PortMiami: Gateway to the Global Economy

By staff writer

March 2019

To say that 2018 was a banner year for PortMiami would be an understatement.

According to the port’s website, 5,592,000 cruise passengers travelled through the port last fiscal year, a 4.7 percent jump from 2017, making it the busiest cruise port in the world.

In conversations with Invest: Miami, Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald highlighted that the port is “breaking its own record” for cruise passengers — a testament to the city’s value as a travel and tourism destination.

Mayor Gimenez has said he expects the port to surpass seven million passengers by 2020, which is further testament to Miami being an excellent city for people to begin their cruise vacation, as well as to the great team of people who work at and provide support to PortMiami,” Donald explained. “Of our nine global cruise line brands, two-thirds of them bring guests to and from Miami as part of their vacation experiences. AIDA Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Costa Cruises, P&O Cruises (UK), Princess Cruises and Seabourn will all call on PortMiami in the next year.”

Aside from tourism and cruises, however, much of the port’s economic impact can be attributed to its vital function as a cargo hub.

When Invest: Miami sat down with Juan Kurlya, PortMiami’s director and CEO, he noted that investing in infrastructure improvement for cargo transport is critical for maintaining the port’s reputation as one of the fastest-growing and most active ports in the country.

“Growth is expected to continue as the world’s leading ocean carriers take advantage of PortMiami’s recent capital infrastructure investments, including channel deepening, new Post-Panamax gantry cranes, on-dock intermodal rail and direct interstate access via the new tunnel,” said Kurlya. “Without our infrastructure upgrades, we wouldn’t be experiencing the growth in containerized cargo vessels we’re seeing today.”

It is safe to say that these strategic investments and improvements are paying off. In fiscal year 2018, the port handled a staggering 1.084 million TEUs of cargo, with each TEU representing a standard 20-foot container.

Despite its record-setting numbers, however, PortMiami has no plans to slow its growth any time soon. Long-term goals include establishing a route to Miami from Western Africa. Furthermore, the port will welcome a new Virgin Voyages cruise terminal in 2020. Norwegian Cruise Lines and MSC cruises have also announced plans to open terminals in the fall of 2019 and 2022, respectively.

To learn more about the port and our interviewees, visit:

http://www.carnivalcorp.com/
http://www.miamidade.gov/portmiami/

 

 

Growing Up Lakeland: A City on the Cusp

By staff writer

March 2019

Often known as the city sandwiched between Orlando and Tampa or as the host of one of America’s largest aviation shows, the City of Lakeland has been working diligently to accelerate its prominence not only in Polk County but also throughout the state of Florida. With the combination of an expanding economy, growing population and multiple initiatives from local government, Lakeland is primed to be Florida’s next rising star.

It hasn’t even been 10 years since Lakeland’s population crossed into the 100,000 residents range, yet there is a spark of excitement throughout the community that is felt in both the private and public sectors. Invest: Tampa Bay recently sat down with Lakeland’s mayor, Bill Mutz, to discuss the growth and major economic drivers for the city.

“Two of the major drivers are our location between Tampa and Orlando,” Mayor Mutz told Invest:. “We have the DNA of a city that’s geographically been born in a good spot and is on the cusp of a large acceleration of growth.” The mayor went on to speak about the impact of supermarket giant Publix having its headquarters in the city. “Publix is also headquartered here, and they have 1,237 stores and over 210,000 employees, making them a huge influence throughout the region.”

The mayor revealed to Invest: that the strategy for continued growth in the region is “an effective long-term game plan” that is reliant on involving residents of the city in all aspects of the community.

This idea of long-term success was clearly evident when we spoke with Steve Scruggs, president of the Lakeland Economic Development Council, who made it clear that the focus is not only on growth for the city but also for its residents.

“This year we are focusing on entrepreneurship and major groundbreaking work in the downtown area through our catalyst sites project,” Scruggs told Invest:. “We identified areas for redevelopment within our downtown that would embody new commercial, retail and office high-rises, parking garages, a soccer stadium, a promenade and an elevated pedestrian walkway. These plans are getting more traction and are part of a big project happening in downtown.”

