Laureates

Chronicling Brevard’s most Distinguished Business Leaders since 1986.
The Business Hall of Fame was established in 1986 to recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions to free enterprise and to society. Since its inception, the Hall of Fame has welcomed 77 Laureates. Individuals are nominated by the public and then selected by a committee of Laureates previously inducted into the Business Hall of Fame. Each nominee’s record of business achievement must demonstrate business excellence, courageous thinking and actions, vision and innovation, inspiring leadership, social responsibility and serving as a role model to those who follow.

Nominations will be open until September 13, 2017. To nominate someone you may fill out and submit our online form. You may also print out the form below and send in by mail or fax.

Below are brief profiles of the Laureates and their professional and civic contributions to our community.

Dr. Joseph A. Boyd, 1987

Harris Corporation

President of Radiation in 1963 when the first working semiconductor was developed for use in its digital communications equipment and when it was acquired by Harris in 1967. A former Chairman of the Board for Harris Corporation, Dr. Boyd has also had distinguished careers as a Professor of Electrical Engineering, Director of the Institute of Science and Technology at the University of Michigan and as a business executive with both the Machinery and Allied Products Institute and the Southeast Banking Corporation. He has been a member of several groups which promote the social and economic growth of Florida including The President’s Export Council, the Conference Boards, and the Florida Council.

John A. “Jack” Scott, 1987

Gannett Foundation

After a short career in teaching English and then as a school administrator, Mr. Scott enlisted into the Marine Reserve as a Private First Class and retired 18 years later as a Brigadier General. In the intervening years Scott became a newspaper executive and publisher. He was named publisher of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and President of the Gannett Pacific. After 4 years in Hawaii, he became President of the Gannett Foundation. He wrote extensively for newspapers and magazines, lectured and was a frequent editorialist on various television stations. In 1983 he was inducted into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame.

Joseph H. Wickham, 1987

Brevard Count Board of Supervisors

Working for his father, a civil engineer, Mr. Wickham surveyed the raw untouched lands of our county. He developed a thorough knowledge and appreciation of Brevard’s abundant natural resources. He became a partner in the Guerin Construction Company and later formed the Wickham and Jessup Construction Company. He worked with the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey Department and supervised construction of the Melbourne Air Station. Deeply involved in the affairs of Brevard County, he was elected to the Brevard County Board of Commissioners and served six terms. He had a guiding hand in the growth and development of this beautiful county.

Dr. Maxwell C. King, 1988

Brevard Community College

Dr. King has dedicated his life to furthering educational opportunities for others. In 1960, he became the first President of Indian River Community College and became the nation’s youngest College President. Moving to Brevard and becoming BCC’s third president, Dr. King was able to expand the college from just one campus in Cocoa to additional campuses in Melbourne, Palm Bay, and Titusville. He became chairman of Community Colleges International Development, which worked to bring the American style of higher education to countries in Europe, Asia, South America and Africa. Besides his focus on education, Max has been an active leader in all aspects of the community. He is a founder of the Brevard Performing Arts Center that now bears his name.

Jesse J. Parrish, Jr., 1988

DNE Sales, Inc & Nevins Fruit Company

Spending his working life in the Brevard County citrus industry, Mr. Parrish was Chairman and President of DNE Sales, Inc., the largest independent citrus sales organization in Florida. He was an owner of Nevins Fruit Co., the oldest independent commercial citrus shipping organization in Florida. He has served as a member of the Board of Directors, Chairman of the Executive Committee and Chairman of the Board of the Indian River Citrus League. He also authored the outstanding Florida Citrus Code, which is envied around the world. Mr. Parrish also served as President of the Florida State Chamber of Commerce and as a member of the Florida Council of 100.

Hugh Brown, 1989

BAMSI Founder, former President and CEO of Brown & Associates Management Services, Inc.

Mr. Brown was once classified as “the King of minority-owned contracts at the Kennedy Space Center.” BAMSI became a large mainstream business. Mr. Brown was recognized for exceptional leadership by several local groups and by the Small Business Administration before retiring and continuing his service on numerous community, business and civic boards.

B. W. “Bernie” Simpkins, 1989

S&S Real Estate Development, Inc.

His first company, B. W. Simpkins Oil, formed the foundation of his other enterprises including Treasure Coast Oil, Inc., Elpex, S&S Enterprises, S&S Toyota, Sun States Oil, Inc., and Step Saver Convenience Stores. In 1989, he sold several of his holdings and formed S&S Real Estate Development, Inc., along with his business partner Fletcher Sheriff. Together they developed land, built shopping centers and office buildings, and sold properties as well as provided financing and bridge loans for developers. Mr. Simpkins was actively involved and volunteering in the community, securing the funds to build “The Hubert Humphrey Bridge”, clearing the way for the chamber mergers which ultimately became the Greater Cocoa Beach Chamber of Commerce, and serving on many philanthropic boards.

James H. Pruitt, 1990

Pruitt Real Estate Inc.

Following military service, Mr. Pruitt began a career in politics, insurance, and real estate. He was one of the founders of First National Bank of Eau Gallie, served on the Eau Gallie City Council and spent 10 years in the Florida House of Representatives. As a state legislator, he co-sponsored the bill creating Junior Colleges in Florida, introduced the “Good Samaritan Act” and was responsible for the Sebastian Inlet Bridge and the Pineda Causeway. He developed Pruitt Real Estate into one of the largest in Brevard and into national prominence.

Dr. Kurt H. Debus, 1990

Kennedy Space Center

Born and schooled in Germany, Dr. Debus was the pioneer of modern rocketry, playing a pivotal role in projects from the V-2 rocket to the arrival of Americans on the moon. After working with Werner von Braun in Texas developing rockets, Dr. Debus came to NASA in 1961, and guided the development of Kennedy Space Center, becoming its first director, paving the way for both unmanned and manned launches from Cape Canaveral. One of his lasting contributions to Brevard County and its tourism industry was his decision to open the Kennedy Space Center to visitors.

W. Lansing Gleason, 1991

Developer

He studied law, but chose a career as a real estate developer and investor instead. He served as mayor of Eau Gallie, and was a founding director of Harbour City National Bank, First National Bank of Satellite Beach, and First Federal Savings and Loan of Eau Gallie. He was chairman of the Brevard County Planning and Zoning Board and Board of Adjustments, president of the Eau Gallie Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis Club and Board of Realtors. He served on the Melbourne City Council, and chaired its planning and zoning board and housing authority.

