Miami Beach

Beach Buzz: Miami business incubator to create local green jobs

Pandwe A. Gibson, Ph.D., founder of EcoTech Visions in Miami.
Pandwe A. Gibson, Ph.D., founder of EcoTech Visions in Miami.

EcoTech Visions, a new business incubator designed to assist entrepreneurs in creating, planning and launching innovative and “green” manufacturing businesses in South Florida, will host its inaugural event from 4-6 p.m. Nov. 20 at its facility, 667 NW 90th St.

More than 200-plus guests are expected to attend the free, open-to-the-public event, including Miami-Dade county commissioners Jean Monestime, commissioner-elect Daniella Levine Cava and Miami Beach commissioner Michael Grieco, chairman of the city’s sustainability committee.

The event will feature an auction, light fare and live music. More importantly, it will showcase EcoTech’s facility to the public for the first time.

The building contains four labs, six private offices, four co-working desks and a mezzanine golf green conference room (the floor is literally turf with three holes). The laboratory co-working spaces feature an injection molding lab, a product development lab, a Green lab for aquaponics (closed loop food production facility) and a mechanics lab.

Founded in 2012, EcoTech Visions’ mission is “to address systemic poverty and climate change through the creation of green products and green manufacturing jobs,” according to Pandwe A. Gibson, Ph.D, founding executive director and president of the board.

Gibson, 30, who grew up between New Orleans and Chicago earned her doctorate in urban development and special education. She moved to Miami Beach in 2012 from New Orleans initially to consult with local micro-businesses, eventually narrowing her focus to green businesses.

“I am a researcher who realized that turning blue collar workers into green collar entrepreneurs is the best strategy for both our economy and our planet,” Gibson said.

EcoTech Advisory Board members include: Wali Salahuddin , a senior advanced analytics manager within J&J’s Enterprise Procurement Operations Group; Malik Benjamin, director of program innovation at the Florida International University CARTA School of Architecture; Patty Soffer, a brand strategist and partnership coach; and Seth Gordon, a public affairs expert who is helping to lobby for government contracts.

Entrepreneurial companies currently working with EcoTech include: Aeolus, maker of electric motor cycles; Earthware Inc., which manufactures cutlery and containers made from biodegradable materials and Gauthier, the aquaponics food lab.

Co-Hosts for the Nov. 20 event are Morris Brown and Elaine James, partners with Berger Singerman, LLP and Jody Johnson, entrepreneur and founder of Miami Growth Advisors.

To RSVP, go to: To learn more about the project or make a donation, visit


The Aventura/North Miami Dade Chapter of JAFCO will host its fifth annual Hanukkah Miracles Luncheon on Nov. 18 at Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center, 20400 NE 30th Ave. in Aventura.

The event will honor Rachel Sapoznik with the 2014 Woman of Valor Award. The founder, president and CEO of North Miami Beach-based Sapoznik Insurance, Sapoznik is a member of the board of trustees for the new JAFCO Children’s Ability Center in Sunrise. Her firm is also a top sponsor of the luncheon.

The morning kicks off at 10 a.m. with a boutique and mimosas. Attendees who purchase a boutique item by 11 a.m, will receive five free raffle tickets. The luncheon and program will run from approximately 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Event co-chairs are Barbara Amoils and Alexandra Bergman. Chapter president is Miri Mazor. Décor for the event, dubbed “Wishes Fulfilled” is being donated by Blooming Events (BE) International (classic white linens and florals). Guests are asked to bring gift cards to help the children of JAFCO’s wishes to be fulfilled.

Tickets are $118 per person (includes complimentary valet parking). All proceeds benefit JAFCO, a non-profit child welfare agency that cares for abused and neglected children and those with developmental disabilities in the Jewish community. To learn more about JAFCO visit To purchase luncheon tickets, call Shelli Gold at 954-315-8671 or online:


McAllister Spa is teaming up with L’ANZA Healing Haircare to provide complimentary hair treatments (for new and existing clients) from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Nov. 14.

Treatments (five to 10 minutes each) will feature a three-step process based on the client’s hair type and needs. Step one: a Chelating Shampoo to remove hard water minerals, chlorine and other impurities to prep the hair for treatment. Step two: Power Booster additives that tailor deep treatment to a client’s specific hair needs. Stylists will choose between Strength Power Booster (with proteins and amino acids to boost strength and reduce breakage), a Moisture Power Booster (to infuse dry hair with humectants, emollients, lipids and essential fatty acids) or a Volume Power Booster (to deliver vitamins and minerals to fine/thin hair strands). Step three: A Power Protector locks in nutrients, rebalances pH levels and protects from damaging elements such as heat, chemicals and pollution.

McAllister Spa is located at 1301 Alton Rd. in Miami Beach. To schedule an appointment, call 305- 604-0550 or visit

Beach Buzz appears every other Sunday, and focuses on people and businesses throughout the Beaches, Aventura and Miami. To reach Debra K. Leibowitz, call 305-531-7887 or email, or become a fan of her Beach Buzz page on Facebook.