The Coastal Star

Business Spotlight: FAU research faculty, MBA program score high marks

Staff members from Bank of America visited Adopt-A-Family of the Palm Beaches in December,

dropping off toys and handmade holiday cards for the students at the agency’s Project Grow afterschool program.

They also presented the agency’s CEO, Matthew Constantine, with a $2,200 donation. The agency is in its

31st year and has helped more than 42,000 families attain self-sufficiency.

Photo provided

By Christine Davis

    Research faculty at Florida Atlantic University ranked 19th in the world for their intellectual contributions to the real estate industry through their publications in top peer-reviewed journals, according to the Journal of Real Estate Literature.
    Also, the university’s MBA program ranked fifth in the United States in terms of a student’s return on investment, with one of the nation’s highest average salary-to-debt ratios after a student gets a master’s degree, according to rankings published by SoFi, a San Francisco-based marketplace lender. Students who earn their MBA at FAU have an average salary of $104,820 and an average debt of $45,573, just behind Stanford University, which ranked No. 4. New York Institute of Technology topped the list.
    As part of YEA!, the Boca Chamber’s Golden Bell Education Foundation’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy program, its 24 students will hear Boca Raton CEOs talk about their businesses, how they made it to the top, and how they define success at the upcoming CEO Roundtable and Elevator Pitch Contest. This free event is open to the public and will be from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Feb. 6, at Saint Andrew’s School Parrish Hall, 3900 Jog Road, Boca Raton.
    Some of the city’s well-known CEOs will sit on the panel: Daniel Cane, president and CEO of Modernizing Medicine; Andrew Duffell, president and CEO of the Research Park at FAU; Angela Mastrofrancesco, regional manager of Comerica; Toula Amanna, CEO of Flashback Diner; Sam Zietz, president and CEO of TouchSuite.
    In December, Grant Cardone, author of the New York Times bestseller The 10X Rule, trained Braman Motorcars employees on the principles for success, which are outlined in his book. According to the 10X Rule, to achieve extreme success, team members must embrace the idea that success is their duty, obligation and responsibility.
    Braman Motorcars has served the county for more than 30 years as an authorized Rolls-Royce, Bentley, BMW, Porsche and MINI dealer. Braman Rolls-Royce Palm Beach was named the 2015 national and global Dealer of the Year by Rolls-Royce.
    George Gann, chief conservation strategist for the Institute for Regional Conservation in Delray Beach, recently traveled to Manchester, England, to lecture on the conservation and restoration of rare plants in Everglades National Park. The venue was the sixth World Conference on Ecological Restoration, hosted by the Society for Ecological Restoration.
    “We believe that our institute’s long history of working with regionally rare species in South Florida, together with expanded work in the Yucatan, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas, can shed light on what is actually happening on the ground at the global level,” Gann said.
    Also, in December, the Institute launched a new website featuring the native and introduced plants of Puerto Rico, which provides rapid access to information on 3,500 species of plants on the island.
    After learning of public school budget cuts affecting the arts in 2008, twin daughters of Nat King Cole, Timolin and Casey Cole of Boca Raton, launched Nat King Cole Generation Hope Inc. in honor of their father. Since that time, they’ve generated more than $750,000 in donations that have benefited thousands of children in South Florida and New York.
    In December, for their latest local endeavor, they hosted the second Nat King Cole Generation Hope President’s Society Dinner, “Bringing Harmony To The World Through Music,” where guests enjoyed a private showing of Nat King Cole’s memorabilia and a special performance from children in the Generation Hope Summer Strings program.
    A donation of $20 to Feeding South Florida can provide a meal for 124 children and their families. Through a local network of approximately 350 nonprofit partner agencies, Feeding South Florida distributes almost 40 million pounds of food annually, serving 785,040 individuals in need of food assistance, including 280,630 children and 150,000 older adults, throughout Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.
    To donate or for information, visit or call 954-518-1818.
 Awet Sium now is general manager for Kimpton’s Tideline Ocean Resort & Spa, Palm Beach. Most recently, he served as resort manager for the Four Seasons in St. Kitts & Nevis.
    Mehmet Bahtiyar has taken the position of Renaissance Boca Raton Hotel’s general manager. Previously, as director of operations at The Westin Tysons Corner Hotel, Virginia, he brought that property to the “Best in Class” in the last eight years for guest satisfactions. Renaissance Boca Raton Hotel is at 2000 NW 19th St.
    A strolling Ms. Champagne added another layer of sparkle to Raymond Lee Jewelers’ VIP holiday party, where staff, customers and guests started the evening off with a tall celebratory glass of bubbly. Prize baskets valued at more than $1,500 were raffled, raising funds for Charity Champions, a charity dedicated to the well-being of animals.
 Raymond Lee Jewelers’ Boca Raton location is at 22191 Powerline Road, #12B.
    The sale of the Bank of America Tower, a 109,553-square-foot office building at 150 E. Palmetto Park Road, closed Dec. 15. Senior managing director Hermen Rodriguez, director Ike Ojala and associate director Jorge Portela of Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, L.P.  represented the seller, Clarion Partners, in the sale of the property to Denver-based Dividend Capital Diversified Property Fund Inc.  
