At the end of the March 20th Sunny Isles Beach City Commission Meeting, cake was cut and birthday wishes were flying freely for long-time City Historian Richard C. Schulman. His 80th birthday was actually the next day, but his daughter and friends at the Government Center certainly couldn’t let that milestone sneak quietly by when such a perfect opportunity to gather everyone together presented itself. At the meeting, Richard was honored with the presentation of a proclamation and a key to the city.
And how was it that Richard was at the Commission Meeting where he could be conveniently surprised? He was there because he has traditionally been the invocator at city commission meetings since 1997, thoughtfully sending substitutes in his rare absences. He is one of the most valuable assets in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida’s Riviera, because of his knowledge of “how things used to be,” his vast career, his volunteer experiences and his commitment to the City as a resident and a part-time employee. His life story has some interesting twists and turns.
Richard grew up during the World War II Era. He remembers playing the bugle for the troops during the war. For his efforts at the young age of 7, he was named an honorary “Sergeant” in the Army and “Chief Petty Officer” in the Navy. Most people do not know that, after graduating from Miami Senior High, he attended The Juilliard School in New York City where he studied trumpet. He returned to University of Miami where he was member of the School of Music Symphonic Orchestra/ Band of the Hour and earned a B.A. in Mass Communications. He continued to grow academically by completing the Leadership Program in the College of Business Administration, University of Houston and the Leadership Seminar for Executives at American University, Washington D.C. plus earning a Ten Year Teachers Certificate at Miami Dade Community College. He was an instructor for 10 years for the Dade County Chapter of the Financial Institute.
Richard’s work for the city started as a hobby in 1997 and grew into a passion and full time job for all things Sunny Isles Beach. Before that, his earliest work experience, using his communication degree, was as a member of the original production staff at WCKT Channel 7, Miami, Florida. He moved on from there into the banking industry, holding three positions at Citicorp including: Director of Corporate Insurance & Risk Management, Director of Community Housing, and Supervisor of Treasury/Finance/and Investments. He switched companies and worked as both Senior Vice President and Director of Building Management at Biscayne Federal Savings & Loan. Later, drawing on his love of history, he worked for Discovery Cruise Lines acting as host and tour guide on the ship to the Bahamas and as a writer for Entertainment News & Views.
Richard has acted as the chronicler of the City’s progress since incorporation. He has faithfully kept a scrapbook for each year that the City has been in existence. Marking milestones, from forming a City Charter to adding Ordinances as the years go by; it is all preserved for posterity. Also included in each book are invitations, programs and news articles from special celebrations and significant city events. As easy as it is to search our computers for electronic information, people have referenced his scrapbooks a time or two, checking details of the past. He has also acted as Official City Photographer and Aide to the City Commission during his years with the city. In the early years he even found time to write a full page column for the Sunny Isles Beach Sun called Rovin’ Reuvin. Presently, he contributes a smaller column of historic facts, stories, or trivia for Schulman’s Corner.
The History Hall on the first floor of the Government Center bears Richard’s name. He conceived the idea as a way to display the colorful history of motel row, preserving photos and commemorating special milestones in the city’s history. With a vision in mind, he guided the planning, gathering of materials and arranging of the displays that went onto the walls. Visitors and residents can browse through and catch a glimpse of where we have been and where we are going as a city. There is also a book displayed near the entrance to the library showing old motels and the corresponding buildings that replaced them.
Richard is the liaison to the City’s Historic Preservation Board and has organized many events relating to the history of this part of Miami-Dade county affectionately referred to as Sunny Isles. He has organized a historic gathering of Holocaust Survivors, historic city tours, book signings, and plaque presentations, all of which kept the city in touch with its roots. At one point he even researched and gathered descendents of Harvey Baker Graves, the original owner of Sunny Isles from the 1920s, for a dedication of the mangrove area in Baker’s name at Town Center Park. He was the executive producer for a history film, From Sandbar to Sophistication – Story of Sunny Isles Beach.
This list of Richard’s contributions to the City first as a volunteer, then as an employee, is not complete by any means. There are many events that Richard has lent his talents to, that are too numerous to mention. He has always been totally engaged in his work on behalf of the City. Whether as chronicler or photographer or invocator, he rarely missed a day at the office, doing what he liked best, serving the residents and commission proudly, with his best effort. Warm regards to Richard on reaching this life milestone and many thanks for all the years of keeping track, on behalf of our residents past, present and future, of all that has been accomplished by this “World Class” City. Richard will officially retire from the City on April 15, 2014. His Sunny Isles Beach co-workers extend to him their best wishes for a joyful and restful retirement. Below is a more complete list of his myriad accomplishments over the years:
BOARDS SERVED ON
• Advisory Board Doral/Ryder Cancer Research Golf Tournament
• Board of Directors Hope Center for Mentally Handicapped Citizens
• United Way Miami Beach Campaign, Loan Executive
• United Way Miami Beach Campaign, Chairman
• Villa Dorada Condominium, Aventura
• Winston Towers 100, Sunny Isles Beach
• Temple B’nai Zion, Sunny Isles Beach
COMMITTEES SERVED ON
• City of Miami Beautification Committee, Vice Chair
• City of Miami Beautification Parade, Downtown Miami, Chairman
• Mayoral appointment to the Miami Beach Hurricane Defense Committee
• Savings and Loan National Committee of Government Agencies, Securities, Investments
• Citicorp Savings of Florida American Red Cross Blood Drive, Chairman
• Sunny Isles Beach Citizens Advisory Committee
• Sunny Isles Beach Planning Advisory Committee
• Fashion, Film, Entertainment & Production Council, Sunny Isles Beach
GRAND JURIES AND TASK FORCES
• Member Florida State Advisory Task Force, Florida Securities Deposits Act
• Foreman for U.S. Department of Justice Federal Grand Jury Investigating Organized Crime in South Florida
• Nominated United Way Outstanding Volunteer of the Year
• History Book, From Sandbar to Sophistication, The Story of Sunny Isles Beach, Dedicated to Richard C. Schulman
• National Radio and Television Fraternity Alpha Epsilon
• Sunny Isles Beach Democratic Club Savings and Loan Marketing Society of America
• B’nai B’rith “Sholem Lodge” Miami, Past President
• Institute of Financial Education, Greater Miami
• Savings and Loan Public Relations Society of South Florida
• Life Member Temple Beth Tov, West Miami
• Sunflower Society, Past Chairman (Fundraising for Miami Children’s Hospital and UM Golf Team)
• Sunny Isles Beach Lions Club International
• Concerned Citizens of N.E. Dade County, Inc. – Invocator
• Founding Charter Member of the Miami Business Organization “Progress Club”
• Mortgage Loan Servicers Society, Dade County Charter Member and Past President RECOGNITIONS
• Who’s Who South and Southwest United States
• Who’s Who U.S. Finance and Industry
• Who’s Who in the World