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2023 Alumni News Roundup

University of Florida Warrington College of Business alumni have continued to charge towards the forefront of achievements in 2023. As leaders in their industries and communities, these driven innovators are boldly tackling challenges with fresh perspectives. Whether on an international or local scale, Warrington alumni are using their forward-thinking skills to move both industries and people in positive directions. Read on for how Business Gators made an impact this year.

Alumni Accomplishments

Warrington alumni are always focused on the future, moving the world forward in big and small ways. Here are a few of the things Business Gators did this year. 

CITY Furniture Co-Founder and Chairman Keith Koenig (BSBA ’73, MBA ’75) was a recipient of the 2023 Horatio Alger Award, the fourth from the University of Florida. The Horatio Alger Award is given to individuals who have succeeded despite facing adversities and have remained committed to education and charitable efforts in their communities.

SVP, Agency Division Manager at Fidelity National Financial Mary Pat Dunleavy (BA ’87) was named the 2023 Bergstrom Center Alumna of the Year.

Six Warrington alumni were named to the 2023 40 Gators Under 40 list, including Scott Brown (BSBA ’06, MS-ISOM ’07), Carlos Manuel Gomez (BSBA ’06, BA ’06), Leslie Arsenault Metz (BSBA ’08, JD ’12, MBA ’22), Michael Polo (MSM ’14, PhD ’17), James Uthmeier (BA ’10, BABA ’10, MIB ’11) and Aron Weingard (BSBA ’07, MSE ’09).

Warrington alumni own or lead 36 of the top Gator100 companies of 2023. Three of the companies in the Gator100 top 10 were Business Gator led or owned, including No. 2 Pulse Clinical Alliance (Ricky Caplin, BSAc ‘05, MAcc ‘05), No. 3 Bearbottom Clothing (Robert Felder, BSBA ‘16, and Megan Simon, BSBA ‘16) and No. 7 Bintelli LLC (Justin Jackrel, BABA ‘05).

CEO of Dogs for Better Lives Bryan Williams (MBA ’14) is using his MBA experience to improve the quality of life for those in need through trained assistance dogs.

Joshua Green (BSBA ’02) pitched his product PIE Wine on Shark Tank while also serving as CFO at Survios, a Los Angeles-based gaming company focused on creating immersive experiences and games.

Partnerships Lead at Sequoia Capital Mark Hall (BS ’08, MSE ’09) uses his public relations and entrepreneurial skills to help businesses pave their own path in the ever-growing world of venture capital.

Owner of All Cats Healthcare Clinic Dr. Grace White (BS ’11, MSM ’13, DVM ’17) uses her business skills regularly in her veterinary practice.

Former Gator quarterback, 13-year NFL veteran and Gator Radio Network analyst Shane Matthews (BSBA ’92) shared his football insights ahead of the 2023 season.

Clinical Associate Professor and Director of Women’s Leadership Programming at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management Ellen Connelly Taaffe (BSBA ’83) released her new book, The Mirrored Door: Break Through the Hidden Barrier That Locks Successful Women in Place.

Brett Adcock (BSBA ’08) founded new startup Figure AI, a robotics company intent on designing humanoid robots that use artificial intelligence to complete human-level tasks.

After over 17 years of experience marketing companies such as Delta, CNN and Georgia Pacific, Beautiful Curly Me founder Evana Oli’s (BSBA ’02) career took the unexpected twist into doll creator after Oli’s daughter complained about her hair.

CEO of Bealls Inc. Matt Beall (BSBA ’01) shared his insights into how the 100-plus-year-old company continues to innovate in the ever-changing retail landscape.

Partner and Co-Founder of Sorobon Capital Partners Scott Friedman (BSBA ’01) is helping University of Florida business students stand out with AI.

With over 20 years of leadership experience in areas like organizational strategy and workforce development, Chief People Officer at Infotech Tara Blythe (BSBA ’02) shared her insights on what makes a good leader in honor of National Leadership Day.

Alumni Spotlights

Warrington alumni hold C-suite roles in industries across the world. In 2023, we put the spotlight on some of our talented alumni to learn more about where they are today and how they got there.  

Brian Levine (BSBA ’92) | Pick up your paddle. Pickleball is the next big thing: After 25 years with Goldman Sachs, alumnus Brian Levine is ready for his second career leading America’s new favorite sport – Major League Pickleball.

