FAU Honors JM Family’s Brown as Business Leader of the Year

Pictured left to right are FAU President John Kelly, 2017 Business Leader of the Year Colin Brown, chairman and chief executive officer of JM Family Enterprises, Inc., and FAU College of Business Dean Daniel Gropper.

Pictured left to right are FAU President John Kelly, 2017 Business Leader of the Year Colin Brown, chairman and chief executive officer of JM Family Enterprises, Inc., and FAU College of Business Dean Daniel Gropper.

By james hellegaard | 1/29/2018

Florida Atlantic University’s College of Business honored Colin Brown, chairman and chief executive officer of JM Family Enterprises, Inc., on Friday as its 2017 Business Leader of the Year, an event that drew more than 500 friends, colleagues and members of the FAU and South Florida business communities to the Boca Raton Resort & Club.

Brown thanked FAU President John Kelly and College of Business Dean Daniel Gropper for the recognition and recognized the award would not be possible without the people at JM Family, which is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary. He also remembered his late friend and mentor Jim Moran, the founder of JM Family, who was named FAU’s Business Leader of the Year in 1995.

“We never forget it’s all about people,” Brown said in his acceptance speech. “Organizations don’t get things done, people get things done. I was privileged to work alongside for many years a legend, Jim Moran, our founder, and he instilled values into our company that continue to ring loud and true today. The core of those values center around our associates. We call each other associates because we like to say we work with one another not for one another.”

Brent Burns, president and chief operating officer of JM Family, who has worked side-by-side with Brown for the past 17 years, said he was impressed by the way Brown responded to the challenge of succeeding an icon like Moran.

“He succeeded in that by embracing the values, the culture, the love of our associates as one of our most important assets,” said Burns, a graduate of the FAU College of Business and a member of the FAU Board of Trustees. “That truly has been the success that has driven Colin’s career and JM Family to new heights.”

The event also included video presentations featuring members of the business community, as well as FAU student scholarship recipients.  

Dennis Smith, vice chairman of Tripp Scott Attorneys At Law, presented Brown with the award and shared a few stories about his good friend. Raised overseas in a Foreign Service family, Brown spent a considerable part of his childhood in Europe and Southeast Asia. He graduated from Duke University School of Law with a juris doctorate and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Williams College in Williamstown, Mass. Brown resides in Lighthouse Point and has three children.

Since 2005, Brown has served on United Way of Broward County’s Board of Directors. As chairman and CEO of JM Family, Brown leads the company’s annual United Way giving campaign. Additionally, Brown has led the company’s support of the Habitat for Humanity of Broward through both corporate contributions and volunteerism. Brown currently serves on the board of directors for the Youth Automotive Training Center, a tuition-free, nine-month training program that educates disadvantaged youth in basic automotive repair, academic remediation, job readiness and life-management skills.

JM Family is a diversified automotive corporation ranked No. 20 on Forbes’ list of “America’s Largest Private Companies.” As CEO, Brown leads the entire organization, including JM Family’s Executive Management Team, which oversees the development and implementation of the company’s objectives and strategies for future growth.

Brown directs all of JM Family’s businesses, including Southeast Toyota Distributors, the world’s largest independent distributor of Toyota vehicles; JM&A Group, one of the leading independent providers of finance and insurance products in the automotive industry; World Omni Financial Corp., a diversified financial services company; and JM Lexus. Brown also serves as chairman of the company’s board of directors.

JM Family was the presenting sponsor for this year’s event. Platinum sponsors included Zimmerman Advertising and WLRN Public Radio and Television.

Since 1991, FAU’s College of Business has presented the Business Leader of the Year award, honoring the work of outstanding contributors to the overall business climate of the southeast region of Florida and the state. Brown joins other honored recipients of the award, including Heiko Dobrikow, Naren Gursahaney, Jeff Stoops, Jordan Zimmerman, Wayne Huizenga, Jim Robo, Mike Jackson, Ronald Assaf, Alexander Dreyfoos, Jim Moran, Carl DeSantis, Bud Paxson, Jerry Levin, Pat Moran, Alan Levan and Mike Maroon

“Having looked at the list of prior recipients, I am both humbled and honored to join this esteemed group of leaders,” Brown said. “But of course, everyone knows that no business leader succeeds on his or her own. It takes a team. And so the greatest thanks I’d like to give is to our associates at JM Family. They are the reason this recognition is possible. For their hard work, their dedication, their commitment for all these years.”