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We have many faces, but one voice. It comes from the fisherman at the Skyway Pier and the smiling faces at the Saturday Morning Market. It’s in the block-party planners. The community caregivers. The artists, activists, dreamers, doers, healers and heroes. Our people make our community like nowhere else -- and for more than 100 years, we’ve loved keeping them healthy. For every need from routine checkups to lifesaving trauma response, we bring you world-class care where you live, work and play.

Your pace. Your place. “BARRY gave me the opportunity to pursue my goals and dreams. I was drawn to the school’s strong mission and commitment to excellence. Now that I have my own law practice, I am very thankful for everything BARRY has provided me.” — Eric V. Hires, Esq. The Law Office of Eric V. Hires, LLC Tampa: 813-806-8980 St. Petersburg: 727-394-6057 New Port Richey: 727-816-3126

Find yourself at BARRY UNIVERSITY • Earn your bachelor’s or master’s degree with fellow adult learners • BARRY UNIVERSITY offers the following programs in Tampa, St. Petersburg and New Port Richey: Administration • Exercise Science • Health Services Administration • Human Resources Administration • Legal Studies • Nurse Anesthetist • Pharmacy Technician Test Preparation Workshop • Public Administration • Sport Management *Not all programs offered at all locations

A military-friendly institution

Main Campus: 11300 NE Second Avenue • Miami Shores, Florida 33161-6695 • 800-695-2279

Editor’s Letter

Volume VII Edition I Quarter 1 2012

The Power Broker magazine Dear Readers:


his is the third time the Power Broker has published a ranking of Tampa Bay’s highest grossing black-owned businesses, and it never ceases to amaze. Jaws dropped all over Tampa Bay when we published the first-ever ranking in 2005. It was fresh new ground. No publication had ever done it. And the results exceeded even the wildest speculations about just how big the biggest would be. I will be forever grateful to the three gentlemen who agreed to headline that Top 10 premiere. In a very real sense, they put the Power Broker on the map. But infinitely more important, they opened our collective eyes. The three of them Sandy Woods, Oscar Horton and George Tinsley, Sr., whose companies grossed a combined $568 million in 2005 – were not only the biggest in Tampa Bay, they also tipped the national scales in the top 1 percentile of all black-owned businesses nationwide. If you can believe it, though, this year’s Top 50 even tops that. Not only did we expand from the Top 30 ranking in 2006, we’re also bringing you another Power Broker first this year with a ranking of the Top 30 African American and Latino corporate executives in the region. And this year’s line-up is more starstudded, both in substance and style. The men and women of this Top 50 edition are positively brilliant. Not only in IQ, but in radiance, confidence, presence and faith. Outstanding in so many ways we could hardly do them justice. See if you don’t agree. Truly my privilege,

Gypsy C. Gallardo Publisher & Editor-in-Chief


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Power Broker Publisher Gypsy Gallardo with CEO of this year’s #1 ranked African American owned company in Tampa Bay Mr. Oscar Horton.

From left to right - Oscar Horton, CEO of Sun State Int’l Trucks, tops the list at #1; Gypsy Gallardo; Walter “Mickey” Presha, CEO of Manatee County Rural Health Services, a new entrant to the Power Broker ranking at #5; and George W. Tinsley, Sr., CEO of PenGEO, Inc., #2 on this year’s Top 50.


Gypsy C. Gallardo


Mario Shirley


Lonnie Donaldson GUEST EDITORS

Dr. Cynthia Johnson Deborah Figgs-Sanders

P O Box 15006 St. Petersburg, FL 33733


T: 727.866.0873 F: 877.255.9572 SSN: 1554-933X

Gwendolyn Reese



Robert Gallardo FASHION EDITOR



Davis Photography, staffed by Chris Davis & Kelley Collier

Special Thanks Special thanks to the Small Business Development Center at Pinellas County Economic Development for co-hosting the Top 50 Photo Shoot; to its Director, Dr. Cynthia Johnson, for serving as Guest Editor to this edition; and to SBDC staffers Jenee Skipper, Yolanda Cowart and Janini Rosario, Assistant Director of the Tampa Bay SBDC, for their hard work and professionalism. Dr. Johnson has supported the Power Broker’s ranking of top black-owned companies from the start; this year, no less. Deep appreciation, from one publisher to another, goes to Jolie Gonzalez, Publisher of the Latin Times magazine, for sparking the idea of bringing the black and Latino communities together. She will release her own ranking of top Hispanic-owned companies this year.



Adrienne Reddick,

CEO Elegant Exquisite Events & Event Assistants LaGaysheya Smith, Alyshia Greene, and Nixa Blair MAKE UP ARTIST

Lena G of Lena G Creative Design


To request that your business or office be one of the Power Broker’s 200+ distribution sites, e-mail us at reachout@


Kimberly Webb CORRESPONDENTS Kellis Glenn | Clearwater Candy Lowe | Tampa Sandra Butler | Polk County Kimberly Albritton | Manatee & Sarasota counties Kevin Rose | St. Petersburg WRITERS Ersula Knox-Odom B. Melendez Daphne Streets Keisha Pickett Dr. Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich SOCIAL MEDIA GROWTH CONSULTANT Aminta Voyce, Socialleverage1

DIGITAL magazine now available The Power Broker magazine is now available in DIGITAL format. Scan here to access the Top 50 DIGITAL magazine on smartphones, or flip through the pages online at www. DIGITALmagazine. the power broker magazine


Small Businesses & Entrepreneurs The Focus of the Small Business Development Center at Pinellas County Economic Development

• Personal Business Counseling is a convenient way for entrepreneurs to meet with a Certified Business Analyst for free assistance and advice. • SBA Counseling & Technical Assistance helps business owners interested in securing financing through SBA Lending Programs. • Financial Technical Assistance Services increase loan applicants’ probability of securing a loan and growing their business. • Procurement Technical Assistance (PTAC) is for business owners interested in selling their products and services to the government through the federal certification process. Visit today to learn how the SBDC@PCED can help you grow your business.

Small Business Development Center at Pinellas County Economic Development 13805 58th Street North, Suite 1-200, Clearwater, Florida 33760 (727) 453-7200 •


Kudos column. Ray Arsenault author of Freedom Riders

The National Council of Negro Women’s 26th Annual MLK Leadership Awards Breakfast honored Ray Arsenault with the MLK Humanitarian Award for his service to Dr. King’s ideals; and Darryl Rouson with the MLK Leadership Award for promoting the legacy of Dr. King. The event took place this January.

Chloe Coney in the community

Coney’s Recieve Civic Leadership Award Chloe Coney, District Director for U.S. Congresswoman Kathy Castor, received the Dr. Ike Tribble Civic Leadership Award from the Tampa Organization of Black Affairs at the 32nd Annual Dr. MLK, Jr. Leadership Breakfast January 16th. Castor noted “Chloe has been an inspirational leader in the Tampa Bay area for years and she continues, tirelessly serving our neighbors.” Coney

is founder of the Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa, Inc. and has been District Director in Castor’s office since 2007.

7professionals Bay area honored with national awards

Raytheon’s Onekki Christian and Jeff Josiah were honored at the 2012 Black Engineer of the Year Awards STEM Global Competitiveness Conference this February in Philadelphia.

Onekki, a principal systems engineer at Raytheon, won the 2012 Most Promising Engineer Award for her work. Christian began her career with Raytheon in 2001 in Texas and soon moved to systems engineering with Raytheon Missile Systems in Arizona. In 2002, Christian transferred to Raytheon’s St. Petersburg offices. She is a 2006 graduate of Raytheon’s Systems Engineering Technical Development Program and holds a BS in Computer Science with an MS in Management of Information Systems. Jeff, senior electrical engineer at Raytheon Missile Systems, joined Raytheon in 2005 and is currently the Configurable Logic lead for a secure-processor design initiative aimed at protecting critical U.S. technology. Previously, Josiah led a team working on the next generation of missile seekers. He volunteers as a tutor through Bright Tomorrows and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. Josiah is a 2011 graduate of the RMS Leadership Matters program and was tapped by RMS President Taylor Lawrence to be in the 2011-12 Gnosis Innovatus group for rapid leadership development. He holds a BS in Physics, a BS in Electrical Engineering, and a Master of Engineering.

named highestgrossing actor of all time.

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State Award for Dr. Cody Clark Dr. Cody Clark, counselor, Gibbs High, and Mrs. Christine Everett, counselor, Palm Harbor Middle, were Florida School Counselor Association (FSCA) award recipients recognized at the state conference in November in Ft. Lauderdale. Dr. Clark was honored for his ability to unite the Gibbs High community through 15 years of Black History month presentations.

JWB tips its hat to 4 Winners

Onekki Christian

Samuel Jackson


Dr. Cody Clark (right)

The JWB completed its 2011 awards cycle for the Cooperman-Bogue KidsFirst Award, given quarterly with a $500 cash prize for human services professionals who do outstanding work. And the 2011 winners were….. 1ST QTR: Barry Greer, a Family Specialist with Personal Enrichment Through Mental Health Services, with the Emergency Response and Family Reunification Teams.

Rosalyn Connelly

2ND QTR: Rosalyn Connelly, an academic instructor at the Harbordale YMCA, who helps students in the Y-Achievers program with reading and math, and with building confidence in public speaking and etiquette. 3RD QTR: Brandon Mai, recreation leader with the City of Largo after school program at Mildred Helms Elementary.  4TH QTR: Caroline Brown, a Program Coordinator at the High Point Neighborhood Family Center credited with new programs such as a Seeds 2 Soup community farm where families grow food.

by The Guinness Book of World Records, this past fall with career earnings at age 62 of $7.42 billion. Jackson has starred in over 100 films, including Pulp Fiction, A Time To Kill, Eve’s Bayou and Star Wars.


LAYING THE GROUNDWORK FOR TOMORROW’S COMMUNITIES TODAY. Block Team USA, Inc., a 501(c) 3, non-profit organization, provides affordable transitional housing options and other services for ex-offenders, veterans and other challenged individuals in Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. On any given day, at least 100,000 children in Florida have a parent in prison or jail. Block Team has begun the important work of taking a serious look at the lives of these children. After all, if we offer our services to his parent he has a greater chance of one day becoming our future President. Join the Block Team USA movement and follow us on Facebook & Twitter.

focused solutions

can produce

• Food and clothing drives • Transitional Housing • Social Services • Ex-Offenders, Veterans, Etc • Job Placement • Community Service • Drug Awareness • Adopt An Inmate and commit to writing one letter per month.. • Donate a Hygiene • Pen Pal Services. The list goes on.... Volunteers Needed

Give back to your community. Please call 813.319.4519 or visit our websites / Email:


The Power Broker Leadership aFiles

Around the Globe

Notes on who’s moving up or moving on.


Pettis to become first Black president of Florida Bar Attorney Eugene Pettis will become the first African American president of the Florida Bar in its 105-year history in 2013, representing 93,000 Florida attorneys. He is the Florida Bar’s presidentelect designate, following a statewide election where he ran unchallenged, and will be sworn in as such at the Bar’s annual convention in June when Tampa attorney Gwynne Young is sworn in as president. MISHA

1 2


Notes on who’s moving up or moving on.


Tyson Named Chair of Leadership Council Bernard Tyson, president and COO of Kaiser Permanente, has been named chair of The Executive Leadership Council for a term through December 2013. The Council is composed of African American senior executives from the nation’s Fortune 500 corporations. He said “As chair, my role is to harness the collective energy and intellect of the ELC for the benefit of corporate America.”


Abdul-Jabbar Appointed Global Ambassador The 64-year old Kareem

You know René will “Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing!” Lew Williams explained his focus on our children this way while serving in our schools and, until his recent death, as our School Board member. René Flowers will maintain that same focus and keep us moving forward!

Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA alltime scoring leader, is now a global cultural ambassador, appointed this January by the U.S. State Department. Army promotes highestranking black woman For the first time in American history, the U.S. Army promoted an African American woman to major general. Brigadier General Marcia Anderson was serving as a deputy commanding general in Fort Knox, Kentucky, when she was promoted to major general last fall.  Fred Luter Poised To Be First Black To Lead Southern Baptist Church The reports that Rev. Fred Luter appears to be the “prohibitive favorite” to be elected as the first African American to lead the predominantly white Southern Baptist Convention. The election will be held this June at the Convention’s national conference. Penn Named Ambassador Actor Sean Penn was named in January as ambassadorat-large for Haiti in recognition of his humanitarian work in the wake of the 2010 earthquake. The celeb received the honor from Haitian President Michel Martelly at Haiti’s National Palace. 

René FLOWERS You know

For Pinellas County School Board | District 7

Former St. Petersburg City Councilwoman Former President, Florida League of Cities Board Member, National League of Cities Founded and Chaired St. Petersburg Affordable Housing Committee �� Former Officer, WorkNet Pinellas �� Chair, AMI Kids Pinellas �� St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce 2012 ICONIC Women With Vision Award.

�� �� �� ��

Obama campaign taps Brown to lead black voter outreach The Barack Obama re-election campaign announced in January that it has named Stefanie Brown to be African American Vote Director for the 2012 campaign. Brown is a 31-year-old former national field director for the NAACP in Baltimore, Maryland. Brewer, First Woman, African American, CEO Of Sam’s Club Wal-Mart Stores, the world’s biggest retailer, announced this January that Rosalind Brewer, 49, was named CEO of Sam’s Club, becoming the first woman and the first African American to hold a CEO position at one of WalMart’s business units.

Around Tampa Bay


Bank of Tampa Appoints Celestan A. Gerald Divers, president of The Tampa Banking Company, recently announced the appointment of Gregory Celestan to the Board of Directors for The Bank of Tampa and The Tampa Banking Company. Celestan, CEO of Celestar Corporation, retired from the U.S. Army in 2004 as a Lieutenant Colonel with 20 years of experience leading U.S. and foreign military personnel. Read his profile later in this edition. Harris moves to United Way of Tampa Bay Philip Harris, state-level leader with Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity and former staffer in the City of St. Petersburg’s Neighborhood Partnership division was recruited this past fall for a move to the United Way of Tampa Bay, as the new Director of Community Services & Public Policy.


Wesley moves over to post with the 2012 Republican Nat’l Convention Rita Wesley, the long-time “go to” staffer for the CEO of the St. Petersburg Chamber, accepted a new position with the 2012 Republican National Convention as Deputy Directory of Volunteers & Events. One of her top priorities is the recruitment of volunteers to support the far-flung activities of the Convention as it names the Republican nominee for President late in the summer. Agenda 2010 names new 2012 Leaders A new cadre of top leaders has been named to the all-volunteer group known as Agenda 2010, that made a name for itself by organizing voter turnout activities among St. Petersburg’s African American voter base: Randolph Lewis & John Muhammad will serve as new Co-Chairs of the Public Safety Committee; Delquanda Turner & Carl Lavender, Jr., assume the helm as CoChairs of Education & Youth Development; Rev. Edward Leftwich & Robert McCoy will remain as Co-Chairs of the Economic Development Taskforce; and Kori Monroe will Chair the Minority Business Development Committee for a second year. Evelyn Gardner, who spearheaded a successful Health Committee, may be helping to select new Co-Chairs. Agenda 2010 is gearing up for an April 14th Strategic Retreat; meanwhile, it and eight other groups are going full-throttle in support of the People’s Budget Review project to get 10,000 City residents to weigh in on a survey about St. Petersburg’s 2013 City budget. New Board Members at Mt Zion Human Services St. Petersburg’s Mt Zion Human Services continues its growth plans. Board Chair Chris Bell and Executive Director Ken Jones recruited two new Directors last fall: Dr. Tonjua Williams (a Vice President at St. Petersburg College) and Zaneta Moton of the Veterans Administration.

“Legend” retires after 35 years for Equal Rights Reporting that Leon Russell has retired after 35 years at the helm of the Pinellas Office of Human Rights, the Tampa Bay Times quoted County Commissioner Ken Welch calling him a “Legend.” Deservedly so. While Russell worked for decades on the larger stage as a board member for the National NAACP, he also architected local undercover investigations, legal actions and affirmative campaigns that won new rights and protections for thousands of people. It’s because of his work that County supervisors are now held accountable for hiring minorities and women at levels that reflect the County’s diversity. And it’s because of him that discrimination was uncovered at 29 apartment complexes in the County. Though he could never truly be replaced, Russell’s post was filled by Paul Valenti, a former manager of Lee County’s EEOC office. Gordon named as Provost Kevin Gordon, the Gibbs High principal who won accolades for leading a turn-around of the school’s performance, left his post last November to begin a new top job at St. Petersburg College, as provost of the downtown and Midtown campuses. Gordon also received his doctorate in educational leadership from the University of South Florida in December. Who will lead the Pinellas County Urban League? The selection is nearing completion, as the National Urban League goes through its standard process of “certifying” the four shortlisted candidates for the CEO job. That’s the penultimate step before the local Board makes a final decision. Of the four candidates in the running, two are local: Watson Haynes and Dr. Rick Davis. One insider notes that the hometown options may weigh heavier in the decision this go round. The prior two CEOs were selected from outside the state. the power broker magazine


It’s not “business as usual” and it never will be again. St. Petersburg’s business community is coming together to ensure we continue to be one of Florida’s most attractive cities to live and to do business. Join us we grow smarter together.

St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce 100 2nd Ave N, Suite 150 St. Petersburg, FL 33701 visit us on facebook

National Business Spotlight

St. Petersburg Police Department “An Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer”

Accept The Challenge! Will Packer (left) and partner Rob Hardy

Another First by Will Packer

New Terrain for African Americans in businesses


he new Bounce TV network may make it out of the woods, which will be good news for Will Packer, the St. Petersburg native who co-founded Bounce as the nation’s first over-the-air broadcast TV network for African American audiences. When Bounce TV went live last September, it drew a lukewarm reception from several major black journalists, who saw “little that is new or original,” and “more of the same shallow entertainment” fare already available on BET and TV One. But African American TV viewers gave it a much warmer welcome in major markets across the country. Unlike its network cousins in the industry, Bounce has the advantage of airing on the digital signals of local TV stations, instead of on cable, which makes it available in half of American households and 64 percent of black households. That had Bounce raking in impressive viewing numbers in key markets. Joe Cook, the President of New Orlean’s WVUE, told the press that after only months on air, Bounce TV had higher ratings than several well-established national cable networks. He said, “Our challenge is to find engaging ways to reach new viewers. Bounce TV has cracked that code for us.” It appears that Bounce may be another hit for Packer, who first made his mark in the industry as co-founder of Rainforest Films. He and co-founder Rob Hardy produced box office hits like “Stomp The Yard,” “Takers” and “This

• 100% Sponsorship

Christmas.” Which is why the two were approached by former United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young and Martin Luther King, III, to be the marketing and creative brains behind Bounce TV operations.

• Excellent Pay & Benefits • G.I. Bill Benefits • Take-home Vehicle Program

Packer said ““It was one of those oncein-a-lifetime opportunities…..How could we not be a part of it?” He took over as Bounce TV’s Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer; while Hardy is Chief Content Officer.

•Tuition Reimbursement • Education Incentive

In terms of programming, Bounce features a mix of films, sports, documentaries, specials, faith-based programs, off-network series, and original programming. The channel targets African Americans primarily between the ages of 25 and 54. This February, Bounce expanded content by acquiring the TV rights to more African American-skewing movies. Two new multi-year licensing agreements with Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution and Paramount Home Media Distribution give Bounce titles like the Academy Award winning Bird, directed by Clint Eastwood; the original Shaft (1971); Richard Pryor starring in Greased Lightning and The Mack with Max Julien; and Bill Cosby & Sidney Poitier in Let’s Do It Again.

Call Now To Begin Your Journey!

(727) 892-5555

Packer reports being deep into the development process on several new projects for the network. One of his ideas is to develop an annual awards show spotlighting the contributions of African Americans in film and TV. If it flies, it’ll be another “Packer original.” the power broker magazine


Tech Data Congratulates Pete Peterson and

Darryl Branch

At Tech Data, diversity and inclusion are integral to our culture and fabric. We embrace and value the differences of our employees, customers and vendor partners. It’s one of our greatest strengths. Please join us in celebrating Pete and Darryl and their many vital contributions.


United Way of Tampa Bay helps people build better lives by helping kids graduate and helping families find paths out of poverty.



For more on our education programs visit

The Power Broker magazine

proudly presents…

Tampa Bay’s Top 50 black-owned businesses in 2012

As a capstone to our February 16th photo shoot, the bay area’s top black owned businesses came together for a “last call” picture with their corporate peers (several Power Broker team members are also in view)


hey collectively earn over $1 billion a year, employ some 6,000 people, and are estimated to own and control more assets than all of the households in the City of Tampa combined. To put that into perspective, Tampa Bay’s Top 50 black-owned businesses earn more than the sum total income of the 22,258 African American households in Florida’s 4th largest City (St. Petersburg). When the Power Broker published the first-ever ranking of the bay area’s top African American - owned companies in 2005, jaws dropped all over the region. It was fresh new ground. No publication had ever done it before. And the results exceeded even the wildest speculations about just how big the biggest would be. That was Sandi Woods’ S. Woods Enterprises, with $443 million in revenue that year from his 11 automotive dealerships, which made him not only the Power Broker’s #1 in the region, but also ranked him #3 on the Black Enterprise list of the top black auto dealers in America.

If you can believe it, though, this year’s Top 50 even tops that. Not only did we expand the list, adding 20 new companies; but this year’s lineup is more star-studded, both in substance and style.

16 the power broker magazine

THE TOP 50 FOR 20 Automotive & trucking

#1 Oscar Horton, CEO, Sun State International Trucks #3 Victor Young, President & Co-owner, Lamborghini Sarasota & BMW of Sarasota #7 Tony Hodge & Ernest March, Managing Partners, March Hodge Automotive

Restaurants & food service

#2 George Tinsley, CEO, Tinsley Family Companies #10 Lanny Sumpter, CEO, Sumpter Enterprises Chef John & Rose Saxton, Owners, Urban Culinary Cuisine

Healthcare & medical practices

Sheila Johnson and Mike & Steve Roberts add the luster of being the world’s first African American female billionaire and owners of the nation’s largest black-owned hotel chain (respectively). In 2006, the Top 30 had only two local firms ranked on the “black Fortune 200,” i.e., the Black Enterprise annual ranking of America’s largest blackowned firms. This time, we have six who rank in the top 1/10th of the top one percent of America’s black-owned companies, headlined by Oscar Horton at #1 as CEO of Sun State International Trucks with revenues of $112.4 million in 2011. Meanwhile, several of the Top 50 stand in a league all their own, like David Grain, Gregory Celestan, Barbara Manzi and George Tinsley. We also took a new approach this year. I’ll describe it like this: if you could sit at the knee of top CEOs and ask them how they “made it,” what would they answer? That’s the way we handled this installment. Five reporters were hard at work for a month, interviewing and researching Top 50 CEOs, all in an effort to understand who they are and what makes them tick.

