Four of the Most Interesting Visionary Awards Winners

There are visionaries and then there are winners of Florida’s Visionary Awards. These are people who have had the vision and drive to work effectively in transforming South Florida. The development of a world-class city requires vision, as well as courage and leadership. Thirty-five years ago, Time magazine featured the city of Miami as “Paradise Lost”, but that situation has been completely transformed. The winners of awards for performing this transformation are many. Of the 13 people awarded the Miami Herald Visionary Awards for 2016, there were four that really stood out from the pack:

* Craig Robins – Architecture/Design
* George Feldenkreis – Business
* Eduardo J. Padrón – Education
* Rachel Silverstein – Environment

Craig Robins won for Architecture/Design and is the CEO and President of Dacra Development Corporation. Husband of real estate mogul, ( Jackie Soffer, Craig assisted Sam Keller in bringing Art Basel to Miami Beach in 2002. The current location of the Institute of Contemporary Art is housed in the Moore Building, a move that was initiated by Robins with DesignMiami. He compares the Design District as a creative laboratory, the place where he invented DesignMiami.

George Feldenkreis won for Business and is Perry Ellis International’s Executive Chairman. He began in Miami as a Cuban refugee selling motorcycle parts in 1961. He became an importer of school uniforms. He has grown in business to head up a company with over 24 brands
and 2,600 workers. He says he never gets bored in the garment industry.

Eduardo J. Padrón won for Education and is the President of Miami Dade College. He also is a refugee from Cuba. Although he had been on the fast track to work at DuPont, Padrón’s professors thought he would be good at teaching at the University. He discovered a passion for changing people’s lives through education. Media outlets around the world have recognized him as a leading educator and most-influential Latino educator in the U.S. He has been much published in his campaigns for educational reform.

Rachel Silverstein won for the Environment and is the Miami Waterkeeper’s Executive Director & Waterkeeper; a nonprofit that promotes clean water for all of South Florida. She calls herself a “professional pot stirrer,” as an activist who felt forced to confront the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about their Port of Miami dredging operations that were killing local endangered coral reefs. Her efforts resulted in the Army Corps paying $400,000 to have surviving coral relocated.

Read about all of the Visionary Award recipients at

UAE Takes Space Program to the Next Level

While the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is small in population and geography, its ambitious efforts to make headway in space is turning head. According to Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba, the country’s efforts to strengthen space exploration, improve scientific research and expand our horizons has already produced positive results, even though the program is extremely young.

The UAE’s space program really began in earnest only 7 years ago when the first government owned satellite was launched into orbit in 2009. Since then, the country has engaged in a number of projects, initiatives and organizations to improve space exploration.

First, the country established a few research centers to study space. In Abu Dhabi, the Khalifa University Space lab was established as well as the Astronautic and Celestial Emulation lab. This center has unmanned and aerial vehicles that are tested in environments similar to those found in space. There was also a recent announcement of the Space Research Centre that will be built out over the next 5 years at a cost of $100 million dirham. The centre in Al Ain will act as an incubator for all federal research.

The country also established Yahsat to coordinate ongoing satellite missions in space. Similarly, the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre helps to promote and plan satellite launches into space.

In 2014, it established the UAE Space Agency to coordinate all of these efforts and drive the exploration even further. Its goal is to promote research and development of the space sector. It organizes and regulates launches and missions as well. Lastly, it forms partnerships with other organizations to further UAE space organizations.

One of the biggest goals of the agency is to drive the 2020 unmanned mission to Mars. This extremely ambitious effort could help the UAE leap frog other places around the world to become a leading space center. It even gained acceptance into the International Space Exploration Coordination Group with other major countries and is the first Arab country to join.

Overall, the UAE has made tremendous strides into the areas of space exploration and research. Only time will tell if they can reach their ambitious goals. However, the rest of the world has offered support, cooperation and partnership to the UAE in hopes of seeing the nation achieve its goals.

