Scott Strong's contributions to the public interest are nothing short of legendary. He was an iconic leader whose influence on public education will remain one of his greatest legacies.
As a member of the Lake County School Board, Scott was a vanguard who placed students and their education first, well above the sway of special interests - in some cases, even his own. As the CEO and co-owner of Electric Services, Inc., the county's largest electrical contracting company, Scott considered it a conflict of interest to bid on any of the $676+ million in school construction projects that transpired during his 8 years on the school board. During his first term, he declined to receive a salary, donating the entire amount to the Educational Foundation. In 2004 Scott helped to establish the Educational Foundation of Lake County Golf Tournament. Since its inception, the tourney has netted more than $525,000 for local education, $250,000 of which was canvassed by Scott himself through persistent phone calls and constant cajoling of associates from the boardroom to the putting green.
Scott's direct interaction with parents and district officials earned him a reputation of fairness, unpretentiousness and insight. His ability to influence and compromise enabled him to revise the district's agenda to place all computers on 3-year leases so that students could remain technologically adept.
Scott's acumen and experience allowed him to run a thriving business, remain a devoted husband to his wife Lori, and a loving father this his children, Chase, Chandler, Michaella and Madison, and still be an active participant in school board meetings and workshops. In partnership with Educational Foundation Executive Director, Carmen Cullen, Scott was instrumental in proposing myriad landmark actions, including a program to motivate developers to donate land for new schools and to develop a pro bono operations building for the foundation.
Even as a passionate proponent of the Educational Foundation, Scott's devotion was foremost to the success and well-being of students. The foundation was receiving substantial revenue from its exclusive 5-year contact with a major soft drink company. When the contract matured, Scott, who opposed garnering money from students through an overabundance of unhealthy foods, strongly contested its renewal. Ultimately Scott's idealism proved defensible - his final 4 years on the board saw the foundation's revenues rocket from $189,000 a year to $1.2 million.
Scott's dedication and leadership positively impacted the lives of more than 40,000 students and 3,000 teachers and will remain among his permanent improvements to the communities of Lake County and the State of Florida.
As if his CEO and school board member duties weren't enough, Scott also served on the boards of the Central Florida Health Alliance Foundation and the Boys and Girls Club of Lake County. After his roles as husband and father, his most personally cherished were as Deacon of the First Baptist Church of Fruitland Park, announcer for the Leesburg Christmas Parade, and avid fisherman.
Tragically, Scott died in a private plane accident on October 22, 2009. The Scott A. Strong Memorial Scholarship Fund was established as an enduring tribute to Scott's unwavering vision, passion and humanity for the students, educators and citizens of Lake County.