David S. Nisbet, 1991

Nisbet Fuel Oil Company

Dave Nisbet never turned his back on a challenge, even as he started to work at a Chevron service station after dropping out of college. This service station led to his first business venture-he eventually bought the station and later owned Nisbet Fuel Oil Company in Cocoa. He went on to open an Oldsmobile agency on Merritt Island and serve as a Brevard County Commissioner. Much of the credit for mosquito control on Merrritt Island goes to Nisbet for his idea to use airplanes to spray. To accomplish this task, however, an airport was needed so he set about to get one built. He was also instrumental in setting up the Cocoa water district.

Homer R. Denius, 1992

Radiation, Inc.

With the creation of Radiation, Inc. in 1950, the predecessor of Harris Corporation, Mr. Denius put Florida on a path toward superiority in the field of high technology. The space race was at its infancy then and Radiation quickly became a leader in the design and manufacturer of telemetry equipment for rockets. As the space program grew, so did Radiation. He also founded Electro-Science Management Corporation, a venture capital company. During his years in the business world, Mr. Denius placed a heavy emphasis on education and through the Denius Foundation supported high technology development in schools of higher learning. He was inducted into Junior Achievement’s Mid-Florida Business Hall of Fame in 1981.

Allen H. Neuharth, 1992

Florida Today/USA Today

Before there was a USA Today Mr. Neuharth founded Today newspaper, now known as Florida Today, and is former chairman and chief executive officer of Gannet Company. Mr. Neuharth is also founder and senior advisory chairman of the Freedom Forum, a nonpartisan foundation dedicated to free press, free speech and free spirit for all people. The Freedom Forum funds and operates the Newseum, the First Amendment Center and the Diversity Institute. He has authored eight books. His autobiography, Confessions of an S.O.B., had a long run on The New York Times and other best seller lists and has been translated into five languages. He is a 2008 inductee into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame.

Alfred H. Trafford, 1992

Trafford Realty Company

Mr. Trafford has dedicated his life to making his community a better place for all to live. He began his career in real estate by joining Trafford Realty, a firm his father started in 1917. For over 60 years, Mr. Trafford has been successfully involved in real estate transactions throughout the area. Over the years, he was also involved in the sale or lease of many significant and varied projects. He has been active in many civic and business organizations, including two terms as president of the Brevard County Board of Realtors, president of the North-Central Brevard Board of realtors, chairman for 15 years of the Cocoa Planning and Zoning Board and director of Barnett Bank. He has served as director of both the Florida and the Cocoa Beach Chambers of Commerce and the Committee of 100.

Caroline Rossetter, 1993

Chevron U.S.A., Inc.

At the age of sixteen, Ms. Rossetter ran the family business after the death of her father and served as an agent, distributor and consultant to the Standard Oil Company of Kentucky (now Chevron U.S.A., Inc.). Through the purchase and development of real estate locations, she was able to distribute the company’s products throughout south Brevard County servicing the budding citrus, farming and cattle industry of that time. She was a patron and founding member of the Brevard Art Center and Museum, the Museum’s Foundation, the Space Coast Science Center, and a life member of the Brevard Crippled Children’s Association. She was one of the earliest members of the Chamber of Commerce of Melbourne/Palm Bay and the Eau Gallie Yacht Club.

John “Jack” T. Hartley, 1993

Harris Corporation

Mr. Hartley is a former Chairman of the Board, President and CEO of the Harris Corporation. Jack joined what was then named Radiation as a research engineer, served as head of the company’s new integrated circuits operation, vice-president/manager of the largest electronics division and as corporate vice president-group executive. He was President of Harris in 1978, the year they moved their headquarters to Melbourne. He has served on the Boards of Directors of McGraw-Hill, Inc. and The Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States, the Board of Trustees of the Florida Institute of Technology and the Florida Council of 100. Jack Hartley has always believed technological superiority has played in the success and prosperity of this country.

Doyle Carlton, 1994

Merritt Island Pioneer

A lifelong resident of Florida, Mr. Carlton first worked for the county’s Soil Conservation Department, then purchased and operated Ideal Cleaners, Hamblen Groves in Rockledge and acreage on Merritt Island. He was instrumental in starting the First National Bank of Merritt Island and was its Chief Executive Officer for 21 years. A devoted Kiwanian and community leader, Mr. Carlton was honored by county commissioners with the Doyle Carlton Pavilion at Kiwanis Park on Merritt Island. His significant contributions and assistance to the First Baptist Church of Merritt Island helped organize it into one of the most prominent churches in the Southeast.

George Faenza, 1994

McDonald Douglas Aerospace – S&DS-KSC

Mr. Faenza joined McDonald Douglas in 1959 as a design engineer in electronics, and was involved in programs including the Nike Hercules, the Sky Bolt Program, and the Saturn IV and IVB programs to managing vehicle flight readiness. He managed testing activities for Saturn/Apollo and the Skylab orbital workshop, and was program manager for the Apollo Soyuz Test Program before assuming responsibility for the ground processing of all payloads that fly in the cargo bay. His many awards from NASA include the Distinguished Public Service Medal. He was very active in many community organizations including United Way, Florida Tech, Wuesthoff Hospital, Astronaut Memorial Foundation, Space Camp, Brevard Economic Council and Florida Steering Council.

Dr. Jerome P. Keuper, 1995

Florida Institute of Technology, Founder

With degrees from M.I.T., Stanford University, and the Univ. of Virginia, Dr. Keuper began his career with the RCA Missile Test Project. He founded F.I.T. in 1958 and served 28 years as its first President. He received five honorary doctorates and many awards including the “Silver Seal Medal” by the National Council of State Garden Clubs; “Man of the Week” by The Orlando Sentinel, and the “Medal of Highest Honor of VACRS,” Republic of China. The country of Columbia dedicated an elementary school after him. He was President of the International Palm Society, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank Board of Atlanta (Jacksonville Branch) and of the Council of Presidents of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida, and founder/publisher of The North American MMM Register and Newsletter.

