It was a night to salute the stars. What better venue than a stage?
The stars were four distinguished alumni entrepreneurs from Florida International University’s (FIU) College of Business Administration as well as an iconic Miami developer. The event was the college’s 13th annual Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame.
And the stage was one of Miami’s grandest: the Adrienne Arsht Center’s Knight Concert Hall.
At the sold-out May 3, 2012 event, produced by staff members of FIU Business, Miami developer Tibor Hollo was named 2012 South Florida Entrepreneur of the Year. Also honored: Jason Squillante, (BBA ’00), CEO, TopSource Staffing, Founder of the Year; Mayi de la Vega (BBA ’81), owner, ONE Sotheby’s International Realty, Builder of the Year; Alfredo Lardizabal, (BBA ’94), COO and general manager, MIC Foods, Family Business Award; and Justo Luis Pozo III (BBA ’07), partner, Gotham Holdings and Energy Kitchen, Young Alum. Finalists of The Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge were also recognized.
Sponsors of the evening were Morrison, Brown, Argiz & Farra, LLC, and Wells Fargo Bank.
To start the evening, guests mingled at a cocktail reception in the hall’s expansive lobby. Ushers then led attendees down a corridor, through the backstage door, and onto the stage, which was filled with elegantly set banquet tables. Once seated, the guests enjoyed a three-course dinner, with music provided by classical musicians from FIU’s School of Music.
Event salutes entrepreneurs who rise to the occasion.
The evening’s theme: “Rise: Entrepreneur to Icon,” was brought home by Hollo, who accepted his award as 2012 South Florida Entrepreneur of the Year.
“I’m deeply honored by this recognition from a university that I hold in such high regard and consider to be the most progressive in our community,” said Hollo, chairman of Florida East Coast Realty.
He offered advice to young entrepreneurs: “Work hard until you get there, and when you get there, work even harder.”
Each honoree received a short video tribute and an award from Executive Dean Joyce J. Elam.
“These are the stories that motivate and drive our students to push forward with their goals and bring them to fruition,” she said.
To date, more than 35 FIU alumni and other business leaders have been inducted.
The college is now accepting nominees for its 2013 alumni entrepreneurship awards. Nominees must be alumni who have achieved distinction as founders and builders of business enterprises, and have made contributions as community volunteers and philanthropists. To learn more about the awards and to nominate FIU Business alumni, visit https://business.fiu.edu/hall-of-fame/.