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JAN - FEB 2012

LEADERSHIP Three lifelong friends at the helm of three of Miami’s oldest and most respected organizations Bernie Navarro - Latin Builders Association Vivian de las Cuevas-Diaz - Cuban American Bar Association Henry Jimenez - Kiwanis of Little Havana



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table of CONTENTS

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07 President’s Letter 08 Publisher’s Letter 09 Calendar of Events

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12 Technology

29 PAC

48 Foundation

Mindy Szarowicz

Guillermo Fernandez

Juan Carlos Vila

14 LBA Staff Bios

30 Business

49 In the News

Jackie Valle, Tina Dominguez

16 Industry Luis Garcia

D. Grayson Kelly

32 Snapshots Installation Gala 2011

10 Membership Eric Montes de Oca

20 Snapshots December 2012 Luncheon

11 Member of the Month December and January

12 Events Gus Cabrera

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24 Legislative Melissa Tapanes Llahues Esq.

26 Cover Story Miami’s New Breed of Leaders: How three friends came to prominence in the city of Miami

42 Director Profile Blaik Ross

44 Snapshots Linda Ray Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

47 Advertisers’ Index

50 Que Pasa LBA

President Bernie Navarro

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2012 7955 NW 12th Street, Suite 415 Doral, FL 33126 PHONE: 305.446.5989

President-Elect Guillermo Fernandez Immediate Past President Noelia E. Moreno President Emeritus Honorary Director Pedro Adrián, Sr.

Past Presidents

PROYECTO 7955 NW 12th Street Suite 415 Doral, FL 33126 | 305.446.5989 Publisher Alex Lastra on behalf of Latin Builders Association, Inc.® Advisory Board Bernie Navarro, Alex Lastra, Tina Dominguez, Jackie Valle Editorial Contributors Bernie Navarro, Alex Lasta, Guillermo Fernández, Gus Cabrera, Eric Montes de Oca, Mindy Szarowicz, D. Grayson Kelly, Luis Garcia, Juan Carlos Vila and Melissa Tapanes Llahues Graphic Design POW! Advertising Inc. Production Granada Printing Photography Gort Enterprises - Alex Gort, Jr. LBA Staff Advertising Sales Latin Builders Association® 305.446.5989 Tina Dominguez 305.446.5989 X 100 Advertising Agency Latin Builders Association®

*Mike Ortega 1972-1973 Julio Viyella 1974-1976 Camilo Padreda 1977-1979 Lorenzo Luaces 1980-1981, 1989-1990 Julio Jo 1982-1983 Erelio Peña 1984-1987 Jesus Portela 1988-1989 Sergio Pino 1990-1992

Alberto Perez Carlos Herrera Eloy Cepero Willy Bermello Charlie Martinez Angel Medina, Jr. Augusto J. Gil Osvaldo Vento, Jr. Anthony Seijas

1993-1994 1995-1996 1997 1998-2000 2001-2002 2003-2004 2005-2006 2007-2008 2009

Executive Board of Directors Alex Lastra Gus Cabrera Melissa Tapanes Llahues Esq. Ernie Diaz Eric Montes de Oca Juan Carlos Vila Alexis Gonzalez Noelia Moreno Legal Counsel Alexis Gonzalez Directors Luis Garcia Pedro Munilla Nelson Fernandez ManuelFernandez Mindy Szarowicz Jorge L. Piedra, Esq. Blaik Ross Jorge L. Guerra Javier A. Granda Jesse Manzano-Plaza Alex Velazquez Andy Fernandez Tibor Hollo Rafael Reyes Mario Garcia-Serra Amelia Maguire Humberto Freire Ricardo Sanchez Cesare A. Ramos Vahe Gabriel Niurka L. Lopez, Esq. Javier Cruz

Honorary Directors Alvaro Adrian Joe Avetrani Manny Rodriguez Andres A. Fernandez, Esq.

Junior Directors Monica Lopez George Hart Carlos J. Gimenez Cristian LaCapra Michael J. Alvarez Michelle Pradere Daniel Ruiz Daniel Diaz Leyva Roland Pereira Juan D. Cordoba



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letter from the

PRESIDENT La Cumbre 2011

MAS UNIDOS QUE NUNCA! First and Foremost, I am honored and humbled to be your LBA President and am very grateful to those who have helped me get here. Being President of the Latin Builders Association ® is not a position I take for granted. I understand the responsibility of being the steward of the rich 40 year legacy of this fine association. Therefore, fostering its future direction is something I do not take lightly. Together we will take this association to the next level. Recently, I sat down with the former Presidents of the LBA and we all were part of the first ever Latin Builders Association ® Presidential Summit (“La Cumbre del LBA”). This dinner symbolized more than just a meal – it represented the past, present, and future of our organization. The Past Presidents shared with me some of their triumphs and regrets so I could take and learn from their experiences. My take-away is that they are more passionate than ever to move this association and the economy forward. Stepping into the shoes of these former Presidents is no easy feat, but I relish the opportunity to bring my ideas to the new generation of the LBA. I honor these great leaders that came before me, and I will use their lessons to implement new changes. I will be changing certain business practices and also refresh our business model. These changes will strengthen the organization as a whole, and prove to be beneficial for future leaders. One such idea is exploring markets abroad. We will move the LBA and its members to look at new business opportunities in South America. We can’t afford to be so insular. As such, this year I am planning two trade missions: Peru and Mexico.

Although our industry as a whole has felt the sharp sting of this recession, I believe that together we can strengthen the bonds necessary to build our industry back up again. With the 2012 elections lying before us, these issues are as important as ever. We must challenge our elected officials to remove barriers that impede business. Further, we must put pressure on our federal officials to push banks to lend again. Without proper financing avenues businesses will not flourish. Our strong positions will help bolster the economy. We must continue to be the voice for the small businesses we represent. All of these new ideas are indeed ambitious, but I am confident that we will be able to accomplish all of them. I would like nothing more than to be a source of pride for all LBA members. The LBA is that last Hispanic Construction/Business Association of relevance in this community and the Largest Hispanic Construction Association in the United States. It must be protected! I believe that with my leadership, and the strength of this association, we can bring forth a new era. As I mentioned earlier, I am honored and humbled by this new role and I look forward for you to join me on this journey.

