To recognize them, we created the Miami Herald South Florida Visionary Awards.
Here’s how the process worked:
▪ First, we sought nominations from readers in 13 key categories: architecture/design, arts and culture, business, civic leadership, education, environment, government, healthcare, philanthropy, quality of life, real estate development, and next generation — contributions by those under 40 years of age. The 305 Award was designed to honor an individual whose efforts have improved the region’s global image.
▪ A panel of community judges narrowed the field of 250 nominees to 39 by scoring them on vision (25 precent), impact (40 percent) and inspiration (10 percent.)
▪ Readers then voted online. To avoid ballot stuffing, the online results accounted for only 25 percent of each finalists’ total score.
All the finalists — and all those who contribute so much to our community — deserve our recognition and thanks. Their names appear below.
Herewith, the 13 individuals awarded Miami Herald Visionaries for 2016.
1. Architecture/Design: Craig Robins
Job title: President and CEO of Dacra Development Corporation (Dacra stands for the combination of two names, David and Craig. “It was the initials of someone I was going to start the company with — David,” Robins says.)
How he got into the field: “I was in law school and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be an art dealer or go into real estate,” Robin says. “Being an art dealer in Miami in 1987 seemed impractical and going into real estate seemed really boring.” He considered buying studio space as a way to lure artists to Miami Beach and ended up going into business with the man who owned the building, renowned real estate developer Tony Goldman. Together they changed the face of Miami Beach and the Design District.
Why he does what he does: “We don’t look at development as projects,” Robin says. “We try to build neighborhoods.”
Personal: Age 53; married. He and his wife, Jackie Soffer, have six children between them.
His story: For someone who is not an architect, Craig Robins has had a profound effect on the development and design of Miami and Miami Beach. Robins can trace the transformation of Miami Beach from a sleepy seaside town to its current architectural significance by what outsiders thought about it over the years.
“In 1982, I was in Barcelona and people would say ‘Julio Iglesias,’” he says of the year abroad that he spent at the University of Barcelona. When he was graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in general studies two years later, he recalls people saying “Miami Vice,” whenever he mentioned he was from Miami Beach. “A few years later, when I finished law school [at the University of Miami], people said ‘Art Deco.’”
While teamed up with Tony Goldman, Robins learned to work with architects to both preserve the old buildings and upgrade them for contemporary uses, which in turn made the projects profitable. At the same time, he sought to revitalize the furniture design industry in the area. That led him to the premier design show in Milan, where the whole city celebrated furniture design during the weeklong fair.
He embodied that concept of group celebration when he helped Sam Keller bring Art Basel to Miami Beach, where it debuted in 2002. Three years later, Robins inaugurated DesignMiami/ in the Moore Building, which now serves as the temporary home for the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami.
“The Design District is like a creative laboratory,” Robins notes. “It’s a place where amazing things can happen. You can invent something like DesignMiami/ in a place like the Design District.”
2. Arts/Culture: Marylin “Lin” Arison
Job title: Author, philanthropist
How she got into the field: When husband Ted Arison, founder of Carnival Cruise Line, decided to invest heavily in the arts, Lin became involved as an arts philanthropist, too, aiming to transform Miami into a cultural training ground.
Why she does what she does: From a young age, Lin Arison saw value in the arts and wanted to be a professional writer. Now, she finds supporting the arts has made her life meaningful, and she has helped artists fulfill their passions.
Personal: Age 79; widow of Ted Arison; two step children: Micky Arison (chairman of Carnival Corp.) and Shari Arison (chair of the Arison Group), one child Michael Arison. Multiple grandchildren.
Her story: When Miami billionaire Ted Arison passed away, many wondered what would become of the support he gave to the arts. What they may not have realized was the passion his wife, Lin, had for seeing young artists flourish. That desire is evident not only in the artwork of local artists that adorns her Bal Harbour condo, but also in her continued support for arts education nationally and in South Florida.
Lin says that both she and Ted were frustrated artists when they met. He had always wanted to be a professional pianist or conductor; she wanted to be a professional writer. By founding the National YoungArts Foundation (previously known as the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts) and the New World Symphony, they both received satisfaction from encouraging young people to pursue their artistic talents, Lin says. After the death of her husband in 1999, Lin sold some of their artwork and gave more than $40 million from the proceeds to the YoungArts Foundation for arts-education programs for high school students.
“The most rewarding aspect of the program is hearing year after year that YoungArts has changed the young artists’ lives,” Lin says.
