HCI College continues to monitor the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more

Executive Biographies

Pedro De Guzman, President/Chief Executive Officer

Pedro De Guzman is an experienced CEO & President who has been recognized for building and revitalizing higher educational institutions. He has more than 26 years of executive management experience overseeing operations on various scales from conception to institutional maturity. He continues to demonstrate success for improving financial viability and student outcomes by leveraging all available resources while adhering to the highest regulatory standards.

Prior to HCI College, Pedro was the CEO & President of Southern Technical College (STC). During his seven years with STC he expanded the company from 5 to 10 campuses while increasing revenues. Before STC, Pedro was the CEO & President of Florida Career College where he lead the company through a period of growth by acquiring new campuses, and developing new programs, all while maintaining regulatory benchmarks and qualitative outcomes.

Ryan Miller, Senior Vice President/Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Miller is responsible for HCI’s core financial functions including ensuring the security, accuracy, confidentiality, and maintenance of all accounting and financial functions.
Prior to joining HCI, Mr. Miller served as the controller of Rybovich Boat Company. There he led the firm’s financial department and was a key contributor in a variety of corporate transactions and capital activities. He developed, implemented, and maintained strategic financial policies and procedures throughout the organization.
He also served as the Director of Finance and Administration of Minnesota Swarm Professional Lacrosse Club. Mr. Miller earned his Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Business Administration from Bemidji State University and he is a certified public accountant.

David Shelpman, Jr., Group Campus President

David Shelpman, Jr. is a higher education professional with more than a decade of experience in campus operations, admissions, and marketing. David has worked in both private non-profit and private for-profit colleges and universities over the course of his career. David has worked with accreditations ranging from national, regional, programmatic, and state licensure. David has earned his Associates Degree in Business Administration in 2008 from Daymar College, he has earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Technical Management with an Emphasis of Human Resources Management from DeVry University in 2012 and he has earned his Master of Human Resources Management from Keller Graduate School of Management in 2015. David has also been a member of the Society for Human Resources Management since 2012.
David has been the recipient of multiple awards such as the Gold Key Award in 2008 and 2009, the President’s Award in 2010 and Campus of the Year in 2010 and 2011. Additionally, David received a 2-year and 5-year in service award for one of his most recent organizations in which he was promoted from the smallest campus to the largest campus within the collegiate system. David was instrumental in leading his campus through a 10-year reaffirmation process with regards to the regional accreditation with the distance learning and student support services. As a result, David was selected to be nominated as an accreditation site reviewer for distance education. David has also been a Designated School Official for SEVIS for multiple schools and a VA Certifying Official. In addition, David has been promoted on several occasions due to his student-focused mentality which resulted in the growth of several campuses.
David is 100% student-focused and committed to changing lives … one person at a time!

Celeste Blackwell, Vice President of Academic Affairs

Mrs. Celeste Blackwell serves as the Senior Director of Academic Affairs, overseeing both campuses Academic Departments. Mrs. Blackwell has over a decade of experience with post-secondary education and has served in many roles including Faculty, Career Services, Campus President, and the longest as a Dean of Education. She has a master’s degree majoring in Adult Education, with a minor in Faculty Training and Developing. Mrs. Blackwell holds a bachelor’s degree in Alternative Medicine which allowed her to become a Board Certified Holistic Practitioner and included extensive studies in Advanced Anatomy and Physiology. Her passions include supporting the Deans and faculty in their roles by ensuring that teachers have the resources needed to be successful in the classroom as well as supporting students through their educational journey.

Dana Moritz, Executive Assistant for Academic Affairs

Dana joined HCI in 2018 as a Senior Admissions Representative. In 2019, Dana led the Florida Association of Postsecondary Schools and Colleges (FAPSC) Membership Drive recruiting several new member schools for the organization. That same year she received an award for her contributions to the higher education sector. In 2020, Dana switched roles to Academic Administrative Assistant. In March of 2022, Dana was promoted to Executive Assistant for Academic Affairs. Dana is responsible for assisting the executive team, with a primary role in assisting the Vice President of Academic Affairs. Her duties include: the preparation and maintenance of all necessary accreditation materials in preparation for on-site review/annual accreditation audits, the creation/revision of executive materials including official documentation, company literature, and meeting materials at the request of the Senior Leadership Team, discretion of highly sensitive and confidential company information, informational research and data comparison, maintenance of schedules, accommodations, and connecting with vendors. Dana holds a BA in Psychology from Hofstra University and is also a Florida State Notary Public.

Theresa Cowan, Vice President of Financial Aid

Theresa Cowan serves as the Vice President of Financial Aid. Theresa comes to HCI with over 25 years of financial aid experience and has helped thousands of students through the maze of federal and state aid, scholarships, and private funding sources. Theresa has worked with the public as part of her work in financial aid and this includes such agencies as Dream. Us, Broward County, YMCA, and South Florida BRACE advisors. Theresa services as a Consultant with the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) and has earned her undergraduate and graduate degree from Indiana Wesleyan University in Accounting, Magna Cum Laude. Her desire for all students is to remove the complexity of the financial aid process so that students can focus on what matters… academics and obtaining a career.

Nichole Walsh, Director of Institutional Effectiveness

Nichole Walsh is a seasoned higher education professional with more than 20 years’ experience. Starting out as a Medical Assistant Instructor, she took the love for the student experience to management and corporate levels. Prior to HCI, she excelled in her positions; promoted as Campus Program Manager, Program Administrator, Associate Director of Student Services, and Director of Education. Her previous experiences include Ultrasound Diagnostic School, School of Health Careers, Kaplan University, and Florida Career College. As such, she has a great extent and range of experience with Accreditation, Curriculum Building, Instructor Training, and Institutional Completion Rates. Her focus while at these positions remains as the best student experience as her guide. In the middle of her career, she went back to school achieving her Bachelor of Psychology at University of Phoenix with High Honors and then her Master’s in Industrial and Occupational Psychology Degree at Southern New Hampshire University.  As she was promoted to these great positions, it is being presented as Teacher of the Year in 2005 by the 500+ student body as her personal highest achievement thus far.  Nichole was instrumental in building schools from the ground up by building programs by focusing on strong outcomes. She enjoys encouraging, motivating, and supporting the educational process as a team member who cares for every student first.

Accrediting Commission of Careers Schools and Colleges ACCSC logo Career Source Palmbeach County logo Commision for Independent EDU log FDOE logo Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs CoAEMSP logo