Ricardo Morales Jr.
The Morales Group, Chairman, Jacksonville
Bio: A Havana native, Morales, 70, went to high school and college (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) in the U.S. and officially emigrated to the United States in 1960. He started his own company in Jacksonville in 1978.
The Morales Group: $20 million in annual revenue. Has developed 1 million square feet of warehouses, shopping centers and flex space in the Jacksonville area, retaining ownership/management of 600,000 square feet of that.
Luxury residential construction: “I have to credit that part to my son, Rick (Ricardo Morales III).”
Division of labor: Rick Morales is president of Morales Construction Co. and is in charge of day-to-day activities. The president of Morgar Realty, the group’s real estate development and management services company for small-business clients, is Fitch King.
Scouting: “We’re looking for opportunities now. We’re very lucky in that we haven’t been hit by any of the pullbacks. We’re ready, willing and able.”
In Cuba: Morales’ family was the largest supplier of ready-mix concrete, concrete pipe and aggregate.
As a Cuban in Jacksonville: “It was a very welcoming place from day one.” He meets every Friday for lunch with Cuban friends.
JaxPort: Chairman of the Jacksonville port board. The port is building a $220-million container terminal and plans one that will cost $360 million. “The expansion of the Panama Canal provides a great deal of impetus for the Asian carriers to come to the East Coast, Florida in particular.”
Tennis: Started on the “club A team and gradually went to the C team.” Loves to ski. Has a boat.
Volunteering: Treasurer of the St. Vincent’s Hospital Foundation and vice chairman of the Ambassadors of the St. Vincent’s Foundation.