March 2009, Volume 13, Number 3

Alumni News

2009 Alumni Hall of Fame

Thursday, April 16, 2009
Cocktails: 6 p.m.
Dinner: 7 p.m.
Jungle Island’s Treetop Ballroom
1111 Parrot Jungle Trail
Miami, FL 33131

Each year Miami Dade College honors its best, brightest and most successful alumni by gathering to celebrate and induct a new Alumni Hall of Fame class. Hall of Fame inductees are recognized for their positive impact on their profession, the community and the College. If you would like to be part of this important event, please contact Alumni Relations or visit

The 2009 Alumni Hall of Fame Honorees

ACCOUNTING • Miguel G. Farra, C.P.A., J.D. • Partner, Morrison, Brown, Argiz & Farra, LLP

Internationally recognized tax expert, author and television commentator. Also partner and head of the tax department at the largest accounting firm in Florida.

ARCHITECTURE • William F. Brown Jr., A.I.A. • Vice President and Principal, CSA Group

Merged what was once a home-based business with CSA Group, the largest Hispanic-owned architecture and engineering firm in the U.S.

BANKING • Juan del Busto • Regional Executive, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Highest-ranking executive in the region for one of the nation’s most important financial institutions, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, part of the central bank of the U.S.

BUSINESS • Ralph Gazitúa • President and CEO, WTDC

Leads the region’s most prominent logistics infrastructure company providing supply chain management, customs-bonded warehousing, inventory control, distribution and fulfillment.

ENTREPRENEURSHIP • José A. Garrido Jr., J.D. • President, The Garrido Group of Companies

Expanded the family business into a vibrant, successful group of companies distributing internationally branded products in more than 26 countries.

EDUCATION • Elsa A. Murano, Ph.D. • President, Texas A&M University

A noted researcher and academician who rose to a position of prominence as the first woman, first Hispanic and first person under 50 to lead the nation’s sixth largest public university.

ENGINEERING • Manuel Pérez-Montoya, P.E. • President, SDM Consulting Engineers Inc.

SDM Consulting Engineers has successfully completed projects throughout the U.S., Caribbean, Central/South America and the Middle East.

FINANCIAL SERVICES • Roberto Espín • President and CEO, Hamilton Risk Management Co.

Head of one of the strongest privately held insurance and financial services holding groups in South Florida.

HEALTH CARE • Joseph L. Caruncho Sr., J.D. • CEO and Co-founder, Preferred Care Partners

Founded what is today the largest privately owned Medicare advantage plan in South Florida, serving more than 25,000 enrollees.

JOURNALISM – BROADCAST • Tony Segreto • Anchor (Retired), WTVJ-NBC-6

Spent 40 years connecting with South Florida viewers as a member of the news team at WTVJ. Interviewed two U.S. presidents, covered major events, including Hurricane Andrew.

JOURNALISM – PRINT • Ana Veciana-Suárez • Columnist, The Miami Herald

Award-winning author and journalist whose syndicated column in The Miami Herald tackles family and faith, parenting and culture.

LAW • Carlos J. Martínez, J.D. • Public Defender, 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida

After 20 years as an attorney in the public sector, Martínez became the first Hispanic elected to the office of public defender in Miami-Dade County.

LITERARY ARTS • Lin Arison • Author

A longtime patron of the arts, Arison has contributed her own artistic voice to the world by authoring two well-received books.

MARKETING • Jorge Plasencia • Chairman and CEO, República

Chairman and chief executive officer of a branding, advertising and communications company whose diverse clientèle include some of the world’s most important brands.

NURSING • Cheryl Cottrell, R.N. • Vice President of Nursing, Mariners Hospital

Through her work at Mariners and the Florida Keys Health Start Coalition, Cottrell has emerged as a leading voice in the campaign to improve the lives of women and children.

MEDICINE • Smith Joseph, D.O., Pharm.D. • Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, Universal Medical Center

An esteemed physician in private practice who also gives to the community by providing free health care to those in need and spearheading medical missions abroad.

NONPROFIT • Beatrice Louissaint • President, Florida Regional Minority Business Council

Has linked minority firms to $5 billion in corporate procurement sales, and launched the annual Business Expo, now the largest minority trade event in the Southeast.

PUBLIC SAFETY – FIRE • Otto Drozd III • Fire Chief, City of Hialeah

Climbed the ranks by competitive examination for 20 years. Committed to his fiduciary responsibility, he has decreasing municipal costs by 25 percent.

PUBLIC SAFETY – POLICE • Charles R. Press • Chief of Police, Village of Key Biscayne

More than 33 years of proud service with the Miami Beach and Key Biscayne police departments. Now serving an island with a population of 11,000 and a large tourist influx.

TECHNOLOGY • Manuel Alvarez Sr. • CEO, Beam Radio Inc.

A regional pioneer in cutting-edge communications technology with a reach that includes 200 systems and 3,000 channels in Latin America and the Caribbean.

TRANSPORTATION • Stuart Klaskin • Founder and Partner, Klaskin, Kushner and Co.

Serves and advises a worldwide client base that ranges from commercial airline giants American Airlines to premier industry investors HIG Capital.

SPORTS • Paula Pearson-Tucker • Professional Golfer

The only African-American competing on the Duramed FUTURES Tour, the official developmental tour of the Ladies Professional Golf Association.

VISUAL ARTS • Connie Lloveras • Artist

A versatile artist whose work includes metaphorical sculptures in clay, large-scale works for public spaces, paintings in oil and mixed media on small and large canvasses.

More Alumni News Articles

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