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Monday, 12 August 2013

NU in the News

Florida Campus in the News

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Just click on any of these videos to view recent Northwood University Florida Campus television stories.

Florida Campus News

Alumnus Applies Northwood Experience Towards Career in Education

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Alumnus Gary Peirce
Alumnus Gary Peirce

When Gary Peirce first learned of Northwood University Florida he was working the business side of Peirce Graphic Services, a South Florida organization he'd founded in 1989 along with his wife Linda to provide type setting services to publishers

"I discovered that I needed to learn more about accounting, economics and marketing, so when I first learned of Northwood University Florida, it sounded like a good fit," said Peirce, who added that his first impression of Northwood was confirmed upon his initial meeting with an enrollment counselor at the university's Adult Degree Program (ADP) office.

"I felt from the beginning that I belonged at Northwood and that I was a part of a school that would provide me with what I needed to succeed in the world of business. And as I fast-forward twenty years ahead, I can see that my first impressions were correct, as I continually thank Northwood for teaching me what I need to know to become a true professional in both my life and career," said Peirce who now serves as Lower School Head at The Pine School, a college preparatory, all-faith day school that serves students from age three through grade 12.

"Northwood provided me with confidence in my abilities. Always available, friendly and willing to help in any manner, the faculty gave me self-assurance about the capabilities that I already had, while providing me with additional business tools and knowledge. It seemed almost a coaching opportunity for them, as they imparted me with the secure feeling of being able to manage a start-up business," recalled Peirce who, along with his wife, eventually led their venture to become a national company.

Now an educator himself, Peirce uses his marketing, negotiating, management, human resource, and communication abilities towards effectively managing his team. "I can't believe the quality of people who teach four and five year-olds every day," laughed the former corporate leader who sold his business in 2006 to embrace his love of education. I feel fortunate to work with such a great group."

With the mission of promoting academic excellence within a challenging, supportive, and moral environment that fosters the development of mind, body, and spirit, the Pine School is a college preparatory, all-faith day school that serves students from age three through grade 12, and is located in Stuart, Florida.

The Pine School provides a strong traditional core curriculum while striving to instill high achievement and a lifelong love for learning. The school's objective is to develop each student's intellectual, physical, and creative talents in a supportive and moral environment. Students are encouraged to promote service above self and are inspired to develop a sense of commitment and involvement within their community.

In the Lower School, small class sizes and a challenging curriculum enable students to learn important academic skills in a nurturing and caring environment. The children become knowledgeable in computer technology and world language. The multifaceted fine arts and physical education programs are an integral part of the curriculum.

In addition to academic requirements, graduation requirements include 100 hours of community service and a senior capstone project. Internships, opportunities for multicultural exchanges, encounters with entrepreneurs and critical thinkers, and seminars with artists and scientists advance the philosophy of the Upper School in connecting students with a wider world and preparing them for leadership positions.

Crossing Over Ceremony Symbolizes Positive Transitions

Thursday, 29 August 2013

New students ’cross over’ to become members of the Northwood University Family.
New students ’cross over’ to become members of the Northwood University Family.

Dr. Tom Duncan assists students as they sign the Northwood University Code of Ethics.
Dr. Tom Duncan assists students as they sign the Northwood University Code of Ethics.

Northwood University Florida's Crossing Over Ceremony held special significance for its student body, as it signified a variety of meaningful transitions.

The observance, designed to reflect the many positive changes that students are experiencing, highlighted the fact that students are 'crossing over' to a new life as they are each transitioning to a new educational environment, a new academic year, a new group of friends, a new home, and in many cases, a new country or continent.

The symbolic orientation event was opened as Northwood University students, flanked by each of their 48 country flags, processed over the DeVos Cook Academic Center bridge towards the Edwards Bell Tower and Plaza area.

Northwood University President Dr. Tom Duncan welcomed the group as faculty and staff members looked on. Duncan asked the crowd, "What, exactly, are you crossing over to?. He answered the question by focusing on three key points: 1) Crossing Over to New Places and New Friends; 2) Crossing Over to a New Learning Community, and 3) Crossing Over to Northwood Values.
"We are giving you the opportunity," Duncan said to the hundreds of students who attended the event, "to be the future leaders of a global, free-enterprise society – which is Northwood's mission. He emphasized the importance of acquiring knowledge and learning skills, but also the importance of developing their characters, in order to be prepared for the world of business. "At Northwood, we believe in functioning from a foundation of ethics and integrity in all we do," the president continued. He then recited the Northwood University Code of Ethics, and invited all students to sign Northwood University's Code of Ethics.

To view the Northwood University Florida Crossing Over Ceremony video produced by Northwood University Florida Multimedia Producer and Public Relations Associate Gregory Wright, please visit: .

Alumna's Invention a Result of Faith, Tenacity, More

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Kristy First enjoys boating while in college.
Kristy First enjoys boating while in college.

