Most CEOs Say Salaries Will Increase in 2019

 

We increased pay in 2018 to reflect a rise in the consumer price index and also to ensure that our compensation for health care providers is competitive with that offered in South Florida and nationally. We expect to continue to increase pay in 2019 in key areas for the same reasons. Our goal is to attract the most highly qualified health care providers including nurses and others, and retain the exceptional workforce we require for our hospitals and clinics.

Dr. Edward Abraham, executive vice president for Health Affairs of the University of Miami and CEO of UHealth – the UM Health System

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We believe in proper pay scales for top-performing talent. Because we have several sides to our company, we forecast higher contract rate per hour, but it’s the benefits that makes the difference. The constant rise, tweaking of services and sudden changes in healthcare, necessitates equal understanding when pay scales do not increase with expectations. Once the conversation turns to healthcare benefits, we are all on the same page.

Jim AngletonCEO for Aegis FinServ Corp.

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Cleveland Clinic Florida attracts the very best caregivers by remaining competitive in the market with our total rewards package. We frequently review our compensation and are committed to remaining competitive in all of the communities we serve. We have historically given cost-of-living increases as well as increased compensation based on performance.

Wael BarsoumM.D., CEO and president of Cleveland Clinic Florida

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Ocean Bank provides yearly merit increases to team members based on their performance, and where applicable, on meeting target goals. In 2019, we will continue the merit program.

Agostinho Alfonso Macedo, president and CEO of Ocean Bank

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We had minimal cost of living adjustments in 2018. We do not anticipate any in 2019. We are utilizing this year to build a new 50,000-plus square foot facility. All of our efforts are focused on that. We believe that with this new building, we will usher in a time of prosperity for our foundation and the nonprofits that are under our umbrella. We also think that this expansion will create more growth opportunities for our existing employee base.

Bill Diggspresident, The Mourning Family Foundation

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For T-ROC, 2018 was another year of investment designed to prepare us to be aggressive in 2019 and beyond. Therefore, a significant portion of that investment was to increase wages. Our three core tenants are to: 1) Stay flat and close to the organization, 2) invest in technology, and most importantly, 3) invest in people. Therefore, T-ROC did increase wages and promoted more than 500 members of our team into higher level positions in 2018. We also launched a new bonus plan for corporate staff. We are always evaluating the competitive environment to attract excellent talent and will continue to find ways to be the employer of choice for our new and existing T-ROCers in 2019. If that includes adjustments to wages, we will make that investment!

Brett Beveridge, CEO and founder of The Revenue Optimization Companies (T-ROC)

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In 2018, we were able to provide small cost of living adjustments to employees and plan to provide similar adjustments in 2019. As an organization with a staff comprised primarily of women, and an organization that serves girls, the recent report from FIU Metropolitan Center regarding disparity in pay for women is concerning. It is my hope that employers will keep in mind the gender pay gap and the consequences of this gap when making salary and pay increase decisions.

Chelsea WilkersonCEO of Girl Scouts Tropical Florida

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Yes, we increased pay by an average of three percent in 2018 and plan to increase pay in 2019. Three years ago, when I took the helm as CEO, I explained to my Board of Directors that we had to pay more if we wanted to attract the best in the business to help us become a preeminent agency in the area of child welfare. They understood and agreed to help me increase salaries. As the data shows that our efforts are working, it is easier to convince them to allow me to stay on this track for another two years, even if the economy does not look favorable.

Dorcas L. WilcoxCEO of Miami Bridge Youth & Family Services

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Florida College System institutions have two primary sources of revenue: state funding and tuition. The last few years have included nominal increases, and sometime declines, in state funding for the Florida College System. Tuition for Florida College System institutions is capped by law at $82.78 per credit (the cap has been in place for at least eight years). Accordingly, being in a situation where we continue to fall short on the resources necessary to fully serve our students, there was only room for very modest pay increases in 2018, just as in years past. Even still, we have instituted pay for performance plans to drive funding for student support and for modest pay increases based on student success, enrollment, retention, and on operational efficiencies that increase margins.

Gregory Adam Hailepresident of Broward College

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Yes and yes. The company performed well, and our people deserve to be rewarded for their contribution to that performance.

Jorge Gonzalezpresident and CEO, City National Bank

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The most talented employees aren’t typically motivated by the pay alone, but rather by knowing they are being treated fairly economically and appreciated for their value so they can focus on the joy of what they do. Wages are increasing, and we’ll have to keep pace.

Louis Hernandez Jr., CEO, of Black Dragon Capital

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Paul Singermanco-chair of Berger Singerman

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Other than during the late 1980s savings and loan debacle, and then again during the Great Recession in 2008/09, we have increased our employees’ compensation and bonus packages every year since incorporating in 1986. In fact, the past few years, we’ve given two annual bonuses to our employees, which include doubled salary the week of Thanksgiving as well as a very generous bonus at the end of the year.

James “Jimmy” Tateco-owner and president of TKA-Evolution Apparel and of Tate Capital, and co-founder of Tate Development Corp.

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I’m not sure what the Miami Super Bowl Host Committee salary structure will be in 2019.

Rashad D. Thomasvice president of business connect and community outreach for the Miami Super Bowl Host Committee

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We have increased pay from 2018 to 2019 as there is currently a labor shortage for qualified professionals in the design and construction industry and we believe it is essential to retain our loyal experienced team to grow within the firm.

Manny Angelo Varas,

president and CEO of MV Construction Group

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The Miami Herald: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/article225965655.html

CEOs’ 2019 Economic Forecast Offers Differing Views

CEOs were asked: Consumer confidence is high, but there has been growing talk about economic instability. Compared with 2018, do you think 2019 will be stronger, weaker, or about the same? What leads you to this view?

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The financial markets were unstable in 2018, and already we see more of the same in 2019. We remain attuned to the cost of healthcare, high deductible insurance products with large patient co-pays, and increasing drug costs. All of these impact consumer confidence.

Dr. Edward Abraham, executive vice president for Health Affairs of the University of Miami and CEO of UHealth – the UM Health System

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We predict 2019 sees choppy Wall Street markets, the Fed increasing interest rates at least two more times, and weakness will show with layoffs, earnings reports not meeting expectations. Our company has a very good business intelligence group and our forecasting plus market vigilance leads us to this prediction.

Jim AngletonCEO for Aegis FinServ Corp.

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Many factors impact consumer confidence, so it’s hard to predict how 2019 will play out. Despite market volatility and the political landscape, I think consumer confidence will remain steady as long as people feel secure in their jobs.

Wael BarsoumM.D., CEO and president of Cleveland Clinic Florida

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Based on our loan volume and demand at the end of 2018 and leading into 2019, we are very optimistic about the continuing strong prospects for commercial lending. As we go forward, we will continue to monitor for any signs of a change in business and investor confidence that could lead to weakened demand.