She has anointed her granddaughter, Sarah
Arison, as the family representative to continue support for the arts. “I couldn’t let go unless I was sure she was going to keep it going,” says Lin, who now spends her time writing books and enjoying her grandchildren.
Her prior book was A Love Story in Mediterranean Israel. Her soon-to-be-released book, The Desert and the Cities Sing, is about discovering all aspects of Israel. Lin also is working on a children’s book with a local artist.
3. Business: George Feldenkreis
Job title: Executive chairman of Perry Ellis International
How he got into the field: Feldenkreis, who was a Cuban refugee, got his start in the United States selling motorcycle parts. He then went into the apparel business as an importer of school uniforms, and later, guayaberas. He now oversees a company of more than two dozen brands and 2,600 employees.
Why he does what he does: Feldenkreis says he enjoys the challenge of the retail business, which evolves with the seasons and the times. While he recently gave up the title of CEO, he plans to stay active as chairman.
Personal: Age: 80; wife, Mariita; son Oscar is president and CEO; daughter Fanny is executive vice president of administration.
His story: Shortly after arriving in Miami from Cuba in 1961, Feldenkreis saw the future — and it was all about manufacturing abroad and importing goods into the U.S.
Feldenkreis began earning a living in Miami by importing and reselling auto/motorcycles parts and then by importing guayaberas from Japan. He later went on to sell polo-style shirts imported from Asia to department stores, and he eventually formed Supreme International, which went public in 1993 and was the precursor to what is now Perry Ellis International headquartered in Doral.
Feldenkreis now serves as executive chairman of Perry Ellis International after turning the CEO title over to his son, Oscar, in May 2015. As chairman, Feldenkreis plans to continue to influence the strategic direction of the company, which now encompasses two dozen brands, employs 2,600 people, and imports from 130 factories around the world.
Feldenkreis says he loves the continually changing nature of the apparel business and the need to stay on top of style and industry trends. “You will never be bored in the apparel business,” he says. “There’s a premium to be paid for speed-to-market and for companies that make the products people like to wear, which changes continuously.”
As the apparel business continues to evolve in an age of e-commerce, Feldenkreis has brought on new executive talent and says Perry Ellis will continue to grow its e-commerce and its international business: “We’re a diversified apparel company with the opportunity to move in many different directions.”
Feldenkreis has built a reputation as a generous contributor to Jewish and Cuban organizations, is a trustee of the University of Miami, and sits on the board of directors at the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the American Friends of Rambam Medical Center.
4. Civic Leadership: Antonio “Tony” Argiz
Job title: Chairman and CEO of Morrison Brown Argiz & Farra (MBAF)
How he got into the field: Argiz became involved in South Florida’s civic community in 1977 when he joined the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana. From there, he continued to seek out organizations that were making a significant impact in the local community, especially those that provided opportunities for Miami’s youth.
Why he does what he does: Argiz says he understands the value that civic and charitable organizations bring to the community because he learned the importance of charity as a child. At 9 years old, he came to the United States through Operation Pedro Pan. Argiz says the help he received at that time from the Catholic Church instilled in him a lifelong need to give back to the community.
Personal: Age 63; wife: Conchi (married for 40 years) Children: Carolina, Tony Jr. and Andy. Born in Havana, Cuba.
His story: Argiz can easily be considered the American success story. He came to the United States from Havana without his parents as a child, grew up in a Tampa boarding school subsidized by the Catholic Church, and later moved to Miami to pursue his college degree at Florida International University on a baseball scholarship. After graduating, Argiz started at a Miami accounting firm and eventually lead that firm, Morrison Brown Argiz & Farra (MBAF), to become one of the Top 40 accounting organizations in the nation.
“If it had it not been for the Catholic Church funding my education, I would have been on the streets,” Argiz says. “I think of those years and say I have to go out and give back. I owe the community that has given me so much.”
Not only has Argiz proved himself a valuable accountant and business leader, he has shown a commitment to making Miami-Dade a better community through his civic, education and charity involvement. However, he doesn’t just belong to civic organizations, he leads them. Argiz recognizes that the community’s young minds are the future and has steered numerous organizations that improve the lives of Miami’s young people.
Argiz has served on the board of his children’s private school long past their graduations and has been active on the board of The Barnyard, a neighborhood community center in Coconut Grove Village West. He has been the chair of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, the United Way of Miami-Dade, the Orange Bowl Committee, The Beacon Council, Miami-Dade College Foundation and FIU’s Council of 100.
