Vision Team members conduct a mind mapping exercise

Strategic planning at USF St. Petersburg moves forward

The strategic planning process at USF St. Petersburg moved forward in earnest Monday night when a diverse team of students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members gathered at the University Student Center.

More than 70 members of the Vision Team spent three stimulating hours discussing critical issues facing USF St. Petersburg and higher education. In addition to students, faculty, staff and alumni, the group includes local business leaders, partners, friends, and representatives from local schools and the USF System.

The team is meeting again today for an all-day session and will meet several more times during the coming months.

In addition, open forums for faculty, students, staff and other groups will take place early in the new year to broaden the discussion. To see a roadmap of upcoming events and learn more about the process, please visit

As Regional Chancellor Sophia Wisniewska told the vision team Monday night, the goal of this process is to lay the groundwork for a vision for USFSP that focuses our resources to have a powerful impact in Pinellas County and beyond.

Walgreens Bayside Business Forum to focus on disabilities in the workplace

Learn the best practices for integrating persons with disabilities in the workplace during the next Walgreens Bayside Business Forum on Friday, Nov. 22, at 7:30 a.m. sponsored by the USF St. Petersburg College of Business. It is free and open to the public.

Titled “The Long Road: Employment for Persons with Disabilities,” the event will feature

JR Harding, Ed.D., of the Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities. He is a two-time presidential appointee, seven-time Florida gubernatorial appointee, author of the book Now What, and a recognized international disability expert.

JR Harding, Ed.D., of the Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities

JR Harding, Ed.D., of the Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities

Dr. Harding has testified numerous times before the U.S. Congress and the Florida Legislature, resulting in an increase in independence and self-sufficiency for persons with disabilities. During the Business Forum, he will explain his personal journey to emphasize the challenges of self-sufficiency and the tools he used that could be helpful to others.

“Sustainability of our communities requires that we have better success in the field of disability integration,” said Maling Ebrahimpour, Ph.D., Dean of the USFSP College of Business. “This is an important topic and we are fortunate to have Dr. Harding explain the challenges and rewards of hiring persons with disabilities.”

The forum will be at Franklin Templeton, 100 Fountain Parkway N, St. Petersburg. Continental breakfast and coffee will be served. Seating is limited, so reservations are requested. To RSVP, please call (727) 873-4700 or email

The Walgreens Bayside Business Forum is presented by the Dean’s Advisory Council of the USFSP College of Business and focuses on interdisciplinary collaborations shaping Florida’s business future. It is sponsored by Walgreens and Franklin Templeton Investments.

Members of the Mu Gamma chapter of Beta Alpha Psi gather outside the University Student Center.

Mu Gamma Chapter of Beta Alpha Psi earns superior status

The USF St. Petersburg Mu Gamma Chapter of Beta Alpha Psi, the honor society for accounting and finance students, has earned superior status by the international organization for the sixth year in a row.

The chapter will receive a $275 award by the KPMG Foundation in recognition of its superior status. Accounting Instructor Patricia A. Gaukel is faculty advisor for the chapter, which was founded six years ago.

“Recognition as Superior Chapter is a significant accomplishment,’’ Beta Alpha Psi President Jan Taylor Morris wrote in announcing the award. “Under the leadership of Patricia Gaukel the Mu Gamma Chapter has far exceeded the baseline requirements of Beta Alpha Psi and has excelled in the areas of academics, professionalism, and leadership.”

“Attaining superior status six years in a row is a particularly impressive accomplishment for a relatively new chapter with only 35 members,” said College of Business Dean Maling Ebrahimpour. “We are very proud of our students and thank Patricia Gaukel for her leadership.”

Vivian Fueyo, interim regional vice chancellor for academic affairs, said the accomplishment reflects the hard work and commitment that is characteristic of the College of Business. “The national recognition of our students by Beta Alpha Psi is the highest praise our dedicated students and their adviser can receive,” she said.

Superior status is awarded by BAP International each year to chapters whose members attain specific goals, including attending a minimum number of professional events and engaging in volunteer work in the community.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn (far left) with Reuben Pressman

Entrepreneurship Program co-founder, graduate honored

Daniel James Scott, associate director of the USF St. Petersburg Entrepreneurship Program, has been named Technology Leader of the Year by the Tampa Bay Technology Forum, and Reuben Pressman, the program’s first graduate, has been named Rising Star.

