Richard Gonzmart - 2015
The Columbia Restaurant's fourth generation co-owner and president...
The Columbia Restaurant's fourth generation co-owner and president, Richard Gonzmart, grew up in Tampa and in the restaurant business. He graduated from Jesuit High School and studied hotel and restaurant management at the University of Denver and at Escuela de Hosteleria de Madrid. Founded in 1905 and owned continuously by the same family since then, the Columbia Restaurant is the oldest restaurant in Florida.
In 1999, Gonzmart received the Alumnus of the Year Award from Jesuit High School. Jesuit High School also inducted him into their Athletic Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the inaugural 2001 Florida State University Dedman School of Hospitality Hall of Fame. In 2006 he was inducted into the third class of the Florida Tourism Hall of Fame alongside Thomas Edison. Gonzmart was a semi-finalist for the James Beard Award in 2013. In 2012, he was awarded Tampa’s most prestigious award at the Governor’s Luncheon as Civitan Citizen of the Year. This year the Junior League of Tampa and WEDU honored him with their Inaugural Luminaries Award.
Through the Gonzmart Family Foundation, Gonzmart and the Columbia Restaurant Group have donated millions of dollars to charities, including Moffitt Cancer Center, the University of South Florida and Jesuit High School.
James L. Ferman, Jr. - 2014
His civic and community involvement includes...
James L. Ferman, Jr. serves as CEO and president of Ferman Motor Car Company and its 15 affiliated dealerships headquartered in Tampa. Founded in 1895 by his grandfather, W. Frederick Ferman, the Ferman family business is ranked as one of the largest dealership groups in Florida and the United States.
His civic and community involvement includes past chairman and campaign chairman of the United Way of Hillsborough County and past director of the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay. He is past chairman of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce and its committee of 100, past president of the Tampa Museum of Art, past chairman of The Florida Aquarium and a past member of the Board of Directors of the Ocean Conservancy.
In 1997, he received the Tampa Citizen of the Year Award from both the Civitan Club and the Rotary Club. He and his wife, Cecelia, received the Emory Medal for Distinguished Alumni Achievement in 1999. In 2001, he was a Tampa Bay Business Hall of Fame inductee and received the Florida Family Business of the Year Award from the Sykes College of Business at The University of Tampa. In 2010, he was presented with the Distinguished Citizen Award by the Gulf Ridge Council Boy Scouts of America, and in 2012, he was the recipient of the H.L. Culbreath Profile in Leadership Award, presented by Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce.
He is chairman of the Bank of Tampa and a director of TECO Energy, Inc.
He and Cecelia have two daughters, Laura Farrior and Janice Straske, and six grandchildren. They reside in Tampa, where they are members of the Hyde Park United Methodist Church.
A.D. "Sandy" MacKinnon - 2013
In addition to his commitment to business, MacKinnon has...
A. D. “Sandy” MacKinnon is the founder and CEO of MacKinnon Equipment & Services (previously called Yale Lift Trucks of Florida & Georgia). He has spent his entire career working for Yale, and in 1982 purchased the Tampa and Orlando franchise which expanded to include dealerships in Jacksonville, Tifton, Georgia and Ft. Myers, FL (in 2013). Yale has been awarded the “Dealer of Excellence” for 17 years; one of only two dealerships in North America to earn this distinction.
In addition to his commitment to business, MacKinnon has an extensive background with a broad base of community and business organizations. He has chaired a number of community organizations including the Florida State Fair Authority, Tampa Bay & Company, Brandon Community Hospital, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce and many others.
In addition, he has received numerous civic and business awards throughout his career, some of which include the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce- Business of the Year; Alice B. Thompkins Annual Award – Exceptional Service to the Community; Key Citizen Award – Recognition of Outstanding Dedication and Service to the Community; and 2010 Citizen of the Year by Tampa Bay Civitan Club. MacKinnon was also recognized for contributions to community service by the State of Florida House of Representatives.
Born and raised in Grosse Ile, MI, MacKinnon is a graduate of Hillsdale College with a Bachelor of Science in business. He is married to Dottie Berger MacKinnon, and they have a blended family of five children and seventeen grandchildren.
