Fostering Bilateral Trade and Investment Flows Between Brazil and Florida

2015 Brazil-Florida Business Awards

This prestigious award aims to acknowledge and honor two visionary and outstanding business leaders and their corporations for the sustainable development contributions to the economies of Brazil and Florida.


David G. Neeleman

David G. Neeleman founded Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras S.A in 2008 and serves as its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Neeleman has also been the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Azul S.A. the holding company of Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras S.A. since January 2008. He founded JetBlue Airways Corporation and served as Non-Executive Chairman from 2002 to May 15, 2008 and Chief Executive Officer from August 1998 to 2007.  

Mr. Neeleman also served as a Member of the Management Advisory Board at Towerbrook Capital Partners, L.P. From October 1995 to October 1998, he served as the Chief Executive Officer of Open Skies, Inc.

He served as a Consultant to WestJet Airlines. His career in the airline industry began in 1984 when he co-founded Morris Air Corporation. From 1988 to 1994, he served as President of Morris Air Corporation and implemented the industry’s first electronic ticketing system and pioneered a home reservationist system that is now the foundation of JetBlue’s call center. Mr. Neeleman serves as Director at Superior Air Charter LLC.

Mr. Neeleman was a Co-Founder of Westjet Airlines Ltd. and served as its Member of Board of Directors from 1996 to 1999. He served as an Executive Director at JetBlue Airways Corporation since May 1998 and its Director until 15, 2008. He was a Member of the Board of Advisors of Peterson Partners LP. 

He served as a Director of The Partnership For New York City, Inc. He previously served as a member of the Board of Directors at Open Skies, Inc. and Morris Air Corporation. Mr. Neeleman currently serves on the Advisory Board for the Brazil-Florida Business Council, Inc.

Gary J. Spulak

Gary J. Spulak serves as President of Embraer Aircraft Holding, Inc. which is Embraer’s wholly owned U.S. subsidiary.  In this role, he is responsible for the oversight of Embraer’s operating companies in the United States encompassing 1,400 employees and eight locations. 

Spulak’s career with Embraer began at the time the company was just emerging as a player in the regional aviation industry. In 1983 as Vice President of Product Support and Information Technology he developed and directed the infrastructure to support the successful Bandeirante and Brasilia commercial aircraft in North America.  In 1991 he was named Executive Vice President assuming additional responsibility for customer technical assistance, training and the administrative areas of the company including direct participation in efforts to develop and launch the ERJ 145 regional jet. 

In 1995 he assumed responsibility for supporting the industrial and financial operations of Embraer, developing financing alternatives, fund raising and investor relations  He was also responsible for customer sales finance and directed the creation of structures to support the ERJ 145 family regional jet sales to airlines in North America and Europe. 

Spulak began his professional career with Federated Department Stores developing cross division IT solutions.  He later joined the accounting firm of Price Waterhouse Coopers as a management consultant specializing in manufacturing, retailing, distribution and real estate. 

He currently serves as board member for Enterprise Florida and on the Board of Governors for the Wings Club and the Aerospace Industry Association.  He is a member of the Visiting Committee for the University of Miami’s College of Engineering, and serves on the Board of Advisors for the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce Florida.  He previously served on the International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading (ISTAT) Board of Directors and as Vice Chairman of the Board for Space Florida. 

Born in New York City, he received a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Miami, and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Barry University, where he was recognized in  2010 as a Distinguished Alumni.

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