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Parke Wright III Award

The prestigious Parke Wright III Award is presented annually to a member of Leadership Tampa Alumni who has demonstrated exceptional leadership and made a significant difference in the Tampa Bay community. The person awarded must have demonstrated leadership in any form of community service that benefited the greater Tampa community as well as demonstrate the following attributes:

  • Vision
  • Courage
  • Example
  • Initiative
  • Motivation
  • Selflessness
  • Commitment
  • Dependability
  • Accomplishment

It was these qualities that Park Wright III himself exemplified when in 1970 he gathered the members of the Tampa Bay Chamber’s Executive Committee along the shoreline. As chairman that year, he had tasked the group to help solve a major water problem in the bay. The director of the Environmental Protection Commission was to take them by boat to the source of the problem – The City of Tampa’s sewage discharge point.

This group of Tampa’s elite – a dozen or more – stood in disbelief, as Roger Stuart pulled up in what looked like a 12-foot boat. In order to fit, everyone stood precariously as they motored slowly over to where the sewage was being dumped into the bay. At one point, somebody nervously joked about who would be left to run the city if the boat capsized. Parke Wright III chuckled, until a sinking feeling set in. There was no one under 50 in this elite group. Where was the next generation of civic leaders? Convinced that training tomorrow’s leaders was critical for Tampa’s success, he worked quickly to develop a program. Within a matter of months, Leadership Tampa was up and running.

The 1971 Charter LT Class makes ours the third oldest leadership program in the nation. Atlanta established the first and St. Petersburg’s is only a few months older than LT. Cities from around the country modeled their program after Leadership Tampa. The first years’ programs were a stark contrast to what LT is today. Programs of the early years were weekday evening seminars in the Chamber Briefing Room. Class size ranged from 20-24 people. Programs lasted three to four hours, with few or no field trips. There were no applications either. Major companies were personally solicited to send “up-and-coming executives.”

Despite the privilege of being involved, and the many good friendships forged in those early classes, the program suffered from waning interest. In 1979, Leadership Tampa started touring schools, jails and learning firsthand about other community resources. Word spread quickly, and more than 100 applicants vied for 50 positions in the 1980 class. Applications for subsequent classes have soared over the years.

More than 30 years ago, those senior executives, standing stern-to-stern aboard that little boat crossing the bay, must have looked rather peculiar. Their leadership, however, spurred efforts toward a major cleanup of Tampa Bay. Thanks to Mr. Wright’s vision and determination, we now have one of the most prestigious leadership programs in the country. Each year brings a new wave of talented recruits armed with the camaraderie and mission to meet new community challenges.

2020 Recipient of the Parke Wright III Award

Ronald Christaldi (LT ’03)

Ron Christaldi

Ron's character is demonstrated in both his career and service to the Tampa Bay Community. The legal industry has inborn requirements of honesty, tenacity, and plain good judgement. Ron’s success speaks volumes to how he lives out those values. He has served as counsel to major Tampa Bay companies, including the Moffitt Cancer Center, Lions Eye Institute, and M2Gen. Ron has also provided legal counsel to the City of Tampa, Hillsborough County, the Film Commission, the Tampa Bay Partnership, the Tampa Bay Chamber and the Tampa Bay Economic Development Council. Ron is a leader who makes things happen. He played a major role in the community organization identifying and assembling land for a potential new baseball stadium in Tampa. While it was a complex issue, Ron had the persistence and tenacity needed to lead. He values teamwork and is able to mobilize community leaders to great effect. He does this by taking on difficult tasks, inspiring people, working closely with others, and taking the heat if there is criticism. Ron’s consistent building approach has been extremely effective. He is a trailblazer, driven by his passion for improving the future of Tampa Bay.

Ron's vision is that Tampa is one of the great cities in America and that the Tampa Bay Region work together to invest in transportation, economic growth, vibrant arts and culture, international relevance, and overall prosperity. Not only does he serve as a leader to advance these goals, but Ron is known for mentoring young professionals to help activate the next generation in this shared vision.

