Things We Loved in May

Great documentary with a guest appearance by Delray’s own Max Weinberg.

Things We Loved in May

 

It was great to see Boca Raton based Mela Artisans featured in Florida Trend Magazine in May. The company specializes in selling handmade goods made in India online and in stores such as Home Goods and TJ Maxx.

Keep an eye on this growing company.

 

FAU’s College of Engineering and Computer Science earned a $652,820 grant from the National Science Foundation to establish an Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning Laboratory. That’s good news for FAU as the Lab is said to be a first of its kind grant for the National Science Foundation proof of the university’s growing reputation in cutting edge fields of research.

 

 

Over 64 of tomorrow’s stars converged on the Delray Beach Swim & Tennis Club May 4-6 for the United States Tennis Association Boys and Girls 18 and under championship.

 

The PIM Open features rising stars who come to Delray for three days of top notch competition.

 

The event provides a boost to the local economy just when we need it, putting heads in beds at hotels and exposing Delray to players, families, coaches, college scouts etc.

 

Tennis is an important industry in Delray and we should grow it,  not litigate it.

 

 

 

 

We wish The EJS Project a happy one year anniversary and congratulate them on a great mini- documentary that was released in May. Check out the organization here: https://www.ejsproject.org/

 

We were honored to attend the 100th anniversary celebrations Plastridge Insurance at the Delray Marriott. Please see our blog about Plastridge and the legacy of the Lynch family here. We were also thrilled to see Plastridge win the “Business of the Century Award” from the Boca Chamber at a gala luncheon at the Boca Resort.

Plastridge Chair Tom Lynch told the capacity crowd that the key to success is to balance business with family life and to find time to take care of your health along the way. Tom is a terrific role model.

Congrats to fellow honorees Sal Saldana GM of Town Center at Boca Raton named Business Leader of the Year & Roxana Scaffidi of Florida Accounting & Advisers who was named Small Business Leader of the Year.

 

We were thrilled to see Frances Bourque get an honorary degree from the University of Florida in May. Please see our tribute here http://yourdelrayboca.com/our-frances-a-most-distinguished-citizen/

 

 

Speaking of Plastridge, CEO Connor Lynch was honored by Sun-Sentinel with a Next Excalibur Award.

 

Lynch, 38,  was not only honored he is the first winner of the Next Excalibur Award, which recognizes the next generation of leaders whose voices will contribute to the growth and sustainability of business and civic life in Palm Beach and Broward counties. Connor was selected by a committee of previous Excalibur award winners. His father was an Excalibur winner in 2000.

How cool is that!

 

Restaurant fare

 

Crazy Mike’s has crazy good wings.

Timpano on Las Olas has awesome food.

Da Best on Dixie and Yamato is a great sandwich shop.

Okeechobee Steakhouse: a classic with a fun bar scene, great service and truly great food. A true gem.

We tried Duck Donuts in Boca and it was awfully good. Just delicious.

The penne with mushrooms at Sardinia—defies description.

Don’t miss the plum wine at Sushi Thai in Delray and we are loving the Bee Hive in Boca.

Also, if you visit iPic Delray check out the pizza. It’s delish.

Last but never least, Ziree never fails in the taste and service department. Highly recommend you visit.

 

Thanks Chuck

Kudos to our friend Chuck Halberg who does so much for the community.

Chuck, a longtime Arts Garage patron, donated the roughly $40,000 worth of improvements that will add a classroom, an improved box office, a bar and administrative offices.

Viva Las Vegas

I attended my first International Council of Shopping Centers convention in Las Vegas this month.

In a word, it was overwhelming. More than 30,000 attendees, miles of booths and exhibits and some interesting seminars on the future of retail and shopping center design.

One takeaway: while we read about the “retail apocalypse” bricks and mortar still has some life left. Sure things are changing and we have to pay attention and adapt, but 91 percent of retail sales still take place in a physical store. We’ll revisit some of these subjects in upcoming blogs.

 

The 2019 Boca Raton Bowl will be televised on ABC on a Saturday afternoon instead of ESPN on a Tuesday night. The game will be played in FAU Stadium and the date is Dec. 21. Time is 3:30. Very cool. Mark your calendars.

 

Movies:

 

We caught Booksmart at Cinemark. Wonderful directorial debut from Olivia Wilde. The film has a chance to become a classic of the coming of age genre.

Finally, saw Vice on a cross country flight. Powerful. Christian Bale just may be the best actor of his generation.

We also caught a special showing of Asbury Park: Riot, Redemption, Rock N’ Roll at the new iPic. Wonderful documentary chronicling the rise, fall and rise again of a seaside city. We’ll have more in an upcoming blog. Highly recommend you go if you love cities, rock music and New Jersey.

 

Books:

 

I finished two books in May and recommend both. Palaces for the People by Eric Klinenberg is a beautifully written book about the public realm and the best defense of public libraries I’ve ever seen.

Love the title. And the sentiment.

Investments in libraries, parks, community centers, art, culture etc.,  are essential keys to happiness and strong communities. It’s a good message for our troubled times.

