Award Winning Chef, Published Author & Restaurateur
She’s a James Beard Award Winner, one of South Florida’s most well-respected and successful chefs/restaurateurs – and entrepreneurs. A Miami native and author of Cuisine a Latina, Bernstein is the creative force behind several acclaimed restaurants, including her latest ventured called Crumbs on Parchment. Her other restaurant outposts include Michy’s and Sra. Martinez dubbed by Esquire Magazine as one of the “Best New Restaurants in America” in 2009. This former ballerina is also a host on PBS of a weekly television series, Check, Please! South Florida. She’s a community activist who launched the South Florida chapter of Common Threads an after school program dedicated to teaching youth to cook and eat healthy and recently launched a cookware and cutlery set collection called Michelle B. on the Home Shopping Network.
Luis E. Capó,
President of El Dorado Furniture
El Dorado Furniture is one of the largest Hispanic-owned furniture retailers in the United States. As the political situation became untenable, Luis, his father and one brother left Cuba on a repaired (previously sunken) boat which they christened El Dorado. After arriving in the U.S., the Capos opened their own store and named it after the boat that brought them to freedom: El Dorado. El Dorado Furniture is now 14 stores strong and continues to expand throughout Florida. Luis also oversees approximately 220 sales associates all of whom go through his own training seminars given at El Dorado University, the company’s in-house training institute. Luis is the eldest of seven brothers. His four sons all work full time at El Dorado.
Laurans A. Mendelson
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of HEICO Corporation
HEICO Corporation, an aerospace, defense, and electronics
company headquartered in Hollywood, FL. HEICO is listed
on the New York Stock Exchange, and was cited last year by
Forbes Magazine as one of the 100 Best Small Companies.
HEICO products are found on large commercial aircraft, regional, business and military aircraft, and on a large variety of industrial turbines, targeting systems, missiles and electro-optical devices. Mendelson has been at the helm of HEICO since 1989. Under his leadership, HEICO has grown to record-breaking sales, operating income, net income and share value. Today, more than 2,300 employees throughout the world are engaged in the design, manufacture and sale of HEICO products and services.
In 1999, Mendelson received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. He is a recipient of the Greater Hollywood Chamber of Commerce 1998 Private Sector Community Service Award, and the John Jay Award for Distinguished Professional Achievement by Columbia College in the City of New York. Mendelson is a member of various boards, including the Board of Governors of the Aerospace Industries Association in Washington, D.C., and the Society of Mount Sinai Founders of Mt. Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach. He is also a Trustee Emeritus of Columbia University in the City of New York and has been a distinguished guest lecturer in The Executive Forum of the MBA Program at Florida Atlantic University’s College of Business.
Mendelson received an AB degree from Columbia College in the City of New York in 1960, and an M.B.A. from Columbia University Graduate School of Business in 1961.
CEO & Co-Founder of Zumba Fitness, LLC
Zumba is the largest dance-fitness company in the world. The global lifestyle brand fuses fitness, entertainment and culture into a dance-party experience and has more than 12 million weekly participants in 125 countries. Prior to founding Zumba Fitness, Perlman was founder and CEO of Spydre Labs, an Internet incubator. Perlman's commitment to community service spans the world as well. He created the Zumbathon charity platform, which is Zumba Fitness' answer to the walkathon. Zumbathon campaigns have raised over 3 million dollars globally for causes /organizations. Originally from Bogotá, Colombia, Perlman now resides with his family in Miami, Florida. www.zumba.com
ANF Group, Inc,
Since 1981 ANF Group, Inc. has been providing general contracting and construction management services within the South Florida area. 30 years later they are considered an industry leader in the commercial and education construction arena and have played a vital role in the highly specialized niche of healthcare construction in South Florida. ANF Group provides quality preconstruction, construction management, design-build, and general contracting services. Not only are they known for their professionalism, meticulous work and expertise but also for their involvement in the community. They are always quick to support and lend a helping hand to a worthy cause; their philanthropic involvement in the community is a big part of what the ANF Group and the Fernandez family stand for.
Chairman & CEO of LEASA Industries Co., Inc.
LEASA started 34 years ago in Liberty City. Mr. Yap arrived in the U.S. with $50 in his pocket in 1976 and his company now employs 80 people and is recognized as the largest employer in Liberty City. LEASA is the leading tofu manufacturer, processor, and distributor and is also among the largest logistics company of numerous food products in Florida. The company supplies goods to more than 1,800 supermarkets and its products are sold across the U.S. including Alaska, the Cayman Islands, and other Caribbean counties. George and his company generously give back to the community through funding, food donations, scholarships as well as, volunteer hours.
2011 AMERICAN DREAMER AWARDEES
South Florida’s diverse and multicultural entrepreneurs.
