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By Nikki Cabus

Two big announcements for Palm Beach Gardens-based TBC Corporation; new CEO and divest Tire Kingdom Businesses

Read Time 4 Minutes

TBC Corporation (“TBC”), one of North America’s leading providers of mobility solutions, announced that it has entered into an agreement to divest its company-owned retail portfolio to Mavis Tire Express Services Corp. (“Mavis”).

For more than 65 years, TBC Corporation has been a company ahead of the curve. In 1956, TBC Corporation began as Cordovan Associates — a small purchasing group of tire retailers in Dayton, Ohio. Through worldwide operations spanning wholesale, retail, and franchise, TBC provides customers best-in-class brands, supply chain as a service, and automotive maintenance and repair services with the underlying mission to exceed customer expectations. TBC serves wholesale customers in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Latin America, Middle East and Europe through TBC Brands, NTW, TBC International, and TBC de Mexico.

Additionally, TBC responds to the needs of individual consumers and fleet customers alike in search of total car care at more than 2,000 franchised and company-operated tire and automotive service centers nationally under the brands NTB, Tire Kingdom, Big O Tires and Midas.

In connection with the transaction, through which Mavis will acquire 392 NTB Tire and Service Centers (NTB) and 203 Tire Kingdom Service Centers (Tire Kingdom), Mavis and TBC have entered into a distribution agreement, through which TBC will provide wholesale and tire distribution for Mavis retail locations. Financial terms of the transaction are not being disclosed.

The 595 NTB and Tire Kingdom stores Mavis is acquiring are in Florida and Texas, as well as other states in the mid-Atlantic, Midwest and South. Upon close of the transaction, Mavis’s retail footprint across all of its brands will span approximately 2,000 locations, including the 112 NTB stores acquired by Mavis from TBC in 2020. All NTB and Tire Kingdom retail store and retail field management associates will have the opportunity to continue their careers with Mavis.

“The announcement represents a significant milestone in the continued acceleration of Mavis’s growth strategy, enabling us to deepen our presence in existing markets and expand our Mavis brand into new markets throughout the Midwest, mid-Atlantic and in Texas,” said Stephen Sorbaro, Co-Chief Executive Officer, Mavis Tire Express Services Corp. “We have a strong working relationship with TBC and a history of successfully integrating NTB locations into our platform, and we look forward to partnering with them again to welcome the talented NTB and Tire Kingdom teams to the Mavis family.”

Kato added, “It was important to us to identify a buyer with an exceptional people-centric culture that aligns with our company values. From our long-term partnership with Mavis, we are confident they are well-positioned to accelerate growth in the NTB and Tire Kingdom businesses as they continue to invest in expanding Mavis’s national footprint.”

The transaction is expected to close in the coming weeks.


“As we execute our growth plans and strategies, we continuously analyze the assets in our portfolio and periodically fine tune them to drive superior performance in our core focus areas,” said Sam Kato, President and Chief Executive Officer, TBC Corporation.

“Divesting our company-owned retail business allows us to focus and strengthen our wholesale business, pursue growing our distribution and ‘supply chain as a service’ solutions, while bolstering our market-leading Midas and Big O Tires franchise businesses. We have never been in a stronger position to offer best-in-class solutions that address a full range of customer priorities while driving innovation and long-term sustainable growth.”

Kato, who served as TBC’s chief administrative officer for the last two years, was announced as the new President and CEO just this month. Kato replaces Laurent Bourrut who is retiring after completing his assignment to position the company for strategic growth amid the evolution of the tire industry. Bourrut will remain an executive advisor to Kato and TBC.

Kato is a veteran of global automotive businesses for more than 30 years. He served as a director of the board of TBC Corporation from 2015 until 2018 when he was leading Sumitomo Corporation of Americas transportation businesses. Kato was an instrumental part of the Sumitomo leadership team that formed a strategic 50/50 joint venture with Michelin North America, Inc., in 2018 to create the current TBC Corporation. As TBC’s first chief administrative officer, Kato maintained responsibility for legal and compliance, human resources, IT, digital, corporate strategy and communications.

His appointment by the TBC Board of Directors to president and chief executive follows a strategic plan developed in collaboration with Bourrut.

Prior to his appointment as president and chief executive officer of TBC, Bourrut worked at Michelin for nearly 14 years in various roles of increasing responsibility culminating as executive vice president in charge of the worldwide road transport and distribution business lines, as well as operations of the European Region. He also served as a member on the Groupe Executive Committee.


By Nikki Cabus

Brian Kornfeld steps down as CEO of Synapse; yet another Florida female leader is crowned

Read Time 4 Minutes

After 6 years, Brian Kornfeld, CEO & Co-Founder of Synapse, steps down as CEO. 

In a letter to the community via a social media post, Brian wrote “When we launched Synapse in 2017, we set out to transform Florida. We wanted to turn it into a destination for innovators and a place where they can live, work, build, and scale. As a native of the Tampa Bay area, I have always loved everything about the state and set a goal to make it a better place. It was a personal mission to get people to embrace and empower innovation across Florida. That mission could not be accomplished without the efforts of a talented team and the advocacy of an engaged community.”

