The Florida Board of Governors plays a key role in funding capital projects, marketing, and networking the institution to important local constituent groups, and advancing Northwood in a variety of important ways. Governors also act as mentors and employers for Northwood students.
The entire group meets a minimum of three times per year and participates in many of Northwood's annual events and functions.
James J. Arrigo
Arrigo Dodge Chrysler Jeep
West Palm Beach, Florida
James J. Arrigo (Jim) graduated from Western Illinois University with degrees in Marketing and Management. After graduation, Jim sold cars in Atlanta, Georgia, and then moved to Florida to work for JM Family Enterprises, Inc., dba, Southeast Toyota in Deerfield Beach. He worked at Southeast Toyota for nine years under the guidance of Jim Moran, then president. Arrigo then had the opportunity to purchase his own Dodge dealership in 1989.
Arrigo, along with his father as his partner, built Arrigo Dodge into one of the largest Dodge volume dealerships in the United States in 2001. In 2003 they purchased the Chrysler Jeep franchises, and today Arrigo Dodge Chrysler Jeep is the largest retailer of Chrysler Jeep and Dodge in the United States, breaking national sales records, as well as being the nation’s largest Chrysler Financial customer.
The Arrigo Dodge dealership has also received the coveted Five Star Dodge Chrysler Jeep Dealer Award which places them in an elite group of dealers nationwide. Highly regarded civically and professionally in his community and industry, Jim is the past president of the South Florida Auto Truck Dealers Association; president of the National Dealers Council; and, was recently invited to serve as secretary of the Chrysler Jeep Dealers Council.
Arrigo serves on numerous Florida boards and currently sits on both the Board of Trustees and the Florida Board of Governors for Northwood University. Additionally, he received an honorary doctorate degree from Northwood University as well as the Arthur E. Turner Excellence In Entrepreneurship Award for Palm Beach County and the 2005 Outstanding Business Leader Award. He with Leo Vecellio was very instrumental in the completion of the soccer field at Northwood, which is named in honor of the Vecellio and Arrigo families.
Jim Arrigo and his family reside in West Palm Beach, Florida. He and his wife, Margaret, are active in many social and civic organizations to promote higher education, with the emphasis on children and their well-being. They are blessed with four children: Kristina, Katie, Freddy, and Joseph.
Thomas DeRita, Jr
Re:source Group, N.A.
West Palm Beach, Florida
Thomas (Tom) DeRita, Jr. has served as Chief Executive Officer of Re: source Group N.A. since its creation in 1998. Re: source is a West Palm Beach, Florida-based company that is a full-service government and public relations firm that specializes in issue advocacy on the local, state and federal level. In 2000, Dr. DeRita and his partners formed Water Re: sources Group, Inc. (WRGI) which is a government relations and marketing firm that represents municipalities regarding water resource issues. This firm works closely with local, county, state and federal staff to identify projects, prepare proper documentation and secure government funds for municipalities.
Dr. DeRita held executive management positions and ownership interests in the automobile industry for more than 25 years. His ownership interests included Lexus, Plymouth, Dodge, Chrysler, Nissan and Suzuki dealerships. During his years in the automobile industry, DeRita received numerous awards and honors for his outstanding achievements. He is actively involved with several community and charitable organizations including the Adam Walsh Foundation, the Big Heart Brigade, Martin Memorial Hospital Foundation and the YMCA of Martin County, Florida. Tom DeRita received an honorary doctorate degree from Northwood in May 2000.
Dr. DeRita and his wife, Barbara, live in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
Richard M. DeVos, Sr
Co-Founder, Alticor Inc.
Owner and Chairman, NBA Orlando Magic
Holland, Michigan/Manalapan, Florida
Richard (Rich) M. DeVos was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is a graduate of Grand Rapids Christian High School and attended Calvin College in Grand Rapids. He served in the United States Air Force from 1944 to 1946. In 1953, DeVos married the former Helen Van Wesep of Grand Rapids. They have four children and fifteen grandchildren.
In 1949, Rich DeVos and Jay Van Andel formed the Ja-Ri Corporation and began distributing products on a direct sales basis. In 1959, he founded Amway Corporation with Mr. Van Andel.
In October 2000, Amway became one of four subsidiaries under a new parent company called Alticor, along with three sister companies: Quixtar Inc., a Web-based business in North America; Access Business Group LLC, a business service provider; and Pyxis Innovations Inc., a corporate resource for new business and product ideas.
