The UCF College of Business Administration will honor three alumni and present other awards at its 19th annual Business Hall of Fame gala Feb. 20.
More than 600 alumni, faculty, students, corporate partners and friends of UCF are expected to attend the annual event that honors the college’s most distinguished alumni and partners. Guests will celebrate at the Knights on Ice-themed event beginning with a cocktail party, followed by the interactive gala and awards ceremony. The event will be 6-9 p.m. at Rosen Shingle Creek.
2018 UCF Business Hall of Fame Inductees
The three honored alumni have demonstrated exceptional professional successes in their fields. This highest honor given by the college to graduates is awarded to those who have been in the industry for at least 20 years and have brought notoriety to the university through their professional achievements.
- Sheila Jordan ’86, senior vice president and chief information officer, Symantec, the largest cyber security company in the world, holds an accounting bachelor of science in business administration and serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board. In 2015, Silicon Valley Business Journal named Jordan CIO of the Year in innovation and transformation, and The Huffington Post named her to its Top 100 CIOs on Twitter list. Prior to joining Symantec, she served as senior VP of communication and collaboration IT at Cisco Systems and senior VP of Destination Disney. In 2016, she joined the board of directors of FactSet Research Systems Inc., a global company that delivers insight and information to investment professionals.
- Terry McNew ’86, president and CEO, MasterCraft Boat Company, has an economics bachelor of science in business administration. With more than 29 years of experience in the marine industry, McNew led MasterCraft’s successful initiative to take the company public in 2015. He remains active on campus, participating as a judge in the college’s annual Joust New Venture Competition and serving as a guest speaker in The EXCHANGE, a 120-seat idea room where students can meet and hear from top executives, alumni, faculty, entrepreneurs and community leaders. McNew holds the distinction of being The EXCHANGE’s first speaker when it opened in 2015. That same year, the college awarded him with a Professional Achievement Award.
- Dawn Olivardia ’89, ’90, tax partner, Grant Thornton LLP, earned both her accounting bachelor of science in business administration and master of science in taxation. A practicing CPA for 26 years, Olivardia serves as Grant Thornton’s Florida tax practice leader and Partnerships East Region leader. The two-time alumna continues to give back to UCF and the college as a sponsor and speaker in The EXCHANGE. She also helps lead the UCF Women in Accounting symposium. She previously served as president of the UCF Accounting Advisory Board and as president and board member for UCF Alumni.
The Partnership Awards recognize organizations that have initiated a successful partnership with or on behalf of the UCF College of Business, resulting in the advancement of the college’s academic offerings or public outreach. These organizations embody the spirit of collaboration and are recognized for their initiative, leadership and involvement in the betterment of business education.
- Ravago Holdings America, the world’s largest distributor and compounder of plastic resins, donated $500,000 to the college recently to name the Ravago Entrepreneurial Hub, which provides resources for successful student startups, and support the college’s recent building renovation. Ravago is also partnering with the college’s Executive Development Center to provide custom training for their leadership team, managers and employees. Ravago employs several UCF graduates but strives to be a top employer of choice for College of Business Administration graduates looking to work for an entrepreneurial company interested in growing new talent.
- Verizon has been a corporate partner of the college for the past three years and an avid supporter of the college’s Great Capstone Case Competition, which challenges senior student teams to create and pitch their business plans to industry judges and faculty. Verizon continues to recruit and hire UCF graduates and credits the partnership for connecting the company with a strong pipeline of talent and developing the local Verizon Finance Center of Excellence.
Entrepreneurial Alumni Awards
The Entrepreneurial Alumni Awards honor UCF business alumni from any discipline who exemplify commitment, vision, calculated risk-taking and growth potential. In their professional careers, these alumni demonstrate perseverance in the face of adversity and overcome obstacles.
- Jorge Amaro ’13, has more than 25 years of senior leadership experience across the healthcare and biopharmaceutical industries. He is the founder and CEO of A3i Inc., which was named by the Orlando Sentinel as a Top 100 Company in 2017 and serves patients in all 50 states. Companies such as Medtronic, DaVita, Amgen and Genentech have leveraged his exceptional record of improving business process and IT alignment. His background and the experience gained from the UCF incubator has helped him grow A3i into a multimillion-dollar enterprise. He earned his executive MBA from UCF and has returned to campus to promote the UCF Executive Development Center and speak at The EXCHANGE.
