12 Good Men

Ronald McDonald House Pays Tribute


For 17 years Ronald McDonald House Charities has honored 12 outstanding men whose community involvement, civic service and commitment to one or more South Florida charities have earned them recognition. This year’s event will take place at Jungle Island on Tuesday, March 8. Event sponsors include Northern Trust, Raymond James & Associates and The Bermont Advisory Group. Individual tickets are still available. Click Here for information.



Miguel A. Balsera

Miguel A. Balsera

Miguel A. Balsera has worked for Miami-Dade County Public Schools for fourteen years and currently serves as Principal at Bent Tree Elementary School. His focus has been on at-risk students, English Language Learners, and Special Education students. During his years as a teacher at Rockway Elementary, the United Way of Miami recognized Mr. Balsera with their American Values Award for his service within the community. He established a community service group at the elementary school level, which organized numerous projects throughout South Florida. In addition, Mr. Balsera served as a summer volunteer teacher at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center. In 2008, Miguel was recognized as the Region V Assistant Principal of the Year for Miami-Dade County Public Schools. He currently serves on the Board for The Children’s Trust of Miami-Dade. A lifelong resident of Miami Dade County, Mr. Balsera and his wife Victoria have a son Max and a daughter Miranda.



Peter L. Bermont

Peter L. Bermont

For more than 35 years, Peter L. Bermont has provided financial guidance to a select group of high net worth individuals, families, institutions and not-for-profit organizations. A nationally respected advisor and consultant, Mr. Bermont has served his community in many capacities. He was a founder and first chairman of the Miami Bond Club; a founder and vice chair of the Bank of Coral Gables; and a founder and director of Equinox Bank Corp. He is a past chairman of the board of Miami Children’s Hospital and the past chairman of the board of Ransom Everglades School. He is a current board member and past president of Temple Israel. He currently serves on the boards of the United Way and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Great Miami. A graduate of Texas Christian University School of Business, he serves on its board of trustees and is a member of the Chancellor’s Council and a Centurion of the Addison and Randolph Clark Society. Mr. Bermont and his wife Kerrin live in Coconut Grove. They are the proud parents of four children and four granddaughters.



Leslie Bowe

Leslie Bowe

Leslie Bowe s a distinguished employee of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, currently serving as a coordinator in the Office of Compliance Business Services. Prior to this position, he served as the administrative assistant to School Board Members Agustin J. Barrera and Evelyn Greer. The former Vice-Mayor of the Village of Pinecrest, he was elected in 1996 to its founding Village Council and credited with establishing well-regarded municipal services for the village. Mr. Bowe has shown a strong dedication to the community for the past 20 years, serving as a member or committee chair for numerous non-profit organizations that benefit and financially support local arts and recreation facilities, including the South Dade YMCA, Zoological Society of Florida, Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project, Children’s Home Society of Florida, United Way Leadership Circle, University of Miami, and Pinecrest Gardens Foundation. He is currently the Vice-President of the Vizcayans and serves on the Board of Trustees of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens. He has also served on the Miami-Dade County League of Cities’ Executive Board as second vice-president.



Adam E. Carlin

Adam E. Carlin

Adam E. Carlin, a Director for Wealth Management and Portfolio Management Director at The Bermont/Carlin Group at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, currently manages over $1.6 billion in assets. From 2006 to 2009, he was named in Research magazine’s “Winner’s Circle State-by-State” ranking of the top advisors in America. And in 2009 and 2010, Barron’s magazine named him one of the top advisors in the country and in the State of Florida. Mr. Carlin is an active supporter of education, having taught at both the undergraduate and graduate levels at UM’s School of Business Administration. In 2006, he co-founded and helped underwrite the MBA Ethics Fellow Internship program at the University of Miami, for which he also co-founded and underwrote the Bermont/Carlin Group Undergraduate and Graduate Scholars program in support of the most outstanding students majoring in finance. In addition to his professional responsibilities, Mr. Carlin currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for the following organizations: New World Symphony; Buoniconti Fund; Shake-A-Leg Miami; and Wellness Community of Greater Miami. He has also obtained Ordre d’Egalité status at United Way Miami. Mr. Carlin serves as co-chair of the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center Founders Board, is a past Chairman of the Bankers Club Miami Board of Governors, and is also a grand founder and Ibis Society member at the University of Miami.



