More than 80 representatives from the local manufacturing industry and related organizations attended the summit on Feb. 25 at the St. Petersburg College Clearwater Campus.

More than 80 representatives from the local manufacturing industry and related organizations attended the summit on Feb. 25.

More than 80 representatives from local manufacturing industry and organizations attended the Legislative Manufacturing Summit on the Clearwater Campus Feb. 25. The event, sponsored by Synovus Bank, was hosted by Sen. Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater) and Rep. Kathleen Peters (R-St. Petersburg).

Attendees heard from a distinguished panel who shared information about upcoming Florida legislative bills that would affect manufacturers throughout the state. The bills address such issues as sales tax exemptions, taxation of facility leases, incentives for manufacturers wishing to enter or expand their facilities into Florida, scholarships for teachers to work in manufacturing during the summer, export assistance for Florida manufacturers and educational grants, certifications and articulation agreements.

After the panel presentations, participants divided into teams and were guided by SPC’s Collaborative Labs personnel in prioritizing recommendations they would like to make to the Florida Legislature.

Latvala and Peters thanked attendees for providing their recommendations about how to address manufacturing issues. The goal is to enable Florida to grow as a leader in the manufacturing industry.

SPC Career Service Employee Retiree Emeritus Luncheon recognized seven outstanding retired Career Service employees. From left: Jim Moorhead, Shirley Bell, Sherry Armstrong, JR Lenges, Joseph Smith, Harry Berger and Morrie Johnson.

From left: Jim Moorhead, Shirley Bell, Sherry Armstrong, JR Lenges, Joseph Smith, Harry Berger and Morrie Johnson.

St. Petersburg College celebrated the third annual Career Service Employee Retiree Emeritus Luncheon on Wednesday, Feb. 25. The event, which highlights retired Career Service staff, is one of the college’s efforts to recognize the valued contributions of employees through the years and was organized by members of the Career Service Employee Council.

The seven honorees were nominated by current SPC Career Service employees. Honorees had to have worked for the college for a minimum of 10 years and made significant contributions to the college during the time of their employment. Together, they worked at SPC for more than 165 years.

This year’s honorees include:

  • Sherry Armstrong
  • Shirley Bell
  • Harry Berger
  • Morrie Johnson
  • JR Lenges
  • Jim Moorhead
  • Joseph Smith

JR Lenges, who helped get the event off the ground when it began three years ago, said he was excited and touched to have been nominated.

“It’s a great feeling. Words can’t describe it,” said Lenges, who retired in June 2014 after 40 years of service at SPC. “It was really extra special to know that the ceremony carried on after I retired and hopefully it will for years to come.”

Known for often speaking out on behalf of students in need, Lenges used his moment in the spotlight to speak in order to encourage other employees and retirees to give back to the college through scholarships for its students. With his sister, Jeanne Coffin, Lenges presented Frances Neu, Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Executive Director of the SPC Foundation, with a check to create the new John and Mayzetta Lenges Memorial Scholarship.

Lenges and his two sisters, Coffin and Pam Overton, donated the money in order to create a new annual scholarship. The fund will alternate each year to provide support to students in the fire science and nursing programs. The scholarship honors his father, who served as a fireman, and his mother, who worked as a nurse.

Another annual recognition ceremony by the college for retired employees includes the annual Professors Emeriti, which honors exceptional faculty members who are nominated by current faculty and staff.

Karen WalkerSt. Petersburg College Instructional Designer and Adjunct Communications Faculty Karen Walker, was recently recognized by Multimedia Educational Resources for Learning and Online Teaching (MERLOT) for her PowerPoint Today tutorial.

Previously an instructional support specialist for SPC’s Learning Resources team on the Tarpon Springs Campus, Walker created the LibGuide tutorial to provide students with easy-to-use tools that will help them succeed in their classes and later in their career. View PowerPoint Today tutorial.

“Karen is an innovator,” said Joseph Leopold, Director of Learning Resources for SPC. “Her work with students, faculty, and staff demonstrates her ability to gather information, think creatively, and use her resources to produce tools for students that can be used easily and repeatedly without fail.”