H. Wayne Huizenga, 1995

Blockbuster Entertainment Group

Wayne Huizenga started his career with a single garbage truck in 1962. He built three Fortune 500 companies: Waste Management Inc., Blockbuster Entertainment Inc. and AutoNation Inc. He brought two professional sports franchises, the Florida Marlins baseball and Florida Panthers hockey teams, to South Florida and brought the Florida Marlins spring training camp to Brevard. He owns the Miami Dolphins football team and Dolphin Stadium. Mr. Huizenga has been honored with many awards including the Horatio Alger Award and induction into the Automotive Hall of Fame. He is a major contributor to charities and Nova Southeastern University named its business School the H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship. Huizenga was inducted into the US Business Hall of Fame in 2006.

Glenn E. Patch, 1996

Patch Communications

While working for Singer as a maintenance Technician, Mr. Patch used his photography skills as a means to generate a second income. He formed Shutterbug Ads in 1971 as a classified advertising magazine for photographers. In 1979 he started a second magazine, Computer Shopper. With growth, Patch Publishing became Patch Communications and two additional magazines were launched, PC Clones and MacWeek. He has been recognized as one of the computer industry’s most influential leaders for his ability to recognize the expanding market of Macintosh power users in the business world and to address that market with his weekly magazine, MacWeek.

John V. D’Albora, Jr., 1996

J.V. D’Albora Company

Mr. D’Albora is the third generation of a citrus grower and packer family. A former Chairman and CEO of the J. V. D’Albora Company, which owned and operated citrus groves in St. Lucie County, he was a recipient of The Brevard County Farm Bureau Distinguished Farm Service Award in 1981, and the Rotary Club Community Service Award in 1982. Mr. D’Albora had been very active in the community, serving as Chairman of the Canaveral Port Authority; the St. John’s River Water Management District Governing Board; and the Florida Citrus Commission. He has served on the boards of the University of Florida: Foundation, Health Science Center, and the College of Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee. He is a former Chairman of the Board of Directors for Wuesthoff Health Systems, Inc. and a Past President of the Cocoa Rotary Club.

Bruce Watson, 1997

Watson Paving Company

Mr. Watson was the founder and owner of Watson Paving Company in Cocoa. The family owned and operated business had flourished from one truck to 23 trucks and over 100 pieces of equipment. He also founded W. W. G. Asphalt Company, Watson Truck & Auto Parts and Brevard Road Materials. Bruce’s business philosophy won him the heartfelt respect and admiration of his employees as well as the business community. He was a member of Orsino Baptist Church and served the Church in many capacities including Treasurer. He was extremely philanthropic and supportive of numerous organizations, such as Brevard Community College; the Cocoa Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and Big Brothers/Sisters of Brevard.

Fred Gay, 1997

Quality Pontiac GMC Truck, Inc.

After 10 years as the General Manager at Bob Ennis Olds-Cadillac, Mr. Gay went into partnership with Marconi Pontiac in 1980. In 1987, he purchased the dealership and changed the name to Quality Pontiac GMC Truck. He has served as president or chairman on countless boards including the Community Services Council; the GMC Truck National Partners Forum; and the Rockledge Country Club Board of Trustees. He is the recipient of numerous awards, such as the Pontiac Master Dealer Award; the Pontiac 5 Star Service Award; the Brevard Community College Community Service Award; an Honorary Associate of Arts Degree from Brevard Community College; the 45th Space Wing Commanders’ Man of the Year Award; and the Florida Today Citizen of the Year Award.

Patsy J. Clark, 1997

Clark Enterprises & Kentucky Fried Chicken

Ms. Clark has enjoyed a distinguished career as President and Owner of Clark Enterprises, which owns and operates Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants throughout Brevard County. Through hard work and her entrepreneurial spirit, she has expanded from the original franchise location to eight locations. In 1987, she received Kentucky Fried Chicken’s highest award, the Five Star Award and two years later was named Restaurateur of the Year by the Florida Restaurant Association of Brevard County. She has been involved in community organizations such as Georgianna Methodist United Church, The Community Foundation of Brevard Board of Directors, Circles of Care, the Cape Canaveral Hospital Foundation Board of Trustees, March of Dimes and the Central Brevard Sharing Center.

Bill Nelson, 1998

Astronaut Columbia STS-61;
State of Florida

Bill Nelson is a fifth generation Floridian. After graduating from Yale and The University of Virginia Law School, he served in the U.S. Army for two years before joining a law firm and serving as a member of the Florida House of Representatives from 1972-1978. In 1979, Mr. Nelson became a member of the United States House of Representatives and served until 1991. Once again he joined a law firm and in 1995 held the position of Treasurer and Insurance commissioner for the State of Florida. In 1986, he trained and flew with the crew of STS-61, Columbia, the 24th flight of the Space Shuttle. During that Mission, Mr. Nelson conducted experiments for cancer research and performed the first American Stress test in space.

Eugene “Gene” Bjerning, 1998

Hoyman, Dobson & Company

After graduating as an Electrical Engineer from the University of Wisconsin, Mr. Bjerning worked for the Boeing Company in Seattle and served in the Air Force. After leaving the Air Force, he then worked for North American Aviation on the Minuteman and Apollo programs. Once again back at school to receive his BSBA, MBA and CPA certification, he then took a position with Hoyman, Dobson & Company PA., CPA’s. The companies he works with, controls, or manages provide hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars of payroll for our local communities. The Brevard Economic Development Commission, Kiwanis, Chamber of Commerce, Cape Canaveral Hospital Foundation, and the Community Foundation of Brevard have all benefited from his participation.

Winston “Bud” W. Gardner, Jr., 1999

Tilden Lobnitz Cooper

As President and Chief Operating Officer at TLC Engineering for Architecture, Gardener, was responsible for operational management of TLC’s 12 operating divisions. After serving 27 years in the Marine Corps Reserve, Gardner retired with the rank of colonel. He spent 14 years with Pan Am World Services and was responsible for major aerospace projects at Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. He is a former member of the Florida Senate and the Florida House of Representatives. Gardner is a member of Florida’s Constitutional Accountability Commission, chairman of the Florida Space Research Institute, and has served on Florida’s SMART Schools Clearinghouse and the Brevard Community College Foundation Board of Trustees.