Tradition and Trade…It’s Our Time! /// By Bernie Navarro

Mr. Navarro is the President of the Latin Builders Association. Mr. Navarro has been in the mortgage business all of his professional life. Bernie is currently the President and founder of Benworth Capital Partners. Benworth Capital Partners is a privately funded private equity mortgage lender. Mr. Navarro has quickly made Benworth Capital Partners the preeminent private equity company in South Florida. Mr. Navarro formally owned HomeMortgage, which he sold to Countrywide Home Loans in September of 2005. Mr. Navarro has varied real estate interests. He has developed several projects in Miami-inclusive of multi-family, conversions, and single family residences. Mr. Navarro is also civically active. In 2007, he led a grass roots movement named “Citizens for Property Tax Reform.” This group led a petition drive in the State of Florida to lower property taxes. In 1999, he sat on the Miami Beach Zoning Board. In 1996 he was unanimously elected to the West Dade Community Council. The West Dade Community Council is the most active zoning board in Dade County. The council elected him Vice Chairman and later Chairman.

letter from the

PUBLISHER It was once said to me: “You must understand where you have been, to know where you are going.” This saying seems to resonate considerably within our association as we begin 2012. With the transition to a new Presidency, we see new faces among us, as well as familiar faces in new roles. This new paradigm and the energy that comes with it, will frame and define our association in 2012 – a look to the future while remaining true to our principles from the past. This year, I’ve had the privilege of having been selected to Chair the Proyecto/Communications Committee and will serve as Proyecto Editor until our newest team member, Tina Dominguez, takes on the editor role. I am excited for the challenges that lie ahead and eager to convey our 2012 message to our community and industry, as well as throughout our membership. As for Proyecto, we have many new and exciting changes coming to the magazine which will hopefully showcase our Association like never before, while still holding on to the high standards Proyecto has always maintained. As Communications Chair, I am tasked with securing our Luncheon speakers throughout the year….and as I take inventory of the political, community and industry leaders that have presented themselves at LBA luncheons over the last 40 years, I’m coming to grips with the challenge that lies ahead. However, I take strength from our Association’s legacy and stature and feel confidently up for the challenge. In 2012, the LBA will continue to bring the most

dynamic speakers with the most relevant issues of the day to our monthly luncheons. Our members not only deserve, but demand this of our Association and as Communications Chair, I am confident I will deliver. As part of the 2012 transition, the Latin Builders Association finds itself in the capable hands of its new President, Bernie Navarro. Bernie’s long history with the LBA will bring a unique vision to our organization and its future. Bernie embodies the concept that one must know one’s past to envision their future. His knowledge of LBA’s past will bring a unique insight into his decision making as he guides us in the coming years. I, for one, believe that the LBA’s future could not be brighter. Looking ahead, I am excited to share with you the ideas that are currently brewing at the LBA offices. There is a vibrant energy shared between all the incoming committee chairs and directors, especially the energy seen with Bernie, leading us towards a brighter tomorrow. While all of these changes are occurring, myself and the rest of the LBA team still look back in amazement to the 40 year LBA legacy that led us here. Through Proyecto, and through our events, I hope to preserve that legacy and bring forward a new era for the Latin Builders Association.

Mr. Lastra is a founding partner of Atlantic | Pacific Development (APD). Mr. Lastra is Senior Managing Director of APD managing all real estate development, design and construction activities and supervises all activities relating to project development, including site acquisition, market analysis, financial feasibility and governmental approvals thru to construction completion in APD projects in Florida and California. Mr. Lastra is a member of LBA’s Executive Board and will chair the organization’s Proyecto/Communications Committee throughout 2012. If you would like to get more involved in the Communications committee and/or Proyecto Magazine, please contact Mr. Lastra at

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Calendar of Events Want to know what’s coming up with LBA? Just add these dates to your calendar. For more information, please call the LBA offices at 305.446.5989

February Events Legislative Breakfast TBA Luncheon Friday, February 24

March Events Legislative Cocktail TBA Luncheon Friday, March 30

April Events Legislative Cocktail TBA Luncheon Friday, April 27 TBA: Spring Festival Proyecto Cocktail

MEMBERSHIP by/// Eric Montes de Oca

As we enter into 2012, let us all take a moment to give thanks for everything we are afforded. Let us give thanks for our families, our friends, our health, and our wealth. Finally let’s give thanks and ring in a new year that I am sure will bring many great things to everyone. The New Year starts with a new president at the helm of the LBA, as Bernie Navarro takes the leadership role of our great organization. This is an exciting time for the LBA; as Bernie likes to put it: “it’s our time”. It is our time to get more involved and help the organization grow; our time to bring in new faces to our LBA family, and our time to nurture the relationships already established. An increase in our membership will prove beneficial to all existing members as it will give all of us, and our businesses, the opportunity to see our network flourish.

DECEMBER members

It will create new relationships with industry leaders that in turn will allow for strong working partnerships to be established and prosper. The membership committee is committed, and will lead the charge by bringing in new developers, contractors, subcontractors, and vendors into the LBA family. These future members will revitalize the LBA and bring a fresh new perspective to our organization. While we will work tirelessly to bring these new members into our organization, the real growth will come from you. Get others involved with our organization; bring a client to a luncheon, or friend to a breakfast. When we are all involved and engaged in the LBA is when we will reap the benefits and realize its true potential. Let us go into this New Year with a positive outlook and let us all do our part in making the LBA the best it can be. Let us all move forward together and help create a brighter, more prosperous future for the LBA and its membership.


