Alumni from the University of Florida have created and guided some of the most innovative and profitable businesses in the nation and the world. Each year, the UF Alumni Association, in partnership with the UF Entrepreneurship & Innovation Center recognizes these amazing entrepreneurs with the Gator100 Awards.
Congratulations to our talented Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering alumni who made the 2021 list for leading one of the world’s Fastest Growing Gator Companies!
No. 2 – ENGINEERED DESIGN SERVICES LLC
2005 B.S. Agricultural and Biological Engineering
Craig McKenzie is the President and CEO of Engineered Design Services LLC and has 12 years of engineering experience, with over 300 projects completed to date. His diverse experience includes all disciplines of civil engineering, with a specialization in surface and groundwater hydrology. The combination of these skills has been used successfully to provide engineering services to mining, power, commercial, and governmental clients. Engineered Design Services is a leading full-service engineering and construction management firm, offering its services nationwide to a wide variety of utility, municipal, and industrial clients. Utility scale electrical engineering, hydrology, civil engineering, and building system designs are just a few of the services provided.
No. 10 – CARBONXT, INC.
2014 B.S. Environmental Engineering, 2018 Ph.D. Environmental Engineering
Dr. Regina Rodriguez is the president of Carbonxt, Inc., a growing and active participant in the global effort to reduce environmental pollutants through the development of activated carbons to filter air and water. Dr. Rodriguez currently sits as the Chairperson of the Activated Carbon Standards Committee for the American Water Works Association. She designs and implements new business operations and technology across various sectors while overseeing operations of the company. She has authored numerous technical papers and has been granted multiple emissions related patents. Dr. Rodriguez is a member of The Committee of 200, a prestigious organization of the world’s most successful women entrepreneurs and corporate leaders.
2002 B.S. Environmental Engineering, 2004 M.E. Environmental Engineering
Jack Drwiega, the Capital Projects Manager at Carbonxt, Inc., has over sixteen years of experience in water purification system technologies and mechanical design and construction. He specializes in capital and engineering project execution, combining his team management experience in facility operations to support scale-up expansion of advanced sorbents and technologies at Carbonxt.
No. 25 – LEADINGAGILE, LLC
1990 B.S. Computer Engineering
Mike Cottmeyer, CEO of LeadingAgile, LLC, serves as his company’s resident champion of core agile values and principles. He is a thought leader and industry disrupter in the field of enterprise-focused agile transformation. Cottmeyer has given back to the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering by serving as the Entrepreneur in Residence from May 2016 to the present. In this role, he works with college faculty and student entrepreneurs to help them become more innovative and successful in starting, operating, and managing companies. Cottmeyer holds many certifications, including Certified Scrum Master (CSM), Project Management Professional (PMP), PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP), and DSDM Certified Agile Project Leader (DSDM APL).
No. 27 – SHALEPRO ENERGY SERVICES, LLC
1985 B.S. Electrical Engineering
William Johnson, president and CEO of ShalePro Energy Services, LLC, is a senior executive with 30+ years of diversified market experience in the engineering, construction, and field services industries. ShalePro Energy Services is headquartered in the metro-Pittsburgh area, heart of the Marcellus/Utica Shale Basin, where it provides best-in-class services to the production and midstream sectors of the ever-growing oil and natural gas industry. Johnson holds an engineering degree with honors from the University of Florida, completed the advanced business management program at Wharton, and is a registered professional engineer in multiple states.
No. 29 – J2 SOLUTIONS, INC.
2000 B. S. Civil Engineering
Jess Fronckowiak founder and president of J2 Solutions, Inc., has transitioned it from a one-man start-up in 2002 to a full-service, self-performing, design-build, construction management firm, servicing the entire state of Florida. His company has won numerous awards, including Business of the Year, Contractor of the Year and induction into the prestigious “BIG-50 Remodeling Contractors” from Remodeling Magazine. Today, as president, Fronckowiak splits his time between commercial business development and strategic planning.
2001 B. S. Civil Engineering, 2002 M.E. Civil Engineering
David Fouche is co-owner and executive vice president of J2 Solutions, Inc., with the vision of growing the firm into a premier commercial contracting company. Fouche’s experience and knowledge in Health Care operations allowed him to earn the distinction of Certified Health Care Constructor (CHC) by the American Hospital Association. His current duties include leading the operations of the company, as well as all Health Care projects within acute care hospitals all over the state of Florida.
No. 31 — JK2 SCENIC
2001 B. S. Civil Engineering
Julie Holmes is president of JK2 Scenic, a spin-off of JK2 Construction, a woman-owned specialty construction firm a full service theming contractor providing unique projects in the retail, theme park, entertainment, hospitality, and restaurant industries. Under Holmes’ leadership, the company has seen amazing growth and has been honored numerous times, receiving multiple Associated Builders and Contractors Eagle Awards and making the Orlando Business Journal’s Fast 50 list.
No. 33 – GULF COAST UNDERGROUND, LLC
2005 B.S. Civil Engineering, 2006 M.E. Civil Engineering
Spencer Tuell is a partner in and president of Gulf Coast Underground, LLC, located in Theodore (Mobile), Alabama. Gulf Coast Underground aims to be recognized as the premier sewer infrastructure inspection and rehabilitation contractor in the Southeast. The company provides quality trenchless sewer rehabilitation using innovative methods and performance-driven teams to deliver upgraded infrastructure that clients can trust. In addition to growing his company, Tuell supports the children of Alabama through is position as a board member of Fuse Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing the spark for innovation, funding and implementation of projects benefiting children along Alabama’s Gulf Coast. Fuse Project invests in initiatives promoting children’s health, fitness, education and social responsibility.
