Simpkins Speaker Series
All Simpkins Speaker Series events are free and open to the public, with speaker information and dates shared here as available. Registration is not required. The series also includes the presentation of the Bernie W. Simpkins Scholarship to EFSC students with an entrepreneurial focus. For questions about the series and Simpkins scholarship, call 321-433-7055.
Speaker Series Founder
Bernie Simpkins, Entrepreneur
The Simpkins Speaker Series was endowed by Bernie Simpkins to highlight the fundamentals and successes of entrepreneurship. Simpkins, who passed away on October 16, 2020, was a highly successful entrepreneur and Brevard County business leader.
The Simpkins Speaker Series has included a who's who of the business world.
Browse the photo listing of those who have shared their wisdom through the series, beginning with the most recent speakers. For the events since 2012, a link to a news story is included. You can also view a list of speakers prior to 2012, stretching back to Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy when the Simpkins Series began in November 2001.
Best-selling author, restaurateur, and the first winner of NBC's "The Apprentice."
Best-selling author and award-winning businesswoman who's advised U.S. Presidents and CEOs.
NASA astronaut and Naval aviator who served as mission specialist on two shuttle missions.
One of the nation’s leading hotel and resort owners, with seven major Orlando hotels.
Founder/CEO of FUBU, Star of ABC's Shark Tank and CEO of The Shark Group.
Chairman of Brown & Brown, Inc., the sixth largest insurance brokerage in the nation.
Founder of Fattmerchant for business payment and credit card processing.
Former Florida State University world-class sprinter.
Orlando-Based Entrepreneur who formed the non-profit company Limbitless Solutions.
Chief Innovation Officer for award-winning whiskey brand Angel’s Envy.
Volusia County's first physician to adopt Direct Primary Care within her practice.
Larsen Motorsports manufactures high-performance vehicles, that can accelerate from zero to 60 in seven-tenths of a second.
Entrepreneur and “Shark Tank” winner who created a preventative product against electronic pickpocketing.
An award winning singer-songwriter, he is best known for fronting the acclaimed band Big Kettle Drum.
Author of the best-selling book “The Ultimate Gift” made into a movie starring James Garner.
Retired Army Col. Danny McKnight, whose heroism was featured in the film “Black Hawk Down”.
One of the entrepreneurs involved in the security wizardry that became part of Apple’s iPhone 5S.
He was elected as California’s lieutenant governor and served as acting governor for about a year.
One of the visionary business leaders behind Brevard's Viera community.
- David W. Anderson, Founder, Famous Dave's of America
- Carol Craig, Founder & CEO, Craig Technologies
- Andy Smith, Founder & President, Houlihan Capital
- Heidi Ganahl, Founder, Camp Bow Wow
- Cameron Johnson, Author, "You Call the Shots"
- Warren Brown, Founder, Cake Love
- Jeffrey C. Piersall, President & Co-Founder, Space Coast Magazine
- John L. Herman Jr., Author, "The Innkeeper Tales & Hermanisms"
- Mary E. Davis, Author, "The Entrepreneurial Mom"
- Don Shula, Miami Dolphins Coach & Founder, Don Shula Steakhouse
- Gale Lemerand, Founder, Gale Industries
- Pat Williams, Senior Vice President, Orlando Magic
- Cynthia Kersey, President, Unstoppable Enterprises
- Wally Amos, Founder, Famous Amos Cookies
- Toni Jennings, Former Florida Lieutenant Governor
- Joe R. Lee, Former Chairman of the Board, Darden Restaurants
- Charles Clemente, CEO, Redgate/America Online
- Al Neuharth, Founder, USA Today
- Steadman Graham, Chairman & CEO, S. Grahamn
- Howard Bo Callaway, Founder, Callaway Gardens
- Truett Cathy, Founder & CEO, Chick-Fil-A