He went on to write that the change will be effective as of April 30th, 2023 which coincides with the organizations 6th year anniversary. Synapse was incorporated in January 2017 in the Tampa Bay region which is one of the state’s hottest tech hubs.

Currently the Chief Strategy Officer, Lauren Slawsky Prager, will assume the role of Chief Executive Officer effective May 1st, 2023.

Lauren joined the organization in early 2018 starting as a volunteer and then as the VP of Communications and Programming where she lead efforts to bring the brand and mission to life through identifying and crafting the stories worth being told, organizing community events, and the annual Synapse Summit. After 4 years in this role, Lauren was promoted just last January to her current role as Chief Strategy Officer. Her vision and strategy have been instrumental to the growth of Synapse since its inception and the first Synapse Summit.

Lauren said that she started as a volunteer organizer aligning speakers and outlining content for the first Synapse Summit not thinking this would turn into a career opportunity, but when the opportunity arose she knew it was one she had to take. “The first Synapse Summit was magical,” she said. “We had three times the expected attendance and you could really feel the desire for human connection.” The role aligned with her passion of bringing people together.

“Lauren has been a driving force behind the scenes for years and has become a visionary leader of the community and the team,” noted Brian Kornfeld. He continued, “I am beyond thrilled that somebody so talented will take Synapse to the next level as her vision and strategy in community building is truly unique and top notch.”

Brian said, “Lauren has made an indelible impact on the Synapse community since she joined us in early 2018 and she is the unequivocal choice to bring Synapse to its next chapter. I leave Synapse in the most capable hands with Lauren and the incredible team around her and I look forward to supporting them as a continued member of the Board of Directors.”

Not ready to announce any new venture quite yet, Brian stated that he is looking forward to achieving “new professional aspirations” and the other Synapse alumni who have been able to reach new heights through the organization and the community. He expects to still be an active member in Florida’s innovation ecosystem and will remain an active member of the Board of Directors and the Impact Board. In his public letter, Brian closed by expressing that this has been the “best chapter of my career.”

In an interview with South Florida Tech Hub, Lauren shared that “Brian has given so much to the community. He has a deep passion and respect for the work of the people with some really great ideas and has always supported them with the execution of those great ideas. He is a champion of true collaboration working to create ties across the state.” She told Tech Hub CEO, Nikki Cabus, “His passion of creating connections brought us together.”

Lauren shared that she is beyond proud of working alongside Brian, and is honored to have the ability to not only have called him a colleague, but a friend and a partner. Lauren will continue the work of moving the needle for tech and innovation in Florida – now that the world is watching. She wants to show the world at “Innovation Lives Here.”

Synapse is a statewide non-profit organization that brings communities from Pensacola to Miami to Tampa and everyone in between together aiming to connects and catalyze Florida’s innovation community. Curated events and targeted engagement enable the organization to make meaningful connections.  They connect key stakeholders across industries, technologies and geographies: entrepreneurs, investors, corporate innovation leaders, policy makers, innovation enablers, entrepreneur support organizations, educational leaders, and talent. Synapse celebrates, discovers and engages thought leaders, doers, creators, and entrepreneurs driving innovation across the state of Florida and beyond.

The overall vision of Synapse is to be an all-encompassing, interactive, and flexible methodology for building, facilitating, and exposing the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem of Florida. The organization is elevating Florida’s profile as a global innovation leader by connecting people so they can inspire, energize, and impact the world. To learn more, visit

By Nikki Cabus

Miami-Dade Beacon Council Names Rodrick Miller President & CEO

Read Time 5 Minutes

One of the foremost economic development leaders in the country is set to lead Miami-Dade’s best-in-class EDO.

The Miami-Dade Beacon Council, the county’s official public-private economic development partnership, names Rodrick Miller President and Chief Executive Officer. One of the nation’s foremost economic development leaders, Miller brings decades of experience and a commitment to inclusive, sustainable development to one of the fastest growing, most diverse business destinations in the world: Miami.

Miller is a seasoned economic developer known for his deep expertise in urban recovery, trade and foreign investment, strategic planning, and project finance. Respected globally for his ability to maneuver complex political and business environments, Miller’s ability to craft strategies and structure deals that provide long-term value to communities and investors makes him an ideal leader for development efforts in Miami.

Appointed in May 2022 after the untimely passing of Beacon Council President and CEO Michael A. Finney, the eight-member Search Committee – led by Yolanda Cash Jackson, Chair of The Beacon Council and Shareholder at Becker – selected global organizational consulting firm Korn Ferry to lead the search. The firm partnered closely with the Search Committee on an exhaustive 7-month search of the national economic development community, attracting best-in-class applicants for the organization’s leadership position; Miller rose to the top.

“We are excited to welcome Rod Miller to The Beacon Council,” said Yolanda Cash Jackson, Chair of both the Search Committee and Beacon’s Board of Directors.

