Executive Forum Speaker Series
The executive forum is designed to provide the wealth of knowledge and experience of inspirational leaders and executives from a wide variety of businesses and industries. The speakers present a brief overview of their businesses, as well as specific professional experiences, followed by a discussion of key issues facing their industries in the current business and economic climate.
ACE proudly organizes the executive forum to help students and external audience members to hone in on their career development interests by enabling them to gain insight from business leaders who represent a wide array of industries.
The speaker series is comprised of presentations and seminar-like interaction with entrepreneurs and executives focusing on the practical nature of business development. Audience members and executives will discuss current challenges facing business and industry today and consider alternative ways of meeting these challenges.
Victor Nappe is a widely recognized Internet entrepreneur with a passion for finding or developing highly disruptive technologies. He’s also known to some as the ‘godfather of Internet cash’ for founding the first payment processing network enabling secure online purchases using prepaid calling cards (Patent Application 20010047334).
Currently, Victor is the CEO for CloudJacket Security, an award-winning cybersecurity solution that protects companies from being breached.
At Apple Computer he developed successful strategic partnerships with Fortune 500 companies, new media firms, third-party solutions providers, and channel partners.
As entrepreneur in residence for international hedge fund he oversaw companies, he has authored patents, built enterprise deals for small companies seeking markets for existing products, and helped start-ups bridge the gap.
At the helm of Luke Entertainment he was the first CEO to take a hip-hop label to a trading public stock – also seen on VH1 as TV series “Parental Advisory”.
As founder of DuoCash, he launched the world's first payment processing network to enable secure Internet purchases using prepaid calling cards.
At the age of 21, Victor received a U.S. Congressional Award for transforming a successful retail restaurant into a multi-faceted international wholesale business and early organics purveyor, which became a case study for the National Restaurant Association.
Victor is a frequent speaker and writes an Internet Security column for Attorney At Law Magazine. He has appeared on Good Morning America, ABC, CNN, CNNfn, CBS, NBC, TVFN, Jupiter, Sun, AT&T, E-commerce Merchant’s Association and NYU’s Stern School of Management.
When he’s offline, you may find Victor producing a television show or filming a documentary. He’s also an active family guy and is past president of the parent-teacher organization at his children’s school and still has a big opinion about the organics industry.
Alfredo T. Guerra, MBA, CCM
Alfredo T. Guerra, chief financial officer of NCCI, is responsible for all financial and administrative functions. He joined NCCI in 1997 as director of capital planning and later served as the company's treasurer. He has served as chief financial officer since 1999. Prior to joining NCCI, Mr. Guerra spent seven years with Ryder System where he completed a number of assignments in Ryder's finance organization as well as served in several general management capacities. Mr. Guerra began his career at the General Electric Company where he held positions in financial analysis, manufacturing operations and GE’s corporate audit staff as part of that company’s Financial Management Program. Mr. Guerra graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1986 with a Bachelor of Science in Economics. He received his M.B.A. from The Wharton School in 1990. He has also completed executive level management courses on corporate strategy at the Harvard Business School and on pension funds and money management at The Wharton School. In 1999, he completed the requirements for recognition as a Certified Cash Manager (CCM). For more information, please review Alfredo Guerra's NCCI bio.
Eugene Holzer, CPA, MBA
Eugene “Gene” Holzer, CPA, MBA is managing partner and co-founder of Ascendo Resources, a staffing and recruiting services firm based in South Florida. Holzer’s company, Ascendo, specializes in placing accounting and financial professionals in leading local, national and multinational firms. Holzer plays an integral role in the company’s ongoing growth and is based in Broward County. He has been directly involved in placing financial executives and counselors with major South Florida companies including Office Depot, Bank United, Royal Caribbean, Ocean Bank, and more.
Having worked extensively in both the financial and professional staffing sectors, Holzer brings unique insight and expertise to his leadership role at Ascendo. Before helping to launch the professional placement company, he led South Florida operations for two leading staffing agencies – The Mergis Group and Robert Half International –where he oversaw multimillion dollar operations dedicated to temporary and permanent finance sector professional placement for top-tier corporate clients.
