State of the State to Feature Floridians Whose Dreams are Changing the World

Governor Rick Scott will highlight the following Floridians in his annual State of the State address tomorrow.

Richard Gonzmart, President of the Columbia Restaurant Group (Tampa)

Richard Gonzmart is the fourth-generation President of the Columbia Restaurant Group in Tampa, the oldest restaurant in Florida. Under Richard’s direction, The Columbia has expanded from two locations to seven. Richard also works hard to give back to the community and organizes events and programs to help raise funds for cancer research. He has been married to his high school sweetheart Melanie Heiny Gonzmart since 1973. They have two daughters, who both work for the family restaurant business, and five grandchildren.

Mary Ann Carroll, World-Renowned Artist (Fort Pierce)

Mary Ann Carroll discovered her passion for painting as a teenager. She began selling her paintings along Fort Pierce’s roadsides in order to provide for her seven children. During her 60 year career, she also learned to play the piano, organ, and guitar, and she has worked with many charitable organizations. Mary Ann Carroll was inducted into the Florida Artist Hall of Fame in 2004, and she continues to promote the beauty of Florida through her artwork in museums and galleries across the world.

Bill Coan, President of ITEC Entertainment Corporation (Orlando)

Bill Coan began his career as a landscape architect for Disney before transitioning to design management and joining ITEC Entertainment Corporation, a planning, creative design and technologies firm for the theme parks industry. He became the president of ITEC in 1999 and has helped design theme parks and attractions around the world. Bill is married to his wife Debbie and they have two children.

Gladys Rubio, Meteorologist and Storm Chaser (Miami)

Gladys Rubio grew up in Cuba and first witnessed the devastation of hurricanes when Hurricane Flora hit her city in 1963. She became fascinated by tropical meteorology and began a lifelong career in forecasting. In the early 1990’s, Gladys and her husband, Jose, moved to Miami from Cuba for a better life. Today she is a meteorologist with the Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch of NOAA’s National Hurricane Center. She tracks giant storms across the Atlantic and the Eastern Pacific Oceans for Spanish-language audiences in the United States and the Caribbean.

 

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