Articles

USF Biz Alumni Contribute to Jamaica's Corporate, Nonprofit Future

By Keith Morelli

Wilcox and alumni

TAMPA (December 15, 2020) -- Over the course of the past three decades, a handful of USF business alumni have become movers and shakers on the island nation of Jamaica, operating at the highest levels of finance, development and even nonprofit.

The group, most of whom graduated from USF some 35 years ago, represent a work ethic that is endemic among Jamaicans, an ethic that was cultivated when they attended courses here in Tampa during the 1980s. Here are some short glimpses of who they are:

Gordon Clarke

Gordon Clarke
Gordon Clarke is the fourth generation of the Clarke family who now runs Worthy Park Estate, a 10,000-acre sugar and rum estate in central Jamaica. His family has owned the estate since 1918 and has grown the operation to be the biggest producer of raw sugar in Jamaica, most of which is harvested by hand.

A 1989 graduate of USF’s Muma College of Business with a bachelor’s degree in management, Clarke was the driving force behind the construction of the new Worthy Park distillery, which reclaimed the heritage of rum production on the estate that dates to 1741. It is the oldest recorded estate to produce rum in Jamaica.

“I am fulfilling my destiny at Worthy Park Estate,” Clarke told the Jamaica Observer for a story published in October. “I am the fourth generation … I live in the house built by my grandfather and that my father grew up in. I am happy.”

The estate makes about 1,500 cases of rum a day and faces fierce competition from neighbors, who are investing heavily to grab some of the market share. Clarke attributed the start of the rum side of Worthy Park Estate to the book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad,” which prompted him to seek the investments to re-start rum production on the estate.  The estate also produces vodka as a portfolio filler of the distillery.

He still has time to connect with USF and some fellow alumni who hail from the Caribbean island.

He organized a recent USF alumni gathering and tour of his estate. He told university leaders, including Provost Ralph Wilcox that he wanted to seek input from the Muma College of Business about environmental sustainability practices to implement in Worthy Park Estate.

He is also interested in educational scholarship opportunities at USF for Jamaican students, and how the USF College of Marine Science can help the ecosystem and reefs of Jamaica. Tourism in Jamaica has a large effect on his business.


Donovan Perkins

Donovan Perkins
Donovan Perkins is no stranger to the corporate and governmental leaders in Jamaica. He is the former chair of the Jamaica Stock Exchange and retired president and CEO of Sagicor Bank. He currently serves as a board member of PanJam Investments and is on several other boards.

He is a 1984 graduate of USF with a bachelor’s degree in finance and returned to the Caribbean island in 1993 to lead Sagicor Bank and Sagicor Investments Jamaica Limited in an expansion through a series of mergers and acquisitions.

He sits on the boards of Jamaica Producers Group Limited and Sagicor Investments, has served as director of the Jamaica Social Investment Fund, the National Insurance Fund and chair of the Linkages Council, an advisory group within the Ministry of Tourism. He was deputy chair of the National Water Commission. Within the private sector, he served as chair of the Jamaica Stock Exchange, vice president of the Jamaica Bankers Association and the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica. 

He is in touch with fellow USF alumni now living in Jamaica, including John Bailey who convinced him, while at USF, to change his major to business from pre-med. He did have one USF experience, though, that he tries to forget.

In his first week in Tampa, he played football (not futball) with his friends, separated his shoulder and never played again. He still has a keen interest in athletics. He was a futball (not football) player in high school and a track sprinter. He is interested in seeing more athletes from Jamaica getting scholarship opportunities to attend USF.

Perkins and Bailey have remained close. He also is close to several other USF alumni now living in Jamaica and is active in suggesting USF to graduating seniors of his alma mater, Calabar High School, where he is a member of the board.

He has an active interest in the USF College of Marine Science. He is hopeful that research generated there will help Jamaica’s reefs and offshore life. He also takes part in in round-table executive events conducted by the Muma College of Business.


John Bailey

John Bailey
John Bailey, a business leader with a devotion for the quality of life for Jamaicans across the island nation, has influence beyond the dollars and cents of business. He owns the Canoe Cove Resort Luxury Villa and is the former president of Tennis Jamaica. That combination led to Serena Williams staying at the resort, while she co-funded and helped to construct the Salt Marsh Elementary School.

Bailey is close friends with and mentor of several fellow USF alumni who now call Jamaica home. He is best friends with Donovan Perkins and is highly respected by all. He is the godfather of the son of fellow alumna Kim Mair.

He is well known around the island and has a longtime personal friendship with the music producer who launched Bob Marley’s career. Bailey also was one of the initial investors in the “Cool Running” movie sequel about the Jamaican women’s bobsled team.

