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Bulls Notebook: USFSM alum named Young Professional of 2017

SARASOTA, Fla. (Aug. 11, 2017)USF Sarasota-Manatee [1] alum Murray Devine credits his experience here for coaxing a spirit of volunteerism out of him, and now it seems his outreach efforts are garnering attention communitywide.

Devine, Class of ’13, was recently named Young Professional of the Year by the Young Professional Group [2], an arm of the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce [3].

“Because of my job, I get to be involved in so many great things that are happening to make our community a better place to live, work and play,” he said of his selection. “I also attribute my win to the people I get to work with and my mentors.”

Devine is the manager of communications and marketing at the Community Foundation of Sarasota [4], a philanthropic group that facilitates giving by individuals and organizations. Since joining the Foundation in 2014 he said he’s glimpsed the philanthropic and volunteer spirit of so many, which has roused similar feelings within him.

But perhaps that spirit first found a home at USFSM where, as Devine notes, he was urged to put “myself out of my comfort zone” and get involved in Student Government and many of the campus’ clubs and associations.

“USFSM was really the place where I learned the importance of getting involved,” he said. “The relationships that I built at USFSM actually helped me get my foot in the door at the Community Foundation. After seeing the difference getting involved made in my life personally and professionally, I developed an attitude of trying to say ‘yes’ to as many things as possible that I knew would help get me out in the community.”

Devine said he was surprised to win: “It took a second for it to really sink-in. I couldn’t take my eyes off the ground for a while.”

Equally startling, he said, was the outpouring of praise from the community as word of his award spread. In the days that followed, he received a trove of calls, cards, even flowers and food, from well-wishers and business owners.

“The feedback I’ve received has been so overwhelming,” he said. “I honestly didn’t expect to win. It’s a great honor and I’m so grateful for being recognized by my peers for my talents, involvement and what I’m doing through my career.”

Beer class looks to be a hit

Bulls Notebook: USFSM alum named Young Professional of the Year

Dr. Joe Askren looks over USFSM’s beer-making system.

USFSM’s beer science class is bubbling up to greater heights.

The three-year-old program, which highlights age-old brewing techniques and the chemistry of beer, recently added a 14-gallon fermenter to double the output of its instructional brewing system.

The conical-shaped, stainless steel device was a gift of Sarasota-based Big Top Brewing Co. [5] and master brewer Josh Wilson. The company has long partnered with USFSM’s beer-making program.

Instructors Dr. Joe Askren and Dr. Ken Caswell use the home-style, micro-brewing system – itself, a private gift – to teach the Introduction to Beer Science and the Chemistry and Microbiology of Beer.

Science is only part of the program, as the class delves into the process of making beer, offers brewery tours and features talks by master brewers. Then the students try their own hand at crafting beer. As Dr. Askren notes, beer making isn’t all science and fun flavor experimentation.

“Ninety percent of brewing is cleaning, the sterilization that takes place before you brew anything,” he said, adding that cleanliness is important not only to the health of consumers but to the beer’s flavor content as well.

The program has evolved since its introduction. Not only has the brewing system expanded but the program’s professional contacts have increased to now include microbreweries across Sarasota, Bradenton, St. Petersburg and Tampa.

Recently, two local brewers – Wilson and Bob Haa of Bradenton-based Motorworks Brewing Co. [6] – visited USFSM’s Culinary Innovation Lab [7] in Lakewood Ranch as Drs. Askren and Caswell launched their improved brewing system with a new ale. The batch should be ready to taste in two weeks.

Dr. Askren said the improvements add to the program’s overall quality, but they’re not the only changes students will see this semester. Expect also a special invitation to witness the creation of a unique beer.

Big Top Brewing has been selected to create a beer to celebrate the World Rowing Championships [8], Sept. 24 to Oct. 1, at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota, and the brewery has invited students to visit to learn more about this special ale.

Additionally, Dr. Askren said students may tour Florida Worldwide Citrus [9] this semester.

The Bradenton-based company makes fruit-based flavorings, oils and concentrates used by the food and beverage industry nationally and internationally. Many brewers use such flavorings to create seasonal beers and special batches that impart citrus notes.

“We will learn about these natural flavoring components and see what goes into the process of making them,” Dr. Askren said. “It should be very interesting to the students.”