Ron Bergeron, Sr.,
Mr. Bergeron knows hard work. His were humble roots. A machete to clear 5 acres and an old truck worth $235 dollars. Today Mr. Bergeron manages more than 35 companies and is a major force in the real estate, land development and building industries. He is CEO or President of most of these companies which span Florida, Georgia and Michigan. Mr. Bergeron is a Florida native – eight generations preceded him in Davie, Florida.
Founder & CEO Superior Design International (SDI)
Founder, Owner, Chief Executive Officer and President Carmen Castillo has grown SDI by an average of 19% per year. SDI currently delivers programs to more than 26 customers, and manages a consultant workforce of 2,000 staff members. SDI has been identified as one of the largest Hispanic Businesses in the United States.
The Cherubin brothers, Manny and Jean, immigrated from Port-au-Prince, Haiti decades ago. Their dream was to create a media empire. They began operating a 4-hour radio program 20 years ago. They were the first Haitian-Americans to own an FCC licensed radio station in the U.S. Today, they own two (2)television channels covering South Florida and 23 Caribbean islands 24/7 through Caribvision, and two (2) radio stations fully licensed by the (FCC) covering South Florida and the Bahamas with 24/7 Live streaming. Learn more
Founder & CEO
UDT, an IT services provider, was started by Henry Fleches 15 years ago and is a now nationally recognized company and on Inc. Magazine's Inc. 550/500 List Fastest Growing Private Companies in America. UDT is headquartered in Doral, FL, and has 120 employees located at offices in South Florida, Orlando, Tampa, North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia. Learn more...
Benjamin León Jr.,
Founder Leon Medical Center
Benjamin León Jr.'s family emigrated to Florida in the 1960's. Mr. León, Jr. alongside his father, Mr. León, Sr., founded Clínica Asociación Cubana (CAC). The Leon Medical Centers and Leon Medical Centers Health Plans now support more than 1,900 dedicated healthcare professionals who serve more than 37,000 Medicare recipients throughout South Florida. Learn More
CEO Great American Farms, Inc
A resident of Broward County since 1942 Mr. Levy Alan is the Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Great American Farms, Inc. a Pompano Beach based agricultural marketing firm now a company generating millions in annual revenues. Mr. Levy is a deeply involved community leader. Among his accomplishments is being a founding member of the Performing Arts Council Authority responsible for the initial design and building of the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.
Founder & CEO SourceOne
Mark Llano is Founder and CEO of SourceOne. In 2009 he was named Vetrepreneur of the Year by the magazine of the same name. His first three months in business were spent researching - he estimates hundreds of hours - on how to become a government contractor. His hard work paid off. SourceOne had sales revenues of $1.6 million its first six months in operation.
José R. Mas, was appointed CEO of MasTec in 2007 and during his tenure MasTec's revenues have doubled and earnings have more than tripled.
José Ramon is the son of the company’s founder, the late Jorge Mas Canosa who started a telecommunications company with a $50,000 loan. MasTec is now a publicly traded company valued at over $2 billion dollars.
Entrepreneur & Former Miss Universe
Former Miss Universe Barbara Palacios has successfully transitioned from beauty queen to entrepreneur. Ms. Palacios has worked as a television host for more than two decades, and has been a spokesperson for multinational corporations in the United States and Latin America. She has founded several advertising agencies. In 2010 she founded Barbara Palacios Corporation, a U.S.-based company which sells jewelry and beauty products on line and at Barbara Palacios boutiques in the U.S., Caribbean and Latin America. Ms. Palacios is a native of Venezuela.
Founder South Florida Pediatric Homecare
Barbara Sharief started a pediatric home care business ten years ago using her retirement funds and an SBA loan. Her first year in business generated $700,000 in revenue. By year three, she was grossing more than $2M in revenues. And, every year since, the business has experienced double to 50% in revenue increases. Her firm has more than 600 nurses and therapists working in patient homes. She is a Florida native.
Antonio Vilariño & Family,
Founders of Las Vegas, Las Villas & Casitas Restaurants
The Vilariño Family arrived during the Mariel boatlift in the 1980's. Antonio and Nilda and their five daughters now own a 19-restaurant mini-empire including Las Vegas, Vilas and La Casita Restaurants. The family also operates Ku-Va at Miami International Airport.
"Nobody talks of entrepreneurship as survival, but that’s exactly what it is.”
– Anita Roddick
Contact Josie Bacallao 954-683-2028 (cell) or 954-342-0298 (Direct)
Hispanic Unity was founded more than 31 years ago by community leaders to ease the acculturation transition for newcomers from other nations. Today this nonprofit provides 19 programs, in three languages, to Broward’s diverse community. Learn more