5. Education: Eduardo J. Padrón
Job title: President of Miami Dade College
How he got into the field: Padrón entered education as a profession at the suggestion of some of his former professors. He had already accepted a position with DuPont, and his professors urged him to delay and teach for a year at the college because they thought he would be good at it. It didn’t take long for him to realize his passion for education.
Why he does what he does: Padrón believes he has a unique opportunity to change people’s lives through education.
Personal: Age 71; born in Santiago, Cuba, and grew up in Miami. Children: son, Camilo. Grandchildren: Camilo Eduardo and Cameryn.
His story: Padrón arrived in the United States from Cuba as a refugee at the age of 15. He began his college education at what was then Dade County Junior College, graduated summa cum laude from Florida Atlantic University, and then earned a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Florida. He then came back to teach at the junior college — a precursor to Miami Dade College — where he had made friends and had been encouraged by professors.
He has since dedicated his entire professional career to turning MDC into a well-respected, four-year institute of higher learning. With Padrón at the helm, the college has graduated more than 2 million students and more minorities than any other institution in the United States. Padrón also has led MDC toward becoming an active participant in the Miami-Dade community, with the Wolfson Campus serving as an anchor and catalyst in downtown Miami for the redevelopment that has grown around it.
Padrón has been recognized by media outlets as one of the world’s top educational leaders and one of the most influential Hispanics in the United States. He has served on several gubernatorial commissions, participated in educational policy forums and published hundreds of articles.
But Padrón says he is most proud of giving residents of this community an education. “My greatest satisfaction is seeing students who have talent and otherwise would not have had an opportunity, come in and through magic of this institution, graduate and become productive citizens of this community,” he says. He says his vision is to open the doors of Miami Dade College even wider “because today to be part of the middle class, you need to do that through education.”
Padrón says he will continue to take on leadership roles nationally and internationally, but he has become selective in choosing opportunities where he can bring solutions to problems. Most of his time goes to steering his college and improving Miami-Dade: “My heart is always in this community, and I will continue to support those things where I can have the greatest impact.”
6. Environment: Rachel Silverstein
Name: Rachel Silverstein, 32
Job title: Executive director & waterkeeper for Miami Waterkeeper, a nonprofit organization that advocates for clean water in South Florida.
How she got into the field: At age 14, she learned to scuba dive while on vacation in Hawaii, and that started a lifelong passion for the preservation of coral reefs.
Why she does what she does: How many executive jobs offer the opportunity to wear a wetsuit as well as a business suit, all while helping to ensure clean water for swimming, drinking and fishing?
Personal: Age 32; married to Roy Altman, an attorney at the Podhurst Orseck firm.
Her story: Although Silverstein considers herself nonconfrontational by nature, sometimes she feels like a professional pot-stirrer. Silverstein joined Miami Waterkeeper in 2014, and just four days into her job, she had to confront the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about how dredging near the Port of Miami was killing endangered coral. She sued, and the Army Corps agreed to pay more than $400,000 to relocate surviving coral. Silverstein found the experience both nerve-wracking and empowering. “When I started, I was very nervous,” she says. “I didn’t want to sue people. I thought we could all sit down over coffee and do the right thing and the Army Corps would just decide on their own that they would follow the law and protect the reefs. And of course, very quickly I found out that’s not how the system works.” Armed with a bachelor of science degree from Columbia University and a doctorate in coral reef ecology from the University of Miami, Silverstein seems ideally suited for the fight. “It’s lucky that the first major issue that came up when I started at Miami Waterkeeper was a coral reef issue,” she says. “I knew all the ins and outs and all the players.”
7. Government: Dennis C. Moss
Job title: Miami-Dade County Commissioner,
How he got into the field: Moss had been providing social services in South Dade as the executive director of the Richmond Perrine Optimist Club, an agency that provides programs for delinquent and at-risk youth, and disadvantaged families. His involvement as a services provider helped him shore up a base of support with area residents. Moss says he saw an opportunity to run for office when county elections went to single-member districts and took it.
Why he does what he does: Moss says he wants to make a difference in the lives of his constituents and the residents of Miami-Dade County. He says he was taught from a young age that he had a responsibility to give back and help the community that helped him become a successful adult.
Personal: Age: 64; wife, Margaret Hawkins Moss; two daughters, Kamilah and Eboni; one son, Keenon; two grandchildren, Isaiah and Sarai. He grew up in Richmond Heights.
Commissioner Dennis Moss: As someone who was raised in Miami-Dade, Moss understands the county and its people, and he has been a long-serving member of the Miami Dade County Commission (since 1993). His commission district is geographically the largest and most diverse in the county, spanning as far south as the Monroe County line.