SAFETYmatters on all dig projects




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December D ece ember

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Odebrecht is an international company bringing its talents to Miami. Odebrecht will be the master developer of the Airport City at Miami International Airport project. Their recent projects include the north and south terminals at Miami International Airport, expansion on the Miami Metrorail, and inauguration of the FIU Stadium and Kirk Landon Field House at Florida International University. N/A

A NEW YEAR IN… Events ///

By Gus Cabrera

Over the last 40 years, the Latin Builders Association has played a big part in the beautification of Miami and its transformation into an international metropolis. In every neighborhood throughout our city, our members have been active in this metamorphosis…whether it was as a real estate developer, a builder, trade contractor, a banker, mortgage broker or some other ancillary role, our Association’s imprint is undeniable. This legacy is not only our foundation; it is one of our defining trademarks. Another trademark of our association – somewhat less industrious then the aforementioned – is our ability to put on a party. For me, some of my fondest memories – and I’ll admit to some of those memories being a bit foggy – derived from LBA Events of yesteryear. Indeed, some of my strongest friendships, personal and professional, have been made at a luncheon or a gala or maybe a fishing or golf tourney. So it is to this bequest of a backdrop that I endeavor into 2012 as the new Events Chair, armed with a slew of ideas and a goal to make 2012 our most memorable and enjoyable year yet. Riding shotgun on this crazy train will be my fellow committee members, including the stylish Michele Pradere of the world famous Pradere Office Products, along with one of our newest directors, insurance expert extraordinaire – Adrian Rodz from Seitlin Insurance, as well as Mr. Andy Fernandez – attorney to the stars – trolling the reefs in preparation for a great 2012 Fishing Tournament. And so this year we’re taking our famous monthly luncheons and events on the road and we’ll be touring those beautiful neighborhoods that our members have helped build throughout the years. From Miami Beach to Coral Gables and from Doral to Downtown Miami…with maybe a quick stop over at a Midtown hotspot and a night out at our old Vizacayan stomping grounds, the backhoes, cranes, pick-up trucks, shovels and martini glasses are fueled and ready to get on the road. Dale Carnegie once said “you must have a good time meeting people if you expect them to have a good time meeting you”… /// 12

so with that and on behalf of the Events Committee members, we hope our gatherings in 2012 provide you and your guests with some great friendships and create some memorable and entertaining memories…….. and maybe even some foggy ones along the way. MAY YOUR BACKLOG, CLIENT LISTS AND DRINKING GLASSES ALWAYS BE FULL!

Technology ///

By Mindy Szarowicz

The Latin Builders Association has accomplished much since its establishment forty years ago. As we look back and reflect on the LBA’s many achievements, we must also look forward and ask ourselves: What can we do to guarantee another forty years of success? As Chair of the Technology committee, I feel the first step is to build a strong foundation for communication and interaction between LBA members, and the world beyond. In order to stay relevant in an ever changing digital world, the foundation must be the LBA website. The framework already exists, but the Technology Committee will be revamping the current website to be more user-friendly, interactive, and be the overall hub for all of your LBA information needs. The current website will be given a “face-lift” of sorts, and will now include links to an online member directory, an updated events calendar, and the most current issue of Proyecto. Also, for the first time ever, members will be able to register and pay for events online! The way the world communicates is changing and social media is the key to connecting everyone to the LBA. Our new site will have complete social integration, so you can connect with us on your favorite social media site. Do you want to tweet at us? Like our Facebook page? Join our LinkedIn group? Our site will be the main way to connect. Let us continue the legacy of the Latin Builders Association starting with 2012. “It is our time”


Jackie Valle LBA: Director of Operations

Tina Dominguez LBA: Communications Specialist and Editorial Assistant

Tina Dominguez is the Communications Specialist and Editorial

Jackie Valle is the new Director of Operations at the LBA. A Miami

Assistant for Proyecto magazine. A Miami native, Tina received

native, her background includes a myriad of experience, ranging

her bachelor of arts in Communications at the University of South

from external relations roles at the Museum of Modern Art and P.S.1

Florida in 2009. Her most recent work features marketing a mobile

Contemporary Art Center in New York. She also has experience with

application at a tech startup company in Miami. Before doing

English instruction in Osaka, Japan and corporate and foundation

marketing, she interned at record labels including Universal Music

relations at Florida International University’s (FIU) division of

Latino and Fueled by Ramen Records. She also wrote for several

University Advancement. She received her bachelor of arts in Art

blogs as a freelance writer. When not working, Tina enjoys going to

History from FIU, which included study abroad experiences in the

concerts, writing, dancing, and baking.

Czech Republic. On her off time, Jackie enjoys going to art shows, yoga practice, watching films and spending time with friends and family.

A PROUD MEMBER OF THE LBA In its 27 years of doing business in South Florida, Adonel Concrete has earned the trust of its customers. It is so important to understand the marketplace and to remain competitive for our customers’ sake, now more than ever. At Adonel, our customers’ needs come first! SERVING OUR CUSTOMERS IN SOUTH FLORIDA AND HAITI

HEADQUARTERS 2101 N.W. 110 Avenue Miami, Florida 33172 /// 14

Miami-Dade (305) 669.0611 Palm Beach (561) 333.9700 Broward (954) 434.1244 Treasure Coast (772) 595.1020 Port-au-Prince, Haiti 509-2947-5050

South Florida’s Economy GAINING MOMENTUM by/// Luis Garcia

South Florida rang in the New year in decent financial shape, and it is expected to get even better. The local economy added more jobs since September. Miami-Dade’s unemployment rate dropped to 10.7 from 11.5 in November, creating 18,000 new jobs since September in the industries of construction, health care, manufacturing and mining.

Also building this year and in 2013 are condos, apartments, affordable housing, shopping centers and restaurants.

The national trend suggests that the number should be a scant better for December, and maybe January too. The U.S. Department of Labor reports total payroll increased by 200,000 in December 2011.

The healthcare industry is still a strong job creator in the U.S. Its employment rate was second in boosting the economy. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare employment in December saw big gains. It added 22,600 jobs, including 9,800 of them at hospitals. Overall, the industry last year added 315,000 jobs in the U.S.

Broward County created 3,000 more jobs between August and November, painting a brighter future for its economy for 2012. The increase in December was the largest monthly gain since December 2010 and nearly twice the average gain since May. Now that’s progress. The construction industry has historically been one of Miami-Dade’s biggest economic engines. A recent spike in employment stems from new construction projects in the pipelines. Among the projects are the Miami Marlins Stadium, Airport Link and office buildings in Miami, Coral Gables, Miami Beach and Doral.

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One of the biggest construction projects in the history of Miami-Dade is the Port of Miami Tunnel, estimated at $1 billion.

What Recession?