John H. Sykes - 2012
Recognized with numerous awards for his entrepreneurial abilities and...
John H. Sykes began his entrepreneurial endeavors in 1977 when he founded Sykes Enterprises, Incorporated, in his hometown of Charlotte, NC. The firm grew from its infancy to become one of the largest customer service support companies in the world. Under Sykes’ leadership, the company went public in 1996 and has since expanded employment to more than 41,000 with offices located in 23 countries. In 2004, Sykes retired from Sykes Enterprises, Incorporated, and currently serves as its chairman emeritus.
Since his retirement, Sykes has become an active investor in several business entities and in 2009 began JHS Capital Holdings, LLC, where he serves as chairman. To expand his interest in the financial services industry, that entity now holds two subsidiaries: JHS Capital Advisors, LLC, a broker-dealer enterprise specializing in wealth management, and JHS Insurance Services, LLC, an entity specializing in fixed, variable and long-term care insurance products.
In addition to these interests, he is active in the thoroughbred horse industry. Through Woodford Thoroughbreds, LLC, he has developed a successful enterprise with farm operations located in Versailles, Kentucky and Ocala, FL.
Recognized with numerous awards for his entrepreneurial abilities and community involvement, Sykes has been named Florida Entrepreneur of the Year; Innovator of the Year (awarded by industry peers); the Tampa Police Department Citizen of the Year; the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Officers Citizen of the Year and Florida Free Enterpriser of the Year. Sykes has also been inducted into the Tampa Bay Business Hall of Fame and the Academy of Achievement Hall of Fame of Sales and Marketing Executives International.
Active in the Tampa Bay community, Sykes is a member of the Board of Trustees and chairman emeritus of The University of Tampa where the Sykes College of Business is named in his honor. He is also a member of the United Way Million Dollar Roundtable.
The Honorable Pam Iorio, Former Mayor of Tampa - 2011
Beyond safeguarding the city financially, Iorio expressed and felt…
In 2003 Pam Iorio was elected as mayor of the city of Tampa and re-elected in 2007. She left office highly popular, even more popular than when she was elected. Iorio left Tampa in a very strong fiscal condition adding one hundred million dollars to Tampa’s reserve fund. Our new mayor inherited a talented management team that helped support a seamless transition. During her terms as mayor, Tampa exemplified fiscal responsibility and integrity in public service, even in the midst of a devastating economic downturn.
Beyond safeguarding the city financially, Iorio expressed and felt the difficulties of a city under financial stress. She helped citizens understand that difficult decisions had to be made for the long run common good. In the most difficult times, including the loss of our police officers in the line of duty, Iorio effectively expressed both the pain of that loss and the pride we have in the service of our officers. Iorio practiced leadership with a heart.
Iorio is a leader whose commitment to individuals and to the bedrock values of America shines through when she speaks. Her attitude is one of optimism in confronting difficult situations and pragmatism in examining workable solutions to problems. She is inspirational in counseling us that we can make a better future for ourselves.
Iorio has published several articles on civil rights and political history, and her first book, Straightforward: Ways to Live and Lead, was released in November 2011. She is leader-in-residence at the Sykes College of Business where our students will benefit both from her practical experience and her passionate commitment to leadership with integrity
Marsha Starkey and Jay B. Starkey Jr. - 2010
Individually and as a couple, Marsha Starkey and Jay B. Starkey Jr. personify...
Individually and as a couple, Marsha Starkey and Jay B. Starkey Jr. personify high ethical standards and dedication to faith, family and community. Together, the couple not only has practiced and promoted ethical behavior at home and in the ranching business, but in every aspect of their lives.
In addition to running the ranch, the Starkeys have created a legacy of conservation through the Starkey Wilderness Preserve, one of the largest undeveloped tracts of land in Pasco County. In the early 2000s, the Starkeys sold their herd of cattle and started J.B. Starkey’s Flatwoods Adventures, an ecotourism venture. Earlier this year, the family created the Starkey Center for Nature & Culture where the area’s rich ranching history is preserved through videos, photos and written stories. Both have received recognition as active members of the community.
