South Florida Tech HubSouth Florida Tech Hub

By Nikki Cabus

UKG names Rachel Barger as new President, GTM

Read Time 3 Minutes

UKG, a leading provider of HR, payroll, workforce management, and culture solutions for all people, announced that Rachel Barger joined UKG as President, GTM on May 13, 2024.

UKG is on a mission to inspire every organization to become a great place to work through HCM technology built for all. More than 80,000 organizations across all sizes, industries, and geographies trust UKG HR, payroll, workforce management, and culture cloud solutions to drive great workplace experiences and make better, more confident people and business decisions. With the world’s largest collection of people data, work data, and culture data combined with rich experience using artificial intelligence in the service of people,UKG connects culture insights with business outcomes to show what’s possible when organizations invest in their people.

Rachel Barber, former Senior Vice President of the Americas at Cisco Systems, will now report to UKG’s CEO and will lead all go-to-market aspects of UKG, overseeing sales, marketing, and customer relationship management.

“Rachel is known for her exceptional ability to cultivate meaningful relationships with customers, partners, and the people she leads. Her exceptional track record speaks volumes about her ability to navigate complex challenges while fostering an environment of inclusivity and innovation,” said Chris Todd, CEO of UKG.

“Rachel’s dedication to change management, value realization, and driving tangible business outcomes will be a tremendous asset for UKG as we continue to grow and scale our business.”

Rachel Barger joins UKG at a time of exciting growth, as the company now has more than 80,000 organizations worldwide and has been named to the Fast Company Brands That Matter list. Additionally, the company’s commitment to its Partner for Life promise has resulted in several awards and accolades for its differentiated customer experience (CX) model, which is designed to instill customer confidence, accelerate value, and build great workplaces through technology built for all. 

“I’ve always been passionate about helping organizations succeed through technology transformation, and that’s something UKG does extremely well,” said Rachel Barger.

“What I’m most excited about is the opportunity to help create a great place to work for tens of thousands of organizations around the world. Improving the employee experience by delivering innovation and driving inclusion at that scale is thrilling, and absolutely what made me so excited to come to UKG.”

Barger has deep go-to-market expertise with more than 20 years focused on driving profitable growth and leading high-performing, highly engaged teams across the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), and Asia Pacific regions. As SVP of the Americas at Cisco — which recently ranked No. 2 overall on the 2024 Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For® list by Great Place To Work® — she is responsible for overseeing approximately $37 billion in annual sales while leading a richly diverse and dynamic team of 6,500 employees across 35 countries. Barger is also the Global co-Executive Sponsor of Women of Cisco and Americas Executive Sponsor of Cisco Pride employee resource groups.

“UKG’s mission to inspire organizations to be a great place to work through inclusive technology isn’t just a slogan, it’s at the heart of its own culture,” said Barger. “It’s critically important to me personally to work for a company that practices what it preaches for its employees and its customers every single day.” 

Prior to joining Cisco, Barger held pivotal leadership roles in various sectors of the technology industry, including several executive sales positions for SAP. Barger, who will be based at the UKG headquarters office in Weston, Fla., holds an MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management (UNSW) and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware.

“Rachel embodies a growth mindset — something that is core to our culture at UKG — and she consistently motivates and inspires those around her,” continued Todd. “Rachel will bring together our sales, marketing, and customer relationship management teams to build a greater level of collaboration and optimization as we double down on our focus on our customers.”

To learn more about UKG, visit

By Nikki Cabus

TBC Corporation Promotes Don Byrd to President and Chief Executive Officer

Read Time 3 Minutes

TBC Corporation (“TBC”), a leader in the mobility industry and one of North America’s largest marketers of automotive replacement tires through wholesale and franchise operations, announced today the company’s new president and chief executive officer, Don Byrd.