#5 Walter “Mickey” Presha, CEO, Manatee County Rural Health Services Dr. Cedric Thornton, J. Cedric Thornton, M.D. Dr. Kenyon Fort, Kenyon Fort, D.D.S.


#4 Mike & Steve Roberts, CEO & President, Roberts Hotels Group #6 Sheila Johnson, CEO, Salamandar Hospitality


#8 Jonathan Graham, CEO, Horus Construction #11 Frank Kendrick & Tim Jackson, CEO & COO, NuJak Companies Guysen Bohler & Kori Monroe , CEO & VP, IROK Construction Michael Reeves, CEO, Reeves Building, Plumbing & Roofing Paul Curtis, CEO, Curtoom Companies

Defense & Intelligence

#9 Gregory Celestan, CEO, Celestar Corporation

Technology & Telecommunications

#12 Tony Coleman, CEO, The AaSys Group #16 Derek Holmes, CEO, TEC-LINK #18 Phara McLachlan, CEO, Animus Solutions #23 Carole Colvin, CEO, Southern Telecom Communications David Grain, CEO, Grain Communications Group

Manufacturing & Distribution

#13 Carl & Emma Calhoun, CEO & COO, Commercial Bedding #14 Lamont Kennerly, CEO, Anika Laboratories #17 Barbara Manzi, CEO, Manzi Metals Art/Smith Hooper, Elite CNC Machining

Real Estate

#15 Kenny Rushing, CEO, Rush Capital Fund #21 & #19 Larry & Bettye Newsome, CEOs, Urban Development Solutions & Aracle Foods #22 Cleanza Lanier, CEO, Cleanza Lanier Enterprises


#20 Dr. Glenn Cherry & Charles Cherry, CEO & Publisher, PSI Communications C. B. Andrews, III, President, The Florida Sentinel newspaper Ethel Johnson, Publisher Emeritus, The Weekly Challenger newspaper

Engineering & Architecture

#24 Julius Davis & Jorge Rivera, Founders & Principals, VoltAir Consulting Engineers Kevin Simmons, CEO, R.E.A. Remedial Solutions Harry Howard, Principal, Howard & Associates

Business & Professional Services

#25 Kenneth Stewart, CEO, Integrated Security Consultants Sol Davis, CEO, Sol Davis Printing Simone Gans Barefield, CEO, Gans Gans & Associates

Legal Practices

Attorneys Courtney Smith & Mark Stallworth, Founders, Smith & Stallworth, P.A.

Retail & Retail Services

Ernestine Dickinson, CEO, Children’s Discovery Center Julie Daniels, CEO, Handyman Matters

Insurance & Financial Services

Foster Lovett, Lovett & Company, CPAs Roy James, Roy James Insurance & Financial Services Earl Gainey, The Gainey Agency Earnest Williams, Earnest Williams Insurance Agency Mayor Gow Fields, Fields Insurance & Financial Group Douglas Eze, Largo Financial Services Lenzo Canty & David Prince, Canty, Prince & Associates Earnest Graham, CEO, Studio 34   

A New #1:

Oscar J. Horton a Methodical Soul Written by Gypsy C. Gallardo Research by Ersula K. Odom

18 the power broker magazine

While the rest of America was still recovering from recession, Oscar Horton quietly led his company through an 11th consecutive year of healthy growth in 2011. Even during the four years when the nation was roiled by the Great Recession, his Sun State International Trucks saw an impressive 40 percent uptick, mostly from the sale of medium & heavy-duty trucks (picture a semi), reaching $112.4 million last year. That made him the new #1 on this year’s ranking of the Top 50 black-owned businesses in Tampa Bay.


hat the Power Broker wanted to know was how? How exactly did he outpace his industry, especially at a time when auto and truck dealerships were dropping like flies across the country? Part of the answer was that Horton had already built a rock solid business by the time the economic nose dive began. He acquired Sun State in 2000 and by 2005 had doubled sales to $80.5 million, using his simple time-tested formula: focus on the customer, focus on the employees, and focus on the community. It was over the next five years when Horton would prove that his people-centric philosophy is more than lip service. Yes, it was his business savvy that deftly structured three profit centers into Sun State ’s portfolio. In addition to his truck dealerships in West Central Florida, Sun State owns a full-service leasing company and an aftermarket business refurbishing and installing truck bodies and equipment. Horton recently expanded to become a dealer for Hyundai Translead Trailers as well.

them comfortable, because when they are, they will promote you and do business with you. The PB: What are your top 3 ingredients for business success? Horton: Number one by far is to have excellent customer service. That’s the cornerstone of Sun State ’s growth. Second, produce a high-quality product, and establish a fair price. Don’t sell on price, but do learn your customer’s business and help them make what they want to make. Taking care of the customer always pays off in the form of loyalty and recognition for fairness and excellence. The PB: What’s your personal mantra for being a high-achiever? Horton: Get a good education and know your industry, so you can think on your feet and get to the bottom line issue quickly in any situation. Also, surround yourself with solid people who will tell you what’s right, and not what you want to hear. One of the most important mindsets a business owner can have is to wake up each morning knowing that the game starts over.

But the solidity of his business model is a reflection of a methodical soul. Horton spent 25 years learning and leading every aspect of the businesses, before striking out on his own. As Vice President & General Manager for International Truck & Engine’s $200 million foundry business, he oversaw 1,500 employees in every division from manufacturing to IT. Horton’s success is heralded by business & media organizations nationwide. His #1 ranking on the Power Broker’s Top 50 comes on the heels of being named the #1 minority-owned company in the bay area (black or Latino) by the Tampa Bay Business Journal; while his earnings would rank him #33 on the Black Enterprise list of the nation’s top African American-owned industrial service companies. He nods a quiet acknowledgement to the kudos, but, true to form, returns his faithful focus to Sun State ’s bottom-line. Horton says:

“Any successful person had someone helping them along the way. The advice I got early on set the tone for me, in business and in life: ‘At the end of the day, make friends with solid people, and always take care of the customer.’” A Power Broker Exclusive Interview: The PB: What’s your top advice for business owners at an earlier stage? Horton: Find a great mentor through the timetested process of mutual observation. Over time you will observe each other’s work ethic, ability to focus, and skill level, and eventually you will gravitate towards each other. One of my mentors helped me understand that success comes from making people comfortable with me. You can’t depend on your supervisor or customer to make you comfortable; instead it’s your job to make

#3 VIctor Young, President, Lamborghini Sarasota & BMW of Sarasota With only 28 Lamborghini dealerships in the U.S. , and a mere 60 worldwide, Victor Young stands in very elite company. The long-time auto sales manager bought his first dealership Sarasota BMW – in 2007 with business partner Larry Morgan, and in 2008 won the bid for the lone Lamborghini dealer license issued that year by the Italian automaker. Since then, he’s taken an ownership interest in a new MINI of Wesley Chapel dealership. Total revenues for the properties stood at $91 million in 2011. And it appears, he’s diversifying his portfolio. In a recent catch up call with the Power Broker’s Publisher, Young says: “One of my newest ventures is a management and production company that will include sports, film and television projects.”

#7 Tony March & Ernie Hodge, March Hodge Automotive Group March Hodge Automotive ranked #3 on the 2011 Black Enterprise list of top black auto dealers in America , which shows them as headquartered in Tampa . Yet the Power Broker can’t confirm that the two still own a Tampa dealership. Together and separately, March and Hodge own properties selling a dozen brands, including Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, and Cadillac. Black Enterprise cites revenues for March Hodge at $445.1 million, with 685 employees. the power broker magazine


Whatever happened to

Sandy Woods?

For those who wonder whatever happened to Sanford Woods (owner of the #1 ranked blackowned businesses in Tampa Bay for two years running on the Power Broker ranking), he’s moved on to greener and grander pastures. Not to say he’s retired, though. When we first profiled Sandy in 2005, his annual sales stood at $443 million, then in 2006, though he still ranked #1, he told the Power Broker that he would soon retire. Well, that didn’t exactly happen. In a recent interview with the Power Broker’s Publisher, Sandy reported that he sold seven of his auto dealerships in 2007 for $70 million “at the height of the market,” then in 2008, built an ultra-plus Lexus dealership in Fort Pierce, along with a 30,000 square foot mansion-slashcompound overlooking the water. Though enjoying a more leisurely pace these days, Sandy didn’t stay retired (or semi-retired, rather). He kept his eye on the market for dealerships being sold at bargain prices, acquiring three added properties since then (two in Michigan and one in Stuart, Florida, selling the Infiniti, Lexus, and Toyota brands). Sandy’s spending more of his focus lately on training his daughter to take over the business and build her own portfolio. But his S. Woods Enterprises, Inc. still ranks #17 nationwide on Black Enterprise’s 2011 list of auto dealers, with $87.8 million in annual sales.

RestAURANTS& Food Service George Tinsley, Sr. holds as many records in business as he did in basketball. He was twice honored as KFC’s Premier Operator. His TGI Friday in Tampa (the first to be owned by an African American) won the Highest Domestic Franchise Sales award and the Franchise of the Year award nine consecutive times. In 2010, he served as President of the Retired NBA Players Association. In 2011, he was inducted into both the Kentucky Black Sports Hall of Fame and the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame, and received an honorary doctorate from Kentucky Wesleyan. One of Mr. Tinsley’s latest honors was being selected to the Half Century All-Star Team for Division II NCAA players, along with Walt Frazier, Earl Monroe and Phil Jackson. Yet, Tinsley says his greatest treasure is his family. He and his wife of 40 years have two children and 25 godchildren.

2 Tinsley, Sr.



eorge Tinsley, Sr. is a master of the triple threat position in life, basketball and business. He is CEO of PenGeo, Inc., Tinsley Group, Inc., and Tinsley Family Concessions, collectively Tampa Bay’s second largest black-owned enterprise, and once named the fastest growing restaurant and food service portfolio in America. He credits his roots on the basketball courts of the impoverished Smoketown neighborhood in Kentucky for teaching him life’s most valuable lesson: always be prepared to shoot, pass or dribble the ball.   Abandoned as a baby during World War II, and reared in poverty by an elderly babysitter, Tinsley’s talent was as undeniable as his stardom. He was recruited on scholarship to Kentucky Wesleyan College in 1966, and as a freshman led the team to the first of three Division II NCAA National Championships.  

20 the power broker magazine

George W. He quickly earned the rep of being a ‘defensive demon’ and would take the Panthers on to two more national titles in 1968 and 1969, for which he was twice named All-American and selected as an alternate to the 1968 U.S. Olympic Team. Tinsley would soon be drafted to pro basketball in the American Basketball Association that later merged into the NBA, to play for the Oaks, Washington Capitals, Miami Floridians, Kentucky Colonels and the New York Nets. In triple threat tradition, Tinsley was already prepared to pursue other options when his three-year tour with the ABA ended in 1972. He had graduated from Kentucky Wesleyan as the first African American to receive the prestigious Oak & Ivy Award for academic achievement. Tinsley transitioned his talent for team leadership to the corporate sector, beginning with an eight-year career at Kentucky Fried Chicken Corporation, training new franchisees.  

That paved the way to a first franchise in 1984 when he and his wife Seretha opened a KFC in Auburndale, Florida. Within five years they’d acquired and built five more franchises and in 1989, the Tinsleys were named KFC’s Premier Operator, the highest honor presented to franchisees. The Tinsley Family holdings now span 50 restaurants and concessions, including KFC, TGI Friday, Starbucks, Pizza Hut, Jose Cuervo, and Quiznos locations. Three dozen of Tinsley’s stores are located within the Miami, Tampa and Louisville Airports. Tinsley is also busy diversifying the family portfolio, with a real estate project in New Orleans, a new national energy drink distribution line, a travel company, and a wireless venture with T-mobile in Southwest Florida on the horizon. His group has expanded to a total of seven companies, collectively earning over $100 million in 2011.


anny Sumpter says his turning point happened the day his fifth grade teacher marched him home to enlist his mother’s help in getting him to pay attention. She knew he was smart, but his interest in school was practically nonexistent. That led to a school counselor’s conclusion, after a battery of tests, that Lanny had the brains, but lacked the will, unless he was learning about business and money.



Lanny Sumpter

CEO, Sumpter Enterprises


hat a team. He’s a world-class chef and experienced restaurateur. She’s a self-avowed tech geek with an outstanding background in business. Together they’re a globe-trotting entrepreneurial tour de force and co-owners of Tampa’s Urban Culinary Cuisine, one of the region’s most acclaimed soul food restaurants. The Café is winner of a Best of Tampa Award in 2011, a Talk of the Town News Award for Excellence, and was rated in the Top 25 Restaurants in New Tampa. Rose and John Saxton set a great example of what a couple can do as a team. John is the food expert, with five-star dining credentials and a degree in health education, who has the good sense to rely on Rose’s business know-how. He honed his skills at the renowned Windows on the World restaurant on the 107th floor of the World Trade Center in New York. The National Association of Professional Women named Rose Woman of the Year in 2010, calling her a technical evangelist for her work in product development. And the couple is ready to make their mark on the national stage with a whole new line of business, publishing and training others about

Sumpter says his success came through hard work, a disciplined approach to business, and building key relationships. It was one of those relationships that led to his first franchise. As Executive Director of the Metro Miami Action Plan to stimulate minority business ownership in the early 1980’s, Sumpter was teaching classes on how to start a franchise. Then he was issued a challenge by a McDonald’s exec: “If you believe in franchising so much, why don’t you open a McDonald’s?”

Twenty-six years ago, he did, with a $60,000 investment, and reports “I haven’t been bored about learning ever since.” He opened his first restaurant in 1986 and his fourth nine years later, before selling them all in 1996 for “an offer I couldn’t refuse” (his words). Sumpter bought back into the market when the prices were right, and now owns five McDonald’s franchises in Plant City and Lakeland. Early along the road, Sumpter learned that investing in “systems and people” was a winning formula. He says “The franchise system requires you to be a team player as the franchise grows and changes. For example, if the company decides to tear down your buildings to create a new look, you have to invest the money to do it.” He recommends being disciplined about operations as well. “That makes the difference between a restaurant averaging $50,000 per year to one earning $1 million plus.” His five stores earned a combined $12 million in 2011.

healthy eating, using the flavors and techniques they’ve collected on trips to Japan, Germany, France, and England. The two native New Yorkers are on a mission to show America that Southern cuisine can be healthy and delicious. They’ve partnered with the American Heart Association and the USDA Center for Nutrition to help get their message across. The first two books on the drawing board are a cookbook and provocatively titled guide called The Sensual Side of Food. It’s based on one of John’s lectures. Rose says that food should be seen as part of a happy and healthy relationship. For the two of them, food nourishes not only the body but also the mind and the spirit, and they enjoy working with people on how to shop for and prepare healthy foods. “Our ancestors didn’t have the knowledge we’re fortunate to have,” she says. “It’s time that we as a people protect our health. We are the ones disproportionately affected by high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease.” John likes to quote the ancient Greek physician Herophilus: “When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless, and intelligence cannot be applied.”

Chef John & Rose Saxton

Owners, Urban Culinary Cuisine Café

Health Care Medicine




MickeyPresha CEO, Manatee County Rural Health Services


When in his presence, you feel the kind of raw energy that catapulted Mickey Presha from being a farm worker in his youth to the CEO position at Manatee County Rural Health Services, the largest of 22 federally-qualified community health center networks in Florida.

way through college to become a microbiologist at the University of Rochester School of Medicine, on the way, also becoming a decorated Vietnam veteran and alumnus of the Army Special Forces, with a Purple Heart and Silver Star among his 14 military honors.

He’s been the head of MCRHS for most of the 33 years since its first clinic opened in 1979. Over nearly three decades, Presha has grown the organization seven-fold, from three clinics in 1984 to 22 locations grossing $57 million in 2011. A staff of 550 strong sees an average 83,000 patients per year and delivers an astounding two out of every three babies born in Manatee County.

That was the first leg of a career that ultimately saw him as a District Deputy Director for the Florida Department of Health, overseeing a budget of $300 million and a staff of 3,000, before taking over at MCRHS.

His has been a distinguished career. It wasn’t long before the former field worker had bootstrapped his


Walter “Mickey” Presha showed his leadership skills early on in the U.S. Army, where he earned an officer commission, entered Army Special Forces as an Airborne Jump Master, and was promoted several times over - to Platoon Leader in Vietnam, Special Ops Team Leader, and Acting Company Commander. He was a founder of Manatee County Rural Health Services five years before becoming CEO. He supports numerous youth-serving non-profits in the region.

the power broker magazine

The father of five doesn’t spend much time off the clock, but when he does, he enjoys tinkering with his car collection, including a vintage 1963 Impala and Camaro. His favorite? Presha says “If I could only keep one car, it would be my 2003 ZL6 Corvette.”


He’s decorated with commendation medals from the U.S. Air Force, and awards for leadership and service. Dr. Cedric Thornton is a two-time past President of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, an archon with Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, and a member of the Florida Guardsmen, a social club of high-achieving black men. In the profession, Thornton is a member of the American Academy of Dermatology, the American Society of Dermatologic Survey, and the National Medical Association. He and his wife Joyce are celebrating 36 years of marriage.

enyon Fort established his oral and maxillofacial surgery practice in St. Petersburg in 1996 by acquiring an existing practice and leasing a 2,200 square foot store front. Over 16 years, his technical skill, business acumen, and patient relationships led to phenomenal growth in the practice, which moved into a newly constructed 3,400 square foot state-of-the-art facility five years ago. No doubt, his highly specialized practice areas are a factor in his growth. Though he practices the full scope of oral and maxillofacial surgery, Fort’s specialties include facial trauma and dentoalveolar surgery, and his dental implant practice includes bone grafting, an advanced prosthetics procedure. Fort counts it as one of his top accomplishments that he’s remained Board Certified over the years, and sees it as critical to staying on the cutting edge in his field. “It’s more than a certification. It’s the knowledge you need to provide the best care.”

J. Cedric

Thornton, M.D.


frican Americans in the field of dermatology were a rarity when Dr. Cedric Thornton opened his practice in St. Petersburg in 1987. It was a risky move, but he managed it with characteristic cool. His four years as a U.S. Air Force pilot and chief flight surgeon may have had him jet-setting across the country, but his success in private practice comes from “the village” who raised him in Montgomery, Alabama, says Thornton. The fact that his father was an elementary school principal and college professor, and his mother a high school math teacher meant that education wasn’t so much an option, as an imperative. “We were expected to excel,” he says.  Thornton went on to graduate from Tuskegee with a major in biology and minor in chemistry, ranking in the “Who’s Who for Colleges & Universities,” and then from the University of Florida Medical School. After nine years of Air Force active duty, Thornton left the military at the rank of Major, and set his sights on dermatology, a field that at the time had barely 100 African Americans in practice nationwide, and where residencies were notoriously competitive, even for whites.  He earned his stripes as a dermatology resident at the Wilford Hall Medical Center in Texas, and

as Chief of Dermatology on the Air Force Base in Homestead, Florida, then sought out an experienced consultant to help him lay a strong foundation for his own private practice. Thornton’s 23 years in the business have earned him thousands of patients, and contrary to media stereotypes about the latest highpriced Botox treatments, over 75 percent of his clients come to him to have skin cancer removed.  Thornton rounds out his career with a healthy roster of community service work, as a volunteer dermatologist for indigent patients of the Willa Carson Health Center, a mentor for young men through the Kappa Guidelight project, and as a financial contributor to scholarships for FAMU, Fisk, Academy Prep and Ebony Scholars. He also sings in two choirs at Mt Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist Church  The good doctor believes in a healthy dose of recreation as well. He’s a lifelong athlete and these days enjoys fresh water fishing, basketball, tennis and snow skiing with the Tampa Bay Onyx Ski Club.

His investments in the latest technology have also returned dividends. His is one of a few practices in the area to offer on-site Conebeam CT Scan imaging, which he says helps get the best outcomes for his patients, by improving the accuracy of diagnoses and shortening surgery time. The Tampa Bay native contends that the core of his success is exceptional patient care. “Our goal is to exceed patient expectations,” Fort says. “They are often anxious when they arrive for surgery. I don’t rush their questions, and take time to explain the details.” Perhaps more admirable than his business success is Fort’s commitment to community service. He’s a frequent supporter of youth sports teams, mentors children, and serves as a guest speaker to encourage young people. Above all, though, Fort values “balance” and family. With a bustling practice and his duties on the Bayfront Medical Center trauma surgery team often consuming his evenings, Fort values time with his family (wife, Dr. Nathalia JeffreyFort, and three children). He also enjoys reading, traveling and bicycling.

When asked about his philosophy for success, Thornton offers a straight forward formula: “Perseverance, hard work, and the confidence to never let anybody tell you what you can’t do.”

Dr. Kenyon Fort is a graduate of Morehouse College and Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry, and completed his residency at the Harlem Hospital Center. He is a member of numerous professional organizations, including the American Association of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons, the National Society of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons, and others. Fort is also a proud member of Omega Psi Phi and Sigma Pi Phi fraternities.