His story: Moss wants to see Miami-Dade flourish and its citizens thrive, and he has worked for several decades to make that happen. Moss made his mark on the community after Hurricane Andrew devastated South Miami-Dade. He developed The Moss Plan — an economic and community revitalization plan that included improvements, redevelopment and beautification projects. The Federal Emergency Management Agency designated $73 million for the Moss Plan, and its effects are still being felt as projects continue to come to fruition. Among them: the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, which opened in 2001, and the Family Aquatic Center in West Perrine Park, which held its grand opening Memorial Day Weekend.
Some of Moss’ accomplishments include helping to save the Homestead Air Reserve Base and bringing South Dade a public hospital, a winery and an extension of the busway to Florida City. As chair of the Zoo Oversight Board that oversees Zoo Miami, Moss also has worked to encourage the growth of the area’s zoo. And for more than 15 years, Moss has led Neat Streets Miami, a county board dedicated to the maintenance and beautification of transportation gateways, corridors and connections.
In 2008, Moss developed Miami-Dade’s Aesthetics Master Plan, and in 2011, he launched Million Trees Miami, whose goal is to plant
1 million trees by 2020 to transform the county into a greener landscape. “If the area is well-landscaped, residents’ values stay up, tourists get a better impression and people feel safer,” Moss says.
Along with those efforts, Moss chairs the Transit Solutions committee, working to bring effective transportation solutions to South Dade.
“I am proud that I have been able to serve my district for as long as I have and see the many improvements that have occurred,” Moss says. “In Miami-Dade, diversity is our strongest asset, if we work together. That’s not always easy, but we can figure out how everyone can be part of the whole.”
8. Healthcare: George Suarez
Job title: Urologist, founder of HIFUmedicalexpert.com, former faculty member in the urology department at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
How he got into the field: Suarez, who has several physicians in his family background, became interested in a career in medicine at a young age.
Why he does what he does: Suarez says his passion for healing other people drove him into medicine: “When you can save a life, that’s amazing. When you can preclude someone from pain, that’s amazing.”
Personal: Age 60; divorced. (In a relationship). Grew up in Miami.
His story: In the medical world, Suarez has devoted his career to finding a noninvasive option for men with prostate cancer. He pioneered a treatment — recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration — for prostate cancer known as high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU). This treatment delivers energy converted to heat into the body without harming intervening tissue and without requiring surgery, radiation or chemotherapy.
For 13 years, while awaiting FDA approval in the United States, Suarez administered HIFU to prostate cancer patients overseas. Suarez’s relentless commitment contributed to the FDA’s decision to approve HIFU treatment in the U.S. for prostate cancer in October 2015.
Suarez said his dogged determination grew from seeing HIFU’s success in treating prostate cancer patients who experienced a much lower risk of impotence, incontinence and re-occurrence. He has performed more than 2,300 HIFU treatments, probably more than any other urologist worldwide, and has trained more than 500 physicians in how to administer the treatment.
Suarez says his reward is seeing men return to good health with their dignity intact and without the troublesome side effects of traditional invasive prostate cancer treatments. He now performs the treatment in South Florida as well as abroad.
“Having changed the culture of how we treat the most common cancer in men and having the opportunity to impact your colleagues and the entire community of urologists across the world is very satisfying,” he says.
9. Next Generation: Richelle Williams
Job title: Excecutive pastor and chief of staff at Jesus People Ministries Church International in Miami Gardens
How she got into the field: Following in her father’s footsteps. Bishop Isaiah S. Williams Jr., along with his wife, Gloria Williams, founded the ministries more than three decades ago. Her father died in 2009, and now Williams preaches alongside her mother, who is the senior pastor.
Why she does what she does: The rewards are visual and visceral. “I love and breathe what I do,” Williams says. “This is very rewarding. I have families who come and say thank you for having your church open. You don’t know how much you touched me.”
Personal: Age 39; divorced, with four children, three boys and a girl ranging in age from 5 to 10.
Her story: For Williams, it was a little leap from beauty pageant winner to executive pastor. When Williams was 17, she reigned as Miss Miami Carol City, and years later, was a contender for Miss South Florida Coast. Her talent? Singing gospel music, naturally.
At one point, Williams says, she hoped to parlay her pageant success into a career in television news. “But my aspirations changed into wanting to help people,” says the Miami Carol City High alumna.
