the case. There are a lot of employees who want to find out information. Payroll
and other things. And a lot of employees who want to steal information and sell
Q: You're on the Federal Reserve board. One of your responsibilities is to give insight into the local economy. Are you surprised Miami-Dade isn't seeing very strong job growth?
I think technology has a lot to do with it. In the early days in my business, computers were replacing employees in the accounting department. Nowadays it effects everything. I read the other day that FPL was laying off meter readers because it has new smart meters. Think about all the people who used to man toll booths. Those are just two examples. It's reached the level where we can do so much more with less.
Q: Is there an industry in Miami-Dade that you think doesn't get the attention that it should?
I'll tell you one that is just now beginning to get talked about, and that is manufacturing. Over the past year, there has been lots of talk about can we encourage manufacturing. But there is more manufacturing going on that we really see.
Q: How much time is involved in this Chamber position?
It's a substantial amount of time once you're the chairman. The Chamber has up to 200 events every year. Attending 30 to 50 events would not be out of the question for me. And the executive committee meets once a month. The board meets once a month. Trustee lunches are 11 times a year.
Q: How effective is it to have a new chair every year?
The chairs are already in place two years ahead of time. It gives you a two-year window to prep for it. In one year, you can make a pretty good dent, if you will, on the Chamber. There's always an agenda as far as the things you want to accomplish. What all the past chairs will tell you is something usually comes up that is totally unexpected.
Q: One unexpected item that came up during your predecessor's term last year was the resignation of Frank Nero as the CEO of the Beacon Council. Did the Chamber play any behind-the-scenes role in that?
The Chamber did not.
Q: What would you say are the big differences in those organizations?
The Beacon Council was borne from the Chamber many, many years ago. It was spun off. We at the Chamber are totally a member-driven organization. Our missions are similar, but different. Their job is to bring in companies that will bring jobs. Our mission is, once those companies come in, we have to meet them with open arms and get them acclimated to the community.
If we overlap a little bit, so be it.
Q: What is your agenda this year?
The first thing is: I want to make sure the Chamber a year from now is in as good of a financial state as it is today. I want to make sure we do the proper programming, and that we maintain the quality of the programming, which has always been really good.
Q: What do you bring to the position?
I come from a small, family-run, entrepreneurial and technological background. I am probably the first chairman to come out of that background. There are not a lot of small-business chairmen. And certainly not from technology.
In my opinion, I am Miami. What I represent is small business, and that's what we are.
(c)2013 The Miami Herald
Visit The Miami Herald at www.miamiherald.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services
Most Popular Stories
- NSA Defends Global Cellphone Tracking Legality
- Ad Counts Rise in 2013 for Hispanic Magazines
- Top Websites for U.S. Hispanics
- Networks Vie for U.S. Hispanic TV Viewers
- Saab Gets Back into the Game; U.S. Auto Sales Soar
- Apple Activates Customer-Tracking iBeacon
- Dell Offers Undisclosed Number of Employee Buyouts
- 2013 Tech Gift Guide: iPad Mini Still Hot; Chromecast a Great Low-Cost Option
- Authorities Close to Deal with JPMorgan Chase over Madoff Response
- A Biography of Jonathan Ive, Apple's Creative Chief