MERLOT focuses on encouraging faculty to integrate technology into higher education. Their peer review process of instructional technology is modeled after the peer review process for research and scholarship. The MERLOT Teacher Education Editorial Board identified Walker’s work as worthy of peer review due to the:

  • Quality of content
  • Potential effectiveness as a teaching-learning tool
  • Ease of use

Learn more about how SPC’s innovative faculty are focused on helping students succeed in and out of the classroom.

Pizza with the SPC president

SPC President Bill Law talks with a student at the Pizza with the President event.On Tuesday, Feb. 24, St. Petersburg College President Bill Law met with about 50 students and staff from the college’s various campuses for Pizza With the President.

The casual, candid platform gave students an opportunity to connect with the president.

“Your feedback helps us strengthen our programs,” said Dr. Law. “Here are the rules: you ask it; I’ll answer it. There are no rude questions.”

Students asked questions about topics such as:

  • The need for International Advisors on the Seminole Campus
  • How to find additional help with MyCourses
  • How SGA can have a place to share information with other students
  • What can we do to make SPC campuses non-smoking
  • Tips for how to allocate SGA funds for collegewide needs vs. just campus needs
  • Consideration for stipends for SGA leaders
  • Availability of additional space for a café on the Seminole Campus

Pizza with the President is held twice a year at SPC, once in the spring and again in the fall. The event is open to all students. To attend, students should contact their campus Life and Leadership Coordinator’s office.

For more photographs from the event, view the SPC Facebook gallery.

SPC graduate Bryan Calhoun works at LumaStream, an LED manufacturing company in St. Petersburg.

SPC graduate Bryan Calhoun works at LumaStream, an LED manufacturing company in St. Petersburg.

St. Petersburg College joins the Florida Department of Education in celebrating Florida Career and Technical Education Month. In honor of the observance, Florida Gov. Rick Scott issued a proclamation that highlights career and technical education opportunities throughout the state.

SPC’s workforce associate degrees and certificate programs prepare workers for jobs that are among the fastest growing in a number of industries. It is one of 12 state and community colleges in the state that are part of the Florida TRADE Consortium, delivering accelerated training that leads to internships and jobs in manufacturing.

According to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Employment Projections Data, by the year 2022 Pinellas County employment in the following careers is expected to grow by the following estimated percentage:

The college also offers training programs for nearly half of the jobs listed in The 100 Best Jobs of 2015 report by US News & World Report.

According to the Florida Department of Education, more than 500,000 Florida students are enrolled in secondary and postsecondary career and technical education programs and job preparation programs.

“It’s critical that we provide Florida students a high-quality education that will prepare them for the jobs of the 21st century,” Scott said. “Career and technical education programs across the state are helping our students gain the skills and training they need to be successful now and in the future. Increased funding will help our schools better respond to the workforce needs in their communities.”

In January, Scott announced the 2015-16 “Keep Florida Working” budget proposal, which includes a $30 million for a new STEM-focused occupation workforce training initiative and $5 million to incentivize $10,000 science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degrees at state colleges.

It has been a focus of SPC to make higher education more affordable and results-oriented. In November 2012, the college became the first state college to accept the “Governor’s $10,000 Degree Challenge” and created a $10,000 tech management degree program.

The governor’s proposed budget also includes a $41 million tax cut for college textbooks and an expansion to the Bright Futures Scholarship program. The January 2015 Florida College System newsletter says the price of college textbooks has continued to increase over the years, often exceeding $100 per book, and estimates that a student taking five courses per term will save, at minimum, $60 per year.

Bright House Networks joins Creative Loafing as a media sponsor of the St. Petersburg Jazz Fest, which kicks off Feb. 25. Other sponsors include Chamber Music America, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, St. Petersburg College & EMIT.

Download the full program and schedule.

Share your photos on the Jazz Fest Facebook page and check out the profiles of the scheduled artists on their website.

When employees and guests enter the spacious lobby of Tech Data’s home office in Clearwater, motivational posters tower overhead.

Those messages – EXTRAORDINARY begins today and Go after it! – greeted St. Petersburg College students earlier this month.

