Today, Governor Rick Scott highlighted the following Floridians in his annual State of the State address.
Orlando Police Department Officer Michael Napolitano, Orlando
Officer Michael Napolitano has served in the Orlando Police Department since 2012 and is a member of the SWAT team. Officer Napolitano was one of the responding officers to the terrorist attack at Pulse nightclub last June. During the final standoff, Officer Napolitano was injured when his Kevlar helmet blocked a bullet, saving his life.
David Alfandary, Owner of Hot Pandeyuca, Miami
David Alfandary is the owner of Hot Pandeyuca, a Miami small business that specializes in making traditional Colombian baked goods. The factory started with only three employees and has since grown to employ 30 Floridians. Today, Hot Pandeyuca serves more than 200 clients in Florida, including supermarkets, restaurants, hotels and small retailers as well as clients in other states such as Georgia, Texas and California.
Master Sergeant George Vera, Tampa
Master Sergeant Vera joined the Army in 1995. In 2015, his 20th year of service, Sergeant Vera’s base was attacked by suicide bombers using an improvised explosive device (IED). Master Sergeant Vera fought to pull his fellow wounded soldiers away from enemy fire and was shot during his efforts to secure the perimeter. Master Sergeant Vera has been awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and Purple Heart and multiple other heroic commendations. Master Sergeant Vera, his wife, Angela, and their daughter, Isabella, will soon be gifted a mortgage-free home in Tampa, Florida through Building Homes for Heroes, a non-profit organization that builds or modifies homes, and gifts them, mortgage-free, to veterans and their families.
Nick Cid, Senior Business Analyst, Hertz, Fort Myers
Nick Cid is a Florida native and graduate of Florida Gulf Coast University. Nick was hired at Hertz in 2014 after the company relocated its Corporate Headquarters from New Jersey to Fort Myers. He currently works as a Senior Business Analyst and is pursuing his master’s degree in business administration at FGCU.
Sage Offutt, Owner and Founder of Sage Paddle Company, Navarre Beach
Sage Offutt is the owner of Sage Paddle Company, a paddleboarding rental business headquartered in Navarre. Sage founded the company after moving to Navarre Beach in 2013 when she was only 11-years-old. Sage Paddle Company now offers services from Pensacola Beach to Fort Walton Beach, covering a 60-mile radius. The company is also one of the largest rental fleets in the area, with 50 boards and 12 kayaks and more expected to be added this year. Last year, Sage Paddle Company was awarded the Best Recreation Paddleboard Rental Company in Navarre and Sage was presented with the Young Entrepreneur Award by Governor Scott at a Cabinet meeting in December.
Linda Cooke, Director of Manufacturing Operations at HABCO Manufacturing, Boca Raton
Linda Cooke is the Director of Manufacturing Operations at HABCO Manufacturing, a manufacturer in Boca Raton that employs 200 Floridians, including 150 individuals with unique abilities. Linda has worked at HABCO since 1991 and has played a major role in turning the facility into a job training center and a multi-million-dollar manufacturing company. In 2015, Linda was presented the Excalibur Award for Small Business Leader in Palm Beach County.