Alumni Profile: Disney cast member finds success at Seminole State

Monday, March 11, 2019
Written by: Lauren Leetun for Seminole State

It’s a story that many central Floridians have in common. After moving to Orlando, a dream turns into a reality when Walt Disney World formally becomes your employer. Nearly 20 years ago Pete Mangos, a native of Canada, joined the civil design team at Disney, but it wasn't until 2012 that he made the commitment to go back to school at Seminole State College to earn his degree.  

Having experienced a tumultuous home environment during his junior and senior years of high school, he left Canada 1.5 credits shy of earning his diploma. In 2012, he stepped onto the College’s Sanford/Lake Mary campus to take his General Education Development (GED) test. After receiving his GED certificate, he enrolled in Seminole State’s Civil Engineering prerequisite courses to eventually use the College’s DirectConnect ™ to UCF. It wasn’t long before he realized the value of the education he was receiving at Seminole State, and he decided to stay to earn his bachelor’s degree in Business and Information Management. In December of 2018, Pete completed his undergraduate requirements to receive his bachelor’s degree. Less than a month later, he began working on his MBA at the University of Illinois.  

“Seminole State College was a great fit for me. The school’s academic format presented the opportunity for me to work at my own pace, affordably, and within class sizes where personal attention from my professors was possible,” stated Pete. “I saw how rapidly the technology market was advancing and recognized the need to keep pace. As a result, I made the decision to remain at Seminole State and work towards a bachelor’s degree in Business and Information Management. I am really pleased that I did!”

Beginning college at 47 years old, Pete brought a different set of experiences and opinions to the academic environment. As someone who had already spent approximately 30 years in the workforce, he never hesitated to take his concerns or accolades directly to the College’s executive leadership. In fact, Pete spent plenty of time corresponding with Dr. E. Ann McGee, who served as President of Seminole State from 1996 until 2018 and is now President Emerita, during his time leading up to graduation. From correspondence about course enrollment issues to sharing his opinions about some of his favorite professors, he could often be found emailing Dr. McGee. 

Following the announcement that Dr. McGee would be retiring and Dr. Georgia Lorenz would be joining Seminole State as the new president of the College, he knew he wanted to forge the same type of communicative relationship with her. Before graduating, he met with Dr. Lorenz to tell her about his experience as a student at the College, and he promised to keep her up to date on how his master’s program was progressing over the next several years. 

When asked why he decided to pursue his degrees so far into an already established career – especially working for an organization that is so well-respected for taking good care for its employees – Pete says there were two driving forces: the first was knowing that having a college degree would open leadership opportunities within Disney that may not have been possible otherwise. The second driving force was his son, who was about to graduate from Hagerty High School in Oviedo and was considering a college path of his own. His son, now 24, followed in his father’s footsteps and is currently enrolled in the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) program at Seminole State’s Center for Public Safety with plans to continue into the Firefighter Academy program. 

Pete has spent the better part of the last six years working or studying, and it doesn’t look like there’s an end in sight for a least a few more years. In fact, after earning his MBA from the University of Illinois, Pete says he’s considering pursuing a Ph.D. with a focus on social issues surrounding homelessness. 

When he isn’t studying, Pete’s Canadian roots still show through every Monday evening as he plays street hockey with about 40 other adults at Greenwood Lakes Park in Lake Mary. It is a tradition he has enjoyed for four years since helping organize the club. In fact, his team, the Lake Mary Maniacs, won the league championship in 2016; a friend who works at the Hockey Hall of Fame proudly displayed the team’s championship photo next to the Stanley Cup, adding just one more achievement on Pete’s already impressive list of accomplishments. 

About the Seminole State College Alumni Association

Seminole State College Alumni Association: The Seminole State College Alumni Association provides benefits and services for alumni as they continue their lifelong connection with Seminole State College of Florida, providing opportunities for them to network with one another, interact with the student body and support the College. To learn more, visit the Alumni Association website.