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Posted on 11 October 2018 by LeslieM

Periodic column on companies that grew up with our community

By Karen Lustgarten

When she was 13, Adolphine “Dodie” Keith remembers heading out on survey and mapping jobs with her father, William “Bill” Keith, along with his crew and watching how the work was done for construction projects.

Mr. Keith began making a mark on South Florida in 1956 when he joined the Broward County Engineering Department as a surveyor. Then, in 1972, he started the engineering firm Keith & Schnars. It would become synonymous with Broward’s growth.

His firm helped plan Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and bought the land and developed the route for the Sawgrass Expressway. It was responsible for planning Parkland and the redevelopment of Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach and Boca Raton. They surveyed 390 miles from Florida to Georgia and bought 4,000 parcels of land for a Florida Power & Light transmission line.

In 1998, Mr. Keith established Keith & Associates, his own Pompano Beach-based civil engineering, planning, surveying firm. Daughter Dodie grew up to become a professional surveyor and mapper working in that capacity for her father.

By the time Mr. Keith died in 2006, he had spent his life working towards the development and improvement of the south Florida community and giving back to it, helping improve the county’s infrastructure and way of life. Dodie Keith-Lazowick succeeded her father as company president and managing principal.

Under her leadership, KEITH, as the firm has been rebranded, has grown to include civil engineering, surveying and mapping, subsurface utility engineering (SUE), urban & comprehensive planning, landscaping, permitting, construction management and construction engineering inspection.

I work in the development field, so believe growth is good,” she said. “Dad always taught me respect for the community. I try to make projects better for both the residents and the city.”

The Ft. Lauderdale airport, a key KEITH client since her father’s early days, is a case in preservation. A huge African Baobab tree was set to be cut down when a new airport runway was being planned. Dodie proposed a slight redesign shift in the runway plans that preserved the historic tree.

Dodie helped draft the Pompano Beach 2020 business plan and Mayor Fisher’s stimulus task force. Her firm helped raise funds and advocated to pass the Pompano Beach bond referendum for capital improvement projects that will revitalize the city.

KEITH is at work on several major construction projects you are witnessing around Pompano Beach to revitalize the city. Successful advocates for permitting and approvals, staff has coordinated the site plan approval process through the city and provided civil engineering design, project management, permitting coordination, planning, surveying, construction management, infrastructure convergence and roadway improvements, assessments and recommendations.

Among the projects you notice are the following: the pedestrian-friendly Pompano Beach Blvd. streetscape, Old Pompano Area streetscape improvements, as part of the Downtown Connectivity Plan, MLK Jr. Blvd. streetscape improvements, MLK Blvd., the Pier Parking Garage, John Knox Village and in-kind site design services to preserve the Sample-McDougald historic House/Museum.

Coming up: The new Mullet Alley — turning an existing parking lot in the Old Pompano area into a lively plaza — awaiting the site plan design and development approval.

I enjoy Pompano Beach. It has a different feel than other cities and we want our own distinct city identity in South Florida,” says Dodie. “Pompano Beach is a community-based and family-oriented place. Our parks and roadway projects, for example, help give our city its own identity as a community.”

As a business community leader, Bill Keith was committed to causes he cared about such as the Broward Urban River Trails and homelessness. He was founding chair of Broward Partnership for the Homeless helping people stabilize their lives. Dodie is the 2018 board chair and a fundraiser.

Dodie’s son Alex and daughter Elizabeth serve as third generation professionals at KEITH. Alex Lazowick, a civil engineer, is executive vice president, and Elizabeth, with a marketing degree, is corporate manager, overseeing more than 100 employees in five state offices. They are committed to the company values established by their grandfather and mother. With young children of his own, Alex sits on the board of the Parks Foundation of Broward County, raising funds for Broward County parks.

The business transition plan has the 3rd generation taking over KEITH with Alex stepping into his mother’s role as president, “so, hopefully, I can sit on Pompano Beach watching the sunrise,” said Dodie.

