Concrete results for Brightline

A fleet of 100 trucks spent 18 hours pouring 5,500 cubic yards of concrete at Brightline’s MiamiCentral station; the pour was for the foundation of the six-block station, which will start going vertical now. Service is expected to launch in the second quarter of 2017.

A fleet of concrete trucks pours the foundation for Brightline’s MiamiCentral
A fleet of concrete trucks pours the foundation for Brightline’s MiamiCentral

By the end of the year, the first trains will arrive and testing will start in Broward County, All Aboard Florida President Mike Reininger said at a Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce Downtown Council meeting. The stations will be completed in the first quarter of 2017 and marketing will ramp up with concepts such as, “You’ve Sat in Traffic Long Enough,” “A Smarter Way from A to Z” and “Your Neighborhood Just Got Bigger.”

The last slogan has to do with increased mobility in the region since trips on the two Brightline segments –
Miami/Fort Lauderdale and Fort Lauderdale/West Palm Beach – will take only 30 minutes.

The South Florida segments are fully funded, while Brightline is currently looking at alternatives for financing the rest of the project to Orlando International Airport. Market turmoil at the end of 2015 hindered efforts to issue tax-exempt private bonds.

Reininger didn’t announce ticket prices, but said service to Orlando will be significantly cheaper than flying. Given the cost of parking and express lane tolls on I-95, Brightline will be very competitively priced for service within South Florida. However, a lot of the allure will be about amenities, including Wi-Fi on the trains and in the stations, reserved seating and facing seats for business meetings. Seats also will have places to set cellphones and hang purses.

Trains will be compliant with the American Disabilities Act with retractable walkways to bridge the gap between train cars and platforms.

The stations will stand out with LED lighting that can change colors when a train comes into the station or celebrate special occasions, like when a sports team is playing in a championship.

All of the stations will offer car and bike share programs, rentals cars, tie-ins to mass transit systems and shuttles to key destinations not served by public transit. Fort Lauderdale will also have a shuttle to the Water Taxi along the New River.

SFBWmag.com has a two-part series about rail mass transit and related developments from the January and February issues of SFBW.

Super-yachts in Miami

The 253-foot Silver Fast by Burgess takes center stage at Island Gardens Deep Harbour.
The 253-foot Silver Fast by Burgess takes center stage at Island Gardens Deep Harbour.

A collection of 24 super-yachts up to 250 feet long and valued in excess of $800 million sailed into Island Gardens Deep Harbour for the Yachts Miami show.

Among them were the 253-foot Silver Fast by Burgess and the 206-foot 11/11 by Benetti.

The super-yacht marina held a “berth-day” celebration with food and drinks on the marina’s expansive deck, which drew dignitaries, including Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Miami Commissioners Willy Gort and Francis Suarez and Miami Beach Commissioner Ricky Arriola.

SFBWmag.com has a profile of Mehmet Bayraktar, chairman and CEO of marina developer Flagstone Property Group, from the February issue of SFBW.

Precision cancer treatments emerge

The human genome project is having a major impact on developing precision cancer treatments, says Dr. George Daneker, chief medical officer of Cancer Treatment Centers of America, which is headquartered in Boca Raton.

Mark Ketcham and Michael Myers at CTCA event.
Mark Ketcham and Michael Myers at CTCA event.
Gary Press, Steve Mackin, Bonnie Daneker and Dr. George Daneker.
Gary Press, Steve Mackin, Bonnie Daneker and Dr. George Daneker.

During a presentation at Gilda’s Club in Fort Lauderdale, Daneker used easily understandable concepts to help the audience get a quick lesson in the relationship between genetics and cancer treatment.

One analogy is that the millions of base pairs that form the building blocks of the DNA double helix are like words in a sentence. Small changes, like inserting the word not, can create a major difference in the meaning of the sentence. In the body, “You can accumulate changes which can drive abnormalities,” he says.

The discovery of a mutated gene involved with melanoma allowed treatment with positive outcomes to go from 15 percent with traditional treatment to 80 percent, Daneker says.

Next-generation sequencing (NGS) looks at thousands of genes like they were an instruction book, Daneker says. Doctors can see maps of how genes and proteins relate.

CTCA has 3,000 patients that have undergone NGS tests, which Daneker says is the largest group in the U.S., if not the world. Until recently, CTCA wasn’t reimbursed for the tests, but it was important to help develop better treatment options. When patients have NGS, 73 percent of them are able to get an actionable treatment.

The targeted therapies result in a 52 percent improvement in quality of life and a 74 percent improvement in outcomes, Daneker says.

There was also $604 million in savings. Daneker says relating outcomes to cost will be a key factor in the future of health care given the cost of many new treatments.

SFBW was a sponsor of the event at Gilda’s.

EY Entrepreneur of the Year judges set

The nominations are in and South Florida will have three of the nine judges for the 30th-annual Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards in Florida:

• Susan Amat, Ph.D., founder of Venture Hive in Miami

• Mark Volchek, director and co-founder of Higher One Holdings Inc. and the founder of Las Olas Venture Capital in Fort Lauderdale

• Naomi Whittel, CEO and founder of Reserveage Organics in Boca Raton

“The independent judging panel of accomplished individuals is what makes this award one of the most prestigious awards in business,” says Greg Rosica, EY’s Florida program partner.

South Florida finalists will be recognized at a May 25 reception and the statewide award recipients will be revealed on June 9 in Tampa.

South Floridians have had some major success in EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year program, most notably, H. Wayne Huizenga of Fort Lauderdale being named World Entrepreneur of the Year in 2005. Huizenga is the only person to be involved in founding three Fortune 500 companies: Waste Management, Blockbuster and AutoNation. 

Past Winners

These South Floridians were recognized by EY at the state level in the past three years:

• Naomi Whittel, Reserveage Organics (2013 – emerging)

• John Kunkel, 50 Eggs Inc. (2013 – hospitality)

• Philip Anson Jr., STS Holdings Inc. (2013 – services)

• Amin Rahman Ramjee, DiscountMugs.com (2014 – distribution and manufacturing)

• John Kanas, BankUnited (2014 – financial services)

• Stuart Miller, Lennar Corporation (2014 – lifetime achievement)

• Joseph Incandela, Cross Country Home Services (2014 – services)

• Marcelo Young, Transnational Foods (2015 – distribution and manufacturing)

• Daniel Cane, Modernizing Medicine (2015 – emerging)

• Ron Antevy, e-Builder Inc. (2015 – real estate and construction)

• Jamarlin Martin, Moguldom Media Group (2015 – services)

• Sam Zietz, TouchSuite (2015 – technology)

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