A renowned speaker, Rich DeVos has appeared before hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. His recorded talk, "Selling America," received the Alexander Hamilton Award for Economic Education from the Freedoms Foundation. He has written several books: BELIEVE!, Compassionate Capitalism, and most recently Hope From My Heart: Ten Lessons for Life. Hope From My Heart describes the life-changing experience of his heart transplant at age 71, and imparts ten lessons for life on subjects like persistence, confidence, optimism, respect, and faith.
Delray Beach, Florida
Debra Elmore attended East Carolina University studying Nutrition and Management. For the next eighteen years, she worked in a corporate management environment in the health care and contract hospitality management fields. She held various upper level management positions, as well as financial controller and business analyst.
Debra returned to South Florida in 1998 to start her own consulting business, A.K. Consulting. She works as a business analyst consultant for new business entrepreneurs and owners needing specialization in business development, marketing, business and marketing plans, new product development, and photographic analysis.
Debra is active with educational, cultural arts programs and service organizations throughout Palm Beach County including providing time and monetary support for their mission in the community. She is involved with the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, Susan G. Komen Foundation, Morikami Museum, Palm Beach Zoo, Delray Beach Playhouse, Center of the Arts at Mizner Park, and the Old School Square in Delray Beach.
Ms. Elmore also sits on several arts and cultural boards in Palm Beach County including the Palm Beach County Cultural Council where she also serves as Treasurer. Debra is a current board member of the Maltz Jupiter Theatre. She joined the Florida Board of Governors of Northwood University in April 2004. In addition, she was past Guild President of the Harid Conservatory of Music, and has served as chair of the Palm Beach Chapter of the Friends of Northwood University.
Oil and Gas Consultant
Charles Laser Oil & Gas
Deerfield Beach, Florida
Charles Laser has been a successful oil and gas consultant for a quarter of a century and is known as an oil and gas "wildcatter" with principal operations and discoveries in the state of Wyoming. His accomplishment list includes the Sagebrush discovery in 1996 and the Dutton Basin in 1997. In the early 1980s, Dr. Laser directed ten financially successful partnerships involving oil and gas leases. A former Michigan resident, Dr. Laser attended Michigan College of Mining and Technology and Central Michigan University. He also completed numerous gas and oil courses at Charles K. Myers-Dean Stanford Law School.
Dr. Laser is well-known for his participation in many charities and organizations including the Toastmasters, Elks, Detroit Economic Club, U.S. Senator Connie Mack's Palm Beach Round Table, the Florida Symphonic Pops, the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge and Juvenile Justice Prevention. In 1999, he was appointed by Governor Jeb Bush to the Governor's Task Force on Domestic Violence. His name is featured "Who's Who in the World", "Who's Who in Finance" and "Who's Who in America 2000". Dr. Laser received an honorary doctorate degree from Northwood University in May 2000.
Dr. Laser and his wife, Glenda Lynn, have lived in Deerfield Beach, Florida for more than 25 years. They have one grown daughter who also lives in the same community. Their previous residence was in Grand Blanc, Michigan.
John W. McGowan
Retired Senior Vice President
Mr. McGowan was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and grew up in Boston, Massachusetts. He has a B.A. from Acadia University, a law degree (L.L.B.) from Dalhousie University Law School, and a M.B.A. in Finance from the University of Western Ontario.
Mr. McGowan worked with the Shawmut Bank for fourteen years in Boston. He then moved to Florida in 1982 where he worked with the National Bank of Detroit and when his relationship with Northwood University began. He retired in June 2007 as Senior Vice President from The Private Bank at Bank of America in Stuart, Florida.
From 1985 to 1993, Mr. McGowan also served on the Board of Governors of Acadia University.
He and his wife Pat live in Stuart, Florida. They have two children.
Frank E. McKinney
Founder and CEO
Frank McKinney & Company
Delray Beach, Florida
Frank McKinney was born in Indiana and relocated at age 18 to south Florida. In 1986, at age 22, Frank founded his first of many real estate development and construction companies. Frank has now established himself as the creative force behind some of the world's finest and most opulent mansions.
He recently completed and sold for 28.5 million dollars the largest and most expensive home ever built on speculation. The home contained 72 rooms and 32,000 square feet. His vision and risk-taking have been the subject of numerous regional and national television, radio and print stories. He has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS's The Early Show, and CNN.