“A world-class economic developer, Rod’s understanding of diverse, international markets and the importance of intentionally inclusive, sustainable development make him the right leader for this organization at this time in Miami-Dade’s growth. Beacon has an incredible team of best-in-class professionals that have outperformed year after year, even when faced with unforeseen challenges. Rod’s energy and strategic vision for what we can build together – for, by, and with Miami – is infectious. We are confident he will be embraced by this community and help to drive our shared mission forward.”

As the County’s official economic development organization, The Beacon Council works closely with Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, who looks forward to partnering with the new leader.

“To build the growing, inclusive economy of tomorrow, we need visionary leaders at the forefront today,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.

“Rodrick Miller brings extraordinary experience to Miami-Dade, having proven his ability to deliver strong, targeted economic development to New Orleans, Detroit, and Puerto Rico. Under his leadership, we’ll generate new investment in our community, support our long-standing industries, and create a dynamic local workforce – building an economy that works for everyone along the way.”

Rodrick Miller’s previous experience includes serving as Chief Executive Officer of Invest Puerto Rico, joining the organization in 2019 and building a world-class team to lead its mission of attracting business and investment to the island. He joined InvestPR after leading Ascendant Global, an economic development firm focused on providing bold growth solutions to help economies sustain themselves and gain jobs and private investment.

Prior to that, he was President and CEO of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, the public-private partnership charged with leading the economic revitalization of the city of Detroit. Miller also served as the founding President and CEO of the New Orleans Business Alliance, the official economic development organization for the City of New Orleans.

“The announcement of Rodrick Miller as the next President and CEO of The Beacon Council is very exciting,” said Miami-Dade County Commission Chairman Oliver G. Gilbert, III.

“Rodrick’s extensive background leading economic development efforts across the nation and promoting policies that support a vibrant business community make him a natural leader for the County’s official economic development organization.”

The 45-year-old Rodrick Miller becomes Beacon’s sixth president in its 38-year history as Miami-Dade County’s official economic development organization. He has led diverse economic initiatives for clients including Living Cities, the Kellogg Foundation, The Fund for our Economic Future, and the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, and was recently a visiting fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Taubman Center for State and Local Government.

Miller holds a Master of Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, a graduate diploma in finance from the Monterrey Institute of Technology in Mexico, and a Bachelor of Science degree in International Business from St. Augustine’s College. He was also a Fulbright Fellow. He is a board member of the New Growth Innovation Network, the Harvard Kennedy School Alumni Board, New Corp (CDFI), and St. Augustine’s University.

“Everyone loves Miami, and appreciates how much we have to offer on a global level,” said William D. Talbert, III, Outgoing Interim President & CEO.

“This allows us to consistently attract the highest level of talent – which is especially important for this position, where you are empowered to market, grow, and shape this community to ensure that we are future-ready. The Committee was impressed with the quality and quantity of applicants, and we are confident that the process allowed us to find the best, most qualified candidate to lead Miami-Dade’s economic development efforts.”

The Miami-Dade Beacon Council is the county’s official economic development partnership. Attracting and retaining companies that create high-value jobs and invest in our community, The Beacon Council is committed to driving long-term economic prosperity and inclusive growth for Miami-Dade County, its businesses, and residents. They achieve this by marketing Miami- Dade as a world-class business destination; growing local companies and fostering entrepreneurs; and shaping Miami-Dade’s economic future. Established in 1985, The Beacon Council has attracted more than 130,000 new jobs and $7.3 Billion of new investment to Miami-Dade County. For more information, visit

“I am thrilled to join one of the most well-respected economic development organizations in the country and lead it into its next phase of growth,” said Rodrick Miller, President & CEO.

“Miami-Dade County is a dynamic global community that thrives on diversity and is unabashedly entrepreneurial at its core. We are at a unique inflection point that allows us to drive long-term growth by capitalizing on the incredible momentum and inbound investments of the last few years.

Applying sustainable, inclusive development strategies will not only drive transformational change for our economy – it will position Miami as a model for others. At the forefront of my priorities, however, is to immerse myself in the community, to listen to, learn from and engage with the diverse stakeholders who work with us to shape Miami’s economic future.”

Members of the Search Committee include:

  • Yolanda Cash Jackson, Becker, 2022-2023 Beacon Council Chair and Search Committee Chair
  • Donna Abood, Avison Young, Past Chair and Board Member
  • Sheldon Anderson, Grove Bank & Trust, Past Chair and Board Member
  • George Bermudez, Bank of America, Immediate Past Chair and Board Member
  • Jaret Davis, Greenberg Traurig, Past Chair and Board Member
  • Gary Goldfarb, Interport Logistics, Past Chair and Board Member
  • Xavier Gonzalez, Kaseya, Board Member
  • Alexandra Villoch, Baptist Health South Florida, Past Chair and Board Member

Miller will be taking over his role in Miami-Dade County starting February 15, 2023.


Two big announcements for Palm Beach Gardens-based TBC Corporation; new CEO and divest Tire Kingdom Businesses
Brian Kornfeld steps down as CEO of Synapse; yet another Florida female leader is crowned
Miami-Dade Beacon Council Names Rodrick Miller President & CEO