Palm Beach Atlantic University will present its American Free Enterprise Medal to real estate developer Edward M. Kobel, president and chief operating officer of DeBartolo Development, LLC. DeBartolo Development has underwritten a real estate pipeline of more than $1 billion with an investment platform that spans from Hawaii to Florida.
The medal ceremony is set for 10:45 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 9, in the Rubin Arena of the Greene Complex for Sports & Recreation, 1100 S. Dixie Hwy. in West Palm Beach. The ceremony is free and open to the public. For more information, call 561-803-2010.
With a "customer and community come first" philosophy, Edward M. Kobel leads real estate icon DeBartolo Development and is responsible for the company's strategy, execution and capitalization. Kobel and his team have created a nationwide real estate investment platform that spans from Hawaii to Florida. Capitalized by the DeBartolo Family and major capital commitments that Kobel secured with institutional partners, DeBartolo Development has underwritten a real estate pipeline of more than $1 billion.
In anticipation of the current real estate slowdown, Kobel expanded the scope of DeBartolo Development to include investment funds and asset management. Under his leadership, the company launched a Community Reinvestment Fund that will invest $400 million into value-added real estate in the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Florida. Projects include the revitalization of shopping centers in economically depressed communities to stimulate job opportunities and improve the quality of life in these urban areas.
Prior to taking the helm at DeBartolo Development, Kobel served as a partner of Fortis Advisors in Scottsdale, Ariz., an affiliate company of the DeBartolo Property Group, where he managed more than $600 million in real estate projects. He also founded Trinity Development, completing more than $300 million in retail development projects.
Kobel is a champion of charitable causes and devotes his time and leadership to multiple nonprofit organizations. He was awarded the Outstanding Professional and Community Citizenship award from Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio. Kobel also is the chairman of LIFEWORK Leadership, a leadership development program that provides ethical leadership training for business and community leaders. In 2009, he was awarded the Community Involvement Award for his efforts as chairman of the Super Bowl Breakfast, an official National Football League event with Athletes in Action.
Originally from Pittsburgh, Pa., Kobel served in the U.S. Army's counter-intelligence department. He resides in Tampa with his wife, Becky, and daughters Elizabeth and Katherine.
Four business leaders, Gail Coniglio, James and Anna Marie Erneston and D. Jon Thurman, will be honored with companion medals during Palm Beach Atlantic University's American Free Enterprise Day ceremony Nov. 9.
American Free Enterprise Day has been an event at Palm Beach Atlantic since 1984 and honors individuals whose hard work and achievement exemplify the best of the American free enterprise system.
- A registered nurse by trade, Gail Coniglio and her husband of more than 30 years, Frank, own and operate E.R. Bradley's Saloon in West Palm Beach as well as Cucina dell' Arte and Nick & Johnnie's Patio Bar and Grill in Palm Beach. She currently is serving her second term as councilwoman for the Town of Palm Beach and is a mayoral candidate in the upcoming 2011 election.
- A 29-year resident of Palm Beach, Coniglio has served 12 years on the Recreation Advisory Commission and served two years as an alternate on the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Coniglio also is a longtime member of the Town of Palm Beach United Way and serves on the executive committee.
- Jim Erneston is a founder and the president of J & J Produce Inc., a year-round grower and distributor of fruit and vegetables along the East Coast. With his wife of 45 years, Anna Marie, by his side, Erneston grew J & J Produce into the institution it is today. Headquartered in Loxahatchee, Fla., J & J operates five warehouse locations throughout the Southeast and has the capacity to serve most of the United States. The company represents other growers in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina, and works closely with farming partners in Honduras, Mexico and the Dominican Republic. The Ernestons are supporters of Heath Evans Foundation, Glades Outreach, Urban Youth Impact and The King's Academy.
- Jon Thurman is the CEO of Westbrook Service Corporation, a privately held mechanical services and construction firm that has served homeowners and businesses in Central Florida for 61 years. Thurman has served at the helm of Westbrook for 11 years and represents the third generation of executive leadership for the company, which offers heating, air conditioning, plumbing, electrical, gas and construction services. Prior to joining Westbrook, Thurman worked in the multi-national corporate world for more than 13 years leading an AT&T national account sales team for Hitachi Data Systems, the mainframe computing arm of Hitachi, Ltd. He also previously worked in the privately-held investment holding company arena.
American Free Enterprise Day is a tradition at Palm Beach Atlantic since the first celebration took place in 1984. Previous medal recipients include John D. MacArthur, insurance and real estate entrepreneur, 2009; John M. Gregory, managing partner of SJ Strategic Investments, LLC, 2008; Karl H. Watson, CEMEX, 2007; Stuart W. Epperson, Salem Communications Corporation, 2004; Sam Moore, Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2003; Joseph R. Gregory, Kingsway L.L.C., 2002; Lester J. Woerner, Woerner Holdings, Inc, 2001; Rich DeVos, 2000, Orlando Magic; John J. Brogan, 1999;Thomas R. Pledger, Dycom Industries, 1998; Carl DeSantis, Rexall Sundown, Inc., 1997; Lowell Bud Paxson, Paxson Communications Corp., 1996; Richard S. Johnson, Johnson Investment Group, 1995; David Mahoney, Charles A. Dana Foundation, 1994; William G. Lassiter, Jr., W.G. Lassiter Co., Inc., 1993; Alexander W. Dreyfoos, Jr., The Dreyfoos Group, 1992; S. Bradford Skeet Rymer, Jr., Magic Chef, 1991; S. Truett Cathy, Chick-Fil-A, 1990; Stewart Morris, Stewart Information Services Corp. and the Hugh J. Andersen Foundation, 1989; Frederick M. Supper, Alexander Proudfoot Co., 1988; Henry J. Rolfs, Downtown/Uptown West Palm Beach, 1987; Theodore R. Johnson, United Parcel Service, 1986; Marshall E. Rinker, Sr., Rinker Materials Corp., 1985, and Sir John M. Templeton, Templeton World Funds Ltd., 1984.