M. Fort, D.D.S. the power broker magazine



9 GregoryCelestan #

Serving our Country in

“Diplomacy & War”

Gregory Celestan with his VP for Business Operations Lori Larsen. From his roots in Niagara Falls, New York, as the son of two blue collar factory workers, Celestan earned a Master’s in International Affairs from the University of Washington and a BS in Engineering & Russian Area Studies from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He is married to Joanne, a graduate of USF. They have one daughter attending Agnes Scott College in Georgia.


is Tampa-based firm is part of the multi-billion dollar industry of private companies that form the global engine of America’s antiterrorism operations. Gregory Celestan is CEO of Celestar Corporation, a 120-person defense and intelligence contractor founded in 2004 that grew so rapidly it was named to Inc. magazine’s 500 fastest growing companies in America in 2009, and charted for three years running on the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Fast 50 list of the region’s fastest growing firms. Celestar’s staff – all requiring top security clearance – handle ultraspecialized facets of the war on terror, from forensic analysts and accountants deciphering terrorist documents and “threat financing” structures, to linguists translating in Arabic and Urdu, to biometric specialists and counter terrorism strategists. The team also trains new recruits for law enforcement authorities, corporations, and

26 the power broker magazine

friendly foreign governments. MacDill’s U.S. Special Command is one of its clients. Celestar grew out of Celestan’s 20year military career, capstoned as Lieutenant Colonel leading U.S. Central Command’s Coalition Intelligence Center in Qatar. But the company’s bona fides come from the type of in-the-trenches command that most of us only see in movies. Celestan’s resume includes commanding artillery units in Germany and serving as Team Site Commander for the United Nations in the Western Sahara. He demonstrated such prowess on the intelligence front that Central Command tapped Celestan for mission critical roles like his stint as Team Chief of the Unconventional Targeting Cell, developing actionable intelligence against highvalue Al-Qaida and Taliban targets during Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.

Celestar generated revenues of $18 million in 2011, through contracts in the U.S. and abroad, and a new satellite office in Reston, Virginia. With characteristic military efficiency, Celestan says his success comes from a singular desire to be the best at what he does. While his company continues to grow globally, Celestan is planting roots as a regional business leader. He now serves on the boards of the Greater Tampa Chamber (currently as Chair-Elect), the Tampa General Hospital Foundation, and the Bank of Tampa. Celestar is a major contributor to several veterans and youth groups, including Tampa’s Project Athena, where he spearheaded a $10,000 fundraiser to furnish the area’s first shelter for homeless female veterans, and Operation Helping Hand at the Veterans Administration Hospital, buying supplies and hosting a monthly dinner for vets and their families.

Hospitality Michael& Steven # Roberts


CEO & President Roberts Hotels Group


Johnson made history when she acquired the Innisbrook Resort for $35 million in 2007, becoming the first black woman to own a top-tier golf property (900-acres with four championship golf courses, including the famous Copperhead course, and a staff of 700). Innisbrook, which also houses six pools, 11 tennis courts and four restaurants, was once valued at $90 million; Johnson is intent on restoring the resort to its heyday. Her first home is in Virginia, but she owns a condo in Florida and travels frequently to Tampa Bay.



SheilaJohnson CEO & Founder Salamandar Hospitality, LLC


e don’t know how much her businesses (plural) earn, but we are confident of two things: Sheila Johnson’s Salamandar Hospitality earns in the neighborhood of $45 million per year, and she is sure to be the richest person on this year’s list. Johnson may be best known as a founder of BET (Black Entertainment Television), but she eclipsed her roots in broadcast long ago. She became the world’s first African American female billionaire when she and ex-husband Bob Johnson sold BET for a reported $3 billion. That was seed money for future pursuits. Johnson founded Salamandar in 2005, which now owns the Innisbrook Golf & Spa Resort in Tarpon Springs, six other high-end resorts, two retail businesses, and a resort management subsidiary. Separately, Johnson owns a partial stake in three pro sports teams (the NBA’s Washington Wizards, WNBA’s Washington Mystics, and the NHL’s Washington Capitals). Several of Salamandar’s holdings are luxury-class resorts, including a trio of properties in the Dominican Republic,

and the Five Star/Five Diamond-rated Woodlands Inn in South Carolina, which is managed by her firm. Johnson will grow her company aggressively again in 2012. The news broke last October that she will lead the new Grand Golf Resorts of Florida, assuming management control of Orlando’s Reunion Resort and Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast, which, together with Innisbrook, is being branded as “three of Florida’s grandest golf resorts.”

he elder brother, Michael, is CEO, while younger brother Steven is President of the Roberts Hotels Group, a subsidiary of Roberts Companies, and the largest African American-owned and managed hotel group in America. RGH owns 11 hotels across the U.S., including two in Central Florida – one in Tampa. The brothers got their start as owners of a single hotel in 2003 – the historic Mayfair hotel in downtown St. Louis. Their 2006 sale of shares in Alamosa Holdings (the nation’s largest Sprint PCS affiliate) for $100 million bankrolled their growth in the hotel industry. Most of their properties are franchises under the Choice Hotels, Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza banners. The Roberts rank #4 on the Power Broker’s Top 50 for 2012, and ranked #54 on Black Enterprise magazine’s 2011 list of the largest black-owned industrial service firms in America, with $87 million in revenues and a national staff of 925.

This year may also see the grand opening of her most exquisite property yet – The Salamander Resort & Spa, a 340-acre equestrian-themed, ultra-luxurious resort near Washington, D.C. Apart from Salamandar, Johnson is creating films with a humanitarian message, including her latest documentary, A Powerful Noise. She presently chairs the Board of Governors of Parsons New School for Design and sits on the boards of VH1 Save the Music Foundation, and Americans for the Arts. She is a Global Ambassador for CARE, a Presidential appointee, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. the power broker magazine


real estate


leanza Lanier was dubbed the “Realtor to the Pros” by the St. Petersburg Times in 2001 for the rolodex of celebrity athlete clients who rely on her to help buy and sell luxury homes. The sports connection is “on point” for a businesswoman who’s long been at the top of her game. A few minutes spent flipping through the pages of Lanier’s scrapbook is all it takes to know she’s always been an over achiever. She entered college during her senior year in high school as an accelerated student and completed her degree in two-and-a-half years. That was an early indicator of her stellar potential. Today, Lanier is CEO of Cleanza Lanier Enterprises, the parent company for multiple ventures, including her co-ownership in the Keller Williams Realty Tampa Properties Market Center, which was ranked last year by the Kens Report as number one in the region in closed transactions. Separately, she is CEO of Minding Your Personal Business, a concierge service that springs from her celebrity client base.



Cleanza M.


CEO, Cleanza Lanier Enterprises, Inc. & Equity Partner, Keller Williams Realty Tampa Properties Market Center by Ersula Knox Odom Lanier earned seven promotions inside of 11 years during the first leg of her career in insurance as a senior underwriter, and later as Underwriting Superintendent & National Auditor for Aetna Life. She transitioned to real estate in 1992, and has seen her work twicefeatured by the Florida Realtors Magazine, and for a full-week of broadcast on Channel 10’s Morning News as an expert advisor. Lanier’s celebrity clients include Anthony McFarland, Carnell Williams, Joseph Galloway, Michael Clayton, Shaun King, Quincy Black and Cato June, to name a few. Her work in the community includes volunteering as a trainer for “How to Buy” and “How to Sell” workshops for several bay area churches and non-profits. Lanier is a Diamond Life Member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

Her 17-years in real estate have been nothing short of phenomenal. Lanier accepted the invitation to become partowner in the Keller venture in 2003 (the only woman and African American member of the team). But by then, she’d already accumulated top sales awards, like being the first African American to be voted as the Most Outstanding General Agent of the Year by the Greater Tampa Bay Builders Association in 1996. She brought that same drive to Keller Williams. Lanier currently ranks among the Top 10 Keller Agents in the Southeast U.S., and consistently rates as the #1 luxury home sales leader in her Market Center.

“I saw very few African Americans succeeding in the luxury real estate market, and it was an area where I knew I could be competitive.” Indeed she has been. Lanier and her partners at Keller closed property sales of $246 million in 2011, and earned combined commissions of $7.1 million.


enny Rushing, CEO and Managing Partner of Tampa-based Rush Capital Fund, overcame a stint of homelessness in his younger years in Iowa , and credits his experience in college at the University of Wisconsin for helping him never look back on hard times.

cites Warren Buffett’s bullishness on buying real estate, and the present low interest rates and bargain prices as the best reasons to buy now.

He created his first company – First Time Development – in 2000 and added a second, the Rehabber’s Superstore, in 2003. According to Rushing the Superstore acquired and disposed of more than $75 million in distressed real estate assets. He coined the new “House Hustling” brand of bus tours and how-to workshops for others interested in the business.



Kenny Rushing CEO, Rush Capital Fund


hey are husband and wife at home, but partners at the office – him as CEO of Urban Development Solutions, a real estate development company that first made headlines in 2005 for its flagship development of a 47,000 square foot retail center, anchored by a Sweetbay Supermarket; and her, as Managing Partner of Aracle Foods Corporation, owner of two Popeyes restaurants. Together, they earned $3.5 million in 2011, and are bracing for a growth year. Larry was one of several investors who spearheaded UDS in 2003 to fill the hole in “inner city” redevelopment in low-income areas like the Midtown community of St. Petersburg , where UDS got its start. Since then, UDS has helped develop and finance real estate projects in Manatee, Lee, Gadsden

and Miami-Dade counties, and was recently selected by the City of Fort Myers as lead developer to restore the historic McCollum Hall, which served as a dancehall for the city’s African American community during segregation. Meanwhile, Bettye is leading Aracle on expansion projects this year. The company is slated to invest in two additional franchises, this time, with Harlem ’s famed Sylvia’s Soul Food Restaurant. She and Larry are both active in supporting upand-coming entrepreneurs. Bettye, as part of a team with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, has co-hosted four minority business fairs and networking events since 2008. Larry, an active member of Omega Psi Phi and Sigma Pi Phi fraternities, supports education scholarships and other youth-serving projects.

Then came the global economic meltdown. But Rushing’s motto is, “Where there’s a crisis… there’s an opportunity,” and his philosophy was put to the test beginning in 2007. “When the market crashed, I lost a lot of money and asset value,” he says. “I was successful at rebuilding my real estate portfolio by developing my Bulk REO Trader System for acquiring bank-owned distressed assets.” What he gained in the real estate boom and what he lost in the bust haven’t soured him on the sector. Quite the opposite. He

Last May he organized the Buy American Real Estate Tour™, a vehicle for teaching people how to invest. With him at the sold-out three-day event in Tampa were real estate investing experts Robert Gries, whose family owned the NFL Cleveland Browns, four-time Tampa Mayor Dick Greco, Edward Kobel, CEO of Debartolo Investments and 28 national real estate experts. Rushing wears several hats with his company – as an investor, author, guest speaker, and expert trainer. Keynote speaking engagements have taken him to Scotland , the United Kingdom and India . But Tampa remains home, where he lives with his wife Katrice and their children, Kayla and Kenneth, Jr. Meanwhile, Rushing’s way of giving back is to donate his expertise to housing rehabilitation projects in underdeveloped areas around the country. He is particularly proud of his award in 2007 from the Essence Magazine Empowerment Seminar Series. His company 2011 revenues of $3 million and 11 employees.

Larry retired from his first career, as a Senior VP and Chief Financial Officer for Echelon International Development, and before that, Progress Credit Corp., in order to bring his expertise to the community development field. Bettye left her work as an analyst with Anderson Consulting to found Capri Real Estate Corporation, before transitioning her full-time efforts to Aracle Foods three years ago.


21 #19


Larry Bettye Newsome

CEO of Urban Development Solutions & Managing Partner, Aracle Foods the power broker magazine


RAYMOND JAMES BANK SALUTES THIS YEAR’S TOP 50 Congratulations on your achievement!

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At Miami Liberty City’s parade, the theme was “Believe’’ with many marchers and floats pushing the message.

Youth celebrate King’s life and legacy

A young mime makes her way down NW 54th Street during the Liberty City parade.

There were plenty of parades on Monday in observance of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. Florida Courier photojournalist Kim Gibson attended parades in South Florida and captured some of the state’s youngest celebrants as they marched, stepped, danced and even pranced. While parades were plentiful, Monday also was a Day of Service in which hundreds of thousands around the country participated in community service projects. Dr. King was born Jan. 15, 1929 and died at age 39 on April 4, 1968. The first MLK federal holiday was CA PRESS/MCT observed on Jan. 20, 1986. OLIVIER DOULIERY/ABA

y. erican first famil ica’s first African-Am will become Amer and wife Michelle Sasha 7, Malia, 10, k Obama, daughters President-elect Barac ng rain. Votsome places in pouri on Tuesday and ers who lined up cast early balCOMPILED FROM STAFF the millions who AND WIRE REPORTS one exper t lots propelled what st turnout in a highe the was said arack Obama won century. George unfold Tues ael McDonald of ates a y Mich denc h election results presi the estim s real as voters watc Mason University rate, the day, the first Afri- 64.1 percent turnoutsince Change quickly seem 1908. rate ut the claim highest turno ere, a politiSTAFF REPORTS can-American to labeh FROM LED Anso en COMPI ard at Harv land, an Steph There was to cheer about at the Liberty City parade. professor ceplenty scien cal , highest office in the d via exit mine so many Amer icansy deter Like fulfill- Girls show off their cheerleading skills on Monday. and MIT, her famil Whites made improbable candidate Ila Woodward and ay mornpolling data that elec-impossible dream up 74 percent of the 2008 woke up early Tuesd ing a once A Miami-Dade derably ht on their consi thoug one down ecewith ing torate. That’s an unpr ctingWaste to a voting in 2000 because by attraSolid mind – to head of “change from 81 percent h and Hispa nic voter coalition. preci nct in searc in.’’ of increase in Black dentedManagement e department vehe said. swing they could believ sister Lee a won crucial to the voting, Obam Woodward, her hicle is shown Rust Belt 68-year-old their states from the Glasco and After TV media New voters, withWest. a tribute first at their Mountain mother were the nct. cted an Obama Blacks, yout h Dr. King. networkstoproje Tampa voting preci for us to ely 11 p.m. ime win at approximat blican John was important t seven in 10 first-t “It Abou Repu Two, a. line to vote, ay night Tuesd Young dancers after voters voted for Obam under be 1, 2, and 3” in the Florida COURIER conceded short ly s were DELROY COLE/FLORIDA McCa in Woodward told “Once I got donned in vi-West Coast as thirds of new voter and polls closed on the returns at Halland age 30, one in five were Black Cour ier Tuesday. I went in a brant costumes ents track election icans rejoiced aroun Hispa nic. Amer done, were g Black votin many as sponsored by South Florida resid the y nearl weren.plentiful Park at a watch party youth ful voters r and cried.’’ ael in the natio tream corne Mich swell Gulfs quiet Leba“The t, The dale’s cated ment cafes of Beiru at the Liberty From the nationally syndi y due to the excite posand HOT 105 FM and l, the villages of Kenya p- was largel en’ the parade. non, toCity a new role mode .” ‘New global citiz streets of Asian metro d about y of maki ng histor y, and a fit- Baisden Show on to the looke Thousands sibilit like we The two sisters found was It e e. , much of the worldesday at Obama’s stand on the issues, said befor chang olises ss like that turned out for Wedn to be aaparade ting place to witne Barac president and goingduring k it’s high Super Bowl. Every A cymbal player steps on with vivid hope triumph. theMiami. “I think Melan ie Campbell, Coalition for one’s won in ral and watch Sen. y. They theelecto parade. in every nal y and excited,’’ happ change bands Obama’s High school marching made plenty joyful noise major oneofwas of a Black CEO of the Natio Obama make historjubila nt life,” Glasco reflected. “He he told the Florida Cour ier. Some saw the rise presidency Black Civic Participation. on Monday. U.S. for the were among a large, day such as body hope.’’ Amer ican to the “Before Obama ranfeel the that “The issues of thehappened on red at Ybor City’s has given every event gathe tive crowd to forma used what as a trans presidency, I red reputa- Katri na and had an impact in Good Luck Café. biased toflashed No excuse now Coast may repai r the batte gover nment was e. Now I d States, lift the the Gulf were upset and angry, As the retur ns were firstpredomicerta in peopl tion of the Unite hites world- 2006. We politiJust a short drive away,rs cel- wardthere’s no excuse for not on CNN and the cheered also understood aspirations of non-W Walte feel chances for di- but we we had to weigh in on of what nantly Black crowd time voter Jarod wide, and renew the sisters re- ebrated with a diverse group realizing your dream cally that d, war. dance said. and than r plish as an bell plomacy rathe the change the process,” Campr for Political Gardens who had you want to accom flected on what and the near Busch rt Obama. The Joint Cente IANS, Page A2 would mean for them a “the gathered to suppo anyth ing Studies deterPlease see FLORID and Economic Record turnout world, calling Obam “I have never seen d mined last year that the top issues recor n.’’ in citize new globa l Amer icans votedin lines that ENT, Page A2 Please see PRESID numbers, stand ing block s and in NT-ELECT | A4 snaked around NING, MR. PRESIDE


t Black Floridians gree eers news with tears, ch



call 877-352-4455 or email ALSO INSIDE



Construction Frank Kendrick

Frank Kendrick & Tim Jackson CEO & COO, NuJak Companies


akeland’s NuJak Companies continues to win a national spotlight for its work in real estate design, construction and management, most recently on the cover of Black Enterprise magazine as 2010 Small Business of the Year. Over the years, NuJak has ranked on Inc. magazine’s list of the fastest growing companies in America, as #10 on the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s 2009 list of the region’s largest minority-owned firm, and was twice-featured by the Power Broker among the top black-owned businesses in the bay. Fraternity brothers Frank Kendrick and Tim Jackson are the CEO and COO who engineered the company’s success. The two graduated from the University of Florida School of Building Construction. Kendrick, from West Palm Beach, also earned a master’s degree from Southeastern University in church leadership and administration; Jackson, a native of Jacksonville, went to NYU for his master’s in real estate development from the Schack Institute of Real Estate. NuJak moves to #11 on this year’s Top 50, and inches ever closer to Kendrick’s and Jackson’s goal of making the company name synonymous with church, bank, office, school and multi-family housing construction projects. When the much anticipated University of South Florida Polytechnic building goes up, NuJak in partnership with Skanska USA, will have a world class structure in


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its portfolio. The facility was designed by the renowned Santiago Calatrava. NuJak is also noted as one of Florida’s most tech savvy construction firms. Black Enterprise reported on the company’s “extensive technology enhancement strategy.” That means you’ll find NuJak project managers on construction sites or back at the office equipped with the latest tools – laptops, air cards, digital cameras, smart phones and tablets, all loaded with the latest project management software to track and make progress faster for their projects. Kendrick says “Technology is essential to avoiding the domino effect of delays and miscommunication that produce worst case scenarios and cost overruns for construction projects.” As NuJak approaches its 20th anniversary this April, the Power Broker asked Kendrick to reflect on his top three secrets of success. He says, “Number one, without vision companies perish. A God-aligned vision is vital to our success. Second, integrity is vital to sustainability. It’s following your True North, even when it hurts. And third, transparency - with clients and staff – is being able to communicate the good, bad and ugly.” NuJak reports 2011 revenues of $6 million and a staff of 13.

wall systems contracting business.


onathan Graham is making his Power Broker debut as CEO of Horus Construction, Horus Construction of North Carolina, and GPM, Inc., three companies that earned a combined $22 million in 2011 with 25 employees. Graham is one of only a handful of African Americans in Florida who’ve reached the Construction Management tier of the industry. That’s a specialized field that has him in the driver’s seat for major multi-million dollar projects, rather than playing the subcontractor role. He says “I worked for years successfully as a subcontractor to larger firms, and it was noticeable that there were very few minority-owned construction management firms. I wanted to compete in that area.” In order to take flight, Graham sought the help of executives from major construction firms like Skanska and the Weitz Company to help him learn the ropes. By then he already had two decades in the business, starting as a preteen accompanying his father (a contractor) and uncle (an engineer) on job sites. Then in 1994, he acquired his father’s

Jonathan Graham CEO, Horus Construction

His new foray into the management side of the trade had Graham willingly accepting small construction management jobs in order to prove his skills. That he did, and by 2001, he founded Tampa’s Horus Construction, the same year he was certified by the State of Florida. Since then, Graham’s companies have worked on over 450 projects. Here locally, that includes the Tampa Art Museum, Ruskin Elementary, and Moffitt Cancer Center, along with a four-year run as winner of the Hillsborough County Schools Construction Management Achievement Award for small and minority companies. Graham is just as aggressive about mentoring other minority and women contractors. In addition to working with diverse teams on his own projects, Graham founded the Aspire Foundation, supporting over a dozen non-profit organizations so far.

Kori Monroe & Guysen Bohler VP & CEO, IROK Constructional Services


hey founded IROK in 2003 and made a name for themselves along the I-4 corridor with a slew of contracts for school, restaurant and church building projects. While Guysen Bohler headed Orlando operations, Kori Monroe manned its St. Pete presence. By 2006, they’d even secured a coveted construction management contract for the new Progress Energy headquarters in downtown St. Petersburg, making them the youngest business owners on the Power Broker’s Top 30 that year with revenues of $1.45 million. And although revenues were down during the recession, Monroe says “We’re finally beginning to bounce back,” with a recent $1.1 million contract for masonry work on Orlando’s Phillips Performing Art Center, and a new roofing license to develop an added line of business. Monroe got his start early in the business. “I grew up in construction working with my uncle,” he said. He and Bohler graduated college together with degrees in construction engineering technology. Bohler landed on the commercial side of the industry, while Monroe went to work for US Homes, building houses and town homes.

He says, “I mastered residential and wanted more. I figured who better to team up with? I think on my feet and perform great under pressure. Guysen is great with following through with new clients.” Monroe credits God, hard work, fearlessness and the willingness to learn for his success in business. He also notes “I appreciate Tampa Bay government entities for giving small firms the opportunity to work.” Still, work is only one part of life for Monroe. “I put my family first,” he said. He and his wife are active in the community mentoring young people, and as co-owners of the Infinite Potential Learning Center.

Construction Continued


Reeves CEO Reeves Building Plumbing & Roofing Contractor, Inc. - by Ersula Knox Odom


ichael Reeves dreamed big and started young. He still recalls discovering his destiny at age 12 while watching plumbers work their magic on a West Tampa apartment complex, and begging his mother to send him to Tampa Bay Tech versus Blake High School. Reeves cites his personal turning point at age 18 when his application to sit for a state plumbing exam was denied. He remembers with a smile “No matter what you think about O.J. Simpson, his Hertz commercial running through airports helped me develop my own ‘can do’ mantra.” He ultimately passed that plumber’s exam with a score of 98 and went on to become the 19-year old chairman of his local plumber’s commission.

Michael Reeves

“To this very day” said Reeves, “you won’t hear me say ‘it won’t work,’ or ‘it’s impossible.’” He went on to earn a roofer’s license at age 24, start his company at 26, and secure a contractor’s license by age 28. Reeves’ best advice, ironically, isn’t about business. The 55-year old advises younger entrepreneurs to keep a healthy lifestyle: “If you work hard and build a successful business, you should be healthy enough to enjoy it. Keep up with annual visits to the doctor, and take the doctor’s advice.” In addition to a thriving business, Reeves enjoys traveling abroad.

