The University of Florida Alumni Association honored 16 companies owned or led by 19 UF/IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) alumni in the 2022 Gator100.
This year marks the eighth time the UF Alumni Association has recognized the world’s fastest-growing Gator businesses in a list deemed the Gator100. The number of CALS graduates being included in the Gator100 has grown since last year, with five more CALS graduate-led businesses being recognized in 2022 compared to 2021.
“CALS alumni have consistently been part of the Gator100 since its inception in 2015,” said CALS Dean Elaine Turner. “Many of these businesses started as a passion project that filled a need in the industry, and our alumni have found ways to make them flourish while serving their communities.”
The following companies owned or led by CALS alumni were recognized as Gator100 honorees:
- Bearbottom Clothing, founder and CEO Robert Felder (No. 2)
- CAN Community Health, president and CEO Rishi Patel (No. 11)
- Encore Mechanical, president John Reynal (No. 19)
- Cepra Landscape, vice president Brandon Ray (No. 25)
- Engineered Design Services, LLC, president and CEO Craig McKenzie (No. 30)
- Apollo Medical Transport, CEO Steven Bailey (No. 34)
- Stonehill, CEO Douglass Pace (No. 38)
- Landsberg Bennett Private Wealth Management, principal Lew Bennett(No. 54)
- Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice, founder and CEO Dani McVety (No. 61)
- SkyFrog Landscape, LLC, owner and CEO Jason Lee, COO Nick Pool, and landscape designer Tammi Wait (No. 72)
- Healthy Nutrition Steps, founder and CEO Nicole Aucoin (No. 74)
- Premier Forestry & Environmental Consulting, PLLC, president Seth Ward (No. 76)
- Hyatt Survey Services, president Pam Hyatt and vice president Russel Hyatt (No. 87)
- AC General, Inc., president Gantt Crouch (No. 89)
- Greek House, co-founder and CEO Karthik Shanadi (No. 98)
- Impact Learning Center, owner and CEO Talita Postell(No. 90)
Four of the companies are being recognized in the Gator100 for the very first time this year, but many of the above honorees have previously made the list. This is the eighth consecutive year Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice has been recognized in the Gator100. They are the only company to consistently make the honoree list since the Gator100 was created in 2015. Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice founder and CEO Dani McVety earned her bachelor’s degree from CALS in microbiology and cell science in 2004 and graduated from the UF College of Veterinary Medicine in 2009.
“Being on the Gator100 list for the eighth year in a row is an accomplishment our company is both humbled and thrilled to achieve,” said McVety. “It is a true honor to be surrounded by these incredible companies, everyone working so hard to make their visions realized. Little by little, we are all making the world a little better for the future!”
“From the moment I created my company I made it my goal to be considered as an honoree for what I believe is one of the most prestigious business awards, the Gator100,” said Steven Bailey, 2016 food and resource economics graduate and CEO of Apollo Medical Transport. “As a first-time honoree I feel a great sense of pride and achievement as an entrepreneur, business owner and Florida Gator. As my company is continuously growing this nomination has allowed me, for a split second, to pause and reflect on everything that my team and I have accomplished. To me, the Gator100 is not only an award but a reward for all of the hard work and time it takes to create a successful business.”
The honorees in this year’s Gator 100 graduated with CALS degrees in eight majors: biological engineering (formerly agricultural and biological engineering), agronomy, food and resource economics, food science and human nutrition, forest resources and conservation, plant science (formerly landscape and nursery horticulture), microbiology and cell science, and geomatics (formerly surveying and mapping). Graduates from these majors are being recognized for successfully leading businesses across various sectors, from health and nutrition to engineering and forestry.
CAN Community Health’s president, CEO and first-time honoree Rishi Patel said, “It is truly an honor to be recognized alongside other incredible organizations that represent the values of the University of Florida. At CAN Community Health, we strive to remove barriers to care and provide the best health services to those living with and affected by HIV, STD’s and viral hepatitis.”
Engineered Design Services is a full-service engineering firm specializing in innovative design projects.
“I am excited to have Engineered Design Services recognized as a Gator100 honoree for the third time,” said founder and CEO Craig McKenzie, 2005 agricultural and biological engineering (now biological engineering) graduate. “It’s a real achievement to share a place on the list with other Gator led companies who have thrived despite the unique and pressing challenges that transpired during the past year.”
To qualify for Gator100, companies must have been in business at least five years as of Oct. 29, 2021, and have verifiable annual revenues of $250,000 or more each year from 2018 to 2020. The company must be Gator-owned, led by University of Florida alumni or have former students who served as a chief executive for the period of Jan. 1, 2018, through Oct. 29, 2021. Additionally, the company must operate in a manner consistent with the values and image of the University of Florida.
View the full list of 2022 Gator100 honorees at gator100.ufl.edu. Applications for the 2023 Gator100 will open August 29, 2022.
The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) administers the degree programs of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS). The mission of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences is to deliver unsurpassed educational programs that prepare students to address the world’s critical challenges related to agriculture, food systems, human wellbeing, natural resources and sustainable communities. The college has received more total (national and regional combined) USDA teaching awards than any other institution.