Jobs, jobs, jobs at the Alliance annual meeting

While the Spirit Airlines headquarters announcement made the biggest splash at the annual meeting of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, the economic development agency also announced results for the fiscal year ending in September.

Dr. Penny Shaffer, South Florida market president for Florida Blue, was presented with the Alliance’s 2019 Ray Ferrero Jr. Economic Development Leadership Award.

The alliance, Broward County’s official public/private partnership for economic development, said it assisted businesses in creating 2,083 new high-value jobs, retaining 1,425 jobs and securing more than $296 million in new capital investment.

Companies assisted in fiscal 2019 included:

  • Amazon is adding 70 new jobs and making a capital investment of $1 million at its sortation center in Sunrise.
  • AT&T is adding 300 new jobs and making a capital investment of $1 million at its administrative offices in Sunrise.
  • Decimal Engineering, which specializes in precision sheet metal fabrication for numerous industries including marine, defense and technology, is adding 20 new jobs, retaining 150 and making a capital investment of $9.5 million dollars at its new manufacturing facility in Coral Springs.
  • C&I Studios, an advertising and media agency, is adding 10 new jobs and retaining 20 in Fort Lauderdale.
  • Emser Tile, a tile and natural stone company, is adding 50 new jobs and making a capital investment of $1 million at its regional inventory and distribution center in Coral Springs.
  • DGS Marine, a Brazilian shipbuilder specializing in military vessels, is adding 20 new jobs and making a capital investment of $4.8 million in Miramar.
  • DNA Labs International, a company providing forensic DNA analysis, is adding 10 jobs, retaining 33 jobs and making a $7.5 million capital investment in Deerfield Beach.
  • Hayes Locums, a physician staffing company, is adding 250 new jobs and making a capital investment of $6.7 million at its headquarters in Fort Lauderdale.
  • ICON International, a corporate barter company headquartered in Connecticut, has opened a new office in Fort Lauderdale’s uptown area, adding 50 new jobs.
  • Kellstrom Aerospace Group, a leading supplier of aircraft parts and services, is adding 45 new jobs, retaining 86 jobs and making a capital investment of $4.9 million in Davie.
  • National Stoneworks, a supplier of cabinets, and granite, marble and quartz countertops, to developers and general contractors, is retaining 25 jobs and making a capital investment of $500,000 in Weston.
  • Navalimpianti, which designs and manufactures equipment such as valves, remote control systems and cargo access equipment for passenger and merchant ships, is adding 20 new jobs, retaining 32 jobs and making a capital investment of $9.8 million in Fort Lauderdale.
  • Shipmonk, a strategic logistics partner that includes warehousing, eCommerce fulfillment, warehousing and distribution, is adding 200 new jobs in Fort Lauderdale and making a capital investment of $14 million.
  • Sintavia, which fabricates aviation parts using 3D metallic powder printing, is adding 50 new jobs and making a $16 million capital investment at its new manufacturing facility in Hollywood.
  • Techtronic Industries (TTI), a group of companies that includes iconic brands such as Milwaukee tool, Ryobi, Hoover and Dirt Devil, relocated its U.S. headquarters from Baltimore to Fort Lauderdale, adding 75 new jobs and making a $900,000 capital investment. The company is globally headquartered in Hong Kong.
  • VPX, the maker of Bang energy drinks that develops, manufactures and distributes sports medicine-related nutraceuticals, functional foods and beverages, is adding 250 new jobs and making a capital investment of $181 million in Pembroke Pines.
  • Wash Depot Holdings, a multi-state full-service interior and exterior car wash company, is adding 18 new jobs and moving its headquarters from Massachusetts to Fort Lauderdale.
  • Wayman Aviation, which provides aviation career preparation and recently celebrated the grand opening of its new flight training facility, is adding 20 new jobs and making a capital investment of $4.5 million in Pembroke Pines.
  • Walgreens is adding 100 new jobs, retaining 338 and making a capital investment of $7.1 million in Miramar.

These companies were among nearly 300 businesses that were provided services by the Alliance during the year. The organization reported that over the past 13 years, the Alliance, working with Broward County, CareerSource Broward and local municipalities, helped businesses create or retain more than 36,000 direct jobs that are estimated to have generated through direct, indirect and induced effects total employment of more than 74,000 jobs resulting in $2.8 billion in annual personal income and $14.2 billion in annual economic impact, according to an independent study by the South Florida Regional Planning Council.

During the meeting, Nelson Fernandez, Executive Vice President and Principal of ANF Group, who had served the past year as chair of the alliance, turned the gavel over to Juliet M. Roulhac, external affairs director for FPL, who will be the alliance’s 2019-20 chair. She announced that her theme for the year is “Powering Prosperity for All.”

Past Alliance Chair Dr. Jennifer O’Flannery Anderson, vice president for advancement and community relations for Nova Southeastern University, presented Dr. Penny Shaffer, South Florida market president for Florida Blue, with the Alliance’s 2019 Ray Ferrero Jr. Economic Development Leadership Award.

“The Alliance’s Ferrero award is presented to Broward business leaders who embody Chancellor Ferrero’s vision and commitment to economic development and the community,” said Bob Swindell, President and CEO of the Alliance. “Penny Shaffer has worked tirelessly across the South Florida region to strengthen the economy and safety net of our community through her work in economic development and philanthropy.”

The dynamic executive chaired both the Alliance’s board and its 501c3 Foundation board. Previous recipients include Rick & Rita Case of Rick Case Automotive Group; Colin Brown, Chairman of JM Family Enterprises, Inc.; Ferrero, who serves as Chancellor of NSU; NSU President Dr. George L. Hanbury, II; H. Wayne Huizenga; Excutive Chairman of AutoNation, Mike Jackson; City Furniture CEO Keith Koenig and Former Chairman and CEO of Stiles, Terry Stiles.

The Alliance also presented its annual economic development leadership awards to six other individuals who have gone above and beyond in their work in the community helping to grow jobs and strengthen the economy. Those honored, with the Alliance Council that presented the awards in parenthesis, were: Rafael Jaramillo, Emerson (CEO Council); Keriann Worley, Entercom South Florida (Governor Council); Lisa Anderson, BankUnited (Leadership Council); Linda Conahan, Gunster, (Corporate Council); David Rosenof, Big Dog Construction (Entrepreneurship Council); and Katherine Randall, City of North Lauderdale (Partner Council). Stiles and the South Florida Manufacturers Association were awarded the Alliance’s Educational Partnership Award.

With more than 700 in attendance, the annual meeting, held at the Signature Grand in Davie, included a keynote presentation by Anatalio Ubalde, CEO of SizeUp and Founder of GIS Planning, an economic development tech entrepreneur.

The event was sponsored by Presenting Sponsor: Spirit Airlines; Platinum Sponsors: Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport, JM Family Enterprises, the Seminole Tribe of Florida, the Signature Grand and the South Florida Business Journal Gold Sponsors: Crown Castle Fiber, Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, JetBlue, Port Everglades and South Florida Business & Wealth; and Silver Sponsors: AutoNation, ANF Group, Becker, Capital Analytics Associates, FPL, Gunster and Memorial Healthcare System.

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky



Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.