Col. Joseph W. House - 2009
Col. Joseph W. House began his military career shortly after graduating...
Col. Joseph W. House began his military career shortly after graduating from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1957. During his service career, he commanded several units and was awarded many awards and personal decorations. After retiring from the Army in 1984, House became the General Manager for the USAA Southeast Regional office in Tampa. In this position, he "gave credit where credit was due, built morale, empowered his employees to stretch to their highest goals, and gave positive reinforcement for everyone who exhibited a caring attitude," according to his nomination. After nearly 13 years, House retired from USAA to become chairman of the advisory board for BECK, where he advises on strategic planning, marketing, proposals, presentations and community relations. House was chair of the Board of Trustees at The University of Tampa from 1993-1995. He has supported Metropolitan Ministries and the Alpha House of Tampa, and he has served on the board of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce.
Frederick B. Karl - 2008
Frederick B. Karl was born on May 14, 1924 in Daytona Beach, FL...
Frederick B. Karl was born on May 14, 1924 in Daytona Beach, FL. He attended the University of Florida before enlisting in the Army as a private in 1942. He served as a tank platoon leader in the European Theater of Operations and was awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and a Purple Heart medal. He later received his law degree in 1949 from Stetson University College of Law. Fred Karl has served the public for more than 50 years through his law career and in his public service. He has served in all three branches of the Florida government, and he was the first chairman of the City of Tampa Ethics Commission.He is the author of My War and most recently, "The Power to Suspend: An Important Process for Fighting Corruption in Public Office." Throughout his career, Fred Karl has exhibited only the highest standards for ethical behavior. He tried to retire several times only to be called to return to public or private office for the betterment of the citizens of Tampa. He is retired and still serves as a mentor to many people.
Freddie Solomon - 2007
Freddie Solomon attended The University of Tampa...
Freddie Solomon was born and raised in Sumter, South Carolina and attended The University of Tampa on a football scholarship. He was then drafted by the Miami Dolphins in 1975 where he played for three seasons. He moved to the San Francisco 49ers where he played in two Super Bowls and finished his football career in 1985.
When Freddie moved back to Tampa, he was involved with many community organizations including Boy Scouts of America, Easter Seals Society, American Cancer Society, All Children's Hospital, and the United Negro College Fund. He was then introduced to Major Robert Oates of the Crime Prevention Unit with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office and became a team leader of this agency in 1991. This was a great personal accomplishment for him because he had always been passionate about being actively involved with children in the community and also becoming an employee of the Sheriff's Office.
Since becoming involved with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, Solomon has participated in many activities to help the community. Some of these include Debartolo Christmas, which supplies Christmas gifts to families in need, and the Florida Sheriff's Youth Ranch Summer Camps to provide summer camps to bay area children. Freddie Solomon has been extremely generous in all that he has done for the Tampa Bay Area and is an asset to the community.
John B. Ramil - 2006
John Ramil was named president and chief operating officer of TECO Energy...
John Ramil was named president and chief operating officer of TECO Energy in July 2004. He was responsible for TECO Energy's five operating companies: Tampa Electric, Peoples Gas, TECO Coal, TECO Transport and TECO Guatemala. Ramil was formerly president of Tampa Electric Company and was named TECO Energy Executive Vice President in January 2003.
Ramil has held a variety of positions in engineering, operations, marketing, and customer service. He joined Tampa Electric in March 1976 as a cooperative education student while attending the University of South Florida, where he received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in engineering. He has attended Advanced Studies Programs at the University of Georgia and the Wharton School of Business. Ramil has also been involved in several youth activities including coaching in soccer and baseball, and is a past chair of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, along with other nonprofits in the Tampa area.
Jan Platt - 2005
Jan Platt is noted for her integrity while serving as...
Jan Platt is noted for her integrity while serving approximately 24 years as Hillsborough County Commissioner. She has also served as member and chair of the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners, chair of the Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission, member of the Tampa City Council, board member for the Florida Aquarium, board member of the Hillsborough County Expressway Authority and board member of the Board of Criminal Justice.