Phillip Farmer, 1999

Harris Corporation

Retired Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Harris Corporation in Melbourne, Farmer’s career at Harris spanned more than 21 years following employment at General Electric Co. He also served on the board of two not-for-profit organizations in Melbourne and is a member of the board of directors of the King Center for the Performing Arts. Farmer has served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees, chairman of the executive committee, and chair of the Golden Anniversary Capital Campaign of the Florida Institute of Technology. In 2009, he received the prestigious President’s Medal from FIT.

Donald Molitor, 2000

Canaveral Communications, IOCOM, Kelly Services

In 1965, Mr. Molitor assumed the management of his father’s telephone answering service business, Answerphone of Florida. In addition to owning and operating Answerphone of Florida, which later became known as IOCOM, Mr. Molitor established two other companies that specialized in pagers and mobile phones, Canaveral Communications, Inc., and a temporary staff service, Kelly Services, Both businesses were introduced to the area in l967. IOCOM was sold in 1998 and become known as PROTOCOL, one of the top 20 telemarketing firms in the nation.

Judy Molitor, 2000

Canaveral Communications, IOCOM, Kelly Services

In 1967, Mrs. Molitor became involved in the paging, voice mail, and car phone business by establishing Canaveral Communications, Inc. which sold in 1986. The company was the first of its kind to service Brevard and Indian River Counties. Also, in 1967, Mrs. Molitor became a partner in the direct company license program with Kelly Services, a temporary staffing service. From 1967 until 1995, Kelly Services filled more than 300,000 jobs.

Michael Gatto, 2000

Mike Gatto Incorporated

After military service in the Marine Corps, Mr. Gatto completed his education at Louisiana State University and began a 25 year career working for Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. In 1970, he left Goodyear and purchased a tire dealership in Melbourne, eventually having stores throughout Brevard and Volusia Counties. Mr. Gatto participated in and led many civic and not for profit organizations including as President of the Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of Holmes Regional Medical Center, Director of Health First, Inc., and a Founding Member and Past President of the Space Coast Tiger Bay Club.

Malcolm R. Kirschenbaum, 2001

Gray Harris, P.A., EKS, Inc.

With a thriving law and accounting practice, Mr. Kirschenbaum began investing in real estate. From the 1980’s onward, his impact upon Brevard County expanded considerably through EKS, the development corporation he co-founded with developer Jim Swann and nationally known pharmacy magnate Jack Eckerd. By the late 1980’s, EKS developments included La Cita Golf and Country Club, Windover Farms in Titusville and Melbourne, and Bouchelle Island at New Smyrna Beach, among many others. Mr. Kirschenbaum has played a prominent role in the founding of several Brevard County banking institutions, and has served on numerous corporate, municipal and charitable-organization boards.

Jacob Dixon, Jr., 2001

Creative Management Technology, Inc.

A former Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Air Force, Mr. Dixon founded, with his wife Joyce, one of the most successful service businesses in central Florida. Organized in 1988, Creative Management Technology, Inc., in 12 years grew to 550 employees servicing eight different government installations in four states. Both of the Dixons were community leaders and served on the governing boards of numerous civic, educational and charitable organizations.

Dr. John D. Williams, 2002

John Williams Communications, Inc.

Retiring as a colonel after a distinguished career in the U.S. Air Force, Mr. Williams joined the Lockheed Corporation at Kennedy Space Center, where he served as a senior manager until he again retired in 1996. Long active in the community on numerous boards, he has actively participated in Junior Achievement, Rollins College, and the Brevard Community College Foundation. He currently co-owns and operates a cotton, peanut and timber farm in Georgia, with his wife, Amelia.

Thomas Wasdin, 2002

Wasdin Associates, Inc.

A former Head Basketball Coach of Jacksonville University, Mr. Wasdin engages in the construction of custom homes and sub-divisions on the Space Coast. He was also a developer and General Contractor on eleven other residential projects in Florida and performed consulting work for Waste Management and Bee Line Monorail Systems, Inc. His community involvement includes the Brevard 1st Task Force Chairman and Past President of Brevard Community College Foundation. He has served on the Brevard Community Development Council, the Economic Development Council of Florida Space Coast and Brevard Workforce Development Board.

Roger W. Dobson, 2002

5500 North Corp & Ocean Partner’s Associates, Inc.

A Brevard County native, Mr. Dobson founded a CPA firm in 1964 that later evolved into Hoyman, Dobson & Company, PA the largest CPA firm in Brevard County. In 1976 he entered the hotel business and now has an interest in over 800 hotel rooms in five hotels throughout Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral. As a Brevard County Commissioner, Mr. Dobson helped establish the Merritt Island Redevelopment Agency to improve the State Road 520 corridor area. He was instrumental in merging the Central Brevard Chambers into one organization and served as its President in 1971. He has championed many community organizations including the Brevard Community College Foundation, Space Coast Tourist Development Council, Retired Officer Association, and the Tiger Bay Club.

Ernest M. Briel, P.E., 2002

BRPH Architects-Engineers, Inc.

A founding partner and current Chairman of the Board of BRPH Companies, Mr. Briel has been associated with America’s space program from its early stages including design and construction of launch facilities for virtually all the major rocket programs. As one of the early planners of the Kennedy Space Center, he was involved in the conception and planning of the Vehicle Assembly Building and Lanuch Complex 39. As BRPH grew and expanded, construction projects centered on schools, aerospace facilities, entertainment projects and industrial facilities. Mr.Briel actively participates in local industrial and economic development organizations including the United Way of Brevard County where he served as Chairman.

L.D. Solid, 2003

Rockwell International

Retired Vice President and General Manager over all of the Rockwell Space Operations business at the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral spaceport, Solid’s early Rockwell career was in rocket engine development and testing. He was assigned to Cape Canaveral in 1960 as a field engineer on the Atlas ICBM and then to Site Manager Position and served through the Apollo program in that role. Although he left to direct the Rocketdyne Division’s Field Engineering Operations at all domestic and foreign locations, he returned to Brevard in 1980 to manage the company’s activities at the Space Shuttle launch site. Recognized by numerous NASA and Aerospace awards, he has also been recognized in the community for service in the fields of education technology, economic development, and space advocacy.

Robi K. Roberts, 2003

RKT Constructors, Inc.

