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South Florida - 2012
Astigarraga Davis

Edward Mullins - Shareholder
ranking: 0
South Florida ranking: 0

Astigarraga Davis is a boutique law firm with a practice focused on commercial litigation, arbitration and other business disputes whose clients are primarily multinational companies, financial institutions and substantial public and non-public companies. The firm has an extensive international practice across North, Central and South America as its attorneys have handled business disputes emanating from virtually every country in Latin America, Mexico, the United States and Canada.

The firm, founded by seasoned lawyers from large-firm practices seeking a better way to serve their corporate clients, handles cases throughout the State of Florida, having litigated in courts in Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Miami, and elsewhere in the state, as well as all three of the stateâ??s federal district courts, the Southern, Middle and Northern Districts. Beyond that, we are regularly engaged to handle cases in courts in other states, including New York. We have prosecuted and defended appeals in federal and state courts, including the Florida Supreme Court.

Honoree Edward Mullins was the former chair of the Florida Bar International Law Section as well as the former Chair of the Appellate Court Rules Committee of the Florida Bar. He has served as Chair of the International and Appellate Courts Committees of the Dade County Bar and holds a leadership position in his chapter for Business Network International. Nationally, he is a member of the American Law Institute and serves as Co-Chair of the International Litigation Committee of the Section of Litigation of the American Bar Association (ABA), and former co-chair of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee of the Litigation.



South Florida - 2012
Everglades University

Kristi Mollis - President & CEO
ranking: 0
South Florida ranking: 0

Everglades University is a small private college located in Boca Raton, Florida, United States. The university is regionally accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award bachelor's and master's degrees.

The mission of Everglades University is to provide quality education to adult learners of diverse backgrounds in a collaborative environment where each individual has the opportunity to achieve personal growth. The University seeks to accomplish its mission by combining small class sizes and innovative programs with traditional academic values.

Honoree Kristi Mollis, the university’s President and CEO, has been with the school for ten years. She oversees all operations of their campuses located in Boca Raton, which also includes an online division, Sarasota, and Orlando. Everglades was listed as one of the top 25 online colleges by TheBestSchools.org, which cited its strengths in business, aviation, alternative medicine, and management.

In 2012 Everglades University expanded its bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. “We added degree programs that we felt would significantly impact the community,” says Mollis, “programs such as Alternative and Renewable Energy Management and Crisis and Disaster Management.”

Everglades University was accepted as a member of (ICUF) The Independent Colleges & Universities of Florida In 2012.

Theuniversity is committed to community service. They are involved with local organizations such as the Junior Achievement, The Haven, Boca Helping Hands, and Habitat for Humanity. In 2010, Everglades University formed the Frione Scholarship for The Haven. This is a full scholarship awarded to one individual from The Haven.

Charlotte - 2012
Cabarrus Regional Chamber of Commerce

John Cox - President & CEO
ranking: 0
Charlotte ranking: 0

The Cabarrus Regional Chamber of Commerce is charged with fostering prosperity and building a stronger economic future for the businesses and people of Cabarrus County. The Chamber works with local and state government, schools, and non-profits to address the region’s current and future business needs including creation, expansion, recruitment and entrepreneurs.

The Chamber strives to be a community leader for positive change, while fostering prosperity and building a stronger economic future. 

Honoree John S. Cox, President and CEO, led the Cabarrus Chamber through successful accreditations with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (USCC), where it has Three Star Accreditation in 2012, and has fostered excellence throughout the organization such that all members of the staff have received professional certifications through the USCC’s Institutes of Organizational Management.  Cox is also a Certified Chamber Executive by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives Association and a Certified Economic Developer by the International Economic Development Corporation. 

While representing the interests of Cabarrus County, the Chamber is an active member in the greater Charlotte region it is part of. Cox is a member of the Board of the Charlotte Regional Partnership, a member of the Charlotte Regional Film Commission. He is a recipient of the 600 Award presented by Charlotte Motor Speedway for “Outstanding Contribution to Auto Racing”.

He is also the President and CEO of the Cabarrus Economic Development Corporation and has led the process establishing the CEDC as one of 30 Accredited Economic Development Agencies in the world. The Chamber works everyday in tandem with the Cabarrus Economic Development Corporation to create new capital investment which leads directly to job creation.   

Staffers participate in the Cabarrus STEM Initiative, Community Needs Assessment Committee, Centralia Workforce Development Board, Centralia, Kannapolis Education Foundation, Kannapolis Center City Planning Committee, Academic Learning Center Board of Directors, and Leadership Cabarrus.

