They’re fathers, sons, brothers and spouses. They selflessly give their time to their families, their careers and their community. We admire their capabilities, their commitment and their dedication, so join us in celebrating some of the Space Coast’s greatest guys.
Brigadier General Ed Wilson
Commander, 45th Space Wing, and Director, Eastern Range, Patrick AFB
There are no typical days for the man responsible for launching the rockets that put satellites in orbit from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. He has a 24/7 job, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t know how to prioritize time for his family. Married for 25 years to his wife Lisa and the father of two children, he’s proud of the balance he’s found in doing both well. Despite growing up with the challenges of frequent moves, his son plans to join the military, which will make him the fifth consecutive generation, serving our country dating back to the Civil War.
Wilson joined the Air Force in 1985 as a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, and assumed command of the 45th Space Wing in February 2010. He previously commanded the Space Development and Test Wing at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico. Another achievement that makes him proud are the teams he’s developed during his career in the Air Force, especially the diverse members that successfully launch over 15 vehicles a year aboard Delta, Atlas and Falcon 9 including the civilians, contractors and military personnel. His priorities are getting satellites safely into orbit, protecting the public, and enhancing the lives of his troops, which “are all demanding, but bring tremendous satisfaction,” he said.
General Wilson has had many accomplishments in his career, but what he remembers most “are the memories of working with great people, the challenges faced, and the mission successes we achieved.”
Charles W. “Chas” Hoyman, Jr., CPA
Managing Director, Hoyman Dobson Certified Public Accountants
Even during a difficult economic climate, Charles agreed to chair the 2010 United Way Campaign without hesitation. “Through the efforts of so many in our community we surpassed our campaign goal of $6.8 million in 2010. Our campaign raised $6,882,645 which is a 2.4% increase over the prior year. My wife Vonnie and I are thrilled with this result.” The funds allow the United Way to continue funding 67 health and human services programs at 42 agencies in the county. “So many less fortunate in our community benefit in so many ways from the efforts of this community to raise money at that level.”
Business wise, Hoyman Dobson was recognized as one of the “Best Accounting Firms To Work For” by Accounting Today in 2010. “It has always been important to the leaders of Hoyman Dobson that we create a positive work environment for all of our team members.
Growing up Brevard County as a teenager during the early space program of the late 60s and early 70s he was able to see how the leaders in the community were involved in many organizations and how their involvement made a positive impact in this community. “I felt that if I got involved in an organization I wanted to assume a leadership position where I could have a positive impact on our community, our children and our future.” He encourages other team members at Hoyman Dobson to get involved in organizations they have a passion for and to assume leadership positions so that they too can impact this community.
Dean, College of Aeronautics at Florida Tech
Winston Scott has had the opportunity to do what many only dream about, travel to space as an astronaut. As a dean of the college of Aeronautics at Florida Tech his meetings with students usually turn to this subject and students wanting to know, “what’s it like in space?” But it is not an event easily put into words, “It is an incredible sight,” he says. “It is a life changing experience.”
Scott’s other passion is music, he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree at Florida State before joining the Navy and becoming a captain and aviator. He plays the trumpet in the Florida Tech faculty band, Twitchy and is the director of the school’s advanced student jazz ensemble. He is a published author, his book “Reflections From Earth Orbit,” is meant to be an inspirational relation to his experience in space. He hopes to write another book in a similar style so that he can share his experience with even more people.
Scott still loves to fly, he currently travels regularly around the country for speaking engagements and he hopes to inspire the next generation of young people by presenting to schools and other groups about his time in space. Scott been married to his wife Marilyn for 37 years and they have two adult children. “I hope that my biggest accomplishment is to have positively helped and influenced someone to help make better life decisions, to leave something positive behind when I’m gone.”
Attorney, Gray Robinson
Founder, Doctors, Lawyers, Weekend Warriors Surf Festival
Jack Kirschenbaum says he and his wife of eight years, Diane have the classic blended family that they have nicknamed the “Kirschenbunch.” Though the members of their “bunch” are now grown and living in different areas, when they are in town they still have Sunday dinners at home together and share a close bond that helped them get through difficult times including the loss of two houses in thirty days when the hurricanes blew through the area. “Looking back it was the best thing that happened to us,” Jack says. “It brought us all closer together and allowed us to consolidate our lives.”
Jack’s other things that Jack talks about with zeal are his family’s service to the community. Jack founded Doctors Lawyers Weekend Warriors 20 years ago, an idea that developed while he was attending a surf competition for his son at Sebastian Inlet. The purpose was threefold- he wanted the opportunity for “old people” to surf the inlet without all the kids, he thought it was time to give back to the community and he wanted to demonstrate that surfers were professionals and not just beach bums. So he called up two friends and the concept of the surf festival was born. The 19th annual event is scheduled for September 16 and 17 at Sebastian Inlet. This year the event will raise funds for Satellite High School’s Surf team and provide a scholarship in honor of Mama G, a local photographer and supporter of the surf community who recently passed away from breast cancer.
Director Quality & Continuous Improvement, DRS Technologies RSTA
As the head of the DRS Community Involvement Committee, Bill has been involved with Habitat for Humanity since the beginning of the relationship. So far, DRS has built two homes and are waiting for the green light for the 3rd home this year.
“It is hard to describe the magic that begins to happen when our DRS volunteers partner with the homeowner, the local community and the Habitat Team. New relationships get forged quickly and a feeling of camaraderie and fellowship begins to develop. A special bond begins to form for each of us between the homeowner, the Habitat Staff and our fellow employees that has each person not wanting to ever miss a day on the site.”
