Ocala businessman named a 2018 USF Outstanding Young Alumnus

Posted on: February 27, 2018

Joel Raney, CEO of Raney’s Inc. is one of seven 2018 University of South Florida Outstanding Young Alumni being recognized for their exceptional professional and charitable contributions.

Raney started his business in a small house in 2010, converting the kitchen to a warehouse and bedrooms to offices. Since then, the online retailer of custom accessories for heavy-duty trucks has grown from two employees to more than 60 in a 124,000-square-foot former manufacturing plant in Ocala. The company has twice made the Inc. 5000 and the USF Fast 56, both of which recognize rapidly growing businesses.

Raney, who earned a civil engineering degree in 2011, also recently launched South Florida Strong, a USF apparel company run by Bulls.

As important to him as his businesses’ success are their culture and community involvement. Raney’s Inc. hires employees based on eight core values – kindness, dependability, humility, passion, happiness, honesty, open-mindedness and family spirit, and employees regularly volunteer and fundraise for local charities. In 2017, Raney’s Inc. was named Ocala Magazine’s first Business of the Year.

Joel and his wife, Jennifer, have two sons – Carson and Liam.

The other 2018 Outstanding Young Alumni are:

Hannibal L. Baldwin, Finance ’11, USF St. Petersburg – co-founder and co-CEO of award-winning tech company SiteZeus; co-founder of the popular Yogurtology franchise; and co-founder of B3 Ventures private equity and venture capital fund

R. Grant Baxley, Management Information Systems ’07 – founder and CEO of TeleVoIPs, a telecom company serving businesses across the country; named Emerging Technology Leader of the Year, Technology Connector of the Year, and earned TeleVoIPs three USF Fast 56 awards for fast-growing businesses

Vincent Terrell Jackson, Management ’16 – former San Diego Chargers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver; co-owner of multiple successful businesses including CTV Capital private equity firm and Cask Social Kitchen; founder-president of Jackson in Action 83 Foundation, a Pro Players Insiders Top 10 NFL Player Foundation 

Maja Lacevic, English and International Studies ’09 – arrived in the United States as a Bosnian war refugee and is now a business transactions and health care attorney with Trenam Law; has been steadfast in her dedication to service through groups including USF Women in Leadership and Philanthropy and the Hillsborough County Bar Association’s Young Lawyer Division

Reuben Pressman, Entrepreneurship ’11, USF St. Petersburg – founder and CEO of Presence, an education technology platform used by more than 100 higher educational institutions to increase student engagement, graduation rates, and workforce readiness; also deeply involved in community  nonprofits and economic development in St. Petersburg

Dr. Venessa Walker, Biomedical Sciences ’04 – chiropractic physician, owner of Walker Chiropractic and Wellness Center and an international health and wellness speaker dedicated to numerous charitable causes, from work with USF alumni groups to religious groups to civic groups, including Boys and Girls Clubs and the Fort Lauderdale Chapter of the Links, Inc.

About the USF Alumni Association

The USF Alumni Association is a nonprofit organization comprised of former students and friends of the University of South Florida. The association helps USF’s 325,000 alumni stay connected and provides meaningful ways for USF Bulls to support, promote and protect their university. For more information,  visit www.usfalumni.org, like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/USFalumni or follow us on Twitter @USFAlumniAssn.

About the USF Outstanding Young Alumnus Award
The USF Outstanding Young Alumnus Award was established in 2004 to annually recognize young alumni who have demonstrated emerging and unique innovation, creativity and success in their careers. An awards ceremony and panel discussion featuring the 2018 recipients is planned for 6 p.m. May 18 at the Gibbons Alumni Center in Tampa. Tickets are $50 and go on sale March 1 at www.usfalumni.org/oyaa.

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