October 28, 2021

University Names American Free Enterprise Companion Medalists

PBA News

Palm Beach Atlantic University will award its American Free Enterprise companion medals to Publix Pharmacy’s award-winning director of retail operations and the vice president of transportation construction contractor Vecellio Group Inc.

The pair will be honored along with American Free Enterprise Medalist Ray Titus, CEO of United Franchise Group, 11 a.m. Nov. 16 in the Rubin Arena of the Greene Complex for Sports and Recreation, 1100 S. Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach. The ceremony is open to the public. For more information, call (561) 803-2025.

This year marks the 35th anniversary of the University’s American Free Enterprise Day celebration, which honors individuals whose hard work and achievement exemplify the best of the American free enterprise system.

Kathy Leonard began working at Publix as a cashier in high school and worked her way up to become Publix Pharmacy’s director of retail operations. Two years after starting her career as a cashier, she joined the pharmacy team and became a pharmacy technician, which she credits for opening her eyes to a potential career path. Her mentor encouraged her to apply to pharmacy school, and she continued working at Publix as a pharmacy intern while she completed her education. After she graduated and became a licensed pharmacist, Publix promoted her to assistant pharmacy manager. She has since held roles including pharmacy manager, pharmacy supervisor and pharmacy operations manager. She was promoted to her current role in 2020. Leonard has received many awards in her 30-year career, most recently the 2019 George W. Jenkins Award, named after Publix’s late founder. The award is Publix’s most prestigious recognition and is presented to Publix employees who exemplify leadership, perpetuate the Publix culture and demonstrate commitment to Jenkins’ vision. She also received the Mr. George Community Service Award, honoring her dedication to giving back to the community. Leonard volunteers with Toys for Tots of Tampa Bay, Palm Beach County Fishing Foundation, United Way and Perfect 10 Charity.

Michael A. Vecellio is vice president of Vecellio Group Inc., a fourth-generation, family-owned business that provides highway, mining and energy services and products to public- and private-sector customers. Engineering News-Record consistently ranks Vecellio Group Inc. as one of America’s Top 400 Contractors and one of the nation’s leading transportation contractors. Operations include Vecellio & Grogan, Hal Jones Contractor, Sharpe Bros. and Ranger Construction Industries. Vecellio is president of construction for Vecellio & Grogan, the group’s flagship business, which provides various site work and heavy/highway and bridge construction throughout the mid-Atlantic and beyond. Vecellio oversees Sharpe Bros. in North Carolina, Ranger Construction in Florida and Hal Jones Contractor in North Florida. He also guides corporate functions such as safety and human resources.

Vecellio earned a business management degree from Virginia Tech. He joined the family business in 2002, becoming an integral member of the executive team. His brother Christopher also joined the company. Their father, CEO and chairman Leo A. Vecellio Jr., has served in many leadership roles, including American Road & Transportation Builders Association chairman. Michael Vecellio serves as ARTBA vice president-at-large and is an active member of the Economic Council of the Palm Beaches.

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