Honoring the Life and Legacy of Phil Smith
Topics: Phil Smith
Congressman Alcee L. Hastings
Congresional Record: 115th Congress
Extensions of Remarks
20 December 2016
Mr. HASTINGS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the life and legacy of Mr. Phil Smith, a dear friend and philanthropist in South Florida, who touched the lives of countless people. Phil tragically passed away on December 14, 2016, after an 18 month battle with ALS. Phil was born in New Jersey and moved to South Florida at the age of three. He attended Chaminade High School in Fort Lauderdale and was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in finance from Florida Atlantic University's (FAU) College of Business in 1969. During college, Phil began to work at a Ford dealership in Pompano Beach. He was so successful he stayed after graduation, was given the opportunity to open a dealership, and never looked back. Phil went on to found Phil Smith Management, Inc., serving as President and CEO. He operated eleven automobile dealership locations representing 25 franchises in Florida and North Carolina. His company employs 780 people. He never forgot where he came from or the people who worked for him, and started an annual college scholarship program for the children of his employees. Phil also served as the Co-Chair of the South Florida Super Bowl Host Committee and sat on the Boards of the Orange Bowl Committee and the Broward Workshop, a nonprofit organization that represents the interests of 100 Broward businesses and professions. Because of his community involvement, Phil was awarded with the Florida Sun Sentinel Company's 2013 Excalibur Award for Business Leader of the Year in Broward County. He always gave back and was well-known for his civic, charitable, and philanthropic involvement throughout South Florida. He was involved with a number of advocacy groups serving the public, including the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Humane Society of Broward County, the American Cancer Society, and the Make a Wish Foundation. His most recent donation was to Holy Cross Hospital--a gift of $7 million to fund state-of-the-art neurological care. Phil and his wife Susan also gave to his alma mater, and gifted Florida Atlantic University $5 million to establish the Phil Smith Center for Free Enterprise. Supporting the strategic plan of the College of Business, the Center will add chaired professorships, support research and educational programs for faculty members and students, and support distinguished visiting faculty along with a lecture series and other educational programs focused on the principles of free enterprise. After his diagnosis with ALS, Phil became more involved in efforts to fight this terrible disease. He worked with Holy Cross Hospital in South Florida to establish the Phil Smith ALS and Movement Disorders Clinic, which provides access to leading edge clinical trials and research through an expanded relationship with Massachusetts General Hospital. After an 18 month battle with ALS, Phil tragically passed away at the age of 70 last week. He is survived by his wife of 30 years Susan, his sister Judy, his daughter Shawn, son-in-law Charlie, and three grandchildren James, Kaelin, and Cali. Mr. Speaker, Phil was a dear friend and kind soul. He touched the lives of so many, and his philanthropic efforts in Florida will go on to touch the lives of many more. It is with a heavy heart that I rise today to honor his life and accomplishments, but most of all, to honor our friendship. He will be so dearly missed.
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