2019 Recipient of the Parke Wright III Award

Dr. Chloe Coney (LT ’02)

Chloe ConeyChloe’s passion for justice and building strong communities was evident since she was very young, but took hold when she began her professional career as the first black female probation and parole officer in Hillsborough County in 1972. Chloe’s passion inspired her to found and become the first President/CEO of the Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa (CDC of Tampa, Inc.). The CDC of Tampa Nehemiah Project Community Building “Brick by Brick” has since enjoyed 25 years of community building through strategic initiatives such as providing job training, promoting entrepreneurship, developing youth leadership programs, revitalizing commercial areas, and building affordable housing.

In 2006, Chloe retired as the Founder/President of the CDC of Tampa to become a candidate in a very close race for Hillsborough County Commission District 3. She found a new way to serve the community as District Director for U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, who represents the 14th Congressional District of Florida and includes most of Hillsborough County. In this capacity she served for 10 years and she assisted U.S. Rep. Castor by addressing an array of constituent concerns, soliciting citizen input, and performing community outreach activities, such as foreclosure prevention workshops during the economic downturn to help families stay in their homes and job fairs during the economic recovery to connect neighbors with local jobs. Chloe is currently with HNTB Corporation, an infrastructure and transportation company, as a public involvement specialist focused on developing transportation and workforce projects in Tampa Bay.

With nearly 40 years of advocating for community building and revitalizing neighborhoods, she conducts workshops across the country. Chloe and her husband, Pastor Ernest Coney Sr., founded the Spirit of Truth Ministries. She often speaks at women’s retreats and churches about Christian community economic development.

2018 Recipient of the Parke Wright III Award

Mark House (LT’98)

Mark House Mark has a constant presence in the community through service on multiple boards. Mark is a member of The Rays 100 and previously served twice as the Chair of the Hillsborough County Economic Development Corporation, is a Board Member at Zoo Tampa, Chairman of the Facilities Committee at the Straz Center and is involved in numerous other organizations, including Leadership Tampa Chair Class of 2013 and the West Point Association of Graduates Board. Joining Beck in 1999, Mark was responsible for developing the firm’s new Integrated Services Division. In 2002, he became Chief HR Officer, where the firm was selected for various awards honoring a quality work environment, including a ranking on Fortune Magazine’s “Top Places to Work” list. In 2006, Mark took responsibility for the Florida Division, winning multiple “Best Places to Work” awards by the Tampa Bay Business Journal, Tampa Bay Times and Florida Trend Magazine, and now serves in a national role as the Managing Director of Strategic Projects. Mark made Tampa Bay Business Journal’s "Power 100 List" in 2016 and was described as “the go-to guy for the introduction that could land your next big job or client."

Mark’s message to others, which he also lives by, is to: “pay it forward with no expectation of anything in return.” For the past several years, Mark has hosted meetings for Real Estate Lives, a group focused on helping each other and others find work in the market. Mark often assists with these efforts by finding work for the participants. He also mentors numerous young leaders with strong talent within the community and at The Beck Group.

2017 Recipient of the Parke Wright III Award

Robin DeLaVergne (LT’84)

Robin DeLaVergne Robin DeLaVergne, Executive Director of the Tampa General Hospital Foundation and Senior Vice President of Tampa General Hospital received the 2017 Parke Wright III Award from Leadership Tampa Alumni at the annual meeting on January 23. Established in 2002, the award is presented annually to a member of Leadership Tampa Alumni who has demonstrated exceptional leadership and made a significant difference in the Tampa Bay community.

Robin is a member of USF Women in Leadership and Philanthropy, Tampa General Hospital Foundation Women’s Leadership Council, The Bank of Tampa Women Connected Advisory Board, Leadership Tampa Alumni and the Philanthropy Leadership Council of the Advisory Board. She has served as an Honorary Commander for the 6th Air Mobility Group at MacDill Air Force Base. She is a past Chair of the Tampa Bay Chamber, past President of the Junior League of Tampa, past Chair of the Tampa Bay Partnership’s CEO Direct Program and member of the Board of Directors, and a past member of the Board of Directors for Metropolitan Ministries and the United Way. She serves on the Downtown Partnership Board of Directors, Tampa Bay Chamber Board of Directors and the Junior League of Tampa Community Advisory Board. She received the 2012 Women of Distinction Award from the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida, the 2017 Woman of Influence Award from the Tampa Bay Chamber and the 2017 Sustainer of the Year from the Junior League of Tampa.