After the first home was built Bill was asked to join the Board of Directors, “I was very impressed with the staff and their dedication and commitment to finding people affordable housing that I wanted to devote more of my time towards helping them achieve this goal.” The staff and fellow Board members provide him the motivation and inspiration to continue to help in any way he can.
Operations Director, Eckerd Youth Alternatives
Richard began work with Eckerd Youth Alternatives in 2000. “The year 2000 was a good year for me. Not only did I find the job I love, but I also met the woman I love.” That woman he married his wife Amber in 2002 and they now have 2 little boys who are 3-years and 15 months old. Richard was offered a position after an internship with the Eckerd Early Intervention & Prevention program in Brevard County during his senior year at UCF. He quickly moved up the ranks from coordinator to supervisor, then director, area director and was most recently promoted to Operations Director and will oversee the operation of all Eckerd programs in Central and North Florida, including four residential facilities, an outpatient mental health counseling program, a supervised visitation program, and several early intervention and prevention programs, totaling over 12 million dollars in services. Over a million children in Florida are abused and neglected each year so Richard partnered with Brevard Family Partnership and Judge Crawford, the Dependency Court Judge to develop a therapeutic coaching and mentoring program that utilizes Licensed Counselors to work with parents who have been temporarily removed from their children due to an abuse or neglect issue. He has been selected as one of the 4 Under 40 winners from LEAD Brevard. “I am honored to be recognized for my leadership and my efforts to help the children and families in our community. I hope to inspire others to give back to the community as well.”
CEO, Lifestyle Homes
Life is busy but blessed for Jake Luhn, CEO of Lifestyle Homes and father of three children- JJ, 6; Julia, 4; and John, 3 with his wife Jodi. Jake’s involvement as a board member of Habitat for Humanity is a tradition that began with his father who was involved in the organization as well. “There are many people living in substandard housing that through Habitat for Humanity, contributions from the local community and their own sweat equity can earn their way into their own home.” Deserving families with low incomes are able to afford a home of their own with no-interest mortgage payments through Habitat for Humanity’s program. Jake believes it is a powerful way to revitalize local communities and a good way to give back.
Earlier this year, Lifestyle Homes built the first photovoltaic powered Net-Zero energy home ever featured on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. And with all that going on, Jake still makes time to be the assistant varsity basketball coach at Holy Trinity and coaches his youngest son’s t-ball team. Jake credits his father, John who passed away in August of 2007, as his biggest inspiration. “He always put his family first.”
Dr. Gopal Gadodia
Dr. Gopal Gadodia dreamed of becoming a pilot when he was young but he followed his mother’s advice and pursed a career as a doctor. He choose to focus on the heart because of the immediate gratification of saving someone’s life. But his dream of being an aviator has come to fruition. He now has multiple licenses including single engine, commercial and jet engine. “When you are young you have a dream. When you realize that goal it is truly very fulfilling,” he says.
He doesn’t stop at living for his dreams he helps others realize theirs too. “To truly be able to be a part of the community you have to give back, whether it is time, money or skills. That’s the only way it can move forward.” He passed along the same lessons through leading by example to his children, who are now adults. “I never lectured them. I told them ‘don’t go in to a job for the fame or money. Do it because you love it and hope that you will be successful.’” He has been a lifelong member of the Brevard Indo-American Medical and Dental Association and continues to advise the IndiaFest committee that is chaired by his wife, Nina. He is also a founding member of the Medical Associates of Brevard and president of the Brevard Professionals Network.
Sheriff Jack Parker
Brevard County Sheriff
There is one thing that Sheriff Parker wants to make clear- he is not the one solely responsible for making the county a safer place. He doesn’t care for the word “I” because he credits the agency around him and other law enforcement for his success. “We are focused less on statistics and more about a truly safer community,” he explains. “I think the most important thing I’ve done is select the right people for the organization. They have many years of experience and a true love for what they do.”
Part of what they do is also doing as much as they can to improve the community in other ways, like raising money for the United Way in Brevard. The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office has raised $425,000.00 in donations over the past five years and received the Chairman’s award for 2011.
Sheriff Parker’s main focus continues to be keeping Brevard safe. His expansion of the jail to twice its size was a critical need and he’s proud that it was done during a difficult economic climate. He also keeps focused on the very small percentage of people who commit violent crimes, “we do as much as we can for the community but we can’t forget the ‘meat and potatoes’ making Brevard safe as possible,” he says.
Director of Sales, Contract Furniture Solutions
Umpire-in-chief at Viera/Suntree Little League
As the umpire-in-chief at Viera/Suntree Little League Dave trains and manages a volunteer umpire group called the Strike Force. His experience as an umpire all started accidentally 26 years ago when his children were playing baseball and an umpire didn’t show up for the game. Another parent convinced him to help out and he did, wearing his flip-flops and Hawaiian shirt. The rest, as they say, is history. After a move away and then returning to the Suntree area he drove by the Little League field to purchase a Christmas tree with his wife. He suddenly felt inspired to volunteer again and asked the salesman if they needed umpires. Without hesitation, the man produced a volunteer application and Dave was back umpiring on the weekends. He developed a Junior Umpire Program with children ranging in age from 11 to 18. The program now has about 85 kids who earn Bright Future and community service hours and see a different perspective of the game, he says. Dave has also earned a World Series recommendation and hosts several camps throughout the year training other umpires. For work, he travels during the week to arrive home in time to umpire games on most weekends. Knowing that he is making a difference in the lives of children each day he is on the field fuels his passion for the sport. “There is an incredible amount of enthusiasm and that is what keeps me motivated.”