Doctor of Business Administration
Class of 2020
Jeddah College of Technology
Mohammed Ahmed is a senior accounting instructor at Jeddah College of Technology in Saudi Arabia. He has been there 12 years and teaches all concentrations of accounting from financial to cost to tax to management. His research has focused on fraud in nonprofit organizations and the impact of forensic accounting in fighting financial fraud in Saudi Arabia.
Prior to his current career in academia, Ahmed worked as an accountant at the Al-Sadaf Company in Saudi Arabia, performing basic accounting duties while utilizing various computer and spreadsheet applications. He is skilled in communication and excels in a collaborative team environment. He is a member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and the American Accounting Association Forensic Accounting Section.
He has worked as a financial analyst with a Saudi airline, as the manager of international collaboration and educational development at Jeddah College of Technology, was the founder and program designer of Saudi Arabia Cultural Mission, and was also in charge of partnerships with outstanding institutions across the globe. He wants to develop his research skills and a model for forensic accounting.
Ahmed received an MBA with a concentration in accounting in 2014 from the University of Scranton in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and a bachelor's degree in accounting in 2003 from the King Khalid University in Saudi Arabia.
Scott Beatrice now wears two hats. He is a continuing unit claims examiner with GEICO insurance and an adjunct professor at Florida Southern College. In his capacity as an insurer, he investigates and resolves the most challenging of auto claims. This provides him with a chance to conduct meticulous investigative work as well as hone negotiation skills which he uses with attorneys, other carriers and policy holders. Advance-management skills along with human relations skills are a must for a successful claims examiner. At Florida Southern College, he teaches classes in management.
Prior to his current positions, Beatrice worked as a marketing coordinator with International Golf Management, a specialty branch manager with Wachovia Bank, an internal wholesaler with Franklin Templeton Bank and a medical-data analyst with Bunch Care Solutions. He has an expressed interest in research and education has played an important role in his life. He hopes to be a full-time professor.
He earned an MBA with a concentration in management from the University of Tampa, in Tampa, Florida, in 2009 and a bachelor's degree in marketing and finance from Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida.
Special Operations Command
Markus Bynum is a senior intelligence officer at the United States Special Operations Command, headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. As a recognized subject matter expert in strategic intelligence operations that support unconventional warfare, counterterrorism and counter weapons-of-mass-destruction requirements, he serves as a senior advisor in the operations directorate.
Bynum is a seasoned executive with more than 30 years of government and business experience. He is a retired U.S. Army officer and former Defense Intelligence Agency officer who held key assignments in the U.S., Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Following his government service, Bynum held several leadership positions in business and industry before returning to USSOCOM four years ago.
Bynum received an MBA with a concentration in marketing from George Washington University in Washington D.C. and a Bachelor of Science in Management and Engineering from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.
Samantha Champagnie's career of nearly two decades has all been in the health care realm, culminating in her current position of senior director of operations with himagine solutions, the largest provider of outsourced health information management services in the United States. She reports directly to the COO and is responsible for the consulting engagements of two of the company's three service lines. Her responsibilities include business development, operations leadership and client management of a portfolio that is valued at more than $30 million. Her career has focused on improving business performance and developing the performance improvement strategies for Fortune 50 companies and billion dollar not-for-profit health care organizations.
She often is called upon by her company to address some of the complex problems facing all organizations in the health-care industry today. Prior to her current position, which she undertook in 2015, Champagnie worked in a variety of executive and director roles, including stints at Humana, Mercy Health, Express Scripts and SSM Healthcare.
She received an MBA in general business in 1997 from the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida, and a bachelor's degree in business management and marketing in 1993 from the same institution.
World Executives Consulting Group
Toufic Chebib is a person who likes to break down problems and simplify them and explain solutions to others in an understandable matter. That's what makes him a success as a business leader, a strategist, an engineer and a motivator as managing partner with the World Executives Consulting Group. It's the engineer in him that drives him to understand complex situations and create strategies that work. He takes that drive into the world of business, where technology, banking and finance have sparked his interest. He uses this drive into the world of business, where entrepreneurship, technology, banking, and finance have sparked his interest.
Prior to his current position, he was the CEO of Chebib Restaurants, a franchise of Aladdin's Eatery that he started in 2008. He grew the business from scratch in a new market into a multi-million dollar enterprise with two locations and over 60 employees.
