City News Blog


This is the official blog of the City of Lakeland, Florida. Check back frequently to stay up to date with all that going on in our beautiful city!

Brandon Flynn with The Lakeland Center Receives
Florida Professional Emergency Manager Designation

The Florida Emergency Preparedness Association has certified Brandon Flynn, The Lakeland Center’s Guest Services, Security, and Parking Manager and Emergency preparedness Coordinator, as a Florida Professional Emergency Manager (FPEM) this past Thursday at their Annual Conference and workshop held in Daytona Beach, Fl. Brandon has worked for the City of Lakeland at The Lakeland Center for over 16 years. Brandon was responsible for ensuring The Lakeland Center was the first venue in the U.S. to receive both emergency preparedness designations (Lightning Ready Facility, Storm Ready Facility) from the National Weather Service in November of 2014. Brandon not only plays a vital role in the planning and execution of every event at The Lakeland Center, but he also is a key part of our city’s Special Event Management Team. The Special Events Team handles several major events throughout the year in the City of Lakeland, such as the Annual Christmas Parade, Red Ribbon Run Half Marathon, and the Sun-n-Fun Fly In. Brandon is a member of the State of Florida Region 4 Incident/Event Management Team, of which several members of the team deployed after Superstorm Sandy to the North East to assist.

This certification recognizes devoted individuals who possess advanced knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform effectively within a comprehensive emergency management program. These programs can reside within the public or private sector. A FPEM has experience and knowledge of interagency and community wide participation in planning, coordination, and management functions designed to improve emergency management capabilities. A FPEM can effectively accomplish the goals and objectives of any emergency management program in all environments.

The FEPA Certification Program is designed to recognize individuals who possess the experience, knowledge, and skills to effectively manage a comprehensive emergency management program. The certification is not only recognizing emergency managers, but also emergency management partners in the public, private, and volunteer sectors who dedicate their time and efforts to the field of emergency management. The term “Comprehensive Emergency Management” means integrating all stakeholders by strengthening preparedness in all mission areas of emergency activity, for all types of disasters. The “comprehensive” aspect of Comprehensive Emergency Management includes all five mission areas to establish a capabilities-based approach to Preparedness. A capability provides the means to accomplish the mission of: Mitigation, Prevention, Protection, Response, and Recovery for all-hazards in a federal, state, local operating partnership. The certified individual has shown that they are capable of effectively accomplishing the goals and objectives of disaster/emergency/incident/event management in all the environments listed above.

The FEPA Certification Program has been in existence since 1999 and is managed by the FEPA Certification Commission with guidance from the Association’s Board of Directors. Commissioners include representatives of the seven (7) geographic regions, multiple emergency management disciplines and diverse professional affiliations. The Commission is devoted to ensuring a fair, equitable and conscientious review of each certification application. This program is the only one of its kind in the State of Florida and one of very few in the country.
Florida Professional Emergency Manager FPEM Criteria:
• Four (4) years direct comprehensive Emergency Management experience of which two (2) were attained in Florida
• Two (2) Florida exercises within the past five (5) years or two (2) actual disaster experiences within the past 10 years
• High School Diploma or GED
• 50 hours of approved general management training
• 150 hours of approved Emergency Management training of which 50 hours must have been attained in Florida in a classroom setting in the 5 mission areas which are Protection, prevention, Mitigation, Response, Recovery
• Emergency Management Institute Professional Development Series Certificate of Completion
• At least Seven (7) Contributions to Emergency Management attained in Florida within the past 10 years. Teaching classes, speaking at conferences, technical specialist in the implementation of programs, special awards and recognition, leadership and participation in a legislative group or committee, evaluating and participating in tabletop and full scale exercises, disaster deployments, special events management, special incident management, incident management team participation, coordination and cooperation with local, state and federal partners.




LAKELAND, FL (October 16, 2014) - The City of Lakeland is seeking a request for qualifications from interested parties to develop a headquarter hotel at The Lakeland Center.  The City of Lakeland is looking for an anchor hotel to be built on available property at The Lakeland Center that features at least 125 rooms, 5,000 sq. ft. of internal meeting space, a dine-in restaurant and suite level amenities.


