The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Polk group to unveil "new support system" for Florida Poly

Coming on the heels of a Board of Governors meeting, where state leaders heard about Florida Polytechnic's uphill battle as it embarks on independence, a group of Polk County community leaders are now announcing a "new support system," for the new university. 

Florida Poly Vision, Inc., according to a news release, has 60 members so far, with the aim of giving Florida Polytechnic "a much needed voice." Participants include local business folks, such as Cliff Otto, president of the Saddle Creek Corporation, Victor Story, president of the Story Companies, Alice Hunt, VP of Hunt Construction of Central Florida, and Ingram Leedy, CEO of iThink Partners, LLC. 

On Thursday they'll unveil details of their mission at the United Way of Central Florida building in Lakeland. A new web site for the group is counting down the minutes until that event.

Coincidentally, the public relations firm handling the group, Bascom Communications and Consulting, has also represented departing Senate budget chairman JD Alexander.

Alexander, who just ended his final session in the Senate due to term limits, used his last stint to push Florida Polytechnic to independence. It was a move mired in controversy, as it leap-frogged a plan laid out by the Florida Board of Governors to create FPU out of the USF Polytechnic campus in Lakeland after meeting certain benchmarks. It was opposed by students, faculty and USF officials.

Meanwhile, applications are still coming in to the Board of Governors and Gov. Rick Scott's office for appointment to the new 11-member Florida Polytechnic Board of Trustees. As of late Tuesday night, the Board of Governors had received 15 applicants for the five slots it controls:

  • Tim Bach, from Apopka, the president of Patterson/Bach Communications Agency
  • Joshua Keith Brown, from Auberndale, an attorney with the Peterson & Myers law firm in Polk
  • Gary Clark, an independent financial consultant from Lakeland
  • Tom Cloud, an Orlando lawyer with the Gray Robinson law firm, which represented an effort Alexander pushed a few years ago to build a road through central Florida, the Heartland Parkway, and also represented the Williams Company, which donated the land for the new Polytechnic campus to USF prior to the independence push
  • Robert Ernst, an Auburndale business analyst with the Pallet One, Inc., manufacturing firm
  • Robert F. English, a Polk County commissioner and the CEO of manufacturing company Valiant Products 
  • Robert LeGrand Gardner, a current instructor at the campus formerly known as USF Polytechnic, who studied at Virginia Polytechnic Institute
  • Richard Paul Hallion, Jr., a research associate in aeronautics for the National Air & Space Museum and Smithsonian Institute
  • Robert Owen Kincart, a Lakeland scientist and president of the American Compliance Technology science and engineering firm
  • Thomas Roe Oldt, of Winter Haven, president of Thomas Oldt Investment Services
  • Maurice A. Raymond, a retired University of Florida chemistry professor from Lakeland, whose last position was director of research and development with Rhone-Poulenc chemistry company in 1995
  • Christopher David Russo, an Auburdale attorney with Moody Law
  • Robert Peter Scaringe, of Rockledge, president and CEO of Mainstream Engineering Corporation
  • Richard Labilb Shaheen, of Jupiter, a senior director of engineering and technical services for Florida Power & Light
  • Jonathan Wade Thompson, a Lakeland physical therapist with Bond Clinic in Winter Haven

The latest we heard from the Governor's office, there were five applicants for the six slots Scott can appoint, including two that had also applied with the BOG. We are waiting on an update.

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 30, 2012 11:11am]

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...