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Newsmakers: People in Palm Beach County business, civic groups


ASSISTED LIVING

The Cabana at Jensen Dunes, in Jensen Beach – an all-rental community offering quality, affordable assisted living and memory support – recently named Frances Schmidt as its admissions, sales and marketing coordinator, and Kevin Morrow as its director of dining services. Schmidt, who earned his business degree from the American School of Business, has over two decades of sales experience and has been in the healthcare industry for 15 years. He is actively involved in the local community, regularly volunteering with Victory Center, a nonprofit organization for veterans in Indian River County.

With 27 years as an executive chef, Morrow will handle the organization’s dining services, including purchasing, scheduling, staff training and scheduling. Morrow has his ServSafe Certification and has been in the food service industry for over three decades.

CONSTRUCTION

Willoughby Construction in Jupiter announced that Steven Speaks joined to its luxury residential building team. The project manager brings more than 20 years experience to the company. Previously, Speaks oversaw the building of multimillion-dollar homes for Toll Brothers, and has led teams through the development and delivery of assigned processes on a range of projects, including luxury single and multi-family homes, production, age restricted and multi-story condominiums.

EDUCATION

Palm Beach Atlantic University announced that Robert Lloyd, professor of international relations and the Blanche E. Seaver Professor of International Studies and Languages at Pepperdine University, is the new dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. A native of Pensacola, Lloyd holds a bachelor’s degree from University of Arizona, a master’s degree from Cornell University and doctorate from the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

Lloyd taught international relations at Pepperdine University, headed the International Studies program, was the founding chair of the International Studies and Languages Division and received the university’s highest award for teaching excellence. In addition, he was a Fulbright scholar to India.

LEGAL

International law firm Greenberg Traurig has elevated to shareholder three attorneys in the West Palm Beach offices: Travis R. Chapin, Andrea Shwayri, and Anthony P. Vernace. Chapin, a member of the litigation practice group, represents broker-dealers and their employees in all aspects of business, including litigation and arbitration before state and federal trial courts, regulators and self-regulatory agencies. He received a law degree, cum laude, from University of Florida Levin College of Law. Shwayri, also a member of the litigation practice group, concentrates her practice on commercial litigation, business disputes, and tort defense. She received a law degree, cum laude, from University of Florida Levin College of Law. Vernace, a member of the real estate practice group, focuses his practice on Florida real estate issues, including the acquisition, disposition and financing of all types of real property, negotiating commercial office leases and advising on commercial loan workouts. He received a law degree, magna cum laude, from University of Miami School of Law.

In addition, Greenberg Traurig has selected Phillip H. Hutchinson to be a member of the 2016 class of Fellows, participating in a landmark program created by the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity to identify, train, and advance the next generation of leaders in the legal profession. Hutchinson, a shareholder in the firm’s West Palm Beach office, concentrates his practice on commercial litigation, focusing on defending large corporations in complex litigation.

Broad and Cassel announced that Tara Pellegrino, an associate in the firm’s West Palm Beach office, has been certified by the Florida Supreme Court as a circuit civil mediator. Pellegrino is a member of Broad and Cassel’s Appellate and Commercial Litigation Practice Groups. She has experience as a federal court practitioner, and has successfully handled contested matters involving the civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, breach of contract actions between international litigants, and jurisdictional contests. Pellegrino previously served as a pro bono Guardian Ad Litem in dependency proceedings for at-risk children.

RECOGNITION

The Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience in Jupiter recently received the Life Sciences South Florida Lifees Award at eMerge Americas in Miami. The Lifees Award honors organizations that are leaders in the life sciences and have demonstrated a commitment to furthering the industry through education and collaboration. Among the accolades listed during the institute’s recognition were its partnership with Florida Atlantic University and community engagement through events like the Brain Bee Challenge and public lectures at local high schools.

Unicorn Children’s Foundation in Boca Raton recently inducted Gale Wechsler into Unicorn’s Visionary Society at the Wick Theater and Costume Museumn. The society is a group of women who go above and beyond in philanthropically supporting the foundation. Wechsler has demonstrated understanding of and commitment to the agency’s vision, and a desire to help better special needs communities. Wechsler was presented with an 18-karat gold unicorn pin designed for the foundation by Kaufmann de Suisse.

Port of Palm Beach executive director Manuel Almira was inducted into the Florida Custom Brokers & Forwarders Association Hall of Fame. The association was founded in 1960, and is an influential and active representative body of the Florida freight forwarding and customs brokerage community. The organization is committed to fostering communications between the trade community and the federal agencies in order to expand Florida’s trading communities at the local, state and national level. Cuban-born and raised in New York, Almira is a graduate of Bernard Baruch College, City University of New York and has his American Association of Port Authorities Professional Port Manager certification. When he joined the Port of Palm Beach in 2008, he exacted strict budgetary controls and focused on income, bringing two multi-day passenger vessels, a casino day cruise and metal exporter to the port. These measures brought the port from deficit to profit for the first time in a decade.