Kristy First, assisted by sisters Courtney and Samara.
Kristy First, assisted by sisters Courtney and Samara.

First’s partner Steve Scorgie demonstrates the invention in the Walmart contest video.
First’s partner Steve Scorgie demonstrates the invention in the Walmart contest video.

Northwood University Florida graduate Kristy First is now living the dream of many entrepreneurs, and the winding road which has led to this point has deepened her belief in the healing power of family and prayer.

As a Northwood University freshman in the late 1980's, First was excited to pursue her dreams in the Sunshine State. "I was thrilled about attending college at Northwood Florida because I knew I wanted to earn a degree in business, and the sunny South Florida beaches and golf courses, were also calling my name," smiled the bubbly blonde.

Once officially a Northwood student, the Clare, Michigan native began to establish lifelong friendships while embracing campus life and enjoying fun in the sun going to the beach, playing volleyball, and boating. "The bonds you establish in college can be some of the most rewarding, and I still count my Northwood friends among the best. Now with families of our own, we enjoy reminiscing about the old days," said First, who was also an avid skier, sailor and equestrian.

After graduating with a bachelor's degree in Business Management in 1992, the young professional was soon enjoying a cushy position as a membership director at an upscale Palm Beach County country club. But her life was about to take a crazy turn. In the summer of 2000 she was near fatally injured in a horrific auto accident on Florida's 1-95 interstate. "I can't describe the experience," said First of the event which left her unable to walk. "It felt as if it was a bad dream, and I just thank God for my amazing family who left their businesses to be by my side every step of the way for over a year, making the best choices for me in that crucial time."

While undergoing 14-months of therapy, the young patient was confined to a wheelchair, and decided to make another dramatic move. "I was inspired by a book that a friend gave me titled 'Miracle Man,' and wanted to surround myself with others who were experiencing and overcoming similar challenges, so I packed my belongings and headed to Brazil on a quest for healing," said First, who still visits the region today after a five-year stay.

"While residing at a small village called, Abadiania in Brazil, I was blessed to meet amazing people from all over the world, including some of the best doctors from Harvard Medical, having everything I needed and living life in a simple way focusing on my healing. I lived in a little pousada called Dom Ingrid where they took good care of me by providing three meals a day and regularly cleaning my room. It took me about five years to get my head straight and to feel strong, but all along I knew I wanted to eventually return to America to rebuild my life and to start my own business, so I returned to West Palm Beach in 2006, and my world eventually took on a new form and shape," shared First who'd reconnected with Steve Scorgie, an old love upon her return. "Steve and I got to know each other again, and realized that we were meant to be. All of a sudden I went from being a single young woman, to buying a house and becoming the mother of two daughters. It's the most rewarding role I've played to date," she said.

And it was the desire to flex her entrepreneurial muscle while remaining a stay-at-home mom that led the budding entrepreneur to draw from her Northwood experience. "Northwood gave me all the tools and knowledge I needed to start my own business, which I have used every step of the way in developing my invention.

"Have you ever watched someone struggle with wrapping a present or been in a rush with no time to wrap?" giggled First. It really isn't a pretty picture, so I wanted to develop a product that would make it easy and fast for everyone." Enter First's patent pending invention the Wrap Bag – one of the top contenders in Walmart's "Get on the Shelf" contest.

"When my dad told me about the contest, I thought it was a great opportunity to launch the product," said First, who is currently manufacturing the product overseas and plans to have it manufactured in the United States when order numbers increase.

Having advanced to the top 8% of the contests original 4,000 contenders, the do-it-yourself idea makes it easier for even the novice wrapper to hide surprises. "Steve deserves an Oscar for his performance in the contest video, and it's been an exciting roller coaster so far. Now we just need people to keep voting so we can advance to the grand prize of selling at both and in stores with marketing support," said First, now the official President and CEO of Gift Innovations, Inc.

Please visit to cast your vote. Wal-Mart's "Get on the Shelf" multi-stage contest uses public voting to determine finalist entrants in an original web series. The first place winner will receive the opportunity to sell their product through and the grand champion will have the chance to sell in Walmart stores and and to receive valuable marketing support. All contestants will get some free visibility to help launch their product as well.

Professor Applies Hands-On Experience Toward Program Leadership

Friday, 02 August 2013

Professor Petrovsky shares insight relating to the BP oil spill with ABC reporter Terri Parker.
Professor Petrovsky shares insight relating to the BP oil spill with ABC reporter Terri Parker.

Northwood University Florida professor Kevin Petrovsky knows a lot about environmental conservation, oceanography, natural resource exploration and extraction, coastal management and human impacts on the environment. And it's his unique capability to blend his hands-on experience and education toward teaching environmental sustainability and its necessity for long term business success that creates compelling class discussions.