South Florida - 2012
American National Bank

Ginger Martin - President & CEO
ranking: 0
South Florida ranking: 0

American National Bank is a locally-owned and operated community bank that has been serving the South Florida area since 1985 and is drawing praise from customers and industry alike.

The Oakland Park based ANB recently tied for first place in the Gold Coast Region of Florida in the “Florida Four-Year Peer Performance Report by Region” which calculated results on overall financial performance as compiled by The Hovde Group.They were named the 2010 Business of the Year Award (26-100 Employees Category) by theSouth Florida Business Journaland 2009 Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year. ANB is also ranked #8 out of 70 local community banks in overall financial performance by the Daily Business Review.

As a community bank, the financial professionals at American National Bank are committed to developing relationships, exceeding client expectations, and delivering an extraordinary experience every time their clients interact with them. Their lending decisions are made locally so they can customize financing packages to meet individual needs.

The number of organizations ANB has supported through leadership positions, employee volunteerism, corporate sponsorship, and event participation is extensive. Some of the beneficiaries of ANB’s community involvement have been 4Kids of South Florida, the American Cancer Society, the American Diabetes Association, The Cooperative Feeding Program of Broward, Leadership Broward Foundation, and Rotary Club.

Honoree Ginger Martin leads American National Bank as President and CEO by instilling core values such as celebrating success, lifelong learning, never making excuses, having a sense of urgency and always doing the right thing, no matter what. Her vision and that of American National bank is for every customer to feel as though they are the bank’s most important customer.

Charlotte - 2012
Saturday Brand Communications

Theckla Sterrett - President
ranking: 0
Charlotte ranking: 0

In a world where massive technology and media changes have created a gap between traditional advertising agencies and those now empowered by focusing purely on digital, Saturday Brand Communications is the bridge, a small and nimble, open-format agency with both traditional marketing skills and an understanding of digital and social media for true, integrated marketing.

Saturday’s future focus is to lead the small-to-midsize agency category in integrated brand communications by innovating new approaches to reach and relate to people across ever-increasing media options.

Among the agency’s accomplishments was saving a Midwest hospital scheduled for closing by its managing health system. Out-marketed by a competing hospital, staff and patients were leaving. Six months into a new advertising campaign though, patients started returning, employees came back and the community said to them, “Thanks for fighting back.”

Since launching one of the few woman-owned agencies in the area in with just $500 in 1983, honoree Theckla D. Sterrett, the President of Saturday Brand Communications, has been a leader in the Charlotte advertising market for over 25 years. She has lent her strategic insight and expertise to brands across just about every sector, including education and healthcare.

Saturday Brand was named one of Inc. Magazine’s Fastest Growing Inner City Companies for two years straight. Prominent clients have included Triad Health Systems, Baptist Bowman Grey Medical Center, LoneStar Steakhouse, TCBY, Queens College, and Freightliner among others.

Active in the community, Theckla has served on the boards of the Mecklenburg County Mental Health Association, "A Child's Place," Traveler's Aid, the Alumni Board of Queens University of Charlotte, The American Advertising Federation, Historic Charlotte, The Riverkeeper, Community Link and numerous other organizations. She has also been a facilitator and presenter at several marketing seminars.

In 2010, Sterrett was awarded the prestigious Silver Medal Award by The American Advertising Federation Charlotte Chapter.

South Florida - 2012
Aquabliss Institute

Victor Francis - Founder
ranking: 0
South Florida ranking: 0

Aquabliss is a water-based massage treatment created by honoree Victor Francs, Ph.D. that combines flotation plus movement plus sensory immersion, essentially a zero gravity solution.Clients of Dr. Victor Francs say that AquaBliss is like being in a never-ending pool of freedom that is floating all their cares and worries away.

Dr. Francs has been practicing massage and holistic health since 1980. A Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine, he is also a certified personal trainer, a former tennis professional and scuba instructor.

Dr. Francs personally teaches his signature water therapies, AquaBliss and AquaStretch Kinetics to his clients. As a massage therapist and AquaBliss practitioner, his time is currently divided between Fisher Island’s Spa Internazionale near Miami Beach, and the Mountain Sky Guest Ranch in Paradise Valley, Montana. He conducts AquaBliss™ Trainings each summer at his AquaBliss Institute in Montana near Yellowstone Park, and in Miami during the winter.

South Florida - 2012
Ramon Pacheco & Associates

Ramon Pacheco - Founding Principal
ranking: 0
South Florida ranking: 0

With over twenty-five years of experience in upscale residential architecture, Ramon Pacheco & Associates has worked on residential and commercial projects throughout Florida, the Caribbean, and the Western Hemisphere.