Elon Musk Aims to Shore Up SolarCity by Having Tesla Buy It

Elon Musk has built an ambitious business empire on three pillars: electric cars, solar energy and space travel.

Now, the billionaire entrepreneur is trying to shore up his embattled solar panel provider by merging it with the electric carmaker.

His Tesla Motors said on Tuesday that it had offered to buy SolarCity in an all-stock deal, one that could value the latter at as much as $2.8 billion. The aim, Mr. Musk argues, is to create a renewable-energy giant, collecting clean electricity and putting it to work propelling cars.

But the transaction highlights the unusual moves that Mr. Musk continues to make to support the various arms of his empire, where he is the largest shareholder of each company.

He has taken out loans to buy up shares in Tesla and SolarCity, some backed by his personal stock holdings in both companies — a risky move that leaves him exposed to margin calls if their stock prices slide too far. He has defended the practice as low-risk to other shareholders, given the sheer size of his personal net worth of more than $10 billion.

In Mr. Musk’s view, putting Tesla and SolarCity together is only logical.

“We need to achieve a tight integration of the products,” he told reporters in a conference call on Tuesday. “I think it’s an obvious thing to do.”

An agreement is some time away, if one is ever reached. But shareholders in SolarCity pushed the company’s stock up 19 percent in after-hours trading, to $25.26. Shares of Tesla, however, tumbled more than 13 percent, to $190.59.

Continue to the full article…


Additions to Aventura Mall Miami

Aventura Mall in Miami, Florida has many exciting new changes coming to their shopping center this year. Shoppers have much to look forward to from the Aventura Mall if they enjoy luxury brands. The already very choice shopping destination will more than likely grow even further in popularity for shoppers in Florida and even tourists visiting Florida because of an addition to the mall to make space for more retailers.

Already two new retailers have recently joined the two point seven million square feet mall -St. John and 120 Percent Lino- and more are to come following the completion of the addition. The addition will be three levels and make up about three hundred and fifteen thousand square feet of space. It will have a VIP concierge service area and a garden.

Jackie Soffer who is married to Craig Robins, is the owner of Aventura Mall, says that the mall attracts about twenty-eight million shoppers yearly. She points out that the mall sells many ten thousand dollar or twenty thousand dollar handbags, but that a five-million-dollar ring is not really something customers of the mall need. The mall has people from all walks of life who visit and shop from the wide variety of retailers there.

The mall is already anchored by Nordstrom’s, Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s. All of whom carry Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Tiffany & Co., Fendi, Emilio Pucci, Bally and Burberry. Although the anchors and many other retailers in the shopping mecca sell luxury brands, actual majority of the retailers are not higher end and there are various price ranges in the Aventura Mall.

The decision to make an addition to the mall came about because of competition in the area and as a way to draw in more shoppers and tourists. The Aventura Mall is the third largest shopping mall in the United States, but they still need to keep up with competition. Brazil’s economy downward spiral, Russia’s recession and the strong United States dollar has led to less shoppers from Brazil and Russia in Miami.

Brazilian and Russian tourists used to be more frequent to the area and they often bought luxury brand items in the past. The area has more American tourists or American shoppers making purchases, but the mall is still doing what it can to keep up with other shopping malls and options so shopper will choose them.

How to Set Up Your Consulting Game

Consulting is a competitive trade. Become complacent, and changes in your area of expertise will begin to pass you by. What’s more, without having the ability to properly assess and convey in digestible terms where and how an organization needs improvement, a career in consulting is doomed to failure. There are programs available that have built their pedigree on training consultants to maximize their efficacy and therefore their profits. One such organization is the CAPCO program.

The CAPCO program equips consultants with what they need now to become industry leaders going forward. The CAPCO Associate Talent Program places consultants in a rigorous and involving training regime. The course provides an overview of the rapidly changing financial services sector, along with instructions on the regulatory hurdles and risks that financial firms are faced with. In addition to gaining key industry knowledge, CAPCO offers hands-on skills training that culminate in a live client assignment. CAPCO’s program walks you through the very beginning stages before ramping up the training regime, until finally you emerge as a fully-equipped consultant.

