Get Inspired: Keynote Speaker & American Dreamers

KEYNOTE SPEAKER

Tony Argiz, Chairman & CEO, MBAF

As the Chairman and CEO since 1997, Tony has led the growth of MBAF to becoming one of the top 40 accounting firms in the nation. MBAF is a twenty-one time honoree on the INSIDE Public Accounting annual list of the nation’s 50 best managed accounting firms.

Tony has been involved with a broad spectrum of industries which gives him unique experience and insight into all aspects of the financial well-being of his clients.  Over the last 30 years, he has developed extensive in-depth knowledge and experience in practices involving audits, business planning, economic damages, fraud examinations, valuations and litigation cases. He is a highly respected and nationally recognized practitioner in litigation support services.

Tony has actively served on leading industry associations, chairing many key committees in furtherance of the accounting industry. He served on the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) Nominations Committee, on the governing body of the AICPA’s Council and on the PCP Executive Committee and its Technical Issues Committee. He has also chaired the Florida’s Board of Accountancy Board and its Probable Cause Panel.

Well-known for his community leadership, Tony currently serves as Chairman of the Adrienne Arsht Center Foundation, Chair of Facts About Cuban Exiles (F.A.C.E.) and is on the Board of Directors of The Beacon Council. He has also served as Chair of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, Chair of the United Way of Miami-Dade, Chair and President of the Orange Bowl Committee, and Chair of the Miami Dade College Foundation.

 



American Dreamer

Alejandro Badia, MD, FACS, OrthoNow

Alejandro Badia, MD, FACS, is an internationally renowned hand and upper extremity surgeon at Badia Hand to Shoulder Center in Doral, Florida. Dr. Badia graduated from Cornell University and completed his medical degree at NYU. He served as the worldwide president of ISSPORTH and co-founded the globally recognized Miami Anatomical Research and Training Center (M.A.R.C.) and The Surgery Center at Doral, an elite state-of-the-art ambulatory surgery center.

After years of a successful medical career and a prestigious speaking legacy, he saw a need for specialized orthopedic urgent care centers to efficiently assess and treat a range of orthopedic and sports injuries and founded OrthoNOW®, the only network of orthopedic urgent care centers in the country. Each OrthoNOW® has a team of orthopedic specialists on staff that treat broken bones, sprains, torn ligaments and muscles, cuts, sports and workers compensation injuries.

Dr. Badia, a two-time South Florida Business Journal Top 100 Power Leaders in Healthcare and a Top 100 Under 50 Diverse Executive Leader by Diversity MBA Magazine, has also been honored with Legacy Awards from Today’s Work Comp Professionals and The Doral Business Council. OrthoNOW® was named a “Top Ten Franchise Opportunity” in healthcare by Entrepreneur Magazine and featured in the following media: Franchise Times, Orthopedics This Week, South Florida Business Journal, Franchise USA Magazine and The Miami Herald.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

American Dreamer

Karen Armando Cohen, Amaize Joint Ventures

Karen Armando Cohen is an experienced leader who has created and operated successful fast-food and fast-casual restaurants for past 30 years in the Americas. Skilled in Negotiation, Catering, Food & Beverage, Budgeting, Marketing and Business Strategy. Strong business development professional and firm believer than everything it’s possible if you have the desire.

Cohen previously held executive positions with McDonald’s and Wendy’s in Venezuela. He currently resides in Miami and is co-founder and CEO of Amaize Holdings, a business model based on arepas restaurants for the US market. He is also president at Mister K Corporation, a consulting firm specializing in restaurant trade, which includes management, new development, site selection, construction, and marketing.

During their tenure in various concepts, Cohen and his partners have been growing locations and providing leadership with quality meals in more than 300 restaurants in the region. Their ambitious standards and expectations for strategic ideas, coupled with a disciplined execution, are critical to Amaize’s successful future growth.

Cohen is a former Board Member on the Venezuelan Franchise Chamber; Member, Franchise Council Adviser for Corner Bakery Café.

 


American Dreamer

Justin Irizarry, OrthoNOW

Justin holds a B.A. in Economics from Cornell University, where he was a 4-year varsity baseball scholar-athlete, and a M.B.A. from The Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania, where he was a Joseph Wharton Fellow. In addition, he has earned the right to use the Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA) designation, the most respected and recognized investment designation in the world. Justin has more than 13 years of experience acting as a trusted advisor and interim executive for a wide range of companies. His diverse business experience has led him to advise for boards of directors and senior management teams in the education, information, digital real estate, medical, and technology industries. Justin started his career on Wall Street with the Education and Information Group at Scott-Macon, Ltd. As the Vice President of Scott-Macon, he was responsible for sourcing and executing transactions in the $50 – $300 million range. Justin joined OrthoNOW® in 2010 and started the Franchise with Dr. Alejandro Badia in 2012. In addition to his role as CFO, he serves as the Director of Operations of OrthoNOW® Doral.

