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8 Power Couples In The Fort Lauderdale Area Who Get The Job Done

From doctors to philanthropists to entrepreneurs, these eight power couples prove that sometimes it takes two to get the job done.

 

Jacob Steiger

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Jacob Steiger Plastic surgeon

Pamela Steiger Orthodontist

Making people look and feel their best comes naturally to Jacob and Pamela Steiger. They were both drawn to working with their hands—Pamela as an orthodontist and Jacob as a facial plastic surgeon. “I truly love having such a wonderful impact not only people's teeth, but their overall well-being and happiness,” Pamela says. Despite educations and careers that took both Pamela and Jacob outside of the state, they were drawn back to Boca to be close to family and to avoid frigid winters. “I've never looked back,” Jacob says. Together, the couple donates their time and services to various charities, and in their free time they love to travel. They dream of retiring to a villa in Tuscany. “We went to southern Italy together early on in our relationship. It has always held a special place in our hearts,” Jacob says.

How do you balance your work life, your charitable involvement and your personal life?

Jacob: I work a lot, but I try to reward myself for it. We love to travel and try to take as many trips as possible, even if it is for a quick weekend getaway. Now that Pam has her practice in the same building as mine, we are able to find time to see each other during the day. We also love to give back to the community. When something is important to us, it is not hard to find the time.

What does a power couple mean to you?

Pamela: It means two people who are truly dedicated to what they do. They have a passion for life, for their families and for their careers. They strive for success and use it to help others.

What do you still hope to accomplish?

Jacob: The future is limitless. We love what we do. We love giving back to the community. We love our families. We just try to enjoy every moment and live life to the fullest. I would like to continue being on the forefront of my specialty and offering my patients the best care and results possible. Pam shares this passion and translates it into her specialty.

 

Walter Duke

Lisa Duke Commercial real estate paralegal and CFO of Walter Duke + Partners Inc.

Walter Duke President and sole shareholder of Walter Duke + Partners Inc.

It started as strictly business. “After several recommendations to contact ‘Walter Duke the best' for commercial real estate valuation and advisory, I called his firm requesting to speak to him relative to a potential assignment for one of my clients,” Lisa Duke says. The now married couple didn't connect in person until months later at a conference; and they haven't gone a day without talking since. In addition to continuing the success of Walter Duke + Partners Inc., which recently celebrated 40 years in business, the Dukes also support many charities, and Walter, who recently served as mayor of Dania Beach, is now a city commissioner.

What three qualities do you admire about Walter?

Lisa: Walter is super smart; we met discussing complex commercial real estate projects and deals. He is well-known and highly respected in the industry. I enjoy watching him work. Walter is a sincere gentleman. He has never stopped opening doors, making sure I am protected even walking down a road, and always tells me and shows me that he loves me every single day. Walter is an amazing father to our children. He provides very well for his family and more, and enjoys doing it.

Tell us something that most people wouldn't know about you both.

Lisa: Walter and I enjoy going to the range and excelling at our shooting skills. We enjoy the Nexus interactive range. I used to beat him when we first started, but he has sharpened his eye the past few months.

So far, what has been your greatest accomplishment as a couple?

Walter: Watching our combined family grow up and be successful has been a great accomplishment and very rewarding. Kate, 22, attends NSU College of Nursing, Chloe, 21, is a rising star at Zimmerman Advertising, and Connor, 20, who is autistic, attends a fantastic special needs program offered by the Broward County School Board. Connor reminds us every day what is really important. They are all spectacular in their own ways, and we couldn't be more lucky and proud to have such amazing kids.

 

Bob Birdsong

Bob Birdsong President/CEO of OK Generators and managing director with ValiDATE

Sandra Birdsong Corporate banker at City National Bank

They say to never talk about money on a first date. But for Bob and Sandra Birdsong, money is how their relationship began. Sandra was Bob's banker before she became his girlfriend, and eventually his wife. Today, when the well-connected and busy couple isn't working, they spend their time volunteering and giving back to the community. Bob serves on seven non-profit boards, and Sandra supports women as they integrate back into the workforce. “I couldn't have a better partner by my side when I'm networking or up on the stage for one of my charities,” Bob says. Sandra describes their supportive relationship as “BOGO.” “When you get him, you get me, and vice versa,” she says.

What does a power couple mean to you?

Bob: I think it's a misnomer. We aren't what I would call a “Power Couple.” We are two people who complement each other so well that we maximize our effectiveness and impact in the community.

Tell us something that most people wouldn't know about you both.

Bob: Sandra is an incredible ballroom dancer. She has won national competitions and has danced with some of the professionals from “Dancing With The Stars.”

Sandra: Bob was a body builder, and he is a fantastic workout partner. A little known fact is that four years ago he was asked to be in a Bowflex commercial. To prepare, he amped up his training and endured the entire holiday season on a very strict diet, but in the end, he looked awesome.