Mr. García is president/founder of Adonel Concrete, South Florida’s largest privatelyowned concrete company. Founded in 1984, it recently expanded to Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties. The firm has been

Now that’s a major dose of a surprising rise in employment. While elected officials in Washington D.C. continue to point scolding fingers at each other over the economy’s downfall, South Florida is showing it can bounce back on its own.

honored by LBA as “Concrete Company of the Year” five out of the past eight years; it has been recognized by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce as one of the Top 100 Hispanic Businesses in Florida and one of the top 50 fastest growing businesses in Florida by the South Florida Business Journal. In 2006, Mr. Garcia was named Ernst & Young’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” in the southeast.

Tune In

Tune In Friday’s 11am-12pm on 880 AM Stream Our Show Via The Internet On For More Information On Proyecto Live Including Advertising Opportunties Please Contact Us At or Call (305) 446-5989


Join In

DECEMBER luncheon Four Seasons Brickell December 2, 2011 FEATURED SPEAKER:

U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sanchez

Gilberto Neves, John Bennett

Commissioner Frances X. Suarez, Noelia E. Moreno, Bernie Navarro

Guillermo Fernรกndez, Luis Mata

Jennifer Naszradi, Juan Bruno Zayas

Freddy Balsera, U.S. Undersecretary of Commerce Francisco Sanchez, Bernie Navarro

Noelia Moreno, Daphe Dipasquale Frank Nero, Gilberto Neves

Fatima Perez, Alex Lastra, Representative Daniel Davis, Noelia E. Moreno, Kurt Dyer, Representative Jose Oliva, Guillermo Fernรกndez

Guillermo Fernรกndez, JC Hernรกndez Richard Rodriguez

Eric Montes de Oca, Fatima Perez, Kurt Dyer

Andy Mendoza , Diane Don

Guillermo Fernรกndez, Kurt Dyer, May Poraspita, Eric Valderama

Eduardo Robelo, Ruth Jimenez

Tom Worthington, Paulo Barbosa Jorge Bracamonte

John Bennet Daniel Ruiz

Noelia Moreno, Representative Daniel Davis, Representative Jose Oliva

DECEMBER luncheon Four Seasons Brickell December 2, 2011 FEATURED SPEAKER:

U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sanchez

Guillermo Alvarez, Pedro Munilla

Eric Montes de Oca, Mickey Cerra

Paulo Barbosa, Raquel Quintana, May Poraspita, Felix Perez

Melissa Tapanes Llahues, Luis Gonzalez

Angie Guttierez, Monica Lopez

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Gabriel Franca, Thais Reiss, David DuckenďŹ eld

Lesa Forbes, Eduardo Torres, Cathy Fieg

Natalie Mazziotta, Richard Rodriguez Guillermo Alvarez

Alex Trueba, Roberto Eran

Natalie Mazziotta, Bernie Navarro, Guillermo Alvarez

Christopher Chiocca, Nestor Caballero

Asa Garcia, Nelson Martinez

Andy Pino, Hans Mueller

Mario Sacasa, Irene Tapanes, Pete de la Torre

Mercimarie Baumstark, Lety Barroso

Asela Prieto, Eduardo Caballero

Frank Fernandez, Tairis Alsina

LBA Legislative Committee’s Mission: ADVOCATING FOR OUR INDUSTRY AND YOUR BUSINESS by/// Melissa Tapanes Llahues A new year and new leadership in LBA present an opportunity to look beyond the economic challenges of the past and focus on a prosperous future shaped by our individual will and our collective efforts. For over 40 years, the Latin Builders Association has served as a vital forum for the open discussion and advocacy of issues affecting our community and industry. As Chair of the LBA’s Legislative Committee, my mission is to engage you, our membership, in advocating for our industry and your business. Advocacy requires focus on big picture legislative items that trickle down from our State Capitol such as last year’s Amendment 4 and this year’s Destination Resorts Act, as well as on our own homegrown development and procurement issues that is the daily fodder in our local and County governments. However, before we can take bold stances and exert our influence as advocacy, we must first make well-reasoned opinions. The Legislative Committee serves as the LBA’s forum for this necessary open discussion.

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The 2012 events calendar will bring you many opportunities to engage in advocacy for our industry, which is synonymous with advocating for your own business. This year, the Legislative Committee will host quarterly “Legislative Breakfasts” geared to provide you with the latest insider information in industry opportunities. These innovative educational forums will be followed by associated quarterly “Getting to Know” cocktail events featuring the local governments and public entities in which these industry opportunities abound. These networking events will facilitate nurturing existing relationships and foster new connections with like-minded business, community and political leaders.

Melissa Tapanes Llahues is a partner at Bercow Radell & Fernandez, P.A., a zoning, land use and environmental law boutique in downtown Miami, where she specializes in the representation of property owners, developers, and institutional clients before state,

On behalf of the Legislative Committee, I encourage you to participate in our monthly Legislative Committee meetings as we work to formulate and implement our 2012 legislative agenda, which will guide the LBA through Decision 2012.

regional, county, and municipal governments. Melissa serves on the LBA’s Executive Board as Chair of the Legislative Committee, and may be contacted at 305.377.6227 or

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Miami’s New Breed of Leaders Young business leaders Bernie Navarro, Vivian de las Cuevas-Diaz and Henry Jimenez grew up together. Now, the first-generation Cuban-Americans are focused on growing Miami together. By Jennifer LeClaire The new generation of business leaders is rising in South Florida. It’s a generation that respects the frontrunners of the past, understands the challenges of the present, and is determined to help Miami take its place among the great global cities of the future. Three of those young leaders are first-generation CubanAmericans who met in high school more than 20 years ago. These aggressive, civic-minded leaders bring new synergies to the top three Hispanic organizations in South Florida: the Latin Builders Association (LBA), Kiwanis Club of Little Havana and the Cuban American Bar Association (CABA).

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Indeed, Bernie Navarro, 38, founder and president of Benworth Capital Partners, a Coral Gables-based private equity firm focused on asset-based real estate finance and ancillary services and one of South Florida’s largest private mortgage lenders, Henry Jimenez, 36, senior vice president of Benworth Capital Partners, and Vivian de las Cuevas-Diaz, 36, a partner at the law firm Broad and Cassel and head of the firm’s Real Estate Practice Group in Miami, represent a new breed of business leaders who are helping build on Miami’s reputation as the Gateway to Latin America and beyond.