Beginning RKT Constructors as a sideline in 1979, Mrs. Roberts quickly grew the company into a major player in government work all along the southeast Atlantic Coast. She also owns Stormwater & Underground, a subsidiary company that builds roads and does utility work and together they are two of the largest women-owned businesses in the state of Florida. Her community involvement includes the Human Relations Commission for the City of Titusville, Executive Board of Civilian Military Community Relations Council, the Advisory Board of Directors for Rollins College, and the Parrish Medical Foundation Board.

E. Lang Houston, 2003

Crest Cleaners and Masters Cleaners

Starting in the dry cleaning business by working for his in-laws, Mr. Houston purchased the business and expanded it from two to eleven locations. With his sons as General Managers, Mr. Houston is responsible for the real estate and business end of the operation, which includes 5 plants and 6 pick-up stores. He has long been active in the community as well. He is a former director and President of the Cocoa Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, has served on the Cocoa City Council and has been Chairman of the Cocoa Economic Committee.

Russell E. (Rusty) Fisher, 2003

Bernard’s Surf
Fischer’s Rusty’s

A lifelong resident of Brevard County, Mr. Fischer had owned and operated Bernard’s Surf since 1973. In 1988 he opened “Rusty’s Seafood and Oyster Bar” and in 1993 opened what was later named “Fischer’s Seafood Bar and Grill”. A dedicated member of the community, Mr. Fischer has been active with the Cocoa Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, was a key player in the development of the Brevard County Tourist Development Council serving as Chairman in 1991. He has been on the Board of both Health First and Cape Canaveral Hospital.

Bruce Melnick, 2004

Boeing Corporation

Starting with the US Coast Guard, Mr. Melnick served a distinguished career as a chief test pilot, and highly honored operations officer. Joining NASA in 1987, he served as both a mission specialist and flight engineer for the shuttle program, serving on two space missions. After joining both United Space Alliance and Lockheed Martin, he became Vice President for Boeing Florida operations, where he served for nearly 10 years. In the community he has made tremendous contributions of service to our local college boards, Economic Development Commission and many
youth charities.

Ralph Perers, 2004

American Business Interiors

After taking over the former Melbourne Business Interiors in 1969, Mr. Perers began ABI with just 5 employees and grew it to a staff of over 30 of whom over one third had been with the company for more than 10 years. ABI’s goal is to attract and retain their client base through service and support. Mr. Perers has served on the Board of Directors for several area non-profit organizations including The United Way and Junior Achievement. He has been director of the Economic Development Commission and counselor to the Small Business Center at Brevard Community College.

Rodney S. Ketcham, 2004

Rodney S. Ketcham, Inc.

In addition to owning his own commercial real estate sales and management business, Mr. Ketcham had been involved in local politics and real estate since the 1950’s. In 1955 he became Cocoa Beach’s first city manager and later served as a city commissioner and was a member of the Canaveral Port Authority Commission. He was a trustee and past chairman of Brevard Community College in Cocoa, served on the board of Cape Canaveral Hospital, was a past director of the National Association of Realtors and a founding member of the Tiger Bay Club.

Leonard “Sandy” Sanderson, 2005

Florida Power & Light

Mr. Sanderson is a decorated combat wounded veteran of the United States Marine Corps. Prior to joining Florida Power and LIght, he was an airline pilot and a space program engineer. He has been with FPL for over 30 years, serving in numerous capacities in both the corporate office and field positions. He is currently the Area Manager for Corporate and External Affairs. He has contributed his time, resources and leadership to over 15 leading civic organizations. He received the “Distinguished Leadership Award” from the Community Leadership Association and was designated a “Community Hero” and selected as a torchbearer by the 1996 U. S. Olympic Committee.

Charles “Chuck” Clemente, 2005

Retired COO-AOL, RCC

Mr. Clemente has been instrumental in leading the growth and operations of new media and marketing companies and has acted as a strategic consultant to many Fortune 100 corporations, start-ups, and fast growing companies. His unique combination of operating management and hands-on counseling in strategic marketing and positioning has aided more than 200 companies in rapid growth in revenues, market expansion and profits. An active leader within our community, Mr. Clemente has worked with the Board of Trustees for Florida Institute of Technology, Boards of Directors of the Astronauts Memorial Foundation, King Center, American Cancer Society, the Easter Seals, and the Executive Committee for Boston University.

Connie Chiles-Cooke, 2005

Connie Chiles Cooke Insurance Agency

Ms. Cooke began her career with State Farm in 1986 and has continually ranked in the top 2% of agents in the nation out of over 16,000 agents. She is dedicated to her community and is involved with many organizations including the Melbourne Chamber of Commerce, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and the Yellow Umbrella. She has maintained a life long commitment to family, education and business, supporting mentor programs at Palm Bay High School, speaking at career days at local schools and providing time for educating students on insurance issues. Ms. Cooke is also one of the co-directors of Breast Friends of Florida.

Dr. Joe Lee Smith, 2006

Brevard Community College
City of Rockledge

Dr. Smith has had a distinguished career as an educator serving Brevard Community College’s Cocoa and Titusville campuses as coordinator, dean, director, provost and president. He retired in 2000 as Campus President Emeritus and has served as the College Ambassador for Brevard Community College. He has served on Rockledge City Council for many years as an elected official and as Vice Mayor. Dr. Smith is also active in numerous community organizations including Circles of Care, the Salvation Army, Devereux of Florida, the Brevard Literacy Council, the Space Coast Rolling Readers, and the Boys and Girls Club of America.

Michael H. Williams, 2006

M.H. Williams Construction Group

Mr. Williams began his professional career as a field engineer with Intercounty Construction, then moved to Stinson-Head, Inc., a commercial general contractor based in Boca Raton. He started his own company in 1987. He is deeply committed to giving back to the community. He has served on the Executive Board of the Economic Development Commission of the Space Coast, as Vice President of the Melbourne Police Athletic League, Board Member of the Florida Institute of Technology College of Business, Astronauts Memorial Foundation and as a Deacon at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Satellite Beach.

Laurilee Thompson-Dixie, 2006

Crossroads Seafood Restaurant

From the humble beginnings of catching shrimp in the grass flats of the Mosquito Lagoon, her diverse background went on to include the design and production of nautical themed furniture, custom boat fabrication, commercial fishing boat captain, and restaurateur. Living and working on and near the sea has instilled a lifelong passion for the preservation of these natural areas, and the diverse species that are dependent on their perpetuity. In 1997, she founded the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival, now the largest birding festival in the nation, known for its exceptional lineup of seminar presenters. She is actively involved in many community organizations that connect people to nature and protect the natural environment for the future generations.

