All posts by Donna Smith

SPC Business Student Gives Back to the Community

Hayley Millsaps

Hayley Millsaps started doing community service when she was very young. Her K-8 school offered many community service opportunities, as did the organizations she joined in high school. So she was happy to find even more opportunity to give back to the community when she came to SPC to work on a bachelor’s degree in Business after high school.

Community of Care logo

Millsaps said SPC’s Golden Key Honor Society gave her many chances to help the community, in ways she didn’t even know were possible. As she moved into the role of president of the organization, she found herself not only doing service herself but also organizing service projects for student groups. The one closest to her heart is the Adopt-A-School initiative, where Honor Society members fill student backpacks with supplies to give to students at an elementary school in an economically depressed area.

“I’ve always known that I am incredibly fortunate,” Millsaps said. “There is something to be gained from the experience of going out into the community and helping fill a need, and not only does SPC do that, but there are also resources on campus for students, which is truly incredible.”

Business Plan and Elevator Pitch Competition Winners Declared

Business Plan and Elevator Pitch

Eve Barrett, a student in St. Petersburg College’s Public Policy and Administration program, pitched the winning plan for the grand prize at SPC’s College of Business‘s Business Plan and Elevator Pitch Competition on Thursday, April 19 at the Seminole Campus Digitorium. The annual event features entrepreneurship students who vie to become competition winners for cash prizes donated by local businesses and college partners.

Business Plan and Elevator Pitch Competition winnersBarrett, a court reporter for 20 years and a reporting firm owner for 12, took home the grand prize of $5000, donated by Great Bay Distributors. Her pitch explained her mobile application platform, Expedite, which connects attorneys and paralegals with litigation support services like court reporters, videographers, interpreters, video conferencing techs, notaries public and couriers.

“Attorneys and paralegals have very busy calendars,” Barrett said. “Scheduling support services for trials, hearings and depositions often falls through the cracks. I knew there had to be a more efficient method of securing providers. Thus, Expedite was conceived.”

The contestants are provided mentors, who listen and guide them through the process of developing a plan for their businesses. Barrett said the value of the competition has proven priceless for her.

“My mentor, Professor Panuthos, is attentive and truly makes you feel like your product is the next million-dollar idea,” she said. “Her constant guidance and encouragement bolsters self-confidence, and her sage advice about our next product, ExpeditePro, allowed us to pivot at the eleventh hour and ultimately saved us from releasing a deficient product.”

Feedback from the judges may sting at times, but Barrett said it was also very helpful.
“The judges’ objective feedback offers contestants the opportunity to learn tips and tricks from the best in the business,” Barrett said. “They may be tough with their comments and questions, but it pushes you to step outside the box and realize that comfort is the enemy of progress.”

Mentor, Professor and Event Organizer Nicolle Panuthos believes that the experiential learning, mentoring and networking students gain by participating surpasses traditional classroom experiences.

“When students compete in our Business Plan and Elevator Pitch Competition, they receive feedback and gain insights from an entire team of business professionals and faculty,” Panuthos said. “Their network is expanded and so are their horizons, as they awaken to greater possibilities not only for their business concepts, but also for their own potential.”

Competition winners

Business Plan and Elevator Pitch Competition winnersThe winner of the Elevator Pitch Competition also took home the People’s Choice award: Clifford Hobbs’ animated presentation of his business, Grubs on Dubs, explained a plan that features fresh, locally grown greens, meal plans and a healthy beverage truck. Runner up for the Elevator Pitch was Alex Matos, who is seeking a bachelor’s degree in Management and Organizational Leadership. Matos took home $500 donated by Superior Uniform Group, for his presentation on his business, Paseo Consulting, which offers website optimization. Business Plan runner up Ashley Brown started her business, Collision Creations, when she was 17 years old. Brown uses scrap metal from her father’s body shop to create art, which she hopes to produce on a large scale, as well as on demand.

Business Plan and Elevator Pitch Competition winners

Business Plan and Elevator Pitch Competition winners

Panuthos said the quality of work she saw from all of the contestants was impressive.
“The presentations were exceptional, and the students dedicated a tremendous amount of time and effort in preparing,” Panuthos said. “They demonstrated a great deal of creativity and professionalism on stage.”

Since winning the competition, Barrett already sees many opportunities opening up in the days ahead.

“A veteran-based entrepreneurship program has reached out to me,” she said. “And I will also be attending an open casting call for Shark Tank this week in Atlanta. We are also launching Scoof, a sidekick to Expedite, on May 3. The Business Plan & Elevator Pitch Competition is opening minds and doors, but most importantly, is making dreams come true. I am forever grateful.”

