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Central Florida’s Longest Running Economic Forecasting Event Sets Date for Mid-January

LAKELAND, FLORIDA (November 26, 2018) – Allen & Company of Florida, Inc. and the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce present Economic Forecast Breakfast 2019, for the 32nd year, on Thursday, January 17, 2019, from 7 to 9 a.m., at the RP Funding Center. With change being the only constant over the last year – including decisions on trade, taxes, and immigration – the 2019 forecast promises to be one to watch for insights into your strategic planning.

Nationally recognized Chief Economist Brian Wesbury of First Trust Advisors, L.P., returns as our guest speaker for the 32nd annual Economic Forecast Breakfast 2019 sponsored by Allen & Company of Florida, Inc. You can plan on hearing a perspective that is steadfastly germane to the economies and politics of the world we live in delivered in a dynamic and unwavering style.

Allen & Company of Florida, Inc., the oldest investment firm in Florida, will continue to provide Continuing Education Credits for Florida Certified Financial Planners™ (CFP®s) for attending the 32nd Annual Breakfast. The morning event will be held at the RP Funding Center on Thursday, January 17, 2019. Florida CFP®s interested in earning up to 2.0 credits for the event must pre-register online. At the event, they must specify their intent at the Allen & Company registration desk and receive a form that will need to be authorized at the registration desk after the event.

“This forecast breakfast originated from the idea that independent business owners needed exposure to economic intelligence.  The macro level of material that Mr. Wesbury shares translates significant concepts into easily digestable, relevant data that paints an economic landscape for businesses both small and large”, comments Ralph Allen, Chairman of Allen & Company of Florida, Inc. He further comments, “each year I feel the same way, that this year is the most critical in our countries history, and this year is no different.”

The doors will open at 6:45 a.m. for registration and breakfast at the RP Funding Center. Please register online at lakelandchamber.com under the Events tab and there you will find all the details for the event.

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Contact:  Rebecca Fortier | (863) 688-8551 Ext. 229 – office | rfortier@lakelandchamber.com

About Allen & Company of Florida, Inc.

Since 1932 Allen & Company of Florida, Inc. has provided financial planning and wealth management services to the communities we serve.  Headquartered in Lakeland, Florida, with operations in Winter Haven and Viera, Allen & Company is Florida’s oldest investment firm.

About the 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:  The Lakeland Area 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; and, the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce is the leading organization dedicated to creating a climate where business can prosper.


Polk County Visitor Center Hosts Seasonal Farmers Market on Thursdays, Beginning Nov. 29

Davenport, FL (Nov. 19, 2018) – Central Florida’s Visitor Information Center (CFVIC) in Davenport will host a weekly Farmers Market beginning Thursday, Nov. 29 running through April 25, 2019.  This will be the fifth year for the seasonal market, which will take place on Thursdays, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. A variety of vendors are signed on to participate, offering fresh local produce, handmade crafts and more.

The farmers market will offer local vendors the opportunity to share their produce and wares with Polk County residents, and visitors alike, while also serving to familiarize locals with the amenities and services available at the visitor information center. CFVIC offers vacation planning ideas for residents and their visiting family and friends, a Florida souvenir gift shop and the availability of discounted attraction tickets for many Central Florida attractions, including LEGOLAND® Florida Resort, the Disney parks, Universal Studios, Kennedy Space Center, Busch Gardens and more.

CFVIC  is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week (excluding major holidays), and is located at 101 Adventure Court, Davenport, FL 33837 (along U.S. Highway 27), a half-mile south of I-4 at Exit 55. For more information, or if you would like to become a vendor, contact Dennis Budde at Dennis@visitcentralflorida.org.


Florida Southern Breaks Ground for New Weinstein Computer Sciences Center


LAKELAND (Nov. 16, 2018) – FSC today marked a major expansion of its computer science program with a groundbreaking for the Carole and Marcus Weinstein Computer Sciences Center, which will provide a state-of-the-art computing environment for the growing department.

The dramatically distinctive structure, designed by architect and Frank Lloyd Wright scholar Jeffrey Baker of the firm Mesick Cohen Wilson Baker of Albany, N.Y., will overlook Lake Hollingsworth. In addition to cutting-edge classrooms and collaborative learning spaces, the new structure will house a Cybersecurity and Informatics Learning Lab, a Logistics Center Suite, and student technology centers.

“This is a grand occasion,” FSC President Dr. Anne Kerr said, welcoming guests to the groundbreaking event. She expressed great pride in the College’s determination to expand the computer science program, saying “it is incumbent upon Florida Southern College to be as advanced as possible for our students.”

