Thirteen UCF alumni were honored lastnight at the Orlando Business Journal 40 Under 40 Awards, an annual celebration that recognizes successful professional who have created a big impact within their industry and in the local community.
Honorees were selected from a group of nominees submitted by the general public. In order to be eligible for the award, nominees had to be under the age of 40 by Nov. 9 and have a leadership role within Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake Volusia or Brevard county.
“This year’s class of honorees not only had amazing accomplishments, but they also work hard to make Central Florida a great place to live, work and play.”
“Each year, Orlando Business Journal seeks to recognize young professionals throughout the region who are playing key roles in shaping our community. These men and women also spend an equal amount of time in giving back to the community through local nonprofits, their own philanthropy efforts, and through their contribution of time and talent,” according to the publication. “This year’s class of honorees not only had amazing accomplishments, but they also work hard to make Central Florida a great place to live, work and play.”
One-third of the total group honored at the ceremony, which took place at Mango’s on I-Drive, were UCF alumni who earned bachelor’s, master’s and/or doctoral degrees in subjects ranging from art to political science.
Here is the list of Knights who made the list:
- Stephanie Darden Bennett ’00 is the president of marketing agency Prismatic, where she has been employed for nearly 17 years, and co-founder of Bubbled.IT, which curates and designs infographics. She is a multiple recipient of OBJ’s 40 Under 40. She graduated summa cum laude with a degree in art.
- Kaleb Harrell ’04 is the co-founder and CEO of Hawker’s Asian Street Food, which opened in 2011 in the Mills neighborhood and has expanded to five locations from St. Petersburg to Jacksonville. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in finance from UCF. Harrell and his partners will soon open another Florida location in Delray Beach, as well as two more out of state, in Atlanta and Charlotte, North Carolina.
- Laura Kern ’06 was a Burnett Honors Scholar while earning a bachelor’s degree in advertising and public relations, with a minor in political science. She was also a board member for Quotes, a PR club. She is the director of digital marketing and associate director of social media for Rollins College.
- Mike Kilbride ’12 earned his degree in finance and is currently the assistant vice president of UCF Downtown. While he was a student at UCF, he served as SGA president and was the executive director of Knight-Thon, the university’s largest student-run philanthropy campaigns. After graduating, he volunteered as the UCF Young Alumni Council chair.
- Jessica Korthuis ’11 is the chief brand strategist and founder of SOHUIS, a digital communications and design consultant agency. She earned bachelor’s degrees in interpersonal and organizational communication as well as studio art. She was recognized previously by OBJ in its 2016 list of Women to Watch.
- Albert Manero ’12 ’14MS ’16PhD was a Burnett Honors Scholar and holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in aerospace engineering and a doctorate in mechanical engineering. While he was a student, he helped form Limbitless Solutions, a nonprofit organization that provides 3D printed prosthetics for children, and continues to serve as the organization’s CEO. With its headquarters located in Knights Plaza on campus, Limbitless is currently involved in a U.S. clinical trial that will help determine whether the custom-designed prosthetics will be covered by health insurance, making the arms more affordable and accessible for children nationwide.
- Joshua Murdock’01’02MA’04MEd is an instructional designer helping to build online courses for Valencia College, where he also is an associate professor of educational training. During his time at UCF he earned three degrees: a bachelor’s in criminal justice and minor in public administration; master’s in instructional systems and instructional technology; and a master’s in educational leadership.
- Jennifer Nunn’14MS graduated with a master’s degree in civil engineering and now serves as the vice president for the Balmoral Group LLC. The company offers economics, data analytics, environmental analysis and GIS capabilities for public and private clients to support policy analysis and strategic decision making.
- Sean Osmond’04’16MS is the marketing director and proposal and business development senior staff at AVT Simulation, a systems integration, modeling and simulation small business. At UCF, Osmond earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing and master’s in modeling and simulation-engineering. He is also a former member of Marching Knights and is in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.
- Kelly Quintero ’13 earned a bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in women’s studies. While she was a UCF student, Quintero served as president of the National Organization for Women and a member of the College Democrats club. Her participation in UCF’s Legislative Scholars Internship program eventually led her to her current position as director of advocacy and government relations at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.
- Carey Sobel’09 is a partner and chief strategy officer at Three21 Creative, a digital marketing firm. He is also a partner and business intermediary at Boss Group International, a company of business brokers. Sobel graduated with a degree in management and was the first person to be awarded UCF’s Young Alumni Award in 2017. During the same year he was also recognized as an Alumni 30 Under 30 award winner.
- Trey Vick ’06MBA is the CEO of V3 Capital Group, a commercial real estate firm in Maitland. Before he majored in business administration at UCF, he served in the U.S. Air Force as a staff sergeant. His professional experience includes financial regulation, commercial real estate finance, investment and development. He is a previous recipient of OBJ’s 40 Under 40.
- Kristen Wiley ’14is the founder and CEO of Statusphere, a startup that pairs companies with social media influencers. Prior to starting her company in 2016, she worked as a chief marketing officer for BlurtBox and GreenHouse Agency. Wiley earned her bachelor’s degree in advertising and public relations as a Burnett Honors Scholar and LEAD Scholar.
Other honorees were:
- Danielle Abbey, Community Based Care of Central Florida
- Regine Bonneau, RB Advisory
- LaVon Bracy Davis, Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
- Noah Brodsky, Wyndham Destinations Inc.
- Reginald Burroughs, City of Orlando
- Chris Cosby, Poinciana Medical Center
- Nicole Donelson, American Diabetes Association (formerly)
- James Duehning, Burns & McDonnell
- Leo Farias, FanHero
- Sean Jennings, Waste Pro USA Inc.
- Nimit Kapoor, Fifth Third Bank
- Courtney Keller, Greenberg Traurig LLP
- Jennifer Lastik, Greater Orlando Sports Commission
- Matt Masterson, Moxé
- Lindsey Perez, DLR Group Inc.
- Joe Quinn, Big Vision LLC
- Jessica Raymond, Heart of Florida United Way
- Dayatra Rivette, Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems
- Jorge Rodriguez, Colliers International Central Florida
- Dana Marie Roquemore, The Dinner Party Project
- Jami Smith, Florida Hospital Foundation
- Monica Smith, Poston Communications LLC
- Johnny Tung, Bento Management Group
- Michael Weinberg, HFF Inc.
- Chris Whitlow, Edukate Inc.
- Melissa Wiggins, Cannonball Kids’ Cancer Foundation Inc.
- Lindsey Winter, NAIOP Florida Chapter Inc.