Advisory Board Members
Al Weiss most recently served as President of Worldwide Operations for Disney's $10 Billion+/95,000 employee Walt Disney Parks and Resorts business until his retirement as of November 2011. He was in charge of operations at the company's theme parks and resorts including the Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort, and Disneyland Resort Paris, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Vacation Club, and "Adventures by Disney".
As a 39-year Disney executive, Mr. Weiss began his career as a teenager in cash control and rose through the ranks to President, Worldwide Operations, for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. He is a visionary and results-focused leader that has significantly grown top-line revenue and expanded margins in a thoughtful and strategic way, protecting the Disney brand, Cast, and overall guest experiences. During his tenure as President, he directed the largest resort expansion in Walt Disney World history, resulting in double-digit percentage revenue growth, seven consecutive years of record revenues and higher profits. He led the organization through one of the toughest recessions the world has faced, with significantly less downturn in overall business while positioning the organization for major growth. A compassionate leader, he grew and invested in the next generation of talent, thereby strengthening the company for the future.
Appointed by the U.S. Commerce Secretary to the Corporation for Travel Promotion Board of Directors, Mr. Weiss works with other industry leaders to promote travel to the United States. He also is an active community leader, serving on the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission Governor's Council; the Florida Council of 100 Board of Directors; the SunTrust Bank Central Florida Board of Directors; the Sanford-Burnham Institute for Medical Research Board of Trustees; and the Give Kids the World Advisory Board. He was named "Most Influential Businessman in Central Florida" by the Orlando Business Journal in 2005.
T. Denny Sanford was born in St. Paul, Minnesota. After graduating from the University of Minnesota in 1958, he had a career in sales, marketing, and materials distribution. He then established Contech Inc, a Minneapolis-based national company, which manufactured sealants, coatings, and adhesives, and employed 350 people including a chemical laboratory with 13 chemists developing products for large architectural buildings.
In 1986, he purchased United National Corporation in Sioux Falls, SD (now First PREMIER Bank), and built it, along with a newly-formed credit card company (Premier BANKCARD). The success of these two companies have helped the economy and created more than 3,000 jobs within South Dakota.
Mr. Sanford's philanthropic endeavors are profound. His $70 million pledge for the Homestake Mine Underground Laboratory Research Program in Lead, South Dakota and an historic $500 million to Sanford Health in Sioux Falls will dramatically impact the state with an estimated $1.15 billion in economic development over the next decade and an addition of approximately 9,000 jobs.
Other major areas of support around the country include teacher education programs and gender harmony projects; breast cancer and diabetes research; and funding for specific hospitals, clinics and other institutions to treat and manage children's health issues with a focus on helping sick, disadvantaged abused and/or neglected children. Mr. Sanford's total giving to date is over $850 million.
Darrell Kelley most recently served as Chief Operating Officer of Holland & Knight LLP (H&K), a global law firm with 1350 lawyers. During the four years he was with H&K, he was responsible for the business operations of the firm's 17 U.S. offices and six international offices.
Prior to joining Holland & Knight in 2005, Mr. Kelley served for four years as President and Chief Executive Officer of Enterprise Florida (EFI), Florida's innovative economic development partnership. In this role, Mr. Kelley, serving under then Governor Jeb Bush, worked to diversify Florida's economy by attracting innovative, high-growth industries to the state. His efforts resulted in a 70% increase in EFI's private sector investment and positioning Florida as the top-rated state for non-farm job creation in 2003-2005.
During a 38-year career in the telecommunications industry, Mr. Kelley served as president of three separate Sprint companies in Ohio, Texas and Florida. During this period he earned a reputation as a consensus builder as the industry worked to gain an understanding for the competitive challenges facing telecommunications. Through his contributions, the regulatory barriers to competition were changed in each of the states where he served as Sprint's president. He also established a national reputation as an economic development thought leader as a result of leading economic organizations in several states during his tenure with Sprint.
Mr. Kelley earned a Master of Business Administration degree with distinction from Case Western Reserve University in 1981 and a B.E. degree in Electrical Engineering from Southern Technical Institute (now Southern Polytechnic Institute) in 1964.
Michael Baron is President of Real Digital Media, an enterprise-class software company serving the digital signage market. Previously, he founded and served as CEO & Chairman of Teranex (sold in 2004), a developer, manufacturer of high performance video computing platforms for the digital media, broadcast, post-production and film industries. While there he raised $35 million in venture capital including AOL/Time Warner participation. At Sony Electronics, he was a Senior Vice President, responsible for professional display, video production, multimedia, education, medical and security markets. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University.
George Mezo is a retired senior level IT executive, active in key areas affecting economic development in Central Florida.
As a thirty-five year veteran of the Information Technology industry, Mr. Mezo retired from Oracle Corporation as Senior National Director, Worldwide Customer Support at Oracle Corporation's Orlando Support Center.
Mr. Mezo is a founding member of the Florida High Tech Corridor Council and serves as a volunteer advisor to the Superintendent of Orange County Public Schools, now the 12th largest school district in the US. A retired UCF Foundation trustee, Mr. Mezo serves on a committee that evaluates joint industry and Florida High Tech Corridor supported research projects at the University of Central Florida.
Tom Huber is currently a consultant in the technology sector. Previously, he served as CEO/President of enterprise-wide software/service solutions for divisions of large publicly traded companies such as Sungard, Fiserv and Citicorp. Mr. Huber was responsible for building innovative cloud services and premise based solutions for the public safety, higher education, and financial software markets. In addition to large company experience, Mr. Huber managed shareholder relations with boards of directors, venture capitalists, and private equity groups for typical business units with $50- $200M in annual revenues and created over $1B in shareholder value over the years through growth and liquidity events. Mr. Huber holds a BA degree from Loras College, MBA from Northern Illinois University and CPA certification.
Michael Gerrity is founder and CEO of the WORLD PROPERTY JOURNAL.Mr. Gerrity has served on several Advisory Boards over the last decade that include the Central Florida Technology Partnership's Digital Media Advisory Board, City of Orlando's Technology Board, The Economic Development Commission's Film & Television Board and he is a founding Board Member of Digital Media Alliance Florida - a statewide digital media industry association. Mr. Gerrity is also a member of the National Association of Real Estate Editors (NAREE).
Mr. Gerrity has also been a featured speaker and presenter at a number of media, technology and real estate industry functions such as former Florida Governor Jeb Bush's IT-Florida Technology Summit, Central Florida Technology Partnership Summit, Florida Venture Capital Conference and CFIC Emerging Business Network Conferences. Mr. Gerrity has also been featured and interviewed in various articles in the Wall Street Journal, TIME Magazine, Bloomberg, RushLimbaugh.com, LA Times, AOL NEWS, Huffington Post, National Mortgage Professional Magazine, National Tax Lien Association, Florida Trend Magazine, NAR Realtor Magazine, National Real Estate Investor, The Real Deal, National Mortgage Professional Magazine, Professional Builder Magazine, Mortgage Bankers Association, Palm Beach Post, Orlando Sentinel, Sun-Sentinel, Orlando Business Journal, South Florida Business Journal, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Builder Magazine, National Real Estate Investor, National Mortgage Professional Magazine, Mortgage Bankers Association and on several regional and national TV news interviews with CBS NEWS Miami, NBC NIGHTLY NEWS, NBC News Wyoming and NBC TODAY SHOW.