Prior to embarking on his career in the human resources arena, Holzer’s background was working directly in the financial management field. He was a management consultant with Pricewaterhouse Coopers, later IBM Business Consulting Services, in its New York City office. There his work focused on studying and improving the financial systems for such global leaders as American Express, Bank of Montreal and General Electric, among others.
Holzer was also a financial analyst at Merrill Lynch, and received his MBA in finance and management from the New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Albany. He is originally from Stonybrook, New York.
Calling on his financial sector and staffing experience, Holzer was instrumental in devising Ascendo’s unique approach to placement, including the dedication to matching the best candidates for every opening and having thoroughly screened applicants available for a wide range of financial and accounting opportunities. Holzer is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Jeffrey A. Stoops
Jeffrey A. Stoops is President, Chief Executive Officer and a director of SBA Communications Corporation. He has been Chief Executive Officer since January 1, 2002. He was appointed President in April 2000 and has been a director since August 1999. Mr. Stoops served as Chief Financial Officer from December 1998 to April 2000. He joined the company in March 1997, initially responsible for finance, capital market activities, mergers and acquisitions and legal matters. Prior to joining SBA Communications Corporation, Mr. Stoops was a partner with Gunster Yoakley & Stewart, a Florida based law firm, where he practiced for thirteen years in the corporate, securities and mergers and acquisitions areas. Mr. Stoops is a current Director and past Chairman of the Personal Communications Industry Association, the trade organization for the wireless communications infrastructure industry, and currently serves on the Board of Trustees of St. Andrew’s School and on the Finance Committee of the Board of Trustees of the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts. He received his Bachelors of Science and Juris Doctor Degrees from Florida State University.
Andrew S. Ripps
Mr. Andrew S. Ripps serves as the President and Chief Operating Officer of AssureImmune LLC. Mr. Ripps is an Equity Partner of AssureImmune. He has over 27 years of life science management experience in the personalized concierge medicine, pharmaceutical, electronic medical records (EMR) and Internet technology and diagnostics markets. He served as Chief Operating Officer of MDVIP Inc. He served as President of Physician Development for MDVIP, Inc. He served as Executive Vice President of Physician Development of MDVIP. He was a successful entrepreneur and principal in MDVIP. Prior to MDVIP, he served as Executive Vice President of marketing and product management for Cybear, Incorporated. Before joining Cybear, Mr. Ripps held various positions in the sales, marketing and business development departments for GlaxoWellcome. In 1995, he was selected to be one of the initial founders of HealthPoint (later renamed HealthMatics), the Electronic Medical Records (EMR) software company owned by GlaxoWellcome, where he served as HealthPoint’s Director of Market Development. He serves as a Director of AssureImmune LLC. He has authored several articles on patient privacy and confidentiality and has testified on this topic before the National Council of Vital Health Statistics in Washington, D.C. Mr. Ripps is a trained pharmacist and received his B.S. in Pharmacy from Union University – Albany College of Pharmacy in 1986.
David Bastian is Director of Operational Quality Control for World Omni Financial Corp, a wholly-owned subsidiary of JM Family Enterprises, Inc. (JM Family). JM Family is a diversified automotive corporation ranked No. 27 on Forbes’ list of “America’s Largest Private Companies.” Its principal businesses focus on vehicle distribution and processing, financial services, finance and insurance products, retail sales, marketing and consulting, and dealer technology products and services.
As Director of Operational Quality Control, Bastian and his team are responsible for developing, implementing and administering processes that keep World Omni efficiently executing its contractual obligations as well as adhering to state and federal laws and regulations. Prior to his current role, Bastian held a number of positions within JM Family, including Director of Compliance & Internal Audit, Manager of Business Process Development, and Manager of Internal Audit. Before joining the company in 2000, he held various accounting and finance positions with BankAtlantic, A Federal Savings Bank.
Bastian hold a master’s in Business Administration from Florida Atlantic University and is a Certified Public Accountant. He and his wife, Chylynn, have two children and live in Coconut Creek, Fla.