Paul Curtis CEO, Curtoom Companies

The Power Broker reached Curtis for a phone interview to bring readers an update. His company was listed in our 2006 Top 30 at $12.4 million, and Curtis reports that business is still going strong, with current contracts on facilities for the Department of Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security, and the U.S. Navy, and offices now in Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, and Atlanta. Curtis founded Curtoom after acquiring a decade of experience with leading engineering and construction firms. Curtoom specializes in civil works consulting, construction and engineering.

Up, Out & Down ■ Eric Brown. In a recent telephone interview, the Power Broker


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His second best advice to younger CEOs is to hone their unique gifts. Reeves jokingly notes that he strongly considered a run for public office, but ultimately decided it wasn’t a fit for his “regular guy” personality. Apparently, Reeves’ philosophy is working; according to the Power Broker’s research, his company may be the largest black-owned firm of its kind in Tampa Bay. In addition to a bustling client base among home owners and commercial property owners, Reeves is a certified minority and small business enterprise with the State of Florida, and a half dozen other municipalities and organizations.

confirmed that Brown, the former CEO of ROI Consulting who ranked #22 on the Power Broker’s Top 30 in 2006, has since transitioned into the construction sector. When we reported on him last, Brown’s ROI had reached $1.5 million in 2006, providing IT staff and support for clients like the Florida Department of Corrections and Department of Agriculture. His new firm is called ROI Construction. ■ Lynn Mims. We were unable to reach Mims, CEO of Mims Construction who appeared as #4 on our Top 30 in 2006, as one of only a handful of women-owned concrete & masonry firms in the nation. We did confirm that her Orlando office is still open-for-business, but it appears that Mims no longer has a Tampa Bay presence. ■ Ronnie Williams. He founded MRB Properties to do real estate investment in 1986, then R.W. Tymewell, Inc. in 1996 to offer commercial construction services. The latter company was featured in our Top 30 in 2006, with revenues just over $2 million. But Williams informed a Power Broker reporter this February that the recession led to a major decline in his business. He’s working on a turn-around strategy at present.


Engineering& Architecture


Julius Davis, P.E. & Jorge Rivera, P.E., LEEP AP Certified Principals, VoltAir Consulting Engineers


he two principals of VoltAir Consulting Engineers are just finishing their fifth year in business – fully satisfied with their growth, but hungry for the next horizon. Julius Davis and Jorge Rivera had a decade each of electrical and mechanical engineering experience when they started their firm in 2006 (with Davis as majority owner at 51 percent), VoltAir now has offices in Tampa and Houston, a staff of 12, and a growing list of top business honors. In 2011, VoltAir was named Minority Business of the Year by Hillsborough County’s Minority Enterprise Development Week and ranked #17 on the Tampa Bay Business Journal Fast 50 list of the fastest growing firms in the region. They also grace the Power Broker’s Top 50 in the #24 position. VoltAir’s local projects include the new 15,000 square foot Childs Park YMCA facility in south St. Petersburg and a 57,000 square foot warehouse project for the Tampa Port Authority. While Davis handles electrical engineering design & analysis for lighting, energy, voice, data and security systems, Rivera works hands-on with all phases of mechanical engineering for air conditioning, plumbing and fire systems. Their combined track record includes project work for airports, medical facilities, schools, and office and government

buildings. Voltair reports revenues of $1.1 million in 2011, with a growing list of clients and projects.

Other Notables in the Industry • Kevin Simmons, President, REA Remedial Solutions. He was on the team that helped grow Westinghouse Corporation’s environmental division in Florida from 10 to 230 employees, then struck out on his own with three partners in 1998 to form REA Remedial Solutions, handling environmental remediation and analysis, mostly for construction project sites. Major clients include MacDill Air Force Base, Skanska USA, and Cone & Graham Construction. One of REA’s largest local projects to date was on the Meridian Street Elevated Crosstown section of the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway Project. The firm previously ranked #15 on the Power Broker’s Top 30 in 2006, earning $3.8 million that year. • Harry Howard, Principal, Howard & Associates, P.A. The Tampa-based firm was once again nominated for this year’s Top 50, after appearing on the Power Broker’s Top 30 in 2006 with annual revenues of $1.2 million. Howard & Associates opened doors in 1991 and built its portfolio in architectural design for construction projects, as well as land planning and historical preservation.

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THE Media


ith a smaller collection of media properties after their loss of WTMP in 2007 and eight other radio stations last year, the Cherry brothers - attorney Charles Cherry, II and Dr. Glenn Cherry - are no longer connected to Tama Broadcasting, where Glenn was chairman and Charles vice president. But the brothers aren’t crying the blues. They’re getting on with life as directors of Psi Communications. The Florida Courier – Florida’s only statewide newspaper with a black focus - and the Daytona Times are still in their portfolio, along with two radio stations.



GlennCherry CEO of PSI Communications & The Central Florida Communications Group by B. Melendez

Tampa Bay’s Largest Black Media Groups The Florida Sentinel Icon. Institution. Old friend. Familiar faces join with new ones to fill the pages of the Florida Sentinel, which has faithfully reported community news since it was founded by C. B. Andrews in 1945. The paper is now in its third generation of family ownership. When C. B. Andrews, Jr. (the founder’s son) became ill in 1996, he placed his beloved “Sentinel” in the care of his children, Sybil Andrews Wells, Publisher and her brother C. B. Andrews, III, as President. Unique among publications of its type, the Florida Sentinel comes out twice weekly and the company owns all of its printing equipment. The paper reaches 25,000 readers nationwide via subscription and is sold in Hillsborough, Polk and Pinellas counties.

The Weekly Challenger The Weekly Challenger marked 44 years last September as the “voice of the community.” The newspaper founded by deceased pioneer Cleve Johnson was, for decades, the only publication reporting on St. Petersburg’s black community. His widow, Ethel Johnson, now CEO, says the Challenger helped preserve what would have been “unwritten history,” and she applauds Dianne Speights, who took over as Business Manager in 2006, for moving the paper to a new digital format as well. The Johnsons’ daughters are currently being groomed to step into key leadership roles with the paper. The Challenger is read by an estimated 100,000 readers each month.


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When they lost control of WTMP, the Tampa community was thrown into shock. They’d purchased the station in 1997, and continued what was to become a 57-year tradition of community radio. That tradition abruptly came to an end last September. As Eric Deggans reported in the Tampa Bay Times “… former staffers and fans are left feeling as if Tampa’s black community has lost its biggest broadcast institution.” In a deal that, in retrospect, looks like a set-up, according to Glenn, they were drawn into borrowing $20 million from hedge fund expert D. B. Zwirn’s Special Opportunities Fund to refinance debt and expand their holdings. The expansion included seven radio stations plus WTMP. Hurricanes Charley, Frances and Ivan created a perfect storm of disasters – power outages and tower damage – which led to not meeting revenue benchmarks and putting the Cherrys’ loan in default with stiff penalties, including an interest rate hike to 25 percent and $300,000 in default fees. Nine stations were lost in the process. In an effort to stop the takeover, the Cherry brothers filed a federal lawsuit in 2009 with a price tag of $250 million on the claim that Zwirn was responsible for “unscrupulous and predatory lending.” Zwirn won the first round, but the case is under appeal as of August 2011. Now the brothers are looking to Africa for further opportunities.  In Charles’ fascinating blog posts from a recent trip to Ghana, there’s a sense of growing enthusiasm for going global. The two brothers were given a personal introduction to the mass communications, banking, and oil and gas sectors. Glenn says “Africa is not only open for business, but is open to the creation of new businesses. Everyone else in the world seems to be taking advantage, except African Americans.” And the two are sharing what they’ve learned – some of it the hard way – about business. The Florida Courier presented a seminar with Regions Bank titled “Ride to Success” for black-owned businesses. With their commitment to empower, educate and advocate, we can’t help but wish the Cherry brothers success in reclaiming a more prominent media presence in the days to come. The business earned $1.8 million in 2011.

the law Smith &

Stallworth, P.A. Tampa Bay’s Fastest Growing African American Law Firm


Young, aggressive, smart and prolific. Courtney Smith and Mark Stallworth are the two attorneys leading the largest (and perhaps fasting growing) African American-owned law firm in Tampa Bay. That is, if the size of their case load is the benchmark. Smith & Stallworth P.A., now six years old, competes in areas of the law where the mega-law firms appear to have a corner on the market – auto accidents, personal injury, nursing home abuse, malpractice and workers compensation. But Smith says “We don’t see ourselves as competing with other firms. We present our experience, and if clients like what they see, they choose us.” Apparently, their message is coming across. The two attorneys and their staff handled 200 cases in 2011. Since they opened doors in 2006, says Smith, “Each year has been more financially lucrative than the last.” It’s been an incredible run from their humble start in a sub-leased office space. The firm now has three offices – in downtown Tampa, Lakeland and Fort Lauderdale. And while they run an aggressive marketing campaign with billboard advertising plus television and radio commercials, they cherish the fact that most of their clients come by way of referral. Smith says “Client referrals are the key to our success. When we do a good job for one client, they are confident in referring us to family and friends. Both of us stay on call 24/7 to make sure we’re always accessible to answer questions – whether it’s 2 a.m. or 10 a.m.” That includes a 24/7 live internet chat service to stay connected to clients.

About the

Partners: Attorney Courtney Smith Smith is a Jamaican-born attorney who earned a BA in Sociology from the University of Florida and completed law school at Stetson. He cut his teeth in the courtroom as an Assistant State Attorney in Pinellas, then worked with two major civil litigation firms building his trial experience with complex medical negligence and personal injury cases.

Attorney Mark Stallworth Stallworth is a Michigan native who received his BA in English Literature from the University Michigan, where he won the McNair National Scholarship and the National Science Foundation Research Award in Political Science, before earning his law degree from Stetson. He practiced law for two major nationally recognized firms and as an Assistant State Attorney in Hillsborough before cofounding Smith & Stallworth.

Their credentials are equally impressive. Both Smith and Stallworth are former Assistant State Attorneys who’ve tried 150 jury trials combined. They showed an early adeptness in the courtroom as students at the Stetson College of Law and as members of its nationally recognized Mock Trial Board. The two were on the team that placed first in the country, beating even Harvard Law School, to win the American Bar Association National Trial Competition in 2000. Stallworth says, “We consider ourselves blessed to have been able to translate our competitive drive into a profitable business helping others.” The partners also count their rapid growth as a by-product of a sensible business plan. “We weren’t afraid to take educated risks, while still being even-handed and thoughtful in making major decisions.” the power broker magazine


Manufacturing& Distribution

Her Power Broker debut came in 2006 when she headlined our 1st Annual Women’s Edition. Soon after, she ranked #9 on the Power Broker’s Top 30 in 2006 with $6.7 million in sales. Manzi has received over a dozen awards for leadership. She is a four-time honoree of the Tampa Bay Business Journal and a two-time national award winner with Black Enterprise.

Barbara Manzi CEO, Manzi Metals


anzi Metals has soared through good times, survived lean times, and is positioned to take flight again as one of the nation’s top distributors of raw and processed metals (titanium, stainless steel, carbon, monel, aluminum and exotic alloys). The Brooksville-based company ranks #17 this year, and will forever reign as one of the Power Broker’s most revered success stories. Barbara Manzi self-funded the company’s startup with $30,000 in 1989 as the first minority womanowned metals distribution company in America, and today remains 100 percent sole owner of an enterprise whose client list reads like a who’s who in the aerospace, power and automotive industries – Rolls Royce, NASA, Northrup Gruman, GE, and others. Manzi’s metals go into the making of missiles, cars, jets, and ships from a 10,800 square foot warehouse churning national and international shipments of metal rods, bars, sheets,

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forgings and castings. Meanwhile, Manzi herself remains a favorite with clients, for her focus on quality. The staff at Manzi was ISO 9001 Certified well ahead of its competitors, and secured the top-tier Six Sigma Greenbelt Certification in 2006. She counts herself as fearless when it comes to being scrutinized and audited by industry standard-bearers. In fact, Manzi’s penchant for quality is part-and-parcel of the company’s success. Her vision as a quality leader blossomed in 1993 when accepting an award from Raytheon for her part in the Patriot Missile project.

She says “As I crossed the stage and looked into the audience of 1,500 of my competitors, none were black and only two were females, there with their male



employers. I knew then that I’d found the right niche.” As of 2012, Manzi holds all of the prestigious “International Strategic Registrations” heralded by the National Safety Foundation, with industry awards from the likes of Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Department of Defense, which honored Manzi with the elite Nunn-Perry Award in 2008. Even the downturn in sales in recent years hasn’t deterred her from making gains. Manzi Metals peaked at $10 million in sales in 2007 before settling at $2.7 million yearly since 2009. Manzi says “We’ve taken the downturn as an opportunity to increase profits through added quality measures.” Partnering with other distributors was another way Manzi buffered the recession, even with former competitors. “If I can fill 90 percent of what a client needs, and a competitor can fill 10 percent, then we can fill 100 percent of a contact together.”



Carl & Emma Calhoun

CEO & COO, Commercial Bedding Company Lamont Kennerly credits his role as “dad” for the inspiration. When his son was two years old and Kennerly went in search of a shampoo that didn’t dry his hair, a friend offered a private formula that worked. That friend ultimately gave Kennerly the secret formula for Soft & Precious’ original line, and that son ultimately went to work in the family business in 2006.

Lamont Kennerly CEO, Anika Laboratories


amont Kennerly transformed a career as a top salesperson for Dark & Lovely hair care to become one of the nation’s first manufacturers of hair care products specially formulated for African American babies. His Soft & Precious line of hair and skincare products is now sold by virtually every major retail chain in America (except one, says Kennerly, and that may soon change). Tampa’s Anika Laboratories topped $3 million in sales in 2011, from contracts with Wal-Mart, CVS, Dollar General, Walgreens and a dozen grocery chains, as well as his own direct-sales engine online at In many ways, Kennerly’s story reads like a playbook for pursuing impossible dreams. When he set out in business, not only was he one of the first manufacturers in his niche, but the retail market for his products didn’t even exist. Not yet anyway. It’s taken Kennerly 20 years to change the way retailers sell products for African American infants. When Anika was born in 1991, stores weren’t yet carrying products for black children whose parents didn’t want to use perms. And the few retailers brave enough to try



his products spent years of trial-and-error on the all-important issue of “product placement.” Retailers consistently placed Soft & Precious in their black hair care section, when most parents bought baby shampoo from the baby products aisle. That, on top of the fact that Anika could only produce in limited quantities, forced Kennerly to work on two fronts. While he continued to build relationships with key retailers, Kennerly launched an intense guerilla marketing campaign to reach consumers directly. He showcased Soft & Precious at black expos in cities from New York to L.A. His biggest pay off came from a grassroots campaign that had customers signing a postcard to Wal-Mart, requesting Anika products in stores. It got Wal-Mart’s attention, and took Anika worldwide. Kennerly has even had the rare pleasure of seeing his product on the big screen in recent years, with cameo appearances of Soft & Precious bottles in Terrence Howard’s Hustle & Flow and a Super Bowl commercial. With his products now positioned in 10,000 locations, look for Anika to continue to climb.

Commercial Bedding is making its third appearance on the Power Broker ranking, this time as #13 with 2011 revenue of $4 million. The company supplies mattresses to two dozen universities, and dozens of hotels, cruise lines and designers throughout the U.S., but calls St. Petersburg home, with a 50,000 square foot manufacturing facility and 40 employees. Mrs. Calhoun told the Power Broker this February that the company has seen a drop in sales over the past several years, but may be seeing a slight turnaround in 2012. The business also ranked #18 on the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s 2012 list of the top minority companies in the region.

Art Hooper

CEO of Elite CNC Machining Our research confirms that Art Hooper has officially retired, and that his son may now be at least part owner of Elite CNC, the aerospace machining company that ranked #7 on the Power Broker’s 2006 Top 30, with $12 million in sales. Smith Hooper is on record with the State of Florida as a registered agent for the corporation, which is based in Largo. The Power Broker was unable to reach the younger Hooper for details, but we can only hope the company might stay in the family. Art Hooper founded Elite in 1994 with just two employees and two machines, and by 2006 had grown to a staff of 135, making 2 million parts per day for Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, and other major buyers.

Technology & Telecommunications

Derek Holmes CEO, TEC-Link


t took 16-hour non-stop days to realize his dreams. Derek Holmes is CEO of TEC-LINK, a strategic partner and provider of project-based I.T. staffing, with revenues of $3 million in 2011, and a client base spanning Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Illinois. Major clients include Hillsborough County Schools, the 8th largest district in the country, technology giant HP, and trucking leader Navistar.


Senior Software Applications Engineer. He says, “The life of an entrepreneur only appears enviable. A lot of people only see the freedom and flexibility.” But he cautions them to understand “the sacrifices that have been made, and lessons learned.”

Holmes’ work ethnic came from his childhood in Chicago’s tough Englewood section. He washed cars and worked with a local janitor who taught neighborhood kids the value of hard work. Going away to college in Iowa with his young wife and first child in tow was a valuable dose of culture shock, says Holmes.

Holmes says his own watershed lesson was when he came close to losing his most valuable asset. “My wife Jessica told me point blank one day, ‘Hey, you’re forgetting the people you’re working so hard for. Don’t be so hungry for success that you sacrifice even the ones you love.” Not Holmes. He listened, and struck a new level of balance.

It was there that he first tapped into his passion for leadership as president of the campus student organization. By age 30, he’d become a Councilman in Clive City, Iowa, and ranked in the Top 40 under 40 by the Desmoine Business Record. Holmes founded TEC-LINK in 1999, after leaving Wells Fargo as a

How? Time management, integrity, and follow-through are the tools he uses these days. But he credits his faith and his family most of all. In addition to his #16 rank on this year’s Top 50, TEC-LINK was named to the list of “Top Minority-Owned Businesses” in 2011.



Carole Colvin

CEO, Southern Telecom Communications


arole Colvin is certainly not the

first attorney to abandon the courtroom. She found a new love for telecommunications when she launched Southern Telecom with $1,000 in 1993, and now has a staff of engineers serving clients nationwide with $1.13 million in revenue last year. STC has done communications wiring for CBS, MTV and at Raymond James Stadium. The company partnered with Sprint to wire five Hillsborough Community College campus locations.

Colvin is also tapping into her love of teaching more lately with a new line of business. Her STC Partners Tutoring Through Technology TM Program is being used in schools, libraries, churches and community centers for computer-aided instruction in reading and language arts for K-12 students. “Our curriculum is nationally recognized and aligned with Florida Next Generation Academic Standards,” Colvin says. “We strongly believe that each child is individually and uniquely gifted, and our team knows how to help them succeed, from first graders learning to read to high school students preparing for college.” Colvin is also an investor in her husband’s growing business. Herb Colvin is owner of Bay Coffee & Tea Expresso Bar & Café in Tampa, selling 100 percent organic and shade grown, gourmet, and fair trade coffee. Herb says it’s also “the best coffee you’ve ever tasted.” In addition to retail sales of coffee by the pound and packaged teas, Bay won new concession contracts in 2011 that Herb expects to double his revenues this year.

Phara E. McLachlan

CEO, Animus Solutions by B. Melendez


ome people find their talent early in life. Phara McLachlan, CEO of Animus Solutions, tapped into her gift for “systems design” at age nine. When her mother – the publisher of a Haitian newspaper in New York - needed to keep track of inventory, her daughter designed the solution. McLachlan has been using that gift ever since. She spent the summer after high school graduation developing an alumni tracking database that’s still in use today. That was 1995. The University of South Florida graduate continued working as an IT consultant, only with clients on a much larger scale – first as a senior consultant for Advanced Marketplace, specializing in IT asset management, and later on her own, working with CIOs from mid-sized to Fortune 1000 companies. McLachlan founded Animus in 2004 and calls it the best business decision she’s ever made. She wanted Animus to be more than a company that sets up servers and IT networks – and it is.

“We are not an IT company,” McLachlan emphasizes, “We’re a


12 Tony


CEO, The AaSys Group



management consulting firm. We help companies move beyond merely analyzing what’s happened, to understanding what most likely will happen next, and how to make better things happen.” Animus helps companies evaluate risks, and develop technology transition and integration plans. In plain language, McLachlan says, “Our goal is to help clients save money and make money.” Clients include the aerospace company ATK Launch Systems and Quest Diagnostics. Social responsibility is a hallmark of her business. McLachlan established the Animus Foundation in Tampa to support programs that foster economic empowerment, and organizations that support and protect women and children. Among her many awards, McLachlan was recognized as one of 40 Gulf Coast Emerging Leaders Under 40, and as a finalist for Black Enterprise Innovator of The Year. Animus grew its staff to 15 last year, with revenues of $2.1 million in 2010.

Though the banking industry has taken hit-afterhit since 2007, Tony Coleman continues to hone his unique position in the niche market of banking software & management solutions. His company was formed in 1992 and has successfully built two profit centers – a Bank Consulting Division to help “open a bank from scratch” and its Profit

David Grain CEO, Grain Communications Group

Cell phone and data antenna towers dotting the landscape represent valuable real estate and David Grain is one of the savviest landlords in the business. He’s carved out a lucrative niche as the founder and managing partner of Grain Management, LLC and CEO of Grain Communications Group, based in Sarasota. Grain Management reports $200 million of capital under management, including $100 million in the Grain Infrastructure Fund, making it one of the largest wireless infrastructure private equity funds to date. The fund acquires, builds, leases and operates communications infrastructure – the kind used in voice, video and data networks – and wireless towers for carrier systems in 25 states so far. Grain was appointed by President Obama in 2011 to the National Infrastructure Advisory Council, advising the President and Secretary of Homeland Security on the security of critical infrastructure and information systems. He is a former chairman of the Florida Investment Advisory Council, and a founding director of the Bank of Southwest Florida.

Enhancement Division – serving over 100 bank clients in the Southeastern U.S. AaSys earned $5.1 million in 2011 with 30 staffers, up slightly from $4.9 million in 2010. The company ranks #12 on the Power Broker’s Top 50 and #16 this year on the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s list of top minority firms.

the power broker magazine 41

professional& business Services

KennethStewart 25



CEO, Integrated Security Consultants, Inc.

