Foundation donor recognizes heroism in saving the planet

Green is the new black.

And as college sustainability efforts continue to expand — offering energy conservation, cost savings and protection of the planet — one college philanthropist has stepped forward to help share that message.

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Attorney and estate planner Helen Von Dolteren-Fournier, a long-time donor and board member emerita, contributed polo shirts for Valencia College’s Energy Heroes to reinforce Valencia’s commitment to “greening up” and sharing it in the community and on campus. Von Dolteren-Fournier co-sponsors the Energy Hero program with Valencia Foundation.

The Energy Hero Awards are given periodically to recognize those who submit energy-smart ideas and programs. Some notions are modest but powerful, while others result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings.

Helen worked with Patti Riva, who serves as operations manager, energy education, in the department of sustainability to produce the shirts. Brandon Albert, senior graphic designer, conceived the logo.

Left to Right: Brandon Golbeck, energy specialist; Patti Riva, operations manager, energy education; Resham Shirsat, director, sustainability; and Robert Hickman, operations manager, energy efficiency.

Left to Right: Brandon Golbeck, energy specialist; Patti Riva, operations manager, energy education; Resham Shirsat, director, sustainability; and Robert Hickman, operations manager, energy efficiency.

“The shirts are a visual reminder of Valencia’s energy heroism,” Helen explains. “As our sustainability folks travel throughout the community, these shirts are a reinforcement and affirmation of the opportunities available when partnering with the college and our foundation.”

Nominations for the Energy Hero Award, including self-nominations and earth-friendly plans, should be submitted to Patti, priva@valenciacollege.edu. No forms are necessary; simply email your idea or program.

Rick Rietveld: a dramatic flair and adventuring spirit

Rick Rietveld had a flair for the dramatic, a spirit of adventure, a penchant for methodical planning and the gift of impeccable timing.

Each talent served him well as theater administrator, actor, and 25-year Valencia College professor, dean and founder of innovative programs that were the first of their kinds in Central Florida.

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Rick graduated from Thornridge High School in Cook County, Ill., where he was introduced to the magical world of theater. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Hope College in Holland, Mich., in 1967, acting prolifically in school plays. In fact, he won first place in the state oratorical conference and second place in multi-state oratorical finals. Rick completed a master’s degree in arts, majoring in speech and performance theater, from Colorado State University in 1972.

He journeyed around the country in a career adventure, which included floor producer for a TV station, general manager of the Milwaukee Opera Company, theater director for the School of Fine Arts in Birmingham, Ala., and general manager and director of the Birmingham Children’s Theatre. In that role, he transformed a struggling company deeply in the red into the thriving company it remains today.

“His vision was that a traveling children’s theater could reach school-age children, expose them to theatrical experiences and plant seeds for future interest in the arts,” his wife, Kris, says.

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A life-long learner, he enrolled at Florida State University to pursue a second graduate degree in theater. “Searching for a job in the arts during the Reagan era was difficult because budgets for the arts had been cut, and every school, university and college – as well as community companies – were struggling,” his wife explains. “But Rick was confident that, if he could sell a children’s theater to small, rural towns in Alabama, he could sell himself. He just needed to get the interview.”

While at FSU, he met his bride through a series of calamities that included a fender bender and a messy wine collision. They soon realized their lives had directly crossed among different cities, programs and people, but they had never met. “Not surprisingly, Rick’s timing was perfect,” Kris says. “He always instinctively knew how to do the right thing at the right time. He would tell us, ‘Life is all about timing. Say it with me, T-I-M-I-N-G.’”

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Timing aside, they had their individual differences. When Rick was obviously moved and bemused by the subtle nuances of George Bernard Shaw’s play “Misalliance” during their courtship, Kris felt out of her element and almost gave up. “Friends said it wouldn’t last. Little did they know,” she says now with a laugh. “But the yin yang of the relationships was the glue. We were on a perpetual honeymoon, rarely separated.”

