Class Notes — January 2012

Come read about what your UF classmates are doing … and maybe find your name, too. Our class notes are drawn from reader submissions and media reports. Listings are alphabetical by decade, and they are updated on the first of each month. So check back often to see what your classmates are doing!

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Clifford Landers (BA ’59, MAT ’62, PhD ’71) is a translator of Brazilian literature. He has translated more than 25 books from Portuguese to English since 1985. Some of his works include “The Golden Harvest,” by Jorge Amado; “Bay of Tigers: An African Odyssey,” by Pedro Rosa Mendes; and “The Fifth Mountain,” by Paulo Coelho. He is also the author of “Literary Translation: A Practical Guide.” He lives in Naples.


Capt. Tracy Connors* (BA ’62) published the second edition of the “Volunteer Management Handbook: Leadership Strategies for Success,” a nonprofit organization management tool. He has written seven other handbooks in this field, as well as two military histories of the Korean War. He lives in Gainesville.

Steve Cypen (BA ’65) produced a documentary, “The Last Flight of Petr Ginz,” which will be shown at the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival Feb. 29 and was seen at the United Nations on Jan. 25. The film tells the story of Ginz, a 16-year-old boy who chronicled his life in Nazi-occupied Czech Republic through novels, a diary, drawings and paintings and as editor of an underground magazine before dying in an Auschwitz gas chamber. Cypen lives in Miami Beach.

Gerald Parker (ME ’67) was reelected as secretary/treasurer for the Museum of the Coastal Bend. He lives in Edna, Texas.

Don * (JD ’68) and Jeannett Slesnick* (BA ’72) received a lifetime achievement award from Catalyst Miami during the 10th Anniversary of the Prosperity Campaign. Don Slesnick is the mayor of Coral Gables, where the couple lives.


Carlos Alvarez* (BA ’72) was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. He is a former wide receiver for UF who now practices environmental land-use law. He lives in Tallahassee.

Rob Blackeslee (BDES ’73) was selected to serve on the advisory board for the Department of Interior Design at Florida International University. He lives in Chuluota.

Tyrie Boyer* (BSBA ’72, JD ’76) was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott to the Fourth Judicial Circuit Court. He lives in Jacksonville.

Linda Crider (EDS ’74, PhD ’76) received one of 25 “Trail Champion” awards from the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. She lives in Palatka.

Sharon Daniels* (BAE ’76) is president and CEO of AchieveGlobal Inc., a customer service training and consulting business in Tampa. She was president and chief executive of Communispond, a communications training company in New York. She lives in Brandon.

Wendie Feinberg (BSBR ’76) is an executive speech writer for the Federal Reserve Bank in Atlanta. She was the managing editor of “Nightly Business Report,” a business news show. She has received a National Business News Emmy Award, three local Emmy Awards and a Radio Television News Directors Association Award for best news series or documentary. She lives in Hollywood.

Karen Jans (BSADV ’79) is associate vice president for university relations at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach. She was assistant vice president of community relations and associate director of university relations and public affairs at UCF in Orlando. She lives in Daytona Beach.

Leonard Johnson* (BSBA ’78, JD ’80) was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott to the district board of trustees for Pasco-Hernando Community College. He lives in Dade City.

Jim Lenahan (BFA ’73) co-hosted “Concert Lighting Design: The Blank Page,” a session discussing design techniques. The session is part of Live Design’s second annual Concert Master Classes, a series of sessions providing technical training and discussions about concert lighting and projection design at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Lenahan is a scenic, lighting and video designer who has worked with such acts as Lady Antebellum, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers and Bob Dylan. He was a consultant at Walt Disney Imagineering and designed lighting for the Disney Fest Asia tour and the “Aida” musical on Broadway. He lives in Reseda, Calif.

Michael Leonard (BIE ’70, ME ’72, PhD ’73) received one of four Fellow of ABET awards. He is the senior associate dean and a professor at Mercer University’s School of Engineering. He is an ABET adjunct training director and lives in Macon, Ga.

Henry Newell (BSBA ’78) is president and CEO of Wausau Paper, an industrial and commercial paper producer located in Mosinee, Wis. He has worked for the company since 2007 and has served as its senior vice president of paper, senior vice president of specialty products and vice president of business development. He lives in Mosinee.

Charley Pell was posthumously inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2012. Pell, who died in 2001, was UF’s head football coach from 1979-84.

Ken Ringe (BSBA ’77) was named Florida’s 2011 Builder of the Year. He is the president and owner of Bayview Construction and lives in Stuart with his wife, Vickie.

