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.
Craig Agranoff, Web Visionary, GRIPD
Craig Agranoff is an award winning CBS12 Television News Contributor covering technology. He is an serial entrepreneur, and national Political Campaign consultant as well as a noted expert in online reputation management. He is the co-founder of Gripd.com. Agranoff was recently named one of the 12 people to watch in 2012 by Gulfstream Media. He has founded dozens of web startups. He was also a Tech/Social Media Correspondent in the New Times, The Palm Beach Post, InternetEvolution.com and VentureBeat.com. Currently he is a Technology News columnist for Miami Living Magazine and The Huffington Post.
Agranoff has been featured in the Miami Herald, New Times, The Palm Beach Post, AOL Digital Cities, Slice, CenterNetworks, Thrillist, Daily Telegraph, and The Sun-Sentinel. Also has appeared on Gary Vaynerchuck’s Wine Library TV, Fox News, NBC News, Weekend Sunrise, and CBS News.
At Mashable’s Open Web Awards he won best “Photo Sharing Website Category” for one of the sites he created. He recently won a Digital PR award for his work with Chevrolet. Agranoff is a certified Google Power Searcher.
He has authored several books including Do It Yourself Online Reputation Management which is available on Amazon. His second book Checked-In: How To Use Gowalla, Foursquare and Other Geo-Location Applications For Fun and Profit was the first book about Foursquare and Location Base Marketing, which can be purchased on Amazon. His third book Socially Elected is the first book to teach how to win any election using Social Media. Agranoff is currently working on his fourth book entitled “Unreal Potential” which discusses how to use augmented reality apps for business. It should be published later this year.
Yalmaz Siddiqui, Senior Director of Environmental Strategy, Office Depot
Yalmaz Siddiqui is Office Depot’s Senior Director, Environmental Strategy. He is responsible for setting strategy and integrating a wide range of environmental programs into the global organization. Under his leadership, Office Depot was ranked #1 Greenest Large Retailer and #9 Greenest Large Company in America by Newsweek Magazine. Prior to Office Depot, Yalmaz was with PricewaterhouseCoopers and IBM Business Consulting. He has an M.Phil in Environment & Development from Cambridge and a Bachelor of Commerce from McGill.
Shela Fletcher, Senior Manager of Environmental Strategy, Office Depot
Shela Fletcher is Office Depot’s Senior Manager, Environmental Strategy. Shela is responsible for reporting the Company’s best-in-class annual environmental performance data, as well as developing overall business/environmental strategy. In 2010, 2011 and 2012, Office Depot was recognized by Newsweek as the #1 Greenest Large U.S. Retailer and in 2012 #9 Greenest Large U.S. Company. Prior to Office Depot, Shela was a long-range planner for the County of Santa Barbara, California. She holds a Masters in Energy and Environmental Analysis from Boston University.
Jim Robo, President & CEO of NextEra Energy, Inc.
Jim Robo is president and chief executive officer of NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE), one of the nation’s leading electricity-related services companies. He was appointed president in December 2006 and became CEO in July 2012. He is also chairman and chief executive officer of the company’s rate-regulated electric utility subsidiary, Florida Power & Light Company.
Mr. Robo joined NextEra Energy as vice president of corporate development and strategy in March 2002. A few months later, he was appointed president of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC. In December 2006, he was named president and chief operating officer of NextEra Energy.
Prior to joining NextEra Energy, Mr. Robo was president and chief executive officer of a major division at GE Capital. He also served as chairman and CEO of GE Mexico and was a member of the GE corporate development team. Prior to joining GE, he was vice president of Strategic Planning Associates, a management consulting firm.
Mr. Robo received his Bachelor of Arts degree summa cum laude from Harvard College in 1984 and his MBA in 1988 from Harvard Business School, where he was a Baker Scholar.
Mr. Robo serves on the board of directors of J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc., one of the largest transportation logistics companies in North America.
Michael Solomon, Best Selling Author and Consultant
Michael Solomon, a former NYPD Special Investigator and bestselling author, is the survivor of a bizarre double murder attempt on his life.
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.
Steve Nudelberg, Principal, Thinker on the Ball
Steve Nudelberg is an accomplished sales man, marketer, and most recently, he has labeled himself and his employees as “thinkers.”
Starting out in the cellular phone industry in the eighties unknowingly provided the foundation for Steve’s future entrepreneurial success. After building and leading a winning national sales team for ABC Cellular, Steve found himself at a crossroads. In between jobs (or so he thought), he started receiving requests for him to match companies and personalities to sponsorship opportunities, mostly in the sports arena.
Steve sat out by his pool and began making phone calls, in turn launching On the Ball as a sports marketing agency. Incidentally, the name came from the feedback Steve received that he was always “on the ball,” as opposed to a nod to sports.