Another training platform for those seeking to improve their consultant know-how is the Association for Talent Development, or ATD. ATD employs a 5-D consulting model that trains consultants on establishing clear goals with clients, managing expectations, and yielding results worthy of respect. Consultants who undergo ATD’s training program will be able to walk customers through industry obstacles and regulatory barriers, as well as craft workable plans that instill trust in clients.

McKinsey & Company is another reputable consultant training firm that is worthy of mention. They invest over $100 million in their program each year that is designed to aid consultants in developing skills in communication, building relationships, improving confidence, and planning careers. Embark, their flagship consultant training program, teaches its students how build their own network of clients, how to specialize in a particular field, and the best ways to stay ahead of the curve in learning new methods in their field.

Working to become a successful consultant is a difficult task. Many crash and burn within their first couple of years. The knowledge and skills an instruction program can impart on future consultants is immiscible. For many, it will mean the difference between success and failure in their chosen fields. Even a seasoned consultant whose business has grown a bit stagnant can expect significant dividends by enrolling in consultant training led by professionals.

Louisiana’s CAPCO Programs Get Additional $100M Funding

NewTek has made a major investment promise to the state of Louisiana and the state’s CAPCO programs, and this promise is going to pay for many companies to expand their operations. Each and every investment that is made from the new infusion of $100 million will help the state improve its slumping economy, and the people that are looking for jobs will find new companies near them offering positions. Louisiana is in need of companies that are going to create jobs, and the state can no longer sustain its struggling economy simply by promising to cut taxes. The social programs that are needed for the poor are suffering, and only the CAPCO program can pay companies to put more people to work.

Increasing Job Numbers

The companies in the state that get a piece of the $100 million offered by the CAPCO program can pay for new positions, or these companies may expand their operations to make sure that they can offer more jobs to the people of the state. The people of the state who are put back to work will help to rebuild their communities, and more development is likely to happen in the poorest areas of the state.

How Much Can Companies Get From The CAPCO Program?

The companies in the state that are getting money from the CAPCO program are going to have a chance to apply for money more than once. Each time a company gets money, that money is tracked to make sure that it was put to good use. The state will use the stats they build to figure out how to make future decisions, and the state will make better decisions with the money it is given. NewTek is just one company to offer money to the CAPCO program, and it will not be the last. If the state wants to grow, it needs to make sure that it has invested heavily in making sure that the venture capital it hands out is as effective as possible.

The CAPCO program could completely change the state of Louisiana with its capital investments. The companies that are getting money from the program are going to be able to expand as much as they want, and people who have been hunting for jobs for years will finally have a job to come home to. These companies will be able to afford more employees, and the poorest in the state do not have to leave to find work.

‘Consumer Reports’ picks worst cars of 2015

Consumer Reports, known for its independence when it come to auto reviews, has singled out four car models as representing the worst of the lot for 2015.

One is a familiar car, two are luxury crossovers and the last is a minivan that’s also known as a SUV. They are singled out in the magazine’s October issue. If nothing else, the picks show how the auto market has blended genres.

The magazine buys all the cars it tests, as opposed to virtually all other publications and websites, which borrow them from automakers. The goal is to buy the same vehicle that any consumers would get on their own at a dealership.

Here are the four at the bottom of the car barrel:

•Chrysler 200. It’s now dead last among its midsize car rankings. When it was introduced, the new 200 was considered a vast improvement over the one it replaced.

But Consumer Reports disliked its “raspy” four-cylinder engine, balky transmission and “klutzy” handling. The cramped rear seat is something only a submariner could appreciate, the magazine writes.

•Land Rover Discovery Sport. The SUV has a “flat footed” engine and a transmission that’s unrefined. Handling is “lumbering,” and the entertainment system seems to be from another age.