Scruggs emphasized the point that supporting entrepreneurs and local business in the area is an essential part of the growth initiatives. “We are building a new facility for entrepreneurs in downtown Lakeland that will open up this year,” he said. “The project is part of our Catapult 2.0 initiative and will host a commercial kitchen, a makerspace with wood and metal working shops, CNC machining, 3D printers and co-working spaces. It is privately funded and a place for entrepreneurs to test out their concepts in a low-risk financial space. It is a nonprofit project to give back to the community and increase the viability of startups through education, collaborative workspace and funding.”

From an outsider perspective, it might seem that these initiatives and ideas for internal growth in Lakeland are far-reaching, but this growth from within is exactly what Mayor Mutz is hoping will push Lakeland to the next level.

“We’re a city that has an unusual heart and the capability of communicating trust across sectors within the community,” he said. “This is increasingly important in today’s society. In a decisive world with much polarization, to model inclusiveness is going to be extremely attractive to future residents.”

Invest: Tampa Bay can’t wait to see what’s in store for Lakeland in 2019 and beyond!

To learn more about our interviewees, visit their websites:
Lakeland Economic Development Council: http://www.lakelandedc.com/
City of Lakeland: https://www.lakelandgov.net/

 

Port Everglades Sails into a Promising New Year

By staff writer

January 2019

Last year was, arguably, the most dynamic and prosperous year that Port Everglades has ever seen, and the port’s status as a catalyst for Broward’s economy is showing no signs of slowing down. Its growth and development is gaining international attention and generating thousands of jobs for the area.

“Today, Port Everglades is directly responsible for 13,185 jobs and produces over $1 billion in state and local taxes annually,” said Port Everglades Chief Executive and Port Director Steven Cernak in conversation with Invest: Greater Fort Lauderdale. “For us, it’s all about economic impact. That’s the benefit we provide to the community: jobs and economic activity.”

The port attracted 3.87 million passengers in fiscal year 2018, according to its annual report, and this number is bound to increase moving forward.

In the 2019 winter season the port will welcome 10 new Holland America cruise ships, the first of which — Nieuw Statendam debuted at the port in December after sailing from Civitavecchia, Italy. With a capacity of 2,666 cruisers, the ship alone is expected to garner over 102,000 passengers and generate around $1.8 million in revenue.

The influx of Holland America ships to the port comes on the heels of the port’s recent addition of a Celebrity Cruises’ Terminal 25. The facility represents the largest investment ever made by the port, costing around $120 million to build, and will accommodate several Celebrity ships throughout the winter season.

In addition to driving tourism for the area, the port has also blossomed in terms of its cargo capacity, and it has implemented a five-year expansion plan that will entail nearly $1 billion in improvements to the port’s infrastructure to further increase its cargo volumes. This should prove to be a worthwhile investment, as the port experienced a 2 percent increase in bulk and breakbulk cargo tonnage in fiscal year 2018.

When Invest: Greater Fort Lauderdale spoke with Craig Mygatt, CEO of Sealand, he highlighted the port’s advantages for transporting goods to and from Latin America, stating that the port’s strength “lies with the north-south routes, especially for perishable and agricultural goods, because the port is good at moving freight through the system quickly.”

As the number one port in Florida in terms of revenue, Port Everglades has successfully positioned itself as an international and economic hub for South Florida. Thanks to its strategic investments and expansions, 2019 is sure to be another banner year for the port.

 

To learn more about our interviewees, visit their websites:

Port Everglades: http://www.porteverglades.net/

Sealand: https://www.sealandmaersk.com/

Mixing Work and Play in an Innovative Way

April 2018 — Started in 1999 as a graduate thesis and initiated in 2008 with walking trails, the Atlanta BeltLine has come a long way from what it was once envisioned to be. The recent developments of office buildings, retail and residential space along and around the BeltLine have created an environment where residents have everything they need within walking distance. It is the ideal mix of work and play and continues to grow as a current real estate hotspot in Atlanta.

In fact, in December 2017, a $750 million mixed-use project was unveiled for the continued expansion of the BeltLine. The plans include two 12-story office buildings, one hotel, 700 residential units and 200,000 square feet of retail space. The BeltLine also hired a new CEO, Brian McGowan, to continue the project.

The Atlanta BeltLine Partnership was formed to raise philanthropic dollars to supplement the BeltLine’s efforts. The Opening the Corridor campaign, which began in 2017, helped fund the recent purchase of the Southside Trail as an interim connection. The $25.8 million project will connect the East and West sides of Atlanta for the first time in history.