Dean of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Brad Hollingshead, stressed the importance of creating a “new home” for students in the computer science department, an academic environment that “will inspire, stimulate, and bring out the best in our students,” he said. “It is being designed, in the end, to empower them.”

“Florida Southern has been steadily expanding its computer science program over the past few years, with concentrations in web and cloud computing, AI and machine learning, and cybersecurity,” said Dr. Hollingshead. “The generous gift from Dr. and Mrs. Weinstein will help meet the needs of this growth, allow us to grow the program further, and prepare students for high-demand areas that require the expertise that they develop through our program.”

The Center, named for FSC Trustee Carole and Marcus Weinstein of Richmond, Va., will provide approximately 10,000 square feet of academic space, with an additional 3,000-square-foot auditorium and food venue.

“In the past five years, we have more than doubled the number of majors,” said Dr. Christian Roberson, chair of the Department of Computer Science. Three full-time faculty and one adjunct faculty member currently serve a student population of more than 80 full-time computer science majors.

The Carole and Marcus Weinstein Computer Sciences Center, which will be located between the Sharon and Jim France Admissions Center and the Becker Business Building, has an estimated completion date of spring 2020. Mr. Baker’s campus designs include the France Admissions Center, which was dedicated in December 2017. He serves as the lead architect for restorations of the College’s historic Frank Lloyd Wright structures.

About Florida Southern College

Founded in 1883, Florida Southern College is the oldest private comprehensive 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.


Polk State inaugurates Dr. Angela Garcia Falconetti as College’s 5th President

Lakeland, Fla. Nov. 15, 2018. (Photo by Tom Hagerty, Polk State.)

Polk State inaugurates Dr. Angela Garcia Falconetti as College’s 5th President
Winter Haven, Fla., November 15, 2018 — Polk State College inaugurated Dr. Angela Garcia Falconetti as the institution’s fifth president Thursday, culminating a week-long celebration, Falconetti’s first year of service, and raising $155,830 for student scholarships.
More than 400 students, faculty, staff, alumni, community members, and representatives from colleges and universities across Florida and the U.S. convened for the investiture ceremony in the Polk State Winter Haven Campus Health Center, where Falconetti was formally sworn into office.
“It is with incredible gratitude and honor that I stand before you today as the fifth president of Polk State College, where student success is our success, and everyone plays an integral role in the transformative power Polk State has on students and the greater community,” Falconetti said.
Falconetti’s investiture address highlighted Polk State’s rich history, commitment to the community, and focus on pervasive excellence. She emphasized the importance of serving students from all walks of life and continuing to enhance services to ensure they persevere on the path to their degrees. At the core of her message was the College’s mission to provide access to affordable, quality higher education and dedication to filling local workforce needs.
“With 70 percent of Polk State students staying right here in our community after graduation, their success is truly ours, Polk County,” she said. “We will continue to work diligently to ensure a successful future for our students, our institution, and our community.”
The Polk County Board of County Commissioners and many municipalities declared Nov. 15, 2018, as Dr. Angela Garcia Falconetti Inauguration Day leading up to the investiture ceremony.
Falconetti was named President in May 2017, bringing nearly two decades of service in higher education administration at the state and national levels to Polk County’s state college. She had most recently served as Vice President of Institutional Advancement at Virginia Western Community College and as Executive Director of the Foundation.
In her first year at Polk State, Falconetti focused on building relationships both internally and externally, communicating with community members and hosting forums with students, faculty, and staff to learn what they most value about the College. From this collective input, she developed a vision to strengthen student success and has worked to expand partnerships that provide opportunities and support services for students. Additionally, she advocated successfully at the state level to secure recurring operational funds for the College.
Several distinguished speakers Thursday reaffirmed the selection of Falconetti as Polk State’s fifth president. “The search for a new college president is no easy task. Not only does the individual have to possess significant academic credentials and an impressive track record of experience, the individual must also be the right fit for both the institution and the community. I believe Dr. Falconetti has all of that and more,” said Polk State District Board of Trustees Chair Dan Dorrell before bestowing upon Falconetti the College’s medallion. “She must also have a doctorate in energy because since her tenure as President began, Dr. Falconetti has worked tirelessly to establish her place within the community and the College.”
She serves on several boards including CareerSource Polk, the Central Florida Development Council, Club Hispano de Lakeland, the Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce, the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce, the Lakeland Economic Development Council’s High-Skill High-Wage Initiative, Polk Vision, The Vanguard School Foundation, the Winter Haven Economic Development Council, and Winter Haven Hospital.
She is also an active leader in national and statewide organizations, serving on the American Association of Community College’s Commission on Institutional Infrastructure and Transformation as well as the Steering Committee for the Florida College System Council of Presidents.
Also, at the national level, she served as Special Assistant to the first Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Colleges in Washington, D.C. She ultimately decided, however, that she wanted to serve on a college campus closest to students, faculty, staff, and the community.
Kieran Sequin, an Associate in Arts student and President of the Student Government Association on the Winter Haven Campus, illustrated Falconetti’s caring and personable approach to serving Polk State’s students. “Dr. Falconetti takes a personal interest in students,” he said. “She values every student and wants all of us to succeed.”
Whether Falconetti is shooting hoops with the basketball team, engaging student leaders in important College discussions, or connecting a student in need to a scholarship opportunity, she is always putting students first, Sequin explained.
Through the Polk State College Foundation’s Dr. Angela Garcia Falconetti Scholarship, she can further support students she encounters on the College’s campuses and centers. Donations to the scholarship can be made online at foundation.polk.edu/inauguration.
Falconetti, whose parents are Cuban exiles, has a personal commitment to affording students the opportunities that were granted to her and her family through higher education. “The collective synergy here continues to motivate and inspire as we work together toward our goals of success for Polk State’s students and the positive growth of Polk County,” Falconetti said. “We will take Polk State College to the next level, together, because student success is our success.”
About Polk State College
Located in Winter Haven, Florida, and established in 1964, Polk State College is a multi-campus institution serving more than 16,000 students with Bachelor of Applied Science, Bachelor of Science, Associate in Arts and Associate in Science degrees, as well as a wide range of certificate and workforce training options. The College also operates three charter high schools.
Polk State’s advantages include small class sizes; hands-on learning; dedicated faculty; day and night classes; online options; affordable tuition; excellent financial aid; and a diverse community and vibrant student life, including fine arts opportunities, clubs, and intercollegiate athletics.


