RANDY K. AVENT
PRESIDENT, FLORIDA POLYTECHNIC UNIVERSITY, LAKELAND
Florida Poly was created in 2012 to develop a pipeline of high-tech talent to tackle Florida’s shortage of professionals in STEM fields. The university’s graduates have a median starting salary of $54,800. The school recently achieved ABET accreditation, “which means the quality of our degrees is now internationally recognized,” says Avent, who was founding president in 2014.
|EDUCATION||UNC-Chapel Hill (BA, MA, Ph.D.), North Carolina State University (MA)|
|PROFESSIONAL EVOLUTION||I went from wanting to be a dirt bike mechanic at a local Honda shop in high school to pursuing a degree in zoology and studying neurophysiology, to then becoming an engineer and eventually taking an unexpected path to university president.|
|SOMETHING SURPRISING||I enjoy woodworking and metal working. I build furniture in part because I like working with my hands.|