While earning an undergraduate degree in English, Williams distinguished herself as a member of Florida State University’s Garnet & Gold Scholar Society before obtaining a master’s degree in creative writing from Florida Atlantic University and later brushing up on scripture in an online program provided by Berea School of the Bible.
Despite all her education and obvious glamor, Williams is not one to stay closeted inside an ivory tower. She prefers ripped jeans to choir robes, and in many ways, the street is her pulpit. “I go out on the streets and I see gang-related issues that are going on, and I’m able to share with them that they can make other choices,” she says, adding that she works closely with Miami’s top prosecutor Katherine Fernandez Rundle to help at-risk juveniles.
That meshes with her service through the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, where Williams mentors high school students. She says the volunteer work is “dear to who I am and what helps me to make a tremendous impact within my community.”
Her church provides a refuge, where people can pray and play. There’s a basketball court that’s always open, she says, adding, “We don’t just preach and teach on a Sunday.
Williams also finds time to serve as the first female chaplain for the Miami Gardens Police Department.
10. Philanthropy: Ruben Campbell
Job title: President and founder of Music For Your Heart Foundation
How he got into the field: Campbell began singing at age 5. He’s a native of Spain, where both his grandparents sang flamenco and his father sang classical French romantic songs. It was a family affair, where they would all play music and sing.
Why he does what he does: “My two passions are music and children. That’s when I came up with the idea of starting Music For Your Heart Foundation, a nonprofit providing music and education to kids in our community.”
Personal: Age 42; single
His story: Campbell is the real Music Man. Unlike “Professor” Harold Hill, who in the Broadway musical spun visions of a band with 76 trombones blaring through Main Street, Campbell has been making music a reality by giving away musical instruments to children and schools in need. When not working as a luxury real estate agent in Miami, Campbell heads the nonprofit Music For Your Heart, which he founded in 2010 — no small feat, given that he arrived in Miami the year before with only $10 in his pocket.
“I personally won six years ago when I knew that this would be my mission,” he says. “This was a gift from God.” The original plan in 2009 entailed Campbell selling his corporate consulting company in Spain to a business partner for $600,000, seed money to launch his music career in the United States.
But while Campbell readied for his great American adventure, the company went bankrupt and he lost everything. In a leap of faith, Campbell opted to pursue his dream and boarded a Miami-bound plane.
When he landed, the first thing he did was play tennis to clear his mind. He went to the Flamingo Park Tennis Center in Miami Beach and by coincidence was paired with a man involved with real estate renovation. He hired Campbell for $150 a day, and the first job entailed working on a house once owned by The Bee Gees, one of the most successful vocal groups ever. That job led to others and eventually he met the presidents of the four big recording studios — Universal, Sony, Warner, EMI — who all told him they weren’t signing new artists.
Around this time, he also met an orchestral director who needed 35 classical instruments for her young students, and the foundation was born.
Campbell next offered to help Miami-Dade schools and his foundation assisted Glades Middle School last year when it needed instruments, repair and support to attend the prestigious Midwest Clinic in Chicago. “It’s the most important music clinic for orchestras and bands and only two middle schools in the world are invited to participate — and Glades Middle School was one of them,” he says. “It was like a dream come true for those kids.”
Last year, he also launched his own label, Music Legacy Records, and plans to include some of the young untapped talent on his recordings.
11. Quality of Life: Constance Collins
Job title: Executive director of the Lotus House Women’s Shelter
How she got into the field: “It has come to me out of a passion for lifting women and children out of homelessness,” she says.
Why she does what she does: “I’m such a believer that we are — and this is going to sound holistic — but I actually believe that we are one. It just came out of a love that I have for people who are one with me. In this case, there was just an enormous unmet need.”
Personal: Age: 57; divorced from art collector and developer Martin Margulies, whom Collins describes as “her best friend and partner in service of this shelter.”
Her story: For the past decade, Collins has provided humanity to the homeless. After a career in real estate law, Collins founded Lotus House to accommodate the burgeoning need for the homeless women and children in Miami-Dade County.
“Gender has a great deal to do with why women are homeless, and gender needs to be addressed in the solution,” Collins says, pointing out that trauma and violence against women often leads to them fleeing their homes with their children.
