a dial label that can be put on cans or cups during parties that will help distinguish one can from another, was awarded $500.
  • Miracle Murff, graduating senior at Polk State Gateway to College High School and owner of HelpMate, a service that connects local small businesses with those in need, was awarded $200.
  • Om Taropawala, 7th grader at All Saints Academy and owner of InnovaTutors, a better way to tutor students using the students and teachers themselves as leaders, was awarded $500.
  • Grant Gable, 11th grader at Lake Wales IB and CEO of Just Ball, a basketball rebound netting, was awarded $925.
  • Sachin Sivakumar, 8th grader at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy and owner of ScoutVenture, an app for Boy Scout Troops that helps Scouts manage themselves and plan for the future, was awarded $1,600.
  • Shelby Claville, graduating senior at Mulberry High School and CEO of ToGoGo, a catering delivery service, was awarded $225.
  • Skyler Hollinger, 7th grader at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy and CEO of UniqueForm, a company providing a better manufactured uniform that “Grows with the student,” was awarded $1,250.

Sachin Sivakumar of ScoutVenture was selected to represent the local Polk County Chapter at the YEA! Saunders Scholars National Competition in Rochester, New York in May. He will compete against almost 300 other semi-finalists – the best of the best. Skyler Hollinger of UniqueForm was selected as runner-up. The Annual YEA! Saunders Scholars Semi-Finals competition will kick off May 4 in Rochester, New York.

The students all attend a weekly class on the campus of Southeastern University for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy to learn business practices and strategies. The classes began in October and will end in May with a graduation ceremony.

The direct mission of the Academy is to help students embrace their passion, energy, creativity and talents, and view entrepreneurship as synonymous with success and freedom. The magic is that the Academy teaches kids to believe in themselves, to think big, and to understand that they can achieve anything they set their minds to.  In the process, students learn as much about leadership and self-empowerment as they do about planning, budgeting, and production.  Students in the Academy discover in themselves confidence, optimism, and capabilities they never knew they had.

Applications for the 2018-19 academic year of the Academy are available now:

The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce manages the Young Entrepreneurs Academy locally. Students are introduced to all facets of the business world including, but not limited to, advertising, attorneys, graphic designers and web developers. Students work in close cooperation with local business leaders, community leaders and educators who use their personal experiences to demonstrate how to transform their ideas into tangible enterprises that create economic and social value for a better world.

YEA! is made possible by our Investor Sponsors:  Allen & Company of Florida, Inc., Jannetides College of Business & Entrepreneurial Leadership at Southeastern University, Lakeland Chamber Foundation, Publix Super Markets, Inc., and SunTrust; and our Scholarship Sponsors:   Citrus Center Kiwanis, Maximize Digital Media, Mulberry Community Service Center, Suncoast Credit Union, and Got Candy & More! The YEA! Sponsors and the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce are helping to build the next generation of business leaders in Polk County.

To learn more about YEA! visit, or for information on our local chapter, please visit

Lakeland Chamber of Commerce

The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce represents 1,400 member businesses in the Lakeland area and provides opportunities for networking, professional development and advocacy for companies of all sizes. Five-Star Accredited by the US Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber upholds the following vision and mission statements:

Vision Statement

The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce will be the premier catalyst for the advancement of Lakeland’s economic growth and enhancement of quality of life– creating Florida’s community of choice.

Mission Statement

The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce is the leading organization dedicated to creating a climate where business can prosper.

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is a 501(C) 3 offering groundbreaking year-long classes that teach middle and high school students how to start and run their own businesses. Throughout the class, students develop business ideas, write business plans, conduct market research, pitch their plans to a panel of investors for startup funds, and launch and run their own, fully formed companies and social movements. The project-based program empowers students to take charge of their futures.

Founded in 2004 at the University of Rochester with support from the Kauffman Foundation, YEA! today serves thousands of students nationwide. In 2011, the United States Chamber of Commerce Foundation became a national sponsor and partner of the Academy to help celebrate the spirit of enterprise among today’s youth and tomorrow’s future leaders.