The students got a first-hand look at what it would be like to be one of the more than 9,000 employees working worldwide for Tech Data and 26 other local companies during SPC’s National Job Shadowing Week, Feb. 2-6.

Ryan McNulty, Talent Acquisition Partner, for Tech Data’s Campus Relations department, works behind the scenes to make events like this happen for students from colleges and universities throughout Florida.

“The best part of working at Tech Data is that I get to be in a real corporate environment with access to a lot of executives and important decision makers that you don’t get in other companies,” he said.

Events like these often help students confirm a career path or area of study.

“After this experience, I am convinced that Human Resources is where I belong,” said Carol Hill, after job shadowing at Tech Data. “I am glad I was provided with an insight in Talent Acquisition Partner/Campus Relations.  I was also grateful to have learned the Human Resource Generalist role and to have had a chance to take the tour of Tech Data.”

Tech Data is one of the world’s largest distributors of IT products and services, ranking No. 111 in the 2014 list of Fortune 500 companies. In addition to their massive corporate home office in Clearwater, Tech Data has six district offices in the U.S. with international operations in Europe and Latin America.

Claudia Iacobescu

Claudia Iacobescu, an ESL student at SPC

Claudia Iacobescu, an ESL student at SPC who earned a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting in Romania, was excited to shadow at Tech Data due to their international reach. She spent about three hours shadowing Karen Robinson, a supervisor in the accounting department.

“I was curious how their accounting department was working,” said Iacobescu. “She explained all the duties in every day. They work together like a team. I was very impressed.”

Prior to the job shadowing experience, Iacobescu explained that she had only seen the inside view of large companies like Tech Data in the movies.

“It was the first time I saw something like this,” she said. “Now I can see my dream with my own eyes.”

Other students had similar experiences at other leading local firms.

Tarpon Springs Campus student, Kane Magnuson, shadowed the Vice President of BB&T.

“He was very professional and extremely informative,” she said.  “He gave me valuable tips; it was an eye-opening experience. It gave me a totally different view of the banking system.”

SPC student Alyssa Renee  job shadowing at Nielsen Media Research

SPC student Alyssa Renee job shadowing at Nielsen Media Research

Alyssa Renee shadowed in various departments at Nielsen Media Research.

“I was excited to take advantage of the opportunity to shadow at Nielsen, said Renee. “Two of the most important lessons I gained from this experience were networking and saying ‘yes’ to everything. Virginia Lee, a software engineer, advised us to ‘start in the trenches’ by taking an entry level job as a chance to learn your weaknesses and to ‘fill the gaps’ by working on your weaknesses to define who you want to be as a leader.”

Some students, like Ronnell Montgomery job shadowed at St. Petersburg College. She tweeted about her experience shadowing at the St. Petersburg College Foundation with Jane Parker and Frances Neu.

Ronnell posted her thoughts on Twitter:

“Overall, our first National Job Shadow Week was extremely successful,” said Rosaria Pepitone, one of the Career Outreach Specialists that helped organize the event that gave 32 students a memorable experience. “We were ecstatic to hear all the positive feedback from the students and employers who took part in this opportunity.”

The following companies opened their doors and shared their time and knowledge during this year’s event:

  1. A+ Tax & Accounting Services, Inc.
  2. AIG Financial Network
  3. American Strategic Insurance (ASI)
  4. Bank of America
  5. BB&T Bank
  6. Bouchard Insurance
  7. City of Largo
  8. Clearwater Chamber of Commerce
  9. CPA Partners LLC
  10. Doug Mayer Insurance Agency, Inc.
  11. Goodwill Industries
  12. Hertz Corporation
  13. Hilton Worldwide Call Center
  14. ING Financial Partners
  15. Nielsen Media Research
  16. P3Agency
  17. Paychex
  18. Pinellas County Sherriff’s Office
  19. Prudential Insurance
  20. Raymond James Financial Services, Inc.
  21. RumFish Grill
  22. Seminole Chamber of Commerce
  23. Suncoast Credit Union
  24. Tarpon Springs Police Department
  25. Tech Data
  26. Transamerica
  27. WestCMR

If you are interested in having an SPC student job shadow or intern for your business, please contact an SPC Career Specialist.


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