Meet nine Palm Beach State College alumni who are also members or former members of the Palm Beach State College Foundation’s Board of Directors. These individuals are leaders in a wide range of professional fields, including architecture, real estate, law, business, government and finance. They each share a love for the College and the community and a commitment to ensure that today’s students have what they need to succeed.
South Florida Fair Executive
Attended 1982 & 1998
When Vicki Chouris moved to Florida in 1982, she decided to continue her education at Palm Beach Junior College.
“PBJC made it easy for me to pursue my education,” said Chouris. “Classes were numerous and the offerings allowed me to attend in the evenings while I worked during the day. Often times, I did not have the funds to attend full time, so I took classes as I could, when I could.”
Chouris continued her education at Palm Beach Atlantic University, earning a Master in Business Administration degree. She began her career at the South Florida Fair in 1985 and now serves as vice president and chief operating officer.
She has served as board chair for two statewide associations, the Florida Federation of Fairs and the Florida Festivals and Events Association, and is past chair of Discover the Palm Beaches. In 2010, she received the Athena Award for Palm Beach County and was inducted into the Florida Federation of Fairs Hall of Fame the same year.
She and her husband, Toby Notman, have been married for 18 years.
Health Practice Manager
Lori Fischer is an expert in practice management and consulting specializing in mid to large practices with multiple locations. Her focus has been on obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, behavioral health, human resources, leadership and training.
She took management courses at Palm Beach State and earned a risk management certification in 2017. She took mostly online classes, which allowed her to work full time and pursue a degree.
“After I graduated, I landed the job of dreams opening up Wellington Physicians Urgent Care, an affiliate of Wellington Regional Medical Center. Having my bachelor’s degree from PBSC was the cornerstone for securing this amazing opportunity. My future will be forever changed.”
As practice manager at the urgent care facility, Fischer is busy hiring all staff, training them on policies and procedures and creating marketing plans and budgets, among others.
Fischer is also the President of the Executive Women of the Palm Beaches, where she leverages her experience to empower women to lead and achieve their personal and professional goals. She also is a member of the Medical Advisory Committee for Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Palm Beach County.
George Gentile has practiced as a landscape architect and planner in Palm Beach County for more than 35 years. He is president and founder of Gentile Glas Holloway O’Mahoney & Associates Inc., a full-service landscape architecture, planning and environmental consulting firm in Jupiter.
Gentile says that the support he received at Palm Beach Junior College was important to his success.
“Without the opportunity to obtain my initial college education, I may not have been able or motivated to continue my college education and would certainly not be where I am today in my career,” says Gentile. “My decision to serve on the board was based on the fact that PBJC was there for me when I finished high school and provided me the foundation for my further education at the University of Florida’s Department of Landscape Architecture.”
He has participated in numerous community organizations and charities, including serving as chairman of the Palm Beach North Chamber of Commerce and director of the Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County, Inc., among many others.
Noel J. Guillama
Attended 1980, 1986, 1988 & 1991
Noel Guillama is the president/CEO of Guillama, Inc., a strategic operations consulting and management company in health care, technology, construction and real estate. He also serves as the founder and chairman of The Quantum Group Inc. of Wellington, a health care information technology company and developer of the PWeR® EHR solution.
Since attending Palm Beach State, Guillama has switched careers three times, and he says the College has helped to prepare him for the challenges. “First, it taught me what the real world was like, and second, I discovered that I love to learn. I guess I never found high school very interesting or hard. Palm Beach Junior College showed me what I could be,” he said.
Today, Guillama enjoys a thriving career in health informatics and is a member of the American College of Health Care Executives, the Healthcare and Information Management Systems Society, the Medical Group Management Association and the American College of Medical Practice Executives, among others.
An enthusiastic inspirational speaker and well-known South Florida Realtor®, Mark Hansen has dedicated his life to helping young people overcome obstacles.
As a child, Hansen was nearly killed when he was struck by a car. His determined fight to regain his health gave him the strength to overcome challenges and the ability to relate well to young people and their families in a very special way.
Hansen has written three books for young people: “Seven Traits for a Winning Life,” “An Ark for Learning” and his most recent, “Dollars and Sense for a Winning Financial Life.”
He says his time at Palm Beach Community College helped him to pursue his current career. “PBCC provided me with an invaluable education that opened my eyes to endless possibilities. It was most instrumental in channeling my focus to my true interests.”
Hansen served for two terms as a Palm Beach County elected school board member and is the past chairman of the board of the American Association of Caregiving Youth. In 2012, he received a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Leadership Award from PBSC.
Lance Ivey of Wellington is a civil litigation attorney specializing in personal injury and products liability with the law firm of Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath. His practice includes cases involving automotive design and manufacturing defects including insufficient roof strength, handling and stability defects, defective airbags and defective seat belts.
Through his work, Ivey has played an integral role in improving vehicle safety for consumers. He is board certified in civil trial law by the Florida Bar and is listed in Best Lawyers in America.
Ivey began taking classes at Palm Beach Community College in the late 1980s, focusing his studies in journalism. This start helped him secure his next educational goal: Upon graduation, he was accepted into the honors program at the University of Miami.
In addition to his law practice, Ivey also devotes his time to giving back to those in need. Just days before taking his board certification exam, he traveled to Haiti to help victims of the devastating 2010 earthquake.
Dennis Kanai is a senior financial executive with over 35 years of leadership and management experience with domestic and multinational corporations. His diverse industry experience includes telecommunications, insurance, agriculture, real estate, securities brokerage, service and distribution, and general business consulting.
Kanai has experience in strategic planning and tactical execution leading global initiatives and managing business at multiple locations. He also has been involved in human resource planning and operations, organizational change and effectiveness, team building, and facilitative leadership.
Kanai’s training began at Palm Beach Junior College, a place he says gave him a great educational foundation. He says anyone considering studying at the College will benefit greatly while also not breaking the bank. “PBSC is a tremendous educational value,” he observed.
Born in Ontario, Antoinette Theodossakos grew up in West Palm Beach, and as a child, she did her homework sitting in her family’s restaurant – Howley’s, a local landmark. She discovered her passion for law at Palm Beach Community College.
“Classes such as political science, sociology and business law, and the professors who taught those classes, helped inspire me to become a lawyer,” said Theodossakos.
Theodossakos now guides employers – from large companies with many locations to start-up enterprises with one office and a few employees – in all aspects of labor relations and employment-related issues at the law firm of Haile Shaw & Pfaffenberger.
In her free time, Theodossakos enjoys running and cycling. She has completed two marathons, five sprint-distance triathlons and three Olympic-distance triathlons on behalf of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Palm Beach County.
Ashley T. Tripp
Native Floridian Ashley T. Tripp is known for her civic advocacy for communities located around Lake Okeechobee. She is the vice president of Tripp Electric Motors, a thriving small business in Belle Glade that she and her husband, Jimmy, established in 1992.
Before enrolling in Palm Beach Community College, Tripp enlisted in the Army Reserves and served her country for six years as a telecommunications operator. She received her Associate in Arts degree from PBCC and attended Palm Beach Atlantic University majoring in biology and secondary education.
“Palm Beach State College was instrumental in enhancing my communication and mathematical skills applicable toward any career path,” says Tripp. “Additionally, the skill of learning I developed while in college increased my confidence in what I was capable of achieving, especially the encouraging words from professors who saw my potential.”
Today, Tripp’s clarion voice and harmonious working relations in both business and the community have empowered and advanced the Lake Okeechobee region.