See more photos from the event and of the competition winners on the college’s Facebook page.

8th Annual Business Plan & Elevator Pitch

Posted by St. Petersburg College on Friday, April 20, 2018


St. Pete Business Owner, SPC Grad Nathan Stonecipher Shares His Success Tips

Nathan Stonecipher talks with SPC Downtown students at Harvest Holiday Luncheon

No matter where you are working, do a good job, and make connections.

Those tips helped Nathan Stonecipher, current Chairman of the St. Petersburg College Board of Trustees and an SPC graduate, land his first job after college, he told students.

SPC’s Downtown Campus hosted a Holiday Harvest luncheon on Nov. 16 featuring Stonecipher as the guest speaker.

As students filled the room, they also filled their plates with traditional Thanksgiving fare and enjoyed the free lunch while Stonecipher, comfortably dressed in jeans and loafers, spoke of his career ascension. He said that, as a St. Petersburg native and child of an SPJC graduate, SPC was a great choice for him.

“Going to SPC allowed me to learn, grow up a bit and sock some money away before I went off to the University of Florida to finish my degree,” he said.

Stonecipher, who is now co-owner of Green Bench Brewery in St. Petersburg, earned an associate degree in Business Administration at SPC before going on to finish a degree in finance at UF. Stonecipher gave an inspirational talk based on his own experiences. He recalled how he worked two jobs while in school at SPC, one of them being at a local gym, where he made smoothies and wiped down gym equipment between users. He emphasized the importance of doing a good job, no matter where you’re working, and also of making connections.

“When I graduated from UF, I had a hard time finding a job,” he said. “I had two business cards I’d collected from people who came to the gym where I’d worked when I was at SPC. I sent them both a letter and a resume, and the next day one of them called me. He got me an interview with Raymond James, and that was my first job.”

SPC graduate Nathan Stonecipher talks with SPC Downtown studentsThe engaged audience had many questions, on topics including brewing, hops, shipping, licensing, stock and employee management. Phillip Pena, an SPC student and Student Government senator, said he thought the lunches, which are coordinated by Student Life and Leadership Coordinator Frank Jurkovic, are a good chance for students to see into their own futures.

“It’s important for student to see SPC alums who’ve gone on to be successful,” Pena said. “The response during the Q&A shows how interested they are, too.”

Associate Provost Tashika Griffith agreed.

“We try to get speakers who went to SPC,” she said. “It’s good for students to be able to see themselves in the future.”

Stonecipher expressed satisfaction in not only the education he received at SPC, but also the lasting relationships he built here.

“The education I got at SPC was critical to everything I’ve accomplished,” he said. “The family I created here gave me the ability to be able to give back to the college. And it’s an exciting time to be here now, with our new President and all the transitions the college is making. I’m proud to be a part of the process.”

Free Cleawater Jazz Holiday Tickets for SPC Students

clearwater jazz graphic logo

The Clearwater Jazz Holiday and St. Petersburg College have a history of partnership, and this year, it just got even better! SPC and The Clearwater Jazz Holiday Education Foundation have partnered to give SPC students a limited number of free general admission tickets to this fabulous event. That’s right – SPC STUDENTS GET A FREE TICKET to the inaugural SPC day at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday on Sunday, Oct. 22 at Coachman Park in Clearwater.

The gates open at 1:30 p.m., and the lineup includes Anderson East and headliners the Avett Brothers. Bring your lawn chairs and/or blankets to get comfortable, and also bring sunscreen and a hat because it’s Florida! You’ll have to leave food and drink at home, but there will be many food and drink vendors on hand at the event.

clearwater jazz

You can also present your valid student ID at the merchandise booth to claim your high-quality Jazz Holiday poster! But remember, both the number of tickets and posters available are limited.

To get your tickets, first go to the Clearwater Jazz Holiday website to see the line-up, then take the survey here.

Once you’ve completed the survey, allow 24 hours for processing, then contact either Dwayne-ron Sharpe for Clearwater ticket pickup information at 727-791-2625, or Jocelyn Blevins in the MIRA program office on the St. Petersburg Gibbs Campus at 727-341-4360 to confirm your ticket.

Confirmed tickets must be picked up by Friday, Oct. 20, 2017 at noon. Tickets not picked up are forfeited.

  • Ticket numbers are limited – act today. When they’re gone…they’re gone.
  • Posters are first come/first served.
  • Tickets must be claimed by noon on Friday, Oct. 20.
  • A valid SPC ID is needed for picking up your ticket at the college and a poster at the event.

Bring some friends for a great time. Additional tickets can be purchased on line at

Thanks for your interest and I hope you enjoy this event!