Miami Beach Community Members Honored at Chamber Gala

MBCC Goldberg RakowHundreds of guests will gather at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach on Saturday, May 7, 2016 as the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce honors five distinguished leaders of the community at its 94th Annual Dinner Gala and Silent Auction.

In addition to celebrating another successful year as an organization, the event is an annual fundraiser for the Chamber’s 501(c)3 Education Foundation, which supports educational initiatives in the Miami Beach community. The gala, themed The Best is Yet To Come, is organized by a subcommittee Co-Chaired by Robin Jacobs and Sherry Kaplan Roberts.

This year’s celebrated honorees include:
• Stuart Blumberg, Former President and CEO, Greater Miami & The Beaches Hotel Association, will receive the City National Bank Miami Beach Senior High Alumni Outstanding Achievement Award
• David Edelstein, President of TriStar Capital, will receive the Excellence in Tourism Award
• Pierluigi Gazzolo and Viacom International Media Networks will receive the Corporate Citizen of the Year Award
• Jonathan Plutzik, Owner, The Betsy – South Beach, will receive the Jan Pfeiffer Distinguished Service Award
• Stanley Whitman, Chairman Emeritus of Whitman Family Development LLC, will receive the Leonard A. “Doc” Baker Lifetime Achievement Award

On this evening, Miami Beach’s top business professionals and community leaders will honor the legacy of Frank Sinatra and his upcoming centennial birthday, pay tribute to the accomplishments of the honorees and congratulate them for raising the stature of Miami Beach within the community and beyond. Party goers will enjoy an entertaining evening filled with over 300 silent auction items, awards dinner, a unique live auction, live entertainment by EXTASY, dancing at the City National Bank sponsored After party and more.

The event is co-hosted by Chamber Chairman and SVP of Gibraltar Private Bank & Trust Michael S. Goldberg and WPLG Local 10 News reporter Erica Rakow. In February of 2016, at a Chamber event, Erica and her mother Toni Rakow-Lester were presented a key to the City of Miami Beach on behalf of slain Miami Beach Police Officer, Scott Rakow. Erica Rakow was 6 months old when her father, Miami Beach Police Officer Scott Rakow, died in the line of duty on July 1, 1988. The story of the 28-year-old officer gripped the region and thrust his family into the spotlight.

“This year’s event will truly be a one of a kind experience showcasing the incredible life of Frank Sinatra who often performed to packed houses at the Fontainebleau,” said Chamber Chairman & SVP of Gibraltar Private Bank & Trust Michael S. Goldberg. “I’m excited to celebrate the accomplishments that our award recipients have achieved to strengthen Miami Beach in their own unique way. I’m looking forward to hosting the event with Erica Rakow, whose father is a Miami Beach hero, who I was honored to have known. Finally, I’d like to recognize the contributions of the gala subcommittee led by Robin Jacobs and Sherry Kaplan Roberts for their support and commitment in putting together this grand event.”

Jonathan Plutzik- Jan Pfeifer Distinguished Service Award

The Jan Pfeiffer Distinguished Service Award is presented annually to an individual or company whose extraordinary community involvement has generated extensive contributions to South Florida. Jonathan Plutzik, this year’s recipient, is principal owner of The Betsy-South Beach a luxury hotel known for its community-based philanthropic work and its commitment to arts and culture. In 2014, Jonathan was recognized by the White House for the Betsy’s leadership support on behalf of permanent U.S. residents seeking full citizenship status. In 2015 Mayor Philip Levine appointed Jonathan to Chair the Blue Ribbon Task Force on the Future of Ocean Drive. Jonathan recently became a founding board of Planet Word, a new Washington, D.C. based museum that is dedicated to and focused on Language Arts. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

David Edelstein- Excellence in Tourism Award

The Excellence in Tourism Award is an award given to notable individuals or companies whose insight, leadership and nobility have contributed significantly to the tourism industry in Miami Beach. David Edelstein, President of New York-based Tri-Star Capital, is widely recognized for his mega-successful W South Beach Hotel, a ground up condo-hotel he opened in 2009 that has since recorded more than $300 million in sales. An original pioneer of Miami Beach’s renaissance, David invested in the now-famed Lincoln Road pedestrian mall in the late 1990s. His driving vision and forward-thinking helped position the area as an international shopping and dining destination. In late 2012, he sold his portion of Lincoln Road for $139 million – a sale that was billed as the largest retail acquisition in Florida that year.Also in 2012, he acquired Miami’s iconic Raleigh hotel in partnership with sbe’s Sam Nazarian, owner of the neighboring SLS South Beach hotel.

