Photo: Eileen EscardaFrank Sacco retires as CEO of Memorial Healthcare System next month after 28 years overseeing its growth.
Southeast Florida Roundup
Leaving on top: CEO Frank Sacco steps aside as Memorial Healthcare System steps up its game
Construction begins this year on an expansion to support a new residency program at the Memorial Healthcare System in south Broward. Memorial Hospital West, meanwhile, will add space and 84 beds. A major expansion of the system’s cancer treatment center begins in 2017.
The new facilities and education program will mark a new era in another way: The system will be without Frank Sacco as president and CEO for the first time in 28 years. Sacco retires Feb. 29 after 41 years with the system, the third-largest taxpayer-supported health care system in the nation.
The district holds the dominant market position in south Broward and a strong balance sheet, according to bond rating agencies Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s. The system is well run but faces challenges in its high exposure to uninsured patients and Medicaid patients, the rating agencies say. The system no longer uses tax dollars to cover the uninsured and has the lowest tax rate in its history. Property tax revenue goes only to pay municipal fees and the county’s Medicaid match.
Under Sacco, the system grew from one hospital to six and from $115 million in net worth to $1.8 billion. Many point to the creation of Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital as Sacco’s greatest legacy. But he says, his proudest accomplishment “is the impact I’ve made on the staff and the culture of Memorial.”
Sacco, an avid cyclist and hiker, is moving to Ormond Beach, where he plans to renovate a house, pursue his cycling and be an eight-hour drive from his north Georgia cabin.
Broward County tourism chief Nicki Grossman, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau since 1995, will retire in June. Grossman, a former county commissioner, oversaw growth in visitors from 6.1 million in 1996 to 14.3 million. As of October, the county had posted 70 consecutive months of growth and its year-to-date hotel occupancy of 81.1% was ahead of the Florida and national averages.
Innovation -- Fresh Meal Plan
To launch their Fresh Meal Plan meal delivery company, Marc Elkman and chef Patrick Delaney needed fresh software. The Boca Raton company, started in 2011, sells freshly made dishes by plan — $95 a week for 10 meals is a starter plan — to south Florida, Tampa, Orlando and the New York area. The company debuted this year at No. 70 on the Inc. fast-growers list with three-year growth of 4,128% to $10.9 million.
They engaged developers to write proprietary software they call “FreshNet” to automate purchasing, client preferences and logistics. They served more than 2 million meals in 2015 to more than 3,000 customers and plan to expand into Atlanta and Boston.
- BOCA RATON — Online yacht booking company Yachtico relocated its headquarters from Germany with six employees, with plans to employ 50 within two years making an average wage of $65,000. It received $250,000 in state and local incentives.
- FORT LAUDERDALE — Vehiclefor- hire companies Uber and Lyft resumed doing business in Broward County after the county’s commissioners acceded to their demands that the county ease regulations on the companies. The county similarly eased regulations on traditional taxi companies. Palm Beach County’s commissioners, meanwhile, deferred acting to see whether the Legislature takes over regulating the companies. > Broward College won a $2.2-million grant to strengthen and expand opportunities for Hispanic and lowincome students.
- FORT PIERCE — Concrete railroad tie manufacturer Rocla Concrete Tie will build a 17,500-sq.-ft. factory and expects to hire 40 full-time workers within two years.
- INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — The governor and Cabinet approved the sale of the former Indian River Correctional Institution totaling 99 acres for $850,000 to Algae to Omega, an Oakland Park-based company that plans to hire 30 people. The firm cultivates and markets algae products for the nutraceutical and personal care markets. The prison closed in 2012.
- JUPITER — The National Institutes of Health awarded a fiveyear, $4.8-million Pioneer Grant, one of only 13 given in 2015, to Scripps Florida researcher Matthew Disney, who is researching a way to trick diseased cells into making their own drug to combat diseases, a method that could lead to treatment of 30 incurable diseases such as Lou Gehrig’s disease, fragile X syndrome and Huntington’s disease. The award is intended to allow scientists to come up with groundbreaking approaches that significantly impact broad areas of biomedical science.
- PAHOKEE — Sunshine State Biomass Cooperative and Bio- Carbon Technologies will expand a yard waste recycling center, growing from a “small number of local workers” to up to 200. The cooperative’s compost, mulch and other products are sold to the agriculture industry. The partners already operate a similar facility in Arcadia and plan to open a third in Fort Pierce.
- PLANTATION — Augmented reality software and hardware company Magic Leap took over the former Motorola Mobility site on Sunrise Boulevard to house its headquarters, pilot manufacturing and product development operations. The company, which will relocate from Dania Beach, is seeking government incentives as it grows. > Phoenix-based Alliance Residential spent $7.5 million for a 12-acre parcel where it plans to build a 250-unit apartment complex called Broadstone Plantation. William Murphy of Sunrise Properties and Investments No. 14 was the seller. Alliance in March paid Art Institute Investments $22.1 million for a 4. 26-acre site on 17th Street, where it plans to build an eightstory, 394-unit Broadstone Harbor Beach apartment complex.
- WEST PALM BEACH — Private, not-for-profit Keiser University opened its first residential campus on north Military Trail following its acquisition of Northwood University’s campus. The campus houses a Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation to help graduates start their own businesses and rise in their professions. In addition to academic offerings, the campus has 17 athletic teams that play in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics conference.