The board of the Palm Beach Habilitation Center in Lake Worth announced that president and CEO Tina Philips received the Commonwealth Institute, South Florida’s award for Top 10 Women-Led Businesses in Florida (Not-For-Profit) for the third year in a row. Palm Beach Habilitation Center, a United Way Agency, is a private non-profit organization that provides employment, job placement, residential and retirement services to men and women with mental, emotional and physical disabilities.

Gabriella Ferraro, communications and outreach coordinator for the Martin County Board of County Commissioners, headquartered in Stuart, was awarded the Crisis Communicator of the Year Award from the Florida Public Relations Association, Treasure Coast Chapter for the public outreach and information efforts on All Aboard Florida. Ferraro were recognized for developing and managing the commissioners’sexternal communications about All Aboard Florida, including a web page on the county’s web site, frequent e-blasts to citizens, arranging for media opportunities, writing and distributing regular press releases and other communication tools on the topic.

MyTaskit, in West Palm Beach, a software platform for connecting service professionals to their technicians and customers, has won a 2016 Boating Industry Top Products Award for the second consecutive year. Boating Industry awarded the MyTaskit Pro Coordination module for its innovation and role in redefining marine industry technology by releasing new capabilities that allow businesses to coordinate subcontractor work within the app as well as with their own service technicians. Within the MyTaskit Pro Coordination module, which is available as a free or subscription service with enhanced features, service businesses can coordinate all repair/maintenance tasks with technicians and customers. When customers have a service issue, they can simply “Taskit” to their service pros.

Marcia H. Langley, a shareholder in the Boca Raton real estate practice of international law firm Greenberg Traurig, has been named Woman of the Year by Jewish Adoption and Family Care Options, a non-profit organization established in 1992 to provide services to abused and neglected children in South Florida.

RETAIL

Sawgrass Mills, in Sunrise, welcomed David Gott, a 19-year Simon veteran, as its new general manager. He will oversee the financial, marketing and operational performance of the largest outlet and value retail shopping destination in the U.S. Gott, who worked early in his retail career in South Florida, comes to Sawgrass Mills from the Chicago area where he was the general manager of Simon’s Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, Ill. There, he spearheaded a multi-million dollar renovation and center court transformation. Gott also previously managed Fashion Centre Pentagon City and Office Tower, Potomac Mills and St. Charles Town Center. Before joining Simon, he worked as a buyer for Nordstrom. Gott earned a bachelor’s of science degree in economics from Northern Illinois University.

THERAPY

Joy Kevelson, licensed mental health counselor of Jupiter, earned the Registered Play Therapist credential conferred by the Association for Play Therapy. To become a Registered Play Therapist, applicants must have earned a traditional master’s or higher mental health degree from an institution of higher education, 150 clock hours of play therapy training, two years and 2,000 hours of clinical experience, 500 hours of supervised play therapy experience, and be licensed or certified by their state boards of practice.

TRAVEL

Palm Beach Travel’s founder, Annie Davis, continues to add to her company’s specialty service with a new Tahitian Travel Specialist certification. Davis recently completed the year-long training, and is now recognized by the Tahitian Tourism department as a preferred specialist. In addition, Palm Beach Travel, in Manalapan has recently added an cruise department.

CALENDAR

The Boca Real Estate Investment Club Presents will host Sharon Restrepo, author and local real estate expert. She will teach trade tips that help new and seasoned investors. The event is June 9 at 7 p.m. Registration begins at 6:30 p.m. at Gold Coast School of Real Estate, 7035 Beracasa Way, 2nd Floor, in Boca Raton. Cost is $20 for non-members, free for club members. Call 561-391-REAL or visit www.bocarealestateclub.com.

The June Palm Beach County Hotel & Lodging Association lunch will be held at the Embassy Suites Hotel, 4350 PGA Boulevard, Palm Beach Gardens on June 8. The reception will start at noon and lunch will be served at 12.20 p.m. The host for the meeting is Tom Spoto, general manager of the hotel and a director and treasurer of the association. $35 for members and their guests. $45 for non-members, who must pay in advance. For information, email info@hotelassociation.

To submit an announcement for Local Business People to Watch, please email a short description of the new hire, promotion or award, along with the location of the business and a high-resolution photo of the person to pbbusiness@pbpost.com


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