Jan has also served as a volunteer for several community organizations including the Suncoast Girl Scout Council, the Hillsborough County Head Start Foundation, the Center for Ethics Advisory Board at The University of Tampa and the League of Women Voters. Awards include Who's Who in America, International Who's Who of Professional and Business Women and Outstanding People of the 21st Century. Recently, Jan received the 2005 Distinguished Alumnus for the College of Social Sciences at Florida State University and 2005 Community Communicator of the year presented by the Tampa Educational Cable Consortium.
Dr. H. Roy Kaplan - 2004
Dr. H. Roy Kaplan is the former executive director of...
Dr. H. Roy Kaplan is the former executive director of The National Conference for Community and Justice—Tampa Bay Region. He has led the human relations organization in addressing bias, bigotry and racism in the community. He works with both children and adults on critical social issues such as race relations and promoting respect among all races, religions and cultures through his advocacy, conflict resolution and educational efforts. Dr. Kaplan has been recognized nationally as a "Hero of Education" by the U.S. Department of Education for his efforts in providing students with alternatives to racial, social, cultural and personal injustice. He has also served as an adviser on the President's Commission on Race Relations, "One America." Kaplan has written numerous articles and three books, and has appeared on both local and national radio and television shows to discuss such issues.
William Reece Smith Jr. - 2003
William Reece Smith Jr. has served his community, state and country...
According to his nomination by Kathleen S. McLeroy of Carlton Fields, P.A., William Reece Smith Jr. has served his community, state and country with distinction. The Tampa attorney is the only American lawyer to have served as president of a local, state, national and international bar association. He won the American Bar Association's Gold Medal for his efforts to preserve funding for the Legal Services Corp. and his nationwide effort to increase the amount of pro bono legal work performed by members of the bar. He also made the lead gift to Bay Area Legal Services to create an endowment fund to provide local legal services to the poor.
Smith's commitment to ethics also is exhibited by his efforts to enhance professional ideals and legal ethics in the practice of law. He served for several years on the Professionalism Committee of The Florida Bar, published several articles, and chaired a committee that published a two-volume work on the subject. He presently holds the position of distinguished professional lecturer at Stetson University College of Law, where he has taught Professional Responsibility (Legal Ethics) since 1991. He has numerous involvements in both the community and education, and received the Civitan Club's award as Tampa 's Outstanding Citizen in 1986. Smith is recognized and respected for excellence in his profession and for his lifelong ethical conduct, as well as his selfless dedication to equal access to justice.
Dr. Sylvia Campbell - 2002
Dr. Sylvia Campbell is a general surgeon in private practice in Tampa...
Dr. Sylvia Campbell is a general surgeon in private practice in Tampa. She is on the clinical faculty for the department of surgery at the University of South Florida College of Medicine, and has served as president of the board of directors of the Judeo Christian Health Clinic Inc. since 1993. The Judeo Christian Health Clinic provides free health care to thousands of medically indigent residents of the Tampa Bay area who have no other resource for their health care needs. Most patients work at low-paying jobs and cannot afford to pay a private doctor or to purchase health insurance.
The Judeo Christian Health Clinic is the largest and most comprehensive clinic of its kind in the Southeast. All of this is accomplished through the generosity of hundreds of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, opticians, dietitians and others who volunteer their time to help provide free health care to the working poor of our community. Campbell has made numerous relief trips to Haiti to provide desperately needed surgical services at a substandard rural clinic. Basic medical care routinely taken for granted here is almost nonexistent there. In conditions best described as primitive and unsanitary, Campbell has performed surgery on adults, the elderly, children and infants. Supported by Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church, she and her team of medical missionaries bring supplies, skill, care, faith and compassion to the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
Campbell has received many awards for her surgical skill and her service, including the Tampa Hispanic Heritage Amiga Award, ZONTA Club of Tampa Women's Advocacy Award, Hillsborough County Medical Association Outstanding Physician Award, and Suncoast Girl Scouts Woman of Distinction Award.
Gus Stavros - 2001
Gus Stavros is the chairman of the board of PELAM Investments Inc...
