Two men pose for a photo, one holding an award

Bergstrom Center presents inaugural Lifetime Service Award

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Kelley A. Bergstrom Real Estate Center presented the first Edgar Jones, Jr. Lifetime Service Award at its annual Trends & Strategies Conference at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando on March 15.

Richard Bezold was the first ever recipient of the award. Bezold is a partner in the Real Estate Practice Group at Miami-based Akerman, one of the nation’s top-ranked real estate legal teams representing developers, investors and other real estate end users in complex transactions, development and redevelopment projects, public-private initiatives, and loan origination and recovery across the United States. He also served as the Chair of Akerman’s National Real Estate Practice Group from 2007-2018.

“It was quite a surprise and honor to be awarded the lifetime service award, especially in light of the fact that the award is named after Edgar Jones who has contributed so much to the University,” Bezold said. “I hope that my work with the University has been meaningful to the Center and the students and will continue to be so in the future.”

Bezold received his BSBA with a specialty in real estate from Warrington in 1977 and his J.D. from the University of Miami Law School in 1981. He is a past chairman of the Bergstrom Center’s Advisory Board and recipient of the Bergstrom Center Alumnus of the Year award.

“I really appreciate the education that I received from the University and the friends that I made there, many of which I still know today,” Bezold said. “I feel that it is important to give something back, and my work with the Center and the students provides me with a way to do that.”

A Miami-native, Bezold served as a law clerk to the Honorable Parker Lee McDonald of the Florida Supreme Court from 1981-1982. After leaving Tallahassee, he returned to Miami to practice real estate and environmental law with Mershon, Sawyer, Johnston, Dunwoody & Cole until joining Akerman in 1996.

His practice focuses on real estate and environmental issues for a broad range of commercial clients, including investors, developers, landlords, tenants, lenders and end users. He also deals extensively with real estate and environmental matters involved in national corporate acquisitions, mergers and asset sales and purchases.

He is a member of Florida Blue Key and Omicron Delta Kappa. He has also held positions with local chapters of the Florida Planning and Zoning Association and the Florida Association of Environmental Professionals. He is the past President of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Nature Center, an environmental education not for profit corporation centered in Miami. He is also a past president of The Florida Marine Aquarium Society in Miami.

The award is named in honor of Edgar Jones Jr., a long-time South Florida real estate executive and former Bergstrom Center Advisory Board member.