Focus: Atlanta spoke with a number of city leaders in both the real estate and transportation sectors to get their insights on the mixed-use developments quickly sprouting up along the BeltLine. Here’s what they said:

Brian McGowan, CEO, Atlanta BeltLine

“The BeltLine is currently refocusing itself. We are 12 years into the project, and it is time to reflect on where we have come from and reevaluate the direction we are heading. The BeltLine is about people at the end of the day. Our focus is function over form.”  

 

Jim Irwin, President, New City Properties

“Offices along the BeltLine allow people to create more alignment between their work life and their personal priorities. Whether it’s commuting to work by bicycle or walking across the BeltLine to meet a friend for lunch at Ponce City Market, this project gives people an opportunity to work in a place that they truly enjoy.”

Chris Faussemagne, Principal, Westbridge Partners

“There are a lot of suburban submarkets that are creating their own central business districts. They are creating their own communities, jobs and places to live. That has been a great thing for the city because it relieves congestion. The BeltLine is also creating a lot of connectivity and alternatives to work and play.”

Matt Bronfman, CEO, Jamestown Properties

The BeltLine is like our beachfront property at this point. We need to make sure that the people developing on the BeltLine do things that are worthy in the long term. We need to get tougher on the development community to do interesting projects because that is how you get appreciation. The entire BeltLine will be completed sooner than people realize, and those neighborhoods will be made much better. Neighborhoods attracting young talent will be the most successful, and those are along the BeltLine.”

Scott Cannon, Executive Vice President, Skanska

“The Atlanta BeltLine Development is focused on getting people outdoors and being green. It’s about changing the way people live, work and play in the city. Skanska has a unique project that we are working on with architect Lord Aeck Sargent: the Atlanta BeltLine Urban Farm Shed. It is a 500-square-foot off-grid storage and work shed featuring a photovoltaic energy and storage system, composting toilet, and the use of salvaged and locally milled wood products.”

Greg Hare, Managing Partner, Ogletree Deakins

“Some of the critics of the Atlanta BeltLine have called it nothing but a glorified sidewalk. However, that big wide sidewalk creates better connectivity between neighborhoods, as well as tremendous economic development, because it’s a popular place to be. Developers are now putting a lot of money into parts of Atlanta that have not seen investment in decades.”

Chris Clark, President and CEO, Georgia Chamber

“We need to attract young professionals. We need to create the cool factor, which is why things like the BeltLine are important. We can offer great amenities and quality of life.”

To find out more about our interviewees above, visit their websites at:

Atlanta BeltLine: https://beltline.org
Westbridge Partners: http://www.westbridgepartners.net
New City Properties: http://www.newcity-properties.com
Skanska: https://www.skanska.com
Jamestown Properties: https://www.jamestownlp.com
Georgia Chamber: https://www.gachamber.com
Ogletree Deakins: https://ogletree.com

Flight position

How Miami International Airport is expanding to better serve the city 

Emilio Gonzalez Director & CEO – Miami-Dade Aviation Department

 

How will the increased investment in infrastructure lead to sustainable development of the economy?

Each daily international passenger fight at Miami International Airport (MIA) generates $33 million annually in business revenue, making international air service one of the biggest drivers of economic development locally and one of our community’s greatest assets. Our infrastructure improvements are focused squarely on international air service expansion. On the heels of successful north and south terminal redevelopment projects, the Miami-Dade Aviation Department (MDAD) is continuing to renovate MIA’s central terminal six of the Concourse E-Satellite’s nine gate areas and its second and third foor lobbies were upgraded and re-opened in 2016. MIA’s Terminal Optimization Program is a 10-year capital improvement plan for MIA’s Central Terminal, which began in 2015. Phase I of the TOP includes pre-construction work that began in 2016 to completely replace the baggage screening systems in MIA’s south and central terminals. The project, partially funded by a $101-million grant from the Transportation Security Administration, will double the systems’ current screening speed by installing the latest in Explosives Detection Screening (EDS) technology. MIA is also partnering with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to renovate and re-open the Concourse E international arrivals facility by the summer of 2017. In another innovative approach by MIA, the redesigned facility will be one of the frst in the country to screen passengers primarily via self-service technologies such as Global Entry, Automated Passport Control kiosks, and the Mobile Passport Control app.

What is your strategy to continue expanding into new markets for both passengers and cargo?