Kenneth Stewart’s Integrated Security Consultants is sure to make it onto the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Fast 50 this year for its year-on-year record of double digit growth. The company grew 53 percent in 2011, from a new national contract with BMW of North America, and established clients like the National Football League, Walt Disney World, and several state and regional government agencies. ISC’s security and safety systems protect corporate worksites, small businesses and hundreds of homes. Stewart’s major growth area is on the commercial end of the business, securing office buildings, warehouses and retail stores. Much of his work centers on preventing theft – by customers and employees. Stewart says “Employee dishonesty costs U.S. companies $50 billion each year, and three-quarters of it goes undetected.” His work over the past four years has helped ISC customers save about $1 million in shrinkage, shoplifting and theft. He’s also helping customers be more savvy in

42 the power broker magazine

managing their businesses, with the ability to view and remotely control their operations. His systems – audio, visual, and digital - help companies track customer traffic, and even monitor how well employees do with customer service. One of Stewart’s competitive advantages is superior technology. His equipment includes IP Video Systems with megapixel cameras that have three times the resolution of standard CCTV systems, with intelligent video analytics that even detect body heat. ISC’s growth is being noticed by the industry and media alike. The company was honored as the 2011 Supplier of the Year by the Florida Minority Supplier Diversity Council, and with the American Society of Industrial Security Chairman’s Award last year. Despite being founded during the recession, Stewart’s firm realized $1 million in sales for 2011 with seven employees working from his Tampa office. The Jamaican-born entrepreneur can add another distinction to his resume: ISC ranks #25 on the Power Broker’s Top 50 for 2012.

Simone Gans Barefield CEO, Gans Gans & Associates

Sol Davis, Sr.

CEO, Sol Davis Printing “I opened in 1999 with no partners and no investors,” says Sol Davis, Sr., owner of Sol Davis Printing. But what he did have was hard work and dedication. That, along with early successes like being selected as a vendor for the 2001 Super Bowl and as Minority Business of the Year, helped him take flight.


imone Gans leveraged her love of politics to form a successful executive search and HR firm with a list of clients six dozen strong. Gans Gans & Associates (gga) first opened offices in Chicago in 1986, then expanded into Philadelphia, and relocated to Plant City in 1997. Gans’ top level contacts helped the firm win over a dozen state-level and major city contracts in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio and Connecticut. She’s an advisor to the Obama campaign who co-hosted several of the President’s big-ticket fundraisers during the 2008 cycle, with leadership stints on the boards of Tampa’s NorthStar Bank (as a founding director), the Greater Tampa Chamber and the Tampa Bay Workforce Alliance. Gans says “Our multi-cultural consulting team works with large public agencies and

Fortune 1000 companies to meet their HR, information technology, and management needs.” Corporate clients include General Motors, Amoco, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Eli Lily, and a host of others. The company has grown since the last time we spotlighted its success in 2006, when Gans Gans was earning just over $3 million yearly and ranked #18 on the Power Broker’s Top 30. gga has sprouted several new lines of business, including consulting with corporations on assessing and managing diversity in the workplace, leadership development, and IT planning and implementation. Simone is also actively involved in the region’s civic life. She is Chairwoman of the Plant City Boys & Girls Club, a member of the Plant City Lions Club, and sits on the Board of Directors for the StageWorks Theatre.

Within a half decade Davis had become one of the largest black-owned printing companies in Florida, with a 10,000 square foot plant and state-of-theart five-color offset press in Tampa. As of 2011, the business is also offering graphic design services and large format printing for regional publications. Yet Davis says “I’m not a self-made man. I am a God-made man. Any success I have is His.” As one of eight kids raised by a single mother, Davis sees it as his duty to share his successes. “When you are successful, you need to bring people along with you. We have to respect the fact that we stand on someone’s shoulders to get where we are; somebody paved the way, and we have to do that in return. I get to work with my 32-year old son, Sol, Jr., and though I didn’t see my dream come true of becoming a Morehouse man, I got to be that through my son, when I was able to send him there.” Davis “pays it forward” by mentoring and guest speaking with youth groups, particularly young men, who he says are most in need of black male role models in business. His rules for the game of life are similar to his business principles, where his number one priority is to attract repeat customers through outstanding customer service. “I can make money on large jobs, but I will only last if my customers come back,” says Davis. A close second priority is hiring the right people. “Whoever I hire, my employees need to reflect what the company represents. I don’t need someone who’s in it just for the job.”

Retail Services The Buffalo, New York native may be young in the business world, but Julie Daniels is a decorated soldier. Her military honors include the Air Force Achievement Medal, Kuwaiti National Service Medal and Liberation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Overseas Long Tour Ribbon. During Daniels’ secondary career, she worked for Lockheed Martin supporting Iraqi Freedom in Doha, Qatar.

CEO, Handyman Matters


ulie Daniels’ Handyman Matters of Clearwater was named Small Business of the Year by the Clearwater Regional Chamber this January, and makes its first appearance in the Power Broker as a Top 50 honoree. Daniels bought into the Handyman Matters national franchise concept in 2008, after 21 years in the U.S. Air Force and Air Force Reserves, starting as an Airman First Class and retiring as a Captain. The decorated Desert Shield/Desert Storm veteran transferred her skills on the battle field to launch a company that appears to be a rising star. As one of 120 franchises in the U.S., Canada and Ireland, Daniels’ serves most of Florida’s west coast with repair, restoration and maintenance services for both residential and business customers. Handyman specializes in small to large


social worker in the early 1980’s to start the company. She says, “It’s our goal to give children the total package – not only the education, but the love, the nurturing and development.”

The Center opened in 1983 and today is licensed to care for 220 children, both night and day. Kenny says it’s a major competitive advantage that their doors are open daily from 6:30 am until midnight.

Kenny shares that love and says “There is nothing else I’ve ever wanted to do. As early as middle school, I would ride the bus to the Center to work with the children.” He notes that it isn’t always easy to see a child he’s taught grow up to be a troubled teen. “But when they’re ready to turn things around, they know they can turn to someone they trust, and they always know where to find me.”

hen you’ve been around for 35 years as one of the bay area’s largest family-owned childcare centers, your clients grow up and bring you the next generation of students. That’s if you’re blessed in the way Tampa’s Children’s Discovery Center is, says Kenny Dickinson, himself a product of the Center, as an owner and son of founders Parnell & Ernestine Dickinson.

He plays the crucial role as Night Care Director, from 4 pm on every day, and says the late shift accounts for a sizable share of the company’s revenue. The Center serves several local businesses that stay open 24/7, like hospitals, along with parents who work late. His mother Ernestine left her job as a


Julie Daniels

the power broker magazine

Children’s Discovery is a Gold Seal Center, certified to operate a Florida Department of Education Voluntary Pre-K program, and is also open to children ages 5 to 12 years old afterschool. The company was ranked on the Power Broker’s Top 30 in 2006, at #17 with $3 million in annual revenue. The Center today has 30 certified teachers and paraprofessionals on staff.

size jobs around-the-house, from “honey do” projects to building additions on homes or commercial buildings, and bath and kitchen remodels. Daniels’ back-to-back honors this year may be among the earliest on her corporate resume, but she appears poised for more growth, as an active member of the Clearwater and Safety Harbor Chambers and the Feathersound Rotary. Daniels also volunteers with military service groups like the MacDill Air Force Base Air Festival and the Reserve Officers Association. She says, “It been an honor to be recognized several times over after only four years in the business. I’ve lived in Clearwater for 17 years and I truly put my heart and soul into doing business in the community where I live and work.” She adds, “I give all the glory and honor to my Saviour.” Amen.

Kenny Dickinson

Second Generation Owner, Children’s Discovery Center

Financial Services & Insurance Lakeland Mayor Gow Fields is also owner of Fields Insurance & Financial Group


he Power Broker team counted 17 African American owned financial services firms in Tampa Bay, not including several wealth advisors with yearly revenues estimated to surpass half a million, or in the case of three of them, $1 million. We’ve learned that they operate their own corporate entities, even when affiliated with national brands like Wells Fargo and New England Financial.

Topping the list of financial services firms are Foster Lovett, Lovett & Company, CPAs (he and his partner, Priscilla Williams, ranked #28 on the Power Broker’s Top 30 in 2006); Roy James, Roy James Insurance & Financial Services, Inc. (ranking among Prudential’s top Florida reps); Earl Gainey of the Gainey Agency, who’s earned awards as a top performing All State Insurance agency for 36 years; Earnest Williams of St. Petersburg’s Earnest Williams Insurance Agency has been ill lately, but his is one of the area’s longest-standing African American-owned State Farm agencies in the region. Now 27 years old, the agency has earned virtually every award State Farm has to offer, including the company’s National Sales Achievement Award, and recognition as a Legion of Honor Qualifier and an Honors Agent Qualifier.

Other Notables in the Industry • Gow Fields. Lakeland Mayor Gow Fields is

owner of the 22-year old Fields & Company, Inc., which operated an All State Agency for 20 years, and created the Fields Insurance & Financial Group in 2010. He made the cover of the Power Broker magazine in 2010 as one of the region’s most established financial services firms.

• Douglas Eze. His Largo Financial Services is 12

years old, with six agency locations, including Tampa and Washington, D.C. Eze’s firm is ranked as the #1 Division of American Classic Agency with gross annual life sales averaging $6 million.

• Lenzo Canty. He and his business partner,

David Prince, own Tampa’s Canty, Prince & Associates, and have a combined 44 years of experience in financial & accounting services. One of their specialties is structuring newly formed corporate entities, joint ventures and partnership.

• Earnest Graham. With the possibility of retirement nearing, Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ player Earnest Graham is already preparing for the next chapter in his life. The 32-year old native of Fort Myers owns an insurance & financial services agency, a limousine service, a trucking company, and, as his latest, the new Studio 34 – both a recording studio and record label producing underground artists. Graham also heads the charitable organization Earnest Giving, Inc. to give back to his hometown, as well as causes in Tampa Bay. the power broker magazine 45

A Tipping Point

for Tampa Bay’s

Black Business Community by Gypsy C. Gallardo


ow big is Tampa Bay’s African American business community? It’s bigger and stronger than most of us realize; and it’s growing so fast that a 2011 Census report shows growth in the number of black-owned companies in Tampa Bay outpacing white-owned firms by 85 percent. The word “explosive” comes to mind. The last U.S. Survey of Business Owners counted 16,200 black-owned firms in the bay in 2007, up double from 2002, with solid evidence of a larger-than-average cluster of “One Percenters” (in the elite 99th percentile in earnings). Across America, only 3/4th of one percent of black-owned firms earn $1 million plus. Yet, the Power Broker identified 140 in Tampa Bay. The Top 50 are definitely the cream of the crop, but we discovered six dozen others that likely surpass the $1 million mark. That includes 28 dental and medical practices; a half dozen pro athletes doing business outside of sports; and 10 CEOs who politely declined to be listed. We were sworn to secrecy about one recent heiress to her husband’s business fortune. And that’s not to mention our largest funeral homes and bail bond companies. The U.S. Census has Tampa Bay’s black business community as one of the largest and fastest growing in America, ranked in the top 2o metro areas for sheer numbers of firms. Nationally, the Census shows revenue growth for black companies at a sensational 11 percent yearly (versus 7 for white peers), but those in Tampa Bay exceeded even that, at an estimated 30 percent.

David Steward, founder of World Wide Technology, which earned $3.2 billion in 2010.

The biggest black-owned company in America

The Top 50 are leading the charge, not only by making us one of America’s topgrossing black business communities, but because at least half of them are paving the way to accelerate growth.

by women

They’ve created a pipeline to train and grow the number of minority executives, starting aggressively inside their own firms. At least a third of them are investing time and money to develop other minority businesses, as mentees and vendors. Perhaps most important, they, and their corporate peers, are in positions to influence corporate CEOs about the bottom line benefit of diversity, as board members with groups like the CEO Council and the Tampa Bay Partnership.

At least 18 are or were the first, biggest or only minorities or women in their fields

What makes the Top 50 tick? The Power Broker discovered a strikingly similar set of habits and values, as Top 50 CEOs repeated the same 10 factors as pivotal in their success:

1 Strong planning (and the ability to

stick with a plan) 2 God or faith 3 Intense motivation, drive to be the best 4 Influence of parents or family 5 Education 6 Healthy relationships 7 Customer service 8 Hard work 9 Integrity 10 Vision (and the confidence to pursue it).

Outside the board room, they sport a hundred shades of distinction. Some rose from poverty, while several were born to means. Many earned multiple degrees, while a half dozen attended the school of hard knocks. So, what do they have in common? Most are not Tampa Bay natives; 60 percent are transplants; at least four are immigrants or children of immigrants 4 are Presidential appointees 16 of the Top 50 are owned or co-owned

13 are in Pinellas County; Hillsborough claims 30; Polk is home to 4, and Manatee & Sarasota, only 3

At least 7 are using their companies to grow family wealth by training their children in the business; at least 9 are second-generation entrepreneurs

What do they sell & to whom? Cars and trucks dominate the list of products our Top 50 bring-to-market. The auto sector was king, claiming three of the Top 10 and 63 percent of the Top 50’s total revenues. Hospitality, defense, and healthcare firms made a huge footprint this year, most ranked in the Top 25. The majority sell primarily to other companies and organizations. Less than half sell directly to consumers, and only six exclusively so.

Sectors hit hardest by the recession Hands down, retail and construction took the largest hit. Our biggest loss may be Tony Brown’s Luminaire Lighting in Brandon, which became the largest retail showroom owned by an African American in Tampa Bay in 2005, when Brown acquired the business for $1.5 million. He’s since retired. But the saddest part of the Top 50 story was the decimation of businesses that spread news and knowledge about and for African Americans. Over the past five years, we lost two black-owned bookstores, and a third downsized to a smaller store. The state of black media is tragic. Since 2006, two of the biggest outlets (WTMP & WRXB radio) changed hands and fired “community intimate” staffers. One publication cut its page count by 50 percent. Another went under, while our

top entertainment pub scaled back to monthly releases. On the restaurant front, we saw an uptick in the stores owned by the Top 50 (58 in 2012 versus 50 in 2006), yet we lost several prominent independents: Kizmet Café, Good Luck Café, Chappy’s, and Atwater’s, along with Edyth James’ departure as co-owner of Savannah’s in downtown St. Pete.

3 Success Factors Franchising. Seven of the Top 20 used franchising or similar models to build their empires. In fact, franchising is so dominant, it accounts for one-quarter of the over $1 billion combined earnings of the Top 50. Corporate America is a pipeline. Nearly 50 percent of Top 50 CEOs earned their expertise in corporate America before striking out on their own. The Village. The proverbial village was vital for several Top 50 notables, and not just those who grew up poor. George Tinsley is the quintessential “product of the village” from his roots as an orphan. Yet, Cedric Thornton, who was reared in black America’s upper middle class, attributes the same vitality to the village, while 80 percent of the Top 50 said parents, grands, aunts, uncles and mentors were a leading factor in their success.

3 myths about black-owned firms Set-asides. Contrary to the misperception that went rogue in the 1990’s, government quota programs are not the backbone of success for leading black-owned firms. No doubt, “affirmative” programs – corporate, especially – were a boon to several of our Top 50. George Tinsley and Lanny Sumpter both got their start through minority franchise programs. But only two of the Top 10 count government contracts as a sizable revenue source, and six don’t sell to governments at all. “The White Man’s Ice is Colder.” You still hear it all too often: “Black folks don’t do business with one another.” But our research suggests it’s not so. It could be a matter of expectation, though.

For example, one Top 50 CEO feels that African Americans don’t patronize his business enough, yet confirms that 20 percent of his customers are black (that’s two times their prevalence in his County). Overall, Top 50 firms that sell to consumers report that 25 percent of their customers are black.

and households still earn and own only a fraction of the income and wealth of white Americans. The 2011 Pew Research report shows a gap that’s bigger today than it has been for decades (black households have an average $5,700 in wealth, whites $113,000).

“They make it to the top, and forget where they came from.” Nothing could be farther from the truth. National surveys say 26 percent of Americans volunteer in their communities. Yet 100 percent of the Top 50 give back; and the vast majority give most to causes benefitting African Americans. Another profound reality is that our Top 50 employs African Americans at twoand-a-half times the average for other employers (30% of their workers are black). Several even formed their own private foundations.

So should we be celebrating or crying over the fact that the Top 50 employs 6,000 people? Sure, it’s a huge number, but it’s barely 1,300 more than the local workforce of a single Fortune 500 firm like JP Morgan Chase.

How did we rank the Top 50? Let’s just say, it was complicated. It was much easier the first two times we published this ranking, but that was when we did the Top 10 in 2005 and the Top 30 in 2006. Our 2012 expansion to 50 created new challenges. For one, we discovered businesses located here, but as part of a national company headquartered elsewhere. That had us weighing whether to try and isolate their local revenue or simply count the total. We also had more CEOs who didn’t care to report income this time. Their reasons ranged from contract restrictions to modesty. Several had revenue declines, and preferred not to convey the misperception that they’re doing poorly. On the contrary, at least two of them successfully re-engineered their firms to weather the recession. We ranked the Top 25 by self-reported 2011 earnings, and profiled 25 others who confirmed to us privately that they met certain benchmarks.

When you put it like that, the black business community looks more like a molehill. But look again. There’s a thing called the “tipping point,” and African Americans are there. It’s encouraging that the growth rate for black companies outpaces white companies by fiveto-one in Tampa Bay. It means we’re closing the gap. But it’s positively inspiring to see the pace of growth accelerating. We’re a growing share of the business community. The Census counted four black owners for every 100 companies in 1997. That figure grew to seven by 2007. Earnings are accelerating too. Compared to their white peers, the number of black owned companies earning $1 million plus is growing twice as fast. If it’s not a mountain, it’s certainly not a molehill. For the distance still ahead, it’s time to put the pedal to the metal.

Kase Lawal, CEO of CAMAC, with annual revenue of some $1.5 billion in the oil industry.

Mountain or molehill? No doubt, the Top 50 are amazing, but when looked at with the “glass half empty,” they may not shine so bright. After all, black businesses

Ranked #2 Nationwide among black-owned firms

the power broker magazine the power broker magazine 47 46

Roy Binger, Market President, SunTrust Bank Brian Lamb, Market President, Fifth Third Bank John Ramil, President & CEO, TECO Energy Alfred de Cรกrdenas, President of Global Sales & Customer Support Syniverse Technologies Mireya Eavey, CEO , CareerEdge Funders Collaborative Manatee & Sarasota L. David de la Parte, EVP & General Counsel, Moffitt Cancer Center Odalys Capote, Chief of Staff, Moffitt Cancer Center Bart Valdez, Chief Commercial Officer, Ceridian U.S. Braulio Vicente, Chief Operating Officer & SVP Operations Moffitt Cancer Center Charles A. Attal III, Chief Legal Officer, SVP & General Counsel TECO Energy Karen Mincey, Chief Information Officer & VP of IT, TECO Energy Carol Myers-Simmonds, Chief Regulatory Counsel First Advantage Corporation Charles Daye, SVP Human Resources, Ceridian U.S. Pete Peterson, SVP U.S. Sales, Tech Data Corporation Michael Lewis, SVP, Progress Energy Jose Pena, SVP Retail Banking, Fifth Third Bank Hosetta Coleman, SVP Human Resources, Fifth Third Bank Cesar Zevallos, SVP, R.R. Simmons Construction David Christian, SVP & Community Affairs Manager Regions Bank Sherod Halliburton, EVP, Manatee Community Federal Credit Union David L. Hernandez, EVP Global Strategies Sykes Enterprises Kanika Tomalin, VP of Public Affairs & Strategic Planning, Bayfront Medical Center Curtis Stokes, VP, Fifth Third Bank Dr. B. Lee Green, VP, Moffitt Cancer Center Deveron Gibbons, VP, Amscot Corporation Darryl Branch, VP, Tech Data Corporation Jane Fuslilero, VP Patient Services, Moffitt Cancer Center Sherri Brown, National Sales Manager, Tampa Bay & Co. Manitia Moultrie, U.S. Power Sector Leader, Golder Associates Pattye Sawyer, VP Community Health Programs Suncoast Hospice

the power broker magazine 49


Pete Peterson Senior Vice President U.S. Sales Tech Data Corporation

Pete Peterson is happily married to Marlene (his wife of 24 years). The couple has one son who recently graduated from Georgia Tech. On the community front, Peterson serves on the boards of Junior Achievement and Academy Prep. He earned his MBA from Florida State University, and has been recognized on the national level as a winner of the Black Engineer of the Year Awards in Sales & Marketing.


e’s that rare perfect combination of Type A and B personalities: goal oriented, ambitious and accomplished, but down-to-earth and able to put one at ease with a glowing smile and warm conversation. It’s a gift that no doubt springs from his eclectic, yet “everyday American” upbringing. Pete Peterson is a Preacher’s Kid (PK, for short), who went on to be a star athlete in school, a topranking scholar, and a faithful fraternity brother with Kappa Alpha Psi. And that gift is no doubt one of the reasons Peterson has been a “stand out” choice for employers during the full course of his career. He drew an unprecedented six job offers when he graduated with an honors accounting degree from Tuskegee, and was among four grads selected from 28 candidates to Polaroid’s executive financial track management program for his first job out of college. Today, he’s Senior Vice President for U.S. Sales for America’s 109th largest company. Tech Data has 8,500 employees worldwide with $26 billion in sales last year. But even back in college, Peterson displayed an instinctive skill for networking. “Relationships mean everything,” he says, “and I made sure to maintain a relationship with all of the companies who saw something in me.” In the end, he worked for three of the six. Peterson’s other major talent was his focus on performance. He transitioned fluidly from his roots in finance for companies like Honeywell and Bristol Myers-Squibb, to take successively higher positions in the arena of marketing and sales. His shift into sales was fully cemented when he was tapped to lead a Tech Data division that today accounts for 40 percent of U.S. sales. That was 12 years ago. Peterson’s role as SVP at Tech Data has him managing a U.S. sales force of 650 people, including five vice presidents, eight directors and 30 managers, who together work with tens of thousands of IT resellers. He also sees it as his duty to develop more minorities in key roles in an industry where they are still too few in number. Peterson is the executive sponsor and visionary for Tech Data’s Diversity & Inclusion Program, which took shape in 2009 when he assembled a 30-person Diversity Council of

Branch earned a master’s degree from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and a bachelor’s degree from Lewis University.

employees across a dozen business units. The company is poised to launch phase two of its Supplier Diversity Program, in partnership with the Florida Minority Supplier Diversity Council this summer. What does he see as the top three keys to his success? Peterson answers easily “I was blessed with great mentors, like Lawrence Hamilton (a former SVP with Tech Data); I wasn’t afraid to take risks; and I’ve honed strong networking and communication skills, which helps me connect with and motivate the teams I lead.”

