More than 550 guests gathered at the Signature Grand in Davie on April 18 to induct three business leaders into the H. Wayne Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship's 2012 Entrepreneur Hall of Fame. Inducted into the elite group this year were Joel L. Altman, chairman and chief executive officer of The Altman Companies; George Feldenkreis, chairman and chief executive officer of Perry Ellis International; and Philip P. Smith, chairman and chief executive officer of Phil Smith Management, Incorporated.
The five-star evening included guests and Hall of Fame members such as H. Wayne Huizenga, namesake of the Huizenga College of Business; Rick Case; Ronald M. Bergeron; Ronald G. Assaf; Joseph C. Amaturo; Alan B. Levan; Thomas J. Miller; and Ralph A. Marrinson to name a few. Dr. J. Preston Jones, Interim Dean, spoke on behalf of the Huizenga College of Business. Dr. George L. Hanbury, II, Ph.D., President, also addressed guests, highlighting achievements and developments at Nova Southeastern University. Special guests included Abraham S. Fischler, Ed. D., President Emeritus; Raymond Ferrero, Jr., J.D., Chancellor; Randolph A. Pohlman, Ph.D., Dean Emeritus; and Paul M. Sallarulo, Board of Governors Chairman and Trustee, among others.
All of the inductees are dedicated to community and giving back to those who are less fortunate. Coupled with their entrepreneurial drive, they have become worldwide successes in business. For more information on the Entrepreneur Hall of Fame, visit: www.business.nova.edu/EHoF/hof.html
Joel Altman is the chairman and chief executive officer of The Altman Companies, which is developing or has developed, constructed, acquired and managed in excess of 21,000 multifamily units in Florida, Michigan, Illinois, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and Texas since 1968. Altman is active in the South Florida community through his participation in the World President's Organization, Young Presidents Organization, Junior Achievement, and Broward Workshop. Altman's successes, to which he attributes to "the ability to live up to the principles we set for ourselves," include receiving the Sun-Sentinel Excalibur Award, South Florida Business Journal's Palm Beach Ultimate CEO Award and Multifamily Executive Magazine's Community Service Award, and others. In 2000, he founded Kids@Home to help tackle the complex problems facing transitioning foster teens.
George Feldenkreis, chairman and chief executive officer, is the visionary who leads Perry Ellis International. Born in Havana, Cuba to Russian immigrants, Feldenkreis moved to Miami in 1961 and founded Supreme International, a company known for importing school uniforms and guayaberas, a 4-pocket tropical-inspired shirt. Early on, Feldenkreis learned that, "As business people you have remember that excellence is the base line, you must believe that you are the best at what you are doing." Supreme International went public in 1993 and became Perry Ellis International after the acquisition of said company in 1999. Feldenkreis has been honored by many organizations for his business achievements and civic contributions, including the Lincoln-Marti award for his role in the Cuban Refugee Program and the Man of the Year award from the American Apparel and Footwear Association.
Philip P. Smith has more than 30 years' experience with direct hands-on sales and management of automobile dealerships, and has built the organization from the ground up starting from his first equity venture in a Toyota dealership in Homestead, FL, in 1980. Currently, as chairman and chief executive officer of Phil Smith Automotive Group, he operates 14 auto dealerships throughout Florida, Georgia and North Carolina. Smith has modeled his business practices after "Gas Stations Economics," learned from his mentor, Jim Moran. "Treat your employee's right; treat your customer's right, in a fair and ethic manner, and those customers will bring their families and friends, and they all will become customers for life," explained Smith. The Phil Smith Automotive Group also owns the Coral Ridge Country Club. The company has received numerous awards including the J.D. Powers Quality Dealer Award, Toyota President's Award, Ford Chairman's Award, and Acura Dealership of Distinction. Raised in South Florida, Smith is active in the community, helping the Humane Society of Broward County, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the American Cancer Society, Make a Wish foundation, and many others.
The three inductees join an esteemed group of entrepreneurs that comprise the Entrepreneur Hall of Fame, dating back to 1990. These men and women will forever be part of the H. Wayne Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship and Nova Southeastern University's legacy.