Published: Jun 15, 2012 9:02 PM EDT

TALLAHASSEE, Fla - Florida Department of Education Commissioner, Gerard Robinson, along with the Florida Education Foundation and State Board of Education, announced the winners of the 2012 Commissioner’s Business Recognition Awards. The annual award program, held in June, recognizes businesses for improving the academic success of all students. This year, more than 75 organizations and individuals throughout the state were honored for their commitment to improving education.

Two local companies, EnSite, Inc. and Lee Memorial Health System, were recognized for their efforts and collaboration among community members and Florida’s public schools. These companies were nominated and selected by The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools because of their tremendous support of Lee County Public Schools, educators and students.

EnSite, a leading design, planning and engineering firm in Lee County, has shown commitment to improving education by partnering with Lee County schools. As a business partner of Mariner Middle School, EnSite has worked to develop a professional landscape plan that has enabled students and faculty to embrace the campus, and experience a positive learning environment. Through months of hard work, the project resulted in a courtyard complete with shade trees, benches, and landscape.

In addition to supporting schools, Ensite has partnered with The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools through participation in STEM@Work, a program implemented to provide internships, education, and shadowing opportunities for students interested in careers in science, technology, engineering, and math. Jonathan Romine, partner at EnSite also serves on the Foundation’s board of directors, and has been serving on a number of projects since he joined. 

Lee Memorial Health System has also been a long-term supporter of The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools and the Lee County School District. Lee Memorial is the leading provider of health care in Southwest Florida, and they serve as an asset to the community through volunteer opportunities, funding, and resources.

Lee Memorial’s partnerships include providing students who participate in STEM programs with an exploration site, and offering these students shadowing and observation opportunities throughout Lee Memorial Health System. In addition, students who are interested in the medical field are placed for clinical rotations at all hospitals where they are given the opportunity to make a more informed choice as to their career path after high school. Lee Memorial also provides speakers for middle and high schools to present information about health care opportunities. Cape Coral Hospital has a Medical Explorers program, which allows high school students to explore various medical careers to determine their interest, and each year, Lee Memorial provides $150,000-$200,000 in scholarships to students in the community who are in financial need for their health care careers.

In addition to their direct support with schools, Lee Memorial Health System has been a partner of The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools. They have provided leadership beginning with CEO, Jim Nathan, who served as a past member of the board of directors, and Jon Cecil, Chief Human Resource Officer, who currently serves as Vice Chairman of the board of directors. In addition, Lee Memorial offers significant funding for Foundation programs and initiatives.