Dr. Randy K. Avent, president of Florida Polytechnic University, has been recognized as one of Florida’s most influential business leaders for the third consecutive year by Florida Trend magazine. The publication released its annual Florida 500 list on Monday, Oct. 4, highlighting the state’s top leaders in several economic sectors.
“I am honored to receive this distinction because it reflects the strides we’ve been making and the impact Florida Poly has on the state,” Avent said. “As our graduates secure high-wage, high-demand jobs, we are cementing Florida Poly as a leader in engineering and technology education while also helping to build Florida’s high-tech economy.”
Avent’s third inclusion on the Florida 500 list comes as Florida Poly celebrates several major accomplishments, including recently debuting as the number one public college in the South in U.S. News & World Report’s recent rankings, as well as climbing to become the number 26 public engineering college without a Ph.D. in the nation.
The University also is experiencing significant growth. The fall 2021 class of incoming students is the largest in Florida Poly’s history. These students will soon push their educational exploration to the limits in the new Applied Research Center, an eye-catching 90,000-square-foot research building that will open in spring 2022.
As Florida Poly’s founding president, Avent has worked to shape the University into a leader of STEM education. He has navigated the University through accreditation and ongoing growth, and now is leading the vision of creating a vibrant research park surrounding campus with companies establishing close relationships with faculty and students. The first step in making this vision a reality was achieved recently when it entered into a public-private partnership with Fortune 500 company International Flavors & Fragrances to explore building a high-tech research facility on campus.
The annual Florida 500 list is based on categories used by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, including education, agriculture, hospitality, and law. Final determinations were made by the Florida Trend editorial department.
“Rising to the top job at a big company won’t get you on the list. Longevity matters and visibility doesn’t necessarily mean influence,” Florida Trend said in a statement accompanying the Florida 500 list. “We look for individuals who appear to be the kind of people who others in their communities or industry sectors look to for leadership.”
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