Eduardo Sontag (PhD ’76) received the 2011 IEEE Control Systems Award for his contributions to technology. He is a professor in the department of mathematics and a graduate faculty of the computer science and electrical and computer engineering departments at Rutgers University in Piscataway, N.J. He lives in Manomet, Mass.

Bill Thomas (BSEE ’75) is the vice president of global sales for Johnstech. He lives in San Jose, Ca.

Patrick “Joe” Wright (BSBA ’78, JD ’82, MBA ’82) was appointed to the District Board of Trustees for South Florida Community College. He is the president of V&W Farms of Delray Beach and the board chairman of Southeast Milk Inc. He lives in Avon Park.


Michael Allen (BSF ’80) is faculty program director of the land, forest, wildlife management program at Southwest Georgia Technical College in Thomasville, Ga. Allen worked for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission for 30 years, most recently acting as one of the commission’s section leaders.

Chip Bachara (BBC ’82) was named Jacksonville’s 2012 “Construction Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers, a peer-review magazine. He is on the Fourth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission and president of Bachara Construction Law Group in Jacksonville, where he lives.

Timothy Bush (LLMT ’84) was named Birmingham’s Best Lawyer of the Year for non-profit/charities law. He is a shareholder of the Sirote law firm and leads its intellectual property group. He lives in Birmingham.

Frederic Gratto (MAURP ’87, PhD ’01) wrote the book “13 Things Rock & Roll Can Do for You,” which explores life through classic song lyrics. He is assistant director of UF’s Physical Plant Division and lives in Gainesville with his wife, Katherine (EDD ’97).

Randy Hanna (BSJ ’81) was named chancellor of the Florida College System. He will oversee 28 colleges and about 800,000 students. He lives in Tallahassee.

Scott Hawkins* (BSBA ’80, JD ’83) is the president of The Florida Bar. He is a member of the UFF Board of Directors and was a past president for the UF Alumni Association. He lives in Palm Beach Gardens.

Marc Hillmyer (BS ’89) was featured on for his work on the “plastics of tomorrow.” His current research aims to find sustainable alternatives for plastic. He lives in Minneapolis.

Sean Houston (BSTEL ’08) is the new director of broadcasting and media relations for the Charleston RiverDogs Minor League baseball team. He lives in Tampa.

Tim Jackson* (BSJ ’86) was honored as a finalist for his novel, “Mangrove Underground,” in the USA Book News “Best Books 2011” Awards. He lives in the Cayman Islands.

Harvey Jay III (JD ’87) was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott to the Fourth Judicial Circuit Court. He lives in Jacksonville.

Mavra Kear (BSN ’84, MSNSG ’88) was elected president of the Florida Nurses Association. She will coordinate the Polk State College’s bachelor’s degree program for nurses, which will begin next fall. She lives in Lakeland.

Beverly Law (BSF ’80) is a member of Picarro’s Scientific Advisory Board. Picarro is a greenhouse gas measurement instrument producer. Law teaches global change forest science at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Ore., where she lives.

Kevin McCarty* (BA ’82, JD ’86) was elected president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. He is the first appointed commissioner of the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation and lives in Tallahassee.

Melanie Mowry-Etters* (BSBR ’82) is state president of the Florida Public Relations Association and communications director for the Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities. She is a former president of the UF Alumni Association. She lives in Tallahassee.

Elizabeth Murphy (BA ’87) is vice president and private client adviser of Wilmington Trust, a retail and commercial bank in Palm Beach. She is a lawyer who owned her own practice for 11 years and was legal counsel to the Valentino Fashion Group in Rome and the U.S. She lives in Palm Beach.

Edwin Scales III* (BSTEL ’88, JD ’91) was reappointed to the District Board of Trustees for Florida Keys Community College. He has served as general counsel for the Florida Citrus Commission since 2005 and for the Florida Department of Citrus since 2006. He has been a radio host for Vox Communications Group since 1999 and lives in Key West.

Mark Schwieg (BSEE ’89) is resident inspector of Progress Energy’s Brunswick nuclear power plant in Southport, N.C. He was a project engineer for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in Atlanta and a system and electronic engineer for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. in Marietta, Ga. He served as a submarine officer in the U.S. Navy for five years. He lives in Jefferson, Ga.

G. Mark Shalloway (BA ’86) was a featured speaker at the 2011 Special Needs Trust Conference at the Stetson Law School on Oct. 20. He lives in Palm Beach Gardens.