What do you still hope to accomplish?

Sandra: My list of goals is still quite long, but a salient desire is to set a good example and to serve as a role model for the value of higher education and the huge differentiator it can be. My experience is that a good education is an equalizer to maximize and gain access to life-changing opportunities. Never stop learning.

 

Rick & Rita Case

Rick & Rita Case

Owners of Rick Case Automotive Group

When you think of South Florida power couples, Rick and Rita Case immediately come to mind. The duo is a force when it comes to business and community service. They've been household names throughout Broward County since they opened the first Acura and Hyundai dealership in the country in Fort Lauderdale in 1985. Clearly they both live and breathe cars. Rick started selling them from his parents' driveway in Akron, Ohio, at age 14. Rita grew up in the automotive business working at her parents' Honda dealership in Northern California. So where else could they meet but at a Honda car dealer conference in 1977? For their first date, they each rode a Honda 650 motorcycle from California to Canada in one day. “Rita's dad required we take a chaperone,” Rick remembers. They'll celebrate 36 years of marriage in February. But next to cars, this couple devotes much of their time and energy to giving back. They've supported the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County for more than 30 years and are involved in countless other organizations (Nova Southeastern University, Habitat for Humanity and Cleveland Clinic, to name a few).

How do you support each other?

Rick: Rita handles parts, service, accounting and the finances while I manage securing new franchises, building new dealerships, and all the sales and marketing for all of our current dealerships. We use that same formula in our charity work. We challenge each other and devise creative ways to improve the company and our community.

How do you balance your work life, your charitable involvement and your personal life?

Rita: It is easy because as a couple we share the same passion and work together to spread ourselves equally between work, personal life and charitable involvement.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Rick: Knowing how much more this community needs and getting it done.

What do you still hope to accomplish?

Rick: Setting world sales records for all of our other franchises, and being able to say we hold the world's sales records for every franchise we have, including our new Maserati dealership on I-75 on Weston Road. Also, setting a record for the most money raised for any charity at a car event anywhere in the world at the 10th anniversary of the Boca Raton Concours d'Elegance.

 

Sara Shake

Sara Shake Founder of Exposed PR

Jordan Schiegner Regional Sales Manager for Florida of Jackson Family Wines

Sara and Jordan were both attending UCF when they met bartending at a dive bar. “He asked me to marry him the first time we met,” Sara says. After graduation, Sara worked in Fort Lauderdale for a few years before deciding to try out New York. She and Jordan dated long distance—Jordan taking what he thought would be a short-term job in Fort Lauderdale with Jackson Family Fine Wines. “When I first started I didn't know the difference between red or white wine,” he says. Now, he's a regional sales manager with the company. When Sara returned to Florida one year later, she opened her own business, Exposed PR, which recently merged with Mad Studios. In addition to their careers, Sara and Jordan are also members of the Ghost Light Society, and travel to the Dominican Republic a few times a year to support the Dominican Joe Foundation. Sara is also the president of RNGR, a young professionals group created to rehabilitate and restore Hugh Taylor Birch State Park.

How do you support each other?

Jordan: Honestly, we are pretty tough on each other. We support each other by not letting the other one give up or back down. Something we say a lot is ‘Don't let [that thing] outsmart you,' or ‘Don't let [that person] get the best of you.' ... At the end of the day, it comes from a place of trying to make each other a better person.

What is the key to a successful marriage?

Sara: Shared interests and goals, and I don't just mean like ‘Oh, we love food and traveling.' Actual, specific things that you enjoy doing together and what you want your future to look like. ... Some people might say trust, respect, etc. For us, we love spending time together doing things we genuinely enjoy, and that's been the key to our happiness.

What does a power couple mean to you?

Jordan: Being a power couple to us means that you are succeeding not only individually, but also together as a couple—professionally, personally and within your community.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Sara: Our biggest challenge was dating long distance while I was living in NYC, but it gave us the opportunity to grow on our own. We knew after that experience that there was no one else we would rather be with.

 

Michael Kaufman

Lisa Kaufman Founder and COO of Scout and Molly's

Michael Kaufman CEO of Kaufman Lynn Construction Inc.

Lisa and Mike Kaufman met by the pool at the Royal Palm Hotel in South Beach. Lisa mistook Mike as the groom at his daughter's wedding, which she saw taking place the night before. She asked him where his bride was, and once they cleared up that misunderstanding, Mike invited her to dinner that night. She turned down the offer to doctor her foot—which she'd hurt on the treadmill. Regretting not going, Lisa says she guessed his company email and sent: “This is not something I've ever done before and if [you] think this is totally silly ... [you can] just disregard the whole thing.” Mike responded to her email with: “Well... I guess we must have been feeling the same thing because this morning I left you a voicemail in your hotel room, it should be there waiting for you.” The couple married over the summer, and in addition to running their own companies, the two give back to charities supporting multiple sclerosis foundations, animal rescue groups and arts, education, children and veteran services.