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Rick was, indeed, granted the interview and hired by Valencia in 1982. He wore many hats: professor of theater; director of the Performing Arts Center; technical director and designer; founding program director of theater and entertainment technology; and dean of humanities, foreign language, visual art and performing arts.

But students and colleagues treasure far more than a series of titles. Rick partnered with Orlando theme park companies to create innovative programs and degrees that served the community and local industry, as well as Valencia learners. He changed countless lives.

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His vision of a Central Florida associate’s degree in theater arts came to fruition in 1984, offering opportunity for thousands of local students. Rick led two grants in collaboration with Walt Disney World and Universal. And he wrote the curriculum that created, in 1985, the region’s first film technician training program. It has since produced 47 full-length feature films. As dean, he worked with faculty to expand Valencia’s offerings to include sound and music technology, and digital media. As a professor, he inspired three generations of students. As a philanthropist, he raised significant funds for the college foundation and was instrumental in expanding the faculty endowed chairs program. In 2008, the college honored Rick as one of 10 distinguished contributors for the previous decade.

“Whether you met Rick or not, his influence is permanent in our arts and entertainment programs at Valencia College today,” says Valencia arts and entertainment dean, Wendy Givoglu. “He envisioned and created the synergies between our disciplines and how they could function at the college, mirroring the cross-disciplinary collaboration of creative industries. Rick was an icon and the consummate leader – witty, creative, strategic, diplomatic, compassionate, intelligent, and perhaps a little clairvoyant. We are just now catching up to all that Rick imagined we would be able to do and be as educators in the arts.”

The college’s president agrees. “Rick was an amazing leader for Valencia. He knew how to get the best out of everyone around him – including me – without calling attention to himself,” Sandy Shugart says. “Losing him from the college was like losing a lung – we knew we’d survive, but we’d never be the same.”

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In addition, Rick continued to pursue his love of the stage, directing shows, teaching speech and impressing the importance of elocution, which he had learned as a child and understood gave students the power to influence in every field of endeavor.

He traveled and was sure to pack in as many performances as possible. “One Christmas break in London, he saw 11 plays in six days,” Kris explains. “He loved quirky little plays and was passionate about the theater of the absurd. He sought out venues and plays that never make it to big playhouses.”

But Rick’s dearest passion was his family. He was so thrilled about his daughter Harley’s arrival that he sent out a giant birth notice with a size-6 footprint. He encouraged her to discover her own path, be flexible and make a plan, saying “if you don’t know where you’re going, any path will take you there,” Kris recalls.

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Likewise, he relished his grandchildren, whether it was feeding them, celebrating each developmental stage, ensuring their Christmas wish list was under the tree, or taking them to fish and ski on the lake – a place had found solace since his own childhood. “He made time to teach, guide and show them the ways of the world,” Kris explains. “He wanted them to know unconditional love, that he was always there for them.”

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He handled life-threatening challenges with calm determination and aplomb, whether it was a serious fall from a ladder or a diagnosis of MDS (Myelodisplastic Syndrome).

A successful 2011 stem-cell transplant, donated by his sister, Sue, bought the Rietvelds three more years. In fact, coupled with his “fall from grace” off a roof, his wife maintains he “cheated death” more than once: “Rick said, ‘I have lived the lives of two or three persons in my one life.’ That he did.”

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His illness and treatment mirrored that of news anchor Robin Roberts of ABC’s “Good Morning America” and was featured in a newspaper. But that was not the first time their paths had crossed. In 2004, Rick had hand-delivered a copy of the Tuskegee Airmen documentary produced by Valencia’s film program directly to Robin, whose father proudly served in the unit.

Here is a link to Rick’s television spot.

Rick was born in South Holland, Ill., a small farming community where is grandfather was an onion farmer and his father the owner of a roofing company. He credited his work with the hot tar kettle during summer breaks with paying his way through college.