The honors were announced Friday night during the Forum’s 10th Annual Industry Achievement Awards Gala at the Hilton Tampa Downtown.

In addition, Sam Esfahani, a member of the College of Business Advisory Board and chief information officer of the financial services firm PSCU, was a finalist for CIO of the Year.

Tim Curran, an adjunct faculty member in the USFSP College of Business and CEO of the Global Technology Distribution Council, was a finalist for the Technology Leader of the Year award won by Scott.

Tim Curran teaches evening business class.

Tim Curran teaches evening business class.

“It was a great night for everyone at the College of Business,” said College of Business Dean Maling Ebrahimpour, Ph.D. “Quality is a hallmark of the college,and particularly among our faculty, students and community partners.”

Vivian Fueyo, Ph.D, interim regional vice chancellor for academic affairs, said the awards highlight the growing strength of the three-year-old Entrepreneurship Program. “Recognition from the community is the best praise possible,” she said.

Tampa Bay Technology Forum CEO Heather Kenyon said, “I was thrilled to see that the Entrepreneurship Program at USFSP had such a strong showing at the Tampa Bay Technology Forum Industry Achievement Awards. Both Daniel and Reuben are incredible advocates for the entrepreneurial community. The passion and dedication to assist others and to grow technology companies locally has benefited numerous early stage companies and the awards they received are well deserved.”

Daniel James Scott (far right) with Tampa Bay Technology Forum Board member Joel Playford

Daniel James Scott (far right) with Tampa Bay Technology Forum Board member Joel Playford

Scott founded the technology company Alorum and co-founded the seed-stage investment fund Gazelle Lab. Earlier this year he was named the Small Business Administration Florida Small Business Advocate of the Year and recently was named the Entrepreneurship Educator of the Year by the Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

Reuben Pressman is the CEO and Founder of Check I’m Here, a startup company that helps universities measure and increase campus engagement and allocate funds more efficiently through the use of student ID cards.

In January the USFSP Entrepreneurship Program was named the Outstanding Emerging Entrepreneurship Program in the United States by the U.S. Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship. And in April, members of the student Entrepreneurship Club won the prestigious Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization Startup Simulation Challenge for the second year in a row.

Learn more about how to support the Entrepreneurship Program.

Business Executive Forum will include (clockwise from top left) Kathryn Gillette, CEO of Bayfront Health System; Jay Kuhns, Vice President for Human Resources at All Children's Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine; Michael Vivio, President of Valpak Direct Marketing/Cox Target Media; and Mitchell G. Hara, Senior Vice President, Corporate Strategy/Mergers & Acquisitions at HSN.

4th Annual Executive Business Forum to feature business leaders

The Fourth Annual College of Business Executive Forum on Tuesday, Oct. 8 will feature local business leaders discussing their latest ideas to succeed in today’s economy.

This year’s speakers include representatives of non-profit organizations as well as for-profit companies.

Leaders from Valpak, Ashley Furniture Industries, Bayfront Health System, All Children’s Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine, Southeastern Guide Dogs and Team Red,White and Blue will gather at the University Student Center Ballroom for three separate sessions, at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.

All sessions are free and open to the public.

For the first time, each session will end with an Industry Showcase, providing students a chance to meet one on one with local employers.

Blayne Smith, Executive Director of Team Red, White and Blue

John Disa (left) President, Global Retail, Ashley Furniture Industries; Blayne Smith, Executive Director of Team Red, White and Blue.

“We are pleased to gather these business leaders to discuss the forces shaping today’s economy,” said Maling Ebrahimpour, Dean of the USFSP College of Business. “The addition of the Industry Showcase to the Forum underscores our commitment to helping students engage with the business community and meet the workforce needs of local employers.”

For more information and to reserve your space email or call 727-873-4700

Here is the schedule of speakers:

11 a.m.

  • John Disa, President, Global Retail, Ashley Furniture Industries
  • Mitchell G. Hara, Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy/Mergers & Acquisitions at HSN
  • Mike Jernigan, Community Outreach Coordinator for Southeastern Guide Dogs

2 p.m.

6 p.m.

  • Michael Vivio President of Cox Target Media and Valpak
  • Blayne Smith, Executive Director of Team Red, White and Blue