Central Florida Development Council

Two new board members are joining the new chair, vice-chair and secretary/treasurer to work with the Central Florida Development Council as it continues its mission to attract new industries to the area and help ones already here grow.

Polk State College President Angela Garcia Falconetti became chair of the CFDC’s board of directors at its annual meeting. Joining her in leadership positions are vice-chair Bart Allen and secretary/treasurer Maggie Mariucci. Rick Garcia and David Shepp have joined the board as new members.

“We welcome the enthusiasm and energy our new officers and board members bring to the board of directors,” said CFDC President & CEO Sean Malott. “Their keen insights in their individual fields, as well as their ability to see the big picture in Polk County and Central Florida, will serve us well as we transition into a new normal.”

While welcoming new members, the CFDC and its board also said farewell to Bud Strang of Six/Ten, who rotated off the board. He served as chair from 2015-2016.

“We are very fortunate to have had Bud and the Six/Ten organization in a leadership position at the CFDC,” said Todd Dantzler, who served as chair from 2018-2019. “His quiet-confidence leadership approach has been instrumental as we transitioned into a private organization. He will be missed on a day-to-day basis, but we appreciate all he has done for us and for the economic engine that is Polk.

“We look forward to Bud continuing to be an integral part of the CFDC and its mission of economic development in Polk County and our region.”

Bart Allen is a lawyer specializing in land use and environmental law at Peterson & Myers in Lakeland. Maggie Mariucci is assistant vice president of university relations at Florida Polytechnic University. Before that, she served as director of government affairs and community relations at the University of South Florida Polytechnic and vice president of public affairs for the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce.

Rick Garcia started his own company, Gulf Coast Avionics, in 1984 after enlisting in the U.S. Air Force and finding a passion for planes. When he saw a similar need to service fixed-wing and rotary aircraft on the West Coast, he started Pacific Coast Avionics in 1991. He has served as chairman of the board of the Aerospace Center for Excellence at Sun ’n’ Fun Fly-In.

David Shepp is a lobbyist at The Southern Group. Before that, he was a principal at Florida Strategic Group.

Other board members include Gene Conrad, of Lakeland Linder International Airport; Todd Dantzler, of SVN Saunders Ralston Dantzler; Pete Frantzis, of Cyndeo Wealth Partners; Randy Knapp, of RLK Real Estate & Development; Commissioner George Lindsey, representing the Board of County Commissioners; Orathai Northern, of Polk State College; Jake Polumbo, of Two Blue Aces and the board’s immediate past chair; Emery Smith, of Ben Hill Griffin Inc.; Deena Ware, from the City of Winter Haven; and Drew Wilcox, of Nucor Steel Florida.