Mike LaPan, Director of The Lakeland Center said, “ An additional hotel on property will enhance our ability to attract regional conferences and tradeshows that in the past have overlooked Lakeland because of limited hotel availability.”  He added, “Meeting space at the hotel will complement the space available at The Lakeland Center and it will allow us to target a larger segment of the corporate meeting business.”


Qualification documents are available by visiting and either searching for or clicking on the Purchasing Division. Interested parties can also request qualification documents by contacting the City of Lakeland’s Purchasing Division by phone at 863/834-6780.  Qualification documents are required for submittal and respondents must have a City of Lakeland bidder number, available by completing the online bidder application.


Danny Rodriguez, City of Lakeland Purchasing Agent said, “Qualification packages will be received until 2 p.m. Friday, December 19th at the Purchasing Division’s office located at 1140 East Parker Street, Lakeland, FL 33801.” Qualifications received after this specified time and date will not be considered.  Rodriguez said, “The City’s Purchasing Manager will publicly open the request for qualifications at our offices on December 19th at 2 p.m.”


Requirement Overview

The City of Lakeland is requesting qualifications from a qualified and financially sound development partner capable in the selection and negotiation in the design, financing, construction and operation of a hotel adjacent to The Lakeland Center facilities.  The development partner should include an architect, general contractor, equity owner, lender/underwriter for the construction and operation of a “flag” hotel that meets City of Lakeland specifications and all code requirements.  The submittals must include a proposed room block agreement to ensure the hotel functions as an integral and coordinated component of The Lakeland Center. 


Questions regarding request of qualification should be in writing and should reference RFQ # 4353.  Please submit all questions to Danny Rodriguez at or via fax at 863/834-6777.




Governor Rick Scott Recognizes The Lakeland Center’s Perfect Safety & Sanitation Score for Third Consecutive Year

April 24, 2014 (Lakeland, FL) – The Lakeland Center is one of only 51 food service establishments in the Sunshine State that did not receive any violations by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation within the past year. This is the third consecutive year Ovations Food Services at The Lakeland Center received a perfect score, taking over the facility’s food and beverage operations in late 2009. Ovations Food Services is a nationally recognized food and beverage service provider to over 140 public assembly facilities across North America and a subsidiary of the sports and entertainment firm Comcast-Spectacor.

“I applaud you and your employees for demonstrating such a high level of attention to detail and commitment to excellence,” Rick Scott, Florida’s Governor stated in his letter to The Lakeland Center. “Thanks to you, Florida’s opportunity economy is growing.”

“Ovations did it again,” explained Mike LaPan, Executive Director at The Lakeland Center. “Their team does excellent work, bringing top-notch service and experiences to our guests.”

About Ovations Food Services, LP:  
A nationally ranked food service company, Ovations Food Services ( delivers fresh menus, fresh management and fresh ideas to public assembly venues, hotels and casinos throughout the United States and Canada.  Ovations specializes in food, beverage, merchandise and hospitality services for stadiums, arenas, convention centers, fairgrounds, expo-centers, racetracks, zoos, performing arts centers, amphitheaters, casinos and hotels. Considered by many as the best managed and most innovative company in the industry, Ovations’ results oriented senior management team has been involved in managing almost every major public assembly facility throughout the United States and Canada.  

About Comcast Spectacor: Ovations’ parent company, Comcast-Spectacor® ( is the Philadelphia-based sports and entertainment company which owns the Philadelphia Flyers (NHL), the home arena for both the Flyers and the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, the Wells Fargo Center, and four Flyers Skate Zone community ice skating and hockey rinks. In addition, Comcast-Spectacor is also the principal owner of Global Spectrum, the fastest growing firm in the public assembly management field with more than 115 facilities throughout the United States and Canada; Ovations Food Services, a food and beverage service provider; New Era Tickets, a ticketing and marketing company for public assembly facilities; Front Row Marketing Services, a commercial rights sales company; FanOne, a digital fan marketing company; and Paciolan, the leading provider of venue enablement, ticketing, fundraising and marketing technology solutions.

Contact: Kristen Thompson, Ovations’ Director of Marketing or (813)909-2178 x 123