Justin remains active with his alma mater and serves as a volunteer mentor to incoming freshman as part of the university’s Alumni-Student mentoring program and as a prospective student interviewer for South Florida applicants. Justin was named a Top 40 Under 40 by South Florida Business Journal for his contributions to the South Florida community as the CFO and Co-Founder of OrthoNOW®, the nation’s only orthopedic urgent care franchise, and for his work in developing and activating a business model that changes how South Floridians access expert orthopedic care on-demand and at a cost-effective rate.

 


 

American Dreamer

Mario Murgado, Brickell Motors

In December 2000, Mario Murgado took a leap of faith. After nearly 20 years as a rising star in the Miami-based auto group run by Norman Braman, past owner of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, Murgado decided it was time to follow his lifelong dream of owning his own business. He set his sights on Brickell Automotive Group, a “beat-up” store on Miami’s famed Calle Ocho that was moving 16 Hondas and six GMCs per month. Honda Executive Richard Culliver approved the sale, Murgado recalls, but warned him that he feared the point would never be successful. Murgado was undeterred. “I said, ‘This is all I can afford,’” he says with a laugh.

Today, that store is one of nine dealerships in the renamed Brickell Motors group, which also includes Audi, Buick, Cadillac, Infiniti and Mazda franchises. Collectively, the group and its 307 employees sold more than 6,800 new and used vehicles in 2014, and neither Murgado nor Brickell Motors shows any signs of slowing down.

 


 

American Dreamer

Jorge A. Plasencia, República

Named one of the world’s most influential marketing and communications professionals in PRWeek’s Global Power Book, before co-founding República in 2006, Jorge was corporate vice president and operating manager of Univision Radio, the nation’s largest network of multicultural-focused radio stations. He played a key role in the integration and cross-platform opportunities of Univision’s television, radio, and digital properties. Earlier, he held the position of vice president of marketing, corporate communications, and public affairs. Prior to Univision, Jorge was vice president of Estefan Enterprises, Inc. and previously served as the first director of Hispanic marketing for the Florida Marlins.

Named one of the most influential Latinos in the U.S. by Poder magazine, Jorge served as chairman of the board of the UnidosUS, the nation’s largest Hispanic advocacy organization. He is the first Cuban-American, first Floridian and youngest person to hold the post.

 

 



American Dreamer

Robert Taylor, Burdette Beckmann, Inc.

Robert Taylor was born in Savannah GA and grew up in Hollywood Florida where he attended St Mark’s Lutheran and Hollywood Hills High. His first job was delivering singing telegrams — but he likes to say that he only accepted the job because he got to sing with the actual Doublemint Twins. He then attended Samford University where he still holds the record as the only student to be on Social Probation and the Dean’s List at the same time. Later Robert married Elizabeth (Taylor!) and they had 2 daughters, Shelby and Brantley.

Eventually, Robert joined his father’s small food sales agency; at the time the Burdette Company had 5 employees, 5MM in sales, and operated only in Florida. 35 years later BBI has completed 30 acquisitions, has 225 associates, 12 offices nationwide and sales of more than 1 Billion. BBI holds true to the lesson handed down by its founders: we all have a responsibility to give back. One of Robert’s favorite quotes is by Muhammed Ali, “service to others is the rent we pay for our time here on Earth”.

BBI is a proud supporter of HUF along with Sheridan House, Habitat for Humanity, and First Priority. When not at work Robert enjoys competitive running and cycling despite a fairly obvious lack of natural athletic ability. Most of all, Robert enjoys time with family, working with charities, or finding a quiet place to read from the stacks of books in his home and office.

 

 

 


Moderator 

Tom Hudson - NEWTom Hudson, WLRN

In a journalism career covering news from high global finance to neighborhood infrastructure, Tom Hudson is the Vice President of News and Special Correspondent for WLRN. He hosts and produces the Sunshine Economy and anchors the Florida Roundup in addition to leading the organization’s news engagement strategy.

Prior to that Hudson was the co-anchor and managing editor of Nightly Business Report on Public Television. He also served as the host and managing editor of the nationally syndicated financial television program “First Business.” Tom also held numerous other roles, including but limited to serving as a general news as anchor, reporter, manager and talk show host in several markets covering a wide variety of stories and topics.

Tom has received numerous awards and recognitions for his work. He has served as a member of the adjunct faculty in the Journalism Department of Columbia College Chicago and has been a frequent guest on other TV and radio programs. He is also a frequent guest speaker, appears weekly on KNX-AM/Los Angeles for commentary on the investment markets and writes a weekly column for the Miami Herald and the McClatchy-Tribune News Service.

 


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