•Lexus NX 200t/300h. The new compact SUV edition form the Lexus line seems too much to Consumer Reports like the Toyota RAV4, especially the “jostling” ride. Some components feel cheap, and overall it falls short of German competitors.

See the full list here...

Originally posted on USA Today

Is This the Tesla Model X Out for a Drive?

n eagle-eyed car enthusiast spotted what may be the new Tesla Model X being road tested today in California.

Brandon Kiehne posted an image to Instagram, which was picked up by Electrek, which suggested he caught “the first photo” of Tesla’s long-awaited SUV, expected sometime next year.”I saw this one being pulled into the trailer at [Naval Air Station Alameda] at an entrance to the closed airfield,” Kiehne wrote in a caption. “The truck pulling it was a Tesla vehicle.

“After [the trailer] was closed up I asked if I could be nosey hoping to find out what the car was but I got a quick ‘not on this one,'” he said.

The 1.5-minute clip shows a Prius-like vehicle driving at high speeds, making wide loops, and braking. Its camouflaged body, TechCrunch pointed out, appears to share common design and size elements with the Model X.

Tesla did not immediately respond to PCMag’s request for comment.

In February 2012, the motor company unveiled a prototype of its third battery-powered car—a crossover vehicle described as a blending of SUV and minivan, with unique “falcon wing” rear doors (see video below).

Initially set for production in late 2013, the Model X has been delayed twice; as of November, the car is set to ship in the third quarter of 2015.

See the Instagram post and keep reading

Originally posted on

Aventura Mall Adds Luxury Car Rental Service

Aventura Mall, Miami’s premier fashion destination, recently partnered with Warren Henry Auto Group to debut its new luxury vehicle rental service. VIA (Very Important Automobiles) powered by Warren Henry Auto Group offers Aventura Mall visitors a wide variety of highperformance and exotic cars for rent as well as short term leases. Owned and operated by Turnberry Associates and its Co-Chairman and CEO Jackie Soffer, Aventura Mall welcomes more than 29 million visitors each year, a significant percentage from Europe and Latin America. Recently, Soffer has led an evolution of the shopping center’s luxury retail mix, adding an array of the most renowned names in fashion. In 2014, Tiffany & Co., Fendi, Brooks Brothers, DVF, Bally and Peek Kids opened boutiques at Aventura Mall, complementing Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Burberry, REDValentino, Phillip Plein, Emilio Pucci and more. Prada, adidas by Stella McCartney and Melissa are set to open in 2015.

With access to limitless vehicles, the VIA rental collection is comprised of a number of luxury vehicles, from sleek, sexy Jaguars to sporty and spacious Range Rovers, plus high-profile exotics including Aston Martin, Bentley, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, McLaren and Rolls Royce. In addition, on-demand VIA chauffeur service will be available with the fleet of luxury vehicles. “We are thrilled to join hands with an internationally recognized property like Aventura Mall to further enhance the luxury visitor experience,” said Warren Henry Zinn, President and CEO of Warren Henry Auto Group. “The VIA service offerings are essentially an extension of the Warren Henry Advantage Program, which gives our customers more, always.” For more information, visit or

Cadillac releasing Rearview mirror that utilizes an HD camera

Android-Rear-View-Mirror-1The rear view mirror has been a part of the automobile for decades. For most of those decades it has been one of the simplest parts of the car. It has typically just been a mirror that is mounted on your windshield, but now Cadillac plans to change all of that. Recently Cadillac announced that they plan on introducing a rearview mirror that uses HD video.

The goal of this new HD rearview mirror is to give the driver a better view of the rear of the car. Currently, the rearview mirror is obstructed by headrests, passengers, and parts of the car. Cadillac believes that by using the HD camera they will be able to get around these obstacles. The current estimates show that the mirror will increase the drivers’ field of vision by four times. Continue reading Cadillac releasing Rearview mirror that utilizes an HD camera