Steven Davis

Steven Davis

A partner in the national law firm of Boies, Schiller and Flexner, LLP (BSF), Steven Davis handles complex business litigation, including antitrust, real estate and class actions cases. He was trial counsel for the State of Florida in an antitrust case with total settlements in excess of $90 million, and other cases have involved a $40 million partnership dispute and a $10 million ground lease litigation. In 2006 and 2007, Mr. Davis was part of a litigation team at BSF representing American Express in an antitrust case that resulted in over $4 billion in settlement, the largest antitrust settlement to a single plaintiff ever. Since 2004 he has been named by The South Florida Legal Guide as one of its “Top Lawyers” every year. He is the current President of the Dade County Bar Association, the largest voluntary bar association in Florida, that is also one of the state’s leading providers of free legal services to the poor. In addition to his volunteer work for the Dade County Bar, Mr. Davis is the chair of the Finance Committee for St. John’s on the Lake United Methodist Church on Miami Beach, has held board positions with the American Heart Association and worked on special events in support of the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization. He resides in Miami Beach with his wife, Laurie, and three fantastic daughters.



Robert Elias

Robert Elias

Robert (“Robby”) Elias is the founder and managing principal of The Elias Law Firm, PLLC, a real estate, corporate and estate planning boutique located in Miami Lakes. Mr. Elias is a native South Floridian. He attended Miami Country Day, obtained his undergraduate degree at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Miami School Of Law. He devotes much of his discretionary time to civic and charitable endeavors. He served as Chairman of the Board of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida; is a former founding member of the Jr. Board of Directors of the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis; was elected President of the Miami Lakes Bar Association in 2010 and serves as a member of the Florida Council of Bar Association Presidents. In 2005, Mr. Elias was awarded an AV Lawyer Rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the highest peer rating for professional excellence. He was appointed to the Miami Lakes Economic Development Committee; was appointed by the chairperson of the Miami-Dade County School Board to the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Ethics; and serves on the Board of Directors of Union Credit Bank. Mr. Elias resides in Miami Lakes with his wife, Kendall, and their two children, Peyton Elias (11) and Lewis Robert Elias IV (7).



Stanford Freedman

Stanford Freedman

A South Florida businessman since 1972, Stanford Freedman owned Able Sanitation, Inc. until it was acquired by United Site Services in 2001, and currently owns and runs Able Export, LLC and Able Builders Equipment, LLC, international and domestic providers of scaffolding and concrete shoring equipment. He has served as a member or officer of various professional associations, including Builders Association of South Florida, Portable Sanitation Association and Latin Builders Association, and has been a consultant for Miami-Dade County Disaster Relief, American Disability Association and the South Florida Building Code. He currently serves as a Trustee of the Florida Grand Opera and the New World Symphony, was a Trustee of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce for some 22 years, and is involved with Community in Schools’ Tutoring @ High Schools program. He received a commendation from the U.S. Army/FEMA/State of Florida for his handling of portable sanitation after Hurricane Andrew; was commended by the Secret Service for services provided for the Papal Visit to South Florida, and was awarded the Flor de Lis Cubana in 2000.



Robert W. Hudson

Robert W. Hudson

Robert W. Hudson is a shareholder and named partner of the law firm of Infante, Zumpano, Hudson & Miloch, LLC, in Coral Gables. His legal practice focuses on employment litigation, personal injury and wrongful death litigation and complex commercial litigation. Mr. Hudson is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell®, the highest peer review rating possible, and recently was named a South Florida Business Leader 2010 Legal IMPACT Leaders honoree. What gives Mr. Hudson, the most satisfaction, however, is giving back to the South Florida community through charitable and civic involvement. He joined the board of directors of the Humane Society of Greater Miami in 1999 and is the current chairman of the board, having been elected in 2008. During his tenure he has worked hard to better the plight of homeless pets while advancing the Society’s responsible pet ownership and spay/neuter programs. Mr. Hudson’s passion for animals extends to the more exotic kind, and he has been on the board of the Zoological Society of Florida since 1999 and elected as chairman in 2010. He oversaw the hiring of a new executive director and furthers the mission of promoting Zoo Miami and expanding its educational opportunities. Originally from Dayton, Ohio, Mr. Hudson has resided in Miami-Dade County since 1983. He currently lives in Coral Gables with his wife, Christina and their twins, Dylan and Corinne, as well as their St. Bernard, Dodge, and two cats, Max and Lily, all of whom were adopted from rescue agencies.