Collins first took note of homelessness when at age 13 she saw a homeless woman on the street in New York, bundled in layer upon layer of clothing. “How could any of us be happy as long as one of us lives like this,” she pondered. “I couldn’t be happy at the age of 13.” That image remained with Collins as she went on to study political science at Trinity College in Hartford and then law at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
Today, Collins volunteers full time at the shelter. Despite her best efforts, thousands of women and children are turned away each year because the current facility is just not big enough, she says. Due to the ever increasing need, she announced plans this year to transform Lotus House into Lotus Village, a campus complete with community rooms, courtyards, fountains, and a wellness center open to the surrounding Overtown neighborhood.
The Lotus House Endowment Fund, with help from the Braman Family Charitable Foundation purchased parcels adjacent to the shelter to facilitate the expansion. The endowment fund also obtained a $19 million construction loan, backed by a guarantee from Martin Margulies.
Meanwhile, Collins is busy trying to raise $25 million from private funds. She sees the donations as an investment in humanity, she says, adding, “Homelessness is a serious issue that needs to be addressed without judgment or blame.”
12: Real Estate Development: Tibor Hollo
Job title: Architect, president and founder of Florida East Coast Realty
How he got into the field: When Hollo came to the United States in 1948, the Hungarian-born architect couldn’t find a job. “The only way you could get a job was if you had pull,” he says, explaining why he became a building contractor.
Why he does what he does: He builds skyscrapers because there is only so much buildable land in Miami, with the ocean to the east and the Everglades to the west. “We can only grow vertically. We can’t anymore grow horizontally. We cannot decimate the lands that we have by going into the Everglades to build homes.”
Personal: Age 88; married to Sheila, and they have lived in the same house in Miami Beach for nearly 50 years. They have two sons and a daughter, 15 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren.
His story: Like a lot of people, Hollo came to Miami to relax. Working as a contractor with offices in New York, Detroit and San Francisco, where he “took all the jobs that big contractors didn’t want because they thought it was a messy job” burned him out. So, he came to Miami in 1956.
“I wanted to be in a place where I could enjoy myself working,” he says. “At the time, Miami was a sleepy little town and Miami Beach was seasonal.”
Upon his arrival he saw Miami as a linear downtown, with suburbia created by soldiers who could afford to buy their own homes under the GI Bill. It became an acceptable lifestyle for fathers to spend more time in their automobiles going to work and less time at home with their families.
“For the yuppies and the millennials that wasn’t right because they never saw their fathers,” he says. “I recognized in the late ’60s that there will be re-immigration into the core of the city, into the womb of the city, because people are going to get tired of six-lane traffic coming in and out of the city.”
The only way to accommodate this new migration is to build bigger buildings, and the only way to go is up. For the past 60 years, Hollo has revolutionized Miami’s cityscape, with his Omni and Venetia projects in Miami’s arts district and Brickell Avenue’s first high rise office building (444 Brickell Avenue). He keeps getting bigger and better with age. His latest project — One Bayfront Plaza — is a mixed-use project that at 1,049-feet-tall is projected to be the tallest building south of New York.
It’s a testament to Daniel Burnham, the architect of New York’s Flatiron Building who implored: “Make no little plans, they have no magic to stir men’s blood.”
13: Alberto Ibargüen
Job title: President and CEO of the Miami-based John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
How he got into the field: Ibargüen has had an eclectic career that began as a Peace Corps volunteer in Venezuela and a program officer in Colombia, followed by law school and a stint as a lawyer before joining The Hartford Courant, then Newsday and later as publisher of the Miami Herald.
Being the head of the Knight Foundation in Miami is sort of like being Santa in a business suit. While at the helm of the $2.4 billion nonprofit institution, Ibargüen, 72, has used the foundation’s financial might to transform the cultural core of cities served — all former Knight-Ridder newspaper towns, including Miami. Ibargüen wants to use the money to promote worthy works, not just passing fads that pass for contemporary culture and art.
“When people talk about using art for a social purpose, they almost never really care about the quality of the art,” Ibargüen once said. “We do! We want to find things that thrill us and we think will thrill other people. All of this only works because the art is genius.”
Ibargüen, who took charge of the foundation in 2005, has used the grant money to propel some of Miami’s emergent and beloved institutions such as the New World Symphony, Pérez Art Museum Miami, ICA, Sweat Records, Coral Morphologic and The LAB Wynwood.
Once the face of the Miami Herald, Ibargüen helped transform the city by giving Spanish-language writers and readers a more visible voice when he upgraded el Nuevo Herald from an insert in The Miami Herald to a newspaper in its own right.
Today, the former publisher gives voice to the creative souls who are changing Miami from within, attracting international attention — and not just from Latin America — through innovative art and architecture and a global forum in Art Basel Miami Beach and DesignMiami/.