JM Family (www.jmfamily.com) is currently ranked No. 32 by FORTUNE® as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For, its 15th consecutive year on the list. Primary subsidiaries and divisions include: Southeast Toyota Distributors, LLC, the world’s largest independent distributor of Toyota and Scion vehicles; World Omni Financial Corp., a diversified financial services company; JM&A Group, one of the largest independent insurance and extended warranty groups of companies in the U.S.; JM Service Center LLC, the company’s internal shared services center; and JM Lexus, the largest volume Lexus dealership in the world. Headquartered in Deerfield Beach, Fla., JM Family has major operations in Jacksonville and Margate, Fla.; Commerce and Alpharetta, Ga.; Mobile, Ala.; and St. Louis, Mo
Neal Asbury: Free Enterprise Champion
When it comes to entrepreneurship and free enterprise, there is no one more passionate about these topics than Neal Asbury, Chief Executive Officer of The Legacy Companies. In 2008, Neal was recipient of the coveted United States National Champion Exporter of the Year Award. He’s addressed the United Nations at the Commission of Trade and Development, he has published over 300 articles on global trade issues, and he writes a weekly column for Newsmax. He has been quoted in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, LeMonde, and frequently appears on Fox News, CNBC, MSNBC, BBC and RT Network.
In 1987, Neal founded Asbury WorldWide, a manufacturer and exporter of foodservice equipment with distribution facilities around the globe. In 1999, after selling his group of companies, Neal established Greenfield World Trade. Today, that company is better known as The Legacy Companies. It’s a diversified group of business either founded by or acquired by Mr. Asbury. These businesses include Blakeslee (the inventor and leading manufacturer of the commercial dishwashing / ware washing machines); Excalibur (a world leader in the manufacturing and selling of dehydration equipment); General (a manufacturer of food preparation equipment); Greenfield WorldTrade (a global trading company selling and servicing American manufactured products in over 130 countries; Kold Draft (a manufacturer of ice machines and dispensers); Maxximum (a leading brand of commercial refrigeration and ice machines); Omega (a world leader in the manufacturing and selling of juicers, blenders and beverage equipment); Zeroll (the inventor of the modern day ice cream scoop and a leader in high end kitchen gadgets).
In addition, Neal hosts a weekly nationally syndicated talk radio show “Neal Asbury’s Made In America”, produced by Radio America. This is a nationally respected forum for reinvigorating the entrepreneurial spirit that has made U.S. businesses the envy of the world in their pursuit of the “American Dream.”
Neal has also authored a book, “Conscientious Equity: An American Entrepreneurs Solutions to the World’s Greatest Problems,” and writes a blog www.ConscientiousEquity.com. Each has quickly become respected guidebooks to help American manufacturers engage with the world on trade, fighting corruption, environmental issues and preserving human dignity.
Mr. Asbury has been an entrepreneur involved in global business since graduating from Rowan State University in New Jersey in 1979 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He has received the President’s E-Star Export Award and the Export Achievement Award from the U.S. Department of Commerce. He is Chairman and founding faculty member of Export University (a collaboration between the District Export Council and the U.S. Department of Commerce) which has been mandated by the White House to be implemented nationally as part of the National Export Initiative (NEI).
Neal Asbury resides in Weston, Florida with his wife, Elizabeth and two daughters, Anjelica and Alyssa.
Chris Mazzella, J.D., M.A., C.I.G.
Christopher Mazzella, Miami-Dade’s first Inspector General, retired at the end of April 2013 after fourteen years on the job as the County’s independent watchdog.
In 1998, Mr. Mazzella accepted the position as Miami-Dade Inspector General upon retiring from a distinguished 34-year career with the FBI. Since the OIG became operational in the fall of 1998, the IG has participated on a number of task forces aimed at restoring integrity and ethics in our County government. For instance, Mr. Mazzella’s participation on the Debarment Task Force played an important role in the adoption of legislation that strengthened the County’s debarment policy to exclude dishonest contractors and vendors. He also participated on committees studying procurement and lobbying reforms, and often lectured to various professional and civic organizations on the types of fraud cases investigated by his Office. Mr. Mazzella, as Miami-Dade County Inspector General, served as an active participant in the National Association of Inspectors General (AIG) and in 2001 earned the designation of Certified Inspector General (AIG Certification).