MIA is continuing its reinvention from being the Gateway of the Americas to a truly global gateway. Three of 2016’s new carriers are European-based, and two more European airlines have announced Miami launches in 2017. MDAD fortified its existing global business ties and established new ones in 2016 by investing in mission trips to strategic locations around the world. MDAD representatives traveled to Dublin, Ireland in June to participate in the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Annual General Meeting (AGM) and World Air Transport Summit, the world’s largest gathering of airline leaders. MIA was one of only a handful of airports in the world invited to attend the event, which drew more than 1,000 delegates. During the three-day gathering, I led an MIA team that met with high-level executives.

Bigger and better

How PortMiami is growing to accommodate bigger vessels and larger volumes

Juan M. Kuryla Port Director & CEO – PortMiami

 

What were the major highlights for PortMiami in 2016?

If you look at our business model and our achievements in 2016, we had a very strong year for both cruise and cargo. It was the first time in 11 years that more than 1 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) have passed through the port two years in a row. That is a big accomplishment. We entered into our first private-public partnership with Royal Caribbean to build a large cruise terminal. It will be funded, operated and maintained by Royal Caribbean. We also received commitments from almost all cruise lines to renew their agreements and build upon their 2016 volumes at the port. We saw some steady cargo volumes in 2016. We are excited about 2017 in terms of seeing larger vessels come to the port of Miami because of the completed Deep Dredge and expanded Panama Canal projects. Panama deepened its canal, which allows larger ships to go through. Today PortMiami is the only port south of Virginia that can accommodate the largest ships that are laden and can go through the canal. We are already receiving larger ships transiting via the Canal.

What are the expectations for the cruise terminal? What are better ways the port can better its infrastructure?

One project that has been approved by the county commission is with Royal Caribbean. They are going to fund, construct, operate and maintain probably the largest terminal in the U.S. It will be able to berth the largest cruise vessels that exist today. That terminal and the commitments from Royal Caribbean, as a result of that construction, should take us from about 5 million cruise passengers to 6 million by the fiscal year 2018 to 2019.

With the completion of recent projects, such as the Panama Canal project, how has the cargo sector economically impacted Miami-Dade?

We are seeing an incredible investment that was put on the table by our elected leadership that allows us to invest in the port. We have received unanimous support from our mayor, our board and our governor, with a commitment of more than $100 million to fund the dredge and other projects. Recent figures say the port represents more than 207,000 jobs with an economic impact of around $28-billion impact. Those numbers were generated when we were doing about 20 percent less volume in cargo and 25 percent less for cruises. We anticipate our economic impact that we will be well above that.

What has the PortMiami’s 2035 Master Plan achieved so far?

In 2011, the board approved the 2035 Master Plan, and requested installation of additional cranes, which we have completed. They also mentioned the additional cruise ship berths, which we are building. We are beating the projections, particularly on the cruise side. By 2021, there’s going to be close to 7 million passengers per year. According to the plan, Miami was not supposed to experience that many until the late 2020s. This means we have to speed the project up.

Southern portal

Alex Wertheim

UPS Americas President Romaine Seguin discusses the strategic importance of South Florida as a critical trade and logistics pathway to Latin American markets

How is South Florida an advantageous logistics hub?
South Florida is the connection to Central America and South America, which are critical markets for us. The expanding middle classes in Latin America, along with healthy GDP growth and rising international influence, are creating attractive opportunities for commerce and investment. South Florida is a strategic location for American and European companies seeking to venture south to expand their business.
South Florida is an important northern entryway for Latin America as well. It’s amazing the quantity of perishables that come through here – just look at flowers. Over 90 percent of the flowers that enter the U.S. come through Miami. Flowers are the number one import, followed by other perishables, and after that fish. It is the starting point to feeding the U.S.
What are the areas of growth for the logistics sector?
One of our strategic imperatives is to capture more of the healthcare vertical in Mexico and throughout the Americas region. The medical equipment and biotechnology industries are experiencing tremendous growth and change, and these are the areas where our consumers are pushing us to go. The number of patents expiring each year continues to increase, which means that a generic, more affordable product is get-ting into the market.
It’s not an easy market to enter because of the complexities entailed, whether it’s related to temperature control, infrastructure or human capital. Moreover, the regulations and licensing requirements in each country are different; for instance, some countries require facilities to have a pharmacist on site.
 