It wasn’t long before the agency took on a life of its own. Steve moved into an office in Plantation and hired a few key people. He soon realized that sports sponsorships was too limiting and broadened the agency’s scope to include branding, corporate identity, positioning and sales strategies. Ten years later, On the Ball is a thriving agency that specializes in Pure Thinking.
Richard Silverman, CFO of The Fresh Diet
Richard’s background includes thirty years experience in finance, sales/marketing, and operations. He currently serves as the chief financial officer of The Fresh Diet, Inc., the country’s largest producer of fresh cooked and daily delivered diet food. He was began his association with the company when he wrote their business plan. The plan contributed to a $2 million equity investment by an angel investor in Spring 2010
Since 1992, Richard has served as a consultant writing business plans, restructuring marketing programs, and assisting micro-cap companies with funding options. His clients have included a now public specialty wireless communications company (ENRG:BB), the largest daily delivered fresh meal producer in the US, two regional auto parts distributors, and an entrant in the minimal running shoe industry. Richard counts in excess of 105 business plans in the last 15 years.
Richard purchased a South Dade based specialty auto parts business 32 days before Hurricane Andrew. The storm destroyed the building, bankrupted his insurance company, and displaced his customer based. Four years later, the business was the second largest in its category in Dade County. Prior to buying his own business, he served as the Chief Financial Officer of Bolivia’s third largest private mining company.
Richard holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Operations Research and Statistics, both from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. He also earned an MBA in Finance and International Business from New York University’s Stern School of Business.
Richard Outram, EVP & CFO Signature Consultants, LLC
Mr. Outram has over 27 years of progressive experience in executive financial management and international business leadership positions within the private equity, business process outsourcing, management consulting, specialty retail and “Big 4” public accounting industries. He held these positions in the United States, United Kingdom and the Caribbean with major public and private companies such as Burger King Corporation, Sunglass Hut International, PRC LLC and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Mr. Outram’s significant accomplishments have been in successfully leading enterprises through strategic phases of growth and business cycles and also in turnaround situations.
Mr. Outram is currently EVP and Chief Financial Officer of Signature Consultants LLC a fast growth Information Technology Staffing company. Over the past three years he spearheaded the sale of a key Government division, renegotiated and increased the credit facility and instituted key process improvements to strategic planning, cash cycle, gross margin, cost management and leadership development.
Prior to joining Signature Consultants LLC, he was Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Heritage Brands Inc, a division of the Stocks Spirits Group, a global distributor of spirits and beverages owned by Oaktree Capital private equity where he was responsible for the successful restructuring of operations to profitability.
Mr. Outram is also Chief Executive Officer of Financial Acumen, Inc, Corporate Financial Executive Services. He was named a finalist in the 2012 South Florida Business Journal “CFO of the Year” award and serves on several non profit boards including the South Florida Chapter of Financial Executives International and Step Up for Students. Mr. Outram is a Certified Public Accountant in the United States and The United Kingdom as well as a Certified Fraud Examiner. He is the author of a children’s financial literacy book-“The Adventures of Exokid and the Teachings of Money”.
Castillo Guillermo, President JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A.
Mr. Castillo currently leads the Commercial Banking Middle Market business in South Florida for Chase. Middle Market Banking serves commercial clients from Vero Beach to Key West with a full range of financial services and solutions, including best-in class deposit and treasury management, commercial card, asset management, credit, capital raising and advisory services.
He began his banking career in 1981 with Marine Midland Bank (now HSBC) as a Management Associate. He has held key relationship management and leadership positions locally with Southeast Bank, Barnett Bank and most recently Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Mr. Castillo has been active in various local community endeavors including the Boards of Directors and the Executive Committees of Chapman Partnership in Miami, Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and Board member and Trustee of the United Way of Miami.
Mr. Castillo earned Bachelor’s degree with a Major in Finance from Florida International University and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Miami.
FINRA Registered Representative, Series 7, 63.
Larry Stybel, President of Stybel Peabody Lincolnshire
Larry Stybel is Executive in Residence at the Sawyer Business School, Suffolk University in Boston. He received his doctorate in psychology from Harvard University and is a licensed psychologist.
He also is President of Stybel Peabody Lincolnshire, an Arbora Global Company. Founded in 1979, the firm works with companies on Retained Search and developing high potential leaders.
There are 250 Arbora professionals in 31 countries and 25 U.S. cities.
Stybel Peabody clients include 21% of the one hundred companies named by FORTUNE MAGAZINE as "Best Employers in the United States." Other clients include two of the Big Four CPA firms.
He is a regular contributor to PSYCHOLOGY TODAY magazine’s “Platform for Success” column.
Larry began his career in the field of assessment of leadership potential for Hay Associates Management Consultants.
Edgar Otto, Chairman Hyperbaric Veterinary
Edgar Otto was the recipient of the 1997 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
Upon graduating Rutgers, Edgar began assisting his father in promoting auto racing events. NASCAR had just been co-founded by his father and among his other duties, he was named President of the Auto Racing Safety Council at the age of 25. Edgar also promoted Bill Haley and his Comets in one of Rock & Roll's first outdoor concerts.