During his career with the FBI, Mr. Mazzella investigated and supervised complex organized crime and public corruption cases. In a famous organized crime investigation code-named “Operation Gangplank,” the leadership of the Philadelphia organized crime family was dismantled. Mr. Mazzella was responsible for a number of prominent public corruption prosecutions in South Florida. Mr. Mazzella also held a number of executive-level positions at the FBI. He was Legal Counsel for two field offices. While assigned to the Office of Legal Counsel in Washington, D.C., Mr. Mazzella conducted liaison activities with Congress and was instrumental in drafting legislation expanding the jurisdiction of the FBI. He served as the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Coordinator for the Florida Caribbean Region. In that capacity, he coordinated the FBI’s drug programs and investigations in the Florida Caribbean region, involving over 200 federal, state, and local law enforcement personnel, and helped secure millions of dollars in federal funding for local law enforcement initiatives and personnel.
As the public’s demand for ethical government continued to grow, Mr. Mazzella was often called upon to showcase the Miami-Dade County Office of the Inspector General, which has served as a successful model for other local governments.
Mr. Mazzella holds a Juris Doctor and Master of Arts Degree and is a member of the Florida, New Jersey, and Missouri Bar Associations.
Tim O'Loughlin, MBA
Tim O'Loughlin is President of Pace Americas, Inc., and oversees the United States, Canada and Latin America. Since joining Pace in March 2001 as part of the marketing team, he has served in various roles including SVP of Sales and Customer Support, VP of Business Development, and VP of Sales and Marketing. He has been an instrumental part of Pace's expansion throughout the cable, telecommunications, and satellite industries. Prior to joining Pace, Tim held strategic marketing positions in the hospitality and telecom industries. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration and an MBA.
Michael Solomon, MPA
Michael Solomon, a former NYPD Special Investigator and bestselling author, is the survivor of a bizarre double murder attempt on his life.
As a national political and motivational speaker, Michael is sought after by many organizations and corporations. He is known as the speaker who leaves his audiences laughing, inspired, motivated and begging for more.
During his tenure in the intelligence division, he was assigned to protect the Shah of Iran and Madame Chang of Taiwan. He has personally met four U.S. Presidents. He was assigned as the intelligence officer to the U.S. State Department, where he participated in treaty negotiations between the United States and Turkey. In 1982, Michael proposed a change to the NYC retirement law, which saved them over $120 million, reduced taxes and balanced the city's budget.
He retired from the Police Department and joined the corporate sector in finance and management. After losing three corporate positions, and nearly bankrupt, he embarked on his own. Applying his own style of management, he was twice nominated by a national magazine for having the best company in America in his field.
Achieving success, he returned to his old beliefs and started to take care of the less fortunate. His work for various charities earned him the respect and praise of his community. In 2003, he was cited by both houses of the New York State Legislature in Senate and Assembly Resolutions as Humanitarian of the Year.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree Magna Cum Laude in Behavioral Sciences from the New York Institute of Technology and a Masters with Distinction in Public Administration from Long Island University. As an adjunct professor, he taught Political Science and Public Administration at William Patterson College in New Jersey. He's been a guest lecturer at numerous colleges and universities. In 2008, he presented the keynote address to the graduate school commencement at the New York Institute of Technology.
•· Success By Default: The Depersonalization Of Corporate America
Forbes Magazine book club said, "This book belongs on the desk of every CEO in America."
•· Where Did My America Go?
Started the new Tea Party movement-the largest political movement in America in over 200 years! Explores how the hypocrisy in American politics is causing a great divide in America today. Listed as #6 on the Amazon bestseller list.
New York Post columnist Steve Dunleavy said, "My only regret is that I didn't write it."
