Gator engineers honored in 2024 Gator100

In Alumni Spotlight, Honors & Awards, News

For the 10th year, the UF Alumni Association salutes the trailblazing Gator business leaders who have not only founded but also steered some of the most groundbreaking enterprises to success nationally and globally. Join us in applauding the remarkable success of our esteemed alumni from the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering for their well-deserved spot on the illustrious roster of the 2024 Gator100, the world’s Fastest Growing Gator Companies.

Engineering Awardees

#4 Otter PR

Scott Bartnick
Degree: BSISE ‘15
Job Title: Co-Founder and CEO
Location: St. Petersburg, FL

After attending UF and earning his degree in Industrial & Systems Engineering, Bartnick spent several years working for Fortune 500 companies before launching his first entrepreneurial venture as an Amazon service consultant and brand marketer. He is an internationally renowned e-commerce and media expert who has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, IBTimes, and more for his serial successes in founding and helping to rapidly scale ventures in e-commerce, marketing, and media strategy and outreach. One of his earliest ventures, the Five-Day Startup, has also been transcribed into a bestselling book.

During the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, Bartnick co-founded Otter Public Relations as the company’s COO alongside Jay Feldman. Bartnick’s entrepreneurial passion and drive for generating mission-driven value have helped the company grow into a multi-million-dollar media agency working with some of the world’s top thought leaders, businesses, and entrepreneurs. His insight and expertise helped them break into mainstream media and grow their brand into globally recognizable names.

About Otter PR: Otter PR, the No. 1 PR firm on Clutch, G2, & UpCity, boasts clients like Alibaba & US Congress. Based in Florida, our award-winning team of 45+ experts guarantees media coverage monthly. With 35+ awards and features in Forbes & New York Times, we redefine PR. Our proprietary “OTR™” method emphasizes Outreach, Trends, and Relationships. Recognized by industry leaders and trusted by global brands, we ensure your narrative stands out.

#7 Everest Ice and Water Systems

Daniel Doromal
Degree: BSMSE ‘06
Job Title: VP of Operations
Location: Apopka, FL

About Everest Ice and Water Systems: In 2008, three men on a mission in Africa noticed a lack of clean water and refrigeration in many rural parts of the region. With this important need to be filled, they decided to start a charitable program called Akoona, providing ice and water to those communities in need.

They needed a machine that could provide ice and water, but one that could also be maintained easily “in the bush” – thus, the VersaVend barrel was born. The design was so efficient, that it caught the attention of national parks in Africa looking to provide vended ice and water for visitors.

Operations eventually moved to Carnegie, Pennsylvania, where the Akoona ice and water vending equipment was manufactured by Jennison Ice for resale through a distribution network under the Akoona name as well as other custom brands. In 2016, the go-to-market strategy for the company shifted to a direct-to-end-user model, and the company was reborn as Everest.

What started as a small charitable endeavor is now a multimillion-dollar organization supplying ice and water vending machines on a global scale. We have seen many exciting changes throughout our growth, but the core values of our origins remain consistent in everything we do today. Just as the original company was founded to do, we still strive to provide clean water and fresh ice to communities all around the world.

From humble roots to one of Inc. 5000’s fastest-growing companies in the country, Everest has seen exponential growth. In the past two years alone, demand for the Everest VX has been explosive, ranking it the most popular ice and water vending machine on the market. To meet that demand, Everest has increased its workforce by 172% since the beginning of 2021 and expanded its facilities by 300%.

Headquartered in Apopka, Florida, since 2019, Everest continues to grow and disrupt the industry with innovative technology and eco-friendly alternatives designed to make life easier and business better. Improvement means being open to change because success doesn’t come from stagnation. At Everest, we’re Always Climbing.

# 14 TotalBrokerage

Michael Mosseri
Degree: BSCEN ‘01
Job Title: CEO
Location: Delray Beach, FL

About TotalBrokerage: TotalBrokerage offers the real estate industry’s most comprehensive sales and management platform built to scale brokerage performance, from first contact to close. Developed for brokers by industry-leading brokers, TotalBrokerage’s robust platform is the only solution brokerages, agents, and admins need to streamline daily processes. Unlike traditional SaaS tools, TotalBrokerage serves as an expert advisor, offering custom consultative services that empower brokerages to implement the most intelligent business decisions. With feature-rich solutions that easily integrate with other systems and unparalleled client service, TotalBrokerage enables brokerages to gain a competitive edge, optimize operations, save valuable time and resources, and sell more homes faster.

#28 Pacifica Engineering Services

Wesley Foster
Degree: BSCE ’12, ME ‘13 (Civil)
Job Title: President and Principal Engineer
Location: Delray Beach, FL

About Pacifica Engineering Services: Pacifica Engineering Services, LLC (PACIFICA) is a multi-disciplined engineering consulting firm specializing in geotechnical engineering, environmental sciences, construction material testing, threshold/special inspections, private provider services, permit expediting, building envelope consulting, pavement evaluations, and roof consulting services.

PACIFICA operates as a limited liability company organized under the laws of the State of Florida and is in good standing with the State of Florida. PACIFICA is a certified Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) with the State of Florida’s Office of Supplier Diversity; and a certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) with the Florida Department of Transportation and through the Florida Unified Certification Program. PACIFICA is also a self-certified Federal Small Business Enterprise (SBE).

