Miami, April 20, 2016 – Miami Dade College (MDC) will recognize a new group of distinguished alumni and professionals across various industries – including business, law, medicine, and public safety – at its 2016 Alumni Hall of Fame Awards Ceremony, on Tuesday, April 26, at 6 p.m., at the Hilton Miami Downtown, 1601 Biscayne Blvd. MDC’s annual Hall of Fame benefits the Alumni Scholarship Fund, a prime source of scholarship funding and support for MDC students.
The 2016 MDC Hall of Fame inductees are:
Alberni, Caballero & Fierman, LLP
Caballero is managing partner of Alberni, Caballero & Fierman LLP, a full service certified public accounting firm that he helped found in 2004. The son of Cuban immigrants who arrived with little more than their clothes, Caballero has become a stalwart in his profession. He serves as chairperson of the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants Miami-Dade Chapter and is former president of the Cuban American CPAs Association. His company won the Sunshine Award for Accounting Firm of the Year from the South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in 2014 and 2015.
Ricardo J. Fernandez
Indigo Service Corporation
Fernandez is the founder and chief executive of Indigo Service Corporation, an architectural, design, management and consulting firm with a roster of prestigious public and private sector clients in the U.S. and overseas. The firm specializes in U.S. and international projects for cruise port developments and other maritime operations, as well as the hospitality industry. He is a registered architect in the State of Florida with more than 40 years of experience and a sought after lecturer and public speaker who has been frequently recognized for his professional excellence.
Roberto R. Muñoz
President, South Florida Market
During his youth, Muñoz lived six years in Hong Kong, immersed in an environment that prepared him for a career in international banking. Today he is the South Florida market president for BBVA Compass. Muñoz was formerly the president and CEO of Marquis Bank, executive vice president and chief lending officer of Professional Bank, Chief Representative of Mizuho Bank Tokyo, Japan and Chief Lending Officer for Florida at Israel Discount Bank, Tel Aviv, Israel. He is the Immediate Past Chairman and Executive Board Member of the Florida International Bankers Association and the founding chair of the Asian Markets Committee.
Chief Operating Officer
Archive America Group, Seaboard Warehouse Group, Precision Delivery Systems, WareITis Technologies, National Brands
Macia used her positive energy to bring together 90 independent companies from five countries that had been fierce competitors for years. She has worked for some of the top firms in the nation, including KPMG and Ernst & Young, where she was a partner. She is currently COO of Archive America, which provides records management services and operates records centers across the country; the Seaboard Group, a third party logistics service provider and WareITis Technologies, the developer of Records Studio, a leading enterprise content management solution. She is a member of the American and Florida Institutes of Certified Public Accountants and secretary/treasurer of the Blank Family Foundation.
Reinaldo Sanchez, DMD
Miami Center for Dentistry/Dentist at Market Square
Dr. Sanchez owns the Miami Center for Dentistry and Dentist at Market Square, where he offers a full spectrum of care for his patients, including dental implantology and orthodontics. He earned a Doctorate of Dental Medicine from Temple University School of Dentistry and stays abreast of the latest developments in dentistry by taking more than 200 hours of continuing education each year. Dr. Sanchez has professional affiliations with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and the Academy of General Dentistry, among other organizations. He has also earned Fellowship and Mastership status with the American Dental Implant Association.
Booker T. Washington Senior High School
Aristide, Booker T. Washington Senior High School’s principal, has been a teacher and school administrator for 27 years. Prior to becoming a principal, he was vice principal at Miami Edison and Miami Carol City High Schools. He earned a master’s in special education from the University of Miami and a specialist degree in educational leadership from Florida Atlantic University. Aristide was selected as Principal of the Year for the Central Region for 2015-2016 and is a finalist for Principal of the Year for Florida this year as well. He was a finalist for Assistant Principal of the Year for Florida in 2008 and named Assistant Principal of the Year for Miami-Dade County in 2008.
Jesus A. Martinez, P.E.
Southwest Research Institute
As principal engineer at the Southwest Research Institute, Martinez devotes his energies to keeping today’s means of transportation moving smoothly, with an eye in the future. His specialty is intelligent transportation systems. The son of Cuban immigrants is a registered engineer in Florida, Texas and Arkansas. Martinez earned his associate degree in electrical engineer from MDC and a bachelor’s degree in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Miami and holds an MBA from Florida International University. He is also certified as a Project Management Professional and presided over the Intelligent Transportation Society of Florida.
