Florida Tech graduates who went on to leading careers in technology and retail, aviation, construction and business were honored during the 2019 Homecoming and Awards Gala at the Clemente Center.
Five graduates from each of Florida Tech’s four colleges were presented with Outstanding Alumni awards. A sixth alumnus received the top honor, the Jerome P. Keuper Distinguished Alumni Award.
Here are the honorees:
Jerome P. Keuper Distinguished Alumni Award: Henry ‘Chip’ Heflich, ’73 BS
While earning his BS in electrical engineering from Florida Tech in 1973, Heflich worked for NASA at Kennedy Space Center on the Saturn V rocket. He especially enjoyed his coursework in solid-state physics, and after graduation, decided to leave the space industry to pursue a career designing analog integrated circuits for Texas Instruments. His passion for invention and entrepreneurial spirit thrived.
Heflich left Texas Instruments to form a company designing corporate local and wide area network computer systems. Meanwhile, something known as “the Internet” was taking shape, and that would allow his technologies to be commercialized. He co-founded Genuity with a vision to develop corporate Internet services, and his vision was rewarded when the company was acquired by GTE.
Genuity’s patented technology also caught the attention of Mark Cuban, who recruited Heflich to become chief technology officer for Audionet, an early pioneer in Internet-hosted video streaming. Audionet, later renamed broadcast.com, was purchased by Yahoo! in 1997 for $5.7 billion. Heflich served as chief technology officer at Yahoo! until his retirement in 2000 and currently serves as chair of Reflect Systems.
College of Aeronautics: Jason Terreri, ’01 BS
Terreri was confirmed as the new executive director of Syracuse Hancock International Airport in April 2019. A seasoned industry veteran with more than 15 years of senior airport management experience, he previously served as the senior operations project director for Airports Worldwide Inc. in Sanford, Florida. Prior to his tenure with Airports Worldwide, Terreri was the assistant director of airports for the Horry County Department of Airports in South Carolina, where he oversaw Myrtle Beach International Airport’s operations and airfield maintenance, the communications center, planning, development and three general aviation airports. He also spent 9 years at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
In 2009, Terreri earned his Accredited Airport Executive designation from the American Association of Airport Executives. In 2012, he was recognized by Airport Business Magazine as one of its Top 40 Under 40. Having earned his International Airport Professional designation for Airports Council International in 2014, Terreri was elected to the board of directors for the IAP Community of Practice. He is a licensed commercial pilot and former ﬂight instructor.
Nathan Bisk College of Business: Monique Picou, ’93 MBA
Picou is the senior vice president of flow and fashion for Walmart Inc., where she is responsible for driving the efficient product movement from supplier to shelf. She is an enthusiastic and proactive proponent of diversity throughout Walmart and emphasizes the importance of women’s roles in supply chain management.
Picou has over 25 years in consumer packaging goods and supply chain. She spent much of her career with Procter & Gamble Co. but also spent a year in private equity. At P&G, she worked across multiple business units within the product supply organization and spent six years in Switzerland and England. Picou has sat on the board of directors for United Way, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and GS1 UK and the Cranfield University advisory board.
College of Engineering and Science, Engineering: Don Woodruff, ’86 BS
Woodruff is a design-build professional and the president of Woodruff Construction LLC, with four offices in Iowa. He has enjoyed over 30 years of service and leadership with the company. A 2006 recipient of the Outstanding Service Award from the Florida Tech College of Engineering, Woodruff is a member of the Florida Tech Construction Advisory Board and the Florida Tech Civil Engineering Advisory Committee and serves as chairman of the board for Master Builders of Iowa. In addition, he is a part of the Fort Dodge Growth Alliance, Fort Dodge REC Foundation Board, Iowa Lean Consortium, CIRAS Advisory Board, Construction Financial Management Association, EFP Investment Club, University of Iowa Business College of Health Business Leadership Council, the Mid-Iowa Growth Partnership and the City of Fort Dodge Board of Appeals.
Previously, Woodruff has been a board member for numerous organizations, including the YMCA Foundation, the Blanden Memorial Art Museum Foundation, the Development Corporation of Fort Dodge and Webster County, and the Trinity Regional Hospital Foundation.
College of Engineering and Science, Science: Gretchen Kelly, ’94 BS
A dynamic information technology professional with over 20 years of experience guiding major communications organizations, Kelly is currently a vice president in the IT organization at Charter Communications, where her team is working to smoothly integrate and support communication systems like email, messaging, identity management, file services and collaboration tools. Prior to Charter, Kelly held leadership positions at Bright House Networks, Cbeyond Communications, Premiere Technologies and Verizon.
Outside of work, Kelly is actively involved in her community and has held leadership roles in several organizations. She is currently a board member for the Women in Cable & Telecommunications (WICT) Midwest chapter and has led the Careers in Action Leadership Foundations for Women in Technology (WIT). She is a former board member and committee chair for the East Atlanta Kids Club and is an active volunteer for WICT and the MS Society.
College of Psychology and Liberal Arts: Sherry Acanfora-Ruohomaki, ’93 B.S., ’05 M.S.
Acanfora-Ruohomaki is president and owner of two companies: K9 Kampus, a luxury dog daycare and boarding facility in Melbourne, and Facets Consulting Group, which provides expertise in technology startups, lean manufacturing principles, business development and organizational health. She was the director of operations for Florida TechStart on the campus of Florida Tech and co-founded XL TechGroup, focused on technology innovation and company creation.
Acanfora-Ruohomaki is the recipient of multiple business awards in the state of Florida, including the 2016 Small Business Administration’s Business Person of the Year award, the 2014 Small Business Administration’s Women-Owned Business Person of the Year award (South Florida district) and the 2016 Space Coast Business Bernie Simpkins Entrepreneur of the Year award. She volunteers as a mentor/facilitator in the Ignite program hosted by weVENTURE at Florida Tech and serves on the Florida Tech Alumni Association board of directors. She is chair of the board of directors for No Limits Academy, a not-for-profit school for children with brain and spinal injuries.