Nick Heldreth, 2007

Harris Corporation

Nick Heldreth was employed as Vice President of Human Resources and Corporate Relations for Harris Corporation until his retirement in August 2005. He has served or is a member of numerous professional and charitable organizations including, the United Way Board of Directors, served on the Board of Directors of the Central Florida Blood Bank, Chairman of the King Center for Performing Arts Board of Directors, Board Member for Canine Companions for Independence. Mr. Heldreth also served on the statewide education priorities task force in 2004-2005 chaired by LT. Governor, Toni Jennings.

Moses L. Harvin, 2007

American Services Technologies, Inc.

During his very distinguished military career, Major Harvin received the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Joint Service Medal. In 1995, he founded American Services Technology, Inc. (ASTI), a SBA Certified 8(a) and a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business which has grown to over 120 employees. Active in the community, Mr. Harvin has served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Cocoa Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, and is a member of the Brevard Community College Foundation Board of Governors, United Way, Lead Brevard, Host of Brevard, and the Florida/NASA Business Incubation Center.

Robert Baugher, 2007

Cocoa Beach Surf Company

Robert Baugher personally conceptualized and supervised the construction of the Radisson Resort at the Port, Cocoa Beach Surf Company, Quality Suites and four Ron Jon Surf Shop expansion projects. He owns several businesses in Brevard County including, the Radisson Resort at the Port, Cocoa Beach Surf Company, Quality Suites of Cocoa Beach and is managing partner of Bioavailability Systems, LLC. He has served many organizations including the Space Coast Tourism & Development Council, Board of Trustees for the Cocoa Beach Fireman’s Pension Fund, TDC’s Beach Improvement Committee Chair and was named Cocoa Beach Citizen of the Year for 1995.

Scott T. Sorensen, 2008

Sorensen Moving & Storage, Inc.

Since 1977, the owner of Sorensen Moving & Storage, an agent for Allied Van Lines, Mr. Sorensen has expanded the company which has been consistently recognized by Allied as one of its top performers in sales, hauling and quality. In the community, Mr. Sorensen has been active serving on many boards and on the Melbourne Palm Bay Area Chamber of Commerce and Space Coast Economic Development Commission. He has also been active in his support of charitable organizations including Space Coast Early Intervention, Second Harvest Food Bank, and the Junior League of Brevard. One of his most meaningful volunteer efforts was the Hurricane Katrina relief drive spearheaded by the entire Sorensen Moving & Storage Team.

Dr. George Mikitarian, 2008

Parrish Medical Center

Joining Parrish Medical Center in 1996 as Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Mikitarian became its President/ CEO in 2001. Under his leadership, PMC was one of the nation’s first replacement facilities to be constructed using evidenced-based healing design. Today, PMC is internationally recognized for its healing environment and was voted America’s #1 Healing Hospital by the Baptist Healing Trust for cultivating a culture of loving service for three consecutive years. He also opened Florida’s first Silver LEED certified ‘green’ outpatient center and is developing a first-of-its-kind Health Village for senior health services involving the preservation of historic homes.

Bjornar Hermansen, 2008

Hermansen Family Enterprises, Inc.

A co-founder and former President of Premier Cruise Lines Ltd., Mr. Hermansen is currently the President of the “Hermansen Family Enterprises Ltd.”, through which he owns and participates in a number of businesses in Brevard County. These include three large hotels, The Hampton Inn and the Marriott Courtyard–Cocoa Beach and the Residence Inn by Marriott in Cape Canaveral, and the 165,000 sq. ft. USA-building which houses the Space Shuttle spare parts and repair facility. Active in the community, Mr. Hermansen was elected in 1987 to the Board of Trustees of Florida Institute of Technology where he has chaired two successful 5-year capital campaigns for Florida Tech.

Sheriff Jack Parker, 2009

Brevard County Sheriff’s Office

Beginning his law enforcement career in Brevard County in 1983, Mr. Parker was elected Sherriff in 2005 and again in 2008. He manages an agency of 1,400 employees with a budget in excess of 100 million dollars. He volunteers his services to such organizations as the American Cancer Society (2007 Relay for Life Chair), Boy Scouts of America (2007 Scouting for Food Chair), Children’s Early Intervention Center, Crosswinds, Youth Services, the Juvenile Assessment Center and the United Way (2007 Campaign Chair).

Howard Lance, 2009

Harris Corporation

Currently the chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer of the Harris Corporation, Mr. Lance has been widely recognized for his personal, professional and philanthropic achievements and contributions. Among his honors are the 2008 “Entrepreneur of the Year” for the Florida region in the annual Ernst & Young competition, 2007 “Citizen of the Year” by the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, the “Centurion Award” from Bradley University, 2006 “Best Chairman” by the American Business Awards, 2005 “Technology Executive of the Year” by the American Electronics Association, F.I.T. “Presidents Medal” and Florida Today “Citizen of the Year.”

Harry & Wendy Brandon, 2009

Brandon Properties, Inc.

Harry and Wendy Brandon are real estate investors acquiring and managing such properties as the Hibiscus Business Center, the 1900 Building, and Wickham Center. They are passionate volunteers of their time and talents, as well as donors to philanthropic causes with a goal of making Brevard a better place to live for all families. They are supporters of the Brevard Symphony Orchestra, Economic Development Council, Chambers of Commerce, Downtown Melbourne Merchants Association, Brevard United Way de Torqueville Society, Junior Achievement, Keep Brevard Beautiful, the Health First Foundation and the Heneger Center for the Arts.

Charles Hoyman, Jr., 2010

Hoyman Dobson

As Managing Director of the Hoyman Dobson firm, Mr. Hoyman manages all business and strategic aspects of the firm as well as personally servicing many clients. His tenacity, leadership and dedication to excellence resulted in over 30 years of consistent profitable growth for the firm. Throughout the years he has led by example, volunteering his time and knowledge to the United Way of Brevard, Circles of Care, Space Coast Tiger Bay Club, Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast, and The Florida Bar Grievance Committee 18 C. He has actively encouraged his firm’s employees to volunteer in local charitable organizations and to get involved in different mentoring programs.

