Poised for its public launch, the Montgomery Center of Excellence (MCOE) receives a generous $1Million commitment from Sonya Montgomery, Clermont, Florida native and Chief Executive Officer of The Desoto Group.

MCOE is a philanthropic organization with a vision to inspire excellence, strengthen communities, and foster economic empowerment. MCOE will serve as a conduit, supporting individuals’ access to workforce pipelines within industries that bolster the nation’s critical infrastructure including, energy, logistics, construction, and more. Additional programmatic pillars include, championing mental health wellness, cultivating, and supporting economic development initiatives in minority communities, and always encouraging independence.

“The 4th of July is the perfect day to promote independence and excellence. My hope is that MCOE will leverage the funds to foster independence and economic empowerment in communities that are often overlooked or simply unaware of the transformative opportunities that exist within the energy industry,” said Sonya Montgomery, CEO at The Desoto Group. Montgomery went on to state “As an employer, I understand the urgent need to develop and ensure a safe, well-trained, diverse workforce pipeline to meet future infrastructure needs in our country. As a veteran, I understand the desire to transfer your military skillset to a sustainable career. As an individual and a young single parent that struggled to make ends meet for different reasons and in different seasons of my life, I understand what it feels like to want better for yourself and your family. It is my hope that MCOE will identify resources, remove barriers to success, and contribute to a sustainable career path for young men, women, veterans, minorities, and transitioning adults that want and deserve a better life for themselves in an industry that has afforded me the same.”

The Montgomery Center of Excellence is located in Clermont, Florida. Not far from Desoto Street, the street that Montgomery was born and raised on. This is also the street that she named her company, The Desoto Group, after in homage to her late grandfather, James Montgomery, a master builder that inspired her to become a general contractor and her father, Willie Montgomery, a Vietnam Veteran and the City of Clermont’s First Black Postmaster. “Sonya Montgomery is one of the pillars of our South Lake community and a longtime partner of the Community Foundation of South Lake. Sonya’s vision and leadership in establishing the Montgomery Center of Excellence will truly uplift the lives of so many individuals.

The Community Foundation of South Lake is proud to be a partner with Sonya and the new Montgomery Center of Excellence and look forward to building a stronger community together.” said Laura Michalski, Executive Director, Community Foundation of South Lake. “Sonya Montgomery, Army Veteran and CEO of The Desoto Group, is a committed advocate for veterans and veteran-owned businesses. She is a friend of the Florida Association of Veteran Owned Businesses (FAVOB) and supported this organization as our Keynote Speaker at Orlando’s “Salute to Sisters in Service” annual Women Veterans Day event, June 12th, 2023.

Her words, sharing her journey from ‘combat boots to C-Suite’ were inspiring and encouraging to women veterans and veteran entrepreneurs in attendance. The Florida Association of Veteran-Owned Businesses is the recognized voice for Florida’s veteran business owners and intends to position Florida as the “state of choice” for veterans to own and operate a business. We look forward to working alongside the Montgomery Center of Excellence in supporting veterans throughout the state.” said Stuart Smith, CEO, Florida Association of Veteran-Owned Businesses.

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