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May 24, 2018

Rising Young Professionals

Florida's young professionals are making their presence felt in government, non-profits and business.

Barbara Miracle | 10/1/2009
DENA BAKER, 35, Naples

JOB: Veterinarian and owner of Mobile Pet Vet, Innovative Veterinary Products and Neapolitan Gourmet Pet Food

AN ENTREPRENEUR AT HEART, Dena Baker opened her mobile veterinary practice six years ago. A year after setting up Mobile Pet Vet, Baker co-founded Innovative Veterinary Products, a company that makes disposable items used by veterinarians. The company markets nationwide through distributors and recently began selling in Canada. Later this year, Baker will begin selling her own line of canned dog food through her third business, Neapolitan Gourmet Pet Food. That’s not all. When the economy improves, Baker is planning to open Neapolitan Pet Resort & Wellness Center, an upscale boarding facility for dogs and cats with an attached veterinary clinic.

GIVING BACK: For the past five years, Baker has held vaccination clinics and offered low-cost spay and neuter services in Everglades City. She is active with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and has participated in the charity’s 100-mile century fund-raising bike rides.

[Photo: Brian Tietz]

[Photo: Hugh Brown]

HUGH BROWN, 30, Miami

JOB: In August, Hugh Brown started work in the Governor’s Office of Drug Control, where he’s focusing on the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.

HONOR: One of 14 Florida Gubernatorial Fellows for 2009-10. “The goal of the program is to build future leadership for the state,” he says. Brown also works as a financial representative with Northwestern Mutual.

SERVING THE U.S.: Searching for what to do after high school, Brown enlisted in the Air Force at age 19 and arrived at boot camp on his birthday. He spent six years working in surgical trauma units in Florida, Mississippi and Texas. “The Air Force really worked for me,” says Brown, adding that it was the public service aspect that excited him.

KRISTIN BEALL, 33, Mount Dora

JOB: Vice president and licensed building contractor, Charlie Johnson Builder; Republican candidate for Florida House of Representatives

SHE'S BEEN A BEAUTY QUEEN, a television personality and a licensed building contractor. Now Kristin Beall, whose full name is Kristin Beall Ludecke, would like to be a member of the Florida House of Representative. “I’m running on a pro-business stance,” says Beall, a Republican who set up her campaign this summer. She’s not giving up her day job as vice president in the family business, Charlie Johnson Builder, where she focuses on homes that meet the Institute for Building and Home Safety’s “fortified for safer living” residential construction designation. “We’re lucky in Florida that we have really good building codes.”

COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES: Focus on at-risk children through volunteer work at Lake County’s LifeStream Behavioral Center; arts organizations, including Very Special Arts and Arts for Complete Education

INTEREST: Classical music, singing opera and ballroom dancing

[Photo: Tim Tew]

Tags: Politics & Law, Banking & Finance, Government/Politics & Law

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