Carlos de la Torre (BA ’83) is the international studies program director at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Ky., where he teaches sociology and international studies courses. He returned to the U.S. from Ecuador, where he directed the establishment of a social sciences doctoral program. He also writes weekly columns for a newspaper in Ecuador. He was a Fulbright New Century Scholar in 2007-2008. He lives in Lexington, Ky.

David Zona (BSBA ’86) is chief underwriting officer of Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co. in Novato, Calif. He has also worked at the Nationwide and AIG insurance companies. He lives in Novato, Calif.


Steve Atkiss (BA ’99) is principal at Command Consulting Group, a global security and intelligence company in Washington, D.C. From 2006-07, he was chief of staff in the Senior Executive Service at U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a border security agency in Washington, D.C. He lives in Bethesda, Md.

Michelle (BDES ’92, MARCH ’94) and Todd Balfoort (BDES ’92, MBC ’93) collaborated to build their own modern-style home, which was completed in April. The house has been Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified by the General Building Contractors Association, meaning it is recognized as a sustainable building. She is president of Balfoort Finnvold Architecture, and he is president of Balfoort Contracting. They live in Stuart.

Lana Champion (BSTEL ’93) is vice president of sales of the Times-Union Media Co., a newspaper in Jacksonville. She was the company’s director of display advertising.  She lives in Jacksonville.

Phil Chilson (MS ’90) is on the Unmanned Aerial Systems Council, a group of advisers to the governor of Oklahoma. Chilson is a professor in the School of Meteorology at Oklahoma University in Norman, Okla., and is working on developing a system for atmospheric observation.

Jaret Daniels (PhD ’99) has been nominated for the 2012 Indianapolis Prize, an award highlighting animal conservationists, for his butterfly conservation efforts. He founded the Florida Butterfly Monitoring Network, which trains volunteers to conduct butterfly censuses. Daniels also helped the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission launch the Imperiled Butterflies of Florida Workgroup, which studies declines in butterfly species. He is an assistant professor of entomology at UF and is also assistant curator of Lepidoptera at the Florida Museum of Natural History on UF’s campus. He lives in Gainesville.

Van Dao (DVM ’99) appeared on Food Network’s “Chopped,” a cooking competition. He owns Biscuit Benders, a bakery café. He lives in San Francisco.

David Deliman (BSTEL ’94) is public affairs manager for the Florida-Georgia region of Cox Communications. He was a public affairs manager for Cox in Fort Walton Beach. He lives in Atlanta.

Ben Fertic (BSME ’91) is president of World Triathlon Corp., the owner of Ironman sports brand, in Tampa. He was CEO of the company. He lives in Clearwater.

Steven Forde (BSMD ’94) is a physician assistant at the Alicia Roberts Medical Center in Klawock. He is certified by the Nation Commission for the Certification of Physician Assistants and lives in Sebring.

Daniel Fridman* (BA ’96) received the 40 Under 40, Outstanding Lawyers of Miami-Dade County award from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. He is a trial lawyer at the Holland & Knight law firm and lives in Coral Gables.

Heather Collins Grattan* (BSJ ’93) published “The Compatibility Matrix: The Qualities of YOUR Ideal Mate,” which is based on her research of more than 250 couples. She lives in Boynton Beach.

Russ Goin (BSCE ’93) is executive vice president of investments for Cadillac Fairview, a commercial real estate management company in Toronto. Before joining Cadillac Fairview in 2008, he worked for Goldman, Sachs & Co., an investment banking and management firm based in New York City.

Eunice Heath (BSISE ’90) was named one of Philadephia Business Journal’s Women of Distinction. She is the general manager of Dow’s Home and Personal Care business and lives in Bryn Mawr, Pa.

Phillip Hutchinson* (BSEAE ’90, JD ’97) was placed on the Fifteenth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission by Gov. Rick Scott. He works with commercial law and is a shareholder in the Greenberg Traurig law firm in West Palm Beach, where he lives.

George Kramer

George Kramer started the Kramer & Little land-planning consulting firm. Photo courtesy of George Kramer.

George Kramer* (BA ’99, MAURP ’07) started the Kramer & Little land-planning consulting firm. He was UF’s student body president from 2000-01 and previously worked as a senior planner with Aecom. He lives in Orlando with his wife, Anjali* (BSBA ’94).

Kenneth Lambert (BS ’91) was appointed to the District Board of Trustees for South Florida Community College. He is the vice president of enterprise solutions for KBM Group and lives in Wauchula.