Bailey has sat on the boards of a number of Jamaican ministries, such as Teen Challenge, a Christian ministry devoted to helping teens overcome addiction, and he is actively involved in preserving the coral reefs and fish wildlife of Jamaican waters. He is a strong proponent of battling climate change and wildlife regulations that guard against overfishing, and is hopeful that USF’s College of Marine Science can bring sustainable solutions to the island.

Bailey, A 1984 graduate of USF who majored in finance, prides himself on reaching business agreements in which both sides win. He just opened another beachside luxury villa, Buttonwood Reef Villa in Ocho Rios earlier this year. He is the owner of Virginia Dare, Jamaica, and a board member of several other businesses that has equity in. Virginia Dare is Jamaica’s leading flavor house, incorporated in 1969, and manufactures food flavors, colors, syrups and extracts. The company exports to the United States and Canada.

Bailey is currently involved in five real estate ventures, commercial and residential. One is a mixed-use residential and commercial project venture that is supported by Sagicor Investments, involving fellow USF alumni Paul Facey and Donovan Perkins. Over the course of his career, he has developed a business philosophy of excellence done the first time. “Hurry slowly” is a favorite phrase of his to describe “expediency with excellence.”

His USF engagement includes support of students and student athletes from Jamaica attending USF, particularly those in the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, the Muma College of Business round-table events and USF College of Global Sustainability.


Paul A.B. Facey

Paul A.B. Facey
Paul A.B. Facey’s career intersects with Jamaica’s investment community and he is a big part of the informal club of USF business alumni who have moved the island nation’s economy for decades. He is a 1988 graduate of USF with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and management and currently serves as chief investment officer for PanJam Investments.

He joined PanJam’s board of directors in 2006, bringing with him substantial experience in the company’s trading, manufacturing and financial operations developed over the previous 18 years. He sits on the boards of Sagicor Group Jamaica Limited, Sagicor Investments Jamaica Limited and Sagicor Bank Jamaica Limited. He is on the Sagicor Group Jamaica’s Audit Committee, Sagicor Investments’ Audit and Risk & Investment Committees, and Sagicor Bank’s Audit, Credit and Risk & Investment Committees. He serves as a trustee of the C. B. Facey Foundation. 

Facey is interested in the USF Muma College of Business’ Student Managed Investment Fund, in which students delve deeply into stock opportunities and pitch recommendations to a panel of seasoned professional investors and brokers. The program utilizes real money from its fund. He follows Jamaican athletes attending USF, the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management and the USF College of Marine Science’s research on marine wildlife sustainability.


Kim Mair

Kim Mair
Kim Mair is the CEO of JMMB Joan Duncan Foundation and a 1990 graduate of USF, with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. While at USF, her impact went well beyond what she did in the classroom.

She served as a USF Ambassador, a program to which she credits her drive for success. She also was president of the Caribbean Cultural Exchange and a 1989 recipient of the USF Golden Signet Award for exceptional service.

Mair’s son is a 2018 USF graduate with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. She also has two daughters with husband, David.

She heads the foundation of one of the leading financial groups in the Caribbean, Jamaica Money Market Brokers (JMMB), serving clients in Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago and the Dominican Republic. The group’s financial services including investments, banking remittances and insurance brokering.

In addition to her role as CEO of the foundation, Mair is vice chair of the Council of Voluntary Services Jamaica, serves on the United Way of Jamaica Board of Governors and is vice president of her high school alumni association. She is the former general manager of the American Chamber of Commerce Jamaica.

Her early career started at J. Wray and Nephew before she was recruited to work in the nonprofit sector with Food for the Poor Jamaica and then the Jamaica Cancer Society.

She maintains close contact with many of the USF alumni on the island including John Bailey who is godfather to one of her daughters.


Richard Rogers

Richard Rogers
For those who think life on Jamaica is lounging on a beach or sipping Caribbean rum punches in front of a spectacular sunset, Richard Rogers wants to talk to you about the commerce side of the island.

The founding non-executive director of Paramount Jamaica, an investor relations group, Rogers, a USF graduate majoring in finance, has quite a large portfolio. He is a director of Rogers Concrete Block Works and Rogers Land Development. In 2012, Paramount Trading became a publicly traded company with a listing on the Jamaica Stock Exchange's Junior Market.

It has had steady growth since then to include raw material chemical distribution, Stamina Trucking & Transport hauling services, the distribution of Sika construction products and more recently, Allegheny Petroleum lubricants and oils.  This growth has resulted in the company's gross profit growing from $229.3 million in 2014 to $426.3 million in 2018, with sales skyrocketing from $709 million in 2014 to $1.3 billion in 2018.

The company has renewed its commitment to nation building through growth in the number of persons employed and through corporate responsibility to the communities surrounding these operations.