I4 Business magazine and Orlando Business Journal recently recognized regional business leaders, including several with ties to UCF. Beverly Seay, chair of the UCF Board of Trustees, was placed on both lists.
Chair Seay, featured in the magazine’s cover story, was named the Business Leader of the Year as the magazine cited her leadership guiding both UCF and the community, including chairing the presidential search, helping to initiate a new crisis-management task force and changing the format of Board of Trustees meetings so members can spend more time addressing important issues and topics.
UCF Board of Trustees Vice Chair Alex Martins ’01MBA was recognized as the business leader of the year for economic development, and Jason Eichenholz ’95MS ’98PhD, chief technology officer for Luminar Technologies, was honored as the business leader of the year for industry. Eichenholz holds a master’s degree and doctorate in optical sciences and engineering from UCF.
Seay has been involved with UCF as a volunteer since 1992. She has served on the UCF Board of Trustees since 2013 and has chaired the board since 2019. She also has been chair of the College of Engineering and Computer Science Dean’s Industry Advisory Board and a member of the UCF Foundation Board of Directors.
“Because of her leadership and strategic vision, UCF was able to emerge stronger and better able to fulfill its mission to change lives and lift communities,” UCF President Alexander N. Cartwright said in introducing Seay at the virtual awards ceremony. “She also helped recruit me to the university by showing me what an incredible institution it is and building excitement for the work we could do together.
“Outside of UCF, Bev has had an impressive career as an entrepreneurial senior executive with global experience and a Fortune 500 track record … She has had a lasting impact across our university, community and state … including serving and leading government, industry and the academic boards that have laid the foundation and positioned the Orlando modeling and simulation community to grow into the integrated $6 billion ecosystem it is today.”
Seay said in her acceptance remarks that she quickly knew Central Florida was a special place after moving here in 1990 as an executive with Science Applications International Corp., known as SAIC.
“This community has provided my husband and me with meaningful opportunities to enrich the lives of others. I am delighted that my daughters, after earning degrees at Georgia Tech and UCF, are employed in the defense industry here in our research park,” she said. “My sons-in-law are local entrepreneurs, and my granddaughters are receiving outstanding educational and sports opportunities like their parents did growing up. We all are so fortunate to live here.
“At UCF, we understand the importance of our university having a meaningful impact on our community, by offering our students high-quality degrees that prepare them well for their careers, as well as through our research and service. As President Cartwright likes to say, we are a university for our community, not simply in our community.”
Martins, CEO of the Orlando Magic, was recognized for championing “the region’s economic development through projects including the future sports entertainment district in downtown Orlando and, most recently, the NBA’s decision to continue its season safely at Disney’s Wide World of Sports in what will forever be known as ‘The Bubble.’”
According to Eichenholz’s honor, “from autonomous vehicles to early cancer detection, (Luminar Technologies’) innovations have proven to be groundbreaking both in Central Florida and around the world …The UCF alumni’s work has helped to position Central Florida and the university on the cutting edge of industry and technology.”
Orlando Business Journal
For its 2021 list of 20 Women Who Mean Business, OBJ named 9 who have UCF connections.
The magazine’s awards focus on Central Florida business owners, executives and professionals.
The magazine says the women represent various industries in the region and have carried their businesses through some of the most challenging economic times in recent history. Their challenges have included staying financially afloat during the COVID-19 crisis, keeping their workforces healthy and engaged, and working in the community to end racial injustice and inequity.
In addition to Seay, who was also named to the list, the other recipients and their UCF degrees are:
Josephine Balzac-Arroyo ’03, assistant professor of social entrepreneurship at Rollins College. She has a bachelor’s in psychology.
Sara Bernard ’00, a partner at Holland & Knight LLP in Orlando. She has a bachelor’s in accounting, is a former chair of the UCF Alumni board of directors, and serves as secretary of the UCF Foundation board of directors.
Babette Hankey ’99MS, president/CEO of Aspire Health Partners Inc. in Orlando. She has a master’s in criminal justice.
Janie Lacy ’04, co-founder of Life Counseling Solutions in Maitland. She has a bachelor’s in management.
Megan Paquin ’08, vice president of Poston Communications in Lake Mary. She has a bachelor’s in organizational communication.
Laine Powell ’07MSM, executive director of Tech Sassy Girlz in Orlando. She has a master’s in management.
Karen Revels ’07 ‘15MS, executive director of Cannonball Kids’ Cancer Foundation in Orlando. She has a bachelor’s in public administration and a master’s in management.
Mandy Weitknecht ’06 ’07MBA, vice president of business development at Skanska USA in Orlando. She has a bachelor’s in marketing and a master’s in business administration.