Honors & Awards
- Named among others as Time Magazine's "Person of the Year" in 2006
- Guest appearances on over 300 radio and television programs
- A FOX News special guest, he appears with Neil Cavuto and other FOXNews hosts
- As a FOX Business News panelist he has appeared with Dan Mangru on the Mangru Report
- Has also appeared on CBS, NBC and ABC
- An active member of the Forum Club, World Affairs Council and Economic Forum
Sharon Hayes, RN, BSN, MBA
Sharon Hayes, RN, BSN, MBA, is the chief executive officer at Edward White Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida. Her extensive healthcare career includes strong clinical and operational experiences in national and international environments.
Before joining Edward White, a 162-bed acute care facility, Hayes served as chief operating officer at Chippenham Medical Center, a 466-bed hospital in Richmond, Virginia. She was promoted to that position from vice president of clinical affairs and chief nursing officer for CJW Medical Center, a 758-bed, two-campus system in Richmond, which includes Chippenham. Hayes’ previous experience includes serving as chief nursing officer of the Jack Nicklaus Children’s Hospital at St. Mary’s Medical Center; president of Practice Management Concepts, a physician practice management company; chief operating officer for Palms West Hospital; director of nursing at Wellington Regional Medical Center and director of emergency services at King Fahad Hospital in Saudi Arabia.
Hayes is active in a number of professional organizations including the American College of Healthcare Executives, Central Virginia Healthcare Executive and the Virginia Organization of Nurse Executives. Her community involvement includes serving on numerous Chambers of Commerce and University boards, the American Heart Association’s Event Planning Board and the Multiple Sclerosis Board.
Arnold Cohen, CPA
Mr. Cohen is co-founder of Mahoney Cohen & Company, CPA, P.C. Mr. Cohen is the former Financial Vice President and member of the Board of Directors of Puritan Fashions Corporation. He holds membership in the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants. Mr. Cohen was Chairman of the State Society’s Committee on Textile and Apparel Accounting and was a member of the State Society’s Committee on Cooperation with Investment Bankers.
He is a frequent lecturer at seminars and related events on topics of concern to the industry. In addition, he is an annual lecturer to the graduating class of the Parsons School of Design and is a guest lecturer at New York University, Stern School of Business and the Fashion Institute of Technology College. The diversity of Mr. Cohen’s interests is reflected in his involvement, for many years, with the American Friends of the Rambam Medical Center in Halfa, Israel, where he served as Chairman of the Board and a Director. In 1987, he received the Albert & Jean Nerken “Lamed-Vav” Award for Outstanding Service to Israel and the Jewish People from the American Friends of the Rambam Medical Center. He is the recipient of the Accountants, Bankers & Factors Award from the American Jewish Congress for Exemplary Service to the Business Community. Mr. Cohen was a member of Brandeis University’s President’s Council and is also a Fellow of the University. He was saluted by Brandeis when he was the recipient of the Distinguished Community Service Award. Mr. Cohen served as Chairman of the University’s Accountants, Factors, and Finance Division Dinner. Mr. Cohen was honored at the American ORT Accountants & Bankers Chapter Scholarship Award Dinner. He was the Chairman of the Accountants, Bankers & Factors Division. Mr. Cohen is a member of the Board of Directors of The Educational Foundation for the Fashion Institute of Technology. Mr. Cohen is Vice Chairman of the Board of the Dreyfoos School for the Performing Arts Foundation in West Palm Beach and a member of its Finance Committee. He is also a benefactor of the Boca Raton Community Hospital. Mr. Cohen, for twenty-one years, served on the Board of Playwrights Horizons, a leading not-for-profit Theatre Company in New York. He is presently on the audit committee of the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach.
Arnold Cohen is a member of the Who’s Who Worldwide Directory of Business Leaders. Mr. Cohen earned his Bachelor’s Degree in accounting from New York University. He resides in Boca Raton with his wife Barbara. They are the parents of two sons, David and Richard and three grandchildren.