What are some recent developments in trade policy?
The most recent free trade agreements (FTAs) the U.S. signed with entered into effect in late 2012, one with Panama and one with Colombia. Despite continuous political debate, there is a movement to take the barriers down and enhance free trade. What is important is to educate the private sector, especially companies here in South Florida who wish to expand their businesses to international markets, on what FTAs are and what they can mean for a company.
 
Within the logistics sector, what factors most impact cost of operations in South Florida?
The great expense in transportation in Latin America is the customs processes – they’re not automated and extremely tedious. Automation provides more security, more transparency, and more consistency. We are working with government officials to improve these procedures. For South Florida-based logistics companies, the bulk of whose business is trade with Latin America, these delays become quite problematic.

Striking a balance

Alex Wertheim

PortMiami Director Juan Kuryla discusses balancing the growth of the port’s two lucrative business lines – cruise and containerized cargo

How much of PortMiami’s business is comprised of the cruise versus containerized cargo segment?
Revenues are significant from both sides, with roughly 60 percent of the direct revenue to the port coming from cruise and 40 percent from cargo; however, cargo comprises nearly 80 percent of the economic impact to Miami-Dade County. The cruise industry is extremely significant, driving tourism and employment growth; it is the number one contributor to Miami-Dade’s hotel occupancy. In the fiscal year 2014, PortMiami had a record-breaking year, processing 4.77 million cruise passengers in our 45th consecutive year as the world’s largest cruise home port. We benefit from having Carnival Corporation, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, and Norwegian Cruise Lines – collectively comprising 75 percent of the global cruise market – headquartered in Miami-Dade County.
 
How will the completion of PortMiami’s Deep Dredge Project impact South Florida?
The Deep Dredge Project is a game-changer for this region. Upon the project’s completion in mid-2015, we will be the only U.S. port south of Virginia at a water depth of 50 feet. This will allow us to berth much larger vessels and reclaim some of the transshipment business we lost to ports in Panama and the Caribbean in the early 2000s.
This deeper draft capacity is of great interest to the large shipping companies, who save money, thus make money, by consolidating containers from multiple lines into a single larger vessel. The depth will enable us to capture new cargo business, particularly from Asia, on vessels that will now be able to transit the expanded Pan-ama Canal upon its completion in early 2016.
 
What is PortMiami’s strategy for the medium term?
Recapturing transshipment is a top priority. We lost much of this business after 9/11 because of high security-related costs and inspection protocols. Today we work closely with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to create a commercially friendly business environment at the port, while maintaining the highest standards of security. In conjunction with our partners at Florida East Coast Railway, we are targeting industries such as frozen poultry, beef, scrap metals, scrap paper, corn, soy, grains and other food products, to boost cargo volumes passing through the port.  Part of the port’s initiative is to export more loaded containers to complement the importation of products coming in from Asia and Europe. We also anticipate continued growth in trade to and from Latin America and the Caribbean as well as starting new trade routes with emerging markets such as India and Africa. On the cruise side, we are working on the construction of a new berth and terminal for completion within the next two to five years.  These improvements will expand our passenger capacity by approximately 20-25 percent.

Soaring growth

Miami International Airport Aviation Director Dr. Emilio T. Gonzalez, discusses infrastructural upgrades and plans to transform Miami-Dade into a global hub

 

Miami International Airport (MIA) has seen incredible growth in recent years. What is the strategy to keep pace?

Broadening capacity is a priority for this airport and at the core of both our medium and long-term strategies. We service 40 million passengers each year – roughly the population of Argentina – and the airport’s capacity is 50 million; at some point we will run out of space.

To anticipate these needs, we are undertaking a number of major infrastructural upgrades. One project is to build 40 hardstands to park planes. Until recently, air traffic operated on peaks and valleys. You see no arriving flights at 2 a.m., but at 6 a.m. there is a surge of planes. Some of our aircraft, particularly those originating from South America, fly here and go nowhere else. They arrive at, for example, 8 p.m. from Brazil and stay until 11 p.m. Because of American Airlines’ recent reorganization, we no longer have the peaks and valleys, but instead, have constant traffic. Consequently, we no longer have the luxury of avail-able empty gates for us to park idle planes.

