Miami, March 15, 2018 – Miami Dade College (MDC) will honor a new group of distinguished alumni across various top industries – from music to real estate and public safety – at its 2018 Alumni Hall of Fame Awards Ceremony at 6 p.m., Tuesday, April 3, at the Hilton Miami Downtown.
Alumni Hall of Fame inductees are recognized each year for their career accomplishments, service and for making a positive impact on the community. The 2018 honorees are among the nation’s premier impresarios, public servants, business and civic leaders.
The MDC Alumni Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, now in its 16th year, is the largest Miami Dade College Foundation fundraiser of the year benefitting student scholarships for the next generation of leaders. For more information, visit www.mdc.edu/halloffame.
The 2018 MDC Hall of Fame inductees are:
Luis E. Diaz
Sharff, Wittmer, Kurtz, Jackson & Diaz, P.A.
With more than 20 years experience as a professional accountant, Luis E. Diaz currently serves as president and managing partner of Sharff, Wittmer, Kurtz, Jackson & Diaz, a top public accounting firm based in Coral Gables. In 2010, he received the Humanitarian of the Year award from the March of Dimes for his contributions. Diaz and his firm were also honored with the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce Diamond award for their achievement and corporate sponsorship efforts. Diaz is a member of a number of professional and community organizations, including the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Diaz studied accounting at Miami Dade College and then attended Florida International University, where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting.
KVH Architects, P.A.
As principal of KVH Architects, Caridad Hidalgo-Gato has provided professional services for a variety of project types throughout South Florida, with particular expertise in educational facilities, offices, parks and recreational facilities, health care, commercial, airports and mixed-use projects. Her work has been recognized in national and international publications and journals, including Progressive Architecture and Architectural Design. After her studies at Miami Dade College, she received a bachelor’s degree in architecture from University of Miami in 1980, where she was a member of The National Architecture and Engineering Honor Society Tau Beta Pi. She is a founding member of the Architectural Club of Miami and has been a Registered Architect in Florida since 1987.
Carlos R. Fernandez-Guzman
President and CEO
Pacific National Bank
Carlos R. Fernandez-Guzman serves as a member of the board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Pacific National Bank, headquartered in Miami. A well-respected banking veteran and community leader South Florida, Fernandez-Guzman has more than 40 years of private sector and banking industry experience. He has held various executive management positions and worked with turnaround teams at banks and other enterprises, including Riverdale Farms, XTec, CTI, American Savings of Florida, F.S.B., Consolidated Bank, N.A., and Southeast Services where he began his banking career. In 2012, Ronald McDonald House Charities Award Committee selected Fernandez-Guzman as one of its “Twelve Good Men” and, in 2007, he was selected for the Leadership Miami Salute to Miami’s Leaders Award in Finance. He is also a founding member of the U.S. Secret Service Secure Document Alliance and member of the Greater Miami Chamber’s President’s Club Hall of Fame. In addition to his studies at Miami Dade College, he attended Florida International University and completed a graduate program at the Louisiana State University’s Graduate School of Banking.
Florida College System
Madeline Pumariega is Chancellor of the Florida College System, comprising 28 colleges, which serves more than 800,000 students. She made history in August 2015, as the first female and Hispanic to hold the position. With business, higher education and governmental partners, Chancellor Pumariega is spearheading the Higher Education Coordinating Council initiative, Rise to 55 by 2025, an attainment goal for Florida focused on creating a skilled workforce. A product of the college system herself, Pumariega began her academic career at Miami Dade College and returned to the college where she spent 20 years growing her career, culminating as President of the Wolfson Campus. Chancellor Pumariega is a member of the Florida Prepaid College Board, Higher Education Coordinating Council, Florida Council of 100, The Center for Postsecondary Success at Florida State University, City Year Miami and Florida College Access Network. She was a Kellogg Fellow for the League for Innovation’s Expanding Leadership Diversity in Community and a graduate of Leadership Florida Class 33.
Ignacio Ares, P.E.
Florida Power & Light Company
Ignacio Ares is a transformer product engineer whose team oversees more than one million transformers spread across the U.S. and Canada, which includes wind, solar and nuclear generation facilities. Ares works for both Florida Power & Light Company and NextEra Energy Resources, which are subsidiaries of NextEra Energy, Inc. Ares earned his associate degree from Miami Dade College, his bachelor’s degree in engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and also attended a master’s degree program in engineering at the University of Miami. He is licensed as a professional engineer by the Florida Board of Professional Engineers, and he holds numerous other engineering credentials, including the Nuclear Systems Engineer certification from the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations.
JOURNALISM – BROADCAST
Vice President/General Manager
Spanish Broadcasting System
Donny Hudson has worked at Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) for 18 years and previously held various managerial positions, including SVP of Sales, Local Sales Manager, and Director of Local Sales. In 2005, Hudson and his team led WXDJ to finish number one in revenue, ahead of all Miami radio stations regardless of language. Prior to joining SBS, Hudson served as EVP of Sales for America CV Network/ America TeVe. He also worked in sales at HBC for WRTO-98.3FM, WAMR-107.5FM and WQBA-1140AM, WAQI-710AM and then as General Sales Manager of WRTO-98.3FM. He started his radio career at WSUA-Radio Suave after studying at Miami Dade College and earned a broadcasting degree from the University of Miami in 1989.
Vice President, Legal & Regulatory/Government Affairs
FedEx Express Latin America/Caribbean Division
As vice president for legal and regulatory/government affairs for the Latin America and Caribbean division of the Fortune 100 company, Marilyn Blanco-Reyes oversees a broad portfolio of contract, labor, compliance and other matters across 50 countries. Under her 20-year leadership, she has grown her department from a small team to a staff of more than 50 professionals. Blanco-Reyes has an associate degree from Miami Dade College and a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Florida International University. She graduated cum laude from the University of Miami School of Law in 1988. Blanco-Reyes is on the Advisory Board of the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce of Florida, a member of the Board of both the Brazil-U.S. Business Council and The WOW Center of Miami, and a member of the Miami chapter of the International Women’s Forum. Blanco-Reyes has received the FedEx Five-Star Award four times, in 1998, 2002, 2011 and again in 2013.