Juan E. Lopez

Juan E. Lopez

Born in Havana, Cuba, Juan Lopez came to Miami in 1960 and has been in his current position as Vice President/General Manager of Saks Fifth Avenue Dadeland since 1984. He has been active in a wide range of charitable organizations and has received many awards. He has served as a member of the board of directors of Jackson Memorial Foundation, American Cancer Society, La Liga Contra el Cancer, Golden Angel Society, Miami Core Project, GableStage, Miami Art Museum, United Way of Miami-Dade County and The Vizcayans. Mr. Lopez and his wife, Maria del Carmen, live in Miami and have two children, Juan Carlos and Mariana.





Jorge A Plasencia

Jorge A Plasencia

Jorge A. Plasencia is chairman and CEO of República, an advertising and communications company, based in Miami with offices in New York, Washington D.C., San Juan and Orlando. Prior to establishing República in 2006, Mr. Plasencia was corporate vice president and operating manager of Univision Radio, and served as vice president of Estefan Enterprises, Inc., a global entertainment, media and hospitality company. He was the first director of Hispanic marketing for the Florida Marlins baseball team, achieving impressive growth for the team within the Hispanic market, resulting in the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s awarding the team with the prestigious Hispanic Marketer of the Year Award in 1997. Mr. Plasencia enjoys an esteemed reputation in business and is highly regarded for his commitment to giving back to the community. In 1991, he co-founded Amigos For Kids. He is also vice chair of the National Council of La Raza, the largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S.; a founding board member and on the advisory board of the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute; and is chairman of the Cuban-American National Council. He serves on the boards of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, the Miami Dade College Foundation and is a trustee of the United Way. Additionally, he’s a former director of TotalBank and a former trustee of his alma mater, Barry University. In 2004, Mr. Plasencia was nominated by President George W. Bush to serve on the advisory board of the Broadcasting Board of Governors’ OCB. In 2009, he was inducted into the Miami Dade College Hall of Fame.



Thomas Whitehurst

Thomas Whitehurst

Thomas A. Whitehurst has been a leader in supporting disability issues with an emphasis on autism causes for many years. He helped spearhead the efforts to bring the first walk to raise money for autism research to Miami in 2000. He was also the co-chair of the Autism Speaks Walks in 2008 and 2010. Mr. Whitehurst and his wife, Marie-Ilene, were honored with the Community Leadership Award presented by the University of Miami Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (UM-CARD). Additionally, he was named to the Society of University Founders at UM. He is an Ordre de Liberte member of the United Way’s Alexis de Tocqueville Society, a Fairchild Tropical Gardens Fellow and an American Red Cross Humanitarian Sponsor. He has also held board positions at the Miami-Dade Public Library Foundation, Planned Parenthood, Fellowship House, The Girl Scouts of Greater Miami and Florida Grand Opera. Mr. Whitehurst, who has a PhD in Mathematics, is a Sr. Vice President of Investments for Raymond James & Associates. He is dedicated to serving his clients, both high net worth investors and those who have family members with special needs. The Whitehursts have been married 21 years and are the very proud parents of Christina, who attends Duke University and Thomas, 18 who was diagnosed with autism over 16 years ago.



Frank L. Young


Frank L. Young

Frank Young began his professional career as an institutional venture capitalist in 1981 with InterFirst Venture Capital and in 1987 moved to Southeast Venture Capital. In this capacity, he financed and managed dozens of early stage, technology-based businesses. Since 1996, Mr. Young has been instrumental in launching five venture-backed companies - four healthcare/biotech and one Internet - in the capacity of CFO. He was twice Chairman of the Florida Venture Forum and the founder of its highly successful Florida Venture Capital Conference. He has raised more than $90 million in institutional private equity capital for the companies he has been associated with over the last 15 years.