Chebib received an MBA with a concentration in cybersecurity and data analytics in
2015 from The George Washington University School of Business in Washington, D.C.,
as well as a computer engineering degree from Cleveland State University in Cleveland,
Avlisad Financial Corporation
Michael DaSilva is an entrepreneur and successful businessman who, in 1998, founded his company FMC International, a freight management consulting firm in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. FMC specialized in oil and gas international project logistics. DaSilva grew his firm from $9,000 to annual sales of $10 million by 2010.
That year, DaSilva sold the assets of the company and started Avlisad Financial Corp, which is a private investment firm. Prior to this, he worked as a customs broker for both Omnitrans and DB Schenker. He also worked as a financial analyst in customs and excise for the Alberta Liquor Control Board. He was also an international project manager for Panalpina in Canada and Russia. His career has provided him with skills in business management, strategic planning, business operations and financial management. He values most his family, health and fitness, personal development and education.
DaSilva received an Executive MBA from the USF Muma College of Business in 2015 and a bachelor's degree from Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada, in 1986.
Denis Edwards, as senior vice president and chief information officer of Kforce, exerts major influence on strategic business decisions, oversees the IT organization and undertakes all technology and business innovation initiatives. He leads a team of 170 with an annual budget of $45 million.
He also has found ways to reduce infrastructure costs within the IT department by 20 percent. Prior to his job at Kforce, Edwards was executive vice president and global chief information officer with Edelman, the world's largest independent public relations and digital communications agency. Previous to Edelman, Edwards held senior IT leadership roles with PwC, Marriot International, Tyco, ManpowerGroup and Cadbury-Schweppes.
He received graduate certificates in entrepreneurship and cybersecurity, both from Stanford University in Stanford, California; Lean Six Sigma (with black belt) from Villanova University in Philadelphia, and data science from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He earned a master's degree in information systems from Concordia University in Mequon, Wisconsin, and a bachelor's degree in computer information systems from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Retired from the U.S. Army
Thomas Fisher, as a retired colonel from the U.S. Army currently working at the MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, served 30 years in the United States, Europe and the Middle East. He currently serves as an advisor within the U.S. Department of Defense, developing plans and orders for military personnel conducting operations in the Middle East.
His expertise is considered by senior national decision-makers, including generals and admirals, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on up to the president. He has served with the U.S. Central Command for 10 of the past 15 years as branch chief, division chief and now, senior strategic planner.
Fisher received a master's degree in strategic studies in 2011 from the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania; a master's degree in national security in 2002 from the Navy War College in Newport, Rhode Island; and a master's degree in journalism in 1995 from Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. He earned a bachelor's degree in speech/communication in 1987 from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
Juan Carlos Garcia
U.S. Army Reserve
Lieutenant Colonel Juan Carlos Garcia is a military professional with more than 20 years' experience in Military Information Support Operations. He recently served as a branch chief for information operations at the U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. He was responsible for information operations throughout Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt.
Garcia is a career psychological operations officer, having served various positions of increasing responsibility in tactical and operational, including command of the 312th Psychological Operations Company and as a policy officer with headquarters, U.S. Special Operations Command. He served in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom from 2011 to 2012. Prior to his active duty tours, Garcia worked in international finance and strategy for both Marriott International and the Walt Disney Co.
Garcia earned an MBA in 2002 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a Master of Science in International Relations from Troy University in Troy, Alabama, in 2013. He received a bachelor 's degree in industrial engineering in 1993 from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.
Brian Gilliam is a professor of business administration at Florida College in Temple Terrace, Florida. He holds a master's degree but his aspirations for something higher were rediscovered recently when he found a document from his high school days in which he indicated a doctoral degree was his educational goal. Then, he didn't realize the level of commitment to achieve the goal, but now he does. And he's ready to take on the challenge. It offers a timely chance to further his learning experience.
His career began in Disneyland's Tomorrowland, where he was operations supervisor. He has worked as head of engineering data services at Hughes Aircraft and as a financial analyst and operations manager with Vulcan Materials before moving into education as lesson-design specialist and mathematics department chair at Anaheim High School. He has been at Florida College since 2015.
Gilliam graduated in 1992 from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles
with an MBA focusing on finance and entrepreneurship. He earned a bachelor's degree
in computer science from the California State University in Fullerton, California,
Michael Grogan is a national security professional in what may become the next war zone: cyberspace. As cyberspace operations planner with VISTRA Communications, a U.S. Department of Defense contractor, Grogan helps support the Joint Cyberspace Center, the Joint Operations Directorate, U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. His duties include conducting comprehensive operations planning supporting CENTCOM's Cyberspace Operations.
