Tapia School of Business Houses BB&T Center for Innovation & Technology

October 21, 2014

Shown in ribbon cutting, from left: University President Arthur F. Kirk, Jr., BB&T Regional President J. Kenneth Coppedge, and Tapia School Dean Michael Nastanski.

Saint Leo University, along with two business partners, celebrated the opening of the BB&T Center for Innovation & Technology at the Donald R. Tapia School of Business Wednesday.

The center was made possible by a generous gift from BB&T Bank and encompasses the fourth floor of the School of Business building. Highlights of the center are the Cybersecurity Laboratory (pictured), which supports the teaching of the university’s new master’s degree in the field, and the Collaboration Zone, where business students work on real-world projects for area companies and nonprofits.

Tapia Business School Dean Michael Nastanski and University President Arthur F. Kirk, Jr., greeted guests. BB&T West Florida Regional President J. Kenneth Coppedge commented on the growing concern in the business world about cyber threats and the resulting need for trained cybersecurity analysts. “If I were a young person,” he said, noting the Saint Leo business students at the gathering, “this is the area of opportunity that I would want to be a part of.”

Mr. Coppedge heads a nine-county banking region–stretching from Hernando County to Collier County. BB&T places a heavy emphasis on small business banking and personal banking.

Tampa technology executive Tony DiBenedetto, who is chairman and CEO of Tribridge, also emphasized career possibilities in brief remarks. Cyber concerns affect every company in the world, he said. He applauded the university and the Tapia School of Business for creating a program that he predicted will help students, companies, and the regional economy: “This is a really big deal to the area.”

Founded in 1998 in Tampa, Tribridge is a technology services firm specializing in business applications and cloud solutions. The firm helps mid-market and enterprise customers. Tribridge works with 3,750 customers.

The cybersecurity program is currently offered at University Campus and will be available online soon.