 

Thanks to Kate Volman I read Matthew Kelly’s book on creating a winning and happy culture, the Culture Solution.

 

A must read for business, government, academics and non-profit leaders who care about creating winning cultures. And if you don’t care…well you aren’t really a leader.

Until next month. Thanks for reading.

Water Cooler Wednesday: The Speech That Was Never Given

Meet the future and it's bright

Meet the future and it’s bright

A few weeks ago, my good friend Beth Johnston, asked if I would speak with the students in this year’s YEA class.

YEA stands for Young Entrepreneurs Academy, a national program sponsored locally by the Boca Chamber of Commerce.

Entrepreneurship is a passion of mine and I am always thrilled and honored to speak to students. I find that I get more from them than I can ever give, so selfishly I agreed in the hopes that I could soak up their energy and enthusiasm. I always like to prepare for speeches, but I rarely follow the script. The best talks are interactive dialogues where you go in directions you never anticipated. Still, I always like to work with a net, so I prepare remarks.

Well, as soon as I went to FAU to meet the budding entrepreneurs, we launched immediately into their ideas, which to be completely honest blew me away. If I were Mark Cuban and this was Shark Tank, I would have happily invested in several of the ideas. The students had worked for 30 weeks on their plans and they were solid, well thought out, innovative and very exciting. And I see lots of pitches.

I am in touch with a few of the young business leaders I met that day. But I never did get to deliver my speech. I thought I’d share it here, but the main take away is we have so much talent in Boca-Delray that we need to mentor, nurture, fund and develop. It would be the best economic development strategy we could ever imagine. Spend an afternoon with young entrepreneurs and you will be sure of our future.

First I want to congratulate you for being entrepreneurs at such a young age…

You have made a very smart and very brave choice…and you are to be congratulated for “getting it” so early in life. Your decision to be an entrepreneur and to participate in the YEA program will pay dividends for you today and throughout your life.

Today, I want to share with you some of my experiences and where I see entrepreneurship going and why I think it is so important for you to continue on this path…

I was 32 before I launched my first entrepreneurial venture—a whole lot older  than you are today and I knew a lot less than you.…I started a publishing company in my living room that I later sold to a media company six years after I launched it… without money, a business plan, or an exit strategy.

I made a lot of mistakes….struggled some months to pay the bills…but was never happier in my life and it was then that I realized in my 30s with two kids that I wanted…indeed I needed to be an entrepreneur. But I wish that I had the training that you had…I was a reporter for 12 years before I started my business….and so I thought I know a lot about publications…well I knew how to write and design them…but I knew nothing about sales, circulation, production, advertising or business.

I literally jumped off of a cliff and tried to build an airplane on my way down…

Since that time, I have learned what you have been taught..that it’s helpful to have a business plan and at least some seed capital to get started…that it’s important to know where you want to take your venture before you start…is it something you want to grow and sell or do you want to own and operate the company for a long time? You can always change your mind, but you should have an idea before you start.

I also learned that it is critical to surround yourself with good people…people who work hard, are willing to take risks, people who understand what it takes to succeed, are not afraid to fail because making mistakes and failing is all part of the process of success.

If I can teach kids one thing or if I could change one thing about society it would be that we should overcome our fear of failing…we should celebrate those who are willing to take a risk and value those who make mistakes because that is how you learn…that is how you grow…

 In business, it’s important to be with people who are honest…people who will respect your customer’s and your company…people who will be there for you when the going gets rough and it always gets rough…

So how do you do all of this…how do you find key partners, how do you find customers, how do you build a great company…

I think it all starts with culture…you have to treat people well, by respecting them, listening to them and making them feel a part of your mission….when your mission or cause becomes theirs….whether they work for you or they buy from you…you can’t help but succeed.

I am a big believer that learning entrepreneurial skills will serve you regardless of what you do in life.

So if you take this opportunity and go back home and create a business in your garage or your living room like I did, or if you take another path…what you learn here is invaluable.

When I sold my publishing company to BRN Media Group  I stayed around for two years to run the business and the Boca News before I helped to sell that newspaper to an investment group.

At that time, I decided to go into local politics and ran for the City Commission in Delray…

My background in business enabled me to approach politics in an entrepreneurial fashion. In fact, I said that we at the city should become civic entrepreneurs…because I believe that government can and should be entrepreneurial.

How can government be entrepreneurial….well it can fight bureaucracy, it can take some risks, it can try to be more business-like in its operations and it can try to deliver services in a more innovative way…

I can argue that government can’t afford not to be entrepreneurial because entrepreneurs are always trying to solve problems more efficiently, less expensively and in a better way.

So we tried some things…we teamed up with local businesses and residents to imagine a better downtown and came up with policies…rules that would encourage businesses to open their stores and restaurants downtown. We learned that parking rules often discouraged businesses from opening so we made them more flexible and the businesses came. We worked with the restaurants to allow tables on the street and it encouraged more restaurants to locate downtown. We took risks on events and festivals to market our city and added career programs to our high school using city employees as teachers to give our kids more options and opportunity.

