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, (http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-day-in-the-life-of-craig-robins-1417451923) 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 http://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/biz-monday/article83372287.html.

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.

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Source: nytimes.com