Florida Poly partnership enhances training of Latin American business execs

Feb 18, 2020
James Mennie
Dr. Jim Mennie, assistant professor of business analytics at Florida Polytechnic University, teaches Latin American business professionals a technique to improve their strategic planning on Feb. 14 at the Aula Magna inside the Innovation, Science, and Technology Building.

CEOs, owners, and other business leaders from five Latin American countries explored the Florida Polytechnic University campus and learned tools to improve their corporate operations on Feb. 14 as part of Experiencia Set.

The initiative partners with The Walt Disney Company to provide a close-up look at how the company operates effectively while providing exceptional service to its customers. The visit to the Florida Poly campus wraps up the intensive, weeklong experience.

“Our primary mission is to facilitate economic development in the state, and the best way to do that is by getting companies to come into the state or start up here,” said Rick Maxey, Florida Poly’s assistant vice president for board operations and economic development. “Our role in this program is to present to them our training on strategic planning that focuses on strengths and operation. We hope they gain an ability to focus their organizations more keenly on building something that’s positive and having a positive impact on their bottom line.”

Frank DaCosta, owner of VPI Hospitality in Orlando, Florida, which organized the event, said the Florida Poly component of the experience helps solidify the training Latin American executives received throughout their week.

“They have gained a lot of content where they learned how to apply to their business the Disney quality of service, innovation, brand, and all that great stuff,” DaCosta said. “This experience at the end will help them remember everything they learned.”

Dr. Jim Mennie, assistant professor of business analytics at Florida Poly, educated the business leaders about the Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations, Results (SOAR) tool to help them improve their strategic planning.

“When they go back to their home countries, this management tool will be another tool in their toolbox,” Mennie said. “Hopefully we can have more cooperation and possibly business partnerships with these entities.”

Nicolás Penco, of the Argentinian company Accenture, said he was happy with the experience.

“I’m in love and want to come here – compared to the universities in my country, I love this, and I think there’s lots of tools and opportunities for students to really achieve what they want,” Penco said.

This is the second time the Experiencia Set initiative has taken its leadership training to Florida Poly. DaCosta said the first visit in August 2019 was so successful that Florida Poly will have a continued role in the program in the future.

“Florida Poly University is committed to the vision and the mission of the state to attract executives from Latin America and the world, which will boost the Polk County economy,” said Mustapha Achoubane, associate director of international studies at the University. “The impression Florida Poly created among these executives creates ambassadorship programs for them to talk on our behalf in their home countries.”

Lydia Guzman
Director of Communications