Gus Stavros is the chairman of the board of PELAM Investments Inc. and former chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Better Business Systems Inc. Better Business Systems Inc. merged into Florida Progress Corp. in 1984, and Stavros was elected group vice president for Business Services Group of Florida Progress. He later became senior vice president of community relations.
Stavros served his country in the 94th Infantry Division, where he earned three Battle Stars, the Purple Heart and a Bronze Medal. He received his B.A. degree from Columbia University and honorary doctorates in humane letters from both Florida State University and the University of South Florida. Stavros has dedicated his life to the advancement of high ethical standards among all individuals and organizations. In retirement, he works endlessly to promote the betterment of the community by volunteering with numerous educational, civic and community groups.
Through his involvement with the Pinellas County Education Foundation, Stavros has provided the leadership and vision to establish an ethics center for public school students and educators. Through lessons related to respect, responsibility, honesty and integrity, the ethics center will help ensure the preparedness of schoolchildren for the workplace and for life-long success. He has been involved in the promotion and enhancement of education at every level, from kindergarten through university.
Laurence E. Higgins - 2000
Monsignor Higgins of St. Lawrence Church has spent 42 years...
Monsignor Higgins of St. Lawrence Church has spent 42 years in Tampa helping the needy, sick, elderly and homeless, regardless of their religion or race. His sense of mission and reputation for fairness and equality are models for society to emulate. He founded Housing by St. Lawrence, a nonprofit corporation dedicated to work in conjunction with the City of Tampa and other municipalities for the primary purpose of creating housing options for first time buyers in Hillsborough County. The various homes and apartments also serve senior citizens and provide programs for children.
Monsignor Higgins serves on numerous boards of directors, including the Museum of Science and Industry, the Glazer Foundation, and the H. Lee Moffit Cancer Center and Research Institute Foundation, Inc. He was named the 1994 Citizen of the Year by the Tampa Civitans Club and received the Humanitarian Award from the Judeo Christian Health Clinic in 1996. In his nomination of Monsignor Higgins, Philip A. McNiff of the New York Yankees said, "One need only to follow his actions in the community to realize the results he attains in any activity he undertakes. He certainly does not rely merely on words—but motivates people through his drive, commitment and personal actions. He is a man of extraordinary strength and character—an agent of change that can transform not only an organization, but individual lives."
Bob Martinez - 1999
Governor Martinez received numerous nominations, citing many...
Governor Martinez received numerous nominations, citing many examples of his lifelong commitment to integrity. Martinez showed outstanding leadership as the mayor of Tampa, as the governor of Florida, and as the drug czar of the United States. In his current position as managing director of government consulting for Carlton, Fields law firm, Martinez maintains his high standards of honesty and integrity. As Governor, he initiated the two-year ban on government officials leaving office before they can begin lobbying their colleagues. He models high ethical standards for his associates to follow and has earned the respect of those who have served under him.
Martinez continues to provide direction in a variety of community activities. He is a man of moderation and balance who successfully makes time for family, friends, leisure, personal growth, community service and his profession. Alfred S. Austin presented the award to Governor Martinez at the breakfast. Mr. Austin remarked, "He has earned the respect of all of the people who served under him and all of those who he served in the various offices he held."
Goliath Davis, III - 1998
Goliath Davis, III, Chief of Police, Saint Petersburg...
Goliath Davis, III, Chief of Police, Saint Petersburg, Florida has a doctorate in criminology from Florida State University. He joined the St. Petersburg Police Department in 1973 as a public safety agent and later became a patrol officer, recruiter, instructor and vice detective. He was promoted to division chief in 1980, to deputy chief in 1984 and assistant chief in 1989. He took over as chief of police in 1997 when St. Petersburg and the police department were divided by rioting and racial insensitivity. Inside the department, he promotes respect, accountability and integrity. He has said, "My theme is respect…I'm emphasizing the fact that it doesn't matter if you're African American, caucasian, asian. We owe it to ourselves to respect the dignity of the human condition." He has rebuilt morale and established a renewed, higher level of professionalism in the St. Petersburg Police Department.
Tom Sullivan - 1997
Tom Sullivan is the general manager of the Hyatt Regency...