Achievement Academy Hosts Students from Lakeland Christian School’s RISE (Research, Innovation, Stem Learning, Entrepreneurship) Institute

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LAKELAND, FL (November 13, 2018) – Achievement Academy hosted RISE Institute students from Lakeland Christian School to participate in learning experiences about the use and application of assistive technology for children with special needs.  RISE , which is an acronym for Research, Innovation, Stem Learning, and Entrepreneurship, exists for those who have an intense interest in research science. The RISE students who participated ranged from 6th – 9th grade.  Occupational therapists and speech therapists from Achievement Academy provided this educational experience allowing students to gain a deeper understanding of how their robotics skills can be applied to create play opportunities for children with varying abilities through switch adaptations. Following the practical experiences and knowledge learned from their time at the Achievement Academy, the RISE Institute students will be partners with Florida Polytechnic University to create effective and meaningful adaptations to toys using switches. The RISE institute exists to cultivate technical expertise and leadership through skill-development, while creating a heart for people.

At Achievement Academy’s three locations, our therapy program consists of individual Speech, Physical, and Occupational Therapy. In every one-on-one therapy session, our therapist’s focus is simple – to help each child achieve their full potential. Therapists work closely with teachers, and parents in a collaborative team approach that makes sure each child is reaching their goals. The use of switch activated toys enables children to easily activate toys, learn cause and effect, participate with peers, and explore their environments. Some of the accommodations that switch adaptations provide include fine motor skills, social engagement, and participation. Assistive Technology for play can vary in style, size, and complexity. Assistive technology supports children to access and enjoy their rights and participate in things they value – and it bridges the disparities between children with and without disabilities. Achievement Academy is excited to see the progress, and the interest in assistive technology accommodations that the Rise Institute has shown through the leadership of its Director-Jennifer Canady.


About the Achievement Academy


The Achievement Academy serves children from birth through age five with various developmental delays and disabilities.  The Achievement Academy offers two programs, each provided at no cost to the child or family.  The first program is a Charter School that offers specialized instruction by certified teachers; small class sizes; individual speech, occupational and physical therapies; and assistive technologies that enable each student to reach his or her full potential at one of the Achievement Academy’s three campus locations (Lakeland, Winter Haven and Bartow).  The second is a “Birth to Three Program” that provides early intervention services to infants and toddlers who are “at-risk” for developmental delays and/or have been identified with a specific delay.  Professional Early Interventionists serve these children and their families.  More than half of the Birth to Three Program’s budget is funded by a generous allocation from the United Way of Central Florida.