Donald Van Orsdel
Van Orsdel Family Funeral Chapels and Crematory
Donald Van Ordel, a third generation funeral director, comes from a lineage of those devoted to helping people in the most trying times: dealing with the death of a loved one. After graduating from high school, Van Orsdel matriculated into the Funeral Services program at MDC and became a licensed funeral director. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Miami He is a longtime member of the University Baptist Church in Coral Gables, as well as Rotary Club of Miami and has won numerous awards and recognitions for his professional and civic service.
Paul A. Rothman
Prestige Health Choice
As an entrepreneur and healthcare executive, Paul Rothman is unwavering in his dedication to provide improved healthcare services and advocate for underserved minority populations. He was the founding president of Prestige Health Choice. Rothman refers to MDC as a cornerstone for his career that provided him with an affordable and high-quality education. He continued his studies at the University of Florida, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and pursued graduate studies. He has also studied at Harvard’s School of Public Health. He was a leader in the U.S. Department of Defense Military Health Services Systems (MHSS) 2020 project and has served in public policy and national association boards. Last year, Rothman was a recipient of the prestigious Jessie Trice Health Hero Award.
Hospitality & Tourism
Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer
Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau
As executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, Aedo is responsible for promoting Miami globally. After being awarded his associate degree from MDC, Aedo continued to earn a bachelor’s degree from Florida International University and an MBA in international business from the University of Miami. He is a Certified Destination Management Executive and the catalyst for the “It’s So Miami” advertising campaign and the “Miami Begins with Me” customer service program. A winner of a plethora of industry awards and honors for his advertising and marketing innovations, Aedo was also named as one of the top 25 Extraordinary Minds in sales and marketing by the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International in 2012.
Pila Design Studio
An avid, lifelong learner who has managed to balance being a wife, mother, designer, and entrepreneur, Beatrice Pila-Gonzalez is not someone who has even been daunted by challenges. She founded B. Pila Design Studio almost 20 years ago, and has become one of the most sought after interior designers in the region. Pila Gonzalez received an associate degree in interior design from MDC and is certified by the National Council for Interior Design Qualification. She was named to Design Times “10 Designers to Watch” list, as well as the “New Faces of 1998” list by Contract Magazine. She was a Southern Accents National Interior Design award winner, an Absolut Vodka Hispanic Designer of the Year and is the recipient of many more accolades. She has appeared as a guest on HGTV and hosted for the DIY network
Journalism – Broadcast
A longtime and distinguished journalist, Lori Montenegro began at Noticiero Telemundo in 1996. She gives partial credit for the quick start to her career in journalism to a teacher at MDC. “A thoughtful professor sent me to a job interview at a radio station in Miami Beach”. A Washington correspondent for 25 years, Montenegro began as a foreign affairs reporter for the United States Information Agency. She has covered the White House, Capitol Hill, the State Department, the Pentagon, the Justice Department, and other governmental institutions. Montenegro has garnered numerous awards including the Latina Leader Award from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, and the coveted Ruben Salazar Award for Communications from the National Council of La Raza. She has helped pave the way for other Afro-Latinos to enter Hispanic media.
Journalism – Print
LGBT Issues Reporter
Rothaus fell in love with journalism when he became involved with the MDC student newspaper. A reporter at the Miami Herald for 30 years, Rothaus covers LGBT issues in South Florida. Rothaus worked on two Miami Herald teams that shared the Pulitzer Prize: the first, for Public Service in 1993, for coverage of Hurricane Andrew, and the second, in 2001 for Breaking News, for coverage of the Elian Gonzalez story.
Rosa M. de la Camara
Shareholder & Attorney
Becker & Poliakoff P.A.
De la Camara was inspired to become a lawyer after taking her first class, criminal law, at MDC. She has worked for 29 years at Becker & Poliakoff, a law firm based in Ft. Lauderdale where she is now a shareholder. De la Camara has penned numerous articles on laws impacting community associations and is a frequent guest on news and information broadcasts. She also serves on numerous boards and advisory panels, including the Miami-Dade County Enterprise Zone Advisory Council and the Florida Community Association Living Study Council.