He has been with VISTRA Communications only since September. Prior to that, he was a mitigation intelligence operations specialist for Scientific Applications International Corporation. Grogan is a veteran and retired U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant colonel, having served 23 years.
Grogan received master's degrees in national security studies and international security and civil-military relations in 2000 from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California; and a master's degree in military studies in 1995 from the American Military University in Charles Town, West Virginia. He earned a bachelor's degree in administration of justice from Pennsylvania State University in State College, Pennsylvania.
Phoenix Marketing International
Jaime Hodges sees the value of marketing analytics. As executive vice president of Phoenix Marketing International, Hodges directs primary market research and database analytics to formulate business and marketing solutions for her company's clients. Phoenix Marketing International, one of the fastest growing market research firms in the nation, works with some of the biggest global brands across categories that include automotive, financial services, technology, healthcare, travel and leisure, and consumer packaged goods. Within a career of more than two decades, she has held an executive level position for the past 12 years.
Hodges also oversees the rolling out of new products/best practices related to copy testing; tracking research/analytic products and providing sales support across the entire organization. Prior to her current position, which she has held since 2013, Hodges served as vice president for research in three different companies.
Hodges graduated from Arcadia University in Glenside, Pennsylvania in 1998 with a business degree and has continued advanced coursework in market research and statistics throughout her career.
Jeffrey Johnson, in his capacity as executive vice president at PNC Bank, has been called upon when big things were happening in the banking industry. Over the past nine years, he has managed all commercial loan workouts and foreclosed real estate and has completed workouts on about $50 billion in loans. At the peak of the recession, 400 people were on his staff. Improvement in the economy resulted in a reduction and the staff is now at 225.
When PNC sought to acquire two large institutions, totaling more than $160 billion, Johnson's team was responsible for working on the acquisition prior to the purchase and the integration after the transactions closed. He now has additional responsibilities in retail lending, with a staff of 100. Prior to his work at PNC Bank, Johnson was a senior consultant, internal auditor and served in a variety of executive positions.
Johnson earned an MBA from the Harvard Business School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1982 and a bachelor's degree in accounting and information systems in 1977 from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Illinois.
Christian Koch, for more than two decades, has had a hand in investments, either as a staff equity research analyst, managing director, and now president and CEO of KAM South a firm that invests in individual securities. His firm manages $80 million in assets, with a track record of successful returns.
His research interests include the topics of value investing and how risk is defined within portfolio theory. He has written a research paper on legal insider trading to improve individual portfolio returns. He is striking a balance between engaged scholarship and continues to run his investment business. He has co-authored three books and is currently collaborating with Larry King to co-author a fourth: "The Big Question."
He received a bachelor's degree in business administration at Stetson University in Deland, Florida; a master's degree in business administration at Jacksonville University in Jacksonville, Florida; and he is a graduate of the advanced management program at the Harvard Business School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
University of North Alabama
Diane Kutz began teaching management at the University of North Alabama in Florence, Alabama, in 2013, but her role has grown beyond teaching undergraduate business courses. A few years ago, she redesigned the MBA concentration in project management due to its low enrollment. She now is the coordinator of project management programs, which are growing in demand each semester. The MBA concentration initially had just a couple of students and now it more new students entering each semester.
In addition to her responsibilities as coordinator, she now teaches graduate-level courses as well. The decision to seek a doctoral degree and pursue a career as a tenure-track, full professor was not a difficult one. Kutz, who previously served as an information systems consultant, has never shied away from learning and seeking a doctorate was the next logical step.
Kutz received an MBA with a concentration in computer information systems from the University of North Alabama in 2009 and a bachelor's degree from the University of South Florida in management information systems in 1986. Kutz also holds Project Management Professional and Certified Management Accountant certifications.
Sarasota County School District
Mark Mattia has had a career in market research and management, including a stint at Mars, a Fortune 500 company, where he served five years as the vice president of marketing. Now, his days are spent in the classroom as a statistics instructor at the State College of Florida in Bradenton, Florida, and as a mathematics teacher at Pine View School for gifted students in Osprey, Florida, where he teaches AP statistics and discrete mathematics.
Along his career path, Mattia has worked in management and served in executive roles at a variety of businesses, including AT&T Communications, Sun Chemical, EverBrand and Liberty Science Center. His work has developed in him an expertise in developing extensive communications and presentation skills that have resulted in an ease at achieving goals in a collaborative manner, something he occasionally used as a member of the U.S. Golf Association Advisory Board.