No. 38 – RND AUTOMATION
1997 B.S. Mechanical Engineering
Sean Dotson is president and major partner of RND Automation, Florida’s largest custom robotics, packaging, and assembly machinery manufacturer, headquartered in Lakewood Ranch, Florida. Dotson has been in the industrial automation and robotics industry his entire career. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Florida and works with key accounts to build strong manufacturing partnerships. After RND’s acquisition by Sawmill Capital in January 2021, Sen was asked to stay on as President at RND Automation to continue to grow the company’s robotics, packaging, and assembly expertise. He is also tasked with seeking out other merger-and-acquisition prospects to help RND grow market share in the automation and robotics industry.
In his off time Dotson competes in triathlons ranging from Olympic to full Ironman distance races.
No. 41 – SECURIFERA, INC.
2012 M.S. Computer Engineering
Ryan Wincey is the founder and president of Securifera, Inc. Securifera assesses the network security posture of its clients over long term red team engagements, through tasks that include open-source intelligence gathering, email phishing, vulnerability research, exploit development, scripting (Python, Ruby, Powershell, VBScript, Bash), remote administration tool development, and network operations using commonly used security tools (Metasploit, Nmap, Maltego, Canvas, Kali). Wincey previously worked as a senior red team specialist at Blizzard Entertainment, a premier developer and publisher of entertainment software.
No. 45 – TELLUS
1989 B.S. Mechanical Engineering, 1993 M.E. Environmental Engineering, 1993 MBA Finance/Economics
Chris Pernicano has more than 20 years of experience in the finance technology space across all aspects of small and medium company operations. He is the chief technology officer (CTO) at Tellus, a leading provider of mobile care delivery, Electronic Visit Verification (eVV) and claims processing technology designed especially for the home health and long-term care markets. In 1996, Pernicano co-founded his first startup; and by 2000, he had co-founded his second, a SaaS-based technology startup that would eventually become the second largest of its kind in the country. He transitioned to Tellus in 2017. In 2021, Pernicano was appointed by Governor DeSantis to the North Broward Hospital District Board of Commissioners.
No. 50 — PARAGON 28
1998 B.S. Chemical Engineering
Albert DaCosta is the co-founder, president and CEO of Paragon 28, a manufacturer that develops and produces biomechanically and clinically relevant surgical solutions for the lower extremities. DaCosta has led his team in providing products that result in better surgical outcomes for patients. DaCosta’s company is a sponsor of Steps2Walk, a charitable organization taking care of people in international communities who have a crippling deformity and providing free surgery to help them walk.
No. 53 – EAST WEST MANUFACTURING
1993 B.S. Industrial & Systems Engineering
Scott Ellyson is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and co-founder of East West Manufacturing, where he has played a pivotal role in the company’s growth. Managing projects from design to delivery, East West takes a concept, turns it into a design, manufactures the product to world-class standards and handles the entire logistics process for delivery to customers.In addition to overseeing East West’s global operations, Scott is well recognized in the global manufacturing and distribution industry and is very active in the company’s acquisition efforts.
No. 54 – MECHASPIN
2006 M.S. Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, 2007 Ph.D. Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering
Dr. Daniel Kent has over 20 years of experience in the Robotics and Autonomous Systems industry. His career has taken a diverse path as he has developed expertise in distributed software architectures, software standardization, software design & development, user interfaces, human factors and many other topics relevant to today’s emerging automation markets. As president of Mechaspin (formerly OpenJAUS), Dr. Kent guides a team of engineers who integrate new types of low-cost 3D sensors (including lidar) and artificial intelligence into new products so customers can bring breakthrough capabilities and competitive advantages to market by making their products safer and more collaborative with precision control.
2010 M.S. Electrical & Computer Engineering, 2010 Ph.D. Electrical & Computer Engineering
Dr. Nicholas Johnson, CTO at Mechaspin, has over 20 years of experience developing software, working on a wide range of projects, from low-level products involving embedded system design and firmware development to user facing applications implementing high-level artificial intelligence algorithms. He has worked with a myriad of sensors, actuators, and other hardware, and is knowledgeable in a wide array of programming languages. During his graduate work at UF, he worked on unmanned system development and autonomous vehicle technologies (self-driving cars).
No. 78 – PLANATE MANAGEMENT GROUP
1989 M.E. Civil Engineering
Christian Decker is the president and founder of Planate Management Group, with over 30 years of military and civilian installation management experience both in uniform and as a senior government civilian and contractor. Since he founded the company in 2007, Mr. Decker has led a diverse team of technical experts who are experienced in working in some of the most complex and difficult environments worldwide, providing planning, design, construction and professional services solutions for Planate’s clients. Mr. Decker is a founding member and has been a board member since inception of Navy Safe Harbor Foundation, which is dedicated to supporting the recovery of wounded, ill, and injured Sailors, Coast Guardsmen, and their families by assisting them with resources not currently provided by the U.S. government or other community resources.