Dr. Anthony Catanese, 2010

Florida Institute of Technology

Anthony J. Catanese is currently President of Florida Tech, a major research institute with over 8000 students. Such groups as the Carnegie Foundation and U.S. News and World Report rate it amongst America’s top universities. Under his tenure many new buildings have been added to the campus including Columbia and Harris Villages, the Ruth Funk Center for the Textile Arts, and the Nathan M. Bisk College of Business providing continuing education programs for working professionals. Dr. Catanese previously maintained a private practice in design, planning and development, as well as authoring 13 books and numerous chapters and articles. As a public servant, he has served on the National Urban Policy Task Force and as the campaign chair for the United Way of Brevard.

David O. Brock, 2010

Community Credit Union of Florida

With Community Credit Union for over 18 years, Mr. Brock is currently its President and CEO. During his tenure, CCU has made dramatic growth and has been recognized as an Influential Business by three local Chambers of Commerce, Space Coast Magazine and Florida Today. In 2002 it was named as Business of the Year by Florida Today. Mr. Brock is active on many local non-profit organizations and civic groups including The Brevard School Foundation, The Children’s Advocacy Center, The Civilian/Military Community Relations Council, Connected by 25 Community Partnership Board, Florida Tech Board of Overseers and College Business Center for Ethics, and Rolling Readers Space Coast, Inc.

Fred E. Sutton, 2011

Sutton Properties

As co-founder and managing partner of Sutton Properties, Mr. Sutton has grown the company into one of the largest, family-owned real-estate development firms in Brevard County. He currently owns and operates approximately 1,000,000 square feet of commercial, residential, and industrial properties. Prior to the formation of Sutton Properties, Sutton spent several years with Reynolds, Smith & Hills of Jacksonville, Florida. RS&H was, at the time, the largest Architectural-Engineering-Planning firm in the Southeastern United States. His client list included the largest Development Companies in the United States, such as ITT Levitt, General Development Corporation and Walt Disney World.

Walter J. Gatti, 2011

Tensor Engineering

Founder and President of Tensor Engineering, Gatti placed his mark on Brevard County and history when in 1960 he was retained by the joint venture of Roberts and Schaefer to develop the details and connections for the Vehicle Assembly Building at Cape Kennedy Space Center. Tensor Engineering is currently involved with the first suspension bridge in the United States in 35 years at the Carquinez Straits in California, as well as all of the major cable-stay bridges in the United States.

Joseph Duda, 2012

CEO, A. Duda & Sons, Inc.

Joseph A. Duda served as President and CEO from 2005-2009, and President from 2004-2005. As CEO, he was responsible for the overall vision and strategy of the diversified land company, which is engaged in a variety of agricultural and real estate operations. Previously, he had served as President and Chief Executive Officer of The Viera Company, the land development subsidiary of A. Duda & Sons, Inc. Duda currently serves on the DUDA corporation’s Board of Directors and provides counsel to the company’s real estate and cattle operations. In 2006, Duda was named among the Most Influential Businessmen in Central Florida by the Orlando Business Journal.

John Hopkins, 2012

Partner, Berman Hopkins Wright & LaHam

After obtaining his CPA license in 1975, John set up his first practice in 1977 in Indian Harbor Beach under the firm name Hopkins and Thompson. After a series of mergers, John partnered with Lew Berman in 1982 to form Berman Hopkins. Today, the firm Berman Hopkins Wright & LaHam CPAs and Associates support their Central Florida clients with two offices operating in Melbourne and Orlando. Brevard County has easily tripled in size since John’s arrival, and in that time, John has set an example of civic engagement over the past thirty six years in practice, and today the firm supports over a dozen community organizations.

Robin L. Fisher, 2013

Robin L. Fisher Insurance, Inc.

Robin is a 41 year resident of Brevard County, Florida, and has lived with his family in Titusville since 1989. He was Captain of the University of Florida Gators in 1981. Professionally, Robin has been an agent with State Farm Insurance Company for the past 23 years having won many awards for production and service along the way. Robin’s community service includes former City Councilman for Palm Bay and Titusville. Robin also served as Vice-Mayor of Titusville. Robin was elected to the Brevard County Board of County Commissioners in November, 2008. He was elected to serve as Vice-Chairman in November 2009 and Chairman in 2011.

Catherine Ford, 2013

Headmaster, Holy Trinity Episcopal School

Holding positions in both public and private schools for the past 40 years, Cathy Ford’s most significant accomplishments come in the field of education. She has enjoyed a successful career as a teacher, mentor and coach. She has served as headmaster of Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy in Melbourne for 25 years. Because of her leadership, Holy Trinity enjoys an outstanding reputation in Brevard County. Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy has grown from 430 students to the almost 900 students it serves today. The students’ well-documented achievements in academics, leadership, athletics and the arts have made Holy Trinity one of the most sought after schools in the state. Whether through education, social services or health organizations, Cathy Ford is making a difference in the lives of our young people and their families.

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Pamela A. Gatto, 2014

President, Mike Gatto, Inc.

In 1971, Pamela’s father opened Gatto’s flagship location in Melbourne on Hibiscus Boulevard just west of Babcock Street. Two years later, Pam, who had recently moved to Brevard, joined him in the family business. The company, Mike Gatto, Inc. dba Gatto Tires and Auto Service, now operates six retail locations and one commercial tire and automotive service location in Brevard. In 1994, Pamela became president of the company. Her leadership in the industry earned her induction into the Florida Independent Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association Hall of Fame, as well as the International Tire Industry Hall of Fame.

Jack Ryals, 2014

National Realty

The day after being released from the army, Jack Ryals arrived in Melbourne as an owner of Turner’s Department Store, a career he followed for more than 35 years. In 2004, Jack switched careers and became a Realtor with National Realty. His first year production volume was number one amongst more than 90 agents, a feat he repeated in 2012. His new career opened the door for many community service opportunities. That same year, he was appointed as the Chamber’s representative to the seven-member Airport Authority, a position he still holds. In 2005, he served as Chairman. During his tenure, the airport has seen unprecedented activity in job creation and economic growth as many new and existing employers expand their presence on airport property.