2016 Recipient of the Parke Wright III Award

Jane Castor (LT’00)

Castor started her career at the Tampa Police Department in 1984 as a Patrol Officer. She was the first woman to be elected President of her Police Academy Class. She rose through the ranks, and in 2009, she was named Police Chief of Tampa, which is the first time a woman held that position. Over the course of her career, she built a reputation for working side by side with residents, community leaders, business owners and neighboring law enforcement agencies to reduce crime and improve the quality of life in Tampa.

Her strong leadership style was balanced with her efforts to help Tampa’s most disadvantaged children. As Chief, she helped to create a multi-million-dollar gymnasium for the Police Athletic League that serves more than 300 at-risk children. Under her leadership, the department also opened a brand new safe haven for children called the RICH House. It’s the second of its kind offering a safe environment for children to thrive and for parents to connect with social services. Her commitment to at-risk kids is exemplified in the Young Adult Police Academy, which targets kids on the verge of becoming involved in crime.

Among her many accomplishments, major crimes were reduced 70% city-wide under her leadership, and she implemented breakthrough technology to provide officers with real-time crime data. She also established community outreach as the cornerstone of the Department’s crime reduction, which changed the entire culture of the Police Department.

In addition to her degree from The University of Tampa, she has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Troy State. She has attended the FBI National Executive Institute and Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government Executive Session on Policy and Public Safety.

2015 Recipient of the Parke Wright III Award

John A. Brabson (LT’77)

John A. Brabson, Jr. received the 2015 Parke Wright III Award from Leadership Tampa Alumni at the group’s annual meeting on January 28, 2016. Brabson spent much of his career with Peoples Gas System, Inc. He was elected Executive Vice President in 1982, President in 1985 and Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer in 1989. He served as Chairman of the Board of Lykes Bros, Inc. from September 1996 until 2001 and has been a member of that board since 1977. Lykes Bros. is a large privately owned agricultural based company headquartered in Tampa, Florida. He is a graduate of Harvard Advanced Management Program and earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina.

Previous Parke Wright III Award Winners


Renée Vaughn was presented with the prestigious Parke Wright III Award.Vaughn, president of Williams Consulting Group, has been in the Tampa Bay area for more than 30 years. She is on the boards of the Tampa Bay Chamber, Leadership Tampa Alumni (past chair), Leadership Tampa Bay (past president), Red Cross Angels (current president), and University of Tampa Board of Fellows (past president). She is a member of the Chiselers, the Tampa General Hospital Women’s Leadership Council, Athena Society, the Association of Fund Raising Professionals, Mary Lee’s House (founding member) and the Emerge Advisory Council. In 2014, Vaughn was a finalist in the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Business Women of the Year and recipient of Angie’s Awards, given to the finalist who best exemplified mentoring and making a difference in the life of others.


Capt. John C. Timmel, President & CEO of Starboard Ten Maritime Forensics was presented with the prestigious Parke Wright III Award. Captain Timmel’s accomplishments and credentials in this area have had a significant impact on our community. He has served on several Tampa community boards and committees and also as chairman of Leadership Tampa and Leadership Tampa’s Alumni Association. Additionally, he has been the Mayor’s Maritime Liaison for the City of Tampa since 2003 and serves on Congresswoman Castor’s National Academy Selection Committee. He was recently selected as an Honorary Base Commander at MacDill Air Force Base.


When Ann McKeel Ross moved from her native Kentucky to Tampa, she brought with her a vision of how both visual and performing arts could transform a community. A graduate of LT ’82, Ann played an active role in the founding of the Gasparilla Sidewalk Art Festival (now known as the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts) and the world-renowned University of South Florida (USF) GraphicStudio. After her many years of hard work at USF, she was promoted to the Vice President of Advancement for the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. Ann has chosen Hillsborough Arts, Inc. to be the recipient of the honorarium that accompanies the award.