Karen Lustgarten is president of Multi-Media Works, a multiple award-winning media company specializing in video, PR, print and social media with offices in Broward and Palm Beach Counties. She founded a newspaper in Washington, DC, was a syndicated columnist and a bestselling author. www.multi-mediaworks.com

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CLERGY CORNER: Alexander and the Wonderful, Magnificent, Not Bad, Very Good Year

Posted on 10 November 2016 by LeslieM

Annually, Universal Studios Orlando hosts Florida’s largest Christian music event: Rock the Universe. For two nights, youth groups, families, and everyone in-between, experience electrifying worship music led by many of the top Christian artists — rides all day, spirit-stimulating concerts by night.

My first experience baffled me. Moments into the start of the concerts, all but one of the students in the youth group (that I had recently inherited) sat down, in the middle of thousands of people, uninterested. Quickly, they pleaded with the other youth leader to take them back to the hotel, which he obliged.

One 12-year-old, Alexander, stayed. And it was a good thing he did. Midway through the Switchfoot concert, lead singer Jon Foreman climbed atop the fencing that was set between the stage and the audience. When Jon put his hand out for support, Alex was in the right spot at the right time ready to extend his own hand up to help.

It was an unforgettable night that launched the mentorship between Alex and me.

Throughout the year, we’d find time to talk about God, life and everything else that piques the curiosity of a pre-teen. While I’m more inclined to share his moments of growth, he’d prefer I tell you that he shot me with a paintball gun in the head, twice.

But it was the last night of summer camp that captured my heart the most. It was minutes after midnight when Alex finally declared he was ready to surrender to Christ — for real. (Truthfully, there are days I miss being an airline captain, but even just one night like this one reminds me it’s all worth it. God’s plan for our life is worth it.)

By that summer’s end, on one of the greatest days of my life, Alex and I hit the ocean surf for his baptism. Friends and family gathered just south of the Deerfield Beach pier, and with the whole world watching, Alex publicly declared his faith by going under the water and rising up a new man in Christ!

Following the baptism, we were both surprised with tickets to the upcoming Switchfoot concert, where much of this began. And so, this past weekend, Alex and I ventured into downtown Ft. Lauderdale for Relient K, which is the band that started it all for me during my teen years, and Switchfoot at Revolution Live.

Unbelievably, Jon Foreman reprised his audience jaunt. He climbed in front of us on the second level, and, just like that, we were thrust to center stage — for my favorite song I might add. Switchfoot had done it again, creating a night to remember, coming full circle for Alex and me.

During our Monday mentoring hangout this week, I asked Alex if God had recently prompted him to any sort of action. He specifically mentioned feeling led to sing during the concert, to not worry what others might think. What a valuable lesson: To learn that God is going to ask us to do things outside our comfort zone as we cling to the wisdom found in 1 Thessalonians 2:4 in that we are to “please God, not people.”

Alexander learned this lesson and it will be of much value as he lives a life for God. But it didn’t happen by accident.

In short, if you’re looking to grow in your walk — to live a spirit-let, God-given purposeful and courageous life for Christ, look to Alex’s example: 1) He stayed when everyone else left. 2) Not only did he stay, but engaged. 3) He accepted guidance and correction from a mentor (after being open and transparent about his faults). And (4) he is available. He made time to grow and pursue God — working toward the call on his life. For Alex, this is just the beginning of his story; and maybe this is the beginning of yours too.

From this day forward, shake off any complacency and excuses that keep you from being fully alive as a son or daughter of the Most High — open to rocking not just the universe, but the Kingdom of God.

C.J. Wetzler is the NextGen pastor at First Baptist Church of Deerfield Beach. Before transitioning into full-time ministry, CJ was a commercial airline captain and high school leadership and science teacher. For questions or comments he can be reached at cj@deerfieldfirst.com.