TBC Corporation (TBC) is one of North America’s largest marketers of automotive replacement tires through wholesale and franchise operations. TBC serves wholesale customers in the United States, Canada and Mexico through TBC Brands, NTW, TBC International, and TBC de Mexico. Additionally, TBC responds to the needs of consumers in search of total car care at more than 2,400 franchised and licensed tire and automotive service centers under the Big O Tires® and Midas® brands.

Don Byrd, who currently serves as TBC’s chief strategy and marketing officer, will replace Sam Kato, effective May 1. Kato, who was appointed to position TBC for growth and evolution, will return to Sumitomo, one of TBC’s shareholders. Byrd’s appointment by the TBC Board of Directors to president and chief executive officer is a natural transition for TBC and follows a strategic plan developed in collaboration with Kato.   

“Don Byrd has worked hand-in-hand with Sam and the other members of TBC’s executive leadership team to build out the company’s current winning strategy,” said Kei Kubota, TBC Corporation board member. “TBC is well-positioned for continued growth, and we look forward to collaborating with Don to help propel the company to even greater heights. We are grateful for Sam’s exceptional leadership and dedication to TBC’s transformation, particularly over the past year, while serving as the company’s president and CEO.”

Byrd joined TBC in April 2018 as executive vice president, TBC and president & COO, National Tire Wholesale (NTW). He was soon named president, TBC purchasing and assumed additional responsibilities as chief marketing and strategy officer. Prior to joining TBC, Byrd served as the COO and president of Tire Centers Incorporated (TCi), LLC, one of the country’s leading tire service networks and a wholly owned subsidiary of Michelin North America, Inc. Before TBC and Michelin, he spent 19 years at Procter & Gamble in marketing and operations roles. 

Byrd said, “We appreciate Sam’s contributions to TBC and wish him continued success. Under Sam’s leadership, we built a strong foundation for the company, poised for growth. As CEO, I will continue to execute on this strategic vision. We are laser-focused on providing best-in-class solutions in the mobility and automotive industry and strengthening our wholesale and distribution, and franchise businesses, and keeping our stakeholders moving on the road ahead.” 

Kato said, “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed these past three years, where I’ve had the privilege of working alongside a dynamic team here at TBC. I’m proud of the work we’ve accomplished together, and I’m confident Don will continue to drive TBC forward and build upon our success.”  

Kato is a 30-year veteran of global automotive businesses. Prior to his appointment as president and CEO of TBC, he served as a director of the board for TBC Corporation from 2015 until 2018 when he was leading transportation businesses for Sumitomo Corporation of Americas. As TBC’s first chief administrative officer, Kato maintained responsibility for legal and compliance, human resources, IT, digital, corporate strategy and communications. 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.  

For more information, visit 

By Nikki Cabus

GRUBBRR Announces the Appointment of Jonathan Elster as President

Read Time 2 Minutes

GRUBBRR announced that Jonathan Elster has been named to the newly created position as President. In this role, he will lead the daily business functions across all aspects of the company.

Headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida, GRUBBRR is a global self-ordering software solutions provider. GRUBBRR’s award-winning platform, including kiosks, mobile ordering, online ordering, kitchen display systems and more, are proven to help businesses maximize revenue, decrease labor costs, and increase operational efficiency while improving the consumer experience. GRUBBRR’s solutions are adaptable and beneficial to a multitude of businesses, and power both enterprise-level and small and medium businesses across verticals such as quick-service restaurants, fast casual restaurants, stadiums, movie theaters, casinos, micro-markets, retail, and more.

“Our continued growth across several business sectors has necessitated the addition of a company President,” said GRUBBRR CEO Sam Zietz.

“Jonathan’s extensive executive experience driving revenue growth and delivering operational excellence makes him a great addition to our team. During his initial time at GRUBBRR Jonathan has positively impacted our business and earned the trust and respect of our staff, partners, and customers. I am excited about his continued contributions.”