"It is important for people to understand their role and place in the global environment. Everything we do has an impact on the environment, and the environment has an impact on everything we do or want to do," said Petrovsky who spent several months on a seismic research vessel conducting geologic surveys for oil deposits on the ocean floor for a Houston based oil exploration company.

Designed to develop leaders who understand the relationship between the global ecology and economic progress, Northwood's Sustainability Management program is of interest to those who appreciate the symbiotic relationship between science and technology and want to advance sustainable business practices. The program prepares students to develop, implement, and assess businesses solutions that balance the bottom line with the needs of the environment and communities, facilitate internal and external changes in sustainability practices, and more.

Petrovsky holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Oceanographic Technology from Florida Institute of Technology and a Master of Science degree in Coastal Zone Management from Nova Southeastern University. He has also worked as a coastal engineer, surveyor and a maritime instructor.

Alumnus Forms Non-Profit Thanks to Management Expertise, Graduate Student Field Work Team

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Alumnus Scott Smoliak with this dog Bailey.
Alumnus Scott Smoliak with this dog Bailey.

Tracy Parks, Porawee (Paul) Thongkiew, Scott Smoliak, Jing Shang, Barbara Smoliak and Kristina Valentinasa
Tracy Parks, Porawee (Paul) Thongkiew, Scott Smoliak, Jing Shang, Barbara Smoliak and Kristina Valentinasa

After enduring a harrowing experience while trying to save a four-legged family member, Northwood University alumnus Scott Smoliak turned to both his business management expertise and to a Northwood University DeVos Graduate School of Management Field Work Team with the goal of creating a nonprofit to help ease the burden for others.

It all began when Smoliak had to rush Bailey, the family dog to an emergency veterinary hospital because he wasn't acting himself. There, he learned that their beloved Bernese mountain dog had swallowed a large corn cob which was causing deadly blockage and creating severe toxicity and damage to his insides.

"My heart was in my stomach," said Smoliak, a 2010 Florida graduate, and the son of long-time Florida baseball coach Rick Smoliak. "We knew we had to act quick, and were beside ourselves when we learned that there was a good chance that he wasn't going to make it."

During the nearly two week hospital stay, Smoliak along with his dad, his mother Barbara and sisters Ashley and Brittany, spent much time at the hospital and met many pet owners who were thankful that their animals were able to receive lifesaving care.

Fortunately for Bailey, they were able to afford costs totaling several thousand dollars for numerous procedures which made it possible for him to go home healthy. But the experience made Smoliak recognize that there were also many animals who never had a chance, due to exhaustive costs. Therefore, he decided to found The Bailey Project to provide financial assistance to family pets in need of critical care.

Designed specifically to help those pets who belong to families who have exhausted any and all financial resources, Smoliak drew from his experience as a Northwood business management major to form the corporation and to begin applying for their non-profit status. He also took advantage of a suggestion to coordinate with a Northwood University DeVos Graduate School Field Work Team to gain additional insight. The team, which included students Tracy Parks, Kristina Valentinasa, Porawee (Paul) Thongkiew and Jing Shang, provided valuable strategies relating to management, marketing, prioritization and organizational data statistics.

"The graduate team at Northwood invested much time and energy providing The Bailey Project with many helpful marketing and management suggestions. Scott and I enjoyed our monthly meetings with the team and together we built a wonderful foundation for the future of The Bailey Project," said Scott's mother Barbara Smoliak who serves as the Executive Director of the organization.

Having developed a solid foundation with a strategic business plan in place, the organization is now looking forward to receiving confirmation of its nonprofit status and has several major donors lined up. Already receiving weekly website donations, it is working closely with community groups and veterinary hospitals and is in the process of planning monthly events.

According to Dr. Cathy Bush, Associate Professor and Lead MBA Faculty Member of the DeVos Graduate School of Management, many local businesses benefit from the strategic consulting services provided by the graduate students. "It is exciting to see the value that our students are able to provide to business owners through their analysis and recommendations, and the students get a great opportunity to apply business concepts that they are studying to real companies. It is truly a win-win for all parties who participate in the fieldwork experience," said Bush who works closely with the students.

Having serviced over ten Southeast Florida fieldwork clients within the past two years, Northwood University DeVos Graduate School of Management field work student groups are guided by senior Northwood MBA faculty with decades of industry experience. Projects consist of consulting teams of up to six Northwood MBA students who work with small to medium-sized businesses, entrepreneurs, inventors and non-profit organizations. They provide insight relating to business unit strategy and marketing analysis by developing action-oriented recommendations to guide your future decision making. The projects present businesses with valuable research results, while enabling student consultants to reinforce their understanding of business fundamentals and to apply cutting-edge management practices to strategic business issues.

To learn more about Richard DeVos Graduate School of Management field work opportunities please contact Georgia Abbott at or (989) 837-4479.


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