Darrell Layfield (BSESS ’91) owns Innovation Training Systems, a fitness and nutrition consulting and education company geared toward athletes. He participates in motocross competitions and won national and world titles in 2011. He is a firefighter and paramedic in Orlando and is pursuing a doctorate in naturopathic medicine. He lives in Clermont.

Lee Lewis (BSBC ’93) is founder and president of Nip the Grip Energy Dip, a natural product used as an alternative to smokeless tobacco. He lives in Fernandina Beach.

Philip LoGrasso (PhD ’92) is on the scientific advisory board of Arrien Pharmaceuticals, an early-stage drug discovery company. He is a professor in the molecular therapeutics department and senior director of drug discovery at Scripps Florida’s Translational Research Institute in Jupiter, where he lives.

Elizabeth Santana Mariano* (BSASE ’92) is assistant vice president of power plants and maintenance reserves for CIT Aerospace, an aircraft leasing and financing company in Fort Lauderdale. She also gave birth to a son in May 2008 and a daughter in April 2010. She lives in Boca Raton.

Susan Marney (BSAC ’99) is senior consultant and office manager for Solution Resources Inc., a business software company in Jacksonville. She lives in High Springs.

James May (BA ’93, EDD ’07, MEd ’99) teaches English as a second language at Valencia College in Orlando. He received the 2011 Florida Professor of the Year Award from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as part of the U.S. Professors of the Year program. In October, he also received the Association of Florida Colleges’ Excellence in Technology award. In 2010 he was given the Florida Association of Community Colleges’ Professor of the Year award. He lives in Lake Mary.

Marco Menendez (ME ’94) is the Carolinas’ regional water/wastewater market leader for the Dewberry services firm. He lives in Raleigh, N.C.

Chris Stowers (BA ’92) is vice president of development of HealthTeacher, an online health promotion and disease prevention company in Nashville, Tenn. He was executive director and chief operating officer for communications and branding of the Arnold Palmer Medical Center Foundation in Orlando. He lives in Franklin, Tenn.

Brandy Truex* (BSPR ’94) received the Young Professional ATHENA Award from the Chamber of Palm Beaches in September. The Athena Awards honor local area leaders, businesses and young professionals. She works for Upright Marketing Solutions and lives in Boca Raton.

Trish Wilson (MA ’91) is the deputy Latin American and Caribbean editor for The Associated Press. She was a former assistant managing editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer in Philadelphia and an editor at the News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. She was also a reporter at the Palm Beach Post in West Palm Beach and the Fort Pierce Tribune in Fort Pierce. She has lived in Thailand, Panama, Greece and Nicaragua and speaks Spanish and Greek. She lives in Wyncote, Pa.

Edward Wirth III (PhD ’92, MD ’94) is chief executive officer of InVivo Therapeutics Holdings Corp., InVivo, a Cambridge, Mass.-based company that develops technology for spinal cord injury treatment. Wirth was medical director of regenerative medicine at Geron Corp., where he led the world’s first human embryonic stem cell clinical trial. He also led the UF team that first performed human embryonic spinal cord tissue transplants in the U.S. He lives in Mountain View, Calif.

Lisa Wolgast* (BSHSE ’97, JD ’03) was elected partner of the Morris, Manning & Martin law firm. She lives in Decatur, Ga.

Devin Young (BSBC ’92) and his wife, Mirka, were recognized by The Florida Bar News for their service with Hope For The Warriors. They live in Tampa.


Robert Anderson (JD ’09) was elected treasurer of the Young Lawyers Division for the Lee County Bar Association. He is a lawyer at the Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt law firm and lives in Fort Myers.

Evan Appell (BSJ ’05) is on the steering committee for Legal Aid’s Next Executive Team, a group of professionals who provide pro bono work for the underprivileged. He is an attorney at the GrayRobinson law firm in Fort Lauderdale, where he works with insurance defense. He lives in Boca Raton.

Kristin Barker (BSPR ’02) plays in “Bloomers,” a webseries about a diverse group of friends living and working in downtown Los Angeles. She studies under Ivana Chubbuck, an acting coach who works with stars such as Halle Berry and Brad Pitt. She lives in Los Angeles.

Camilo Benedetti (BABA ’02) was the first person to make a hole-in-one in the Jacksonville Open. He is a professional golfer on the PGA circuit and lives in Windermere.

Christina Blood* (BA ’08, JD ’11) is a litigation associate at Adams and Reese law firm in Tampa. She was a summer associate at the firm, where she worked with property and contract disputes. She was also a judicial extern for the Honorable Susan Bucklew in the U.S. Middle District of Florida. She lives in Odessa.