Mr. Otto then purchased a New York Times newspaper distributorship and spent the next ten years growing this business, delivering more than one million newspapers annually.
He then co-founded a nursing home chain in New Jersey and was named President of Care Service, providing dietary, pharmacy and housekeeping services to nursing homes. Recognizing an unmet need to provide hot meals to patients, he founded Therma Systems Corporation. The healthcare service company provided meal delivery systems to over 1,000 hospitals. Therma Systems became the second largest company in this industry. He partnered with Mitsui Trading Company, starting a highly successful Japanese subsidiary. Among the Company's innovations was a system which allowed the heating of meals in a refrigerator.
James Cline, CFO of United Data Technologies
James Cline serves as the Chief Financial Officer at UDT. In this role, he is responsible for all aspects of UDT’s finance function including financial reporting, accounting, tax, treasury and financial planning and analysis. Before joining UDT, he held the post of CFO with a commercial real estate development company. James was selected as a CFO of the Year by the South Florida Business Journal for 2012 among top financial officers across Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. He has more than 20 years of financial management experience, including with Arthur Andersen, Hilton Hotels Corporation and media companies. As Vice President of Finance with CBS Interactive, Cline was instrumental in the development and success of the CBSSports.com website.
James earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration with a specialty in Accounting and Management from University of Texas at El Paso. He serves on the Advisory Board of Keiser University, Board of Advisors of the CFO Alliance and on the Executive Leadership Team of the American Heart Association 2012 Broward Heart Walk. James currently resides with his wife and three children in Weston, Florida.
Bernie Marcus, Co-founder of Home Depot
Bernie Marcus is chairman of the board of The Marcus Foundation, which focuses on Jewish causes, children, medical research, free enterprise and the community.
Mr. Marcus co-founded The Home Depot, Inc., the world’s largest home improvement retailer, and served as chairman of the board until his retirement in 2002. His company revolutionized the home improvement business with its warehouse concept.
Encouraged by his mother to “always give back,” Mr. Marcus’ contributions are given with the expectation that they will make a significant difference. For instance, the Georgia Aquarium, which was dedicated to the people of Georgia and the associates, customers and shareholders of The Home Depot, is the largest aquarium in the world with over 11 million visitors since its opening. Its construction in downtown Atlanta has not only brought millions of people to the area, it has generated more than $6 billion in construction and development in the area.
Lauren Hahn, CFO of PPPSFTC
Lauren joins PPPSFTC in February 2009 as the affiliate’s new Chief Financial Officer. She is responsible for coordinating and directing all accounting and finance functions of the affiliate and performs managerial and professional functions to support the organization’s goals and objectives.
Lauren’s career began in public accounting, where she provided a wide range of accounting, audit and tax services. Midway through her career, she made the transition to the private sector. Since then, she has held numerous managerial and executive positions in accounting and finance with extensive experience in the software industry. Lauren has participated in negotiations and lead due diligence in corporate acquisitions and an initial public offering. One of her recent positions was Chief Financial Officer of Apptimum, Inc., a leading application transfer company that was acquired by Microsoft Corporation in 2006.
Lauren received a BS degree in Accounting from Rutgers University’s School of Business, and earned her master’s degree in Business Administration from the Florida Atlantic University. She is licensed as a CPA in the state of Florida, and has been a member of the Florida Institute of CPAs since 1996.
Lauren lives with her husband and 2 beautiful children in Boca Raton. She enjoys family outings, professional sporting events, and stand-up comedy. She is also involved with a charitable organization called “The Giving Tree”, which provides assistance to local residents in need.
John Metz, President of RREMC Restuarants LLC and Chairman & CEO of Hurricane AMT LLC
Current Franchisee: Denny's, Dairy Queen, Hurricane Grill & Wings, and Marriott.
Past Franchisee: Howard Johnson, Bennigan’s, Old Chicago, Burger King, Hilton, and Days Inn.
Current Franchisor: Hurricane Grill & Wings.
The company currently has 48 open units (43 franchise and 5 corporate), with 18 new units to open by year-end 2013.
RREMC Restaurants, LLC, currently consists of 35 operating restaurants with over 1,250 employees with three new restaurants under construction.
Hospitality Investment Advisors, Inc. previously owned, operated and developed five hotels in South Florida. The hotel group currently consists of a Marriott Fairfield Inn & Suites and a Hampton Inn under development at the Miami Airport.
Real Estate holdings include over 40 single-tenant retail properties including restaurants, banks, financial services, and general retail.
Previously President of Roadhouse Grill, McFadden Metz Restaurants Inc., and Continuum Courtyards, LLC.
Graduated from Cornell University with a BS from the School of Hotel Administration and an MBA from The Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University.
Also is a licensed General Contractor and Real Estate Salesperson.