Executives and Entrepreneurs in Residence Mentors

Nova Southeastern University’s Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship Executives and Entrepreneurs in Residence are highly accomplished professionals who have achieved success in their respective fields. They are passionate about giving back to the community and are eager to share their real-world wisdom with NSU students.

Our leaders are interviewed about their areas of expertise and the level/interest area of students they feel they can benefit most. They often have time or distance limitations that would not allow them to commit to ongoing mentoring of a single student, but they are often willing to speak to larger groups of students in classes or to faculty groups.

We are grateful for the support of these business leaders and for their commitment to helping NSU Business students achieve their goals. Their insights and experiences will be invaluable to our students as they prepare for their future careers.

Meet Our Mentors

Financial Advisor, Merrill Lynch - The Alexis & Heller Group

Alix Alexis

A 2013 NSU-MBA alumnus, Alix Alexis embodies the Shark motto, "Prepare to Dominate." Alix began his professional career in 2009 as a management development associate with PNC Bank. There, he learned every aspect of running a Financial Banking Center. He spent five years at PNC, the last three leading his own Banking Center in Ft. Lauderdale. Armed with his new MBA, in 2014 Alix was ready for a new entrepreneurial challenge. He set out to start building his own financial advisory practice by joining Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, a leading investment advisory firm with about 15,000 advisors. Today he is a Senior Portfolio Advisor and Managing Partner of The Alexis & Heller Group, a team of three advisors and one client associate. With a banking and finance background along with his insurance and investment advisory experience, he helps his clients cover the gaps in their financial strategies. Alix has already built an impressive client base including corporate executives, healthcare and legal professionals, small business owners, retirees and professional athletes.

Supervisory Analyst, Jefferies

Dan Altman

Whether your interest is portfolio management, corporate finance, investment analysis, or capital markets, if you're going to succeed in school and work, you'll need to know how an Institutional Investor #1-ranked analyst like Dan Altman, CFA thinks. Dan has spent over two decades performing in-depth analysis, investing, and client interface at top tier investment banks and asset managers, including leading a 50-person equity, fixed income, and macroeconomic team with offices in four countries as Head of Research at Bradesco BBI. Prior to that, Dan's roles included senior investment advisor on a multi-billion dollar global commodity and equities hedge fund; Co-Founder and Head of Research for a start-up emerging markets hedge fund; and 10 years at Bear Stearns & Co, working his way to becoming a Senior Managing Director, with lead coverage of 25 companies. Dan holds a Master’s degree in International Affairs (Finance) from Columbia University, is a CFA charter holder and – fortunately for us – following his recent relocation from New York to South Florida, this Wall Street Journal "Best on the Street" two time award-winner chose NSU's University School for his youngest child. Once again, our students benefit mightily from a new Shark family connection!

Chief Operating Officer, Montachem International Inc.

Juan-Carlos Avila

Where will your NSU degree take you?  To the top of your industry and profession if you’re JC Avila.  JC brought solid business experience with him upon entering NSU, having been a successful sales rep and sales manager at several commodities companies serving Latin American and Caribbean markets. Bilingual, Spanish and English, now armed with his NSU MBA in International Business, he went straight to the FORTUNE 500. In an homage to the classic film “The Graduate,” JC has one word for students:  plastics.  Actually, he has another two words:  Jack Welch.  That’s right, NSU alum JC Avila worked his way up the management ladder of GE during the tenure of CEO Jack Welch.  JC ultimately led territories including West Coast North America and Latin America for one of GE Plastics’ best-selling products before Welch’s successor sold the division for $11 billion.  JC moved on to manage multi-billion-dollar international divisions for other U.S.-based chemical companies.  In 2011, he became general manager of plastics corporation Montachem International Inc., and in 2017 he added chief operating officer to that title.  Headquartered right here in Fort Lauderdale, JC now uses all the tools he learned from Welch to grow his new company nearly 10 percent a year, and expand outside the Americas to Europe, the Middle East, Africa and China.

Retired, Cisco Systems

Gary Blandino Gary Blandino’s decades-long career in the technology and telecommunications area included many positions as a chief liaison for channel partners aligned with companies including AT&T, Sun Microsystems and Cisco Systems. He managed client relationships, executed the company's sales strategy and provided direct servicing to enterprise business accounts. His experience not only includes leading sales teams, process design and contract negotiations, but contract analytics, network analytics and designing analytics reviews to drive customer satisfaction. Now retired, mentoring the next generation on the importance of technology to every business enterprise and career is a passion of his. Luckily for us, Gary's Shark connection (NSU-MBA) has brought his passion back to our campus, to the great benefit of our students.