Jason Burby

Jason Burby is president of the Burby Engineering Inc. structural engineering firm. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Daku Burby.

Jason Burby* (BSCE ’05, ME ’06) is the principal engineer and president of the Burby Engineering Inc. structural engineering firm. He is a professional engineer licensed in Florida, Georgia, Wyoming, Kansas and Texas and was previously the engineer of record on a ten-story hotel in Clearwater Beach. Burby lives in Tampa with his wife, Jennifer (BA ’04, JD ’07).

Colin Dean (BSPR ’08) is an attorney at the Sirote & Permitt law firm in Birmingham, Ala. He practices in mortgage litigation. He lives in Montgomery, Ala.

Shayna Freyman (BA ’07) serves on the Ghost Light Society Steering Committee, which promotes involvement in the performing arts. She is an associate at the GrayRobinson law firm in Fort Lauderdale, where she works with commercial and banking litigation. She lives in Plantation.

Glenn Garrido (PhD ’00) received the Argentinean Music Medal for his conducting seminar to young conductors from Chile, Paraguay and Argentina and conducting a concert with a symphony orchestra in Argentina. He is an associate professor of music and band director at Berry College in Mount Berry, Ga., where he lives.

Josh Gellers* (BA ’05) and Dustin McLarty (BSAE ’08) are members of the 2011 Sustainability Science Team at University of California Irvine Environment Institute, in Irvine, Calif., which is a doctoral group studies relations between the environment and society. Gellers lives in Long Beach, Calif., and McLarty lives in Irvine, Calif.

Peter Grimes (MFA ’03) is an assistant professor of English at Dickinson State University in Dickinson, N.D., where he lives.

Nikole Guillette* (BSBA ’04, MA ’05) is finance and operations manager of Brunet-Garcia Advertising Inc., a marketing and branding company in Jacksonville. She was accounting manager of the company. She lives in Ponte Vedra.

Claire Lucier* (BSPR ’09) was promoted to senior account executive at the Duffey Communications Inc. public relations firm. She lives in Atlanta with her husband Brendan* (BSBA ’09).

Jeremy Mikolajczak (MFA ’07) is the executive director of the Miami Dade College Art Gallery system. He lives in Miami.

Jody Miller (BSAC ’04, MACC ’04, JD ’07, LLMT ’08) is assistant vice president and fiduciary officer of Wilmington Trust, a retail and commercial bank in Palm Beach. She worked for Pressly and Pressly, a law firm in West Palm Beach. She lives in Coral Springs.

John Miller* (BA ’04) was elected vice president of the Young Lawyers Division for the Lee County Bar Association. He is a lawyer at the Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt law firm, serves on the board of Child Care of Southwest Florida Inc. and is co-chair of the Social Networking Committee of the Florida Defense Lawyers Association. He lives in Cape Coral.

Danny Simon (BSAC ’03, MACC ’03) is co-founder of Lalchandani Simon PL, a social media, health care and business planning law firm in Miami. He works with commercial litigation and lives in Palm Beach Gardens.

Todd Steinberg (BSPR ’00) owns and founded the annual Spring Weekend bash, which will be held April 13-15 in Panama City Beach. He lives in Fort Lauderdale.

Jonathan Sykes (BA ’05) joined the Poston Communications firm as a new associate. He will work at the firm’s Central Florida office. He lives in Tallahassee.

Daniel Weidenbruch (BA ’01, JD ’04) is board-certified in real estate law. He is a lawyer at the Roetzel & Andress law firm in Naples, and he works with commercial and residential real estate and commercial loans. He lives in Naples.


Ensign Jessica Alabata* (BSA ’10) is serving in the U.S. Navy. She participated in a two-week certification exercise off the coast of Southern California, where she also underwent detainee handling training. She is stationed on the USS New Orleans.

Hannah Wharton Coggin (MARCH ’11) works for the Quina Grundhoefer Architects interior design firm in Pensacola. She has worked in the design and construction industry in Florida, Connecticut and Alabama.

Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Kirk (MBA ’10) is in the U.S. Navy and is stationed at Naval Air Station Kingsville in Kingsville, Texas.

Andrew Scheuermann (BA ’11, BS ’11) was named to USA Today’s 2011 All-USA College Academic Third Team. Scheuermann, a graduate student at Stanford University, was selected for his intellectual achievement and leadership. While a student at UF, he was a Goldwater Scholar, Marshall Scholarship finalist and fencing team captain. He lives in Stanford, Calif.

*UF Alumni Association member

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