Business school announces 2013 Hall of Fame inductees

The H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship will induct three South Florida businessmen into its Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame, which has been the Business School’s highest honor since 1990, during an April 24 ceremony at the Signature Grand in Davie, Fla.

According to Brandon Hensler, associate director of public affairs, the three business leaders — Thomas Shea, Armando Leighton Jr. and Felix Sabates Jr. — are being recognized for their personal success and willingness to contribute to programs and activities that enhance the community.

Hall of Fame members, in addition to serving as role models for NSU business students, are key financial supporters. According to Joseph Pineda, assistant dean of external affairs, over 12 million dollars in donations to NSU can be attributed to Hall of Fame members, although they are not obligated to give money to NSU. Pineda feels members are moved by NSU’s progress in providingfinancial support.

“We welcome all members to get involved, either to share their great stories as Distinguished Lecture speakers, or to join the Board of Governors,” said Pineda. “Once they get caught up in the excitement of NSU, it’s hard for them to stop.”

The new inductees will join prominent NSU figures in the Hall of Fame, including Albert Miniaci, Don Taft and Carl DeSantis.

Thomas Shea is the CEO of Right Management, a nationwide career management company that works to improve the human resource environment of South Florida and the Caribbean. His company began in 1979 as an outplacement firm in his home, and within two years, entered partnership with Right Management. He also founded Booming VOICES, an entrepreneur coaching organization, and serves on the Florida Council of Economic Education.

Armando Leighton Jr., CEO and founder of Corporate Rotable & Supplies Jet Spares, a Miami native, established his company in 1982 out of his family’s garage. His company went international in 1999 and received FAA approval in 2002.

Felix Sabates Jr., chairman of Trinity Yachts, immigrated to the U.S. at age 16. Sabates’ business career began with a car sales job in North Carolina and expanded to a $6 billion venture with Top Sales Company. Sabates’s involvement with sports and recreational activities led him to the yacht business, and his company is now the largest custom yacht builder in the U.S.

According to Director of Development at the Huizenga Business School, Jade Chen, Hall of Fame candidates are nominated by Dean Preston Jones, President George Hanbury and the Business School’s Board of Governors. Then, the Hall of Fame Selection Committee — which is comprised of current Hall of Fame members —  reviews each nominee’s biography and chooses the new inductees.

“The main qualities examined by the Hall of Fame Selection Committee are level of success, peer identification and how their wealth was accrued,” said Chen.

Deliberation and voting is completed exclusively by the committee members in November.

The new  Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame members will be officially inducted during the April 24 ceremony. Videos depicting the lives of Shea, Leighton and Sabates will be shown, and current Hall of Fame members will speak briefly about each inductee. This invitation-only event will host 400 to 500 guests, as the three businessmen join the ranks of South Florida’s accomplished entrepreneurs.

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