Mattia earned a master's degree in applied mathematics from the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, New Jersey, and a bachelor's degree in mathematics from the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado.
High Digital Media
Michael Michaels went through his formative years wanting to study medicine as a calling to help people through difficult times. As a child he suffered ill health. The staff at the local hospital even knew him by name. His career inclinations were fortified when his mother became ill and treatment threatened to decimate the family's savings. He began studying physical therapy and that led to an education that he says helped save his mother's life.
His interests have shifted to business and now his work involves developing digital-marketing strategies. He manages a team of 20 employees. Over the course of his career, he has worked as a project manager for Muche International and as a marketing consultant with Catalyst Performance. Now, Michaels is considering a career in education, specifically teaching business administration at the university level.
Michaels graduated from the University of Phoenix in Phoenix, Arizona, in 2009 with a master's degree in management. He received a bachelor's degree in physical therapy from the University of Ibadan in Ibadan, Nigeria, in 1997.
Brad Puckey has analytics in his blood, from serving in military intelligence to overseeing various analytical endeavors throughout his career to his current position as partner with the Tenet Partners CoreBrand Analytics practice. There, he manages and directs the collection and utilization of data that is used in the company's public-relations, business-development and client-service efforts.
He began his career in 1988 serving in the military intelligence for the U.S. Army. Since then, he has worked as a freelance research analyst, manager and director for brand intelligence with CoreBrand Analytics. He has seen how often valuable research goes unused. Companies collect data and it simply becomes a scorecard. He wants to change the way brand intelligence is utilized and a key to accomplishing this is communications between executives and financial leaders. He hopes he can ignite the spark to bring more businesses around to seeing the importance of data analytics.
Puckey received a bachelor's degree in economics from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania in Indiana, Pennsylvania, in 1996.
Manuel "Manny" Rodriguez
Manuel Rodriguez, throughout his career, has sought new challenges and opportunities that allow him to grow professionally. His expectations of himself are higher, though, when he seeks to lead organizations to be world class. Over the course of his life, he has worked to achieve excellence both academically and professionally. He currently is CEO of Bueno Ventures Management Services, venture capital and managementent services firm working with small to mid-size businesses to grow and scale using behavioral sciecne techniques to make positive differences...
Accomplishments across his career include launching management consultancies earning more than a half-million dollars within the first year, strategy execution of change management efforts for Fortune 500 companies and national and international speaking engagements on subjects such as organizational behavior management (OBM), entrepreneurship and consulting. He has also co-authored the four-volume book, "OBM Applied! A Practical Guide to Implementing Organizational Behavior Management" and another book "Quick Wins! Accelerating School Transformation through Science, Engagement, and Leadership."
Rodriguez received a master's degree in applied behavior analysis in 2004 from the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Florida, and a dual bachelor's degree in criminology and psychology from Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida.
Florida Gulf Coast University
Chrissann Ruehle is switching from the front of the classroom to a seat in the classroom. An instructor of management in the Lutgert Business College at the Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, Florida, Ruehle currently is teaching four management courses. She has a passion for reading, research and writing and has written and published position papers that were presented at a handful of Marketing Management Association Educator conferences.
She is goal oriented with versatile experience in higher education. Prior to her current position, Ruehle was an adjunct instructor of management at the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio, and an assistant professor of management at Sinclair College, also in Dayton. In 2016, she was honored with a teaching excellence award from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.
She earned an MBA in 2010 from Indiana Wesleyan University in West Chester Township, Ohio, and a bachelor's degree in marketing from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She also earned a project manager certificate in 2005 from Xavier University in Cincinnati.
Sean Smith knows all about supply chain and how it all works. He currently is the supply-chain director of Agropur, a dairy manufacturing company in Wisconsin, where he oversees sourcing, purchasing, logistics, warehousing, inventory, production planning, forecasting and analytics. He directly manages all this through his department of 50 personnel in multiple manufacturing and warehouse facilities. He also serves as an internal consultant on logistics and warehousing for an additional 10 plants that make up the rest of Agropur U.S. operations.
This isn't Smith's first supply-chain rodeo. He began his career in the U.S. Army, where, from 2001 to 2010 he served as the supply-chain manager for the 82nd Airborne and Special Warfare Center and School. Since then, he has worked his way up the ladder by being the supply-chain manager at Citigroup and the Adventist Health System before taking his position at Agropur in 2013.
