The achievements of Rick McNeight and Ed Scott, their business success and contributions to the Brevard community make them a natural addition to the JA Business Hall of Fame.
Born and raised in a small dairy farming town in central Wisconsin, Richard “Rick” McNeight, received a BS degree from University of Wisconsin and a MSE degree from the University of Michigan.
McNeight started his 10-year career with ITT as a Software Engineer in Ohio and Cape Canaveral where he became Director of Software Engineering. There he met and married his wife Teresa and they immediately moved to Munich, Germany where McNeight took a two-year assignment with Siemens GmbH.
In 1982, he founded Paravant Computer Systems, Inc., in Satellite Beach, took it public on NASDAQ in 1996 and then acquired five additional companies, before selling it to DRS Technologies, Inc. in 2002. He continued on as President of DRS Tactical Systems, Inc. until July 2006. Under his 24 years of leadership Paravant/DRS Tactical Systems became the worldwide leader in the design and production of rugged portable computers for military systems.
Most recently McNeight was the President of Modus Operandi, Inc., a leading edge software development company specializing in big data analytics, data fusion and semantic search of massive disparate multi-source data bases, serving the U.S. Military Services and the U.S. Intelligence Agencies.
Currently McNeight is Executive Vice President, Chief Digital Officer for Health First Inc. In this role he is responsible for the overarching digital strategy and digital initiatives for the entire Health First integrated delivery network of hospitals, physicians and the health insurance plan.
Over the years he has been recognized with many awards, some of which include:
• Congressional Medal of Merit – Lifetime
Achievement in Technology – 2013
• Entrepreneur of the Year 2006 – Founder’s
Forum & EDC Florida’s Space Coast
• Dale Carnegie International Leadership
Award – 2006
McNeight has always been extremely active in the community holding positions on the Health First Board of Trustees, Florida Institute of Technology Board of Trustees, and the Astronaut Memorial Foundation (Emeritus).
Edward W. Scott, Jr.
People in Brevard may know Edward “Ed” W. Scott, Jr. for different reasons. Perhaps it is because he is the principal donor to create the Scott Center for Autism Treatment at the Florida Institute of Technology, where he serves on the Board of Trustees or because he founded, built and owns the Kiwi Tennis Club in Indian Harbour Beach.
However, Ed’s influence extends around the world. Ed co-founded DATA (now called ONE) with Bill Gates and George Soros to help African countries in the fight against poverty and AIDS. DATA/ONE is perhaps best known as the platform Bono, the lead singer of the rock band U2, has used for his advocacy on these issues. Scott also founded the Center for Global Development, a leading think tank on matters related to helping developing countries, in Washington, DC. He founded Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which has assisted in helping the Global Fund raise money to fight those diseases around the world.
Across the Atlantic, Scott serves on the Chancellor’s Court of Benefactors of the University of Oxford, where he endowed a Chair in Psychiatry and two research fellowships dedicated to the study of the causes and possible treatments of autism. A graduate of Oxford, he also earned graduate and undergraduate degrees from Michigan State University. In addition, he established the Scott Family Liberia Fellows program, which provides a cadre of specialists to work directly for the cabinet secretaries under the President of Liberia.
Before becoming one of the nation’s foremost and respected philanthropists, Scott worked for the United States government for 17 years, serving seven Attorney Generals and three Secretaries of Transportation. During the Carter administration, Scott served as an Assistant Secretary for Administration in the Department of Transportation.
For most, such a distinguished career in public service would be enough, but Scott left that arena and dove into the technology industry starting his own company before joining Sun Microsystems, where he co-founded Sun Federal, which provided services to the U.S. Government. He then co-founded the software company BEA Systems in 1995, which was purchased in 2008 by Oracle. Ed later became the primary investor in StubHub, the online ticketing service later purchased by eBay. Ed continues to invest in a number of ventures. Scott is truly a global citizen, with a global reach.