Celebrating the Pinnacle

The region has many business awards programs, but the Apogee Awards are unique. Rather than having an awards program for each position, such as a CEO awards program one month and a CFO awards program another month, SFBW thought it would be even better to bring in the entire C-suite.

This creates a great opportunity for networking not only with counterparts who have the same position, such as CEO to CEO, but among different positions, COO to CIO or CMO to Top HR Executive. As you can see from the list of last year’s honorees, the awards recognize an impressive group of business leaders from South Florida. 

As we kick off this year’s Apogee Awards, SFBW wanted to take a look back at last year’s awards program, held at the Museum of Art in Fort Lauderdale, and answer some of the questions we often get asked about the awards process:

How did we get to 24 honorees? It’s simple math: eight categories and one honoree in each county per category.

Who can nominate someone? Anybody can nominate anyone – even themself. To make it easy, just send a short email to Editor-in-Chief Kevin Gale (kgale@sfbwmag.com), telling us why you think someone is worthy of our awards. We’ll also provide nomination forms on our website, SFBWmag.com, under the events tab at the top of the home page.

When is the deadline for nominations? July 15

Is there both a winner and a finalist? No, each honoree is the only one in his or her category in that county.

Who is in charge of the judging? The SFBW editorial team, led by Gale, who is a 30-year business journalist in South Florida.

Is there a cost for the awards? Each honoree will receive two tickets for the event. SFBW can arrange ticket packages for honorees who want to bring members of their team, friends and family. 

SFBW is pleased to have Mitch Kramer and his Octagon family of recruiting companies return as the presenting sponsor for this year’s awards program. Octagon’s divisions include Octagon Technology Staffing, Octagon Executive Search and Octagon Professional Recruiting, with offices in Fort Lauderdale, Miami-Dade and Boca Raton. Octagon focuses on the areas of accounting/finance, information technology and human resources. 

Why did Kramer decide to sponsor the awards? He says, “Most of the events that I have gone to over the years in South Florida have recognized one category by itself, and I think that is great; but when SFBW Chairman and CEO Gary Press and I sat down and started discussing what corporate America is really about these days, we felt that recognizing all C-suite executives in one function was a powerful statement about how closely departments work together, and how critical it is for finance, information technology, human resources, operations and marketing, along with the offices of the president, CEO, COO and chairman, to work hand-in-hand to run their companies effectively and with the highest level of success.”  ?

2014 Honorees


” John Kanas
Chairman, President and CEO BankUnited, Inc.

” Arthur Keiser
Chancellor and CEO
Keiser University; Chairman Southeastern College

” Steven E. Bernstein II
Founder and Chairman

SBA Communications Corporation


” Edgardo Defortuna
President and Founder
Fortune International Group

” Dave Seleski
Founder, President and CEO Stonegate Bank

” Jerry Fedele, CEO
Boca Raton Regional Hospital


” Carlos Rosso
President, The Related Group, Condo Development Division

” William R. Laurie
American Heritage School

” William Berger
Greenspoon Marder Law


” Nannette M. Zapata
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

” Steve Palmer
Stiles Corp.

” Joey Bulfin
St. Mary’s Medical Center


” Erik Day
Warren Henry Automotive Group

” Jeanne Prayther
CFO, e-Builder, Inc.

” Michael Geltzeiler
Senior Vice President and CFO, ADT Security Services


” Rolando Aedo
Executive Vice President and CMO
Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau

” Rosy Lopez
Greenspoon Marder Law

” Lenny Chesal


” Alexander Freund
President and CIO

” Judith Haddad
Executive Vice President and Chief Information & Technology Officer
Patriot National

” Todd Hale
Senior Vice President and Global Chief Information Officer
Office Depot


” Tedd Trabert, CHRO 

Health Choice Network

” Cynthia Fraser, Director, Talent Management & Employee Relations 


Michael Allison, Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer, 

Office Depot


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