“This synergy is great for the community. We are on the front lines of what’s going on and we see that Miami is coming of age every day,” says Navarro, president of the Latin Builders Association (LBA), the largest Hispanic construction association in the United States. “We have a longer-term perspective about Miami’s future than we did ten years ago. We recognize it’s best not to make any quick, knee-jerk decisions because a short-term gain could be a long-term detriment to our community.” Navarro is especially active in the community, serving in various organizations. He led a grassroots movement called “Citizens for Property Tax Reform” in 2007 and previously served as chairman of the West Dade Community Council, the most dynamic zoning board in Miami-Dade County. Now, he’s got a close eye on the flood of casino proposals and how gaming expansion could impact the Magic City’s future. For his part, Jimenez, who is currently president of the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana and a board member of the Mercy Foundation, sees challenges on the immigration front. Being in tune with his heritage and traditions, Jimenez understands the importance of integrating immigrants and offering them a solid education.

“All three of our organizations were started by Cuban exiles ten years after they came to this country. They did not even know the language when they got here,” Jimenez says. “It’s our job to continue that legacy and build upon it. It’s up to us to get the next generation of young professionals involved in the community.” Navarro and Jimenez point to T.D. Allman’s 1987 book Miami: City of the Future, which portends that Miami represents what the United States will look like in the future. With this belief, the next generation of leaders must be mindful to consider the entire melting pot that is Miami with every community decision. “The old guard has put a lot of trust into the young generation to take Miami to the next level,” says CABA president de las Cuevas-Diaz, who was recently appointed by Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio to the Florida Judicial Nomination Commission. “The older generation worked together regardless of race, ethnicity, heritage or religion —the Jews and Cubans had a very dynamic relationship. It wasn’t about Hispanic or Anglo or Jewish. The older generation had unified goals for the community and we have to do the same because Miami is more of a melting pot today than it was 30 years ago.”

Miami’s New Breed of Leaders

Henry Jimenez Kiwanis

Bernie Navarro LBA

The trio of leaders feels the weight of the responsibility that rests on their young shoulders. With naysayers questioning the presence of leadership in Miami, the three long-time friends are working together to demonstrate that leadership not only exists—it is making an impact on the community. At the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana, one of the organization’s priorities is child literacy. “The need is so great and we don’t have enough money to do everything we want to do, but we’re attacking literacy problems. We’re teaching parents English so they can help their kids with homework. Our goal is to help underprivileged children in this community better their lives,” Jimenez says of his work with the Kiwanis. “Our foundation, which has provided college scholarships for more than 200 students to date, is currently funding the education of 46 students on four-year scholarships.” The Kiwanis Club of Little Havana is also part of a new pediatric cancer initiative, an element of South Florida’s medical community that is absent. The Kiwanis is working with Baptist Health to raise funds for a Children’s Cancer Caring Center. CABA continues to focus on promoting legal education. The organization currently has at least one scholarship at every law school in Florida and is working to fund CABA’S own scholarship of $100,000 that will fund an education anywhere in the U.S. Already, the group’s support has empowered more than 1,000 students to attend law school. CABA also has a separate 501(C)(3) called CABA pro bono, which operates a legal clinic that provides free services for people in the community who would otherwise go unrepresented due to cost. Many of the cases that CABA pro bono takes on involve bilingual attorneys working with people who do not speak English.

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Vivian de las Cuevas-Diaz CABA

Meanwhile, the Latin Builders Association Children & Families Foundation supports various South Florida philanthropic activities. “All three of us came from humble beginnings,” Navarro says. “We believe that since this great country of ours has always given to our families, we have a civic duty to give back to the community. Early on, the three of us took different paths in three different community organizations but now we’ve all met again as top business leaders and we’re committed to working together to serve the community.” Beyond their community activism, Navarro, Jimenez and de las Cuevas-Diaz also contribute to Miami’s future as a global city via their respective career contributions in real estate, finance and law, three sectors that drive South Florida’s economy. Through Benworth, Navarro and Jimenez offer asset-based private lending through non-traditional and traditional financing. De las Cuevas-Diaz is a member of her firm’s Banking and Institutional Lending, Real Estate and Special Assets Practice Groups. The young generation of rising leaders is a generation whose time has come. As de las Cuevas-Diaz sees it, the appointments of three high school friends to top positions in top Hispanic organizations may not have been as significant before the economic downturn. Everyone was succeeding in the boom times. “Now we see that South Florida needs us. Our economy needs us. People are relying on what we do with these organizations for their livelihood,” de las Cuevas-Diaz says. “The fact that we have these relationships with each other and share some common views is unique. It’s unfortunate that it took a downturn for us to realize just how unique it was and how much of a positive impact we can make by joining forces on the issues that affect our community. But here we are.”

Latin Builders Association GOALS OF THE LBA PAC by/// Guillermo “Willy” Fernandez

As members of the Latin Builders Association, we’re fortunate to be part of an association that over the last 40 years has reached a formidable level of political influence in our community. This influence allows for our association to have access to decision makers and present the interests of our members, always with the aim of creating opportunities and improving the economic future of our community. The LBA PAC Committee is the entity within our association that coordinates our fundraising efforts and political involvement, and serves as the conduit to many of these decision makers and community leaders. In 2012, it will be my responsibility to oversee the LBA PAC Committee by serving as Committee Chair, and ensuring that the LBA has a voice in the political decision processes that affect our members and industry. Having been involved at various levels within the LBA and having been witness to the political successes that our association has achieved over the years, this is a responsibility that I humbly accept, and I am excited to undertake.

In the coming weeks, I will share with our board of directors and members our PAC committee’s plan for continued success in 2012. This plan will include our fundraising initiatives, and our goals for creating greater involvement for our association at the political level within many of the municipalities in South Florida. Following the lead of our illustrious President Bernie Navarro, it will be one of my primary goals to galvanize our membership - at every level - so that the elected representatives of our community will know that it is indeed ‘our time’ as an association not only to be heard, but to be given the attention that we deserve.

Guillermo “Willy” Fernandez, is President of Link Construction Group, Inc., a South Florida based General Contracting/Construction Management company founded in, 2001. As President of Link, Guillermo possesses over 20 years’ experience in the construction industry and is responsible for the daily management of all financial activities and business development.

