Beverly Raphael Altman
Chairwoman and President, RCC Associates, Deerfield Beach
When RCC Associates, the Deerfield Beach construction company known for its high-end projects, recently took on the renovations of the iconic Mayfair Hotel in Coconut Grove, the $50-million job was something bigger and more complex than the firm had attempted before. But jumping into the unknown is something the mother-daughter duo of CEO and chairwoman Beverly Raphael Altman and President Robyn Raphael-Dynan have done plenty of times before.
Altman’s background had been in management in the fashion industry when she took over the company after her husband, RCC founder Richard Raphael, passed away from cancer in 1998. Initially advised to sell the company, Altman decided to keep it and learned the construction business, drawing on her own toolbox of leadership skills she’d already honed — the ability to build strong relationships and communicate clearly.
Contracts followed, among their most notable: RCC Associates built dozens of restaurants for the Cheesecake Factory nationwide. In addition to the Mayfair remodel — which opened in September to rave reviews for the restoration and modernization of the architecturally unique mid-1980s hotel — the company is the builder of high-end restaurants, stores for luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton and Versace, and nightclubs and lounges in South Beach and other destinations. The company now has 115 employees and has projects throughout Florida and the U.S.
Raphael-Dynan, who had been in high school during her father’s illness, didn’t want to join the family business after finishing college, initially pursuing a career in public relations. “I thought there was no way I was going to learn construction. But I did it. I took a risk,” she says, eventually becoming president two years ago. Her sister, Lindsay, opted for a career as an attorney and has her own practice in Boca Raton.
Raphael-Dynan says she needs to look no further than her mother for inspiration in leadership, recounting a moment in 1999 — just a few months after her mother took over the company — when the firm completed its construction of Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville at Universal Studios in Orlando. “I remember thinking, ‘Oh my god, mom, how did you pull this off?’”
Both women credit RCC’s executive vice president, Rick Rhodes, as being essential in the company’s success and building a company culture that fostered relationships with partners who help weather the cyclical nature of construction, including current supply chain and labor challenges. Altman says the flood of relocations from major cities like New York and Chicago has generated a slate of projects for the company and 2023 will be a busy year with openings in Florida — despite economic concerns dampening the outlook in other parts of the nation.
As for RCC’s future, the long-range succession plans the company put in place is one thing that doesn’t involve risk. Raphael-Dynan says she and her mother have such similar leadership values and thinking patterns that they can almost finish each other’s sentences. “It’s a wonderful feeling, not just as a parent, to know it doesn’t end with me,” Altman says.