Michelle Martinez Reyes
Chief Marketing Officer
Michelle Martinez Reyes is the Chief Marketing Officer for Greenspoon Marder, LLP. With more than 20 years of experience working with domestic and international clients, she focuses on the firm’s strategy and growth, branding, business development, client relations, and media and public relations efforts across 24 offices throughout the U.S. Working closely with the founders and partners, Martinez Reyes serves as part of the leadership team of one of the largest law firms in Florida. She received an associate degree from Miami Dade College, a bachelor’s degree from Florida International University and an M.B.A. from Nova Southeastern University.
Geden Franck, M.D., M.S.
Sports Medicine Fellow
University of Miami Sports Medicine Institute
Geden Franck, M.D., M.S. is a Sports Medicine Fellow at the University of Miami Sports Medicine Institute, where he also serves as team physician for UM college sports teams and the Miami Marlins. He graduated from Miami Dade College’s Honors College before earning his bachelor’s degree at Emory University. Dr. Frank completed his medical training and a master’s degree in biomedical science at Florida State University College of Medicine. He completed his residency in Family and Community Medicine at University of Maryland Medical Center. He has been recognized for his achievements as a AMSSM Össur Americas Fellowship Member in 2017, a NIH-NMA Academic Fellow in 2015, and an Emory 100 Senior Honorary from the Class of 2009.
Harry Wayne Casey
KC & The Sunshine Band
Harry Wayne Casey, otherwise known as “KC” from KC & The Sunshine Band, is an internationally renowned, Grammy award-winning singer and songwriter. The band has been entertaining audiences around the world for more than 40 years and has sold more than 100 million records with a variety of hit singles like “That’s the way I like it,” “Please don’t go” and “Shake your booty.” Casey was honored with the NARAS Governor’s Award in 2001, the highest honor given by a chapter of the academy. He also received the coveted Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2002.
Samantha Carella, Psy.D, ABPP
Pediatric Psychology Associates
As a private practitioner in pediatric psychology and co-owner of Pediatric Psychology Associates, Dr. Samantha Carella works with children who have autism spectrum disorders, anxiety and attention disorders and those going through major life changes like divorce, death or illness. Carella expanded her practice to three locations in South Florida and created a nonprofit, The Growing Tree Foundation, to help families afford high-quality mental health care for their child. Carella earned her associate degree at Miami Dade College, and earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Florida International University in 1992. She earned a master’s degree in psychology in 1994 and a doctorate in clinical psychology in 1997—both with distinction—from the Miami Institute of Psychology. Carella has been a licensed psychologist since 1998 and earned her board certification in child and adolescent psychology in 2005.
PUBLIC SAFETY – POLICE
Jorge R. Colina
Chief of Police
Miami Police Department
Jorge R. Colina is the newly appointed chief for the Miami Police Department. During his 27 years with the department, he has commanded each of the department’s three divisions—Field Operations, Criminal Investigations and Administration—and served in numerous staff positions. After his studies at Miami Dade College, Colina attended Andrew Jackson University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Colina has also completed the Leadership in Crisis course at Harvard Business School’s Executive Leadership program, the Command Officers Development course of the Southern Police Institute at the University of Louisville, and the Police Executive Research Forum’s Senior Management, among other executive leadership and continuing education programs. Colina has received more than 100 awards and commendations during his career.
Secretary of Commerce/CEO
Enterprise Florida, Inc.
Peter Antonacci is the President & CEO of Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI,) and also serves as Florida’s Secretary of Commerce. Under Antonacci’s leadership, Enterprise Florida markets the state as the premier U.S. business location and No. 1 state for job creation. Florida has recently announced competitive project wins involving dozens of leading companies, including KPMG, Amazon, GKN Aerospace, Johnson & Johnson, ADP, AutoZone, and Lockheed. As Secretary of Commerce, Antonacci serves in a direct support role to Governor Rick Scott in shaping economic development policy and advising on factors that impact business growth. Raised in Hialeah, Antonacci attended Immaculate Conception School, Hialeah High School and Miami Dade College. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in urban and regional planning from Florida State University and a Juris Doctorate from Florida State University College of Law.
Renegade Investments, Inc.
With more than 30 years of experience in the real estate industry, Luis Machado currently serves as the president and CEO of Renegade Investments, a real estate investment and marketing firm that develops residential and commercial projects in Florida and Georgia. The firm also operates numerous subsidiaries and works in a wide range of markets. At Miami Dade College, Machado studied business administration and received his associate degree in 1986. He continued his education at Florida State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in real estate in 1988. He is an active member of many public service organizations, among them La Liga Contra el Cancer, the American Cancer Society, the Baptist Foundation Children’s Hospital and the South Florida Council for Boy Scouts.
About Miami Dade College Foundation
Founded in 1965, the Miami Dade College Foundation raises essential private funds for Miami Dade College to pay for student scholarships, STEM education, arts and culture, entrepreneurship, work force training, and other programs that elevate our community and nation. In 2016-2017, the MDC Foundation distributed more than $10.3 million to benefit the students, programs and operations of MDC. The College has a long history of responding to the needs of the community with degree programs and special events, both preparing the work force required by local businesses and offering the broader community access to world-class cultural and educational programming. Visit MDCFoundation.com.
MDC Foundation contact: Alyssa Zamora, director of communications and digital engagement, 305-237-3331, firstname.lastname@example.org.