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Rosemurgy Properties completes The 23Hundred

Posted on 03 January 2016 by LeslieM

Alex Rosemurgy talks about building the business

rose122415By Rachel Galvin

With the finishing touches placed on the final unit of The 23Hundred, future home of Kay Jewelers, the latest Rosemurgy Property is complete. Located at 2350 and 2390 N. Federal Hwy. in Pompano Beach, the unique shopping center holds seven tenants. The other six are Jersey Mike’s Subs, Smoothie King, T-Mobile, Chipotle, Pei Wei and Supercuts. They held a ribbon cutting for the complex on Dec. 9 and many of those involved with the project were in attendance, as well as County Commissioner Chip LaMarca, Pompano Mayor Lamar Fisher, Chamber President Ric Green, along with other commissioners and dignitaries.

Rosemurgy Properties was opened in 1977 by Jim Rosemurgy. He began with Apartments at Crystal Lake in Deerfield and built from there as he acquired more and more properties in Pompano Beach, Deerfield Beach and Boca Raton. He got into development as a byproduct of working with his other company (which he co-owns), Campbell & Rosemurgy Real Estate, said his son, Alex.

Their portfolio grew to include “multi-family, retail, self storage, and office and land properties, with the focus of a long term diversified investment strategy.” What really put the company on the map, said, Alex, was the creation of FAU Research Park. In addition to their diverse portfolio built through the company, he also credits great partnerships with others as a source for continued success.

We did not have a lot of problems during the downturn [the last recession] because we had a good financial base,” said Alex.

When Jim retired in 2011, Alex took over running Rosemurgy Properties. Since then, he has continued to focus on expanding their portfolio, going more into retail and self storage. Among his projects they worked on this past year is a multi-family, student housing unit called University Park off-campus for FAU students.

We are looking at entering other South Florida markets. If we want to grow, we have to expand our footprint,” said Alex, who said he spends long hours working to build a great platform, but credits also his staff for their achievements. “We truly are a family company. I believe in making sure we have a happy workplace. We have a great team of consultants and creative people.”

Asked his advice for those looking to build their business, he commented, “You have to be disciplined.

You have got to execute to performance and stay in your lane [do what you are good at doing]. Do things that work. You have to have a great staff. You are only as good as the people you work with.”

Regarding The 23Hundred building, he said he is pleased with the outcome and feels it provides a comfortable atmosphere for business owners and those who visit the complex.

Architect Juan Caycedo, AIA, of RLC Architects, who also worked on University Park, said of the project, “We wanted a building that would stand out, that becomes more an urban village than a center you drive by and miss altogether. The architecture is pretty simple … [made with] exposed concrete. At the end of the day, it is a timeless building.”

Alex agreed, saying, the building is sustainable and even years to come it will look “like the wrapping just came off.” He added that the signage, which is also unique, was equally important.

RLC is visionary,” he added, saying they originally met Juan when working with him on a Boca Raton Bank United. The contemporary feel of that building with its exposed concrete was emulated on The 23 Hundred. RLC has worked on projects like Fifth Avenue Shops and Royal Palm Plaza in Boca Raton as well.

The lessons we learned [on Bank United] allowed us to build even better,” said Alex.

His father Jim also attended the ribbon cutting and said, “Alex works on [each project] from the lease to the [completion]. We take great pride in what we do. To have the mayor stand up and say ‘this is great’ makes you want to do more. I am a proud father.”

Where The 23Hundred is situated was originally an overflow parking lot. The unique architecture here could prove a foreshadowing of things to come.

The design is different in a good way,” said Land-Use Attorney Scott Backman, of Dunay, Miskel and Backman, LLP, mentioning that newer anchor stores like Sports Authority and Whole Foods across the street call for updated architecture, rather than a more cookie cutter style. The idea, he said, is to “design something in a more user-friendly way. People can come to the jewelry store and stop and walk around.”

For more information on Rosemurgy Properties, visit www.rosemurgyproperties.com.

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