Orlando A. Puente, M.D., FACS
Baptist Health South Florida
With both a grandfather and an uncle who were doctors, it is not surprising that Puente became one as well. He has been a practicing physician for 36 years. As well as his private practice, Puente is on the senior medical staff of Baptist Hospital of Miami and other regional hospitals. He has published on vascular pathologies and surgical techniques with the staff at Baptist’s Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute and has been a frequent presenter at medical conferences.
The Rev. Ronald Brummitt
Miami Rescue Mission
After 18 years of struggle, battling the demons of addiction, Brummitt entered the Miami Rescue Mission in 1990, and faced down his substance abuse. Today, he is the president of the Miami Rescue Mission/Broward Outreach Centers, where he works for the homeless and destitute of South Florida as only a person who has been there can. He is now an ordained minister with numerous academic credentials. He is a Certified Addictions Professional and completed a course in Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management at Harvard Business School.
Jorge A. Valdes, DNP, CRNA, ARNP
Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology
Beyond his medical training, Valdes credits MDC with helping him learn leadership skills and become a fluent public speaker. He is a presenter at professional conferences and a guest lecturer. He also participates in mission trips to Haiti with Baptist Hospital and to Guyana with Barry University. He was deployed in an emergency response medical unit in relief efforts following Hurricane Georges in 1998 to Key West.
Lorneka Joseph, RPH
A doctor of pharmacy, health coach, author and inspirational speaker, Lorneka Joseph seeks to take care of a person’s mind, body and soul. Born and raised in the Bahamas, Joseph pursued a career in pharmacy after losing her mother to multiple sclerosis when she was 17 years old. She is a certified HIV/AIDS tester and counselor; and writes about health and relationship issues that have been published in a variety of periodicals.
Public Safety- Fire
Retired Deputy Fire Chief
City of Miami, Department of Fire-Rescue
For more than 30 years, Pidermann has been serving the Miami community as a firefighter. He recently retired as deputy fire chief, a position the Miami city manager appointed him to in 2014. Among his credentials are degrees in fire science and emergency medical services from MDC, a bachelor’s degree in accounting, a master’s in public administration and numerous professional certifications.
Public Safety- Police
Juan J. Perez
Miami-Dade Police Department
During the past 25 years, Perez has risen through the ranks of leadership to become director of the Miami-Dade Police Department. He is also an alumnus of the FBI National Academy, one of the foremost law enforcement training institutions in the country, and the Police Executive Leadership Institute. He has been frequently recognized for exceptional professionalism as a law enforcement officer, receiving over 100 official commendations for his service. He is also the current president of the Police Officer Assistance Trust, a nonprofit organization serving local the law enforcement.
Amos Rojas Jr.
Law Enforcement Officer
U.S. Marshals Service, Southern District of Florida
In 2014, Rojas was nominated by President Barack Obama and sworn in as the U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of Florida. Before becoming a U.S. Marshal, Rojas worked for the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, serving as the deputy director of the South Florida Money Laundering Strike Force. His extensive career also includes 24 years of service at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and a stint as an investigative supervisor in the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office. He has also served in the Miami-Dade and the Huntsville, Alabama, police departments.
Dennis E. McGuire
Founder and CEO
Ecosphere Technologies Inc.
Inventor and environmentalist McGuire holds more than 35 U.S. and international patents and patents pending. Perhaps McGuire’s most transformational invention will be the Ecos PowerCube, which won the 2014 Best of What’s New award in the Green category from Popular Science. It is a solar-powered unit that can be deployed virtually anywhere in the world to provide water, electricity and internet connectivity. He has spent his professional life coming up with ways to improve basic human needs like clean water and power, and doing it in an environmentally friendly way.
José Parlá Studio
Parlá has exhibited his work nationally and worldwide in some of the most prestigious galleries and venues. He recently completed a massive commission for the lobby of the new One World Trade Center in New York City. ONE: Union of the Senses spans 90 feet by 14 feet, and it took Parlá almost an entire year, working alone, to complete the painting. Parlá received an associate degree in art from MDC. He attended the Savannah College of Art & Design and the New World School of the Arts at MDC.