VIP Access to Emerging Assets

Leadership Orlando Class 91 Explores Polk County

Leadership Orlando Class 91 participants explored Polk County last week and we’d like to extend special thanks to our hosts at Florida Polytechnic University, LEGOLAND Florida Resort and Bok Tower Gardens. 

On Tuesday, the Class traveled to the iconic Florida Polytechnic University, located along Interstate 4 in Lakeland. 

Class Chair, Min Cho, Partner, Holland & Knight LLP, started the day by announcing that Leadership Orlando President Ruth Mustian was on vacation but still with us in spirit, as our photos would later prove. He then introduced Leadership Orlando Class 87 graduate, Sean Malott, President & CEO of the Central Florida Development Council, Inc. (CFDC), who provided an economic overview of Polk County, including its geography and demographics, business services and targeted industries of the CFDC, and its most recent announcements for manufacturing, distribution and office space, investment and job creation. 

Bob O’Malley, Resident Vice President for at CSX Transportation, Inc. shared details of the Central Florida Intermodal Logistics Center.  Intermodal systems move freight from seaports to rail to tractor trailers through the utilization of container shipping.  This highly efficient system is a cost effective way to significantly reduce highway congestion and provide just-in-time delivery of goods and services not only to Central Florida businesses but throughout the southeastern United States. 

The Innovation, Science and Technology (IST) Building is one of Polk County’s newest economic assets - Florida Polytechnic University - where its President, Randy K. Avent, Ph.D., provided a substantial briefing on how the university came to be and what the future has in store. 

Class members were provided a guided tour of Florida Polytechnic University thanks to Maggie Mariucci, Director of External Affairs, who made our visit to Florida Poly possible.

Class members were welcomed for lunch at the 152-room LEGOLAND Hotel.  General Manager, Adrian Jones, who served as Chair of Leadership Orlando Class 84 in 2012, provided an overview of Merlin Entertainments worldwide and Central Florida’s nearly three-year-old family entertainment attraction which has since also opened a Water Park and the Resort Hotel last May.  He also discussed the new International Drive developments in Orlando which include The Orlando Eye, Sea Life and Madame Tussauds, all part of Merlin Entertainments Ltd.

LEGOLAND Florida has made major investments in Central Florida bringing to our region the second park of its kind in the United States.  Without exception, the business and community leaders who are part of Leadership Orlando Class 91 gave a “thumbs up” to the park, the former home of Florida’s oldest attraction, Cypress Gardens.  The gardens on the property have been beautifully restored, and there is no doubt that this regional asset is all about children (ages 2-12) and their families . . . and “big kids” too. Special thanks to class member Amanda Becerra for assisting with our visit and tour.

Class 91 ended the day with a tour of beautiful, historic Bok Tower Gardens, thanks to the partnership of class member Cindy Alexander. Bok Tower Gardens has offered some  of Florida’s most remarkable experiences to more
than 23 million visitors since 1929. Through its historic landscape gardens, unique Singing Tower carillon and magnificent 1930s Mediterranean-style mansion, the Gardens offer unparalleled opportunities for artistic, cultural, personal and spiritual enrichment.

If you’ve been looking for the ‘right’ time to participate in Leadership Orlando, or if know someone who should be in the room for these discussions, now is indeed the perfect time to be a part of America’s largest Community Leadership program, Leadership Orlando. Preparing for the future of our region is up to each of us.  Take time to learn about the issues and participate in the community conversations that are helping to guide our future. 

Leadership Orlando Class 93 will begin in March 2017, with Yolanda Londoño, Vice President, Global Social Responsibility, Tupperware Brands Corporations, serving as Class Chair.  Click here for more information.  The online enrollment form and full schedule is available at  Should you have questions, contact Danielle Permenter at 407.835.2444, or via email at


About Leadership Orlando
Developing regional leaders is important to the future success of the Central Florida Region. That is why Regional Leadership is a primary line of business for the Central Florida Partnership. With more than thirty years of proven success, Leadership Orlando, America’s largest community leadership program, continues to recruit, cultivate and encourage emerging leaders to better serve the Central Florida Region. 

Working together with Orlando, Inc., (Regional Entrepreneurship), BusinessForce (Public Policy Advocacy), and (Regional Research & Resolves), the Central Florida Partnership is moving “Ideas to Results.”

Click here to learn more about Leadership Orlando
Click here for a listing of the 2016-2017 Leadership Team


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