Agostinho Alfonso Macedo, president and CEO of Ocean Bank

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As each month goes by, there are strong signs of uncertainty. I am of the opinion that our economy will continue to slide as long as Trump sends out tweets that are misaligned with those that are tasked to truly articulate economic conditions in the U.S. The major one for me is the lack of faith in our national leadership. With the erosion of that, the markets are beginning to show signs of not knowing if America and its products will continue to be accepted around the world. American companies have strong business locations across the globe, and favorable tariff and fees makes a huge difference to their bottom lines.

Bill Diggspresident, The Mourning Family Foundation

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Although we have not experienced any slowdown in our own business momentum going into 2019, I am fearful and preparing for a tougher year than 2018. The financial markets are volatile and less predictable than ever, the change of control of the House of Representatives and the rising tension between our political parties are at the highest levels, and ramifications of the newly incorporated international tariffs with China and others are only beginning to be seen. That said, if consumer confidence remains high and we remain positive, we can power through all of the uncertainty and have a great 2019.

Brett Beveridge, CEO and founder of The Revenue Optimization Companies (T-ROC)

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Uncertainty seems to be the name of the game for 2019. High consumer confidence and low unemployment are positive signs, but when balanced against recent stock market fluctuation and the current government shutdown, it is difficult to predict how 2019 will play out. This is a time when the Girl Scout motto “Be Prepared” is as important as ever — planning for 2019 requires being prepared for the worst, while hoping for the best.

Chelsea WilkersonCEO of Girl Scouts Tropical Florida

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This is a great question, but one that is hard to predict. It’s been a while since I’ve observed such a changing, volatile market. Since the stability of the economy is based on consumer confidence, I’m going to go with a safe answer and say that 2019 will probably mimic 2018 — the worst of times and the best of times, depending on the hour of the day.

Dorcas L. WilcoxCEO of Miami Bridge Youth & Family Services

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This year will probably be slightly weaker because of the continuous discussion that a slowdown is coming. This has a significant impact on investor confidence and slows capital investment. That said, a moderate slowdown is overdue and certainly healthy in the long run.

Jorge Gonzalezpresident and CEO, City National Bank

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For the digital transformation technologies that we invest in, including Fintech, e-commerce and digital media, we have a very strong outlook overall as most metrics are surging. We believe we are in the middle of the next long bull run in technology-related areas and that the technology economy will remain robust. Wage inflation, geopolitical risks and signs of housing-market challenges concern us.

Louis Hernandez Jr., CEO, of Black Dragon Capital

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I believe that as long as people are employed, have steady income and have healthcare provided for, they are generally feeling good about themselves and their future. It is my opinion that 2019 will be similar to 2018 with continued ebbs and flows within the various economic markets. Lastly, barring any unforeseen external forces, I think that Washington, D.C., for the most part, will be quiet because the House needs the Senate and vice versa to get things done. If they are wise, they’ll learn to get along, which will help build consumer confidence. If they don’t, they won’t be able to make material changes that negatively impact our economy, one way or the other, which should keep matters in check. Our governmental functioning with proper checks and balances, who would ever imagine?

James “Jimmy” Tateco-owner and president of TKA-Evolution Apparel and of Tate Capital, and co-founder of Tate Development Corp.

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There has been growing talk of economic instability despite high consumer confidence. Compared to 2018, I believe that 2019 will be a stronger economic year. Despite the talks of what could happen, it is my belief that this new-found consumer confidence is a result of a smarter and more conscience consumer emerging. Through the utilization of investment tools like crowd-funding to invest in real estate, start-ups, and technology, consumers have shown more interest in creating wealth and long-term security for their families.

Rashad D. Thomasvice president of business connect and community outreach for the Miami Super Bowl Host Committee

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I feel strongly that 2019 shall be stronger than 2018 as Miami continues to grow as a global city.

Manny Angelo Varaspresident and CEO of MV Construction Group

The Miami Herald: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/article225068240.html

Most CEOs Say Their Companies are Trying Hard to Attract ‘Gen Z’

Healthcare is a necessity for all generations, but accessing it is different for Gen Z, which highly values online access in real time. At UHealth, we are developing more “virtual” products for healthcare, including the ability to make clinic appointments, access medical information, and communicate with healthcare providers. We are also developing more products that permit delivery of healthcare services directly to individuals, rather than expecting them to come into our physical facilities to access care.

Dr. Edward Abraham, executive vice president for Health Affairs of the University of Miami and CEO of UHealth – the UM Health System

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Gen Z makes up 35 percent of AegisFS services and product sales. We are technology, banking and business focused with special emphasis on online services. Gen Z does not want to go to a bank branch but uses our ATM-kiosks while sitting in the car or our mobile App to meet their needs. They are all about “now services” and those who do not meet their needs in the first attempt will lose them forever. Our customer services internal rating is 93 percent. Constant survey for customer satisfaction is a must and they do respond.

Jim AngletonCEO for Aegis FinServ Corp.

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Gen Z, like millennials, has a comfort level with technology that surpasses prior generations. They want access to information and on-demand services. At Cleveland Clinic Florida, we’ve worked hard to make accessing our care convenient through same-day appointments, express care options, and virtual appointments. Our MyChart patient portal, which allows patients to access certain test results, request prescription refills, and communicate with their physicians online, was recently enhanced to allow patients to instantly schedule primary care appointments, not just submit requests, and take advantage of earlier appointments with specialists through an online, automated wait list system. In addition, we now use self-registration kiosks to check-in for appointments. All these service features have the dual benefit of improved patient satisfaction and employee productivity.

Wael BarsoumM.D., CEO and president of Cleveland Clinic Florida

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It’s all about digital. You have to make banking accessible and convenient, faster and more responsive. If Gen Z can’t do it digitally, you won’t have a customer.

Agostinho Alfonso Macedo, president and CEO of Ocean Bank

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The long-term vision of MFF is to continue to provide support for young adults to and through the age of 25. We are building services to maintain relationships with this group of Gen Z’ers. We have hired counselors that specifically work on this segment of the population. It is a long-term strategy for us. We also hire recent college grads that have come out of our programs. They are well-suited to better relate to the younger children in our program(s).

Bill Diggspresident, The Mourning Family Foundation

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We are hyper-focused on attracting and retaining millennials, and our Gen Z team members as our workforce are primarily comprised of these two groups. We ask questions and listen closely to how Generation Z thinks as well as what motivates them and what is important to them. We accomplish this through our companywide “reverse mentoring” approach. We take advice from our current Generation Z and Millennial T-ROCers on how to be relevant to them. How to address their needs. We have made real changes in our culture over the past three years that has allowed us to be attractive to the growing Generation Z population. We feel they are willing to work hard and earn their way. They seem less entitled than millennials although, like millennials, they too need a purpose in their work and flexibility in schedules when appropriate. Unfortunately, there is no way to “check the box” on attracting and maintaining talent. It is a competitive, never-ending, and ever-changing challenge and table stakes to being in business.

Brett Beveridge, CEO and founder of The Revenue Optimization Companies (T-ROC)

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Girl Scouts love Gen Z! The girls of Gen Z are true G.I.R.L.s – Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, and Leaders. Every day, I have the incredibly good fortune of working with these inspiring young people. They are a mobilized generation of digital natives who understand collective impact, the power of collaboration, and expect acceptance and inclusion. All day, every day, Girl Scouts puts the girls of Gen-Z at the center of all we do. It is exciting and energizing to be part of building these girls of courage, confidence, and character who are already making the world a better place.

Chelsea WilkersonCEO of Girl Scouts Tropical Florida

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Gen Z is an exciting generation. While their sense of entitlement knows no bounds, they appear to be more fun-loving, and yet serious about today’s issues. These are the adults that best fit my industry, as they lead by example. They are young enough to relate to the youth we serve (ages 6-17), and yet able to show success by being self-directed (attending college, holding a job, passionate about what’s going on around them). Finally, this generation is more diverse and tolerant, so their emphasis is on providing services to everyone, regardless of gender, race, color, religion, or economic status.

Dorcas L. WilcoxCEO of Miami Bridge Youth & Family Services

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Broward College aims to make higher education accessible and affordable to everyone. Our students include Baby Boomers, as well as Generations X, Y, and Z. At our most recent graduation, our oldest graduate was 67 and the youngest was 17. Roughly half of our 63,000 students are under the age of 24. Younger generations have grown up in the era of technology and social media, and we must use a mix of approaches that resonate with incoming students who are looking for that innovative edge. From experience in this field, we know there is a need for a holistic approach. The higher education environment requires finding the right combination of measures. Student success, in part, depends on our institution’s ability to communicate with all of our students. Some students prefer social media over email, and preferred platforms vary, some prefer texting, while others prefer a face-to-face chat. To make decisions, younger students tend to rely more heavily on user generated content from strangers than personal networks. We leverage all of these avenues of communication and more. In addition, most of our programs are now structured to allow students the options to learn in the classroom, strictly online, or a combination of both. Our campuses also provide locations for students to engage with each other through gaming spaces and tournaments, art, theater, and co-curricular activities.

Gregory Adam Hailepresident of Broward College

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The greatest asset a company can have to attract a strong and talented workforce, or a customer of any age, is to do work that is purposeful.

Jessica Goldman SrebnickCEO, of Goldman Properties and Goldman Global Arts

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The most important aspect for us to engage younger demographics is to be able to gauge their use patterns with immersive and engaging interactions and tie their preferences to the services being offered.

Louis Hernandez Jr., CEO, of Black Dragon Capital

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As a business law firm, the Gen Z population is not a large consumer of our services. But, members of Gen Z are prospective new attorney and non-attorney team members for our firm, and we wish to welcome them and their energy, perspective and talent.

Paul Singermanco-chair of Berger Singerman

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I would love to forget about the millennials, but their parents may sue us or yell at us because they are still hovering over their kids’ lives. In order to attract the Gen Z demographic, you first need to understand them. In my opinion, they will prove to be far more successful than their millennial counterparts, mainly because they have a shorter attention span but a higher desire to achieve success. They are strong multitaskers. They are less tolerant, especially with failure. They prefer to work independently instead of in collaborative group settings. They prefer face-to-face dialogue. They are more optimistic about their futures. They are more technologically savvy, and they care more about conveniences and products then brands, etc. Hence, if these types of individuals are desirable for your business, then simply fill in the oversized open spaces and bring back the private works stations, offer the latest in technology, help create a work environment conducive to their strengths and make sure you offer them more vacation days to find balance.

James “Jimmy” Tateco-owner and president of TKA-Evolution Apparel and of Tate Capital, and co-founder of Tate Development Corp.

The Miami Herald: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/article224735700.html

Brett and Maria Beveridge: Work Hard and Play Harder!

Brett Beveridge is a serial entrepreneur who thrives on building businesses from the ground up and prides himself on being at the forefront of technology. Since founding the Revenue Optimization Companies (T-ROC), the Founder/CEO has helped propel the parent company of six brands to become a leader in the wireless, electronics, software and retail industries, assisting many big-box retailers and Fortune 500 companies such as Apple, Sprint, AT&T, Walmart, Comcast and many more. Beveridge believes in combining people and technology to help companies reduce costs and increase sales, and always exceeding customer’s expectations.

Beveridge learned the value of hard work from a young age, performing various jobs from waiting tables to even working in a papaya field. At just 23 years old, the University of Miami Graduate started selling cell phones out of a van with a college friend, and impressively turned that bootstrap company into Let’s Talk Cellular & Wireless, which became the largest independent mobile wireless retailer in the country at the time with close to 300 stores nationwide. He would eventually take that company public and sell it to Nextel.

Beveridge would continue to harness his entrepreneurial spirit, raising millions from national venture capital firms like Goldman Sachs, to co-found LetsTalk.com, which became one of the largest online “e-tailers” of wireless products and services. In 2012, LetsTalk. com was acquired by Brightstar Corporation, the largest wireless handset distributor in the world. Over the last 20 years, Beveridge has successfully founded more than 20 companies and used his experience to help national wireless and technology companies with reorganization, profit turnarounds, mergers and acquisitions, and IPOs.

As a top leader in his field, Beveridge is the Chair of the Consumer Technology Association’s, Wireless Board, which meets throughout the year to discuss critical issues facing the industry and devise solutions. He is the past chair of The Young Presidents Organization (YPO) of Miami, where involvement allows him to foster long-term personal and business relationships and offer ideas and strategies to other business leaders in various fields.

Helping others succeed translates from Beveridge’s professional life to his personal life. For more the last 15 years, he’s been heavily involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters Miami, helping to match at-risk kids with dedicated mentors. He is a past chairman and is currently on the foundation board, where he devotes his time to raising money and awareness of the charity. Beveridge also proudly serves on the Orange Bowl Committee with a focus on helping underprivileged youths and rebuilding distressed communities. The University of Miami alum is on the university’s President’s Council and Citizens Board and has mentored college students as a volunteer in the past. His personal goal is to help shape young lives and offer them a better future.

In his spare time, you can find Beveridge golfing or on the water with his wife and three daughters, indulging in boating, fishing or snorkeling. The longtime Coral Gables resident enjoys walking to breakfast on the weekends and sampling new restaurants and experiences around South Florida.

Brett and his wife met while he was bartending at Whistler’s Café in 1985 at The Cutler Ridge Mall. She arrived with an old high school friend of his and he proceeded to make them the best strawberry daiquiris in Miami all night. She was teaching aerobics at Scandinavian Health Spa in South Miami and they quickly discovered that they were both attending The University of Miami. Shortly thereafter Brett quit the bar scene and got a job at Scandinavian health club selling memberships. When Maria refused to date “guys” that she worked with Brett transferred from that branch to one close by and she finally relented and agreed to a date. Their 5-year relationship led to a wedding in 1990. Twenty-eight years later they are still happily married.

The couple enjoys golf, boating, travel, adventures sports like skydiving, water activities. Their volunteer work includes: Orange Bowl Committee, Big Brother Big Sisters, Past Chair of the agency board and founder of the Foundation Board. YPO, Past Chair of the Miami Chapter, Boy Scouts, Best Buy Foundation, University of Miami Citizens Board, University of Miami President’s Council, University of Miami past Volunteer Mentor, Nova University Ambassador Board and various other local and national charities, Industry Board: Consumer Technology Association, Current Chair of the Wireless Division Board. Long time Social and Golf member of Riviera Country Club.

All three daughters Ashley (25), Lauren (23), and Sofia (19) grew up as dancers from the time they were 4 at Dance Empire in South Miami. All three went to Gulliver Academy Elementary and Gulliver Prep High School. Ashley graduated college with a Psychology Major and Human Development Minor from Florida State University and then a Masters in Mental Health Counseling at The University of Miami. She is currently working at The Miami Counseling and Rescue Center in Coral Gables. Ashley is volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters as a “Big Sister” to Aniyha. Lauren not only danced but was also involved in the drama department as an actor while attending Gulliver and starred in several high school plays before auditioning and being accepted to the University of Southern California’s School of Dramatic Arts. She took many acting classes and graduated with a Communications Degree from the USC Annenberg School of Communication. She is currently pursuing her acting dream in LA and has a small social media business that keeps her busy when she is not auditioning. Sofia was co-captain of the dance team at Gulliver Prep and graduated from Gulliver with an International Baccalaureate Degree and is currently a freshman at University of Texas in Austin at the prestigious Malcolm School of Business.

And finally, their dog, Cole Beveridge, 2 years old, a Beautiful black and white pure bread boxer. He is super hyper and full of energy. Loves his daily trips to the dog park in Hammock Lakes. He has tons of dog friends there that he loves to play with.

And when it comes to playing harder, “We take an exotic and adventurous trip to someplace we have never been each summer. It all started with a European Mediterranean Cruise to Spain, Turkey, France, Italy and Greece several years ago. This year was an Alaska Cruise filled with amazing excursions. We saw and walked on Glaciers, took a half day ATV Tour, went whale watching, hiking, saw the Salmon running, and much more. We ended the trip in Victoria Canada with a tour of Butchart Gardens. On the bucket list is an African Safari, and an action-packed trip to Chile. Who knows what is after that.”

Most CEOs say PortMiami Should Expand More, Without Hurting the Fragile Eco-System

CEOs were asked: PortMiami was dredged three years ago at a cost of $205 million to accommodate mega ships. Now PortMiami, which had a record year in terms of cargo and passengers, wants to enlarge the port even more. Where do you stand?

We support this request and future initiative. It is a must-do. However, a delicate balance between the environment, ship access, and dual port use needs to be in harmony with the limited ingress and egress. Bigger port equals more business.

Jim AngletonCEO for Aegis FinServ Corp.

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As a gateway to Central and South America and the Caribbean, South Florida relies heavily on its ports. These economic resources should be maintained to meet the growing demand but in an ecologically sound manner that does not threaten our environmental treasures, which in themselves support local industries and enrich our quality of life.

Wael BarsoumM.D., CEO and president of Cleveland Clinic Florida

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I am a supporter of a further expansion of PortMiami. When the original project was developed and approved, cargo and cruise ships where much smaller. Now that there has been significant consolidation in the shipping industry, much larger vessels are being utilized because they are more economical. This will not change in the future, so for the port to be competitive and attractive, it must be able to accommodate larger ships and more throughput. This project will generate billions of dollars over the years for our community and add jobs for South Florida residents. It will also promote more opportunities for new entrants to the cruise industry, like the recent Richard Branson/Virgin Voyages announcement.

Brett Beveridge, CEO and founder of The Revenue Optimization Companies (T-ROC)

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I am fine with this expansion and it is a main source of business and commerce in South Florida. I just know that small and minority businesses need to be given more opportunities to grow and be included in this next wave of growth. Presently, the Port’s record (the county’s for that matter) is abysmal on small business participation. The county’s own disparity study has not been fully activated to include a more stringent policy that would increase minority participation.

Bill Diggspresident, The Mourning Family Foundation

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As a general matter, I am disposed in favor of spending money to improve infrastructure and give Miami a competitive advantage over other cities. As to this specific project, however, I would like to know the financial return we are getting on the $205 million that was already spent, and I would need to better understand the cost of the additional enlargement and anticipated benefits in terms of cargo and passengers.

Jessica Goldman SrebnickCEO of Goldman Properties and Goldman Global Arts

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Our seaport is the second largest economic engine in Miami-Dade County and plays a critical part in our continued economic development. Trade and the cruise industry are key parts of our economy and we need to ensure that the port remains competitive and accessible to new and larger ships. Thousands of jobs — direct and indirect — depend on it. At the same time, we need to ensure that any dredging is accomplished with minimal environmental impact.

Jorge Gonzalezpresident and CEO, City National Bank

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Increasing South Florida’s competitive edge in the marketplace is crucial for our economy. Expanding our ports gives local businesses faster and easier access to world markets. Like PortMiami, Port Everglades is embarking on a project to deepen the navigational channels into the port as well as add additional capacity, allowing Post-Panamax ships to visit the port fully loaded. It’s important that we support these infrastructure projects with nearby hotels, easy highway access, and smart rail access to move goods in and out of the ports. These important infrastructure projects help all of South Florida grow and attract new businesses. At the same time, there is a need for balance. Developments should not take place without evaluating the impact on the local community and environment.

Gregory Adam Hailepresident of Broward College

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We should continue to rely on public-private partnerships to drive the economic engines of the state. The port is a key tool for expanding trade and supporting economic growth in South Florida.

Louis Hernandez Jr., CEO of Black Dragon Capital

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Cargo is the biggest economic engine at PortMiami and has a tremendous ripple effect throughout Miami-Dade County in transportation, warehousing and other fields. There is intense competition for this business, not only from ports on both Florida coasts and farther north, but from so-called “inland ports.” PortMiami must continue to expand and evolve or risk losing business to aggressive competitors.

Agostinho Alfonso Macedopresident and CEO of Ocean Bank

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Provided that adequate steps are taken to assess and address the environmental and traffic impacts of the expansion of the Port of Miami, I would support efforts to enlarge the port. I think the port is an important contributor to the economy of South Florida.

Paul Singermanco-chair of Berger Singerman

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Most great international waterfront cities have a large, successful port. Yes, I do feel the port should continue its efforts to strategically expand. The more business it generates, the more money will filter down into our economy. There is a direct correlation to the increased tourism and international shipping businesses at PortMiami, to our strong local economy.

James “Jimmy” Tateco-owner and president of TKA-Evolution Apparel and of Tate Capital, and co-founder of Tate Development Corp.

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While I have an affinity for nature and the environment, we should also respect the concept of supply and demand. Based on our location and successful expansion efforts, Miami is quickly becoming known world-wide for entertainment, business, and travel. At this rate, Miami will eventually reach its capacity for enlarging the port. For now, Miami should entertain the thought of expansion. Currently, I have not seen enough data to persuade me one way or the other.

Dorcas L. WilcoxCEO of Miami Bridge Youth & Family Services

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PortMiami plays a critical role in South Florida’s economy. It is a major hub for commerce and tourism. Our unique eco-system also plays a critical role in our economy. It sustains us, draws tourism, and provides the amazing vistas that makes this a beautiful and inspiring place to live. As our cities grow and thrive, we must find solutions that allow for economic growth balanced with protecting our fragile environment.

Chelsea WilkersonCEO of Girl Scouts Tropical Florida

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The Best Gift These CEOs Ever Received?

CEOs were asked: What is the best holiday gift you ever received?

My wife surprised me with a custom set of golf clubs. While I was not into the sport and business was my main focus, it was time to enjoy life. Golf has become one of my sporting passions, plus every banker I knew was into the sport …

That year, we won the Beacon Council inaugural tourney and received a beautiful crystal Tiffany trophy.

Jim AngletonCEO for Aegis FinServ Corp.

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When I was 7, my parents got me an electric race car set. It came in a huge box that was irresistible, so much so that I tore open the wrapping paper to have a peek before Christmas. I then unskillfully closed it back up with masking tape. My parents were not fooled, but they did not punish me. The excitement I felt with that gift has never been matched.

Wael BarsoumM.D., CEO and president of Cleveland Clinic Florida

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The best Christmas gift I ever received was when I proposed to my girlfriend of five years on Christmas Eve, and she said “Yes.” We met while I was bartending at Whistler’s Café in Cutler Ridge Mall. She arrived with an old high school friend, and I proceeded to make them the best strawberry daiquiris in Miami all night. She was teaching aerobics at [a health spa] in South Miami, and we quickly discovered that we were both attending the University of Miami. Shortly after that, I quit the bar scene and got a job at her health club selling memberships. When she refused to date “guys” that she worked with, I moved from that branch to one close by, and she finally relented and agreed to a date. Twenty-eight years later, we are still happily married, with three gorgeous daughters, Ashley, Lauren, and Sofia.

Brett Beveridge, CEO and founder of The Revenue Optimization Companies (T-ROC)

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By far, the best Christmas gift I ever received was the news that I was pregnant with my daughter, Gabriella. I was actually hosting a big Christmas Eve party at my house when I found out I was pregnant. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was having a baby girl and I was ecstatic. Needless to say the best part of that party was my “cookie” baking in the oven! She is 20 years old now, and nothing will ever be able to top that moment.

Jacqueline Dascal Chariffchairman, Continental National Bank and CEO of CosmeticPerks.com

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My kids, Drew and Dominique, gave me a collage of pictures that chronicled the years of their childhood with me. Many of the pictures from that time period had been lost, and these pictures meant the world to me as it showed us as the close family unit that we were. It is one of my most cherished possessions. They are both adults now, and as I get older, I become more sentimental and connected to them.

Bill Diggspresident, The Mourning Family Foundation

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For me, it’s all about effort. Something handmade from my children, something sparkling from my husband. I get as much joy, if not more, out of giving than receiving. There are many ways to show admiration and love. Objects are not what people remember, how you make someone feel is what gets emblazoned in your memory bank. Making the effort to be thoughtful, personal and creative is the ultimate in gift-giving.

Jessica Goldman SrebnickCEO of Goldman Properties and Goldman Global Arts

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For me, Christmas has always been about time. Time with my family, time with my children, time with the people I love most. My wife Melinda blessed me with twins — and every second I spend with them is priceless. They are the most precious gift in my world.

Jorge Gonzalezpresident and CEO, City National Bank

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In the late 1990s, my then-girlfriend, now wife (Chae) and I were attending Arizona State University. I was in New York visiting my family for the Christmas break. My girlfriend was going to visit my family for the first time over the Christmas break — a very big deal. A massive snowstorm hit the East Coast. Although nearly all flights were canceled, she maneuvered her way to Philadelphia. Nearly all roads were closed, but I was able to get to Philadelphia by train to greet my future bride. She met my parents for the first time, on time. Best Christmas gift ever.

Gregory Adam Hailepresident of Broward College

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As a child, the best Christmas gift I was given was a silver Schwinn dirt bike with five-spoke Tuff wheels and a No. 7 plate in front, matching my favorite sports number. My parents gave it to me when I was in the sixth grade. It was the first time I felt our standard of living was improving and it was awesome!

Louis Hernandez Jr., CEO of Black Dragon Capital

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For me, Christmas is about religion and family. I work all year long on deals and loans and tangible things like borrower’s equity, collateral and source of funds. At Christmas, I look to the intangible. No physical present will ever compare to the gift of having my children at Christmas and seeing them grow.

Agostinho Alfonso Macedopresident and CEO of Ocean Bank

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It was a beautiful blessing that weighed approximately six pounds. My wife, Janie, gave birth to our daughter Erin on Christmas Eve in 1993. The gift of life is as beautiful and special as it gets. Erin, as with all of our children, reminds us each day how blessed we all are.

Let me use this opportunity to wish everybody a Happy, Healthy and blessed Holiday Season.

James “Jimmy” Tateco-owner and president of TKA-Evolution Apparel and of Tate Capital, and co-founder of Tate Development Corp.

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The best Christmas gift that I ever received was a King James Bible by my deceased grandmother, Pastor Iver-Lee Baldwin. She advised me life would be hard but as long as I trusted in the Lord. I could get through any adversity. My grandmother further explained that I could always turn to the Bible and God for the answers I needed in life.

Since then, I have become a firm believer that no matter what you put your mind to, everyone is capable of achieving greatness. I understand that everyone may not have the same experiences in life.

When my grandmother gifted me my first Bible, she also taught me that with faith (in God) and in yourself, everyone has a gift and purpose in this life. You have to believe in you before anyone else will.

Rashad D. Thomasvice president of business connect and community outreach for the Miami Super Bowl Host Committee

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The best Christmas gift I ever received was the look on my daughter’s face when she opened her gifts at the age of 9. At Christmas time in previous years, I was a single mother with limited income, but my daughter never judged me for coming up short with gifts. That particular year, I decided to grow up, double down, and take a second job at Toys “R” Us in order to surprise her with more than the one standard gift. When she woke up on Christmas morning, there were so many toys, she didn’t know where to start. The look of surprise and appreciation on her face for that one moment in time said it all. So that Christmas, I received a double gift — teaching myself about what hard work yields, and the indescribable feeling of watching my hard work pay off with the person who mattered most.

Dorcas L. WilcoxCEO of Miami Bridge Youth and Family Services, Inc.

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My most memorable Christmas gift was the year I did not get one. A family in my hometown in rural Idaho suffered a house fire just a few week before the holidays; their home was destroyed and they lost everything. My mom decided we were going to “adopt” them and give them the gifts we would have received. At the age of 9, I thought it was a terrible idea. While the family was in Christmas Eve church services, we filled their van with the gifts, and then hid in our car across the parking lot so we could see them open their van and discover the gifts. They never knew who gave them those gifts. I still remember this experience and the lifelong impact it had in teaching me about generosity and giving.

Chelsea WilkersonCEO of Girl Scouts Tropical Florida

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CEOs Discuss Their Top Workforce Challenges for 2019

CEOs were asked: Heading into 2019, what do you see as the three biggest challenges for your company’s workforce?

1) Finding workers that are highly skilled and experienced is becoming an increasingly problematic endeavor in health care. We continue to search for nurses, physical therapists, and other care providers, and only see the competition becoming more intense to recruit and retain a high quality workforce; 2) The technology used in health care is becoming increasingly sophisticated, requiring robust training programs for our workforce and the need to recruit additional staff with appropriate experience with the electronic medical record and associated modules, including those related to telemedicine and apps used to care for our patients. 3) Finally, the basic nature of health care delivery is rapidly changing. Multidisciplinary and highly interactive teams are needed to provide high quality patient care. Forming and supporting high performing teams in both the inpatient and ambulatory settings is a major priority.

Dr. Edward Abraham, executive vice president for Health Affairs of the University of Miami and CEO of UHealth – the UM Health System

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We have had many challenges locating a large enough facility to accommodate up to 900 employees for our Call Center, and talent is extremely difficult. Secondly, our Cybersecurity Operational Center location has been chosen but again, technology talent in Miami is missing. To this point, we are recruiting and forced to relocate necessary professionals. Lastly, due to outrageous traffic and poor public transportation, we are evaluating changing our office schedule to 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday, and three-day weekends.

Jim AngletonCEO for Aegis FinServ Corp.

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As a regional healthcare leader, Cleveland Clinic relies on the caliber of our workforce to deliver world-class care. The national nursing shortage is an industry-wide issue that we feel locally as well. As a teaching hospital, we embrace our role in educating the next generation of nurses. Second, the nature of healthcare delivery and the need for 24-hour access in certain settings can make work-life balance a challenge. Preventing caregiver burnout is a priority for us. Lastly, the high cost of living in South Florida coupled with low reimbursement rates for healthcare services can hamper talent recruitment for the region.

Wael BarsoumM.D., CEO and president of Cleveland Clinic Florida

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The biggest workforce challenges we face as a company in 2019 are complicated and not easily solvable. With unemployment now in the vicinity of 3.9 percent, merely competing for great talent is a monumental undertaking. Employees now have more choices than ever before and can choose occupations that offer a work-when-you-want option, higher wages, and more attractive soft benefits than ever. Retaining employees once you have attracted them is becoming increasingly more difficult as well. Combine attracting and retaining great people with the ever-changing shift of skills and only the strong will survive. We focus most of our marketing expenditures and HR efforts on making our company so fun and opportunistic that our people want to stay and grow, even though they might have a better option elsewhere.

Brett Beveridge, CEO and founder of The Revenue Optimization Companies (T-ROC)

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1) We are building a new community center and our ability to scale our company and maintain the awesome culture that we have created will be a challenge; 2) We are now one of the largest black-owned and operated nonprofits in town, and with Alonzo Mourning becoming a more savvy business person, we are working hard to create a sustainable business model based on creating a national model. We must continually reinvent ourselves and realize that we must remain a Best in Class nonprofit and no longer rely on the celebrity that the Mournings have always had; 3) Creating and enforcing policies that govern sophisticated and sustainable businesses will be something with which we will continue to grapple. With this new building, we will quickly double in size. Finding, recruiting and on-boarding new employees within our structure will be a challenge for which we must prepare.

Bill Diggspresident, The Mourning Family Foundation

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We’re going to have to continuously adapt to a changing competitive landscape, invest in the best recruiting, and retaining the best talent, and develop innovative ways to improve the client experience.

Jorge Gonzalezpresident and CEO, City National Bank

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I think the top three issues for our firm and our portfolio companies are (1) access to high technology talent, (2) convincing top performers around the world to move to South Florida, and (3) creating a culture to compete and win.

Louis Hernandez Jr., CEO of Black Dragon Capital

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I see something all banks face — continuing professional development and keeping up with the ever-evolving and more sophisticated banking regulations. Bankers must not only know the rules, they increasingly need to learn about and understand our customers’ business and their banking needs and trends. “Know your customer” should be more than a banking regulation. It should be the driving force in every customer relationship.

Agostinho Alfonso Macedopresident and CEO of Ocean Bank

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Our workforce, both attorney team members and support team members, will need to continue to invest substantial time and energy in implementing new technology in order to better and more efficiently serve our clients. We expect that our firm’s recently appointed Innovation Advisor will add value here. For our attorney team members, we will challenge ourselves to enhance our efficiency and productivity and make smart decisions regarding budgeting for our services and crafting alternative fee arrangements. Our Chief Legal Project Management and Pricing Officer is leading these efforts for us. And finally, we will continue to focus on the wellbeing and health of our team members at every level.

Paul Singermanco-chair of Berger Singerman

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Our employees are a microcosm of our community which is a microcosm of our country and as such, I assume most employees are concerned about higher quality education , affordable housing and security . Fortunately , our corporate offices are located in the North Dade area which rates pretty high in regard to school systems, affordable housing and security .

James “Jimmy” Tateco-owner and president of TKA-Evolution Apparel and of Tate Capital, and co-founder of Tate Development Corp.

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Heading into 2019, the three biggest challenges that the Miami Orange Bowl Host Committee workforce faces are competing for higher minimum wages that are comparable to similar cities, the current plan to upgrade the service industry into more high-end professional and secure jobs, and coping with retention rates due to the need for more affordable housing to meet the demand of an increased workforce. In order to grow the company’s workforce, future employees need to have access to adequate housing, transportation, and safe communities.

Rashad D. Thomasvice president of business connect and community outreach for the Miami Super Bowl Host Committee

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1) The biggest challenge for our company’s workforce shall be the impact of U.S. trade agreements with China, as these will directly affect our construction material costs, which can increase substantially. 2) The unfortunate natural disasters, such as hurricanes and floods, in Florida and surrounding states drives skilled construction workers to those devastated areas, making it more difficult and costly for labor in south Florida. 3) Technology adaptability to our construction work force, who have not necessarily utilized field technology in the construction building process. We have plans on iPads on-site, digital construction cameras, virtual team meetings, and online field productivity tracking, which was not customary five years or even two years ago, and now it is our standard for construction.

Manny Angelo Varaspresident and CEO of MV Construction Group

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Working with at-risk youth can be challenging, stressful and sometimes even dangerous. We must find and train dedicated and compassionate employees who are able to deal with issues that affect today’s teens, e.g., being sexually trafficked, gang affiliations, domestic violence, gun control and bullying, especially for our LGBTQ youth. Budget cuts at the local, state, and federal level threaten the very bane of our existence, as 60 percent of our agency’s budget is dependent on government funding, and private funding is so competitive in a South Florida market with 600+ local charities. Maintaining exceptional, professional staff through competitive wages in the not-for-profit world, coupled with unaffordable housing in South Florida, is a huge challenge.

Dorcas L. WilcoxCEO of Miami Bridge Youth & Family Services

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The challenges for our workforce and volunteers at Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida continue to be high cost of living, increasing transportation gridlock, and the cost of medical/health insurance. These are not new challenges, they are issues that seem to get worse year over year. We strive to find creative and new solutions to these issues, however, we feel the impacts of these challenges daily.

Chelsea WilkersonCEO of Girl Scouts Tropical Florida

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Recession ahead? CEO’s Divided on Whether They See Signs of One

Healthcare continues to grow as a major part of the economy. We have not been seeing any signs of a recession, which is why we continue to take steps to build our clinical programs. There is a great need to provide accessible specialty healthcare services for our community and the region.

Dr. Edward Abraham, executive vice president for Health Affairs of the University of Miami and CEO of UHealth – the UM Health System

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I see the warning signs in the real estate sector already — certain retailers going dark; slowdown in purchasing will cause more employee layoffs in the future. The cost of living plus inflation has increased but [am] wondering if it will sustain or roll back. Fed interest rate increases are not helping.

Jim AngletonCEO for Aegis FinServ Corp.

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Historically, recessions have a delayed impact on healthcare providers because of access to healthcare benefits post-layoff through COBRA. We are not seeing any early signs of a recession. Cleveland Clinic Florida maintains the highest acute-care occupancy rates in the region.

Wael BarsoumM.D., CEO and president

of Cleveland Clinic Florida

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We do not see any signs of a recession in our business or industry. To the contrary, we are fortunate that we will have our seventh consecutive record in 2018 and are poised for an even better 2019. The recent volatility in the stock market and global events does raise concerns about our future economy. We have plans in place and are prepared to not only survive but thrive when a recession eventually comes.

Brett Beveridge, CEO and founder of The Revenue Optimization Companies (T-ROC)

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We are in the nonprofit space. Our businesses feel slowdown first as it shows up in reduced giving. We have not seen any signs of it yet.

Bill Diggspresident, The Mourning Family Foundation

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I definitely see some retreating of prices in the commercial real estate market, as many investors chasing yield overpaid for assets that are not supported by rental income. However, since the term “recession” has a specific definition — two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth — I am not prepared or qualified to say that those are signs of an impending recession.

Jessica Goldman SrebnickCEO of Goldman Properties and Goldman Global Arts

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Luckily, South Florida has experienced steady economic growth for nearly a decade, and the metrics continue to be positive. Undoubtedly this streak will come to an end, but when the next economic downturn comes, it should not be as bad as the last one, because the fundamentals have changed – larger and more diverse investment base, greater liquidity and more equity, particularly in the real estate market.

Jorge Gonzalezpresident and CEO, City National Bank

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We are concerned about retention and wage inflation, rising housing costs in some regions, and competition for hiring. In other regions, we are seeing a softening of the housing markets, continued high wage inflation that is likely unsustainable, and increased volatility in buying patterns in certain technology areas created by market disruption from accelerated digitation.

Louis Hernandez Jr., CEO of Black Dragon Capital

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At Ocean Bank we see a slowdown in loans and new business due to increased interest rates. The difference from earlier cycles is that banks are observing stricter guidelines on collateral, pre-purchase or pre-leasing and greater borrower equity in development projects.

Agostinho Alfonso Macedopresident and CEO of Ocean Bank

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I don’t see a major recession on the horizon (barring any unforeseen material external factors), but what I do see is an economic plateau with ebbs and flows. One key point to keep in mind is that our economy has experienced a major paradigm shift which has radically altered the economic markers historically used to predict the economic future. Economies are now global in scale, meaning many of the economic equations must be rewritten whereby new variables and constants are identified and defined before any definitive forecasts can be made. Hence, when things don’t make sense, I go back to the basics: Barriers to entry, Supply Side Economics and available cash on the sidelines ready to invest. Based upon these basics, I do not see a bad recession in the immediate future.

James “Jimmy” Tateco-owner and president of TKA-Evolution Apparel and of Tate Capital, and co-founder of Tate Development Corp.

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One of the many signs of forecasting a recession is the rise in the unemployment rate. In the past year, we have seen unprecedented unemployment rates hit all-time lows and highs. Earlier in 2018, the unemployment rate rose to 4%, after dropping to an 18-year low of 3.8% in May. The number of people who were unemployed also grew by half a million. The fluctuation in unemployment is a sign consistent with an economy that is entering the late stages of the business cycle where businesses cease to expand, the GDP diminishes for two consecutive quarters, the rate of unemployment rises and housing prices decline.

Rashad D. Thomasvice president of business connect and community outreach for the Miami Super Bowl Host Committee

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I see a lot of confidence in the economy at this time and especially in foreign investors entering the south Florida market. So I do not see a recession anytime in the near future.

Manny Angelo Varaspresident and CEO of MV Construction Group

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Today we see everyday people working hard, but still struggling to live the American dream of home ownership. More college graduates than ever are moving back home because they can’t afford to pay for apartment living and at the same time repay student loans with today’s living wages. If the push continues for a desperately needed $15 minimum wage, it will surely negatively affect smaller companies that will not be prepared and able to meet those standards.

Dorcas L. WilcoxCEO of Miami Bridge Youth & Family Services

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No, we are not yet seeing signs of a recession. We’ve had a positive year in fundraising and membership growth; and anticipate an increase in the Girl Scout cookie program this year! However, in anticipation of a possible recession, we are taking measures to be prepared by focusing on growing our membership and increasing our financial reserves.

Chelsea WilkersonCEO of Girl Scouts Tropical Florida

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CEO’s Thoughts on Amazon’s HQ2 in Miami

 

CEOs were asked: Amazon chose to go elsewhere than South Florida/Miami for its HQ2, but the deals in N.Y. and Virginia are being heavily criticized. In hindsight, is this too bad or a relief/good riddance for us?

Our South Florida business environment is vibrant and growing at a rapid pace. The inclusion of Amazon in the mix would have been a wonderful addition and would have accelerated our growth. Nonetheless, South Florida is recognized as a great place to live and do business, and will continue to grow its reputation as a prime locale for technology and consumer oriented enterprise.

Dr. Edward Abraham, executive vice president for Health Affairs of the University of Miami and CEO of UHealth – the UM Health System

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Miami is perfect for the Amazon Prime Distribution Center but not a key contender for Prime HQ. Was nice to be considered but, Miami suffers from lack of talent, housing, and it has commuting issues, therefore the moves to those cities made perfect sense to us. In this case, too bad, but we’re not ready.

Jim AngletonCEO for Aegis FinServ Corp.

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Amazon’s decision is neither good nor bad for South Florida. Our region has a lot to offer – culture, diversity, economic vitality and global positioning. The opportunity will be embraced by another.

Wael BarsoumM.D., CEO and president of Cleveland Clinic Florida

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There are pros and cons for “winning” this competition. I am a massive believer in South Florida as a premier location for any business big or small. We are ideally located geographically from a global perspective. We have a unique and diverse culture. We benefit from fantastic weather, all professional sports teams, world-class museums and performing arts venues, world-renowned events like the Super Bowl, Orange Bowl, and Art Basel Miami Beach, and no state income tax. One of our concerns is our overloaded infrastructure. We all feel the congestion of our airports, the challenges with our ports and everyday old traffic jams, any time of day. As a community, we need not only to continue to attract entrepreneurs and small businesses but also grow big businesses in South Florida for us to be competitive and thrive long term. When Amazon decided to go elsewhere, we kicked the can down the road on dealing with our infrastructure issues, but we haven’t solved them. I am disappointed that we were not able to win this bid but have confidence that it is only a matter of time before other Fortune 500 companies take notice and locate their headquarters here in South Florida.

Brett Beveridge, CEO and founder of The Revenue Optimization Companies (T-ROC)

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It is always unfortunate when we lose business to other cities and regions. Over the years, we have lost many business opportunities that can really transform this city into a real business hub. It is part and parcel of a bigger issue. Those issues/solutions are a more robust public transportation system, affordable workforce housing and a more educated and diverse local workforce.

Bill Diggspresident, The Mourning Family Foundation

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I think regions benefit when more technology based jobs become part of their economic base. While many are concerned about giving economic benefits to large and profitable companies, these industries bring high paying positions and provide a positive economic impact in the form of consumer spending, home sales, restaurants, entertainment, car sales, and other services. And they attract or spawn other high-tech businesses, further accelerating economic benefits. Altogether, they can dramatically enhance the economic buying power and standard of living in a region.

Louis Hernandez Jr., CEO of Black Dragon Capital

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Amazon HQ2 would have been beneficial for Miami — the jobs, the bump in housing demand, the direct effect on retail sales and sales tax, and the overall economic impact. I am a supporter of the Beacon Council and its mission to recruit businesses to relocate and expand in Miami-Dade County. I’m sorry to see Amazon go elsewhere.

Agostinho Alfonso Macedopresident and CEO of Ocean Bank

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I assume the South Florida committee responsible for making a presentation to Amazon for their new HQ2 performed a well-vetted cost-benefit analysis prior to making any formal bids. On the surface, the NY & Va. bid looks outlandish but it’s hard to say for sure without truly understanding the economics of the proposals that were ultimately accepted. All we’re hearing at this point is white noise.

I believe rolling out the proverbial red carpet is worth the trouble when there’s a possibility to attract a corporation with the scale and impact of an Amazon.

James “Jimmy” Tateco-owner and president of TKA-Evolution Apparel and of Tate Capital, and co-founder of Tate Development Corp.

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After being named amongst the top 20 finalists as the city to be chosen, it is a win-win situation for South Florida not to be selected as the second headquarters for Amazon. Amazon chose to split the second headquarters between New York City and the Washington, D.C., suburb of Arlington, Virginia. Together they will divide up the 50,000 high-paying jobs the online retail giant is expected to bring. Miami and South Florida is now a city for other businesses to consider when looking to expand into new locations. There are many benefits to being viewed as the underdog.

Rashad D. Thomasvice president of business connect and community outreach for the Miami Super Bowl Host Committee

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I strongly believe Amazon made a mistake in not selecting Miami for HQ2. The site amazon passed in Miami neighbored Paramount Miami World Center which is the most remarkable development in the United states and Miami is the gateway to the americas and I am surprised they did not select Miami and I believe that is a regrettable decision.

Manny Angelo Varaspresident and CEO of MV Construction Group

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I believe it’s too bad for us. For the past two decades, Miami has become a mecca for new ideas, populations and a booming economy. Building and expansion has taken South Florida to new heights. Since many businesses have striven to pay the living wage of $13.44 in Miami-Dade County, the offer of Amazon to pay a minimum of $15 per hour would have been a positive step in the right direction. Even if South Florida closed the deal and it wasn’t totally successful, we should never be afraid to go after business deals that could potentially boost our economy and create job expansion

Dorcas L. WilcoxCEO of Miami Bridge Youth & Family Services

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Congratulations to NY and Virginia on their successful bid for HQ2; time will tell the merit of the investment. For South Florida, this is a good opportunity to reflect on the workforce and infrastructure development required so we will be viable candidates for future investments of this scale. We must continue to develop a 21st century workforce – one that ensures equal access and pay equity for women in all industries.

Chelsea WilkersonCEO of Girl Scouts Tropical Florida

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Merchandising Spotlight: Interactive Retail Displays

 

Merchandising Spotlight: Interactive Retail Displays

Walk into most any major department store, and you can’t miss it. Customers gathered around an interactive display or kiosk. What’s the attraction? For starters, they’re fun, captivating and entertaining. Interactive displays give customers to opportunity to see what your product looks like in action, customize a product, or even buy it on the spot. Customers are drawn to them because of the need to touch, feel and experience products before they buy them. Interactive displays have the opportunity to engage customers in a way that static displays can’t.

Here are a few tips to getting the most out of your interactive display.

Keep your message on brand and up-to-date.

Keep your messaging clear and consistent. You want customers to remember not just the cool bells and whistles of the interactive experience but your product and the brand. And make sure that you have a retail associate tasked with updating the display to reflect price changes, special promotions and keeping it fully operational.

Have a clear call to action.

What do you want customers to do? Print out what the specifications of the product they just tried, with clear directions as to where to find it in the store? Place an order? Find an associate to assist with their purchase? Once you’ve captured their attention, ensure that it’s clear what you want customers to do next.

Make sure you have the right staffing

There’s no question that retailers are facing a labor shortage. With a healthy economy and low employment, it’s a challenge to find qualified retail merchandisers with the technical expertise to set-up, maintain and monitor interactive displays, which are becoming increasingly complex. Working with a company like T-ROC, which has a national network of retail merchandisers, ensures that you have a team of retail experts at the ready.

T-ROC offers fully integrated, cost-effective merchandising solutions, including new-store set-up, display builds, Planogram maintenance, compliance audits, new product introduction, retail analysis, product fulfillment and much more. T-ROC’s merchandising solutions are part of a comprehensive suite of services that provide a full end-to-end sales solution that enables manufacturers and retailers to fulfill all their sales performance needs.