Ccraig BWarol Craig, 2015

Craig Technologies

Carol Craig is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Craig Technologies, headquartered in Cape Canaveral, FL. Growing Craig Technologies from one person in 1999 to nearly 400 associates and $45M in revenues today, Craig leads nationwide operations with employees in over 20 different states with offices in Huntsville, AL and Orlando, FL. Craig’s military experience includes active duty as a P-3C Orion Naval Flight Officer, specializing in Anti-Surface and Sub-Surface Warfare. She holds a BA in Computer Science from Knox College, a BS in Computer Science Engineering from the University of Illinois, and an MS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Ms. Craig is pursuing a PhD in Systems Engineering at Florida Tech in Melbourne, FL. Carol serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board for University of Central Florida’s College of Engineering, and serves on the University of Central Florida Foundation Board of Directors and Development Committee. Ms. Craig also serves on numerous community boards to include Enterprise Florida, the Florida HighTech Corridor Council, Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce, and the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast.

Shaw BWMahesh “Mike” Shaw, 2015

M & R High Point Holdings, Inc.

Mahesh R. Shah is the president of M&R High Point Holdings, Inc. and Southeast Petro Dist., Inc.  Mike received his Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from M.S. University in Baroda, India. After graduating, Mike and his wife Rashmi moved from India to South Africa where he was an architect for the Republic of Zambia. In 1976, Mike had the opportunity to come to the USA where he worked as an architect, motel owner, and Realtor.  Currently Mike is the President and owner of various corporations, collectively now owned by M&R High Point Holdings, Inc which are in the wholesale and retail gasoline business, as well as other real estate holdings.  Since 1980 he has built a network which supplies fuel to over 400 sites and employs approximately 150 employees.

Potter BWWilliam C. Potter, 2016

Diplomat, Attorney, Military

An attorney for more than 40 years and a Melbourne resident since 1965, Potter is a retired partner of Holland and Knight and retired president of Potter, McClelland, Marks and Healy. He is the former city attorney for Melbourne, Indialantic and Melbourne Village, as well as for the Brevard Transportation Authority. From August, 2002, until January 2005, Mr. Potter served as head of the Rule of Law Department in the Office of the High Representative (OHR) in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Supervising and managing over 200 judges, lawyers and criminal investigators from more than 15 different countries, the Rule of Law Department drafted most of the primary legal codes of the country. Mr. Potter is a former chairman of the Brevard Economic Council, former director and president of the Melbourne YMCA, former board member for Junior Achievement and served as pro bono general counsel and former board member for the United Way of Brevard. Mr. Potter current serves as a member of the City of Melbourne Airport Authority, as a director of Health First, and serves on the board of the King Center for the Performing Arts as its Vice-Chair.

Brown BWWilliam M. Brown, 2016

President and CEO of Harris Corporation

Mr. William M. Brown was named president and CEO of Harris Corporation in 2011.  He was also appointed to the company’s board of directors in 2011 and elected its chairman in 2014.  Prior to joining Harris, Mr. Brown held several leadership positions at United Technologies Corporation (UTC), including senior vice president of corporate strategy and development; president of UTC’s Fire and Security Division; and, president of Asia-Pacific operations for UTC’s Carrier Corporation.  Before joining UTC, Mr. Brown was a senior engagement manager at McKinsey & Company.  He began his career at Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., as a project engineer.  Mr. Brown serves on the board of directors for the Fire Department of New York City Foundation and the boards of trustees of both the Florida Institute of Technology and Florida Polytechnic University.  He is also a member of the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum and the Aerospace Industries Association’s Executive Committee.  Mr. Brown holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Villanova University and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School.

edscottbwEdward W. Scott, Jr, 2017

Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, and former Senior Government Official

Edward W. Scott, Jr. is an experienced and successful business executive, a former Assistant Secretary in the U.S. Government, and an active supporter of a number of philanthropic initiatives. Ed led a successful career in U.S. government culminating with a position as Assistant Secretary of Transportation. Shortly thereafter, Ed left Washington, DC to work in the emerging field of computer technology. In 1995, he co-founded the software company BEA Systems, which soon became one of the fastest companies ever to reach $1 billion in sales before being purchased by Oracle in 2008. Ed later became the primary investor in StubHub, the online ticketing service later purchased by eBay. Ed has been called Silicon Valley’s most effective giver. Having started his philanthropic work on a small scale, Ed soon turned his attention to global issues. Ed created the Center for Global Development to help carry out research towards formulating solutions for how government policies can help fight poverty and disease. He created Friends of the Global Fight against AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria in order to help lobby for the funding of the Global Fund. Together with Bill Gates and George Soros, he created DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa) to provide a platform for Bono and others to advocate for development efforts. Ed has extended his philanthropy to other realms, including founding the innovative Scott Center for Autism Treatment at the Florida Institute of Technology.

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Rick McNeight, 2017

Executive Vice President, Chief Digital Officer, Health First

Rick was born and raised in a small dairy farming town in central Wisconsin.  He received a BS degree from University of Wisconsin Milwaukee in Applied Science and Engineering (dual major Electrical Engineering & Computer Science) and a MSE degree from the University of Michigan in Computer Information and Control Engineering.  Rick started his ten-year career with ITT as a Software Engineer in Ohio and in 1978 transferred to ITT International Telecommunications Division in Cape Canaveral where he became Director of Software Engineering.  There he met and married his wife Teresa (DiLoreto) at which time they immediately moved to Munich, Germany where Rick took a two-year assignment with Siemens GmbH on a long range strategic planning task force. In 1982 Rick founded Paravant Computer Systems, Inc., in Satellite Beach, took it public on NASDAQ (PVAT) in 1996, acquired five companies and sold it to DRS Technologies, Inc. in 2002.  Rick continued on as President of DRS Tactical Systems, Inc. until July 2006.  Under Rick’s 24 years of leadership Paravant/DRS Tactical Systems became the worldwide leader in the design and production of rugged portable computers for military systems.  Through 2016 McNeight was President of Modus Operandi, Inc., a Melbourne, Florida based, software development company specializing in big data analytics, data fusion and semantic search of massive disparate multi-source databases, serving U.S. Military Services and Intelligence Agencies. Currently McNeight is Executive Vice President, Chief Digital Officer, for Health First Inc.