Press Releases

JA Business Hall of Fame Raises Over $500,000 Benefiting Entrepreneurship, Work Readiness and Financial Literacy Programs

City of Coconut Creek, Florida— Junior Achievement of South Florida, still basking in the success of its milestone 30th Annual JA Business Hall of Fame Awards Celebration, presented by Delta Air Lines, is approaching the end of its 59th year with momentum. Thanks to generous donations made at the event on April 24th, including a $250,000 contribution from the Florida Panthers Foundation, Junior Achievement of South Florida raised more than $500,000 to support its educational programs.

“The whole evening was a thrill! On behalf of the 50,000 students we serve each year, I’d like to congratulate the Laureates and honorees. Thank you to our sponsors, supporters and guests for embracing the mission of Junior Achievement and making this year’s JA Business Hall of Fame Awards Celebration a huge success,” said President/CEO Laurie Sallarulo. “It was inspiring to hear the students share their stories of how these programs have given them opportunities to learn and practice real-life skills. We are so proud of the impact Junior Achievement programs have had on over 900,000 students since 1959, helping to create a generation of problem solvers and innovators that will lead us into the future.”

The awards ceremony included the induction of five Laureates into the JA Business Hall of Fame, which recognizes business leaders who have made a significant impact in their industry and the community. They were honored for their commitment to excellence, innovative vision, courageous leadership and community responsibility.

This year’s Laureates were: Richard Berkowitz, Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors and Accountants; Jim Ellis, Ellis Diversified, Inc.; Kim and Randy Sweers, FB Marine Group; and Vincent Viola, Florida Panthers and Virtu Financial.

Junior Achievement of South Florida also celebrated Dr. Patrick Taylor of Holy Cross Hospital, who received the Melissa Aiello Award. In addition, the family of Terry Stiles accepted the Lifetime Legacy Award on his behalf. In honor of the late Wayne and Marti Huizenga, who received the first JA Lifetime Legacy Award, the award was proudly renamed the Huizenga Lifetime Legacy Award.

“Each year, this award will be given in remembrance of the life and leadership of the Huizenga’s and the deep mark they left on Junior Achievement of South Florida,” Sallarulo said.

During his induction to the JA Business Hall of Fame, Vincent Viola, owner of the Florida Panthers, committed to a gift of $250,000 from the Florida Panthers Foundation. This generous contribution will support the JA Fellows Company program, Junior Achievement of South Florida’s pinnacle entrepreneurship, business and leadership experience for high school students.

“Youth education and entrepreneurship is a pillar of the Florida Panthers Foundation and a core tenant of our organization’s outreach initiatives. Being at the JA dinner and hearing so many bright, young people speak was inspiring, and we’re proud to be able to continue to support young leaders in South Florida,” he said.

Through this in-depth, leadership and entrepreneurship program, students gain real-world business experience by working in teams of 15-20 to conceptualize, capitalize and manage their own small business. Mentored by top professional leaders, students gain insight around concepts, such as market research, leadership and financial management. The program has grown since 2014 from four teams and 60 students to 21 teams and over 500 students in 2017 and captured the title of national JA Fellows Company of the Year in 2017. The ultimate goal is to have every high school in Broward and south Palm Beach Counties participate in JA Fellows. For more information about JA Fellows or to support the program, visit www.jasouthflorida.org.

About Junior Achievement of South Florida

Junior Achievement of South Florida (JA) inspires and prepares youth to succeed in a global economy. JA provides real-world training in financial literacy including budgeting, spending, investing and the use of credit; offers cutting-edge skill-building opportunities that enable young people to explore meaningful, productive careers; teaches students how to start businesses; and introduces entrepreneurial values that strengthen workplaces. Last year, with the help of over 7,000 trained corporate and community volunteers, JA delivered over 20 various programs to almost 50,000 students in classrooms throughout Broward and South Palm Beach Counties and at JA World Huizenga Center at the Lillian S. Wells Pavilion on the Broward College North Campus, a first-class facility housing JA BizTown and JA Finance Park. For more information about Junior Achievement of South Florida, visit www.jasouthflorida.org.

JA Fellows student Geomani Brooks, 2018 Horatio Alger Scholarship recipient, shares his Junior Achievement experience with the attendees.

(Left to right): Event Co-Chair Andy Cagnetta; Board Chair Amy Allen; JA Business Hall of Fame Laureates Richard Berkowitz and Vincent J. Viola; Kenneth Stiles, son of Terry Stiles, Stiles Corporation; Laureates Jim Ellis, Kim and Randy Sweers; President/CEO Laurie Sallarulo; and Event Co-Chair Steve Hudson.

Pictured with President/CEO Laurie Sallarulo (center) are the 2018 JA Business Hall of Fame Laureates (left to right): Jim Ellis, Ellis Diversified, Inc.; Vincent J. Viola, Florida Panthers and Virtu Financial; Richard Berkowitz, Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors and Accountants; Melissa Aiello Character Award recipient Dr. Patrick A. Taylor, Holy Cross Hospital; Kim and Randy Sweers, FB Marine Group.

The family of the late Terry Stiles accepted the Huizenga Lifetime Legacy Award on his behalf.

Representing the Title Sponsor is Luciano Macagno, Managing Director Latin America and Caribbean, Delta Air Lines. He is pictured with Matthew Caldwell, President and CEO of the Florida Panthers.

JA Business Hall of Famers Rick and Rita Case

katapultJA Business Hall of Fame Raises Over $500,000 Benefiting Entrepreneurship, Work Readiness and Financial Literacy Programs