For a school that’s barely 20, Florida Gulf Coast University has solidified some notable traditions. One is the annual celebration of distinguished FGCU graduates at Homecoming. Six alumni were added to the roll of honorees Friday, Feb. 16.
“Tonight, we honor a select group of FGCU graduates who have distinguished themselves in their careers, in their personal lives and their communities,” said Jesse Bouchard, chair of the FGCU Alumni Association. “Since these awards began, the Alumni of Distinction and Soaring Eagles have demonstrated the far-reaching impact of FGCU in the community.”
The most prestigious honor is the Alumni of Distinction Award. It celebrates alumni who have upheld the tradition of excellence through their personal accomplishment, professional achievement or humanitarian service.
“It is my great honor to recognize our 2018 Alumni of Distinction awardee – Michael Wynn,” Bouchard said.
Wynn is board chairman and president of Sunshine Ace Hardware, one of the largest family-owned home-improvement and outdoor-recreation retailers in Southwest Florida. He is also a member of numerous boards of directors, including the Miami Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Wynn earned his executive master of business administration degree from FGCU in 2005.
“Michael’s resume speaks volumes,” said Kimberly Wallace, director of Alumni Relations at FGCU. “But what struck me most about him is the support from not only his family, but his employees. They all rallied together, got his application through with the required recommendation letters and were here to support him when he won. Not many employees do that, and I think that says a lot about him.”
While the Alumni of Distinction Award is the most recent accolade for Wynn, he was a finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2014 and has also received the Hardware Industry’s Top Gun Award presented by the National Retail Hardware Association.
“I will forever be grateful for the education FGCU gave me,” Wynn said. “It’s really been a key element in the growth our company has experienced. So much of what I have learned I’ve been able to leverage in making our company a continued success.”
In addition to the Alumni of Distinction Award, each college presented a Soaring Eagles Award to a deserving graduate. The recognition goes to alumni who have earned their degrees from FGCU within the last decade, have dedicated time and resources to their communities and to their alma mater, and are considered rising stars in their professions.
The winners of the 2018 Soaring Eagles Awards:
- Stefan Wynn, a 2009 legal studies graduate from the College of Arts & Sciences, is the town manager of Albion, Indiana, where he is responsible for 77 full-time employees and manages a $4 million annual budget. He oversees the town’s police, fire, streets, parks and recreation, water and wastewater utility, planning, zoning and personnel management departments. Stefan Wynn is also a founding member of the Culver Beard Club, which is a nonprofit organization providing assistance to children and residents in the community.
- Kimberly Zambito earned her bachelor’s in resort and hospitality management in 2007 and completed the College of Education’s master’s in educational leadership in 2013. Zambito is the current and founding principal of Collier Charter Academy. She previously worked as a kindergarten teacher, lead teacher, dean of curriculum and instruction, and assistant principal at Bonita Springs Charter School.
- Logan Wallick received an undergraduate management degree in 2009 and an MBA in 2010 from Lutgert College of Business. Wallick is Suffolk Construction’s southeast region people and culture manager, responsible for talent acquisition, employee relations, benefits and learning, and development within human resources. He is also the president of the Society for Human Resources Management.
- David Brown received a master’s of social work from Marieb College of Health & Human Services in 2012. Brown is the president and co-founder of the Family Initiative, a local nonprofit serving children ages 5 to 16 who are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. He created the Family Initiative with co-founder Anjali Van Drie after recognizing a gap in social services available to children on the autism spectrum.
- Erik Mead graduated from the U.A. Whitaker College of Engineering with a bachelor’s in environmental science in 2015. Mead is the assistant project engineer for Hole Montes Inc., a civil engineering firm specializing in land development/site engineering, master planning and subdivision design, among other specialties. He is responsible for the design of wastewater treatment facilities, collection systems including lift stations, water treatment facilities, transmission systems and pump stations in Southwest Florida.
“We’re in the business of recognizing graduates who are doing outstanding work within our community and giving back to the university. This ceremony is our opportunity to say, ‘Thank you,’” Wallace said.
- More information about the FGCU Alumni Association