Trudy McCarthy
Executive Vice President
(321) 638-2000

EDC honors McInnish and De Freese during its 22/23 Annual Meeting

SPACE COAST, Fla. (February 06, 2023) –During its 2022/2023 Annual Meeting on February 1, 2023 the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast (EDC) awarded the Thomas E. Gamble Excellence in Education for Economic Development Award to William (Bill) T. McInnish, Brevard Career Technical Education (CTE) instructor at Eau Gallie High School and the EDC Volunteer of the Year award to Dr. Duane E. De Freese, Executive Director of the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program.

The EDC’s 2022/2023 Annual Meeting, Launching a Legacy, unveiled the findings from Phase I – Discovery of Mission Space Coast: One Voice-One Brand, the official unified branding initiative for Florida’s Space Coast.

“The EDC and Brevard County draws strength from community leaders such as Bill and Duane,” said EDC President and CEO Lynda L. Weatherman. “When thinking about the legacy we will leave, I can’t think of two people that better epitomize what it means to make an impact on the community and leave a legacy that will last for generations to come. Thank you both for your contributions to Brevard’s economic future.”

The Thomas E. Gamble Excellence in Education for Economic Development award is presented to an individual who has improved the field of education and the way students are served. Recipients have made a long standing, consistent and highly valued contribution to further educational programs supporting the talent pipeline for industry on the Space Coast.

McInnish is known for his steadfast passion and dedication to his students. Through his vision and dedication, he led the establishment of the Aviation Fabrication and Assembly program at Eau Gallie High School which became the first in the nation to award high school students with a National Aerospace/Aircraft Assembly certification. This certificate enables students to work as entry level aircraft technicians, a key asset in building the local talent pipeline.

McInnish, is a veteran after 22-years with the Coast Guard performing Search and Rescue. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Brevard Public Schools with a cumulative 27-years of technology and CTE teaching experience. “As a CTE instructor, my job is easy – get students off their parent’s payroll and onto a manufacturer’s payroll,” shared McInnish. “In the eight years I have been at Eau Gallie High School, I have been fortunate to have seen many of my completing graduates go on to amazing careers at SpaceX, Blue Origin, United Launch Alliance, Piper Aircraft, L3Harris, Collins Aerospace, and now Lockheed Martin. Many students complete Engineering degrees and move into the Aerospace Industry.

The EDC’s Volunteer of the Year Award is presented annually to an individual who has gone above and beyond the call of duty for the betterment of the Space Coast. Dr. Duane De Freese has been a champion of ocean and coastal conversation in Florida. As an EDC volunteer, De Freese has led several Indian River Lagoon boat tours for EDC Investors and board members providing key education to these community leaders on the importance, challenges and opportunities associated with this key economic driver. In addition, he has worked with the EDC on a number of projects.

While presenting the EDC Volunteer of the Year award, Todd Pokrywa, President of the Viera Company and EDC Secretary stated “Duane is a true advocate and diligent leader in our community, providing his time to not just the EDC but countless organizations throughout the Space Coast. It is a true honor to present him with this award.”

To learn more about the winners and the EDC’s Annual Meeting,


EDC Treasurer, Linda Stout (left) presents William (Bill) T. McInnish (right) with
the Thomas E. Gamble Excellence in Education for Economic Development Award

EDC Secretary, Todd Pokrywa (right), presents the EDC’s 2022 Volunteer of the Year Award to
Duane De Freese to Hon. Curt Smith (left) who accepted on behalf of De Freese. 


About the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast

The Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast (EDC) is dedicated to attracting new business and investment and expanding existing industry throughout the Space Coast, influencing change on government laws and regulations affecting economic development, promoting the Space Coast to encourage new investment, supporting efforts of Space Coast military installations, and relaying new programs and procedures to assist manufacturing and high-tech companies. The EDC is a private, not-for-profit coalition whose stakeholders are business leaders committed to the economic growth and stability of Florida’s Space Coast. Visit