Richard Delbert Rietveld, 69, passed away on Oct. 30, 2014, leaving behind his wife, Kris, his daughter, Harley Anthony, his grandchildren Jazmin Lynch and Thomas Lynch, and his siblings, Carol Barnes, Sue Ebbens, Tim Rietveld and Bill Lee Rietveld, along with loving and supportive nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, Richard and Adele Bonnema Rietveld, and younger brother Robert Rietveld.

Family and friends will celebrate Rick’s life at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 17, at Valencia College’s East Campus Performing Arts Center, 701 North Econlockhatchee Trail in Orlando.

In lieu of flowers, Rick wished his friends to consider: becoming involved in the “Be a Match” marrow transplant campaign; donating to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society at http://www.lls.org; or contributing to Valencia’s Richard Rietveld Memorial Scholarship, http://www.valencia.org or 1768 Park Center Drive, Orlando, FL 32835.

get your scholarship now!

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2014 -15 Valencia Alumni Association General Scholarship Application is NOW OPEN! We have many scholarships for students to choose from. You don’t want to miss out!

Log in or create your account to get started:
https://valencia.scholarships.ngwebsolutions.com/CMXAdmin/Cmx_Content.aspx?cpId=466

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Dr. Homer Samuels Dental Hygiene Scholarship 2014 Scholar,
Linsey Amir (center) at this years 2014 Alumni Achievers Reception 

 

Carl Andriano: A man of character, rigor and grit

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Carl Andriano, an Orlando firefighter, was a man of character, rigor and grit.

His family, friends and fellow firefighters know that firsthand.

They have raised funds to create a scholarship to celebrate his memory.

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Carl adored his profession. The 24-year-old was committed and driven, setting a goal to become one of Orange County’s youngest lieutenants. He also was a true fighter for life. Last November, he was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive cancer, which he fought valiantly. His fellow professionals rallied on his behalf, raising thousands of dollars.

He attended Florida State Fire College, and in May 2008, joined Orange County Fire Rescue. Carl was initially stationed in Windermere. But he desired a greater challenge and worked his way up the ladder to Fire Station 30 in Orlo Vista, one of Orange County’s most prolific.

Colleagues admired Carl for his work ethic, integrity and professionalism. They raised more than $30,000 for Team Andriano, and $25,000 will go toward scholarships for students in Valencia College’s firefighter training program in honor of Carl Andriano.

Team Andriano continues to raise funds in his honor. You may donate here and use the drop-down menu, or include as the notation on your check.

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He left behind his beloved fiancee, Courtney Day, along with: his grandfather Edward Mullis; grandmother Rose Mullis; grandmother, Irene Myers; father, Dominick Andriano; mother, Linda Mullis; and several aunts, uncles and cousins.

His dear friend Robert Boone and his soon-to-be father-in-law, Mike Day, created this scholarship along with his fellow firefighters.

Here is what the Orlando Sentinel reported:

“He’s a really good fireman,” said Lt. Jimmy Berry.

Andriano spent his own money for additional training, which enabled him to work in specialized positions, such as driving a ladder truck.

Fire Chief Otto Drozd said Andriano made an impact in the community during his short time in the service.

“He was well-respected and well-loved,” Drozd said.

The Fire Department became Andriano’s life.

After Andriano was diagnosed with cancer, his peers rallied to support him as much as they could, coining the phrase: “He’ll forever be 30 strong” — a reference to their station number.

More than $30,000 was raised for “Team Andriano” to help with his medical expenses. Now, money will go toward scholarships for people who want to attend the fire academy.

Andriano didn’t live long enough to become a lieutenant. But during his years at Orange County Fire Rescue, Andriano — an only child — gained many brothers.

“We would take a bullet for each other,” Berry said.

Assistant Chief Jose Gainza Jr. said he watched as firefighters from Station 30 and across the region came together rally behind Andriano, his fiancée and family.

Downtown Orlando streets were shut down briefly to accommodate Carl’s funeral procession.

A memorial tribute celebrates his life.

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Here is the Team Andriano Facebook page.