Stuart “Stu” Blumberg – City National Bank Miami Beach High Alumni Outstanding Achievement Award

The City National Bank Miami Beach Senior High Alumni Outstanding Achievement Award was created to honor an outstanding business professional who began in Miami Beach and whose achievements have extended into assisting the greater economy. A Past Chairman of the Chamber, Stuart “Stu” Blumberg is the recipient of this year’s award and is a member of the Miami Beach Senior High School Hall of Fame. Stu is a respected, consulted and influential executive on Miami Beach. Founder of the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce’s Pillar Trustees, he was the former President and CEO of the Greater Miami & The Beaches Hotel Association. With a 54 year career in hospitality on Miami Beach, he started as a bellman at the Americana Hotel. Years later, he founded the Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Association and later, the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau (GMCVB).

Stanley Whitman – The Leonard A. “Doc” Baker Lifetime Achievement Award

The Leonard A. “Doc” Baker Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to an individual whose exceptional lifetime contributions of community leadership and philanthropic endeavors have improved the quality of the life of Miami Beach citizens and this year will be presented to Stanley Whitman. Bal Harbour Shops founder, Stanley Whitman, has often been compared to the visionary Walt Disney– they both looked at a desolate plot of land and envisioned magic. Stanley Whitman, a real estate developer who had never built a shopping center in his life, had an uncompromising vision of transforming 16 acres that were once World War II army barracks into the first ever all luxury fashion center in the nation. Few would believe the site for Bal Harbour Shops, an unassuming sandy parcel of land would give rise to an idyllic version of Madison Avenue and become an attraction drawing tourists from around the world. Stanley, a native Miamian, whose family moved here in 1915, first became enamored with Bal Harbour in the 1950’s. With family owned retail space on Lincoln Road, he had witness the demise of the once glamorous outdoor shopping destination and he was adamant that a new high-fashion center located in Bal Harbour could thrive. The upscale center opened in 1965 with 30 New York tenants and was immediately successful. Six years later, Whitman enticed Stanley Marcus to open the first Neiman Marcus location outside of their native Texas. Saks Fifth Avenue and the most coveted fashion and jewelry brands soon followed, quickly establishing Bal Harbour Shops as the country’s number-one retail sensation.

Pierluigi Gazzolo & Viacom International Media Networks- Corporate Citizen of the Year Award

The Corporate Citizen of the Year Award is presented to individuals and/or institutions, whose selflessness, foresight and guidance have contributed immeasurably to the quality of life given to our community and this year’s recipient is Pierluigi Gazzolo and Viacom International Media Networks. In this role, he oversees all VIMN operations for Latin America, spanning Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Canada and US Hispanic (Tr3s). He is responsible for driving the ongoing expansion of VIMN’s portfolio of TV channels, including the launch of the Paramount Channel in the region, as well as increasing investment in original local productions for MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central branded networks. He is also responsible for overseeing the growth of VIMN’s non-linear presence in the region through innovative multiplatform products and services such as the Nick App and My Nick Jr.

For tickets and sponsorship opportunities, contact the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce at 305-674-1300 or Valerie Roy at CI Management via email at Tickets start at $325 and sponsored tables begin at $3250. Commemorative Program Book advertisements start at $350. All proceeds from the program book benefit the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce’s Education Foundation, a 501(c)3 created to provide scholarships to graduating Beach High students as well as support additional educational programming throughout the City of Miami Beach, including the International Baccalaureate (IB) programs, the in-school Nursing programs, as well as many additional initiatives.

The Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce wishes to thank the following Platinum Sponsors of the event for their continued support each year: Fontainebleau Miami Beach, BREAKTHRU Beverage, Warren Henry, Viacom, City National Bank, Viacom and Southern Audio & Visual.

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