Tom Sullivan is the general manager of the Hyatt Regency in Tampa. He has demonstrated a long-standing pattern of commitment to ethics through his own honest and forthright behavior. He is involved on many boards and is well respected for standing up for his beliefs and not compromising when he knows what is right. He works cooperatively to solve problems in his profession and in the community, and volunteers his time to positively impact Tampa through Metropolitan Ministries, Habitat for Humanity and various other community organizations. Sullivan was the president for the Hillsborough County Hotel/Motel Association, and he was also active in the Tampa/Hillsborough Convention and Visitors Association and the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. Sullivan was a man of high morals, unquestionable ethics and honorable character, and was a model for our university students and fellow citizens to emulate.
George A. Levy and J. Leonard Levy - 1996
George A. Levy and J. Leonard Levy both have demonstrated the qualities...
George A. Levy and J. Leonard Levy both have demonstrated the qualities in their business and personal lives that set them apart and made them deserving of the honor. The Levys have many outstanding community contributions. Both are active in area sports and have served as chairmen of the Tampa Sports Authority.
George A. Levy is retired as president and owner of George A. Levy, Inc., a trophy and award company which he founded in 1960. He has served on the board of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Tampa and has also been a member of the board of the Sunshine State Games Foundation, the Gold Shield Foundation, the Outback Bowl Selection Committee and the National Action Council of the National Federation of Independent Business. He has served on the advisory committees of Alpha House and the Centre for Women. He has been Chairman of many local boards, including: Hillsborough Community College, City of Tampa Board of Public Recreation and the Executive Committee of the J. Clifford MacDonald Center. In 1991, George was named Small Business Person of the Year by the Small Business Council of America.
J. Leonard Levy has been president of Hillsboro Printing and Engraving Company since 1984. For several years, he has remained active in civic and business organizations, including the Boards of the Community Foundation of Greater Tampa and the United Way. He is a former president of the Tampa Hillsborough Convention and Visitors Association and is a board member of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, Gold Shield Foundation, St. Joseph's Hospital Foundation and the Advisory Board of the Salvation Army. He was chosen as the Civitan Club 1994 Citizen of the Year.
Dr. James Gills - 1995
Dr. James Gills founded St. Luke's Cataract and Laser Institute...
Dr. James Gills founded St. Luke's Cataract and Laser Institute in Tarpon Springs, Florida, one of the world's largest and finest outpatient eye surgery clinics. He has also assisted thousands of curably blind residents of developing, third-world countries who couldn't afford conventional surgery through the Cataract Teaching Foundation. This foundation provides extremely inexpensive intraocular lenses as well as training for native physicians in surgical techniques. Gills has endowed two chairs in ophthalmology, one at John Hopkins University in Baltimore and one at the University of South Florida in Tampa. He has published numerous articles and authored or co-authored many medical textbooks. He remains a technological leader and innovator in ophthalmology.
Gills also has many successful business enterprises which he runs with the theory to always try to do what's right, even if it costs a little more. His successes have allowed him to donate land and funding for three YMCA facilities as well as other worthwhile uses. Gills' athletic accomplishments are also numerous, exemplifying he is just as committed to total fitness as he is to excellence in all aspects of his life. He has also written seven Christian inspirational books, and the James P. Gills Foundation supports nearly 50 Christian ministries.
Fred D. Learey - 1994
Fred D. Learey was president of General Telephone Company of Florida...
Fred D. Learey was president of General Telephone Company of Florida from 1961-71, interim president of The University of Tampa in 1972, and was the Southeast region consultant for Hill and Knowlton. In 1984 he founded Business Introductions Limited, and he also served on the Board of Directors of Florida National Bank of Tampa. He had numerous community achievements including serving as president of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce in 1967 and 1968, and chairman of the Board of Trustees at The University of Tampa in 1969-70. He received many other honors during his lifetime such as the 1969 Civitan Outstanding Citizen Award, 1971 Silver Medallion Award of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, 1978 Liberty Bell Award of the Hillsborough County Bar Association and the 1985 Florida Distinguished Service Medal, and he was inducted into the 1988 Tampa Bay Hall of Fame.