Thank you, Carl Andriano, for putting yourself in harm’s way to keep our neighbors safe. I am grateful to his family and friends for entrusting Carl’s legacy to Valencia, where another generation of firefighters will train.

kudos to desiree quinto! desiree graduated from valencia in 2011 and from ucf in 2012. and on she goes!

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By: Adam Rhodes, Central Florida Future

Imagine finally getting that job offer that has seemed so far away for so long. Now imagine getting it on national television.

For Desiree Quinto, a 2012 UCF graduate, that was her reality on Oct. 13, when, after two long years of job hunting, she was offered a job as a discovery specialist for her dream company, Birchbox, on Good Morning America during a segment about college graduates struggling to find work.

“I love the transparency there and the culture of the office,” Quinto said of the company. “CEOs are walking around, sitting side-by-side with their employees and getting to know [them]. There’s so much inspiration and room for growth. Ever since I walked in, I knew it was where I wanted to work.”

While Quinto was sure of her desire to work for Birchbox, she had no idea about the outcome of that Good Morning America segment.

“I had no idea,” Quinto said. “Even [that] morning I had no idea that was happening. I got in there at 5 a.m. and couldn’t be near TVs or have my phone.”

Even before she graduated UCF with an interdisciplinary studies degree, Quinto said she had been applying to places in New York City in hopes of moving there after graduation.

During her time at Valencia College, and then UCF, Quinto immersed herself in volunteer and non-profit work.

At Valencia, she became a member of the Model United Nations. Then at UCF, she made the dean’s list a handful of times and became a member of the Nonprofit Management Student Association and the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Through those organizations, Quinto was able to become a certified nonprofit professional.

It’s that nonprofit experience that Quinto said made her competitive in the job market.

Even with that competitive edge, Quinto said, she still had trouble landing a job, despite getting relatively far with several interviews. Since graduation in December 2012, Quinto had been in South Florida working at a Mexican restaurant, Baja Cafe Dos.

But that’s all about to change as she makes her journey to her dream city.

As a Birchbox discovery specialist, Quinto will work directly with customers either over the phone or online through social media and email.

“She really showed us that she cared about the customer experience and what it really means to work with a customer and give them a great experience,” said Melissa Enbar, director of recruiting and talent development for Birchbox. “She showed us she was curious and asked a lot of questions. She was interested about the job in the company.”

Aside from Quinto’s curiosity and people skills, Enbar also said she stood out thanks to the research she did about the company.

“She was really knowledgeable about Birchbox,” Enbar said. “She did her research on what we do and how we do it.”

This coming weekend, Quinto is able to finally live her dream of living in New York City as she moves to Queens to start her position as a discovery specialist at her dream company.

Brad Pierce: relishing life and enjoying every second of the ride

BY FRANK SHALA

When it comes to the corporate world, Brad Pierce will do just about anything to differentiate his enterprises from the competition.

When it comes to his charitable and Valencia Foundation work, that passion and work ethic are just as visible; however, his ambition to “stand out” changes immensely.

“I find that when nobody cares who gets the credit, a whole heck of a lot gets done,” Brad says.

brad-pierce-orlando-floridaThat philosophy is firmly embedded in Brad’s commitment to Valencia Foundation. He credits fellow board directors Larry Walker and Patrick Buffa for convincing him that – despite his busy schedule – being a part of the Valencia Foundation would benefit him and Valencia students.

“There was something about Patrick that made me feel that he was a guy I can trust,” Brad explains. “I’m very appreciative of Patrick to this day for giving me that nudge when I figured I couldn’t fit one more morsel of activity into my days … because honestly Valencia has been one of the most fulfilling, rewarding, amazing organizations to be involved in.”

Brad recognizes he is a small piece of a larger team, but he wants to ensure his contributions allow the foundation to thrive for years to come.

“It has been an honor to be a part of the everyday business and discussion. I feel like giving my input, thoughts and ideas always is valued by the other people there,” Brad says. “I relate a little better to the student population, as a lot of my employees are from Valencia and from UCF. I’m a different generation than many, and that provides a little bit different perspective.”