Co-Founder, BHG Financial

Eric Castro

Eric Castro preaches that success is directly correlated between meaningful human interactions and trust. Whether it’s his movie studio, record company, real estate portfolio of over 500 doors, or 400-employee financial corporation—this lifelong entrepreneur thrives on helping people achieve their goals, realize their full potential, and find success both in and outside of the workplace. Recognizing the unique financing needs of healthcare professionals, in 2001 Eric co-founded Bankers Healthcare Group (BHG) along with his two partners. The Davie-based company aims to provide licensed healthcare practitioners and other licensed professionals a fast and hassle-free financial solution that fits their unique needs and schedules. What started on a shoestring budget with Eric and his co-founders running every facet of the business, BHG today has funded more than $4 billion in total financial solutions. BHG is often recognized both regionally and nationally for innovation, continued growth, and being a best place to work. BHG has been placed on the Inc. 5000 list of America’s Fastest Growing Companies more than 10 times, been named the Best Place to Work in South Florida by the South Florida Business Journal, and is ranked #2 on FORTUNE® magazine’s Best Companies to work for in Financial Services. How does one create sustainable, scalable, diverse business ecosystems that achieve in so many industries? Smart NSU students will leap at the opportunity to meet Founder/ CEO/ Investor/ Executive Producer and U.S. Marine Veteran, Eric Castro, to find out.

Founding Partner, The FAN Fund

Kathy Chiu

Kathy Chiu is a Founding Partner of the FAN Fund, an early stage investment fund that launched in November 2015. Kathy is an independent board member of Florida based Beall’s Inc. Previously, Kathy has been a venture capitalist specializing in wireless technology, a product manager in telecom and enterprise IT companies, a financial analyst, and an electrical engineer. She has an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business, and a BS and an MS in Electrical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Vice President, Business Development, OZ

Doug Cohen It's been said that "nothing happens until somebody sells something." Doug Cohen, whose resume proclaims, "Experienced Rainmaker" at the very top, knows a thing or two about "selling something." This NSU MBA-grad has a revenue generation track record few could match, including driving revenue growth as a principal and co-founder of TrialGraphix, a national litigation consulting firm, from zero to close to $60 million. After 18 successful years building TrialGraphix from 3 to 325 employees, Doug and his partners sold it to a 55,000 employee publicly traded firm. He then took his love of sales and desire to help other businesses and started an authorized Sandler Training center, serving the south Florida business community. Doug currently works with startups to billion dollar companies, helping them leverage his expertise to learn and implement a proven selling system grounded in hard skills, powerful techniques and workable strategies. Doug has been a professional speaker and trainer for over 20 years, delivering keynote addresses, continuing legal education seminars, and sales and communication skills training to small, mid-size, and Fortune 500 companies. His clients pay handsomely for his multi-million dollar rainmaking expertise. Only for his alma mater, NSU, will he share some of his coaching secrets with students, gratis.

President & CEO, C-Anax Ventures & Advisory

Jonathan Fichman

What prepared Jonathan Fichman to found his consulting firm, C-Anax Ventures & Advisory, in 2013? Was it his decade of senior leadership at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, ultimately managing a $100 million budget and international operations of 1600 persons?  Was it his years on Wall Street effectively using data analysis to create new products, develop global sales strategies and obtain multi-million dollar credit facilities?  Or was it his public sector experience for a New Jersey municipality, directing operations, risk and purchasing activities with over $100 million in P&L responsibility?  Students, you have the unique opportunity to ask him personally.  Jonathan is currently one of the most active startup company mentors in South Florida because of the depth and breadth of his experience. Do not miss the chance to sit at the knee of this Six Sigma Black Belt who now focuses his razor-sharp mind on helping others to strive for their own greatness.

CEO, Quality Importers Trading Co., Inc.

Michael Giordano Michael Giordano is an entrepreneur’s entrepreneur. Right out of high school, his first job was as a call center customer service representative for a New York electronics components distributor. His talents and interest in the products were recognized by ownership who quickly promoted him to the purchasing department and then to product development manager. There he started to learn about international supply chain and sourcing. At age 26, with his new knowledge and a $15,000 investment in a production of cigar humidors, Michael founded Quality Importers Trading Co., a wholesale business selling cigar accessories throughout the U.S. With no additional capital invested, today Quality Importers is the leading cigar industry supplier for humidors and cigar accessories by volume, has accomplished 17 acquisitions (including former competitors), and boasts cumulative sales revenue surpassing $80 million. But you know entrepreneurs – why stop at one success? Michael’s portfolio of joint venture partnerships now includes Hollywood, Florida’s Kult Koffee, a new wine brand from Napa Valley, and home goods and furniture retailing through Amazon and Wayfair. Every student can learn something from Michael’s unvarnished discussion about what it takes to succeed early and often at this level.

