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2017 Research Park Awardees

Distinguished Leader  

Jeff Atwater

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The Distinguished Leader award is given to a leader who supports the Research Park’s mission with an investment of time and wisdom.  Jeff Atwater’s long public service career has been dedicated to improving the economy and lives of the people of Palm Beach County and our state. He was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2000 and then to the Florida Senate in 2002 where he went on to serve as president. It was during his time in the Senate that the world renowned Max Planck Institute for Neuroscience was recruited to northern Palm Beach County, and Jeff recognized and supported this important investment in our future. After leaving the Senate, Jeff successfully ran for election as the state’s Chief Financial Officer. In that capacity Jeff oversaw the financial affairs of the world’s 16th largest economy, and guided the state finances through the Great Recession. Jeff has now begun a new role at Florida Atlantic University with a portfolio of finances and economic development. Jeff Atwater exemplifies a commitment to accelerating economic development and bringing prosperity to South Florida.


Distinguished Researcher 

Dr. Ken Dawson-Scully


Dawson-Scully was born and educated in Canada where he received his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto in 2003 and his M.Sc. from Queen’s University in 1998. He came to FAU in 2008 and is currently a tenured associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, a visiting investigator at The Scripps Research Institute in Florida, and a faculty member of the newly formed International Max Planck Research School.
He has served as the associate director for the Integrative Biology Ph.D. program for almost three years and currently sits on over a dozen academic committees dedicated to student success including the University Honors Council, the College Graduate Program Committee, and the Curriculum and Selection Committees for the new Max Planck Research School Ph.D. Program. Dawson-Scully has created two companies that have been incubated in the Technology Business Incubator®, bringing new innovation and possibilities to market.


Distinguished Entrepreneur 

Rob Flippo

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During the past 16 years, Robert S. Flippo has worked in both start-up environments as well as fortune 50 companies. Mr. Flippo has experience in forming high-performance teams and has held executive roles at high-tech companies such as Motorola, Boca Research, and Emergin Incorporated. He is a current member of the Board of Directors of the Medical Alert Monitoring Association.

Mr. Flippo joined MobileHelp as employee number 1 and has grown the company to over 150 employees and successful fundraising rounds, culminating with the acquisition by ABRY Partners in early 2017.

Mr. Flippo holds an MBA from the University of Miami, a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of South Florida, and has completed coursework in business management at Harvard Business School. Mr. Flippo also holds 7 US patents for communications systems.


Distinguished Organization 

Boca Raton Airport Authority

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The Boca Raton Airport Authority manages the Boca Raton Airport (BCT) which is a major economic engine and asset to both Boca Raton and all of South Florida. Its 6,276 ft runway can accommodate large general aviation business jet aircraft such as the Gulfstream V or Global Express. The airport’s terminal is ideal for serving local users as well as those visiting the area: some of the businesses that most frequently use the airport include Office Depot, Home Depot, Lynn Insurance Group, and GEO Group. All of the airport’s tenants and flight activities are important to the airport’s revenue streams and to the airport’s economic impact which totals $173.8 million.

In Q4 of 2017 it is anticipated that the new $4.3 million US Customs & Border Control building will open, enabling aircraft to clear customs at BCT without having to land at nearby airports, cutting down on unnecessary takeoffs and landings, making the airport more accessible to corporate and other visitors from Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe.