New Initiatives Yield Strong Results for Beacon Council Committees

November 18, 2015

(Miami, FL – Nov. 18, 2015) – The Beacon Council’s industry and community-based committees shared positive progress and results in support of the organization’s mission to increase jobs and investment by marketing Miami-Dade County, growing local businesses and helping shape the community’s economic future. Highlights included new curriculum and training opportunities tied to high-growth industry sectors; creation of the Miami Fashion Incubator; a micro-funding web platform for small businesses; and a partnership with the Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce to connect urban contractors to corporate procurement opportunities.

The Beacon Council Committees include industry leaders, and academic and community partners who examine issues and opportunities within an industry that enable or inhibit job growth in target industries. They also assist with lead generation and business expansion, retention and recruitment. Their recommendations and action plans are implemented throughout the year and reported on during the annual One Community One Goal Report to the Community and The Beacon Council Annual Meeting.

“Our committee structure helps engage members in our mission of growing jobs and investment,” The Beacon Council President & CEO Larry K. Williams said. “The committees provide valuable input, insight and direction with industry-specific recommendations.”

The following includes highlights from our past year (fiscal 2014-15) and ongoing goals for each committee:

Small Business: Chair Andrew Ashby, Bank United

Facilitating the development of a financial web-based platform providing micro-funding solutions for small businesses in Miami-Dade County. The new platform designed to support micro and small businesses with information, resources and access to financing was launched Nov. 6 through a partnership with The National Development Corporation and Citibank.

Technology: Co-Chairs Nelson Fonseca, Medina Capital; and Kevin Levy, GrayRobinson

Development of a web/mobile-friendly site that maps Miami’s tech ecosystem in a comprehensive and visually appealing way, including everything from traditional IT companies and service-providers to startups, funding sources and educational institutions. Creation of a series of industry-specific forums that will connect entrepreneurs/startups with Miami’s traditional private sector companies.

Trade & Logistics: Co-Chairs Gary Goldfarb, Interport Group of Companies; and Charlotte Gallogly, World Trade Center Miami

Created new curriculum in Trade & Logistics to help local students understand and access training programs within the industry, one of the top employers in Miami-Dade County and an industry that includes high-paying jobs that are accessible without a college degree but with specialized training. Connecting entrepreneurs with corporate partners to help entrepreneurs grow and provide corporations with products and services.

Urban Initiatives: Co-Chairs Jaret Davis, Greenberg Traurig; and Scott Coble, Wells Fargo

Launched Diversity Procurement initiatives in partnership with Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce in order to connect urban contractors with corporate procurement officers and share best practices about business opportunities. The first program held Oct. 26 focused on best practices for small businesses interested in doing business with the University of Miami and included speakers representing departments such as Sourcing in Supply Chain Services, Facilities Design & Construction and Real Estate and Facilities. Three more sessions are planned for 2016.

Aviation: Chair Aviv Tzur, Avbiz Aerospace Adventures

Promoted general aviation airports as strategic assets of Miami-Dade’s local aviation industry at aviation events including: Maintenance Repair & Overhaul Americas, Paris Air Show, and the International Air Transport Association’s World Maintenance Symposium. Discussed and identified pathways with all local aviation education entities for students from high school to college and including internships. Helped to develop internships with Boeing and Miami-Dade County Public Schools George T. Baker Aviation School. Promoted and supported SAFEE (South Florida Aviators Fly-in and Educational Expo) flight event internally and externally for community support and sponsorship.

Banking & Finance: CoChairs Ernie Diaz, TD Bank; and Roberto Muñoz, BBVA Compass Bank

Establishing Financial Center of Excellence in Miami-Dade County to provide leadership, best practices, research, support and/or training for the industry.  Promoting local financial industry education and training programs. Developing “Community Reinvestment Act” eligibility so that financial institutions and other organizations funding the Center of Excellence can obtain federal credits.

Creative Design: Chair Joe Roisman, Perry Elis International

Launched the Arts & Business Survey to examine how local businesses support non-profit arts activities. Supporting the establishment of the Miami Fashion Incubator whose goal is to identify the next generation of fashion entrepreneurs, provide them with business resources, and connect them to the region’s business and fashion network. The incubator’s central purpose is to help establish an economically sustainable fashion community, support the development of a savvy and creative workforce, and serve as a force that supports the larger economic development of the region; Promoting local Creative Design academic programming and curriculum.

International AdvisoryChair Yolanda Nader, Dosal Tobacco

Working with major foreign trade offices and consulates in Miami to host business delegations that help cement strategic relationships including the Trade and Investment Office of Andalucía, Spain an area that is focusing on the tech sector; and representatives of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade. Assisting in planning and developing of economic development missions including those held in France and Brazil by adding expertise, contacts and multi-lingual skills.  

Life Sciences & Healthcare: CoChairs Bill Duquette, Homestead Baptist Hospital; and Eris Thomas, Coral Gables Executive Physicians

Collaborated with Florida International University (FIU), Miami-Dade Public Schools and Baptist Health South Florida to host 19 students from North Miami Senior High for a full day tour of the FIU Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine to address One Community One Goal recommendation to build a workforce of life sciences and healthcare professionals by exposing students to career opportunities within the industry. Further developing the industry by supporting recruitment, expansion, and retention programs and serving as a source for knowledge and communication of intelligence.  

New Leaders Taskforce: Chair Matt Anderson, International Property Consultants

Developing a network of sustainable relationships and strategic partnerships to collaborate on efforts to tackle talent retention. Further developing signature annual Why Miami? event to showcase the community as an area where young professionals can thrive civically and professionally.

We are pleased to announce the following new leaders appointed to serve this year (fiscal 2015-16):

Urban Committee Chair-Elect – Barron Channer; BACH Real Estate

International Committee Chair – A. Josh Markus, Carlton Fields Jorden Burt

Aviation Committee Chair-Elect – Alex DeGunten, HEICO

Creative Design Committee Chair- Elect – Jonathan Bruckner, Tiffany & Co. 

New Leaders Task Force Chair – Oscar Lopez, TD Bank; and Chair-Elect Lauren Watson, CallisonRTKL

About The Beacon Council

The Beacon Council, Miami-Dade County’s official economic development partnership, is a public-private organization celebrating its 30th anniversary. Since 1985, the nonprofit has assisted more than 980 businesses that have created more than 65,000 direct jobs and added more than $4 billion in new capital investments. The organization accomplishes this by marketing Miami-Dade as a world-class business location, growing local companies and shaping the local economy’s future. For more information, visit


Source: Old Beacon Site