Darryl Branch Vice President Darryl Branch joined Tech Data in 2007 with 15 years of experience managing logistics and distribution for companies like Starbucks, Avon, and the NutraSweet Company, to become Tech Data’s VP of Logistics and Integration, overseeing its six U.S. logistic centers with 2.2 million square feet of warehousing space. He’s also responsible for the company’s hardware integration facilities in New Jersey and California. What does all that mean? It means Branch is the lead executive for a distribution engine that ships near 50 million IT products each year. His purview includes transportation, quality assurance, back-office and on-site engineering teams at sites nationwide.

Loretta Calvin Senior Manager For the past 18 months, Loretta Calvin has been second-in-command for Tech Data’s Diversity & Inclusion Program. Now in her 19th year with Tech Data, currently as a Senior Manager in Human Resources at the Clearwater campus, Calvin’s job includes serving as “point person” for major projects like the Tech Data Women in the Channel Luncheon, that happens twice a year (on the east and west coasts) as part of the company’s largest vendorfacing event. Calvin says the occasion is a rare chance for high-powered women in the industry to meet others and learn from their career paths. Last year’s event drew a “standing room only” audience. The St. Petersburg native is proud to be “mom” to three adult sons. Calvin is an active member of the Board of the Pinellas County Urban League, UNCF, the Florida Diversity Council, and the Tampa Bay International Business Council.

Loretta Calvin, Senior Manager

the power broker magazine 51

TOP CORPORATE EXECUTIVES Behind the Scenes: The North Carolina native is an avid USC football fan (mainly because his only child, son Anthony played football there for Pete Carroll from 1999 to 2003). He and his wife Alice met in their hometown of Greensboro while attending North Carolina A&T University. Daye says his favorite pastimes are vintage cars and auto racing, and also proudly notes two affiliations – as President of the Parish Council for St. Joseph Catholic Church, and as a lifetime member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity.




Senior Vice President

Ceridian Corporation

A company that provides “innovative managed human resource solutions” should be a great place to work. Charles Daye, senior vice president for human resources, sees to it that Ceridian is just that. Daye acquired 25 years of experience at other corporations – Abbott Laboratories, Hanes, and Household Finance, among them – before reaching his top-level position. He’s responsible for human resource programs and policies for Ceridian’s U.S.-based employees. The company has offices in St. Petersburg, Minneapolis, Atlanta and elsewhere in the U.S., with international operations in Canada and the U.K., employing 8,000 people worldwide. Daye credits his career path to skills he purposefully developed over the years - excellent communication skills, strategic thinking, and the ability to listen and observe actively. It’s how he makes sound, informed decisions in attracting and retaining top talent for the company. His mandate also includes creating a work environment that helps employees connect corporate success to

their personal success. Daye says diversity plays a key role in that. He’s one of the people helping to evolve Ceridian’s culture by diversifying its employees and suppliers. He says “Diversity helps improve decisionmaking and broadens the scope of problem-solving and perspectives that we bring to serving our clients.” Daye represents Ceridian in the broader corporate community as well, as a board member with the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, WorkNet Pinellas and the Pinellas County Urban League. There too, he actively promotes diversity. As a recent example, he brought Ceridian to the table as a top sponsor of the Chamber’s Iconic Women of St.Petersburg event. Ceridian is one of the top 10 largest employers in Pinellas County, but its business is global. The company provides businesses with payroll processing, benefits administration, recruiting, and workforce management solutions for 130,000 clients worldwide, who in turn support 25 million employees. Ceridian handled more than $100 billion in annual transactions last year.

Fifth Third aims for true diversity -by B. Melendez

Brian Lamb, Market President Hosetta Coleman, SVP Jose Pena, SVP Curtis Stokes, VP


he Fifth Third Bank team may rank as one of the most diverse corporate families in Tampa Bay, thanks in part to a commitment made at the highest levels. The Power Broker spent time with two of the Bank’s top executives to talk about how their own career principals are producing results for Fifth Third.

BRIAN LAMB Not many people see a straight line from the basketball court to the bank president’s office, but Brian Lamb is not most people. Lamb led his team in assists as a point guard playing basketball at the University of South Florida, which is where he learned how to build a “culture of winning” (his words), where people are held accountable for what they bring to the game.

life. They taught me the value of mutually beneficial relationships, discipline and a good education,” Lamb says. His family also taught him the importance of staying connected to his community. Lamb serves on the boards of USF as well as the Shelton Quarles IMPACT Foundation and the Tampa Bay Workforce Alliance. He also finds time to serve as a mentor with the USF College of Business Corporate Mentor Program. And the community has taken notice. Lamb was named USF‘s “Outstanding Young Alumnus” in 2008 and “CFO of the Year” by the Tampa Bay Business Journal in 2007.

Lamb put that preparation to work for him – well enough to make his way up through the ranks at TECO Energy, where he started his career. By the time he left he’d risen to director of financial services. From there he went on to work as chief financial officer of Home Discovery Real Estate Services and joined Fifth Third as CFO in 2006. Today he is Fifth Third Bank’s market president for Tampa Bay.

When Lamb participated in the ribbon cutting ceremony for Fifth Third’s new Lee Roy Selmon Banking Center in 2011, it was something of a full circle moment. There he was near the USF campus at one of the 47 banking centers with $2.1 billion in deposits he oversees, speaking about someone who’d become both a mentor and a friend – a fellow athlete who excelled in business. He said, “Lee Roy Selmon’s leadership as a Fifth Third board member was instrumental in the opening of this location. He was a pillar of our bank and our community.”

Lamb had some of the best mentors cheering him on, including two chief executives John Ramil of TECO and Richard Gonzmart of the Columbia Restaurant chain. But it was at home where he learned how to make the most of his opportunities. “My parents have always been a significant influence in my

Lamb clearly knows something about being meticulous when it comes to the company he keeps. “I surround myself with experienced and talented people I can trust. I call them my personal board of directors. It makes a significant difference when building a sustainable plan for success.”

HOSETTA COLEMAN Fifth Third owes much of its increase in diversity over the past several years to Hosetta Coleman, senior vice president and director of human resources. The Tuskegee graduate with an MBA from the University of Phoenix has two decades of banking experience and is committed to making sure that her workplace reflects the community at all levels. She knows how to find qualified applicants of all backgrounds because she’s been active in the Tampa community since childhood. And she has never stopped being accessible and proactive. It’s something she learned from her parents. Both were always on the go, helping neighbors and fellow church members. Her father Hosea Belcher, Sr., was a beloved educator in Hillsborough County for 35 years. Coleman follows in their footsteps. She is a founder of the Tampa Bay’s National Association of African Americans in Human Resources chapter, and a board member of the FAMU Foundation and Hillsborough’s Community Action Board. Coleman recently joined the Junior League of Tampa’s Community Advisory Board. “I grew up in a family of achievers,” she said. Where achievement is a tradition, success is sure to follow. the power broker magazine


Top Corporate Executives


Jelks Tomalin Vice President of Strategic Planning & Public Affairs, Bayfront Health Systems

Dr. Kanika Jelks Tomalin has been honored as one of the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s “30 Under 30,” as one of Florida’s Most Powerful Women in 2012 by the Florida Diversity Council, and as the 2008 Young Business Leader of the Year by the St. Petersburg Chamber. She is the fifth generation of her family to call St. Petersburg home. The 36-year old wife and mother of two (Kai and Nia) juggles just as much off the job as on. She sits on the boards of the St. Petersburg College Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions (as Vice Chair), the Pinellas Urban League, the Morean Arts Center and the elite Canterbury School, and brings her health expertise to the Enrichment for Mental Health Services Advisory Board and the Pinellas Health & Behavioral Health Leadership Network.


er career has blossomed with all the understated poise of the orchid that graces her photo. Kanika Jelks Tomalin is one of the youngest senior executives in Tampa Bay, precisely because of her style. She listens carefully, responds fluidly, and shows characteristic modesty about her success. All part of the skill sets that have her reporting directly to Bayfront’s CEO as a Vice President with a wide terrain. In addition to leading the planning process for Bayfront’s top goals, Tomalin leads government and community relations, marketing and media, communications, and the make-or-break function of the “patient experience.” If one title captures it all, Tomalin is Chief Image Officer for one of Florida’s oldest healthcare institutions. Her role, on any given day, could have her meeting with Florida Legislators on the imperative of non-profit healthcare, overseeing a photo shoot for a new advertising campaign, or leading a C-level strategy session. Tomalin’s grace at multi-tasking comes from a multi-dimensional career, with prior jobs straddling the worlds of media, business and politics: from coveted


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fellowships at institutions like Poynter, to the trenches of the newsroom. She has worked at the St. Petersburg Times, the Palm Beach Post, and at television stations in Tallahassee and Louisville. Her education is just as diverse, with a journalism degree from FAMU, an MBA from the University of Miami and a Doctorate in Law & Policy from Northeastern University.

and rewarding experiences of my life. It was important to also use the experience to acquire more specialized expertise. I did my dissertation on the impact of President Obama’s healthcare reform on the ability of Florida’s non-profit hospitals to raise money and meet their mission. It’s a huge misnomer to say that all the challenges were met by the reform.

A Power Broker exclusive with Kanika Jelks Tomalin

PB: Name the biggest ingredients to your success? Tomalin: God’s grace and the pioneering of people who came before me to open doors. We all owe a debt of gratitude to the people who changed the norm. I’m fortunate to work for Sue Brody, a trailblazer in her own right as one of the first and still one of the few female CEOs in our area.

PB: What are your top career philosophies? Tomalin: Preparation is key, and that includes really understanding your own personal capacity, and then being willing to put in the hard work to grow. It takes courage to step outside your comfort zone. I try and make sure my goals are just outside my reach, and when things get uncomfortable along that journey, I know that I’m growing. PB: What specifics can you share about your own professional development? Tomalin: I traveled to Boston on weekends for almost three years to finish my doctoral degree. It was one of the most challenging

B: How does Bayfront define diversity? Tomalin: Sue takes a notably dynamic approach, in that she doesn’t subscribe to superficial goals; she truly is committed to surrounding herself with the best talents available, and she doesn’t limit herself in terms of where that talent might come from. Being open to the best idea and the best prepared talent has allowed her to take advantage of our community’s diversity.

Top Corporate Executives Corporate Up & Comers


Delancy Project Manager Skanska USA

Sherri Brown

National Sales Manager, Tampa Bay & Company


he hotel tower in the background is the perfect backdrop for Sherri Brown. She built her career working in marketing and management for leading hotel brands like Renaissance, Adam’s Mark and Wyndham. She also helped develop the hospitality curriculum at Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis, Missouri. Now four years into her career with Tampa Bay & Company, Brown is a National Sales Manager focused exclusively on the goal of bringing more religious and multicultural conventions to the region. Tampa Bay & Company leads the effort of economic development through tourism in Tampa, by representing 700 businesses (many of them hotels, restaurants and attractions), and promoting the area as a choice destination for business and pleasure.

In fact, football became his conduit into construction, when a professor came and spoke to his team about considering a career in the field. Today, O.T. is a Project Manager for Skanska USA, one of the nation’s largest construction firms.

Sherri’s priority is attracting faith-based and minority groups to host conferences, conventions, and even excursions to the bay. Her recent community honors are a telltale sign that she’s making headway. In addition to being nominated to the Power Broker as a top minority executive, Sherri was honored in 2010 with the Outstanding Woman in the Community Award by the Daughters of Isis.

Daphne Dilbert President, AT&T Pioneers Tampa Bay & U.S. Senior Account Executives, AT&T


.T. Delancy is a former two-time All-American quarterback with one of the most storied careers in the history of Florida A&M Rattler Football. He led his teammates to an 18-6 record over two seasons, as well as the 1996 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Championship, on the way, breaking most of the school’s all-time passing records. He was the 1997 Black College Player of the Year, a Conference Player of the Week six times, and graduated magna cum laude with a 3.57 g.p.a. in construction engineering.

“Like I did playing quarterback, my job with Skanska requires anticipation of obstacles and coming up with the best plays for an incremental gain,” said Delancy. “In football, the final plan for the game is reduced to an 11 by 17 play card. In construction, the final plan comes in the form of 300 sheets of drawings, which makes it imperative to understand the game plan from tip-to-tail.” Here locally, O.T. was tapped to oversee the Tampa Museum of Art project, scoped to include a new art museum and a downtown waterfront park. For that and other projects, it’s his job to manage the budget, issue subcontracts, monitor safety, and keep the Skanska team on track to an on-time completion.


aphne Dilbert was nominated to the Power Broker as “one to watch” in the corporate sector. In addition to her day job as a senior account exec for AT&T Corporation, Daphne is President of the AT&T Pioneers Tampa Bay team, an auxiliary group to support AT&T’s commitment to employee volunteerism. That has Daphne out front in the local market, leading the AT&T team in community events like the Greater Tampa Bay Walk for a cure to Lou Gehrig’s, and representing the corporation at sponsored events, like the 2011 Digital Government Achievement Awards. the power broker magazine



A Power Broker Report


he latest headline happened to surface this February, confirming that “Black CEOs comprise just 1 percent” of the leaders of America’s largest corporations. At the same time, two regional publications – including the Power Broker - were exploring the question of just how far Tampa Bay has come in elevating minorities to top corporate leadership. If the answer was less than stellar in 2011, it grew more grim this February when Michelle Robinson, the African American President of Verizon’s Southeast region, announced her relocation from Tampa to Georgia. Though she will continue to oversee the Florida market, Robinson’s exit was the latest in a twoyear run that’s seen several top black execs vacate their posts. That includes Joseph Jackson, the long time Tampa-based Vice President for OSI Restaurant Partners, parent company of Outback Steakhouse and Carrabba’s Italian Grill; Sidney Morgan, former Market President for Humana Corporation, who moved over to JSA Healthcare; and Mercedes Walton, founding Chair & CEO of Oldsmar’s Cryo-Cell International, who was terminated by a newly-elected board last September. Add to that list Wanda Mims’ mysterious decision last fall not to take over as the new top boss for Bay Pines VA Healthcare System, after accepting the position earlier in the year. Are we seeing a trend? Quite possibly.

Of the 11 African Americans who’ve held CEO posts with Fortune 500 companies since 1999 (when Franklin Raines became the first, as CEO of Fannie Mae), only four remain, accounting for .8 percent of their peers. As for African Americans serving on major corporate boards, the 2011 Corporate Board Census by the Alliance for Board Diversity reported a “surprising decline” in the number of board seats held by minorities from 2004 to 2011, and a shocking drop for black men, who lost over 40 percent of their seats with Fortune 100 firms. White men picked up most of that ground (32 of the 42 seats lost by black men). So, what’s the picture for Tampa Bay? Though no comprehensive study exists, research into a sampling of 20 of the region’s largest employers finds a similar picture. A full one-third has 100 percent white top leadership; while nearly 60 percent don’t have a single African American in the C or V Suites. None are headed by minority CEOs. Yet, the region also has several shining stars in the area of corporate diversity. Fifth Third Bank, for example, touts that 43 percent of its total Tampa Bay workforce is black, and companies like Moffitt Cancer Center, Bayfront Health Systems and TECO Energy have a visible commitment to diversity – both in terms of executives and board leadership. At least two corporations have African American Presidents in the market - SunTrust Bank

Roy Binger Market President SunTrust Bank


John Ramil President & CEO TECO Energy

and Fifth Third Bank. In tandem with that, several top corporations are making tangible investments in “supplier diversity” programs that proactively seek out qualified minority and women-owned companies as vendors. Raytheon excels at diversity, perhaps in part because its huge base of government contracts requires it. Tech Data in Clearwater is poised to enter phase two of its supplier diversity program roll-out, while Nielsen Media Research in Pinellas comes at the diversity trek from a whole different angle. Its company was behind a ground-breaking 2011 study about the ‘game changing’ dynamics in the black demographic, called The State of African American Consumers. Which brings us to perhaps the single biggest impetus fueling diversity trends these days: the raw demographic realities that make diversity not just a moral imperative for some, but a market-driven strategy. Census data tell us that America is on track to be a majority-minority nation by the year 2040. The socioeconomic shifts are huge and happening fast. For example, from 2000 to 2009, the number of black households earning $100,000 per year grew 89% (15 percent faster than for the overall population). Between 2000 and 2006, the nation’s minority population grew more than three times faster than its white population (16 percent versus 4 percent growth rates).

Our Hispanic population has more than doubled since 1990, while the number of foreign-born blacks in America grew by an astounding 267 percent. Some corporations see the handwriting on the wall, and consider it old fashioned good sense to become more diverse. Recent studies have shown that diverse teams produce better results. In particular, research by Catalyst revealed that more diverse boards, on average, are linked with better financial performance. So, why aren’t there more minorities in bay area board rooms?

survey published in 2010 confirmed that the bias still holds for over 40 percent of white people.

two qualified black-owned firms for vendor contracts before awarding one.

I’m not the only one who sees a parallel to the NFL. The famous Robert Johnson is pushing a proposal for Corporate America to increase diversity using the same principal as the NFL’s “Rooney Rule.” NFL team owners voted unanimously to adopt the Rooney Rule in 2003, binding them to interview at least one minority for head coach vacancies. By 2006, the number of black head coaches had spiked to seven, versus a pre-Rule high of three.

Letters of support for the RLJ plan have so far come from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Council, the U.S. Black Chamber of Commerce, the Executive Leadership Council, the President’s Jobs Council, the Congressional Black Caucus, and Congressional leadership of both parties, the National Black Urban League, the NAACP, National Minority Supplier Development Council, and the National Black MBA.

Please Vote in the Democratic Primary on

August 14th

And why does our region slightly lag other parts of America for the number of “people of color” leading its corporations? It’s almost déjà vu to compare the trajectory of top black executives to the journey of black head coaches in the National Football League (I recently wrote a feature about it). Researchers cite the very same reasons why the two groups stayed overwhelmingly white for so long: the unconscious bias that African Americans are inherently less intelligent and hard-working than whites. Believe it or not, like it or not, a national

As your County Commissioner, I’ve been honored to represent you, and to provide countywide leadership on critical issues. Johnson is calling his plan the “RLJ Rule” – a two-tiered proposal for Fortune 1000 companies to voluntarily set a best practice policy to interview at least two qualified black candidates for every job opening at the VP level and above, and to vet at least

With your support, I will continue to provide a strong and effective voice for our community.

Robert L. Johnson was listed by Forbes magazine as one of the 400 richest Americans after making a fortune from his sale of Black Enterprise Television (a network he cofounded with Sheila Johnson) for a reported $3 billion.

Brian Lamb (second from left) Market President Fifth Third Bank with part of his executive team

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Political advertisement paid for and approved by Ken Welch, Democrat, for Pinellas County Commission, District 7.


Get Connected

Julie Daniels, owner of Handyman Matters in Palm Harbor, is another SBDC success. Despite the challenge of starting her business in a tough economy, Daniels grew the franchise nearly 200 percent last year. “It’s been a terrific run,” Daniels attests, “I’ve been working with the SBDC for 11 months, exploring ways to continue building my business.”

to the Small Business

Development Center at Pinellas County Economic Development.

The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Pinellas County Economic Development has worked hands-on with over 600 entrepreneurs to grow or start their companies. Over the past two years, the SBDC hosted 75 trainings, created 327 new jobs, and connected its clients to $8.1 million in government contracts and $1 million in business loans.

Handyman Matters offers professional help with home repairs and remodels. The SBDC team is helping Daniels expand into new markets. She says, “The SBDC helped me get certified through Pinellas County’s Small Business Enterprise Program and Florida’s Minority Business Enterprise Program. Both opened doors for me.” The company was awarded its first government contract in 2011.

Retired U.S. Army Veteran Ronald Gadsden is an ideal example of the SBDC at work. Like many first-time entrepreneurs, Gadsden says “I didn’t know about all the different aspects of running a business.” He got the help he needed to navigate a franchise agreement from one-on-one consultations with an SBDC advisor. With his investment of $85,000, it wasn’t long before Gadsden was operating his Postal Annex franchise in Clearwater.

SBDC Director Dr. Cynthia Johnsons says “For any business owner interested in growing, the SBDC and our Small Business Enterprise Program may be their best solution. We were one of four approved agencies registering businesses for the Republican National Convention Small Business Directory, which exposes them to opportunities with companies involved with the Convention in Tampa this August.” The SBDC certified 140 businesses.

How the SBDC helps grow businesses A Whole Menu of Services

Connections to Expand • Business Growth & Innovation Program helps small businesses write successful proposals to two federal agencies to fund research and development of new technologies: the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs. • Growth Acceleration Program provides professional consulting to qualified companies (at least 3 years old with revenues of $500,000 to $10 million and 5+ employees) to develop strategies to expand, fine-tune financial management, and access growth capital. • Business Assistance Partnership Specialists at participating chambers of commerce provide technical assistance to start-ups and expanding companies. • Procurement Program gives one-on-one counseling sessions each

500+ local small business owners filled the Safety Harbor Resort & Spa for the RNC Small Business Forum

The Los Blancos Cigar Company was a featured vendors at the RNC Small Business Forum in January

Hector Baretto, Chair of the Latino Coalition, speaking to the crowd at our Small Business Network Forum

Postal Annex owner Ron Gadsden (left) with employee Kurt Forster, CBA (right), consulting with SBDC clients

Thursday for Pinellas County businesses interested in selling products and services to the government through the federal certification process. •TechVenture is a mentoring & training program that brings technology products to market by tapping into local successful entrepreneurs and experts. • NxLeveL Entrepreneurial Training helps business owners create a comprehensive business action plan with a practical, common sense approach. • SBA Seminar provides an overview of the U.S. SBA loan & guarantee programs and help with securing private investment, bonding, and 8(a) minority business certification. • Pinellas County Small Business Enterprise Program offers quarterly seminars to help businesses register to do business with the County and compete to win contracts. •Workforce Development Program introduces business owners to WorkNet Pinellas’ resources for workforce recruiting and staff development.

