Palm Beach Atlantic University (PBA) celebrated American Free Enterprise Day by awarding accomplished business leader Dina-Dwyer Owens as this year’s lead medalist, recognizing the lessons she’s learned in her 40 years of experience in the franchising world.
Stephen Popper, founder, CEO and president of Meals of Hope, Jack Day, vice president of Franchise Development for Meals of Hope and Buddy Raney, founder of Raney Construction, Inc, philanthropist and entrepreneur were this year’s companion medalists. The ceremony took place November 14 in the Rubin Arena of the Greene Complex of Sports and Recreation at PBA, and hundreds of staff, faculty, students and members of the community were in attendance.
Dina-Dwyer Owens is the former CEO of the Dwyer group, the largest franchiser of home service brands now known as Neighborly. She is a critically acclaimed author, motivational speaker and a newly enrolled PBA online student.
PBA has a unique focus on teaching the merits of the free enterprise system as it allows students the opportunity to work their way to success. Believing in America and its foundational principles gives students an optimistic outlook on their future as they follow their calling.
“We thank God for the freedom and the opportunity we enjoy, and we thank him for the free enterprise role models who have wisely and unselfishly used their blessings,’’ said Dr. Debra Schwinn, PBA president.
Owens’ father spent his life helping people live the American dream through the free enterprise system. His values helped create a strong organization for franchising called the Dwyer Group. Her father’s mission was to teach his personal and business principles so people would build more successful lives.
“I have the spirit of free enterprise in my blood,” joked Owens. “One of my favorite founding values is the belief in the untapped potential of every human being… that is the heart of free enterprise.”
Owens’ father taught her that leaders celebrate the past and fix mistakes, but they ultimately focus on striving to do their best every day. The idea of earning her position “in every way and every day” was something Owens carried into her years as a CEO. Her mission is to help individuals become the best versions of themselves possible.
Owens learned about PBA a few years ago when the Titus Center for Franchising was established. She encourages students to look into declaring a concentration in franchising as it could open many doors across all industries. With more than 780,000 franchises across the nation looking to hire college graduates with an understanding of franchising, the possibilities are endless.
Owens believes her father and PBA would have been fast friends because the school teaches the exact values of hard work that were ingrained in her as a child. Her father believed that America was built on the pillar of the free enterprise system and that people should accept their daily success humbly, knowing God is guiding them.
“With a university like PBA, I think there is real hope for the future of America and the free enterprise system,” concluded Owens.
To learn more about PBA’s American Free Enterprise Day, visit pba.edu/afe.