Mr. Fernandez is actively involved in the South Florida community and is a member of many construction

To all of our members, staff, and directors: I pledge my commitment and dedication. I promise to bring the same passion and work ethic that those who have come before me, and to continue on the legacy of the LBA.

industry related organizations including the South Florida Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), Construction Association of South Florida (CASF), National Association of Industrial and Office Products (NAIOP), Building Owners and Manager Association (BOMA), and serves as a Director on the Latin Builders Association Board (LBA).

When Willy is not working he enjoys playing golf, fishing, and of course, spending time with his wife Maggie and children Olivia and Andy.

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Bankruptcy from a Creditor’s Perspective Remedies Available to a Residential Mortgage Lender when a Defaulting Homeowner Seeks Bankruptcy Protection! by/// D. Grayson Kelly

Financially troubled Florida homeowners are increasingly turning to bankruptcy in attempt to stall the foreclosure process. Though bankruptcy frequently provides these homeowners a much needed fresh start, it delays the collection efforts of residential mortgage lenders and their attorneys. To minimize any prejudicial affect associated with this growing trend, mortgage lenders must possess a proper understanding of the bankruptcy process and their rights thereunder as creditors. The initial bankruptcy filing by a homeowner imposes an automatic stay on all collection efforts by a mortgage lender including, but not limited to, sending a notice of default, filing a lawsuit and forcing a sale of the property following entry of a final judgment of foreclosure. This stay generally remains in effect until the earlier of: (a) the homeowner’s discharge (Chapter 7); (b) confirmation of the homeowner’s plan for reorganization (Chapters 11 and 13); or (c) the bankruptcy court’s entry of an order lifting the stay. Violating the automatic stay can subject the offending party to monetary sanctions by the bankruptcy court. A mortgage lender’s rights and remedies vary in accordance with the type of bankruptcy proceeding initiated by the homeowner. Thus, upon commencement of a bankruptcy case by a homeowner, the mortgage lender must first determine which chapter of the bankruptcy code the homeowner has filed under. In a Chapter 7 liquidation proceeding, the homeowner must either reaffirm the mortgage debt or surrender the property to the mortgage lender. Surrendering the property does not mean that title automatically vests to the mortgage lender; the mortgage lender still complete the foreclosure process in state court. Before doing so, however, the mortgage lender must first obtain relief from the automatic stay. As previously mentioned, the stay automatically terminates upon a homeowner’s discharge, which generally occurs between four and six months after commencement of a Chapter 7 case. A less patient mortgage lender can file a motion for relief from stay and, if no party

objects, the stay will usually be lifted within fourteen to twentyone days. Thereafter, it may resume the foreclosure process. If the homeowner indicates an intention and the financial capacity to reaffirm the mortgage debt, the mortgage lender should promptly prepare and present the homeowner with a reaffirmation agreement. Under an accepted reaffirmation agreement, the homeowner must resume making monthly payments to the mortgage lender, and will remain personally liable on the reaffirmed debt notwithstanding a discharge by the bankruptcy court. If the homeowner chooses reorganization under either Chapter 11 or 13, as opposed to Chapter 7 liquidation, the mortgage lender should first determine whether the homeowner seeks to treat the mortgage debt within his or her plan for reorganization. If the mortgage debt is not included in the plan, the mortgage lender may immediately move for relief from stay and resume foreclosure. Conversely, when the homeowner wants to keep the property and provides for payments on the mortgage debt under his or her proposed plan, the mortgage lender must take certain steps to ensure that it will be adequately compensated under the plan. Initially, the mortgage lender should file a proof of claim detailing the amounts due, including all arrearages and the unpaid principal balance. Thereafter, the mortgage lender should confirm that the homeowner’s proposed plan fully compensates the mortgage lender’s claim. Generally, a debtor may not modify a claim secured solely by his or her principal residence (i.e., any residential mortgage); however, a creditor who fails to timely object to a proposed modification may be deemed to have accepted the modification. Mortgage lenders must be proactive when a defaulting homeowner files for bankruptcy so as to avoid any undue delay or prejudice. Every mortgage lender should immediately retain the services of a knowledgeable attorney to assist it with selecting the proper course of action.

D. Grayson Kelly is an associate at Piedra & Associates, P.A., where he specializes in banking litigation, creditors rights and bankruptcy law. Mr. Kelly was admitted to practice law in the State of Florida in 2010. He received the degree of Juris Doctor from the Florida International University College of Law, where he received Dean’s List recognition. As a law student, Mr. Kelly served as law clerk for Piedra & Associates, P.A. He also volunteered as a legal research assistant for the Community Justice Project of Florida Legal Services, Inc. Mr. Kelly attended The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for his undergraduate studies and received a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication.

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The LBA would like to thank all of our sponsors and guests who attended the 2011 Installation Gala. Thank you all for your support.

INSTALLATION gala JW Marriott Marquis, Downtown Miami December 9th, 2011 Senator Marco Rubio, Bernie Navarro, Claudia Navarro

Belinda and Juan Carlos Vila

Debi And Bob Case

Fred Abbo, Eva Abbo, Eloy Villasuso, Bernie Navarro, Lily Villasuso

Maggy Fernandez, Guillermo Fernandez

Diana Cobas, Juan Paul Piedra

Vice Mayor Michael DiPietro, Eric Montes de Oca, Bibiana Montes de Oca, Paul Tazar, Cally Hudson

Michael Marino, Alex Sedeno

Juan Rodriguez, Angela Garcia, Maggy Diaz, Ernie Diaz

Gus Gil, Bernie Navarro, Pedro Munilla, Juan Munilla

INSTALLATION gala JW Marriott Marquis, Downtown Miami December 9th, 2011

Vivian De las Cuevas, Bernie Navarro, State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle

Joanne Messing, Daniel Alvarez, Stephanie Gaywood, Alfredo Mesa

Juan Rodriguez, Angela Garcia

Leif Soreide, Mindy Szarowicz

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Yvette Aubin, Wendy Polit

Giny Santamaria, Mike Alvarez

Noelia E. Moreno, Monica Lopez

Cecilia Curbelo, Carolina White, Ximena Lopez Rebecca Verdeja

Ovi Vento, Angel Medina, Bernie Navarro Carlos Herrera, Noelia E. Moreno

Iliana Armenta, Michelle Pradere

Master of Ceremony | Enrique Santos

Senator Marco Rubio

Noelia E. Moreno

Bernie Navarro

Honorable Judge Monica Gordo

Honorable Judge Ana Maria Pando

Anthony Seijas, Tamie Seijas, Jada Capuano, Pedro Portella

Bob Turk, Emilio Le贸n, Jes煤s Rodriguez

INSTALLATION gala JW Marriott Marquis, Downtown Miami December 9th, 2011 Pedro Munilla, Commissioner Joe E. Martinez, Luis Garcia

Mike Alvarez, Roly Pereira, Michelle Pradere

Vickie Garcia Toledo, Teresa Sarnoff, Commissioner Mark Sarnoff

Mayor Carlos Hernandez, Bernie Navarro

Yvonne Soler-Mckinley, Michelle Pradere, Iliana Armenta

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Mindy Szarowicz, Anthony Seijas, Luis Garcia, Manny Rodriquez, Pedro Munilla

Maureen and Emilio Le贸n

Bibiana and Eric Montes de Oca

Eric Montes de Oca, Aly Ramos

Vivian de las Cuevas, Bernie Navarro, Alex Perez, Annie Marie Hernandez, Giny Santamaria, Mike Alvarez

Juan Carlos Vila having a great time

INSTALLATION gala JW Marriott Marquis, Downtown Miami December 9th, 2011

Robert Fernandez

Alexis Gonzalez

Tony Cho, Bernie Navarro

Monica Lopez

Diana Cobas, John Paul Piedra, Dinora and Jorge Guerra

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Ernie and Maggy Diaz, Maria and Pablo Pino

Vivian Bovo and Commissioner Esteban Bovo

Roly Pereira, Michele Pradere Rudy and Iliana Armenta

Bernie Navarro Claudia Navarro Alexandra Navarro

Maggy Fernandez, Noelia E. Moreno, Giny Santamaria, Claudia Navarro

Commissioner Jose Pepe Diaz, Maria del Carmen Diaz

Jorge Hernandez, Lincoln Diaz Balart, Colin Au, Jose Marriro, Angel Busnego

State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, Maggy Fernandez, Noelia E. Moreno, Bernie Navarro, Claudia Navarro, Giny Santamaria

Rebecca Beltran, Aly Ramos, Dinorah Guerra

Noelia E. Moreno, Bernie Navarro

State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle

Ricardo Rodriguez, Noelia E. Moreno

Luis Garcia, Manny Rodriguez, Pedro Munilla

Ricardo Rodriguez, Noelia E. Moreno Commissioner Jose Pepe Diaz

Guillermo Alvarez, Noelia E. Moreno, Ernie Sardo

Senator Marco Rubio gives Bernie Navarro a warm embrace after taking the oath

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POR MUCHO TIEMPO. En estos tiempos económicos difíciles usted debe anunciarse.

Para anunciarse en el medio más poderoso y efectivo, tanto impreso como en-línea, llame a Louisa Ferrera al 305-376-2058 o envíe un correo electrónico a


PROFILES LBA Director’s Profile Interview


General Counsel • Beauchamp Construction Company

Favorite movie ever? If the Shawshank Redemption or Field of Dreams is on, I’m watching. Book you would read over and over again? To Kill a Mockingbird. Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Family: Married to my beautiful wife Ansley and we have a 2 year old son named Austin. Education: B.A. in American History from the University of Pennsylvania; J.D. from the Villanova University School of Law; visiting third year studies at the University of Miami School of Law with a focus on construction law. Where do you work and what is your role there? I am General Counsel & Corporate Secretary for Beauchamp Construction Co., Inc. in Coral Gables. What aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? The opportunity every day for creative and strategic thought and decision making What is your most important achievement to date (personal or professional)? Having a healthy and happy family is #1. #2 would be not having to keep track of billable hours anymore. What kind of a kid were you? A baseball fanatic … both playing and studying the history of the game. Favorite activity with your family? Visiting the Chesapeake every summer. What you do to unwind? When I have the time and energy, I like to jog to unwind. Marlins, Dolphins, Panthers, Hurricanes, Heat? I’m a Canes fan and the Heat is very exciting to watch, but I grew up in Philly so my favorite teams are the Eagles and Phillies.

Slow dance, salsa, merengue, disco, hustle or whatever it is they dance today? The Elaine dance from Seinfeld! Favorite band, favorite song? Led Zeppelin. All of their songs. Most admired personality in history? Benjamin Franklin; he was a scientist, printer, writer, diplomat, inventor, and more; like his country (or an onion), he contained multitudes and layers! What the world needs most today? Freedom and less governmental intrusion. Best advice you could give your child? The only time success comes before work is in the dictionary. Favorite place in the world? Home. Community work – charities you support: The Beauchamp Charitable Foundation which provides charity and opportunity to impoverished children in Nicaragua and the UM Children’s First Society which is a young professional volunteer group at UM Pediatrics whose mission is to fundraise for programs to improve child health issues. Name the one thing you cannot do without. Work. I hate being bored. Name the one thing you would do differently if you had to do it all over again. Attend Game 5 of the ’08 World Series. (The Phillies won) If you could spend one afternoon with someone, who would that be and what would you do, talk about? My Mom who lives in Philly and I don’t get to see her often enough. We would play with her grandson Austin!



Linda Ray Intervention Center 750 Northwest 15 Street Miami, Florida 33136 FEATURED SPEAKER:

Dr. Lynne Sue Katz Immediate Past President Noelia Moreno


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Executive Director, New Committee Members HELP REVIVE LBA’S CHILDREN & FAMILIES FOUNDATION by/// Juan Carlos Vila

The beginning of 2012 will be recognized as an important milestone in LBA’s history for the revitalization of its Children & Families Foundation. The foundation was created in 2007 to help children and families who suffer economic distress, and as Director I am committed to upholding the goals of the foundation. The rising number of families affected by the ďŹ nancial crisis has prompted the LBA to renovate this organization. The LBA has appointed me as the foundation’s new Executive Director., and I am honored. My life-long commitment to giving back to the community, extensive experience in philanthropic endeavors and fundraising activities, as well as ďŹ rst-hand involvement in the LBA affairs as former executive director make me the ideal leader. My ability to create and manage relationships with a broad constituency of

funders, community leaders, elected ofďŹ cials and private business owners will help the efforts to increase the funds and visibility of the foundation. I will be supported by Monica Lopez (co-chair), Michael Alvarez, and Michelle Pradere. This exceptional team will focus its efforts on improving the existing activities such as fundraising, scholarships, recruiting LBA member participation, and promoting relationships with local charitable institutions and will develop innovative initiatives to reach the struggling families. Giving back to the community has been one of the base values of the LBA and its Children & Families Foundation will make it possible to fulďŹ ll its duty.


