Disney Executive, UCF Researcher to be Honored at Orlando EDC’s Annual Awards Dinner

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The Orlando Economic Development Commission (EDC) will host the 2014 James B. Greene Annual Awards dinner on Thursday, April 3, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Amway Center, 400 W. Church St., in downtown Orlando.

This year’s James B. Greene Award will be presented to Meg G. Crofton, President of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Operations, United States and France. A Chairman’s Award will also be given this year to MJ Soileau, Vice President for Research and Commercialization at the University of Central Florida.OrlandoEDCEvent

The James B. Greene Economic Development Award, first presented in 1990, is the highest honor bestowed by the EDC. The award recognizes an individual whose work has contributed substantially to the economic prosperity of the region. The EDC Chairman’s Award, first presented in 2007, recognizes a long-term contributor to the work of the Orlando EDC.

Crofton, who grew up in Central Florida and lived in the region until 2013, is responsible for operations at many of the company’s theme parks and resorts, including Walt Disney World Resort – Central Florida’s largest employer – Disneyland Resort in California and Disneyland Paris.

During her time in Central Florida, Crofton held several significant roles in the local community. She was appointed to UCF’s board of trustees and served on the Florida Council of 100, a group that promotes statewide economic growth, and as chair of the Orlando Economic Development Commission. She also served on the boards of the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness, Orlando Health, Rollins College and the Executive Committee of the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

Soileau was the first director of UCF’s now internationally recognized Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers (CREOL). In 1999, Soileau was named Vice President for the Office of Research and Commercialization, where he has built on his philosophy of supporting top faculty by coupling the university’s research expertise to the economic needs of the community.

In his role at UCF, Soileau has emphasized the creation of new companies and jobs and remains a powerful advocate for partnerships, such as the Florida High Tech Corridor, that bring together university research experts and industry for the common goal of growing Florida’s wealth-producing, high-tech industry.

The price for an individual EDC investor is $245, non-investors is $265 or $2,300 for a corporate table of 10 (plus tax). More information is available online at http://OrlandoEDC.com/JBG. For questions or to register, send an e-mail to Events@OrlandoEDC.com or call 407.422.7159 ext. 246.

About the Orlando EDC: The Orlando Economic Development Commission (EDC) is a not-for-profit, private/public partnership. The EDC serves Orange, Seminole, Lake and Osceola counties and the City of Orlando in Florida. Since its start in 1977, the EDC, with the support of its community partners, has assisted thousands of companies relocate, expand and grow in the four-county Metro Orlando (Florida) region. This has led to more than 176,750 jobs announced; $9.5 billion in capital investment; and more than 79.7 million square feet of office and industrial space leased or constructed. For more information, visit www.OrlandoEDC.com.