Bernie Navarro is president of Benworth Capital Partners, a privately-held real estate investment company headquartered in South Miami focused on asset-based lending. He founded the firm in 2008 with a business model designed to mitigate the very risks that caused the mortgage crisis of the past decade. He and his team have built one of the most successful alternative and traditional private lending entities in Florida, including a crowdfund platform. Prior to forming Benworth, Mr. Navarro established HomeMortgage, which became the South Florida leader in new construction residential mortgages. He ultimately sold that company to the nation's number-one home lender, at the time. Earlier in his career, Mr. Navarro worked in the finance and mortgage areas for Fortune 500 companies such as Citibank, GMAC and JP Morgan Chase.
Mr. Navarro has nearly 20 years of mortgage lending, real estate development and construction experience, including operations, sales and regulatory compliance. He has extensive knowledge and expertise in secondary markets and financial retail operations.
Mr. Navarro is passionate about educating tomorrow’s future. In 2014, Florida Governor Rick Scott appointed Mr. Navarro to the Board of Trustees of Miami Dade College, the largest and most diverse college in the nation. In addition, he provides leadership oversight for the College’s Idea Center as a member of the entrepreneurial institute’s board of director’s.
He also serves as Chairman of the LBA Construction and Business Management Academy, the first business charter high school founded by a business association in the United States. The nonprofit Academy has received recognition by Fortune 500 companies, national educators and U.S. government officials specializing in educational issues. A source of media attention since its establishment in 2012, the Academy has emerged as a national model for educational partnerships. The Academy's curriculum includes core high school academics plus electives in business and construction management.
In addition to his work with the Academy, Mr. Navarro has been active for well over a decade in the Latin Builders Association (LBA) and is the organization’s Past President. The LBA is the largest Hispanic construction and real estate professional association in the United States. He was a panelist to select candidates to participate in the President’s Commission of White House Fellows, one of the nation’s premier programs to provide young leaders with first-hand experience in Federal government.
Mr. Navarro is active in the development of the local economy. He has led a number of trade missions on behalf of the South Florida business community, working with the U.S. Department of Commerce, the City of Miami Mayor’s Office and the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce. He served as Chairman of the Miami-Dade Community Council Area 10/Westchester and served on the City of Miami Beach Zoning Board.
In 2012, Mr. Navarro’s company, Benworth Capital Partners, was honored by the Beacon Council of Miami-Dade (Greater Miami’s official economic development agency) as Financial Services Company of the Year for superlative achievement in the industry, for leading job growth and economic development and for serving as a role model for other businesses.
Mr. Navarro is considered one of South Florida’s top business and thought leaders, and is frequently sought out for opinion and to serve as a guest speaker and panelist on top-of-mind community and political issues facing South Florida as well as business topics of finance, capital investment, real estate and construction.
Mr. Navarro has received numerous honors and awards throughout his career. In 2012, he was honored by the South Florida Business Journal as one of “40 Under 40,” recognizing the region’s best and brightest business leaders under 40 years-old for their business success, professional achievements and community involvement. Mr. Navarro has also been recognized as Mortgage Lender of the Year and has received other top honors from organizations such as the Builders Association of Florida, the Latin Builders Association and Platinum Florida’s BEST Awards.
Mr. Navarro earned an A.L.M. degree in Government from Harvard University and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from the University of Miami. A lifelong South Florida resident, he lives in South Miami with his wife and their three children.
Juan J. Cañas is the Company’s Vice President, and also leads new business development and funding diversification for Benworth. As an established South Florida banker for more than 30 years servicing entrepreneurs, small businesses and the construction industry, he structures credit facilities that meet the needs of home buyers and real estate investors. He also identifies strategies to provide borrowers with alternative financing sources and investors with additional investment options, including a crowdfunding community.
Juan is a Charter Member of the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation, and a member of the Latin Builders Association (LBA), the largest Histrongic construction and real estate professional association in the United States. Juan is an active supporter of the United Way of Miami, March of Dimes and other charitable organizations that improve the quality of life for South Floridians. In 2004 Juan graduated from Leadership Miami®, an annual program sponsored by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and several of Miami-Dade County's premier companies, local agencies and corporations.
Juan holds an associate’s degree in Business Administration from Miami-Dade College; and a Bachelor of Public Administration from Barry University.
Alfred F. Andreu, Esq. serves as General Counsel for the Company and Benworth and executes the legal functions associ ated with real estate lending transactions. He brings to each Benworth transaction experience in the financing, develop ment, acquisition and disposition of residential and commercial real property.
Alfred is a member in good standing of the Florida Bar, a member of the Dade County Bar Association, American Bar As sociation, Cuban American Bar Association, Coral Gables Bar Association and Attorney’s Title Insurance Fund. Alfred is also a member of the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana. Alfred serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Dr. Rafael Penalver Clinic.
Alfred received his Bachelors of Science in Advertising, with a minor in Business Administration in 2002 from Florida International University; and his Juris Doctorate in 2006 from St. Thomas University School of Law.
Mildred J. Avila serves as controller for the Company and its affiliate, Benworth. Mildred is a native of Merida, Mexico, has years of experience in accounting and Management in the hard equity and private placement lending industry. She has managed and organized accounts receivables, portfolio Management, bank and investor relations, and reported on the status of warehouse lines of credit. Mildred, who began her accounting career while attending high school, earned an As sociates in Arts Degree from Miami-Dade College and a Bachelor of Accounting from Florida International University.