Lezlee Westine (BSBA ’82) | Building Bipartisan Bridges: How CEO of the Personal Care Products Council Lezlee Westine is using her unique experience to bring people together and create change.

Steve Hagenbuckle (BSBA ’85) | Setting the Stage for Success: Steve Hagenbuckle’s University of Florida experience laid the groundwork for his future success in business and real estate.

David Long (BHS ’00, MSM ’01) | Holistic Health on the Horizon: CEO David Long’s passion for heath, wellness and business acumen are leading Orangetheory Fitness into a bright future.

Katie Saez (BSBA ’99) | Purpose-driven Leadership: A written reminder of Truist Georgia Region President Katie Saez’ personal purpose statement is always within sight on her desk – make a difference.

Kevin Boone (BSAc ’00) | On the Fast Track: How CSX Vice President of Sales and Marketing Kevin Boone’s solid foundation in finance and dynamic mindset has brought on professional and personal success.

Gary Antenberg (BSBA ’89) | Banking on Success: How Barclays Global Chairman of Investment Banking Gary Antenberg’s continued investment in his goals brought him to his dream career. 

Matt McLean (BSBA ’93) | Growing Citrus is the Family Business: Founder and CEO Matt McLean shifted from finance to create his organic orange juice brand Uncle Matt’s Organic, the nation’s largest organic orange juice company.

In Memoriam

We lost a great Business Gator this year – Frederick E. Fisher. In 1985, Fisher gifted $6.8 million to the University of Florida to formally establish the Fisher School of Accounting, which was the largest gift to any state university in Florida at the time. His leadership and generosity have forever impacted the Warrington College of Business.

Frederick E. Fisher (BSBA Accounting ’59) | Warrington College of Business mourns the loss of accounting champion Frederick E. Fisher

Class Notes

We want to stay in-the-know with our alumni. Through Class Notes, we encourage alumni to tell us what’s new and exciting in their lives, both personally and professionally.  

Have a Class Note you’d like to share? Click here to submit your news to the Warrington Class Notes

Brian Bush (BSBA ’09) is Vice President of the Tom Bush Family of Dealerships and is part of the fourth generation of the Bush family in the car business.

Caroline Beasley (MBA ’22) joined BDO as a senior tax manager.

Peter Gylfe (BSBA ’09, MSF ’10) and Michael Wilkinson (BSBA ’10, MSF ’10) were both named to Business Insider’s Wal Street Rising Stars: 25 top young investors, traders and dealmakers list. Gylfe was also named to Institutional Investor’s 2023 Hedge Fund Rising Stars.

Michelle Ebanks (BSBA ’83) was named the President and CEO of the Apollo, the nation’s foremost African American performing arts center dedicated to Black arts and culture.

Andres Alminana (BSBA ’05) is Vice President and Senior Financial Advisor at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management in Palm Beach.

Lilly Leas Ferreira (MBA ’17) released her new children’s book, Life and Lilly, illustrated by the Lilly Pulitzer Print Studio. She is a realtor associate with Brown Harris Stevens.

Jason Smith (BSBA ’97, MBA ’02) is head of Dealer Commercial Services at Truist. He is responsible for the strategy and oversight of a national portfolio consisting of approximately $15.5 billion in credit commitments and $4 billion in commercial deposits.

Christina Cabino-Weldon (MAcc ’96) joined Global ETS as its Chief Financial Officer.

Randy Koporc (BSBA ’88) is President and CEO of Fifth Third Bank in Georgia, responsible for the growth and strategic alignment of the bank’s commercial, wealth and asset management, and consumer businesses.

Allie Becher (BSBA ’18) was named to Hedge Fund Journal’s 50 Leading Women in Hedge Funds 2023 list.

Jose Paz Castro (BSBA ’11) is Senior Human Resources Manager at Microsoft, responsible on executing the people strategy and ensuring that initiatives strategically align to the organizations long range and people strategy.

Faith Haslebacher (MBA ’22) is Software Project Manager at Walt Disney Imagineering. In her role, she is responsible for driving the successful development of software products used to design and maintain attractions across the globe.

Interested in reading more alumni news? Please visit the Warrington Newsroom or sign up to receive our monthly alumni newsletter, the Warrington Wire.