We must also accommodate growth in air freight, another important driver in this economy. We operate five airfields. One of them, our training and transition airfield, located in the middle of the Everglades, has a 10,000-foot runway. We are looking to convert that into a cargo airport sometime in the distant future.

 

What is MIA doing to upgrade its terminals?

We are currently renovating Terminal E, which is part of the central concourse. Interestingly, we are only launching this project as a stopgap measure to buy us time before we can build new structures.

Eventually, Terminals G, F and E will become two terminals. We will start on one end of the airport and work our way in, knocking down terminals along the way. We are looking to break ground on this project in 2020 and it will take 10-15 years to complete the terminal.

Because of its central position within the airport, and because of added traffic from the slew of new flights that American Airlines has announced they will be adding, Terminal E will be where the action is. Subsequently, we are investing in modernizing it. We recently purchased a $90-million train system to improve connectivity within the airport. This will be delivered in the next two years and has a lifespan of 10 years. In the distant future, we are looking to erect a high-end mall, which will have all of the major luxury retailers, in the central terminal.

 

What are MIA’s plans for broadening connectivity with respect to passenger business?

MIA is the second-largest international passenger airport in the U.S. However, in looking at our existing network there are a number of gaps. With respect to Europe, we need to improve connections with Eastern Europe and Scandinavia. We are looking to develop routes like Warsaw-Miami and Stockholm-Miami.

Asia is another big untapped market for us, in terms of passenger service. We already have cargo business with Asian companies, namely China Air, Korean Air, and Cathay Pacific, and those are usually one-stop flights that go from East Asia to Alaska, refuel and go back. I have spoken to representatives from different Asian carriers, and they all want to come here; it’s not a matter of “if,” but “when.” The “when” will happen when these airlines get new, larger, aircraft, for instance, the Dreamliners. When they start getting A-380s, then we will start to see an increase in Asian traffic coming here.

We are also working on getting flights to Africa. These don’t necessarily have to be through African carriers but could be U.S. airlines with Miami-Johannesburg, Miami-Lagos or Miami-Cairo routes.

MIA is the number one international freight airport in the U.S. What are the growth fundamentals of this segment?Being a gateway city, Miami sees cargo both coming in and going out. Planes arrive full of goods, and the only way they can generate a profit is if they also leave with full loads. From a cargo perspective, Atlanta can’t be Miami because they don’t have much to send back. At MIA, thanks to South Florida’s robust distribution and logistics operations, all of our cargo planes come in full of goods and they leave full as well. They arrive with perishables – flowers, fish, fruit – and depart with high-tech exports, such as electronics, medical technology, mining equipment and automobiles.

 

How does MIA contribute to job growth and economic diversification in South Florida?

The airport is one of the largest employers in Miami-Dade County, contributing nearly 158,000 direct jobs to the economy annually. It also generates a significant number of indirect jobs in related and peripheral industries, such as tourism, logistics, and manufacturing.

For instance, although it may not be very visible, there is a robust aerospace industry in South Florida. One of the largest airplane manufacturing companies, the Brazilian-based Embraer, has its U.S. headquarters in Ft. Lauderdale. B/E Aerospace, which is headquartered in Palm Beach and manufactures interior cabin products, has more employees than U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM). The French-Italian aircraft manufacturer ATR recently relocated their North American headquarters to MIA from Virginia.

 

What are the most pressing challenges of operating an airport of this size and significance?

There are a lot of moving parts – some of it operational, some financial. The operational aspect is tied to the fact that we have over 90 airlines that fly out of here and they need a lot of care. We also have over 200 concession locations, which would make us one of the largest malls in the U.S., as well as related businesses such as a hotel, parking facilities, etc.

On the financial side, MIA is the largest economic engine – not just in Miami-Dade County, but in the U.S. Southeast, from Washington, D.C., down. To put this in perspective, we generate $1 billion more revenue than Hatsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport; we are bigger than Disney World and bigger than the Tennessee Valley Authority. When you generate that much wealth and economic business, everyone wants a piece of the action. Consequently, I get lobbied frequently and must ensure that proper procedures, when it comes to bids, are enforced at all times.

 

What is your strategic vision for MIA and your outlook on South Florida’s economy?

Currently, Miami-Dade is the Gateway to Latin America. Ultimately, our goal is to transform it to a global hub. We have the fundamentals to support this – strong tourism, real estate, logistics and banking industries – and MIA’s capital projects will only boost this progression.