That is Brad’s diplomatic way of pointing out he is a bit younger than others in the room.

Having the perspective of youth also leaves him hungry to learn from those who have been serving the foundation for multiple years. Brad plans to expand his expertise in the intricacies of the foundation’s work, including donor recruitment and investment management, which require more time to master.

“If I don’t start learning how to do those things from the people who are right now leading the board, in five to 10 years – when I’ve moved up the chain, and a lot of our board has retired – that could be problem,” Brad explains.

His eagerness to help make and build a strong unit is evident. Brad realizes it takes a group of diverse people with different sets of talents to succeed in the long run.

“What I would like to be remembered for is looking back at our whole team and saying that whole group made a difference,” Brad adds.

Reviewing Brad’s resume, one might wonder when he has any time to sleep with all the ventures he manages. From E-Commerce, restaurant equipment and supplies, computer programming and web development to his avid aviation career, Brad diagnoses himself as ADD because he always has to be moving and jumping to the next adventure.

“I don’t want to ever sit on the sidelines, I want to be in the game,” Brad explains.

haiti-relief-flight-arrival-smallThe same can be said for his work with the different charities he supports. His work with Angel Flight Southeast, whose mission is to “arrange free flights so children and adults can have access to the far-from-home doctors that can save their lives,” grants him an opportunity to put his piloting skills to work helping people in life-or-death situations.

Brad’s aviation expertise benefited the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) in a relief mission to Haiti that donated $100,000 in medical provisions, as well as school supplies, clothing, musical instruments, toys and other items for residents. He is set to make another trip to the country later this year.

“I don’t have the desire to give to things as a passive donor. I want to be part of these amazing stories,” Brad says. He acknowledges the necessity of two types of donors: the ones who write checks quietly behind the scenes and the ones who deploy funds into action and outcomes.

After graduating from Winter Park High School, Brad attended Valencia College. That decision gave him the chance to continue working to develop his family’s local business, Restaurant Equipment World (REW), which has been around for nearly 40 years. By the time he completed Valencia, he had earned two pilot’s licenses and finished his aviation training.

“It worked out really well. To some degree I wasn’t ready to go off to another school,” he adds.

haiti-relief-flight-walking-self-pic-smallBrad enrolled at Florida State University’s School of Business, where he earned a marketing degree. He commuted from Tallahassee to Orlando on weekends to work at REW, where he was transitioning a local, smaller business into what is today a digital enterprise with more than 220 web sites and 330,000 products. The company was the first in the industry to embrace the online marketplace and currently receives millions of hits per month to its network of web sites. The company serves more than 100,000 customers in all 50 states and 110 countries,.

“When I came back here from college, Day One in the business, I already had a decade of experience, not only with REW, but developing what the business was going to become,” Brad explains.

He carefully balances his family life with wife, Lori, and their twin boys.

Whether today’s venture is business, charity, family or pleasure, Brad recognizes that success requires serious effort. But that doesn’t mean overlooking the opportunity that unexpectedly emerges: “When opportunity comes to you, don’t just disregard it. You never know which one of these can be life changing.”

Frank Shala is a Valencia College journalism student.

orlando history vote!

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The Orange County Regional History Center is holding a contest, asking the public to vote on “100 Historic Icons of Orlando” for an upcoming exhibit.

Please consider voting for the founding of Valencia College in 1967 – and please cast a vote for the founding father of Valencia, Raymer F. Maguire, Jr. (West Campus students may recognize his name; the campus library is named for him.)

What you may not know is this: Maguire fought Orlando’s good-old-boy network, which wanted a segregated junior college. Instead, he led the fight to create a public college open to everyone.

Voting ends this week, so please go online at the link and cast your vote for the founding of Valencia and for Raymer Maguire Jr. To vote, you can go to either one of the following places:

History Center Website: http://www.historiciconsoforlando.com/

History Center Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Historic-Icons-of-Orlando/293074144177867?sk=app_140144849426314

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