    The building sold for $35.75 million, free of debt. The Bank of America Tower is 87 percent leased to tenants including Bank of America, Zen Offices, Veretech Holdings and Charles Schwab & Company. A full-service Bank of America bank branch occupies the retail component of the space. Besito Boca soon will occupy the restaurant space.  
    The Delray Beach firm Marc Julien Homes is in the midst of its first relocation and rehabilitation project, a 1926 mission-style 1,200-square-foot house at 218 NE Fifth Court. The house was moved 15 feet, and the structure will be renovated. A new portion will be added to connect this house to an old guesthouse. It will be 3,049 square feet when it is completed. Marc Julien Homes will build a new two-story house where the 1926 cottage stood.
    Michaela Kennedy has joined Silver International Realty in Delray Beach as a real estate agent. Kennedy, who has a background in financial services and business development, was awarded the certified international property specialist designation by the National Association of Realtors in November 2014.
    Also, owner Christel Silver was awarded the performance management network designation by the Women’s Council of Realtors.
    Jackson Singh, one of South Florida’s newest real estate law firms, is a female-owned Boca Raton business led by two minority women, Racole Jackson and Nalini Singh. Specializing in foreclosure litigation, their firm focuses on real estate litigation and transactions.
    Jackson is a broker and former chair, vice chair and fellow of the American Bar Association’s commercial real estate purchase and sale committee. She was managing principal of Jabez Legal in Delray Beach and an attorney at Aldridge Pite.
    Singh is a former Aldridge Pite colleague. Their new office is at 2385 NW Executive Center Drive, Suite 100, Boca Raton.
    In October, Lang Realty raised $8,910 to benefit the American Cancer Society as part of its annual “In the Pink” campaign in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. More than half of the donations were raised through a percentage of each closing that month, and more than $3,000 was raised through pledges made for employees participating in the annual “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” walks in Boca Raton, Palm Beach Gardens and Port St. Lucie.
    The Boca Chamber will host its 10th annual Diamond Award Luncheon on Feb. 19 at the Boca Raton Resort & Club, 501 E. Camino Real, Boca Raton. At this luncheon, the chamber will recognize a professional woman who contributes to the vibrancy of the community. Call 395-4433, Ext. 233 or visit
    From 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. on Jan. 21, The Greater Boynton Beach Chamber of Commerce’s Business Awards Gala, “A Winter Wonderland” will honor its members for their outstanding accomplishments in 2015 and crown honorary chairs Calvin & Jeanette Cearley.
    Following the cocktail reception at Benvenuto Restaurant will be dinner, an awards ceremony, live auction and dancing. Tickets are $100. Benvenuto Restaurant is at 1730 N. Federal Highway, Boynton Beach. Call 732-9501.
    The Fair Housing Essay, Poster and Video Contest is open for all Palm Beach County students in grades 3 through 12. “Fair Housing Opens Doors” is sponsored by the Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches and the Legal Aid Society of the Palm Beaches Inc. Students may submit one entry for each category no later than 4 p.m. Jan. 15. Winners will be announced Feb. 29, and prizes will be awarded at an April reception. Visit or contact Kathi Dillard at 355-4927 or email her at
    The Astor Club, a private legacy club of high-net-worth families, launched in Palm Beach in December, offering its members an opportunity to collaborate on direct private equity investments to grow wealth and develop successors. Participating families attended informative sessions on those subjects and they also received a guided tour of Art Basel.
    Astor Family Advisors, a boutique office specializing in family succession and strategy, partnered with the membership program, Symphony Family Office Advisory Hub, to bring this gathering to Palm Beach.
    Patricio S. Espinosa, MD, has been appointed director of neurology at Boca Raton Regional Hospital’s Marcus Neuroscience Institute. He leads the institute’s team of neurologists and offers specialized expertise in epilepsy and sleep disorders.
    David C. Brodner, MD, a board-certified ear, nose and throat specialist, was recently contracted by the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide services to its patients. Brodner’s office is at 8794 Boynton Beach Blvd., Boynton Beach.
    Bethesda Health has announced new hires and a promotion. Randy Schwartz is the new executive director of Bethesda Health’s outpatient services in Boynton Beach. He is responsible for the start-up and operation of urgent care centers, diagnostic centers and freestanding ambulatory surgery centers, as well as for the engagement of physicians, resource allocation, staff and leadership development.
    Robert V. Rohack is the new director of the Cornell Institute for Rehabilitation Medicine, Bethesda Stroke Center and Rehabilitation Services at Bethesda Health. Prior to joining Bethesda’s team, Rohack served as the director of rehabilitation at Palms West Hospital in Loxahatchee.
    Cristina Yeatts is Bethesda Health’s new property manager, responsible for the management of Bethesda real estate assets, which include a service center and multiple physician practices.
    Jacquelyn Fogle was promoted to assistant vice president of patient services at Bethesda Hospital East. She previously served as the clinical nursing director for the Medical/Surgical/Oncology Unit and Outpatient Infusion Therapy Department. In her new role, she provides leadership support and patient care services. She also manages the operations of acute-care nursing.

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