Juan Carlos Vila









PIEDRA & ASSOCIATES, P.A. ANNOUNCES TWO NEW PARTNERS MIAMI – Piedra & Associates, P.A. announced that William Essig and Alex R. Alvarez have been named partners in the law firm. William Essig specializes in commercial litigation with an emphasis on banking and condominium law. Mr. Essig was admitted to practice in 2002 and joined Piedra & Associates, P.A. as an associate in 2009. Alex R. Alvarez specializes in commercial litigation with an emphasis on banking, construction and appeals.

The Better Buildings Challenge, part of the President’s Better Building Initiative, aims to increase energy efficiency in buildings by 20 percent over the next decade and reduce energy costs for American businesses by nearly $40 billion. To achieve these ambitious targets, Ygrene has committed to unlock a minimum of $100 million in commercial building energy efficiency improvements over the next 12 months. The overall goal of the company, however, is to invest as much $650 million over the next few years.

Mr. Alvarez was admitted to practice in 2006 and has been with Piedra & Associates as an associate his entire career. Mr. Essig and Mr. Alvarez are the first new partners since the law firm was founded in 2001 by Jorge L. Piedra.

Piedra & Associates, P.A. is a commercial trial law firm dedicated to helping individuals and businesses obtain optimal bottom line results through aggressive and efficient trial advocacy. Founded in 2001 by Jorge L. Piedra, the firm includes eight trial lawyers. Their approach stresses vigorous advocacy, responsiveness to our client’s needs and attention to detail. They pride themselves in maintaining frequent communication with their clients who can expect prompt responsiveness and honest feedback. This approach allows the firm to achieve their client’s goals in the most efficient manner possible. The attorneys at Piedra & Associates are equally skilled and experienced as appellate advocates and are prepared to handle cases through any appeal. For more information, please contact Jorge L. Piedra, managing partner of Piedra & Associates, P.A.

NEW LBA MEMBER JOINS WHITE HOUSE’S BETTER BUILDINGS CHALLENGE Company joins select group of energy efficiency financing leaders to create thousands of jobs Ygrene Energy Fund, a leading provider of energy efficiency programs for local governments, has been selected by the Department of Energy as a financial ally in support of the White House’s Better Buildings Challenge. Ygrene joins the ranks of top tier financing leaders, cities and companies committed to energy efficiency that will save billions in energy costs and spur job creation.

Peter DaSilva for The New York Times A new type of financing will pay for a solar array at this California development.

Ygrene partners with cities and counties to deploy its no-cost Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs funded with readily available private capital. Ygrene’s financing solutions enable property owners to make energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades, repayable over the long term via property taxes. Gaining traction nationwide, the Ygrene model is currently in development with the City of Sacramento, a Better Buildings Challenge Community Partner, as well as member communities of the Green Corridor District in Southern Florida. In the past three years, half the states have passed legislation permitting energy retrofits financed by property-tax surcharges, and hundreds of cities and counties are considering such programs. The retrofits might include new windows and doors, insulation, and more efficient lights and HVAC systems. In some cases, solar panels or other renewable power might be included. For factories, the retrofits might include new motors or other gear. Experts point out that, with modern techniques and equipment, a retrofit can typically cut a building’s energy use so much that the project pays for itself in as little as five years. The most famous recent example was the refurbishment of the Empire State Building, which cut energy use by nearly 40 percent, turning it into one of New York’s greenest buildings.

¿Qué Pasa, LBA?

Feliz cumpleaños a: Kimberly Cantor de American Express Ovi Vento Jr Carlos Gimenez de Becker y Poliakoff Lourdes Beltran (Esposa de Johnny Beltran) Andy Fernandez de Gunster Alex Gort Jr. De Gort Enterprises Michelle Menendez de JM+PO investments Gus Cabrera Max Cabrera “Maxo Paxo”

Guille Fernandez, Bernie Navarro, Luisito Machado, Ernie Diaz y Rene Diaz fueron de caza como ‘franco tiradores en el Viejo Oeste’ y la pasaron tan bien que no pueden esperar para hacerlo otra vez.

Juan Menendez y su hijo Juan Carlos en la boda de su nieta. Nuestra familia LBA sigue creciendo! Las lenguas nos informan que nuestro Presidente-electo Guille Fernandez, su esposa Maggie, nuestra pasada presidente Noelia Moreno y su esposo Ricardo “BD” pasaron los días previos a las navidades en Napa Valley - California probando los mejores vinos del área. Dicen que la pasaron de lo mejor!!!

En La Cumbre de los Presidentes de la LBA, se confirmo que las cosas no cambian. Sergito convenciendole a un grupo que el es el mejor Developer en Miami, mientras que Lorenzo le dice a Gus que el es el mejor Presidente que ha tenido la LBA. Veremos los resultados y todos esperamos que se repita La Cumbre pronto!!

Nos dicen nuestros “spies” que el grupo de LBA miembros y directores que celebraron el Nuevo Año en Ocean Reef fiestearon a lo todo. Estaban en el “LBA Fishing Tournament scouting trip”, esperamos a ver????

Recuerden de enviar sus comentarios y fotos digitales a

Aquí nos despedimos…le deseamos un prospero 2012! /// 50

PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY JOHNNIE WALKER BLACK LABEL Blended Scotch Whisky. 40% Alc/Vol. © 2011 Imported by Diageo, Norwalk, CT

Proyecto | January/February 2012  

The January/February 2012 Issue of Proyecto

Proyecto | January/February 2012  

The January/February 2012 Issue of Proyecto