Scott H. Adams
Scott H. Adams is recognized as a successful and innovative leader in the business community and an enthusiastic advocate of entrepreneurship and innovation – strengthening the links between education, research, and the development of future business enterprises. The Governor of the State of Florida appointed Adams to the board of trustees for Florida Atlantic University in 2001 and he served for 8 years. Adams established the Adams Center for Entrepreneurship at Florida Atlantic University which is housed under the College of Business and invites entrepreneurial initiatives from all disciplines within the University as well as the community at large.
Currently Adams is Chairman of the Board for Integrity Tracking, LLC, doing business as MobileHelp, a next generation personal emergency response service. Previously, in 1995, Adams co-founded and was president of Hiway Technologies, Inc. In three short years, Hiway Technologies became the world's largest web hosting company with 240 employees and 150,000 accounts in 135 countries. In 1999 Hiway was acquired by Verio (NASDAQ: VRIO). In 2000, Verio was acquired by NTT Communications (NYSE: NTT).
Reflecting his deep belief in the importance of serving others and his community, Adams is a contributor and on the board of the Boca Raton Community Hospital Foundation. A firm believer that success begins with education, Adams supports and is on the board of trustees for the George Snow Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships to Palm Beach County students. Adams continues to donate time and resources as a mentor and big brother.
As a result of his achievements, the Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce named Adams their 1997 Small Business Person of the Year. In 1998, Adams also won the prestigious Ernst & Young Florida Entrepreneur of the Year Award. In 1999 the Florida Atlantic University National Alumni Association inducted Adams into the Alumni Hall of Fame. In 2001, Adams was awarded the Jim Moran Institute's Entrepreneurial Excellence Award at Florida State University. In 2002, Adams was the recipient of the Gainesville Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the University of Florida, the Excalibur Award from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel as the Palm Beach County Business Leader of the Year, and was inducted into Junior Achievement's Business Hall of Fame. In 2005, Florida Atlantic University presented their Talon Award for community leader alumnus to Adams. In 2011, Adams was named CEO of the Year by the South Florida Business Journal.
Adams is a graduate of Florida Atlantic University’s College of Business with a Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration. A Florida native, Adams grew up in Keystone Heights, Florida. Adams and his wife, Shelagh, along with their four children, have resided in Boca Raton since 1985.
George Stamas, MBA
For 18 years, Mr. Stamas was a banker in New York City and Chicago working in the corporate and merchant banking departments of large international banks with focus on developing and maintaining relationships with large multinational companies. His last position was with Swiss Bank Corporation (now UBS) where he was VP-Department Head in charge of relationships with large high tech companies on the East Coast of the U.S.
He moved on to an entrepreneurial career when he and a partner bought control of a struggling software training company in New Jersey and successfully turned it around from losing money on $1 million in revenue to generating 14% EBIT on $4 million in revenue within three years. He and his partner sold the company to the employees.
His next venture, with another partner, was to start up a branch of an equity trading company in New Jersey where he was a principal partner, branch manager and risk manager. After several years, the trading environment changed dramatically due to 9/11, the stock market crash, and changes by the SEC in the pricing of stocks, all of which resulted in the closing of the operation in 2002.
In 2005, Mr. Stamas moved from New York City to Palm Beach Gardens to become Adjunct Professor of Finance, Entrepreneurship and Economics at Northwood University in West Palm Beach. In addition to his teaching duties, he is Entrepreneur-in-Residence and the founder and coordinator of the student Entrepreneurship Society. In 2010 he taught an economics course at the FAU Honors College in Jupiter.
In the area of social entrepreneurship, he co-founded and incorporated DanceSport Academy, Inc. (www.dancesportacademy.org) in 2006, a Florida nonprofit 501(c)3 charitable corporation that provides ballroom dance instruction to disadvantaged children primarily through the Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County. DanceSport Academy has been providing ballroom dance programs continuously since its founding and is presently at four Boys & Girls clubs. Mr. Stamas was invited to speak to a social entrepreneurship class at the FAU Honors College in Jupiter in 2012 and has been invited back to speak in the fall 2013.
Mr. Stamas received his MBA from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University and his BA in History from Washington & Lee University. He served three years in the U.S. Navy as communications officer and CIC officer on a destroyer.