GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A creator of organic fertilizers, an inventor of tasty seasonings and a wealth-management advisor are just three of 12 alumni of the University of Florida’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences honored Feb. 6 for their entrepreneurial efforts.
UF recognized each of them for leading one of the 100 fastest-growing, most innovative and emerging companies at the inaugural Gator100 Awards at UF’s Reitz Union Grand Ballroom in a celebration organized by the Warrington College of Business Administration’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
Ernst & Young calculated each company’s compound annual growth rate over the past three years to generate the ranking.
The honorees, their entrepreneurial efforts and their CALS degrees are listed in alphabetical order, by last name:
- Nate and Sarah Bazinet; founders of Sunshine Plumbing and Gas; Micanopy, Florida. In 2003, Nate earned a bachelor’s degree in microbiology and cell science, and Sarah earned a bachelor’s degree with a double major in wildlife ecology and animal sciences. They founded Sunshine Plumbing and Gas in 2009. Prior to launching Sunshine Plumbing and Gas, Nate worked part-time in the plumbing industry while also working at the UF Cytogenic Lab, and Sarah was working as a veterinary technician and contemplating a career as a veterinarian. Together, they have grown the company to more than 30 employees and a service area reaching across central Florida from multiple regional offices.
- Chad Buckmaster; CEO of Processing Point; Carlsbad, California. Buckmaster earned a bachelor’s degree in food and resource economics in 2002. Processing Point is a leading provider of innovative solutions for small businesses nationwide. Products range from cutting-edge, cloud-based timekeeping software to the latest in mobile payment processing and point-of-sale solutions. San Diego Business Journal named Buckmaster a 2014 finalist for its “Most Admired CEO” award.
- William “Bill” Hamm Jr.; founder and CEO of Independent Financial Partners; Tampa, Florida. Hamm earned a bachelor’s degree in food and resource economics in 1979. He founded William E. Hamm and Associates, Inc. in 1995 and formed IFP in 2000. IFP consists of a national network of more than 500 advisors in 38 states, providing comprehensive wealth management services with $35 billion in assets under advisement.
- Robert “Mike” Lester Jr.; founder and CEO of Talon Wealth Management; The Villages, Florida. Lester earned a bachelor’s degree in food and resource economics in 1996. He founded Epic Financial Group in 1998 and has grown it to a multimillion dollar financial service company. He then partnered with ING Financial Partners to provide independent investment services and in 2012, he rebranded his branch offices as Talon Wealth Management to continue providing independent investment advice and services.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences doctoral student has won a $25,000 fellowship to continue studying probiotics.
Amanda Ford, conducting research under the guidance of Wendy Dahl, an assistant professor in the UF/IFAS Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, was awarded the fellowship by the Dannon Company.
“Ford’s strong interest in yogurt and probiotics and commitment to advancing human health through scientific research distinguished her from a pool of well-qualified and talented candidates,” the Dannon Company said in a news release.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. ─ Graduating transfer students in the University of Florida’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences can soon receive a special award named for a 35-year CALS employee.
The new CALS Student Excellence Fund will be renamed to honor college Admissions Coordinator Emelie Matthews, a longtime Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and CALS employee, when she retires in 2015.
In her position, Matthews works primarily with transfer students. She has been working for UF for 35 years. For 12 of those, Matthews also has served as an adviser for Sigma Alpha, a professional agricultural sorority.
“I’ve always tried to look at what’s best for the students and guide them, so that they can go out and be successful individuals,” Matthews said.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Officials from two global agricultural companies, Limagrain and HM.CLAUSE, and the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) have partnered to support a new initiative aimed at finding ways to feed a growing world.
Limagrain will provide $200,000 over a three-year period, while HM.CLAUSE will donate $100,000 over a five-year span, to support the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences’ (CALS) Challenge 2050 Project, which aims to equip current and future agricultural leaders with the skills to find innovative ways to sustainably feed more than 9 billion people by 2050.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Alumni and friends of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences are invited to TailGATOR 2014: Celebrating 50 Years of IFAS on Oct. 11 in Gainesville.
The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and CALS have hosted this annual event since 1997. TailGATOR will begin in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center three hours prior to kickoff of the UF vs. LSU game. TailGATOR tickets are $12.50 in advance and $15 at the door. Individuals can register online at www.cals.ufl.edu/tailgator.
“This year, we’re celebrating 50 years of IFAS,” said Janice Hurdle, CALS Alumni and Friends president. “As a part of IFAS, CALS students are uniquely positioned to gain hands-on research and Extension experience.”
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The Florida Farm Bureau is the first organization to participate in the CALS Partnership Program, pledging $20,000 in a gift that will go primarily to support student development activities at the University of Florida.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A professor and assistant chairman of the Department of Animal Sciences has been named associate dean of the University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.
Joel Brendemuhl, with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences since 1985, began work in his new role July 14, said college Dean Elaine Turner.
Brendemuhl will provide leadership for admissions, enrollment, curricula and academic program assessment in the college, also known as CALS, Turner said.
“His experience as both an undergraduate and graduate coordinator, his effectiveness as a teacher and adviser and his commitment to serving our students were key factors in his selection for this role,” Turner said. “I anticipate that he will use his experience to assist in the continuous quality improvement of all of our academic programs.” (more …)
University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences faculty and former College of Agricultural and Life Sciences students took home a passel of awards from this year’s North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture conference held June 25-28 in Bozeman, Montana.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is celebrating three of its own students after they were selected this month for the UF Hall of Fame Award, the highest recognition given to student leaders at the university. (more …)
Elaine Turner has been named dean of the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A University of Florida faculty member and administrator often lauded for her outstanding teaching skills has been named dean of the university’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.
Elaine Turner, senior associate dean for UF’s third -largest college, often known as CALS, has been interim dean of the school since early January, but becomes its dean effective April 11, said Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources.
“Dr. Turner is a person who gets things done,” said Payne. “She is organized, she’s tireless, she never drops the ball and she’s got a career-long commitment to the highest-quality teaching.”