Armando Leighton Jr., Felix Sabates Jr., and Thomas Shea are the 2013 Inductees to the Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame
H. Wayne Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship recognizes three accomplished business leaders with induction into the 2013 Entrepreneur and Business Hall of Fame, the college’s highest honor: Armando Leighton Jr., Felix Sabates Jr., and Thomas Shea.
Armando Leighton Jr.
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
CRS Jet Spares, Inc.
Armando Leighton's dream was to become a veterinarian, but his love of aviation and entrepreneurial spirit would lead him to build one of the industry's premier global aftermarket business jet suppliers. Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, CRS Jet Spares, Inc., (CRS) has offices and strategic distribution centers in London, Singapore, and Brazil.
As a teenager, Leighton earned $1.50 an hour working for an aviation company in shipping and receiving. At age 19, he was purchasing manager for a repair station and quickly learned about the commuter, airline, and helicopter industries. Thereafter, he purchased parts for aircrafts such as Rockwell Sabreliner and Learjet. In 1982, Leighton saw an opportunity and, with $2,000 in savings, he established Corporate Rotable & Supply, Inc.
Within three years, sales had exceeded $1 million with one part-time employee, his mother. Customers around the country would receive parts via overnight shipping, not knowing the company's operations were based in a family garage. Today, CRS services aircrafts such as the Gulfstream GV/550, Global Express, and the Falcon 900 family of jets, housing one of the world's largest privately owned spare parts inventory.
Leighton serves on boards including the Broward Workshop and Gilda's Club, among others. He supports organizations such as Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital Foundation, the Museum of Art, and the National Business Aircraft Association Foundation.
Felix S. Sabates Jr.
Trinity Yachts, LLC
Felix Sabates left his native Cuba at age 16 and excelled at his first job selling cars. He took a representative's position at Top Sales Company, Inc., and generated record-breaking revenues. At age 32, Sabates bought the company and launched products such as the Teddy Ruxpin Talking Teddy Bear and Atari's videogame Pong. Top Sales became one of the most successful retail manufacturers in the United States.
In 2000, Sabates bought Trinity Yachts, a custom yacht builder. He is co-owner of International Yacht Collection, one of the largest yacht management, charter, and brokerage companies in the world with offices in Monaco, the Bahamas, and Sint Maarten. In 2004, Sabates entered the automobile industry and currently owns Hyundai, Infiniti, Mazda, and Mercedes- Benz dealerships.
His venture into stock car racing led to Sabco Racing. Partnered with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, Sabates' team is a Daytona champion and NASCAR competitor. Sabates has also invested in sports teams for football, basketball, hockey, and soccer.
Serving on numerous boards, Sabates has given of his time and money for civic and philanthropic causes. The Boys and Girls Club of Broward County, the Levine Children's Hospital, and the Carolina Prostate Research Foundation are just a few of the organizations he supports.
Thomas H. Shea
Chief Executive Officer
Right Management, Florida/Caribbean Division
While working as a human resources executive in 1979, Thomas H. Shea saw an opportunity to help laid-off workers in Florida transition to new careers. Shea quit his job and with his spouse, Maureen, opened Florida's first outplacement firm from his home. Within two years, Right Management, a nationwide career management company, approached Shea about a partnership.
Today, Right Management's Florida/Caribbean Division is consistently one of the best performing divisions of the company and is one of only three independently owned regions in Right Management's network. The Division is part of a national network of resources that offers expertise in talent assessment, leader development, organizational effectiveness, employee engagement, workforce transition, and outplacement. The company has locations in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The company has remained successful by observing the changing employment environment and providing new services. Offerings to businesses and employees have been expanded, including the introduction of organizational consulting and talent management development. The Division has enabled more than 40,000 people in Florida and the Caribbean to advance their careers.
In addition to shaping South Florida's Human Resource environment, Shea has developed programs like Booming VOICES, in partnership with the Community Foundation of Broward. The program engages retirees in community service. Shea also serves on boards such as the Florida Council of Economic Education and the Broward Workshop.