GEORGE HOWELL (LT’99) | 2011

George B. Howell III, (LT ’89), was honored with the distinguished 2011 Parke Wright III Leadership Award. Howell is a partner with Holland & Knight and credited with co-founding the Tampa Bay History Center. From serving as former director and president of the University Club of Tampa, the Tampa Historical Society, the University of Tampa Board of Counselors and the Exchange Club of Tampa to demonstrating his vision, courage and commitment in the planning, development and building of the Tampa History Center, George has been a driving force to make Tampa a better place.

JOSE VALIENTE (LT’98) | 2010

Jose Valiente has been a leader, mentor, member, supporter, and overall friend of the greater Tampa community for over 40 years. He was born in Cuba and his family settled in Tampa in 1962. A 1973 graduate of the University of South Florida, he has practiced public accounting and consulting for nearly 40 years.

Jose has made a difference in Tampa on both a personal and professional level. He has held numerous positions within the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants (FICPA) and is its Immediate Past-President. A founding member of the Century Bank of Florida Board of Directors and the Northside Bank of Tampa Board of Directors, he is among the economic gatekeepers of our community.

For our Tampa Bay Chamber, Jose is a Past Chairman. He was selected as Hispanic Man of the Year in 2005 by Tampa Hispanic Heritage, Inc. and the Volunteer of the year by Junior Achievement of Hillsborough County.

Professionally, Jose is a Principal with LarsonAllen LLP. Jose clearly sets a high standard in all his social and leadership responsibilities. Without a doubt, he and his wife Lourdes have established a broad base of impact in our Tampa community exemplifying why Jose was our 2010 Recipient of the Parke Wright III Award.

DIANNE JACOB (LT’92) | 2009

Dianne Jacob has been a leader, mentor, member, supporter, and overall friend of the greater Tampa community for nearly 30 years. For hundreds of Tampa Bay community members, entrepreneurs and rising young professionals, Dianne has sparked their spirit, imagination, careers, hopes and dreams.

Dianne has given tirelessly on both a personal and professional level. Her dedication to our community includes founding the program Dream A Dress, and serving on boards and committees for The David A. Straz Center for the Performing Arts, Glazer Children’s Museum, Tampa Museum of Art, Bay Ballet Theater, Public Art Committee, Tampa Lighthouse for the Blind, Hillsborough Education Foundation and many more. Dianne’s involvement is a clear demonstration of her mission to improve the quality of life for everyone in the Tampa Bay community.

For the Tampa Bay Chamber and Leadership Tampa, Dianne has served as a Board of Director, chaired the Community Development department, served on the Executive committee for the Committee of 100, chaired the 1997 & 1998 Leadership Tampa Classes and continues to be very active in the Leadership Tampa Alumni including Chairman in 2002.

Professionally, Dianne is currently Senior Vice President of Marketing for Tampa Bay and Company where she continues to leverage her leadership to produce positive and impactful results for the benefit of the Tampa community. Dianne clearly goes above and beyond in all her social and leadership responsibilities. Clearly, her broad base of impact in our Tampa community exemplifies why Dianne is the 2009 Recipient of the Parke Wright III Award.

DEANNE D. ROBERTS (LT’92) | 2008

Deanne Roberts has proven time and time again that she is an exceptional leader. Since graduating from the University of South Florida in 1974, she has risen repeatedly not only into the ranks of leadership positions within organization and the community but has often been the one who initiated the movements that led the way in grooming others to become leaders. Thirty years ago, Deanne founded Roberts Communications, today known as ChappellRoberts, which has grown into one of the market’s top full-service advertising agencies. Deanne’s willingness to serve in key leadership positions to advocate the development of business, the advancement of leadership, the education of future business owners and the promotion of equality and opportunities for women has immeasurably benefited the greater Tampa community.