Honoree Ramon Pacheco, AIA, the founding Principal of Pacheco & Associates is a registered Architect in the State of Florida since 1974 and an award winning member of the American Institute of Architects. He has been called "Architect to the stars" by Hispanic Magazine.

From classical to contemporary, the firm’sextensive knowledge of many architectural styles,expertise and continuous research pertaining to vast architectural periods and cultures is the foundation of their creativity.

Projects include the multi-family residences: Islas Canarias, Salzedo Plaza, Villas Capellanias, Coral Gables apartment buildings, all in Florida, and the Big Bight Resort and Villas in Roatan Island, Honduras. Commercial work has included the corporate headquarters of M&M Aerospace and Viva Media, furniture stores Décor House and Bellini Furniture, and restaurants such as Casa Larios and South Beach Brasserie.

Ramon Pacheco & Associates mission is to create exceptional architectural designs with a high attention to detail and functionality utilizing the latest technology, as well as, provide excellent customer service by meeting client’s requirements and ensuring their satisfaction with the end product.

The firm is dedicated to achieving high quality and aesthetic value and acknowledges the importance of strong relationships with contractors, engineers and consultants alike to accomplish this goal. They work with a vast network of experienced local engineers and consultants whose familiarity with code restrictions, due to South Florida’s extreme weather conditions, allows them to apply the most effective solutions as well as the ones proven effective by experience.

South Florida - 2012
Arellano Construction Co.

Agustin R. Arellano, Sr. - President & Founder
ranking: 0
South Florida ranking: 0

Arellano Construction Co provides construction management services for the healthcare and institutional industries in South Florida, employing over 130 persons from various technical and management fields, in addition to over 75 subcontractors and suppliers, whose workforce exceeds 1000 workers.

Recent projects have included the Aventura Medical Center 10th Floor Buildout, Larkin Cancer Center, U.S. Century Bank Arena, Lincoln East Garage, Patti & Allan Herbert Wellness Center, Holy Cross Hybrid Operating Room, and the Kellogg School of Management for Northwestern University's Miami Campus.

They are currently working on Florida Turnpike Plaza Renovations, the Baptist Medical Plaza at Brickell, the Miami Children's Hospital Bed Tower, and the Cox Neuroscience & Health Annex.

The community minded Arellano Construction works to stimulate the economy around them by making every effort to hire South Florida subcontractors, and have assisted many minority subcontractors in establishing, managing, and growing their businesses.

Arellano’s mission is to provide top quality construction management services in a timely and cost efficient manner while maintaining the highest levels of customer service and satisfaction. Honoree Agustin R. Arellano, Sr. founded the company and has been its President and CEO for 38 years with this in mind.

Under his leadership, the Arellano Construction has been very involved in civic and community affairs in the Dade County area. Arellano is on the Board of Directors of the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind (Honorary), FIU Foundation, YMCA of Dade County, South Florida Hospital Association and a member of the Orange Bowl Committee.

Employees and directors of Arellano Construction are currently active members or hold a seat on the board of directors of Leadership Miami and the Boys Scouts of America, as well as various religious organizations. They also sponsor several charity golf tournaments throughout the year.

South Florida - 2012
Pfleger Financial

Jack Pfleger - Founder
ranking: 0
South Florida ranking: 0



Charlotte - 2012
ai Design Group, INC

G. Wesley Jones, AIA - Principal
ranking: 0
Charlotte ranking: 0

ai Design is a mid-sized architectural and interior design firm with a growing national and international reputation for their work in corporate office, retail mixed use, automotive and racing venues.

Some of their high-profile projects include the zMAX Dragstrip at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, the new headquarters for Sonic Automotive, the Charlotte School of Law, Fifth Third Bank, Ballantyne Village Theater, and the media center at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Imaginative thinking, exceptional customer service and an understanding of their client’s business goals are at the core of what drives ai’s success.

“Our longer term view has us expanding and moving into related markets and industries where we have built up considerable experience through related work in our core strength areas including restaurant, hospitality, health care, and secondary higher education,” says honoree Wes Jones, Principal at ai Design Group is one of the company’s original founding owners.

Jones is responsible for project oversight, business development and the financial management of the firm. He is a past Chair of the Charlotte Chamber Metro Chapter Board, on the Charlotte City Council’s Business Advisory Committee, a Board Member of the Greater Charlotte Hospitality and Tourism Alliance, Member of the Uptown Rotary, and Graduate of Leadership Charlotte Class 32.

Jones and his partners at ai Design Group are all committed to community service and involvement. They are active in leadership roles in the Queen City Optimist Club, the Police Activities League, Uptown Rotary, Junior Achievement and Girl Scouts of America.

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