Frank attributes his phenomenal success to a set of 49 Life and Business Philosophies, which he began formulating during his years as a young entrepreneur. These principles found in his bestselling book Make it BIG! have guided him through some very tough times, and by following them he has created a life filled not only with financial success and professional recognition, but also with personal and spiritual fulfillment. Combining his spirituality with his personal and professional activities is integral to Frank's success in all aspects of his life. He contributes at least 15 percent of his time every week to civic and philanthropic causes.
In 1998, Frank and Nilsa McKinney founded the Caring House Project Foundation (CHPF), which is a non-profit organization that provides housing to the desperately homeless families in South America, the Caribbean, and South Florida. The foundation’s current focus is in the countries of Haiti, Nicaragua, and Honduras. In January 2003, the CHPF finished a village for 150 in Nicaragua; and in July 2003, they completed a village for 200 in Haiti.
The Greater Delray Beach Youth Council, a second organization he co-founded, affords young people, ages 12-17, a voice and a vote on youth related issues, as well as empowering its members to make a significant contribution to the betterment of the community in which they live.
McKinney is the 2001 recipient of the Arthur E. Turner Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award. Frank also received an honorary doctorate degree from Northwood University in May 2004. He and his wife, Nilsa, live in Delray Beach.
Michael T. Nichols
Board of Governors biography information coming soon.
Dr. Patricia A. Riley
Founder and CEO
Clientele Beauty, LLC and MDR, LLC
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Dr. Patricia Riley, is the Founder and CEO of MDR, LLC and Clientele Beauty, LLC headquartered in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
For 38 years, Pat and her companies have been researching and marketing advanced nutrition and beauty formulations. She holds numerous patents for her discoveries and received the Jacqueline Kennedy Award from JFK University for her accomplishments.
Appearing on QVC hundreds of times, Pat received the Rising Star award and served on the QVC Vendor Advisory Board. Years earlier she served on the Board of Stiefel Laboratories.
Pat received Northwood's Outstanding Business Leader Award in 2009. She was presented an honorary Doctorate of Laws degree from Northwood in 2010, and gave the commencement address to graduating students. Life's Lessons.
Pat serves as a member of the Northwood University Florida Board of Governors and in 2013 was invited to join the Northwood University Board of Trustees. She also serves on the Academic Committee and the Communications and Recruitment Committee.
Pat resides in Florida, Pennsylvania and California where she is involved with numerous charities like Unicorn Children's Charity, the Barbara Sinatra Children's Center, the Boys and Girls Club of Broward County, the American Institute of Polish Culture, and the Alzheimer's Family Foundation.
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Born and educated in New York, Dr. Maureen Smith attended St. John's University Law School and then joined her family's business. Moving to Florida in the early 1950s, she and her father established the first beeper system in Miami. Later she bought and operated Airbeep, Inc. in Wisconsin and her father's Cleveland Telephone Answering Service. In 1982, they partnered with The Washington Post to found Cellular One.
An active volunteer leader, she has been a major force in the development of the Florida campus, serving on its Board of Governors and as the long-time Chair of the Ft. Lauderdale chapter of Northwood National Women's Board & Friends. She also has established the Stephen Smith Endowed Scholarship at Northwood in memory of her son. In 1991, Maureen Smith received an honorary doctorate degree from Northwood University and the Distinguished Women's Award in 1996.
She is a member of St. Anthony's Foundation, the Federated Women's Club, Coral Ridge Women's Club, a Lady of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem and an honorary alumnus of Pinecrest School, Ft. Lauderdale, which cited her for significant leadership in the development of their educational programs. Dr. Smith is a member of Northwood University's Board of Trustees and serves as Chair of the Florida Board of Governors.
Karen E. Stedman
Stedman-Fleury CPA, PA
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
Karen E. Stedman is a Northwood University alumna who has worked in the accounting profession in Palm Beach County, Florida since 1981 honing her skills as a senior accountant.
In 1987, Ms. Stedman started her own accounting business, Stedman-Fleury CPA, PA in Palm Beach Gardens. The firm specializes in business and federal income tax preparation for both corporate and business accounts. She is a recognized authority in business and personal income tax consulting and preparation, and has expanded her tax consulting to an international clientele.
Dr. Stedman is very active in community affairs and serves in many other board positions for local charitable organizations. She is also an advisor for a local bank. Dr. Stedman received the Outstanding Alumni Award from Northwood University in 1993 and an honorary doctorate degree in May 2000.