Eduardo J. Padrón
Juan M. Kuryla
CEO & Port Director, Port Everglades
Steven Cernak serves as Chief Executive and Port Director for Port Everglades, a self-supporting enterprise fund of Broward County, FL, that generated more than $153 million in FY2014 and is ranked among the nation’s leading container ports and a world leader in the cruise industry. Florida’s top container port, Port Everglades annually exceeds 1 million TEUs (20-foot equivalent units, which is the industry standard used to measure containers), is the second busiest cruise port in the world and is South Florida’s main seaport for receiving petroleum products including gasoline, jet fuel and alternative fuels.
Mr. Cernak, who joined Port Everglades in March 2012, previously served as the port director and chief executive officer for the Port of Galveston, Texas, from 1999 until his selection for the top position at Port Everglades. He also served as president of the Galveston Port Facilities Corporation, a nonprofit corporation formed to promote redevelopment at the Port of Galveston and related entities, since May 2002. During this time period, the Port of Galveston’s revenues doubled and it became the top cruise home port in the Gulf of Mexico.
Prior to moving to Texas, Mr. Cernak was the manager of Port Development for The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. He also held engineering positions with several private engineering consultancies in New Jersey.
Currently, Mr. Cernak is Chairman of the Florida Ocean Alliance, Vice Chairman of the Florida Ports Council, a Board Member for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, and a Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Board Member. He is also a member of National Waterways Conference and the District Export Council. As an active member of the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA), Mr. Cernak serves on the Board of Directors, is Chairman of the South Atlantic Regional Caucus, serves as Vice Chairman of the U.S. Delegation and is a Legislative Policy Committee member.
Cernak has a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Colorado State University and master’s degree in business administration from Dowling College in Oakdale, New York.
Secretary General, Ibero American Conference (SEGIB)
Rebeca Grynspan is the Secretary General of the Ibero American Conference an international multilateral institution which brings together the 19 Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries of Latin America plus Spain, Andorra and Portugal.
She was unanimously elected in an Extraordinary Meeting of 22 Foreign Ministers held on February 24, 2014 in Mexico City and took office as Ibero-American Secretary General on April 1, 2014.
Rebeca Grynspan was born in Costa Rica, on December 14, 1955, and prior to this appointment she held the post of Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations and Associate Administrator of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) since February 2010. As a recognized leader in promoting human development, she has greatly helped to focus the attention of the world and Latin America on critical issues such as the reduction of inequality and poverty, gender equity, South-South cooperation as tool for development and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, among others. Previously, from 2006 to 2010, she was Deputy Secretary General of the UN and UNDP Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean.
Before joining the United Nations, she served as Vice President of Costa Rica from 1994 to 1998. She was Minister of Housing, Minister Coordinator of Economic and Social Affairs of her country and Deputy Minister of Finance; also, she was a member of the High Level Panel on Financing for Development convened by the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in 2001.
Grynspan is a member of Global Council on Poverty and Sustainable Development at the World Economic Forum.
She has contributed to key UN initiatives such as the Millennium Project on Poverty and Economic Development, and the High-Level Panel on Financing for Development. She was also delegate to the United Nations Commission for the Reconstruction of Haiti, a group composed of representatives of the Haitian government, the U.S. President Bill Clinton and other relevant international members.
In June 2014 Rebeca Grynspan was elected Chairman of the Board of the International Institute for Environment and Development, an influential policy research organization working at the interface between development and the environment.
In 2014 and 2015 she was recognized as one of the 50 leading intellectuals of Latin America.
Managing Director & Head of Latin America, Berkeley Research Group
Frank Holder leads BRG’s Latin America Practice. With over 20 years of experience, he has directed corporate investigations and security consulting assignments in Latin America and the United States. The investigative matters include large-scale internal fraud and public corruption investigations, product protection, litigation support, due diligence, and hostile takeovers. As a security expert, he designed the security for international airports, seaports, and complex multijurisdictional distribution networks. Mr. Holder began his career with the U.S. Air Force as a political-military analyst for the U.S. embassy in Argentina and as a special agent for the Office of Special Investigations at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, with responsibilities in areas including counterintelligence and force protection. He is an accomplished public speaker and has given numerous presentations throughout the United States, the United Kingdom, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, and Brazil on a broad range of topics such as money laundering, risk management, homeland security, and operational risk. Mr. Holder has written articles on similar topics for U.S. and Latin American newspapers and professional journals and has taught courses in Political Science and Law on the Inter-American system at the Universidad del Salvador, Buenos Aires.
CEO, Abacode Cybersecurity Experts
Mr. Ferris has been a Founder, Chairman and CEO of several companies throughout his 20-year career.