CEO, Halmos Holdings

Steve Halmos

Calling all aspiring entrepreneurs! While still in college, at age 21, Steve Halmos co-founded SafeCard Services, a company that partnered with credit card issuers to sell services to credit card holders. By the time he retired as CEO, SafeCard Services had grown to be the largest company of its kind, was listed on the NYSE, had 13.4 million subscribers, had a market capitalization of $1.2 billion, and had generated $355 million in profit during his tenure as CEO. But once an entrepreneur, always an entrepreneur. Steve later formed The Reunion Group, also marketing service programs through credit card issuers and catalogers, and Halmos Holdings, through which he invests in real estate, restaurants, and private equity. Incredibly, this busy NSU Trustee and inductee into NSU's Entrepreneur & Business Hall of Fame, is able to carve out time for "In Residence" sessions for just two elite universities: for the students of NSU, and for Steve's alma mater, Harvard Business School.

SVP, Global Head of Enterprise / Growth Corporates, Verticals and Working Capital Solutions, Visa

Alan Koenigsberg

Jetting in from New York to be in Residence with us on November 10, Alan Koenigsberg assumed his current role at Bank of America Merrill Lynch (FORTUNE #23) in 2013. Based in London prior to that, he spent 11 years with J.P. Morgan leading the payments and treasury divisions covering Europe, the Middle East and Africa; and prior to that he was with American Express for 14 years. Keeping ahead of ever-increasing customer demand to transact business worldwide and virtually instantly, Alan's 25-year career delivering safe but state-of-the-art banking and payment services is a case study of business leadership with lessons for all, not just finance majors. From Brexit to bitcoin to blockchain, Alan's real mastery is keeping his enterprises on the growing-profiting-winning side of COMPLEXITY and CHANGE. Following his sessions with students, Alan will be escorted to Grande Oaks to receive HCBE's 2016 Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award. That's right. Mr. Koenigsberg's path to global leadership in his profession began right here in Sharkland.

Hospital Administrator, Wuesthoff Health System

Chantal Leconte

With health care now making up one-sixth of the U.S. economy, the chances that your career may touch this industry continue to increase. Just ask Chantal Leconte. Chantal's road to the top began in earnest after she added an NSU MBA (with honors) to her decade of clinical experience as an R.N. and nursing manager. In her first administrator position after graduating, at Cleveland Clinic Florida she increased physician productivity and revenue by 20%. As the hospital administrator of Wuesthoff Medical Center on Florida's Space Coast, she improved customer service scores by 20 points and EBIDA by 22%. She returned to Broward County to the Memorial Healthcare System, becoming CEO of Memorial Hospital Pembroke before taking the reins as CEO of Memorial's Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital, Florida's newest freestanding children's hospital. Chantal's leadership mantra of "patients first" has translated into a robust Patient and Family Centered culture at Joe DiMaggio Children Hospital supported by engaged and committed staff, leaders, physicians, and volunteers. Don't miss this opportunity to meet personally with one of Florida's most successful CEOs.

Area Manager, Florida Power & Light Company

Geezella Orozco

Geezella Orozco is a woman in power, in more ways than one. As area manager of power delivery for Florida Power & Light Company (FPL), the third largest electric utility in the U.S., Geezella provides the leadership and direction to bargaining and non-bargaining employees to ensure power restoration, reliability, and execution of new service work for the central Broward area. Named to her current position in May 2018, she began at FPL in 2005 serving in several leadership roles within the distribution operations area of the business, including engineering and production leads where she managed large scale construction projects. Prior to her current role, Geezella most recently served as training lead, responsible for recruitment, hiring and training for all bargaining unit positions. To prepare to succeed in a company whose service reliability standard is better than 99.98 percent, Geezella earned a Bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from FIU, and -- once again Sharks -- deepened her credentials for leadership with her MBA from Nova Southeastern University.

President/CEO, Anago Cleaning Systems

Adam PovlitzAdam D. Povlitz is the President of Anago Cleaning Systems, an international franchised commercial cleaning company with over 1,400 units across the U.S. and Canada. He is a Certified Franchise Executive (CFE) and an ISSA Cleaning Industry Management Standards Expert. Prior to joining Anago, Mr. Povlitz was employed by IBM where he served as the Growth Initiatives and Expense Analyst for IBM North America & Sales Distribution. In 2009, he joined Anago in order to make a greater impact on a smaller organization. While working his way through every position in the local master franchise office and then again at the corporate office, Adam learned valuable business and communication skills which led to his eventual promotion to President in April 2015. Mr. Povlitz also holds an MBA from the University of Miami and a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification from Nova Southeastern University.

