People & changes: Hirings, promotions and movements of Polk business p…


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Nguyen named employee of the month

Van Nguyen, process engineer, was named employee of the month for July at Jacobs Engineering Lakeland.


Banks becomes principal in Furr & Wegman

Aaron Banks became a shareholder and principal in Furr & Wegman Architects. Banks is a graduate of the University of South Florida with a master of architecture. He is a registered architect and LEED AP. Banks joined Furr & Wegman Architects in April 2014. He specializes in education, commercial and institutional projects, is a member of the Lakeland Rotary Club and serves on the board of directors of the North Tampa Bay Chamber.


Swartzwelder speaks at conferences

Lana Swartzwelder, president of LJS Learning Solutions and chief executive officer of The Libertore Fund for Children, was a presenter at the Planet Philanthropy Conference for the Association of Fundraising Professionals in Fort Lauderdale and at the Florida Coalition for Children Conference in Boca Raton. She spoke on how to facilitate and engage clients using Learning Styles.


Bradford wins national award

Winter Haven children’s writer Maureen Bradford won the Honorable Mention Blue Seal Award 2018, for her mid-grade fiction “Brendan’s Extraordinary Assignment,” which takes place in Ireland. The Serious Writer Award was given at the Write-To-Publish conference in Wheaten, Illinois, and is for unpublished writers. Bradford has been a children’s librarian in English-speaking International schools around the world, including Italy, Portugal, India and Germany, in addition to the U.S. She now volunteers with reading in Winter Haven elementary schools. She is a member of two Winter Haven writers groups: Sidestreet Coffee and Quill and Write Like a Pro. She is also a member of the Society of Children’s Writers and Book Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. Her stories are written for children in lower and middle grades. Her latest story, a children’s chapter book, “Jadu the Magic Frog Puppet” takes place in Mumbai, India.


Local tax planner attends advanced training conference

Lynn A. Schmidt, EA, CTC, recently attended an advanced training conference held at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Lynn is one of only 10 certified tax coaches in Florida and the only certified tax coach in Polk County. During the two-day event, Schmidt participated in advanced tax planning strategies that involved topics such as the new Qualified Business Income Deduction (the 20 percent business deduction), tax strategies affecting medical professionals, intricacies of the cannabis industry and other advanced tax topics and strategic planning processes. More information is available online at or


Dick Pope/Polk County FPRA Chapter welcomes new members

The Dick Pope/Polk County chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association welcomed three new members at its monthly professional development meetings in June and July. Tora Miller, director of marketing & communications for the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce, and Brooklynne Atwell, manager of development, community and volunteer relations for Catholic Charities of Central Florida were welcomed into the chapter during June. Ashley Foss, director of marketing and communications for the Lakeland Magic was welcomed into the chapter in July. The new members received their FPRA pins from membership chair Teresa Griffin. The Dick Pope/ Polk County Chapter of FPRA provides professional development, accreditation and certification, leadership opportunities, recognition, networking, and funding of educational and professional development programs for members. For information on the state organization, visit The Dick Pope/Polk County Chapter of FPRA holds monthly meetings at Fresco’s (132 S. Kentucky Ave., Lakeland) unless otherwise indicated. Members and guests are always welcome but it is necessary to RSVP at or contact Brad Ruhmann at [email protected] to reserve your seat.

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