Michael began his entrepreneurial aspirations in 1992 after playing football at Missouri Southern State University. Soon thereafter, Mr. Ferris moved to Florida and started TBR Asset Management. After selling TBR, Michael founded Valet Living www.valetliving.com and spent 17 years creating a market-leading company that provided innovative services and technology to the multifamily real estate sector.
Valet’s principal partner was New Mountain Capital private equity group.
In 2012 Mr. Ferris founded Cerca Trova Holdings. www.cercatrovaholdings.com
Cerca Trova has two related firms.
Occam Technology Group - www.occamtechgroup.com
Occam Technology Group is an award winning engineering firm that designs and develops intelligent, sensor-based products and devices for organizations throughout the world. OTG has special expertise in system level design, embedded security, communication protocols and the integration of IoT (Internet of Things).
Abacode Cybersecurity – www.abacode.com
Abacode is a technology firm solely dedicated to cybersecurity and the cyber-threat landscape for businesses in the Americas, Caribbean, LATAM and Europe. As a Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP) Abacode employs global thought leaders and industry experts in ethical hacking, cryptography and corporate governance which provides organizations with strategic solutions and guidance before attacks become disruptions and financial hardships.
Mr. Ferris is a member of the Real Estate Roundtable and sits on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity Taskforce Committee in Washington DC.
Michael is involved in numerous business organizations and international committees, and was named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2011. Michael has been a Judge for the EY awards program from 2012 – 2017.
Mr. Ferris is a proud contributor to the Occam STEM Foundation, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Marine Corps. Heritage Foundation.
Juan M. Kuryla
Director and Chief Executive Officer, PortMiami
Mr. Kuryla began his career with Miami-Dade County in the Parks and Recreation Department in 1987. He moved to the County’s Finance Department in 1993 as an administrative officer, where he managed a grants program funded by tourist tax dollars. After approximately a year and a half in the Finance Department, Mr. Kuryla took the position of Section Head at the County’s Public Works Department’s Road, Bridge and Canal Maintenance Division.
In 1996, Mr. Kuryla was promoted to work in the County Manager’s Office as an Assistant Administrator. He was promoted again in May 1998 to the Port of Miami as Assistant to the Port Director, where he oversaw the Department’s local, state and federal legislative agenda. From February 2001 through February 2007 Mr. Kuryla held the positions of Assistant Port Director for Intergovernmental Affairs and Assistant Port Director for Intergovernmental Affairs and Promotions.
In 2007, Mr. Kuryla was promoted to Assistant Port Director for Maritime Services. In this capacity, he served as co-lead negotiator for the Port on all long term agreements executed with cruise and cargo customers as well as oversaw Port operations, facilities management, berthing, and property management, in addition to the customer service, business development, public information and media relations. In 2009, Mr. Kuryla was promoted to Deputy Port Director. In this capacity, he was responsible for directly overseeing the Port’s five assistant port directors.
On April 1, 2014, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez appointed Mr. Kuryla to the position of PortMiami Director and CEO, where he oversees operations and capital development for the cruise capital of the world and cargo global gateway.
Mr. Kuryla holds a Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Business Administration from Florida International University. In 2010, Mr. Kuryla obtained his Professional Port Manager PPM® degree from the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA).
Eduardo J. Padrón
President, Miami Dade College
An American by choice, Eduardo J. Padrón arrived in the United States as a teenage refugee in 1961. Since 1995, he has served as President of Miami Dade College (MDC), the largest institution of higher education in America with more than 165,000 students. He is credited with elevating MDC into a position of national prominence among the best and most recognized U.S. colleges and universities. An economist by training, Dr. Padrón earned his Ph.D. from the University of Florida. In 2016, President Barack Obama bestowed upon him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States. In 2009, TIME magazine included him on the list of “The 10 Best College Presidents.” In 2010, Florida Trend magazine named him “Floridian of the Year.” In 2011, The Washington Post named him one of the eight most influential college presidents in the U.S. Also in 2011, he was awarded the prestigious Carnegie Corporation Centennial Academic Leadership Award. More recently, he received the Citizen Service Award from Voices for National Service and the Aspen Institute Ascend Fellowship. President Padrón’s energetic leadership extends to many of the nation’s leading organizations. He is the past chair of the board of directors of the American Council on Education (ACE) and of the board of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). He serves on the boards of the Council on Foreign Relations, Achieving the Dream, Inc., and is the chairman of the Business-Higher Ed Forum. He has been appointed to key national posts by six American Presidents. He is a prolific writer and has more than 15 honorary doctorates.
Chief of Staff, Carnival Cruise Line
CFO & SVP Finance, GMCVB