Founder/President/CEO, CAREERXCHANGE®

Sue Romanos

Sue Romanos, CPC, CTS, CSP and her partners have built CAREERXCHANGE® into the 7th largest nationally certified women-owned business based in Florida. CAREERXCHANGE® provides talent acquisition and contingent workforce management solutions to over 500 companies ranging from mid-size to large Fortune 500 corporations. The most recent accolades for CAREERXCHANGE® include being named to the Inc. 5000 fastest growing companies list, awarded the distinguished Governor's Ambassador Award by Governor Rick Scott, the Good to Great Award by the Greater Miami Chamber, and Best Companies to Work for in Florida by Florida Trend magazine. What are the initials behind Sue's name? She is a Certified Personnel Consultant (CPC), a Certified Temporary Specialist (CTS), and a Certified Staffing Professional (CSP). In hard numbers, Sue and CAREERXCHANGE® have successfully placed more than 70,000 individuals into employment since 1988. No one will give you better, more honest advice on preparing and presenting yourself to eventually win your dream job.

President/CEO, United National Consumer Suppliers

Brett RoseBy the time Brett Rose left grade school, he was affectionately known as The King of the Schmatta, having built a thriving lollipop-selling business by age 10. He'd buy pops in bulk, then bag them into smaller lots for fellow students to sell to their own circles. Soon his family's garage effectively became an advanced supply chain warehouse that just happened to house an '86 Skylark. Fast forward to 2002 – what should a 25-year-old with 15 years of distribution experience do? Scale up a company, of course, and United National Consumer Supplies was born. Today, UNCS is a leading wholesale distributor specializing in manufacturer's closeouts, excess inventories and overstocks, selling to retail clients such as Dollar Tree, Bed Bath and Beyond, TJ Maxx, Amazon and more. Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, UNCS has become a fixture of the INC 5000 fastest growing companies list, based on its significant year-over-year growth. As philanthropic as he is young, goal-driven and family-oriented, a sit-down with Brett Rose is an opportunity no student aspiring to do well should miss.

Co-Founder/Executive Chairman (Retired), Anadigics

Ron Rosenzweig

Born and raised on the streets of Brooklyn, Ron Rosenzweig found his first professional opportunity at a large semiconductor company after earning his degree in chemical engineering from CCNY. He spent nine years in R&D product development on microchips, growing expertise across all major drivers of this booming industry – from invention to finance to manufacture to securing key supplier contracts. At age 31, Ron struck out on his own, co-founding Microwave Semiconductor Corporation (MSC). In just three years he scaled the company to a successful public offering.  Eight years later, MSC was acquired by an international tech conglomerate for a “very satisfying” profit to all shareholders.  Soon Ron partnered with two co-founders again to build a new company, and Anadigics was born in 1985. Anadigics became known as an innovator in integrated circuits, not only patenting numerous products but being credited with pioneering high-volume, cost-effective manufacturing processes in its sector. After raising $80 million in venture capital over a 10-year period to scale up the company, Ron took Anadigics public in 1995.  At its market peak it received a $3 billion valuation on $250 million in sales, with 700 employees. Now retired, Ron splits his residence between New York and South Florida, where he volunteers his expertise to organizations advancing contemporary art, fashion, technology, start-ups, and – luckily for NSU students – now coaching the next generation seeking to become leaders in their fields.

Founding Partner at Keyway LLC / Entrepreneur / Bestselling Author / Speaker

Eric Rozenberg

Eric Rozenberg wants students to know that, with $280 billion in direct spending, the meetings and events industry powers so many others by bringing people together for a strategic purpose and impacting business results. What this industry has meant for Eric is a 20-year career as a global entrepreneur, speaker and now best-selling author of "Meeting at C-Level – An Executive's Guide for Driving Strategy and Helping the Rest of Us Figure Out What the Boss Wants." Eric currently serves as president of Swantegy, co-headquartered in Brussels, Belgium and Miami, a company that strategically designs meetings to increase business performance. He is also a founding partner of Keyway, leveraging his experience with clients in the hospitality and events industry in over 50 countries to provide strategy and increase value. With all of his accomplishments, we can only scratch the surface of Eric's credentials in this brief, so students, please pepper this global titan with questions and discover an industry that could become your passion too.