4 Tars Recognized Among Orlando’s Power Players
November 02, 2023
By Jessica Firpi ’11
The Orlando Business Journal’s annual Power Players awards have named four Rollins alumni among Central Florida’s most innovative business leaders and executives.
Four accomplished Rollins graduates have been recognized among 48 business leaders as 2023 Power Players by Orlando Business Journal, cementing their positions as industry giants, disruptors, dealmakers, and connectors in Central Florida.
Nominated by readers, these Tars have showcased exceptional leadership and innovation within the evolving business landscape—spearheading major projects and initiatives, offering novel products and services, and fostering partnerships.
These Rollins alumni are making significant strides to the region’s growth, and their collective impact is poised to shape the future of business in metro Orlando. Here’s a closer look at the meaningful contributions they’re making to their professions and their communities.
Kyle Johnson ’07
CEO, Lighthouse Works
As the president and CEO of Lighthouse Central Florida and Lighthouse Works, Kyle Johnson ’07 has discovered his true calling. While majoring in English at Rollins, Johnson received a valuable lesson in active listening—taking emeritus communication professor Rick Bommelje’s Listening course—that altered his perspective. This pivotal insight shaped his worldview and prompted a desire to make a meaningful impact. His journey led him to his current position: leading organizations dedicated to empowering and supporting blind and visually impaired individuals in Central Florida by creating competitive career opportunities. As community partners, Lighthouse Central Florida and Lighthouse Works host Rollins students for a variety of learning opportunities and real-world problem-solving experiences, instilling in them the significance of service and social impact.
“I’m not kidding when I say, before coming to Rollins, I had no idea where I’d be in my career,” says Johnson. “Honestly, that’s why I’m so passionate about the work I do in this sector because it really gave me my life. For me, having gone to Rollins and then experiencing this renaissance in myself—where I literally didn’t know what I should be doing in my life and now I’m doing exactly what I was born to do—it’s a dream come true.”
William Finfrock ’97MBA
A seasoned leader in the construction industry with more than three decades of experience, William A. Finfrock ’97MBA, president of FINFROCK, oversees his family’s nearly 80-year-old design-build firm in Apopka, Florida. Under Finfrock’s guidance, the company has quadrupled in size, completing diverse projects such as hotels, student housing, and luxury multifamily residences. In 2019, the Orlando Business Journal ranked FINFROCK No. 9 of the 100 largest privately held companies in Central Florida, reaffirming its status as a major regional employer. Finfrock, who majored in civil engineering before completing his MBA at Rollins’ Crummer Graduate School of Business, actively contributes to the community, having chaired the boards of Habitat for Humanity of Seminole County & Greater Apopka and the Florida Hospital Cancer Institute.
Pamela Landwirth ’12MBA
CEO, Give Kids the World
Pamela Landwirth ’12MBA is at the helm of Give Kids the World, a nonprofit resort dedicated to fulfilling the wishes of critically ill children and their families. As president and CEO since 1992, she has played an essential role in operations—doubling the facility’s size, significantly expanding its services, increasing the number of families served to over 7,600, and collaborating with companies to forge charitable partnerships. Landwirth developed an extensive background in resort operations management, human resource development, and project planning from her 16 years with the Walt Disney World Company and eventually earned an MBA from the Crummer Graduate School of Business. A respected speaker in the nonprofit sector, she also contributes to various nonprofit boards and wrote a book based on her passion for purpose-driven leadership.
Courtney Powell ’05MBA
President, AceApplications, LLC
Courtney Powell ’05MBA is an accomplished entrepreneur who founded AceApplications, LLC, which provides top-tier technology solutions and IT consulting and staffing services to businesses, schools, and public and government agencies. Powell’s dedication to excellence and innovation has earned him numerous accolades, including recognition from the Orlando Business Journal in 2010 as one of the city’s Top 40 Business Executives Under the Age of 40. He is an active member of the community, serving as an appointed commissioner on the City of Orlando Mayor’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commission and an active member of the African American Chamber of Commerce.
Powell credits his time as a Crummer Graduate School of Business student for teaching him how to run a successful business, providing valuable overseas experience in New Zealand on an international consulting assignment in finance, and learning the importance of building and maintaining strong relationships in his professional life.
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