In recent months, Elster served as a GRUBBRR consultant. During that time, he was the acting Chief Operating Officer, with a particular focus on creating operational efficiencies. Elster brings a wealth of executive leadership to GRUBBRR. He was most recently the chief executive officer of Next Level Distribution, a multi-national distributor with more than 100 leading brands of consumer electronics and more than 3,000 customers. Elster raised revenue by over 300% during his tenure at Next Level Distribution. Prior to that, he was the chief executive officer at SED International, Inc., a multi-national wholesale distributor of consumer electronic and small appliances, where he drove substantial revenue growth and was instrumental in their NYSE listing.

“In recent months I have had the opportunity to work with many of GRUBBRR’s internal and external stakeholders,” said GRUBBRR President Jonathan Elster.

“I’m very impressed with the caliber of the GRUBBRR staff, and their robust network of strategic partners. I’ve also witnessed the transformative impact that GRUBBRR’s solutions have on increasing revenue and reducing operating costs for their customers, which further cemented my commitment to be part of this truly innovative company. I look forward to working with the team to grow our business by continuing to create groundbreaking solutions that deliver measurable results for our customers.”

To learn more about GRUBBRR and its products, visit

By Nikki Cabus

Nicole Oropesa named President of BrandStar Entertainment

Read Time 2 Minutes

BrandStar a solutions-driven, fully horizontally and vertically integrated production and strategic marketing company, has named Nicole Oropesa President of BrandStar Entertainment, its pioneering branded entertainment division.

BrandStar Entertainment is renowned for its award-winning television shows, offering companies of all sizes unparalleled opportunities to forge stronger connections with their audiences. Whether opting for our custom branded integrations on our national and local television shows, leveraging our digital services to deepen your connection with your audience, or partnering to build ‘something bigger’ together. Content is king at BrandStar Entertainment, no matter the platform.

Nicole Oropesa has been a driving force of BrandStar’s growth for the past 15 years and is an original producer of flagship show, The Balancing Act, which is the longest-running television show on Lifetime and hosted by Montel Williams.

“Nicole’s dedication, expertise, and journey with BrandStar exemplifies her exceptional leadership. Her vision and passion for the industry makes her an invaluable asset,” said Mark Alfieri, Founder & CEO of BrandStar.

“I’ve observed the leadership qualities she embodies through her previous role, along with a demonstrated track record of not only optimizing our shows’ potential but also dedicating herself to unlocking the full professional and personal capabilities of her team members. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

In her newly assumed position, she will leverage her extensive 25-year background in the branded entertainment industry to spearhead the division’s efforts in broadening BrandStar’s array of show properties. These properties encompass renowned programs such as Military Makeover with Montel, BELatina, Designing Spaces, Inside the Blueprint, and Access Health.

“As the newly appointed President of BrandStar Entertainment, I am deeply honored and enthusiastic about the journey ahead. With a dedicated team and exceptional show properties, I am committed to leading us to new heights of success,” adds Oropesa.

“Our focus will not only be on delivering outstanding programs, but also on nurturing the talents and potential of our team members. I look forward to the exciting collaborations and opportunities that lie ahead for our company.”

Prior to her new role, Oropesa was Executive Vice President of Programming with a focus on business development, company culture and marketing. One of the many impactful initiatives she has created is the company’s social responsibility and community engagement division, BrandStar Cares. Oropesa lives and breathes the culture of BrandStar which has an influence on the talented, high-performance, teams she builds.

To learn more about BrandStar, visit

By Nikki Cabus

NSU’s Board of Trustees Announces Succession Plan for NSU Presidency

Read Time 4 Minutes

At its September 21, 2023 meeting, Nova Southeastern University’s (NSU) Board of Trustees and President Dr. George Hanbury finalized plans for him to step down as president and CEO and continue to serve NSU in a new role as of January 1, 2025. At the same meeting, the Board voted unanimously for Harry K. Moon, M.D., currently NSU’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, to become NSU’s 7th President and CEO. Dr. Moon will begin his tenure as president, also on January 1, 2025.

The decision by the President and Board to make this announcement now gives the university and its executive leadership abundant time to implement a well-thought-out transition period to ensure the long-term success of the university, its students, faculty, staff, alumni, patients, partners and the communities it serves.

