Palm Beach Atlantic University

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October 01, 2014

Distinguished Alumni

 

2013 Recipient

Martin Kiar '99

Martin Kiar

Broward County Commissioner Martin Kiar is a former Sailfish baseball player, who majored in political science and minored in history. After graduating from PBA in 1999, Kiar earned his Juris Doctorate from Nova Southeastern University. He graduated from Nova with honors and was No.  8 out of 221 students. In 2006, Kiar was elected to serve in the Florida House of Representatives. He was re-elected in 2008 and again in 2010. While serving in the Legislature, Kiar focused heavily on budgetary issues and on educational issues. He also was a strong advocate and proponent for the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida, of which PBA is a member. In 2012, Kiar was elected to serve on the Broward County Commission. He was the first person in Broward County’s history to win an open (no incumbent running) Broward County Commission seat unopposed. Kiar is also one of the youngest Broward County Commissioners ever to serve in that capacity. His district, District 1, encompasses parts of Davie, Weston, Sunrise, Plantation, Lauderhill and Tamarac. Kiar lives in Davie with his wife Kelly, his daughters Brianne and Camryn, ages 4 and 1, and their puppy, Cooper.

 


 

2012 Recipient

Lee Ann DeHass Miller '90

Lee Ann Miller lives in Walnut Creek, Ohio. Married for 20 years to Daryl, they own and operate a 10-room bed and breakfast with their two sons, Teddy and Joey. Celebrating 19 years at The Miller Haus, they have fully relished life in the rolling, scenic hills of Ohio’s Amish Country. Miller appears as a regular cooking guest on FOX-TV affiliates in Columbus and Cleveland. She also hosts a weekly segment on Good Morning West Virginia every Monday. The segment airs during the noon news of an ABC-TV affiliate on Mondays in Charleston, W. Va. as well. Miller is a brand ambassador and field editor for the world’s no. 1 cooking and entertaining magazine, Taste of Home. She truly believes in cooking, sharing and caring. Along with appreciating life to its fullest, Miller volunteers a lot of time to her church and community. Creating the "Win a Car for Christmas" campaign is one of her most treasured experiences. 2012 marks the fifth car to be given to a local resident in desperate need of transportation. Of all her activities and freelance jobs, wife and mother are the most treasured.

 

 


 

 

2011 Recipient

Michele Rigby Assad '95

Michele Rigby Assad. Palm Beach Atlantic University (PBA) is a private, accredited, Christ-centered college located in West Palm Beach, Florida, USA.
 

For more than 10 years, Michele Assad has served her country in some of the most challenging locations in the world, including Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, to help ensure U.S. national security. Assad is a foreign service officer with the U.S. Department of State. Her primary responsibilities are focused on foreign relations with Arab nations and counterterrorism issues. She has a profound insight and knowledge of the Middle East and has gained the respect and credibility of the various individuals and groups she interacts with in the Arab world. Assad has influenced U.S. foreign policies and helped save the lives of U.S. soldiers on assignment in war-zone areas because of her effective interactions with Arab citizens and high-ranking government officials. While at PBA, Assad was part of the Frederick M. Supper Honors Program and participated in university-sponsored missions trips to Egypt, Russia and Ukraine. She graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in political science and earned her master’s degree in Arab studies from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. Assad and her husband, Joseph, live in Vienna, Va.

 


2010 Recipient

Edward Trask '85

Edward Trask

Edward Trask, a 1985 graduate of Palm Beach Atlantic University who is now a retail entrepreneur is a resident of Stamford, Conn., Trask has spent 25 years in retail leadership with such companies as Tourneau and Polo Ralph Lauren. He most recently was recruited to start a chain of accessories stores on the east coast of the United States for Australian retail conglomerate BBRC.

Trask began his career as a sales associate at Burdines department store in 1983. He began working for Polo Ralph Lauren in 1985 as an assistant store manager in Tampa, and by 1996 he had achieved the rank of director of stores.

He later worked as vice president of store operations for Watch World International before joining Tourneau LLC, where he spent nearly 11 years as executive vice president. Trask majored in business management and minored in speech communications at PBA.
 


 

2009 Recipient
Scott Whitaker '91

As the chief operating officer since 2005 of Washington, D.C.-based Scott Whitakerbiotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), Scott Whitaker manages the daily operations of the world's largest biotechnology advocacy group. Established in 1993, BIO represents more than 1,200 members worldwide who are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare along with agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnologies. Prior to joining BIO, Whitaker worked with the Department of Health and Human Services, first as assistant secretary for legislation and ultimately as chief of staff. As assistant secretary for legislation, Whitaker was nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. During his tenure, he managed the passage of a significant number of legislative victories for the administration, including the Medicare Modernization Act, the Bioterrorism Preparedness Act of 2002, the Medical Device User Fee and Modernization Act of 2002, and the Project BioShield Act of 2004. In the position of chief of staff, he led activities on major policy issues and initiatives, and served as the top liaison to the White House. Whitaker holds a master's degree from Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor's degree in political science from PBA. He and his wife, Michelle, have three children and live in Falls Church, Va.

 



2008 Recipient

Thomas Olliff "84

Thomas OlliffIn his four years with the South Florida Water Management District, Tom Olliff has demonstrated leadership abilities that have earned him accolades. The chief operating officer and second-in-command of the state's largest regional water management agency, Olliff oversees the day-to-day operations of an area that stretches from Orlando to Key West. The agency employs 1,800 and has a budget of $2.9 billion. Prior to joining the District, Olliff worked 19 years for Collier County on Florida's West Coast. Ultimately appointed county administrator, he was the youngest person in the State of Florida to hold the position. Olliff is involved professionally in the American Water Works Association, the Project Management Institute and the International City and County Manager's Association. He has served on the business boards of International College and Florida Gulf Coast University, and is a current board member of the PBA Alumni Association. Olliff has a bachelor's in business administration from PBA and a master's in business administration from the University of South Florida. He and his wife, Carolyn, live in Boca Raton.


 

 

 


Past Recipients
 
2002: Dr. Philip Rothschild ' 85
1995: Dr. R. Wayne Stacey '74
1994: George Thomasson '77
1988: Tony Adams*
1985: Lynn Gibbony Sloan '72*
1984: Bro. Joe Ranieri '79
1979: Dr. Tim Owings '75
1977: Rev. Wayne Padgett '72
1975: Dr. James Renault '72
 
*Deceased
 

Note: All time references are based upon the honoree's date of induction.

 

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