Beacon News: American Free Enterprise honored on Nov. 10

By Kyle Beck
Contributing Writer

Palm Beach Atlantic University will host the 24th annual American Free Enterprise Day on Nov. 10 at 11 a.m.

PBA has sponsored the event since 1984 to honor individuals whose hard work and achievement exemplify the best of the American free enterprise system and exemplify the system’s ideals.

“The celebration of free enterprise is an esteemed tradition at the university and distinguishes it among its peers,” said PBA President Lu Hardin. “The university’s founders were convinced that America’s growth was fueled by enterprising men and women who not only created economic security for their families but were compelled to provide financial support for needy causes.”

This year four business leaders — Larry Alexander, Regina Bedoya, David Hernandez and Michael Mikkelson — will be honored.

The late John D. MacArthur, a philanthropist who donated to many causes throughout his life, will also be recognized.

At the time of his death in 1978 he was one of the three wealthiest men in America.

At the age of 30 MacArthur bought the Marquette Life Insurance Company and in 1935 he acquired the financially impaired Bankers Life and Casualty Company of Chicago. Five years later Bankers had more than $1 million in assets.

At his death, MacArthur’s insurance companies had more than three million policyholders, with $5.5 billion of insurance in force, and a sales staff of more than 5,000 agents and brokers.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has an endowment of $6.4 billion, and grants money to organizations around the world.

“I am very honored and humbled to have been chosen to be a Companion Medalist at this year’s ceremony,” Alexander said. “While it’s a significant personal honor, it’s not one I could have received without the help and support of my family, friends and colleagues.”

Alexander is head of a 35-lawyer law firm in West Palm Beach.

“PBAU does an excellent job of recognizing the results of hard work and education on American Free Enterprise Day, and I’m proud to be included,” Alexander added.

Regina Bedoya is the president and CEO of RB Financial Advisers a boutique financial planning firm that specializes in net worth planning, protection planning and estate planning.

She is also the founder of Womenade, an organization committed to helping disadvantaged women and children.

David Hernandez is the co-founder and CEO of Liberty Power, the only national, minority-owned energy provider in America.

Hernandez has taken the company to new heights under his leadership. Liberty, based in Ft. Lauderdale, has grown to serve tens of thousands of small and medium-sized businesses.

Mike Mikkelson is the president and CEO of Liberty Investment Properties Inc. which specializes in the development of high-performing investment real estate across the United States. He has more than 35 years of executive experience in commercial real estate and the development and operation of income-producing property.

“The value to the recipient is the opportunity to share what they have learned with university students, who represent the future of our country and the world,” Hardin said. “By attending the annual American Free Enterprise ceremony, students take part in a long-standing university tradition and hear first-hand how God equips men and women to fulfill their purposes through the influence and reach of business,” Hardin said.

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