Smith earned an MBA with a concentration on supply-chain management in 2012 from the University of South Florida and a bachelor's degree in finance from the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland, in 2010.
Gunster Yoakley & Stewart
Eduardo Suarez is a corporate attorney working in a law firm with more than 200 attorneys. The firm, Gunster Yoakley & Stewart, is nationally ranked and Suarez is a shareholder specializing in labor and employment law. Suarez is also a certified executive coach as well as a corporate trainer working with businesses of all sizes ranging from family-owned enterprises to multi-national corporations.
Among his accomplishments, he has successfully negotiated collective bargaining agreements without business interruption or labor unrest, and he successfully ran more than 100 organizing campaigns on behalf of corporations. Prior to working at Gunster Yoakley & Stewart, Suarez was managing partner of his own law firm, as well as the owner of Integrated Employer Resources, an employer association and consulting firm, for more than 18 years. He has owned and operated a manufacturing facility with over 226 employees with more than $27 million in revenue. He held several interim roles for corporate clients during restructuring.
Suarez received a law degree from Mercer University in Macon, Georgia in 1991; a master's degree in public administration at Georgia College in Milledgeville, Georgia, in 1991 and a master's degree in management services from St. Louis University in St. Louis in 1988. He earned a bachelor's degree in 1987 from St. Louis University. He also earned a coaching certification from Columbia University.
Michael Summers already is a teacher. He is in charge of the PSCU business unit responsible for developing and delivering all internal employee training, leadership development programs, succession management, organizational development consulting and interventions. He also oversees the development of all external training materials for PSCU's member-owner credit unions.
He has been in his current position since 2016 and previously filled a similar role with the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority in Tampa, where he worked closely with the executive and leadership teams to identify skill gaps, future needs and succession planning. Employee engagement is at the heart of his efforts and he develops and presents various leadership programs for employees to advance their careers. At the authority, he transformed the leadership development framework from a course-centric design to a custom, integrated coaching and targeted training model aimed at accelerating skill-gap closure.
Summers received a bachelor's degree in workforce education in 2002 from Southern Illinois University.
Cobra Software Group
Chuck Swanson is dedicated to a high level of service. After building relationships with 900 clients in his company over 36 years, he sold the company in 2014. He agreed to stay on for four years to ease the transition of his life-long work into the new parent company and to teach the new owners the ropes while keeping his clients happy. After his four years are up, Swanson wants to go into consulting and possibly a career in teaching at the university level.
While taking courses for a graduate degree, he enrolled in an independent study program in data analysis, which gave him the ability to interpret data and make presentations to business leaders to convince them that analytics can and will improve business practices. The lesson learned over his career: Even though one aspect of a business may not be the most important to its success, it is the combination of all areas of the organization that makes a company thrive.
Swanson received an MBA from the University of South Florida in 1989 and a bachelor's degree in finance in 1987 from the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida.
Abbott Financial Services
Amanda Thompson-Abbott is an entrepreneur and educator. She owns an accounting business that specializes in auditing and assurance services specifically focusing on businesses that operate in the mental-health and drug-addiction industries. She also is a partner in her family's accounting business, which focuses on tax and consulting for a diverse client base. After working in her family business for more than a decade, she struck out on her own, establishing her own firm.
When she's not working ledgers, she's teaching accounting classes at Marshall University and also supervises the university's Beta Alpha Psi chapter and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program. She has found how much she enjoys teaching at the college level, where she can mold and shape the next generation of accountants, who are able to meet the challenges of a field that is constantly changing. She is a Certified Public Accountant.
She received a master's degree in business from Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, in 2003 and a bachelor's degree in accounting from the same institution in 2001.
Lions Eye Institute for Transplant and Research
Aharon Yoki was at the forefront of growth in 2017 at the Lion's Eye Institute for Transplant and Research, where he serves as CFO and director of finance and administration. Yoki led the acquisition process with due diligence through negotiations with the target company, and the result of the acquisition doubled the size of the company and significantly extended the company's global reach. Aharon manages budget, accounting, financial reporting, information technology, human resources and administration teams.
Prior to joining the Lions Eye Institute, Yoki had his own health care consultancy, and earlier was a business advisory manager with KPMG from 2003 through 2009. He provided business performance consulting services to clients across an array of industries including health care, higher education, transportation, consumer goods and the public sector. Prior to KPMG, Yoki worked in leadership roles for several non-profit organizations.
Yoki is a graduate of the University of Tampa and is a Certified Public Accountant, licensed in the State of Florida.