We also changed our mindset…where sometimes cities are afraid to say yes and develop an attitude of how may I stop you…we decided to partner with businesses and say how may I help you…this sounds simple and it is…but it’s also powerful because it sends a message to people like you…entrepreneurs that Delray is a friendly place to do business and that we want to see you succeed and will help in any way we can.

So entrepreneurial skills are really helpful in any part of your life…the skills work in public service, they work if you go into education or the non-profit field and they work even if you’re an employee because an entrepreneurial employee will find new ways to profit, new ways to problem solve and new ways to delight customers.

So I am confident you will look back on this experience as being a reason why you succeed in the future.

And speaking of the future, it is my dream that some of you will build great entrepreneurial ventures right here in Boca or Delray…I hope you will take what you are learning and apply it to solving problems all over the world, but also here at home and that you will base your businesses here and give back by serving the community, donating to worthy causes and creating jobs for others.

 

Water Cooler Wednesday: A Conversation With Boca Chamber Chair Randy Nobles

Dedicated to the community

Dedicated to the community

The Interview: Randy Nobles Chairman of Boca Chamber

We recently caught up with Randy Nobles, who currently serves as the Chairman of the Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce. Randy talked about many issues – the Boca Raton business community, his retirement from Comerica Bank, and his new position with an accounting firm based in Michigan which has opened an office in Boca Raton.

 

Randy, tell us a little bit about your role as Chairman of the Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce: 

It is a great role that I am proud to serve in.  To be the Chief Volunteer Officer of the one of the most prominent business groups in Palm Beach County gives me exposure and insight into a lot of the progressive things happening in our area.  The Chamber has over 1,400 members and is not only doing a great job in traditional chamber areas such as networking activities and events, but also is doing a lot of things to better educate its members.  It is also active on the public policy front, helping to ensure that a pro business stance is forefront with both issues and our elected officials.  And don’t forget about the Golden Bell Education Foundation that has put over $1 million into area classrooms.  All things considered, this is no ordinary chamber of commerce!!

 

What are your impressions of Boca’s business community and why it is considered a favorable landing spot for companies moving to Florida?

I always start with some of the no brainers; great year-round weather and no state income tax are 2 biggies…but those are not  necessarily  unique to Boca.   Education is always top of mind, from our superior private school offerings, to the great strides our public schools have made (my kids are in Boca Middle and Boca High) to what we have to offer on the higher education front with 3 fantastic institutions.  Health care is far superior with Boca Regional, West Boca and Delray Community all on the forefront.  There are plenty of options when it comes to where to live —  from one-of-a-kind ocean condos to sprawling homes in great communities in our western areas.  Miles and miles of beautiful, undeveloped beaches and countless parks are a big plus as well.  Having supportive organizations such as the Chamber and the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County helps set a pro-business climate.  The list goes on……

Can you give us any insight regarding new companies, construction projects or any other news that may  be of interest to our readers?

I don’t think you need to have any real insight here,  just take a look around.  Cranes are in the air all over downtown.  There is a great vision for Arvida Park of Commerce with lots of things underway there, too.  We’ve got Trader Joe’s coming and Office Depot staying.    Jobs in the technology, health care and educational sectors continue to increase.    Town Center Mall is thriving and continues to expand as are other retail areas and establishments.  Business is good and getting better!

 

You had a distinguished banking career with Comerica for over 30 years. How is retirement? Any improvement in your golf game? 

“Retirement” was interesting, while it lasted!  As planned, I was successful  in taking about 8 months off to relax and focus on my family,  some home projects, and do some traveling.    Having recently moved into a new house, we did some fairly major renovations, which felt good to get done.  We also did some quality family traveling, highlighted by a trip to Hawaii.  Aside from the Chamber, I am active on two other boards, the YMCA of South Palm Beach County and Hospice by the Sea, which also helped keep me busy.   Bottom line, I had a lot of fun, got some things accomplished, gave back to the community but the time really flew by!  And my golf game is “still lacking”!

We understand that you are working with Croskey Lanni, PC, a Michigan-based accounting firm as it opens a Boca Raton office. How is it going? And, what is appealing about Boca to the company owners?

Dave Croskey, the firm’s founder and managing partner, and I have been friends for 30 years.  Through the efforts of Dave and others, the firm has built a solid client base in the Florida market over the years but the opening of an office will solidify our presence and allow us to grow at a heightened pace.  What attracted me to the firm was simple:  Values common to mine.  Starting with the firm’s vision of “Embrace Extraordinary” and incorporating their values built around quality, integrity and respect made it a perfect fit.  The value proposition is the starting point in appealing to Boca business owners.   It is a given that we have strong competencies with respect to tax preparation and financial reporting, but the firm’s consultative and value-added approach sets us apart.  Our focus is targeted at small to medium businesses and their owners with specialties in health care, non profits, material handling, real estate, charter schools, retail business and professionals.   Feel free to give me a call to grab a cup of coffee—561-289-6281