2nd Annual Business Growth Conference during National Small Business Week, May 22, 2012 at the Pinellas County Economic Development headquarters, with presentations on marketing & financing for growth. Plus, the 2012 Annual Finance Fair will connect lenders with over 100 Pinellas County business owners on August 20, 2012 at the SBDC headquarters, to talk one-on-one about specific business finance needs.

Personal Business Counseling The SBDC offers hands on help through counseling sessions with Certified Business Analysts to help you start a new business, set pricing structures, complete market research, secure financing through SBA lending programs, and increase your probability of securing a loan, with the SBDC’s preand-post-loan closing assistance.

Business Training

Special Events Whether you’re at the helm of a thriving company or an emerging start-up, mark your calendar for the SBDC’s

Sharpen your business skills with classes that focus on marketing, financing, government contracting, starting a business, preparing business

State Rep. Jim Frische at the SBDC Legislative Forum 2011

Councilman Wengay Newton registers for the 2011 Lending Fair

taxes, analyzing competition and more. Here’s a sample of the SBDC training menu: • Marketing Your Business - Learn real strategies to win new customers and outsmart the competition. $25 registration fee includes course materials. • Starting Your Business - If you have an idea for a business, this seminar walks you through the steps to evaluate your idea, choose a legal structure, and obtain licenses and permits. Registration is free. • Facebook for Business - This seminar helps first time and experienced facebook users learn and use the latest & best facebook strategies. $25 fee includes course materials. • YouTube for Business - This seminar helps first time and experienced YouTube users incorporate videocontent into their business marketing. $25 fee includes course materials. See the SBDC’s full menu of trainings and special events on-line at or visit the SBDC at 13805 58th Street N., Suite 1-200 in Clearwater.

SBDC Director Dr. Cynthia Johnson (right) with exhibitor at the Annual Lending Fair

The SBDC’s Jenee Skipper with Postal Annex Owner Ronald Gadsden

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FUTURE C.E.O. Hi, I’m Luanne Panacek, C.E.O. of the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County and proud supporter of Power Broker’s ”Top 50” publication. On behalf of the children and families of Tampa Bay, I want to personally thank each of you for your impact on our community. While your work is important, our country still faces a great threat to our national security that may surprise you.

than an 80 percent chance they’ll graduate high school and become self sufficient, tax-paying adults. By supporting programs that focus on early education and partnering with our school district and other community agencies, your Children’s Board focuses on preparing tomorrow’s leaders today! There’s a role for everyone in ensuring children in Hillsborough County are reading successfully by third grade. As business leaders, it’s our job to work together differently to create synergy and move the needle on this vital issue that’s hurting our children as well as our position in the global marketplace.

Taking care of infants and children can be challenging – not everyone is good at it!

Did you know that three out of four of our nation’s young people between the ages of 17 to 24 are unfit to serve in the military or If you have an interest in working with your Children’s Board fill the needs for creating a globally competitive workforce? to change the lives of our community’s children, please join If you’re wondering why – the answer is alarming. These young When picking child’s caregiver, me at our “Great by Eight to Graduate” Summit in the coming adults can’t read or didn’tyour graduate from high school, theymake have sure months. For more information, call 813-229-2884 or visit us criminal records or are addicted to drugs, or they’re morbidlyand have they’re patient, understanding, caring real online at today! obese or have other serious health concerns.

experience being alone with children.

Warmest regards, Your Children’s Board understands these issues and within the lastIfyear hashave made the tough decision tosuspicion focus resources you the slightest or doubt about your – $20 million – on ensuring children in our county are reading caregiver; don’t successfully by third grade.leave your child with them even for a Luanne Panacek, C.E.O. 813-229-2884 orready visitfor school Children’s Board of It’s minute! a fact that ifCall children are born healthy and when they arrive at kindergarten, they’re more likely to be for moreHillsborough County reading on grade level. It’s also known that if children are information on how tothefind safe, responsible reading at or above grade level by thirdagrade, there’s more

caregiver…Because Every Child is a Dream Worth

Your Children’s Board serves as the leading voice and advocate for children and families in Hillsborough County, investing in more than 100 programs that touch over 100,000 citizens every year. To learn more, visit or call 813.229.2884.

Carl Lavender, Jr. (left) and Terry Boehm

Real Progress in Raising Graduation Rates Pinellas County poised for 2012 implementation of five-year plan to raise the graduation rate


ver the past two years, Terry Boehm and his Board of Directors at the Pinellas Education Foundation, have been working quietly on a project that could increase the graduation rate by double digits over its first five years. He’s the Executive Director of the Foundation, at the helm of a low-profile but concerted push that just won the victory it needed to have the Ford Foundation Career Academy model planted in the Pinellas County School District. School board members voted unanimously last November for the project to go live in the 2012 school year. With good reason. Career Academies are getting breath taking results in other districts. In San Francisco, Academy students increased test scores by 30 percent, and sliced their dropout rate in half. In Nashville, Academy students had a graduation rate nearly 10 points higher than other students (87.4 percent vs 78.5). Boehm says the best way to understand why the model gets results is the word “relevant.” He says the Academies make high school ultra-relevant by focusing students on a whole range of career options, and helping them step into careers and higher education after high school.


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Take one look at the top jobs available in Pinellas – by growth and wage levels – and the vast majority are being filled by people with high-quality hands-on or technical education, not necessarily college. Jobs like broadcast technician earn over $19.50 an hour. Nationwide, 16 percent more Academy students are going on to college, compared to nonAcademy peers. The partners in the Pinellas launch, called Academies of Pinellas, are working off of a five-year “Next Generation Ford Master Plan” with set benchmarks for success. A top priority is to have 50 percent of high school students enrolled in the Academies by 2017. Local partners include the Ford Partnership for Advanced Studies, Workforce Florida, the Pinellas Education Foundation, the Parent Teacher Student Association and Pinellas County Schools (the 27th largest school district in the nation). The Foundation Board contracted Dr. Amy Bodow, a national expert in career education, and retired CEO from Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Carl Lavender, Jr., to help structure and engage the larger community coalition needed to back the Academies. That includes getting the buy-in of people from business, corporate and nonprofit circles.

Carl will serve in the role of liaison to the Ford Partnership, while organizing a cross section of leaders into a working group to shepherd the initiative. Boehm notes “This project is a perfect example of visionary education. If we do our jobs and make the Academies a success, that adds dollars to our schools. When a student drops out, our district loses those dollars, and often forever loses someone who could be a productive member of our workforce.”

Select Goals of the Academies of Pinellas: Consolidate the different academies operating in Pinellas schools (Centers of Excellence, Career & Professional Education academies, etc.) under the Academies of Pinellas. Promote academies and certifications that address community and workforce needs. Increase the number of academies in all high schools. Make schools smaller by creating multiple academies in each high school. Operate most academies with an open enrollment process. For more about the Academies, visit careers.


He’s 21 years old and already has six years experience as CEO of several business enterprises that he recently bundled into a single holding company called Robert Gallardo, Inc.


he move consolidated his equity investments with four local companies.

Robert has combined his natural “third eye” instinct for trendsetting in the fast-growing “underground entertainment” industry - especially for consumers under age 30 – with his creative genius for branding and promoting “the next hot thing.” Robert’s creative talent first surfaced in middle school when he won first prize in a contest to re-brand his school cafeteria “J-Hop Cafe.” He made it onto the national stage in 2012 when the chart-topping rapper Soulja Boy used his design as the mixedtape cover to launch his new “Gold on Deck” project.

His current focus is “Local Muzik,” the record label he founded with local rap sensation Crown Marquiss. He and a troupe of four fellow entrepreneurs offer a soup-to-nuts package for underground artists – from designing their logos and brand, to building their social media fan base, to landing their music on air. Robert’s launch for Crown’s music last fall drew 15,000 downloads online. And as Crown’s career looks primed to land a deal

with a major record label, Robert is putting himself through school to avoid the mistakes of other young entrepreneurs.

“I’ve seen artists get side tracked with big money bonuses, and take their eye off the ball in securing ownership rights to their music and intellectual property.” The young businessman is “cash flowing” his dreams with his sidelines in graphic design and video production, including web commercials for business clients. His other investments include co-founding the new Mieux magazine, the bay area’s first blog for and by young followers of emerging trends in music, fashion & culture. He’s also a top designer for Good Fortune and Hooligan Academy clothing lines. Robert says “Collaboration is the key for my growth. I work with other ambitious and talented young people who are smart about business. My mentors taught me not to get caught in the trappings of the industry, but to stay focused on the long-term.” Robert is a 6th generation entrepreneur. His business partners include Adrianna Curry, Marquiss Dallas and Jeremy Farnum, and rappers Ameen Spade and Mari SoDope. He is St. Petersburg High School graduate and did his first two years of college at Florida A&M University. Send news about young people in business to us at



THE PEOPLE’S BUDGET REVIEW is being supported by dozens of neighborhood, business, union and advocacy groups with a goal of involving 10,000 people to share their ideas about how City leaders spend, save and increase the City’s budget. We invite you to be one of them. Our team of 100 volunteers, called The People’s Team, is going door-to-door, into homes, and into public places to reach 10,000 people willing to share their ideas. We’re using online surveys, social media, and street corner video interviews to help everyday people tell elected leaders what they need and value most, for themselves, and for their children, families and neighbors.


Spotlight on Success

Quantum Students Ace Dr. Mac Williams Awards; Start Anti-Bullying Anti-Hate School Project, “It’s O.K. 2 B U” Special to the Power Broker by Dr. Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich


or two years running, more than one-third of the 30 high school students who are CCEJ-Quantum Opportunities program participants, called Quantum Associates, have been honored for their high grade point averages at the Annual “Dr. Mac J. Williams Academic Excellence Awards” program. The eleven Quantum Associates are members of a national Milton S. Eisenhower Foundation and U. S. Justice Department-funded, after-school academic and social enrichment program. Known as CCEJ-Quantum in St. Petersburg, it is operated by the non-profit Center for Community & Economic Justice and is the only one of seven such programs located in the State of Florida. The Dr. Mac J. Williams, Sr. Awards program, created in memory of the iconic educational leader and world ambassador, has been held each fall at the Palladian at St. Petersburg College. This year the program attracted a standing-room only audience. Many parents of the honorees and extended family members were present. The Quantum Associates who are becoming permanent Dr. Mac J. Williams scholars are: Dominique Smith,


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2012 Quantum Associates at work on their new campaign.

a dually enrolled junior at Gibbs and also at St. Petersburg Collegiate High School where she is a sophomore; and Quanishia Bethune, Antonio Bogans, Jessica Faulk, Roneisha Gibson, Tajon Hinds, Tiana Hinton, Tyrone Darion Johnson, Lauren Lord and Gabrielle Robinson, all juniors at Gibbs High; and Dietrick Fowler, a junior at Boca Ciega High. These students have maintained at least a 3.0 grade point average over the high school years, and Dominique Smith has a 4.0 average at Collegiate as well. In addition to getting tutored, hitting the books and earning good grades, all of the Quantum Associates have begun to exercise leadership in visual and performing arts, in competitive sports, in their network of peers and in intellectual team competitions. They have placed first, second and third in Brain Bowl literary and technical competitions during the past year, winning lap top computers, medals and other electronic prizes. They have been the designers of sets and operators of the sound and light controls for a number of theatrical productions in the area, including at St. Petersburg

High School, the St. Petersburg City (Little) Theater and the Katherine Hickman Theater in Gulfport. Quantum Associate Harold Wilson, a St. Pete High junior, has been inducted into the local chapter of the National Thespians Association. Christopher Schofield was promoted from Private to Staff Sergeant in the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) at Gibbs High. Edwin Gonzalez is one of the “5000 Role Models” members and a founder of a bi-lingual support group called Night of Culture at St. Pete High. Delilah Vargas this year became a reporter for the St. Pete High newspaper, and William Farmer, also a St. Pete High student, has decided that his considerable mathematical talents will support his college enrollment before he joins the military, his ultimate goal. Associate Lauren Lord was elected president of her sophomore class and Rashawn McCullum is one of several Quantum members of the precollege Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity league. While retaining their required commitment to graduating from high school and enrolling in colleges and post-high school institutions, the civic engagement project which they are launching this month shows insight, maturity and thoughtful leadership. CCEJ-Quantum Associates and staff have designed and begun an anti-bullying, anti-hate project called, “IT’S O.K. 2 B U.” Following the creative

guidance of the Quantum Coordinator, Ms. Jennifer Hills-Wheeler, the slogan “IT’S O. K. 2 B U,” is emblazoned on three-inch lapel buttons, in school colors, and captures the sense of fairness, tolerance and positive leadership reflected in the pledge which Associates are asking their peers at Gibbs and St. Petersburg High Schools to sign. The CCEJ-Quantum pledge is:

“On my honor, I pledge that I will be genuinely respectful of every person, including myself, regardless of race, color, creed, gender, age, religious philosophy, sexual orientation, physical appearance or mental abilities.” Graphic artist Anthony Munnerlyn, along with actor Jaylen Johnson, composer Khalil Ware, and their other Quantum colleagues, Chynel Lavine, Nicholas Oliveros and Tajon Hinds, have developed graffiti-worthy oversized wall posters which have been designed and painted to telegraph, in color, the impact of the anti-bullying and anti-hate message of the initiative. The Associates plan also to include two middle schools in the initiative. The middle schools will be announced when IT’S

O.K. 2 B U is officially introduced at each school. The objectives of the CCEJ- Quantum Opportunities program, in which all of the Associates have been actively enrolled since their freshman year in high school, seeks to expand the experiences and the academic potential and achievement of the Associates through tutoring and mentorcoaching in leadership, critical thinking, civic engagement, healthy eating and law-abiding behaviors; and multicultural advancement. Plays, educational and contemporary videos and movies, books, magazine and newspaper articles, guest speakers and role-model visits all thread through in the rich tapestry of the CCEJ-Quantum experience. Dinners before the theatre; suppers with their parents in attendance; museum tours, athletic participation and swimming at the YMCA; pick-up basketball in the parking lot of their own headquarters on St. Peterburg’s Central Avenue - all continue to open new portals to the Quantum Associates’ future success. The founders and operators of CCEJQuantum are Rev. Edward V. Leftwich (Chair/PresidentEmeritus) and Dr. Yvonne ScruggsLeftwich, PresidentCEO & Principle Investigator. See more on the web site: www.

St. Petersburg Housing Authority Celebrating 75 Years of Service to Greater St. Petersburg

• Committed to improving the quality of life for families we serve • Committed to doing business according to our core values of Integrity, Dependability, Loyalty and Courage • Continually earns the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s highest performance rating for housing authorities • Provides housing assistance to more than 3,400 low-income families • Annually puts $23 million directly into the local economy through housing payments to private property owners • Creates jobs for local businesses and residents (727) 323-3171





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MAR 07 TO APR 01


Libretto and Lyrics Music by By Sherman Yellen Wally Harper









More than a Brand: Soul Train, the stage for multiples billion in business.


e deserves to be called “the Don” for his role in architecting a business enterprise that carried African American culture around the globe. We’ve heard from the legions of luminaries who say Don Cornelius inspired their embrace of black creative pride. But the story is yet to be told about the billions of dollars generated from the business machine he engineered.

Soul Train was much more than the hottest, most-watched show in America on Saturday mornings. Its feats include far more than simply setting and creating new trends in music, fashion and dance. Cornelius gave birth to the first and most prolific fully-integrated marketing platform for urban consumer brands. And in the process, he inspired three generations of black entrepreneurs. Russell, Jay-Z and Kanye are all by-products of “the house that Don built.”

Urban Broadcasting In 1970, Cornelius invested $400 cash and the full weight of his courage to create the Soul Train TV show for the Chicago market. Within less than a year, the show was being broadcast nationally, leading to a 35-year run to become the longest running, first-run, nationally syndicated show in TV history. Cornelius’ 1987 debut of The Soul Train Music Awards only added to his broadcast repertoire, giving to spotlight unsung artists not being heralded by the Grammies. As of 2011 the Awards were still going strong, with 4 million viewers, becoming the No. 1 telecast in the history of CENTRIC TV. Commercial Success In the days following Cornelius’ death, wrote “Over the years, Soul Train gave African American artists a national platform that equaled commercial success,” including artists who crooned over a dozen No. 1 hits and three dozen top 10 singles. The most famous were Jody Watley (with Shalamar and solo) and Howard Hewett, earning multiple Grammy awards.

Art Forms Turned Business Even the art forms Cornelius showcased were converted into profit, as Soul Train became the first platform for street dancers to bring their skills to a national TV audience. They gave birth to dance hits like the robot, the GQ and pop-locking (which only made it onto movie screens in the 80’s because Soul Train paved the way). But more important, the show transformed raw talent into business success. The most famous was Jeffrey Daniel, who choreographed Michael Jackson’s “Bad,” “Smooth Criminal,” and “Ghosts” videos, and is credited with teaching him the moonwalk. Kenard Gibbs, current CEO of Soul Train Holdings, says “Prior to the internet and the proliferation of other outlets, Soul Train was very vital to the consumer purchase behavior of young Black kids…..I always used to tell Don that he created the genre of reality TV. It was unscripted, it didn’t cost very much to produce and you had product placement within the show with Ultra Sheen and Afro Sheen. It was an innovative and genius integration of targeted brands in entertainment.” the power broker magazine


Bart Valdez, Chief Commercial Officer, Ceridian

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PowerBrokerMag_Ceridian2011-v3.indd 1

9/29/2011 10:48:44 AM


“… the ultimate urban contemporary group …” — All Music Guide

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the focus for $57 million in funding T

prison planners forecast the number of future prison beds needed using the FCAT failure rate for third graders.

Still, the JWB staff says precious few County residents really understand what the agency does and who it benefits. Elise Minkoff, the recently appointed new Board Chair, sees it as her mission to change that. She’s aiming to change the way the agency communicates with the public, beginning with the conversion of the JWB’s long-worded mission statement into common-sense priorities.

PB: What’s your vision for ending that school-to-prison pipeline? Minkoff: It’s a little like fighting a python that’s wrapped all around you. The cycle is tough to break. The challenges with the foster system are a prime example. When a child is removed from a home for maltreatment, he’s placed in a failing foster system, which leads to low performance in school. Unfortunately, all too often their next stop is into the prison system. One of our goals is to grow the use of the Kinship Care approach – placing kids with relatives instead of foster care. It’s proven to be 10 times less expensive than non-relative placement. As a monitoring agency, the JWB discovered that the County maltreatment process has a low success rate, a high removal rate, and is very expensive. We’re working to change that.

he Juvenile Welfare Board (JWB) may well be the largest single source of funding for direct services to children and families in Pinellas County, second only to the school district for the amount of money it invests each year: $57 million, to be precise, a figure that fluctuates based on County property tax revenue, which is its leading revenue source.

The Power Broker’s Ersula Odom spent a morning with Elise and her Communications Director Ben Kirby to talk about how they’re changing the way the JWB does business. PB: How does the JWB spend its budget? Minkoff: The first thing people need to know is that the JWB is not a direct service provider; instead we partner with 60 programs being implemented by organizations throughout the County. It’s our job not only to fund programs, but to track outcomes, analyze where we’re making an impact or falling short, and help our partners do more and better work. We invest in several areas: $14 million in 2012 for recovering children from cases of “maltreatment,” $9.8 million for School Readiness to prepare Pre-K children to excel in school, and $9.6 million for School Success, to serve school-aged children. PB: What’s the top priority during your term? Minkoff: Our top focus is the 0 to 5 age group to prepare for school. Studies show that 90% of a child’s brain is already developed by age 5, and it’s our goal to have that child on track by third grade. If the JWB fails to reach “at-risk” kids by then, another planning system kicks in:

PB: How will you do more to reach families that need help? Minkoff: A big push for us this year is to strengthen access to services. We’re doing this through 2-1-1, which is similar to 9-1-1, but 2-1-1 is a 24/7 free confidential referral service that connects callers to services. If a parent has a child struggling in school, they can call 2-1-1 and immediately get help finding the nearest programs to boost their grades. PB: What else do readers need to know about the JWB? Minkoff: Our aim is to provide “cradle-tocareer” support to put children on a track to life-long success. Your readers should be aware of the need to continue, and even increase, our investments in children. Kids who attend preschool are 28% less likely to wind up in jail, and at risk children who do not attend pre-school are 70% more likely to commit a violent crime. If numbers speak for themselves, it’s clear what needs to be done.

JWB Chair Elise Minkoff with Communications Director Ben Kirby

Studies show that a wide learning gap exists between lower- and higher-income children, even before they enter kindergarten: • At age 3, low-income children have average vocabularies of only 500 words, versus an average 1,100 for high-income children • Children with the largest achievement gap are the least likely to be enrolled in such programs. Less than 40% of lowincome 3 and 4 year olds who could attend publicly funded early learning programs are in them

About the JWB:

In 1944, JWB was conceived by a Juvenile Court Judge, an attorney, and a concerned group of professionals and private citizens unhappy with the lack of resources being provided to at-risk youth and families. Established by statute in 1945 and approved overwhelmingly by Pinellas voters in 1946, the JWB became the first Children’s Services Council (CSC) in Florida. Today, there are 10 CSCs statewide, collectively serving 60% of Florida’s most vulnerable children. the power broker magazine


You Really Can Harness The Power of Social Media to Ignite Your Business! by Aminta Voyce,



Every business owner I know is doing something (or yearning to) in the social media arena. That’s especially true for companies targeting African American, Latino, and young consumers who are so dominant on-line, that they tweet at a rate of two-to-one, compared to other groups. Yes, social media is “where it’s at” these days, but the reality is that too few small businesses are really cashing in on the trends. Most everybody – from 8 to 80 – at least has a Facebook account (right?). But most companies still haven’t figured out how to convert their social media properties into new clients. So, when pondering your options, consider this: social media can and should be one of the most affordable and powerful marketing options for small businesses, if done well. Look for tangible benefits Experts say there is no end in sight for social media growth. Tony Bradley of PC World reported this January that “Facebook will witness unprecedented, mind-boggling growth of nearly 1 billion users by August 2012.” Social sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube, are being used daily to connect, share interests, tweet the latest 411, swap stories, and collaborate. And things are changing fast. Dramatic shifts in advertising channels are resulting in a sizable financial impact to businesses everywhere. So, it’s ultra-important to be informed when you venture into social


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media. A few recent facts:

1. 50% of small businesses report gaining new customers through social media – most through Facebook & LinkedIn. 2. 51% of Facebook users and 64% of Twitter users are more likely to buy from the brands they follow. 3. 53% of active social networkers follow a brand. Cost - Traditional vs Social What about traditional marketing avenues like TV for jump-starting your marketing plan? Well, for the relatively few business owners who can afford it, TV is still #1 as the medium where consumers see advertising (magazines rank #2). But let’s put some things into perspective. For most small business owners, a TV advertising campaign may be too costly. Some of the perks that are leading more entrepreneurs to use social media include: • Cost – Social media is something every business can work into its budget. • Reached Audience – Social media, when used well, allows brands to reach a high percentage of their primary target market. • Engagement – Relationship building hinges on conversations. TV allows for one way conversations. It is much easier to develop loyalty via social media.

