October 10, 2022

University Names American Free Enterprise Companion Medalists

PBA News

Palm Beach Atlantic will award its American Free Enterprise companion medals to Eddie Rodriguez, Wendy’s Company franchise owner and chairman of WenCo Restaurant Group, and Sara McCann, CEO and creative director for Hive Collective.

The pair will be honored along with American Free Enterprise Medal honoree Steve Forbes, chairman and editor-in-chief of Forbes Media, 11 a.m. Nov. 3 in the Rubin Arena of the Greene Complex for Sports and Recreation, 1100 S. Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach. The ceremony is open to the public. For more information, call (561) 803-2021.

Eddie Rodriguez opened his first Wendy’s restaurant in 1993 and, as owner of JAE Restaurant Group, went on to own 238 restaurants in Florida, Tennessee, Texas and New Mexico with more than $390 million in annual sales. Rodriguez sold JAE Restaurant Group in 2021 and currently owns 38 restaurants in Florida with over $75 million in annual sales. Rodriguez and his organization have earned the WENDY award for superior operations and people development. They also earned the Dave Thomas Founders’ Award, the most prestigious and highest honor given to a very limited number of Wendy’s franchisees in 40 years. In 2016, Rodriguez was inducted into the Dave Thomas Hall of Fame, an award that recognizes consistent high standards, extraordinary efforts and significant achievements in support of the Wendy’s system. Early in his career, Rodriguez was named the 1986 Employee of the Year for Pillsbury Company, then the parent company of Burger King. The award was based on profitability of his operations and development of people within his area. Rodriguez began his career with Burger King and held a variety of leadership positions. He also held high-level leadership positions with Johnson Service Group PLC. As chief operating officer for U.S. operations of Johnson Service Group PLC, he was responsible for 1,100 company stores and 1,300 franchised stores across the U.S. and Latin America. Rodriguez grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and attended Hunter College, where he majored in economics.

Sara McCann founded her interior design firm, McCann Design Group, in 2000. Years of living and entertaining in Palm Beach honed her expertise for designing interiors. Recognizing the need for a high-end home store in the Palm Beach area, McCann opened Hive Home, Gift & Garden in 2013. Extending her passion for design beyond interiors, she expanded the Hive brand in 2019 to include the apparel boutiques Hive for Her, Hive for Him and Hive for Kids. In 2021, she launched the Hive Trade Showroom and Hickory Chair Palm Beach. Her latest and highly anticipated enterprise, Hive Bakery & Café, opened in the spring. In 2020, the Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce awarded her with the Entrepreneur Award, speaking to her enterprising spirit and innovative presence in Palm Beach County. Since 2020, she has been included in The Palm Beach 100, an annual publication from Palm Beach Illustrated honoring Palm Beach County’s most influential business leaders.

Ceremony Sponsor: Bank of America

Luncheon Sponsor: Young America’s Foundation

The mission of Young America’s Foundation (YAF) is to ensure that increasing numbers of young Americans understand and are inspired by the ideas of individual freedom, free enterprise, traditional values, and a strong national defense. YAF accomplishes its mission by providing essential conferences, seminars, educational materials, internships, and speakers to young people across the country. The organization also preserves the Reagan Ranch (Santa Barbara, CA)—President Ronald Reagan’s “Western White House”—and the Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home (Dixon, IL) to pass on our 40th President’s values to future generations.


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