Deanne’s leadership and accomplishments have previously been recognized by several professional organizations. Her service to LTA and its affiliates, including the Chamber of Commerce and Leadership Florida, is also deserving of recognition. Many will undoubtedly and rightfully attest to Deanne’s distinctive energy and unrelenting enthusiasm for successful project after successful project. The most important achievement that sets Deanne apart from so many others, however, is her long-practiced ability and ongoing willingness to identify and encourage others to take a lead role in making a difference to change their small part of the world for the betterment of all. Deanne serves not only as a courageous role model, but as a motivator, grooming others to take the lead. This is a selfless commitment to the future that few attempt and even fewer achieve.

Deanne lost her courageous battle with cancer in January 2012. She is missed by many, but remembered for her exemplary leadership in our community.

CHASE STOCKON (LT’99) | 2007

Chase founded and operates Panther International, LLC, one of the leading on-line technology and application development companies in the region. Through his focused vision and clear direction, Panther International, LLC has grown to three offices nationally and strongly supports corporate, non-profit and government organizations in and around the Tampa Bay area since 1994.

Chase is an extremely dependable leader and makes a tremendous difference in our community. He has been recognized for his leadership, not only in our community but also in the many other communities he serves. Chase has consistently contributed his time, expertise, leadership, knowledge and wisdom to numerous organizations including The Spring of Tampa Bay, The Florida Aquarium, the Florida Chamber of Commerce and many more. His strong character, forceful will and good natured demeanor have served a variety of boards and committees exceptionally.

PAUL CATOE (LT’92) | 2006

As president and CEO of the Tampa Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau, Paul Catoe has been instrumental in everything from hosting a Super Bowl to moving Tampa/Hillsborough County’s position to a top-tier convention and vacation destination. Along with those very worthy accomplishments, in the “early days,” Paul was instrumental in building WFLA/News Channel 8 into a powerhouse station in this 13th largest media market in the United States.

Paul is not shy about contributing his considerable talents to the nonprofit and philanthropic communities either. He actively serves on a broad base of Boards, setting strategy and direction for important organizations, including The Outback Bowl, the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, Lowry Park Zoo, and the Tampa Bay Chamber. Of course, he is an esteemed past chair of Leadership Tampa Alumni. One of Paul’s favorite sayings is “Extraordinary events require extraordinary effort.” He works tirelessly for this community, inviting each staff member, board member, peer and friend to join him along the way. After all, one cannot be a leader if unable to motivate followers.


In 2005, Dottie Berger MacKinnon was recognized as the Parke Wright III Leadership Award Recipient. Retirement has provided a golden opportunity for Dottie to use past experiences and wisdom toward building a stronger future in our community. Her love and dedication to Joshua House as Founder and Director of Development illustrate her efforts to child advocacy. Dottie’s achievements are continuous with her involvement on the Board of Tampa General Hospital Foundation, Florida Health Sciences Center, Environmental Protection Commission and Hillsborough County Board of Commissioners.

GREGORY C. YADLEY (LT’88) | 2004

In 2004, Greg Yadley, a managing partner at Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP, was honored with the Parke Wright III Leadership Award. Greg exercises his leadership capabilities to continuously challenge employees of his firm to become more active in their community. Greg has led by example over the past 23 years, working tirelessly in support of the arts in Tampa Bay. He was named to the Board of Directors of the Florida Orchestra and is a founding member of Friends of Tampa Public Art Foundation Inc.


In 2003, Major Elaine White, division commander, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, was honored with the Parke Wright III Leadership Award. In addition to her service to the community working in the sheriff’s office, Elaine spearheads two special projects each year to benefit at-risk students. Both of her special projects have helped form stronger partnerships between the sheriff’s office, businesses and children in the community.

RHEA LAW (LT’91) | 2002

Rhea Law, President and CEO of Fowler White Boggs Banker PA, won the first inaugural Parke Wright III Leadership award in 2002. In addition to being part of a small group of women leading a law firm, she is an active member of the board of directors of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center. Rhea is also a member of numerous associations in Tampa, including but not limited to the American Heart Association, Tampa Bay Partnership and the Tampa Bay Chamber.