How to get started It’s not enough to simply have a Facebook page, yet most business owners are too consumed by daily operations to develop a strong social media strategy. One of two things has to happen. Either you invest the time yourself to learn the ropes (and be prepared, because the number of online tools is growing fast). Or, you use the expertise of a social media marketing firm to help you. The Small Business Development Center is one of the places that offer social media classes (see schedules at So, as a business owner and decision-maker, your thinking mechanisms are probably in full gear right now, and that’s fantastic. Feel free to reach out if I can be of help.

About Aminta & Socialleverage 1

Aminta Voyce (Executive VP & Chief Social Media Strategist) and Geovonnie Justice (CEO) are the creators of Socialleverage1, a Tampabased firm providing new media solutions for businesses, public figures, authors, pro athletes, entertainers and artists. Socialleverage1 now offers online reputation recovery to meet the growing need for business owners to maintain a favorable online presence. Aminta is the former Midday Radio Host and Program Director for WTMP Tampa. She has been featured on BET, Oxygen, WE, Telemundo, and has worked with Straz Center, Ruth Eckerd Hall, Disney and other entertainment industry players. Connect to Socialleverage1 on Facebook @Socialleverage1 Social Media Marketing & Public Relations or via e-mail Speak with Aminta at 813.506.1073.

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When you have a problem, whether it’s your car, air conditioner or a medical issue, you go to the person that you know you can trust to help solve your problem. The same applies when you have issues with your credit, or have trouble making your mortgage payment, or want to apply for a home loan. Where can you go? Go to Neighborhood Home Solutions for Real Help!

Deborah Scanlan Executive Director

Neighborhood Home Solutions 1600 Dr. M. L. King Jr. St. S. St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Call us at

727-821-6897 82 the power broker magazine

“I tried for more than two years to get a loan modification on my own. I was frustrated and scared to death. I thought we were going to be homeless. I saw a number and called Neighborhood Home Solutions and they were able to help me. In one month I had a mortgage payment I could afford, Thank you NHS!” – Actual Client

Free help for homebuyers & homeowners No matter who you are, our housing counselors can help you identify credit problems, set goals, develop a realistic budget and help you make your mortgage payments. Our counselors are certified and meet the National Industry Standards for Homeownership Education & Counseling and Foreclosure Prevention & Intervention Counseling.

Interested In Buying A Home?

For most of us, buying a home is the largest purchase we will ever make. So making that decision without doing your homework could be financially devastating. We offer free and fun classes to help you make informed decisions.

Our Homebuyer Education Class: • Teaches you how to determine how much you can afford to spend on a home • Explains insurances you may need including homeowners and flood • Eliminates the myths about credit and explains how to use it and protect it • Shows you how to work with a realtor, Title Company and lenders.

Having Trouble Making Your Mortgage Payments? If you are behind on your payments and facing foreclosure, we can help you access loan modifications and other options through one-on-one consultations.

Concerned About Predatory Lending?

In recent years, our nation has made enormous progress in helping families access credit. Despite this progress, however, too many families are still suffering from abuses by some mortgage lenders. If you believe you’ve been a victim of predatory lending, call us to report the violation.

Let us help your family! Neighborhood Home Solutions is a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) community development organization with 30 years experience and proven housing and educational programs serving clients in Pinellas, Pasco, Hillsborough, Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte and Lee counties.

Ashlee Ford & Principal Cynthia Kidd


hen Lakewood Elementary got the funding to create a “Brain Gym” for struggling students to get a boost in raising their grades, the school got such a long list of new equipment and supplies, it begs the question – what, pray tell, could they still possibly need to help students? Ashlee Ford says “Bodies. What we need more than anything is community volunteers, as role models, classroom assistants, tutors, and mentors, to give that one-on-one touch to our students.” Ford is the school’s Family & Community Liaison, and stays busy reaching out for volunteers as well as corporate and business sponsors. Federal funds paid for a mountain of needs for the “Brain Gym,” which is actually designed to get kids’ brain and body into “fighting shape.” That includes a state-ofthe-art medical science lab and broadcast studio, where students produce morning announcements; “intelligent classrooms,” equipped with laptops for student use; school-wide wireless access; and 35 iPads. And for the body? A climbing wall is part of the morning routine to stimulate students’ senses and get them warmed up for the day ahead. But Ford says the equipment alone can’t raise student achievement. “Mentors can give a personal touch by working one-onone with students in programs such as Girlfriends or volunteering as a guest speaker.”

Environment Studies department for volunteer support. At least one professor and 14 students are regulars on the campus for projects like an impressive organic garden called the “Edible Schoolyard.” The garden is maintained in part by students, who also enjoy a fully-functional child-size kitchen for cooking experiments. During my interview, an instructor teaches a little one to stir-fry vegetables that grew in the school garden.

behavioral problems with team problem solving skills.

Yet, Principal Cynthia Kidd emphasizes the need for volunteer tutors, in reading especially. “Reading scores are everyone’s grades.” The school is using first grade baseline data to work intensively to prepare kids for third grade. The staff is also working hard on FCAT scores for grades 3, 4, and 5.

“We have an open door to our parents, because parents don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” said Kidd. “We need them to be advocates for their children.”

According to Kidd, though the pre-tests are harder this year, her students are doing better. Lakewood’s move from an F to a D school this year suggests the program is making gains.

Kidd admits “Staff motivation is a challenge, due to community perception. It is hard for teachers to work against the stigma of perceived failure.” She meets with teachers once a month to keep them motivated. Business and corporate sponsors pitch in to invest in teacher incentives.

If you or someone you know can volunteer their time and talent at Lakewood, call Ashlee Ford at 727893-2196.

What about the stereotypical problem behaviors expected of “at risk” students? Yes they exists, but the school’s answer was to create the “Response to Intervention” process, involving a series of interventions with both students and parents. “Saturday Schools” help new teachers address

Lakewood already partners with Eckerd College’s

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Who will be Tampa Bay’s first “Queen of Style?”

Find out at the Power Broker magazine Queen of Style Showcase:

August 11th 2012

Register to

showcase your business for a chance to win. One woman will be crowned this year’s “Queen of Style” & four will be crowned “Queen of Style Courtiers”

Cash prizes & luxury gifts being awarded in 5 categories Contestants & vendors welcomed: INTERIOR DESIGNERS HAIR STYLISTS FASHION DESIGNERS & TRAINERS MAKEUP ARTISTS BEAUTY COACHES & GURUS IMAGE CONSULTANTS PERSONAL SHOPPERS MANUFACTURERS & MORE. For registration prices, packages and details, please call Adrienne Reddick, Events Director for the Power Broker magazine & CEO of Elegant Exquisite Events, at 727-612-1932 or visit:

Register or buy your tickets to the inaugural Queen of Style Showcase 2012

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FLORIDA PUBLIC SERVICES UNION FIGHTING FOR A FAIR ECONOMY OUR MEMBERS ARE NOT ONLY WORKERS PROVIDING OUR CITIES AND SCHOOLS WITH VITAL SERVICES, THEY’RE ALSO PIECES OF THE FABRIC OF OUR COMMUNITIES. Whether citizens, parents, or taxpayers, FPSU members both at work and at home are dedicated to an economy that serves all the people, not just a few. In Tallahassee we’ve introduced legislation to bring fairness to our state taxes. In St Petersburg we’re organizing to create a more participatory and democratic process for the way the city budget is decided. We stand in solidarity with all members of our community who share a vision of a more just, green and prosperous society.

If you would like to know more about our fight for a fair economy or any of our community outreach efforts give us a call at 727.823.0011 or visit us on line at

Finding Your Personal Style A quarterly Fashion Showcase “A pinch of elegance, head to toe” – Nannie Smiley, Loan Officer, SunTrust Bank, Tampa

The Power Broker’s Fashion Editor Audrey “Pat” McGhee went on the prowl this February to find women sporting new fashions for the season. And she says….

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then you and only you can set your personal standard of fashion and style.

“A walk on the wild side: animal prints making a statement”Monique Burton, Student, Int’l Fashion Academy, St. Pete

Whether it’s couture, upscale, vintage, or hip-hop, women are stepping outside the box in 2012 to embrace a full spectrum of style options. Every category is king this year. Sexy isn’t restricted to nighttime and feminine is no longer prohibited in board rooms. This winter & spring season is seeing the whole fashion family represented in the bay. The hottest looks this spring will continue to be ultra-feminine blouses, well-tailored suits, lip colors in lustrous pigments of pink and natural, skinny leg jeans, and pencil skirts. Top accessories include the Aviator jacket and gold plated clutch, while “must have” pieces include maxi dresses.

“Stepping out in lamb’s wool and high boots” – Marva Gomez, Web Designer/ Model Coach, Odessa

Audrey “Pat” McGhee is CEO of APM Fashions, Inc. Reach her at apmfashionsinc@yahoo. com or on-line at www.

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ask the expert


7 Affordable Ways to Build Your Brand


sk yourself these seven questions, and if you answer no or are unsure about the answers to any of them, listen up! It’s time to increase your investments and improve your focus in the areas of public relations and marketing.

1 2

How does your organization relate to the public?

Are you known among your industry peers and within your community?


Do you have someone on your team to make sure that your brand has a positive image?


Are you taking advantage of affordable PR and marketing opportunities?

5 6 7

Does your company have an Internet/social media presence? Do you communicate effectively with your employees? Does your management know what to do if a crisis arises?

All businesses, large or small, need to maintain a connection with employees, customers, community and the media. Most do it through a combination of public relations, marketing, advertising, outreach and internal communications. But establishing your brand begins with you and your staff. Everyone involved must have a clear understanding of the business’ history, vision and goals; and it’s essential that the company develop a fluid 30-second elevator pitch (the thing you say when people ask “What does your company do?”).

Each time a new person hears about your organization from your or staff, they should be hearing a similar song. The saying goes: “PR is what you pray for; and marketing is what you pay for.” Most organizations need the “just right” combination of both. While the two can be very similar, they serve different purposes. Public relations (a.k.a. PR) work helps shape the public’s opinion about your organization; and good PR work will increase awareness of your newsworthy developments. Meanwhile, marketing is all about connecting your brand directly to your targeted customers through multiple platforms. The umbrella of a marketing plan often includes interactive social media campaigns, advertising, direct mail, partnership initiatives, and a host of other components. Although your PR and marketing plans should be customized to fit your specific needs; here are 7 affordable techniques that almost every organization can take advantage of: 1. Be prepared. Keep business cards handy, and know exactly what you do and exactly how best to tell people what you do. Be knowledgeable about your industry; your expertise builds confidence in your potential clients and customers. 2. Take advantage of free promotional services & business listings through a growing number of media and online channels. Local examples include, DSI Black Pages, and The Power Broker magazine. 3. Be serious about generating referrals (word of mouth is often the best way to grow your business). Do good work and be exceptional at

customer service. Tell people who you can help and who can help you! You’ll be amazed to see how many new referrals come your way, simply by opening up and sharing your goals with colleagues, friends and family. 4. Network! Step outside of the box and leave your comfort zone. If you’re shy or light on social skills, consider engaging a life coach, publicist or friend who can go with you to networking events. Trade shows and conferences are some of your best options for connecting to other professionals. 5. Offer your expertise by teaching classes and seminars, and accept speaking engagements, if it’s a strong suit for you. 6. Be a host or sponsor for major events that reach your target market. This includes community, faith-based, business or entertainment events, many of which actively seek sponsors (and reward them generously with ample branding opportunities). 7. Consider whether it’s time for you to hire or consult with a PR or marketing firm. Insights by: Keisha Pickett Pickett Public Relations Group T: (813)903-9247 E: W: Pickett Public Relations Group is a full-service public relations firm dedicated to building and protecting the image of our clients. Pickett PR specializes in publicity for small businesses, product launches and special events, and works in the entertainment, sports, non-profit and corporate sectors. Clients – past and present – include the NFL Experience/Pepsi Splash, AdColor Awards, School Me Clothing, Funk Fest, UrbanWorld Wireless, CBS Radio, Paragon Film & Music. Keisha Pickett is a FAMU graduate and an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

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Pinellas County Sheriff's Office Sheriff Bob Gualtieri

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office is a progressive, technologically advanced agency geared to professionally meet the law enforcement needs of our community’s diverse population.

We Are Hiring – Join Our Team The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office offers these career opportunities: • Corrections and Law Enforcement • Civilian Support • Medical Professionals • Teamwork and job satisfaction • Career development and promotions • Excellent salary and benefits

For more information – visit our website at: Contact Human Resources at: 727-582-6208 The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office is an equal opportunity employer and requires “no tobacco use” by applicants for a six-month period prior to application.

"Leading The Way For A Safer Pinellas" Sheriff Bob Gualtieri with Patrol Deputies.

The help you need to care for those you love.

Lounell cared for her mother until she passed away peacefully at the age of 103, after several months under the care of Suncoast Hospice. Lounell is truly thankful that Suncoast Hospice enabled her mother to stay at home and enjoy life the way she wanted to, with her family. Lounell’s mother was not terminally ill, yet she needed help with pain and symptom management at her age. Suncoast Hospice gave Lounell peace of mind in knowing that skillful, dedicated nurses could provide care right in the home, and that caregiver support was available. Suncoast Hospice offers many services, from nursing and medical management to palliative care for pain and other symptoms. Suncoast Hospice provides tremendous help in caring for a loved one, which made all the difference to Lounell and her family.

I needed help to take care of my mother.

Suncoast Hospice was the best thing that could have happened. – Lounell B., St. Petersburg

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St. Petersburg College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) St. Petersburg College is an Equal Access/Equal Opportunity institution. 11-1246-03

Health Alert

Is your “hair do” hurting your health? Excerpt from “How toxic is Black hair care?”

by Thandisizwe Chimurenga for “Take the kinks out of your mind,” intoned Marcus Garvey, founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), “instead of out of your hair.” As founder of the UNIA, Mr. Garvey refused advertisements for products to lighten the skin and straighten the hair of African Americans in The Negro World, the UNIA’s newspaper. That was “back in the day”— between 1918 and 1933—when the paper had a circulation at close to 200,000 per week. During the 1960s, Black Power and Black Pride proponents ushered in “naturals” and “afro” styles. In between shouts of “Right On” and “Power to the People,” many of these proponents declared that the hair straightening process was damaging to the brains of Black Americans. Though speaking figuratively, from a literal standpoint they may have actually been on to something. Since the 1970s, when America’s environmental movement created unprecedented awareness of the damage humans were doing to planet Earth, there has been little if any media attention or research on the possible connections between the hair care products utilized primarily by Black women and adverse health outcomes, specifically in the area of reproductive health.

Natural hair is proving to be better for your health, and for your mind.

the African American and African Caribbean women surveyed used products that contained chemicals—commonly referred to as endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs)— linked to various reproductive and birth defects, breast cancer and heart disease. Most recently, a team of researchers led by Dr. Lauren Wise of Boston University’s Slone Epidemiology Center found strong evidence indicating that Black women’s hair relaxer use increases the risk for uterine fibroid tumors by exposing Black women to various chemicals through scalp lesions and burns. Fibroids are non-cancerous growths that develop in or just outside a woman’s uterus/ womb from normal uterine cells that begin to grow abnormally. Although fibroids are fairly common, Black women tend to get them two to three times as often as White women and experience more symptoms from them, such as prolonged and heavy menstrual flow. Dr. Wise’s team also found that women who got their first menstrual period before the age of 10 were more likely to have uterine fibroids. The researchers followed more than 23,000 pre-menopausal Black American women from 1997 to 2009. Researchers have also posited that a link exists between the early onset of puberty in Black girls and Black hair care products.

The chemicals found in common Black hair products are known as estrogen and endocrine-disrupting chemicals or EDCs. Although comprehensive research is ongoing, many of these chemicals are believed to be linked to reproductive effects and birth defects, breast cancer, heart disease, cognitive disorders, premature puberty and altered immune function.

Dr. Tamarra James-Todd of Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital is the lead author of “Childhood Hair Product Use and Earlier Age at Menarche in a Racially Diverse Study Population.” The study specifically cited the use of hair oils and hair straightening (“perm”) products and the onset of early menarche in the women.

But that has begun to change. In May of 2011, Dr. Mary Beth Terry and others authored a study, the findings of which showed that [Black] women were more likely to be exposed to hormonally-active chemicals in hair products. Dr. Terry’s study found that

According to figures from the Black-Owned Beauty Supply Association, Blacks are estimated to spend between $7 billion and $9 billion per year on hair and beauty products. The potential costs to our health, however, have yet to be adequately quantified.

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Injury, Criminal Law, Insurance Coverage, Workers Compensation, Family Law, Bankruptcy, Matrimonial and Divorce and Probate. C Blythe Andrews Jr. Library, 2607 E. Dr. MLK Jr. Blvd. in Tampa. 11A – 1P. FMI: 813-788-5212.

March 30 – “Eye on Fashion” Fashion Stylists Competition. Each stylist will present four distinct looks; three looks will be chosen by the participants, while the last will be selected by The Fashion Movement personnel. Cash prizes will be awarded. Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, 400 N. Ashley Dr. in Tampa. 7P. FMI: http://

March 31 – The Gamma Omicron Boule’ of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and Gamma Omicron Educational Services, Inc. present the Carter G. Woodson Lecture Series with keynote speaker Charles Ogletree, Jr. at the Hyatt Regency, 211 N. Tampa St. in Tampa. 7P. FMI: www.

March 31 – Law Fest, a public service project hosted by the Tampa Metropolitan Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. & Bay Area lawyers will be on hand to answer questions about Personal


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March 31 - PURPOSE Youth Mentoring, Inc. presents Gala 4 Purpose. All proceeds will benefit PURPOSE Youth Mentoring Program. Formal Attire. Crowne Plaza, 5303 West Kennedy Blvd. in Tampa. 8P. FMI: 813767-0179

April 6-April 7, Funk Fest 2012 brings you Old-School music that ranges from R&B, Funk, Hip-Hop, Blues, Jazz and Comedy. Some of this year’s artists are Charlie Wilson, Fantasia, Erykah Badu, Morris Day & The Time, Slick Rick and more. Vinoy Park in St. Pete. FMI: http://

served. Registration deadline is April 4th. Sanderlin Neighborhood Family Center in St. Pete. 8:30A. FMI: 727-867-3828 or 727-244-9851

April 13-15 – Gulf Coast Rhythm & Ribfest brings the best of entertainment, family fun and of course BBQ to the Manatee County Fairgrounds in Palmetto. Gulf Coast Rhythm & RibFest is a major annual fundraising event benefiting United Community Centers, Inc. FMI: www.

April 15 – Multi-Grammy winner Sergio Mendes performs at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota. 7P. FMI:

April 7 – Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc., Gamma Phi Zeta Chapter hosts Annual Scholarship Luncheon & Fashion Show at the Bartow Civic Center, 2250 S. Floral Ave. in Bartow. Cost: $25. FMI: 863-676-6981. April 7 – Sistah’s Surviving Breast Cancer presents “It’s A Family Affair: Your Family Health and Survivorship.” Please join in celebrating cancer survivorship and learning the importance of knowing your family health history. Door Prizes & Welcome bags. Continental breakfast will be

April 18-May 13 – Blackbird: The Story of Josephine Baker by Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe in Sarasota. This funny, sexy, exuberant world premiere, written by an award-winning playwright, traces the life of Josephine Baker from Jim Crow America to Paris, where she became a stage sensation. FMI:

April 20 - Rickey Smiley and Friends featuring Little Rel at the Tampa Convention Center. 8P. FMI: convention_center/ April 21 – John Stewart Live for 2 shows. One of America’s top social and comedic voices and host of Comedy Cendral’s Emmy Award winning show, Jon Steward comes to Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. 7P. FMI: April 21-April 22 – 2012 Youth On The Move “REAL Talk” Youth Empowerment Conference hosted by Child’s Park YMCA & Earth Mission Ministries. 691 43rd St. So. in St. Pete. FMI: 727-209-9622. April 24 – Steel Pulse w/ SOJA at Jannus Live in St. Pete. 7:15P. FMI:

May 4 All six members of New Edition make a stop in Tampa during their 30th Anniversary Tour. Tampa Bay Times Forum @ 8P. Cost: $56 & up. FMI: www. May 4-May 6 - Taste of Pinellas at Vinoy Park in St. Pete. A Taste of Pinellas features tastes from top local restaurants, live music from national acts, a family fun zone and much more! A Taste of Pinellas is for a great cause, too -- proceeds go to the All Children’s Hospital Telethon. 2012 artists include Sheryl Crow, Ziggy Marley, and Big & Rich. Tickets available at Ticketmaster and the Mahaffey Theater box office.

May 12

Maze featuring Frankie Beverly at Straz Center in Tampa. 8P. FMI: www.

May 15 - 18 - The 27th National Preventing Crime in the Black Community Conference is a collaborative effort sponsored by Attorney General Pam Bondi to foster communication and action among practitioners on prevention strategies that have been successful in the black community. Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel, 700 South Florida Ave. in Tampa. FMI: http://www. May 17 – 20 - 2012 FAMU National Alumni Convention. Rattler USA: Orange Green and You National Convention 2012 in Charlotte, NC. FMI: www. May 31 – June 1 - Let’s Do Business Florida will focus on legal outsourcing in the Southeast U.S. to minority firms and access and opportunities for all trades in the Florida Construction Industry, including contractors, developers, electricians, plumbers, cabinetry, drywall, landscape, AC, architects, engineers, carpenters, cement masons, painters, roofers, brick masons, carpet and tile installers and more. Sheraton Sand Key in Clearwater Beach. FMI: www.



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The Power Broker Magazine  

Featuring The Top 50 Black-Owned Businesses In Tampa Bay For 2012

The Power Broker Magazine  

Featuring The Top 50 Black-Owned Businesses In Tampa Bay For 2012