Welcome to the inaugural Apogee Awards, a tribute to the success of twenty-four C-level executives throughout South Florida.

The region has many business awards programs, but this one is unique. Rather than having an awards program for each position, such as a CEO awards program one month and a CFO awards program another month, we thought it would be great to bring in the C-suite for our awards program, which was held on Nov. 6 at the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale.

For example, this allowed the chairman of one company to meet and network with a chief marketing officer from another company or the top HR executive of one company to meet the CEO of another company.

We think there is a huge benefit in allowing these savvy, driven achievers to be able to share important experiences, challenges and lessons learned. South Florida has a broad geographic sweep, so it is rare to have this group all in one place at one time.

How did we get to twenty-four honorees? It’s simple math: Eight categories and one honoree in each county per category.

To get our nominations, we sent emails and did outreach throughout the South Florida business community. Our editorial staff did substantial research to help vet the quality and achievements of our honorees.

One of the things we like about the Apogee Awards is that it gives widespread public recognition to positions that often play key behind-the-scenes roles in the success of a business. Chief operating officers and chief marketing officers, for example, can be incredible drivers in the success of a business, but often are not highly visible public faces.

All of this would not be possible without our sponsors. Special thanks goes to presenting sponsor Mitch Kramer and his Octagon Family of Recruiting Companies (including its divisons of Octagon Technology Staffing and Octagon Professional Recruiting).

We would also like to thank our additional sponsors, BankUnited, Index and DataFile, Coral Gables Trust and the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale.

Top Business Event

Eight honoree categories. Three counties. Twenty-four total honorees representing a “who’s who” of the most accomplished business executives in South Florida! What an exciting event – the 1st Annual Apogee Awards, presented by the Octagon Family of Recruiting Companies in partnership with Lifestyle Media Group and its magazine, South Florida Business & Wealth (SFBW). An octagon has eight sides to it and theApogee Awards is honoring eight in each county. What makes this event so special? Most of the events that I have gone to over the years in South Florida have recognized one category by itself and I think that is great, but when SFBW Chairman and CEO Gary Press and I sat down and started discussing what Corporate America is really about these days, we felt the collaboration of all the C-suite executives being recognized in one function was a powerful statement of how closely departments are working together these days and how critical it is for Finance, Information Technology, Human Resources, Operations, Marketing, along with the offices of the President, CEO, COO, and Chairman to work hand-in-hand to run their companies effectively and with the highest level of success.

The match between Lifestyle Media Group and the Octagon Family of Recruiting Companies (including its divisions Octagon Professional Recruiting and Octagon Technology Staffing) couldn’t make more sense to me. SFBW is an entrepreneurial magazine targeting the South Florida business community with a circulation unmatched by its competitors. Octagon is an entrepreneurial, explosively growing professional recruiting firm with offices in Fort Lauderdale, Miami-Dade, and Boca Raton. SFBW shares cutting-edge information on all types of interesting people and topics in the community. Octagon connects the top-talent in the marketplace with those same companies, specializing in the areas of accounting/finance, technology, human resources, and general search.

On behalf of the entire Octagon family, I am both proud and humbled to have attended this event with such a remarkable group of honorees, many of whom I already know. I would like to personally congratulate each and every honoree for being selected by the editorial panel of SFBW. 2014 marks the first of many years of partnership with SFBW and I want to thank the SFBW team for making this a wonderful experience for us!

Warm regards,

Mitch Kramer, CEO of Octagon

The Honorees are:

Chief Executive Officer
Dade County
Edgardo Defortuna
Fortune International Group

Edgardo Defortuna founded Fortune International Group in 1983 and has grown the company to become a full-service real estate firm recognized throughout South Florida, Latin America and Europe as a leader in high-end luxury real estate.

The firm has sold luxury condominiums across South Florida’s best neighborhoods, including Brickell Avenue, Key Biscayne, Coral Gables, Miami Beach, Aventura and Sunny Isles Beach. The firm has a presence in Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, Mexico and his homeland, Argentina.

Defortuna is expanding Fortune’s presence into Europe, with initial focus on such markets as Spain, Britain, France and Russia. He is widely recognized for making a significant contribution to the internationalization of Miami and its reputation as a global business, trade and vacation hub.

Defortuna is a member of the Mayor of Miami’s International Council and serves as president of the Argentine-U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Miami.