The University of Tampa Alumni Awards are the highest honors presented by the UT Alumni Association on an annual basis. Selected through a highly competitive process, each recipient has made a lasting impact on society and on UT through outstanding professional, philanthropic or volunteer accomplishments.
2020 Alumni Award Honorees
The Alumni Association is proud to announce the 2020 Alumni Award honorees. These individuals are recognized for their outstanding achievements in their professional fields and for their dedicated service to the University.
These prestigious awards are presented at the annual Alumni Awards Dinner the evening before Spring Commencement. Our current recipients are:
2020 Alumni Achievement Award
Raymond "Nando" Quinones '04
Nando Quinones is a Special Agent (SA) for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and serves as a National Program Manager at the HSI Financial Crimes Unit in Washington, DC. HSI is the principal investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security, responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. SA Quinones runs the COVID-19 Financial Fraud Program, International Corruption Program, and Elder Fraud Program. As manager of these programs, he provides training, guidance, and resources to investigative agents across the world in support of their ongoing efforts to detect, disrupt and dismantle transnational criminal organizations. SA Quinones takes pride at assisting victims of financial crimes by repatriating recovered funds and prosecuting those who commit the fraud. He also serves as liaison to the Department of Justice Criminal Fraud Division and Consumer Protection Branch.
Prior to his promotion to headquarters, SA Quinones was assigned to the Special Agent in Charge of the Tampa office, which is where he began his career with HSI in 2004. He has conducted various criminal investigations, including money laundering, financial fraud, drug trafficking, and counter proliferation. From 2012 to 2015 he served as an HSI Representative at the U.S. Embassy in Panama where he served on the anti-money laundering counsel with partner law enforcement agencies. He returned to Tampa, where he continued to investigate financial crimes and served as HSI’s liaison to financial institutions in the Tampa Bay region. He is frequently sought after for his expertise in financial investigations and is respected by his peers as a leader and team player. In addition, he performed the collateral duties of HSI Recruiter, Defensive Tactics Instructor and Special Response Team member. SA Quinones is a Certified Economic Crime Forensic Examiner and earned a Bachelor of Science in Criminology and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from the University of Tampa.
SA Quinones and his wife Jess (’11) live in the Washington, D.C. area with their daughter Isa and their French Bulldog, Casanova.
2020 Young Alumnus Award
Jessica Merrick '10
Jessica Merrick joined The IRONMAN Group as Senior Counsel in January 2022. In her role, Jessica offers wide-ranging legal and business counsel to The IRONMAN Group’s global partnerships team, drafting and negotiating sponsorship agreements and product licenses. She also advises the global operations team, assisting with various services agreements and other commercial matters, including without limitation, IT/Digital, Intellectual Property, and Data Privacy.
Jessica previously spent five seasons with Vinik Sports Group (VSG) as their Associate Counsel. VSG is home to the NHL Stanley Cup winning Tampa Bay Lightning, a collegiate athletics property, two event venues, a digital media company, and retail and ecommerce platforms. There, Jessica advised and assisted various departments in their daily operations by negotiating and drafting agreements, ensuring legal compliance for promotions, analyzing and developing solutions to minimize risk, assisting in defense of various civil suits, and overseeing outside counsel.
Prior to joining VSG, Jessica worked for Minor League Baseball in the President’s office and Mandalay Baseball Properties. She was named Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Top Corporate Counsel – Up and Comer Category in March 2018.
Originally from Rochester, New York, Jessica received her Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in government and world affairs, from the University of Tampa, and her Juris Doctorate from Southwestern University School of Law, in Los Angeles, California where she specialized in entertainment law.