- Ken Herndon, ’87, is the founder and chief executive officer of KC Curb Inc., a Central Florida provider of commercial concrete curbing. Since founding the privately held company in 1993 with a single employee – himself — he has grown it to more than 40 employees and an annual revenue of more than $10 million. He earned his marketing degree from UCF and gives back to the college through a pair of scholarships for single parents pursuing degrees.
- Carey Sobel ’09, has co-founded seven companies in Central Florida and is currently a partner and chief strategy officer at Three21 Creative, a full-service digital marketing agency in downtown Orlando. Sobel, who majored in management at UCF, has helped grow Three21 into a multi-million dollar, award-winning agency. The firm employs many UCF alumni and offers internships to UCF students as well. He is also a partner at Boss Group International, a firm that helps people buy and sell businesses in Florida. He recently received the 2017 Young Alumni Award at the Shining Knights ceremony and was a 2017 UCF 30 Under 30 Award winner. He also is a member of the Young Alumni Council and participates in speaking engagements and the mentorship program for students.
Honorable Knight Awards
The Honorable Knight Awards recognize UCF business alumni with more than 10 years of experience who have displayed excellence in their respective career paths.
- Peter Laurinaitis ’93, ’95, is a partner in the Restructuring and Special Situations Group for PJT Partners, a global advisory-focused investment bank. He has been involved in the restructuring of more than $50 billion in liabilities across a broad range of industries. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting from UCF and is a member of the UCF Department of Finance’s capital markets advisory board.
- Jason M. Reilly, CFA, ’95, ’98, is the managing director and market investment executive for U.S. Trust’s central and north Florida markets. He leads a team of 15 investment professionals responsible for more than $5 billion in assets under management. He holds the chartered financial analyst designation and is past president of the CFA Society of Orlando. He also is a member of the UCF Department of Finance’s Orlando advisory board and The UCF Foundation finance committee. He earned his bachelor’s degree in finance and his MBA from UCF.
- Woody Walker, ’92, ’94, is the senior vice president of alliances and client engagement at Convergence Consulting Group, a Florida-based business intelligence consultancy, where she oversees the relationship with its two largest partners, IBM and Microsoft, and large strategic clients. She is a member of Athena Next-Gen and recently joined the UCF Alumni Board. She earned both her BSBA in management and MBA at UCF.
Notable Knight Awards
The Notable Knight Awards recognize UCF business alumni who have displayed promise and excellence early (first 10 years) in their respective career paths.
- Daniel Conn, CPA, ’09, ’10, is the director of finance for Demetree Global, a pioneer in Florida in land development, construction, commercial real estate and land use. He oversees the accounting and finance team and was responsible for creating the framework for the company’s asset database. The former UCF cross country runner earned his bachelor’s in accounting and master’s in taxation from UCF. He regularly returns to campus to speak to students and share his career experiences.
- Blaire Martin ’11, ’13, is the co-founder and executive director of Florida Angel Nexus, which powers angel investment groups statewide and has secured more than $17.5 million in investments for 63 early stage Florida companies. She speaks nationally about strategies to build, scale and fund businesses. In 2017, she was honored as an Orlando Business Journal Women Who Mean Business – Woman to Watch and as a 30 Under 30 by the UCF Alumni Association. The former captain of the UCF women’s water polo team is a two-time Knight having earned her BSBA and MBA in entrepreneurial studies from UCF. She coaches a professional development class and works with student entrepreneurs through the Blackstone LaunchPad at UCF and UCF’s Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation.
Tickets and Hotel Accommodations
Ttickets for the gala are $100, or guests may purchase up to 10 table seats for $1,000, which includes sponsor recognition. Click here to purchase tickets or a table.  Discounted hotel rooms of $109 per night are available for guests at Rosen Shingle Creek, valid Feb. 18-21. For reservations, call 866-996-6338 and mention you are with the UCF College of Business Hall of Fame.