June 26, 2022

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Must-Know Contacts in Miami-Dade

In business and life, many times it matters who you know. This list is the who-who's of Miami area people:

Adrienne Arsht — Philanthropist (and former TotalBank chairman) whose $30 million donation put her name on the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. She recently gave $5 million to the University of Miami for ethics programs and plans more giving in the future.

Albert E. Dotson Jr. — Bilzin Sumberg partner and head of its land use and government relations practice. Represents big property owners and has led the Orange Bowl and Super bowl committees, as well as 100 Black Men of America.

Alberto Ibargüen — CEO and president of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and former Miami Herald publisher. Has a hand in non-profits and grants around the city and around the world, including the foundation’s $28 million in grants to arts projects around the county.

Angel Medina — as Region’s Bank area executive for south Florida and leader of its Miami-based international private banking group, he’s one of the county’s most powerful bankers.

Barry E. Johnson— President and CEO of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.

Brian E. Keeley — President and CEO of Baptist Health South Florida. Runs the county’s largest private employer, with 12,000 employees.

Jorge Mas Santos — Chairman of the Cuban American National Foundation. Expected to have influence with President Barack Obama as the U.S. reshapes its Cuba policy.

Cesar L. Alvarez — CEO of Greenberg Traurig. Perhaps Miami’s most influential lawyer, a sought-after educational institution board member.

Craig Robins — CEO of Dacra Development. Owner and visionary behind Miami’s Design District and active Miami Beach developer. Also founded the Design Miami/ show, now partly owned by Art Basel producers MCH Swiss Exhibition.

Joyce J. Elam — Executive dean, Florida International University College of Business Administration. Calls many of south Florida’s business elite alumni and friends.

Donna Shalala — President, University of Miami. The former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services is unswerving in her determination to turn UM into an international bioscience powerhouse, including building a 1.4 million-sq.-ft. Life Science Park on the Miller School of Medicine campus.

Eduardo Padrón — President of Miami Dade College. The county’s lead educator.

Elaine Adler — President of the Aventura Marketing Council. Marketer, networker and the person to see if you want something done in Aventura.

Frank Nero — CEO of the Beacon Council, the county’s economic development arm, responsible for bringing in new companies, retaining existing ones and marketing the county’s business image.

Jeffrey Soffer — Principal of Turnberry Associates, developer whose holdings include the Fontainebleau Resort, Aventura Mall and several nearby retail, residential and office developments.

Jorge Perez — Chairman and CEO of the Related Group. Avid art collector and the county’s largest condo developer, just formed $1-billion fund to buy troubled real estate; considered buying the Miami Herald in 2008.

José Abreu — Miami-Dade aviation director. Runs No. 1 county economic engine Miami International Airport, including its $6.2-billion capital improvement program.

Juan N. Cento — President, Latin America-Caribbean region of FedEx. Key player in logistics industry and advocate for international trade.

Lee Brian Schrager — Director of special events and media relations for Southern Wine & Spirits. Founded and runs the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival, which brings in tourists and international culinary recognition.

Michael Aller — Tourism and convention director and chief of protocol for the city of Miami Beach. “Mr. Miami Beach,” involved in nearly everything that happens in the city and the man on the other end of its tourism hot line.

Norman Braman — Owner, Braman Motors. Head of the Art Basel Miami Beach Welcome Committee, contributor to dozens of charities, recently fought the city of Miami and the county on their plan to build a Marlins baseball stadium, port tunnel and Museum Park using tax dollars.

Bill Johnson — Director, Port of Miami-Dade. Helming the county’s No. 2 economic engine and steering it through a changing economy and security concerns.

Patricia and Phillip Frost — Both active philanthropists; she’s a longtime and influential Florida International University trustee; he’s chairman of Miami medical company Opko Health, investment bank Ladenburg Thalmann & Co. and several other companies.

Ronald L. Book — Uber-lobbyist whose clients include the cities of Aventura and Miami as well as many developers. Chairs the county’s homeless trust.

Rosa Sugrañes — Chair of Iberia Tiles. Known for her Spanish business connections and support for the arts.

Rodney Barreto — Chairman of the Barreto Group. Chairs the Super Bowl XLIV host committee, is on the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and was state finance co-chair for government for Gov. Charlie Crist’s campaign.

Susan Miller — Widow of Lennar Corp. founder Leonard Miller, heads the Miller Family Foundation, one of the region’s largest.

T. Gene Prescott — CEO, Seaway Group. Owns the Biltmore Hotel, among others, and chairs the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. Known and respected by everyone from visiting dignitaries to local business leaders.

William D. Talbert III — President and CEO, Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. The county’s top tourism marketer.

Tony Goldman, Joey Goldman and Jessica Goldman-Srebnick — CEO and principals of Goldman Properties. Real estate developer Tony started the revival of South Beach. With son Joey bought up real estate in Miami’s Wynwood warehouse district in hopes of starting a similar revival. Daughter Jessica runs the family’s South Beach hotels and restaurants.

Wendy E. Kallergis — President and CEO, Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce. Leader for the city’s active business community, crosses industries from tourism to public relations.

Bernard Zyscovich — President and managing partner of Zyscovich Architects. Known for his urban planning, (along with Plater-Zyberk & Co.) a go-to architect for urban vision and neighborhood creation around the county, and for design of major condo projects.

Bill Diggs — President and CEO of the Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce. Leads the state’s oldest historically black chamber of commerce; often a voice for the area’s minority businesses.

R. Marcelo Claure — Chairman and CEO of Brightstar Corp. Heads the nearly $4 billion private global wireless equipment company; also a partner in the group seeking to bring a professional soccer team to Miami and co-founder of the international One Laptop Per Child initiative.

Tere Blanca — Chairman of the Beacon Council economic development organization, recently stepped down as head of commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield of Florida to start her own brokerage.

Terrence Riley — Director of the Miami Art Museum. Came from New York’s Museum of Modern Art, and, armed with a $100-million county bond issue, is growing the museum and prepping for a new facility.

Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk — Principals, Duany Plater-Zyberk & Co.; she’s also dean of the University of Miami School of Architecture. Co-founders of New Urbanism and architect/urban planners extraordinaire; she is lead consultant for the city’s Miami 21 land use and urban planning initiative.

J. Ricky Arriola — President and CEO of Inktel Direct Corp., chairman of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts Trust since 2007; credited with helping turn the center around, raising attendance and reducing operating costs, while bringing in a solid new CEO.

Marilyn J. Holifield — Partner, Holland & Knight.

Kim McCray — Lobbyist with clients including the City of North Miami, Village of El Portal and Haitian American Association Against Cancer.

Tags: Miami-Dade

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