“George Hanbury has led Nova Southeastern University through years of unparalleled achievement. The university is financially sound and well on track to continue its rise to preeminence among national research universities,” said Mr. Charlie Palmer, Chair of NSU’s Board of Trustees. “We have recognized the strong and effective partnership between President Hanbury and Dr. Moon over these past five years and we see that promotion from within will serve the university’s best interest.

“Dr. Moon has contributed significantly to NSU’s growth and brings recognized strategic planning and vision to this role,” Palmer continued. “He can build upon President Hanbury’s considerable legacy and lead NSU to continue its rise to preeminence among national research universities. Having such a clear succession plan and process will ensure an intentional and effective transition at the executive level. We are confident this appointment will help ensure continuity, stability, and the fulfillment of NSU’s destiny.”

President Hanbury, who has served as president of Nova Southeastern University since 2010, will continue to serve NSU in a new role as Chancellor and creator of a new Institute of Citizenship, Leadership, and International Affairs.

“Serving the students, faculty and staff of this great university has been the most noble thing I have ever done in my life. My job became my passion at NSU, and because I loved what I was doing, I feel like I never worked a day. I love being president of the NSU family,” said Dr. Hanbury. “As my contract draws to an end, I’m blessed to be healthy and happy, and it’s time to prepare to pass the gavel to the next and seventh presidency of this fine institution.

“I’ve been considering and planning for this transition for some time now, and I couldn’t imagine a better successor than Harry Moon,” Dr. Hanbury continued. “When I recruited him to the senior leadership position of Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer – a position I held myself for 12 years at NSU before I became President – I had this kind of opportunity well in mind. We’ve worked well as collaborators and I strongly endorse Dr. Moon’s selection by the Board as NSU’s seventh President in order to continue the University’s measured progress toward preeminence. We will continue to work closely over the next 15 months so that I can impart the knowledge I have gained, and to seamlessly transition leadership responsibilities.”

Dr. Moon currently serves as NSU’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, a role he has held since July 2018. Additionally, Dr. Moon is Chief Operating Officer of NSU Health, a patient-centric integrated health care network encompassing the university’s many clinical operations. As NSU’s EVP/COO, he oversees the units of Innovation and Information Technology, Facilities and Public Safety, Business Services, Internal Audit, Environmental Health and Safety, Engagement Center, Regional Campus Administration, University Library, NSU Art Museum | Fort Lauderdale, and the Grande Oaks Golf Club.

“I am humbled and honored that NSU’s Board of Trustees and President Hanbury have placed their trust in me to be the next president to lead this extraordinary university,” said Dr. Moon. “President Hanbury has built a strong foundation for the university. It has been his vision and drive that has led us to our emergence as a preeminent national research university; my goal is to continue that upward trajectory. And, as it has been with Dr. Hanbury, my vision also starts with the core mission of the university: its students.

“My goal is to ensure NSU continues to provide a high-quality educational experience for all our students – K-12, undergraduate, graduate and professional – as we also continue to strengthen our fiscal foundations and endowment, and focus on strategic growth in our research, athletics and health care enterprise,” said Dr. Moon. “NSU is ready to take the next dynamic steps forward on its path to preeminence, and I am honored to be chosen to lead our next chapter.”

The university will begin a national search for the institution’s next Chief Operating Officer to prepare for the presidential transition that will take place as of January 1, 2025. Additionally, in alignment with these changes and in recognition of his many years of service as NSU’s fifth president, Chancellor Ray Ferrero Jr., J.D., will be granted the new title of President Emeritus.

UKG names Rachel Barger as new President, GTM
TBC Corporation Promotes Don Byrd to President and Chief Executive Officer
GRUBBRR Announces the Appointment of Jonathan Elster as President
Nicole Oropesa named President of BrandStar Entertainment
NSU’s Board of Trustees Announces Succession Plan for NSU Presidency