Junior Achievement honors inspirational business leaders

Four of South Florida’s most distinguished business leaders will be Inducted as laureates in the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame at its awards program on Feb. 26.

The honorees not only demonstrate business excellence, but vision, innovation, inspirational qualities, courageous leadership and community responsibility. Laureates are chosen by previous honorees, a group of peers that live the values inherent to the free enterprise system and serve as excellent role models.

The evening begins with a cocktail party with heavy appetizers. The program follows with honoring the laureates and some entertainment.

Junior Achievement of South Florida was founded locally in 1959 by the Fort Lauderdale Rotary Club. Programs now span grades K-12, with age-appropriate curricula.

Junior Achievement programs reached 44,000 Broward and South Palm Beach County students during the 2011-2012 school year.

Alan Appelbaum
President Emeritus of H.J. Sims & Co.

Alan grew up in the 1950’s and 60’s in Bayonne, N.J. He became a high school history teacher and basketball coach at his alma mater, Bayonne High School.

In 1973 he took a position as a municipal bond broker in East Orange, NJ. He moved to Broward County in early 1974. By 1983, he had founded A.F. Best Securities and remained its chairman and CEO until its sale in 1999.

Alan is the president emeritus of H.J. Sims & Co, a 78-year-old municipal bond broker/dealer in Boca Raton.

He created the A.F. Best Securities Foundation benefitting children’s hospital and medical research charities. Over more than 20 years, it has donated nearly $3.5 million towards the care and cures of life-threatening childhood diseases.

Alan is also on the board of Maccabi USA/Sports for Israel, Maccabi USA Endowment Fund and the Bayonne Jewish Community Center. He has served on the boards of Duke University Children’s Hospital, the Honda Classic, the Ben Appelbaum Foundation and Caves Valley Golf Club.

Howard S. Dvorkin
Founder of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services

Howard is an entrepreneur, author and personal finance expert who has advised millions of people through financial turmoil and launched international credit counseling agencies and financial solution companies.

As the founder of Consolidated Credit, he is dedicated to public outreach initiatives and has contributed his time, knowledge, and resources to educating consumers about personal finance.

He has been asked to serve as a consultant to the board of the Association of Credit Counseling Professionals (ACCPros) and is past president of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies (AICCCA).

He is a personal finance columnist for Fox Business News and has been interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Fortune, Entrepreneur, The American Banker, and Investor’s Business Daily. He has also been a guest on “The CBS Nightly News,” “The Early Show,” and CNN.

Howard has written “Credit Hell – How to Dig Out of Debt” and “Power Up: Taking Charge of Your Financial Destiny.” 

Howard is a board member of United Way of Broward County, the Better Business Bureau of Southeast Florida and Henderson Behavioral Health. He is a founding member of the South Florida American Heart Association board. He has been on board of the South Florida Chapter of Junior Achievement and on the board of governors of The H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship at Nova Southeastern University.

MaryJo Finocchiaro
Owner of WHM LLC

MaryJo has over 25 years experience leading high-growth publicly and privately held operating companies. At WHM LLC in Boca Raton, she leads a hospitality advisory and management firm that serves more 150 hotels in the United States.

She has also served as executive vice president and CFO to a luxury resort company owned by The Blackstone Group since 2004. Prior to that, she held various executive management positions with Boca Resorts, a New York Stock Exchange listed company from 1997 to 2004. Her positions included VP and chief accounting officer.

MaryJo is chairman of Saint Andrew’s School, a college preparatory school in Boca Raton, serves on the board of trustees for Boca Helping Hands and is a founding member of Dancing Classrooms Southeast Florida, an arts-in-education program.

MaryJo is also a strong supporter of Pencils of Promise, which builds schools in the developing world, Florence Fuller Childhood Development Centers, and Junior Achievement.

Armando Leighton, Jr.
Founder and CEO of CRS Jet Spare

Armando was born in Milwaukee, but he grew up in Hialeah after his family moved to South Florida when he was four. He attended Hialeah Miami Lakes High School and Miami College where he earned associate degrees in marketing, management and business.

His entrepreneurial spirit and love of aviation were sparked at the age of 13 when a neighbor offered him $1.50 an hour to work at his aviation company. At age 19, he was offered a job as purchasing manager for Jet Charter Co. where he learned about the failure rate of critical parts of aircrafts.

In 1982, at age 23 and with $2,000 in savings, Armando established Corporate Rotable & Supply out of his family garage. His company thrived and by 1991, the company moved to a 43,000-square-foot facility, which houses one of the world’s largest privately owned spares inventory. The facility also includes a subsidiary FAA Repair Station, Thrust-Tech Aviation. 

Armando serves on the boards of the Community Foundation – Arts Committee Chair, WPBT-Channel 2, Broward Workshop and Pine Crest School. He is a past chairman of Jack & Jill Children’s Center and Gilda’s Club South Florida.

He received the Sun Sentinel Excalibur Award; NSU Huizenga School of Business Entrepreneur Hall of Fame; Leadership Broward Foundation’s Profiles in Leadership Award and the South Florida Business Journal Diamond CEO Award.


Wednesday, February 26
Junior Achievement South Florida Business Hall of Fame 2014
Junior Achievement
1130 Coconut Creek Blvd.,
Coconut Creek
4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

TICKETS  $225 per person. To purchase tickets visit jasouthflorida.org/events/hof.php.

PHOTO  2013 Honorees J. Wolnek and Dave Wolnek of After School Programs, Arlene Pecora of Signature Grand, Jarret Levan of BBX Capital, and Mike Maroone of AutoNation

SPONSORS  Pennsylvania Avenue Sponsors: Deloitte, LXR Luxury Resorrts and Hotels

Marvin Gardens Sponsors: AutoNation, Art & Marcy Falcone

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