On Friday, January 24, the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce honored two business professionals for demonstrating outstanding leadership in their respective industries and two board members for their remarkable dedication to the organization at its Champions of Business Awards luncheon. Sponsored by BankUnited and held at the Ritz Carlton South Beach, the Chamber presented its Innovation in Business Award to Russell Galbut of Crescent Heights; Small Business of the Year Award to Ken Hendel of Gallery Art; Outstanding Board of Governor Award to Stephanie Ruiz of Media Department II; and Past Chair Award to Alan Randolph of C1 Bank. Chairman of the Chamber and SVP Gibraltar Private Bank & Trust Michael S. Goldberg hosted the luncheon, which drew in over 200 business professionals.
“The luncheon continues the Chamber’s tradition in recognizing the accomplishments of outstanding business professionals,” said Goldberg. “These individuals are true leaders in their respective fields and help to strengthen the foundation of our community at large.”
Managing Principal for Crescent Heights Russell Galbut was given the Aaron B. Perry Innovation in Business Award by Chairman and CEO of Gibraltar Private Bank & Trust Adolfo Henriques. Having been active in the urban mixed-use real estate sector for over 30 years, Galbut and Crescent Heights is a “best in class” developer with a successful track record in new construction and renovations. The award he received was created to address the historical significance of innovation in business and the positive effect it has in our community. Galbut has shown innovation by being the first to bring a “robotic garage” to Miami Beach.
“Being a part of a family that stands five generations living in Miami Beach, I can say this city is very important to me and all of us in the room,” said Galbut. “I can honestly say that it’s all about establishing meaningful partnerships, whether it’s with family or business partners, that makes you successful.”
In addition to receiving the award, Galbut was interviewed by Emmy Award-winning former Channel 10 anchorman Jerry Levine. This interesting and engaging conversation included an in depth discussion about the Galbut family’s deep roots in the Miami Beach community. Galbut touched upon his drive, diverse background and his experience in the hotel industry.
“Being born and raised on Miami Beach, the biggest economic engine in this community is the hotel industry and thank god it is growing and doing well,” said Galbut. “I’ve always wanted to be a part of it and the industry is where we all drive jobs from and work together with.”
Chamber Board of Governor member and Partner at Gerson, Preston, Robinson & Company Alan Lips presented the coveted Small Business of the Year Award to owner and curator of Gallery Art Ken Hendel. In a touching moment and continuing on the day’s theme of the importance of family and business, Hendel’s 8-year-old daughter Tiffany introduced and congratulated her father for his successes. Hendel said he hoped to one day present an award to his daughter and that the luncheon was a lesson in a leadership for his young daughter.
In business for over 20 years, Gallery Art buys and sells all type of art, including original oils, mixed media, limited edition graphics, bronzes, and glass sculptures. The award, in its third year, honors an individual member of the Chamber who started off with an idea, made it a reality, took it to the next level and raised the image of the business community.
“I started my business in 1989 and I didn’t know what I was doing,” said Hendel. “However, things started to happen and we developed a vision statement that placed a priority on growing with our clients got me where I am today.”
Receiving the Past Chair Award from Commissioner Joy Malakoff, a recipient of the award herself, was Senior Vice President and Miami-Dade market manager for C1 Bank Alan Randolph. Randolph has over 22 years’ experience in banking and leads a team of bankers focused on commercial real estate, business, residential and SBA lending. He has been crucial in elevating the importance and success of arts and culture within the Miami Beach community and continues to serve on the Chamber’s Executive Board. The award honors a past chairman who has continued to assist the Chamber in achieving the goals set by the organization for its business community.
Media Executive Stephanie Ruiz received the annual James McDonnell Outstanding Board of Governor Award for her years of dedication to the progress and expansion of the Chamber. Owner of Media Department II, Ruiz specializes in media planning, buying and promotions in all areas of media. Named after the late James McDonnell, who served as the Chamber’s President from 1972 to 1974, the award is given out to highlight the remarkable dedication of a Board Member who has taken a leadership role and provided service above and beyond the expected performance of a board member.
Additional speakers included Senior Vice President of Private Banking at BankUnited and Chamber Board of Governor member Rosary Plana Falero; Operating Director at Tzadik Management Adam Hendry; and Owner of 84 West Studios Jeffrey Greene.