What does a power couple mean to you?

Michael: A couple that, no matter what their profession, no matter what their income, no matter where they live, a couple that provides for their family and together creates a strong and positive impact for their community.

How do you support each other?

Lisa: Mike and I are each other's biggest fan. His accomplishments are so meaningful to me and I know mine are to him. ... I can honestly say as busy as we both are, if you see us together at an event for either of our companies it is because we truly want to be there, not because we feel like we have to be there.

How do you balance your work life, your charitable involvement and your personal life?

Michael: With our very active businesses, six kids, homes in both Florida and North Carolina, and a plethora of non-profit commitments and active hobbies—boating, fishing, skiing, travel—balance isn't a concept often discussed.

Tell us something that most people wouldn't know about you both.

Lisa: Even though I am in the fashion industry and constantly surrounded by all things beautiful, I would rather spend an early Saturday morning out on our boat fishing, drinking a cold beer—for good luck of course—and singing along to E Street Radio with my hubs than sleeping in late, having a pedicure and going on a shopping spree. People who know my husband know he loves cars, but they might not know that he actually used to be an amateur race car driver.

 

Stephen Weicholz

Helene Weicholz JAFCO Board of Trustees Member

Stephen Weicholz President of the JAFCO Children's Foundation

Helene and Stephen Weicholz are true childhood sweethearts—they met in Far Rockaway, Queens when Helene was 11 and Stephen was 13. The duo attended Brooklyn College, Helene majoring in mathematics, and Steve studying accounting. The couple moved to Coral Springs in 1982 to raise a family closer to their parents, and in 2003 they relocated to Boca Raton. Stephen formed two property and casualty insurance companies in Florida and has since retired, allowing the couple to focus on their roles with JAFCO (Jewish Adoption & Foster Care Options), an organization they've been active with for the past 17 years. Through this involvement, the Weicholzes were awarded the 2015 National Philanthropy Day Outstanding Philanthropist Award for Broward County.

What is the key to a successful marriage?

Helene: Our key to a successful marriage is that we do a lot together and enjoy each other's company whether it be on the golf course, out to dinner, a movie, traveling together or just staying home and playing Boggle, pool and watching TV.

What does a power couple mean to you?

Steve: A power couple is a couple who makes a difference in the world.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Steve: Our biggest challenge was raising our family when we first got married and had very little in the way of finances. We both worked hard, finished school and became successful together.

So far, what has been your greatest accomplishment as a couple?

Helene: Our greatest accomplishment as a couple is that we raised our family to be as special as they are. We have taught them to give back to the community, to be honest and to help others in need.

 

Joshua & Amy Miller

Joshua & Amy Miller

Owners of C&I Studios

When Joshua Miller quit his job at an Apple store to focus full time on C&I Studios, he and his wife, Amy, had $37 in their bank account and a 3-week-old baby. “It was the hardest thing in the world, but that is the kind of support we have for each other,” Joshua says. The director-producer film duo, who started the innovative C&I Studios in Flagler Village, can now boast a growing company that has locations in five states. But they say that Fort Lauderdale is the ideal home for headquarters. “The thing we really like about Fort Lauderdale is it's kinda like Legos. You can build whatever you want,” Joshua says. The couple, celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary in March, also gives back through their non-profit C&I Reach.

How do you balance your work life, your charitable involvement and your personal life?

Amy: Here's the thing: Josh and I don't have a work-life balance. Everything is important, and everything is a priority. Our family, our daughter is very important to us, but being able to provide for her is equally as important. ... We really live by the concept that other people are more important than ourselves. [In] that way, we are always looking out for each other, and our family. Life isn't about working a job, having some kids and growing old. It's bigger than that. You can leave your mark. So we are laser-focused on our family and its growth because that is so important. But we are also focused on legacy and trying to change the world. We may not change it, but we will die trying.

What is the key to a successful marriage?

Joshua: ... She understands me. That's a huge quality for me, because in life we are so misunderstood. [There are] so many lost friendships and relationships because of it. But when I'm home, I know I'm safe, cared for, and understood.

What do you still hope to accomplish?

Joshua: We have so much more that we want to do. C&I is growing and we have some really exciting things coming up. We are so excited to do more with our non-profit this year, [and] we have some really inspiring projects that we are working on with amazing international communities. We are also pushing so hard for Fort Lauderdale. We love this town, and we really want to see it grow in the arts, and grow creatively. We have been very committed to give people in our town a different experience, and we are going to continue that. Our town doesn't need any more bars with fake grass—no more same-old, same-old. We need culture, diversity, art, excitement, and we are going to continue to press into the things we know are not only important to us, but important to our community.