#31 RTW Photography

Derrious Robinson
Degree: BSEE ‘13
Job Title: Founder and President
Location: Orlando, FL

About RTW Photography: RTW Photography started as Ride The Wave Photography. In 2016, our Founder and CEO, Derrious Robinson, picked up a camera in an effort to showcase the latest fashion trends. As the company continued to grow, the focus shifted to encompass all photography – specifically portrait photography.

In 2017, RTW Photography as we know it today, was born. Robinson and Walter ‘Tre’ Idlette III, both classmates and fraternity brothers, saw an opportunity to join forces and grow the business. Originally sought after by college students across the state of Florida, RTW became well-known for its iconic graduation photos.

In 2018, the company continued to expand. We set our sights on becoming a wedding photographer. In June 2018, we had the opportunity to shoot our first wedding….and we killed! For the remainder of the year, we continued to expand our wedding photography services, began providing services to small businesses and purchased our first photo booth. In 2019 We added our third partner, LaVell Monger, to the company. His passion for story-telling and knowledge of cinematography is what we needed to take our company to the next level. During 2019, we expanded our wedding services to include videography, and we also expanded our commercial services.

In 2020, RTW hosted its first class of interns, which consisted of three interns from the University of Central Florida. We also invested in live-streaming technology and opened our first Studio in the Parramore Community of Downtown Orlando.

#60 Power Production Management, Inc. (PPM Solar)

Jason Gonos
Degree: BSME ‘05
Job Title: Co-Founder and Director
Location: Gainesville, FL

Jason Gonos, a key co-founder of PPM Solar, has significantly shaped the company into a leading provider of residential and commercial solar energy installations and battery storage. Since its inception in 2009, which he spearheaded alongside Alex Khokhlov, Gonos has established PPM Solar as a prominent solar development firm in the Southeastern United States, particularly in North Central Florida.

PPM Solar, based in Gainesville, Florida, has flourished in solar photovoltaic electrical design, installation, and service under Gonos’s guidance for nearly 16 years. His connection to the community and the University of Florida influenced the company’s course, bringing him personal accolades – such as the prestigious Gator100 list, an honor he has received three times. Today, Gonos is a business leader whose passion for renewable energy illuminates hundreds of homes and businesses across Florida. Plus, he inspires entire communities to embrace a solar-powered tomorrow.

About PPM Solar: Born from a shared passion at the University of Florida, PPM Solar was kickstarted in 2009 by visionaries Jason Gonos and Alex Khokhlov. Their ambition? To provide a bold and simple solution to the rising electrical power costs. Today, PPM Solar is a credible national leader in the solar energy arena, with a consistent track record of hundreds of installations across Florida and beyond. Our ethos? We are modern, knowledgeable, and approachable. Drawing inspiration from Gainesville’s heart for higher education and cleaner future advocacy, we are deeply rooted in continuous learning and growth. We empower our diverse team with tailored training and certifications, ensuring we remain specialists in the ever-evolving solar sector.

At PPM Solar, we value trustworthiness and loyalty, virtues evident in our unique customer journey. We pride ourselves on being young at heart, green in action, and flexible in our approach. Our customer portfolio is a testament to our quality work, ranging from homes and businesses to esteemed institutions like Shands Children’s Hospital, San Felasco Tech City and Infinite Energy.

#71 Commercial Acoustics

Walker Peek
Degree: BSCE ‘10
Job Title: CEO
Location: Tampa, FL

Walker Peek founded Commercial Acoustics in 2013 while finishing his tenure at Kennedy Space Center. While looking for a new challenge and discussing ideas with a friend, his wife noted how loudly they were talking. While searching for a problem to solve, one presented itself right in front of them! Better still – It’s the same problem that millions of people face across the world every day – unwanted noise interrupting their daily routines or disrupting their office productivity.

About Commercial Acoustics: Commercial Acoustics, founded in 2013, brings together an established team of professionals with a combined 50+ years of expertise in the soundproofing and acoustic treatment industry. Servicing markets across the United States, headquartered in Tampa, Florida, with regional offices in New Orleans and Orlando, our team is dedicated to providing Professional Soundproofing and Acoustical Solutions.

#91 First Florida Constructors

Greg Wyka
Degree: BSCE ‘95
Job Title: President
Location: Miami, FL

Greg Wyka started his construction career with First Florida in 1996 when he administered the construction management contract for Divi Resorts on the island of Aruba. With a degree in civil engineering from the University of Florida, he has developed his skills in all areas of construction as a superintendent, project manager and as vice president since 2002. Wyka is involved in all aspects of the construction process including project design assistance, value engineering, estimating and senior project management, in addition to his executive duties. Having managed over $700 million in construction projects, he has built over 6,000 multi-family housing units, hotels and elderly housing facilities and has been involved in multiple Green Building-certified projects.

About First Florida Constructors: First Florida Constructors offers competitively priced commercial construction for developers of multifamily housing. We have the people, experience and financial strength in the market-rate apartment, assisted living facilities and affordable housing markets. We invest our profits in our staff and are proud to work with some of the best subcontractors in Florida. We support several local nonprofit organizations, including Rebuilding Together, Give Kids a Chance and Overtown Optimist Club.