YEA! bridges the business and educational communities to fulfill its mission of teaching more students how to make a job, not just take a job. YEA! is made possible by The Kauffman Foundation, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the E. Philip Saunders Foundation. For more information, visit

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is dedicated to strengthening America’s long-term competitiveness and educating the public on how the free enterprise system improves society and the economy.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.




The Florida Association of Chamber Professionals (FACP) recognized Florida’s top chambers of commerce throughout the state for their outstanding achievement and dedication to the industry. The awards were presented at the organization’s Annual Conference, held November 14-16, 2017, at the beautiful One Ocean Resort & Spa in Atlantic Beach.

Among the recognition given were the Certified Plus Designations. In, 2003, FACP implemented the distinction of Florida Certified Chamber to recognize standards of professional excellence in Florida. In 2012, the association enhanced its certification program to include a Certified Plus designation, for chambers of commerce that score an 86 or above during the judging process or are an Accredited Chamber through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Both the Certified and Certified Plus designations recognize chambers that have met high standards and strengthened free enterprise by protecting the business environment.

This year, Lakeland Chamber of Commerce, Putnam County Chamber of Commerce, Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce, Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce and South Tampa Chamber of Commerce received the Certified Plus Chamber status. The Lakeland, Putnam County, Daytona Regional and Winter Haven Chambers of Commerce are Accredited Chambers of Commerce through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the South Tampa Chamber is a newly-Certified Plus chamber.

This year’s inductees join a long list of Certified and Certified Plus Chambers in Florida, representing the pinnacle standards of excellence in Organization Management, Service Intent and Capacity, Professional Administration, Financial Management, and Marketing/Public Relations. For a complete list, please visit and search under the Member Directory tab.

“The Florida Association of Chamber Professionals congratulates the recipients of this prestigious distinction,” said Tammy C. Bracewell, President of FACP.  “We are proud of each Chamber’s dedication and commitment to excellence within the business community.  The Certified Chamber of Commerce program sets standards within the industry and recognizes chambers that have met those standards while offering guidelines for those to improve their effectiveness.  In many ways, it is like the good housekeeping seal of approval for a chamber of commerce.”

The Certified Chamber of Commerce program is designed to promote the public awareness of the intent of the Chamber of Commerce brand as a not for profit community development based business membership organization.

FACP is a statewide organization whose mission is “Advancing excellence in chamber management” and whose vision is “Enhancing Florida’s business communities by cultivating successful chamber professionals.”

For more information, contact Tammy Bracewell, President, FACP, at 1-800-226-3269 or via email


Hamic Previte & Sturwold P.A. Selected to Seminole 100 List

Hamic Previte & Sturwold, P.A. was named to Florida State University’s inaugural Seminole 100 and will be formally recognized at a ceremony on Saturday, March 3, 2018 at FSU’s University Center Club.

Presented by Florida State University, the Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship, the FSU Alumni Association and Inc. magazine, the Seminole 100 recognizes the 100 fastest-growing businesses owned by FSU alumni. Inc. magazine, using the criteria they developed for their annual Inc. 5000 list, calculated each company’s compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) over the past three years to generate the ranking.

Hamic Previte & Sturwold, P.A. is a tax, accounting, and advisory firm that has provided personalized service in a wide range of financial environments for more than five decades. Both Steve Hamic, managing partner, and James Previte, vice president and shareholder, are proud FSU alumni. The partners credit recent firm growth to providing comprehensive compliance strategies tailored to meet their clients’ financial needs. “Tax Compliance is more than preparing filings and meeting deadlines,” said James Previte. “We continually strive to provide our clients with proactive planning and customized approaches that maximize their ability to achieve their intended goals.” Hamic Previte & Sturwold, P.A. has offices located in Lakeland and Dade City, Florida.

“We consider this recognition a great honor that showcases our growth and achievement among a field of outstanding businesses across the country,” said Steve Hamic. “As alumni, this distinction is particularly significant to us.”

“The Seminole 100 is an important initiative that recognizes entrepreneurial excellence,” said Randy Blass, executive director of the Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship. “It is open to all companies owned by FSU alumni that meet eligibility criteria and recognizes those that are achieving growth, innovating, and making a difference in their communities.”

For more information on Hamic Previte & Sturwold, P.A. and a full list of services offered, visit or call 863.682.5151.