1973 Cemetery Business-founded West Lawn Memorial Gardens and built the Shrine of Light Mausoleum, a Nationally recognized landmark
1974 Founded the “Star of David Cemetery” – first Jewish cemetery in Broward County
1974 Joined the Barnett Bank of Plantation as a Director at age 27
1978 Consolidated 8 Barnett Banks in Broward County into one Bank. Served as a director and member of the Executive Loan Committee
Created the first Real Estate Lending department in the Barnett chain which was implemented system wide several years later.
In the early 1980’s, developed 3 condominium conversions which were some of the first, if not the first condo conversions in Broward county.
In 1978 and 1981, sold ownership of four cemeteries in Broward County and entered the real estate industry buying property on the courthouse steps and bank foreclosures.
Also in the early 1980’s, consolidated all the Barnett Banks in Broward, Dade and Monroe Counties into Barnett Bank of South Florida. Served as a director and member of the Executive Loan Committee until Barnett Bank sold to NCNB in 1995. Served on the Board of Advisors until NCNB acquired Bank of America and NCNB was merged into Bank of America.
During the 1980’s, Austin bought and sold many real estate properties in Broward County and also acquired raw land throughout the State of Florida.
During the period he built 2 office buildings and several hundred thousand square feet of industrial property.
In 1984 he entered the rock mining industry with the acquisition of DiMar Industries, a paving, mining and rock crushing operation.
Over the years, Austin has been involved in many real estate projects. Some of the more notable are as follows:
- Builder/developer Broward County Convention Center (partner)
- Owner and builder of 2000 Garden Apartments
- Owned and built or redeveloped 1,000,000 sq ft of industrial distribution and flex office/warehouse
- Owned and built or redeveloped over 400,000 sq ft commercial property
In addition to his real estate investments, he has owned and operated Outdoor Advertising companies and numerous street furniture companies.
Some of his other ventures have included development of a software company sold to TransUnion. Established the only CAT 5 Data Center in Broward County with such clients as Broward County, Broward County Clerk of the Courts, Carnival Cruise Lines, AutoNation, Republic Industries, to name a few.
Austin has been active in many community and charitable organizations. Presently serving 18 years as a Board Member for the Performing Arts Center of Broward County. He has also served 20+ years as a Trustee of the Museum of Science & Discovery/Blockbuster IMAX Theatre.
He was a founding member of the Cattlemen’s Club of Broward County raising over $1,000,000 per year for the Boys and Girls Clubs.
Earlier in his career he secured $4,000,000 to help build a 9 acre campus for the Association of Retarded Citizens.
Served on the Ft. Lauderdale GOB Bond Committee which provided funding for the Beach Redevelopment, River Walk Linear Park which as Chairman of this Committee oversaw the construction and design of RiverWalk in downtown Fort Lauderdale. The GOB Committee also provided funding for the Mills Pond Park development and funds for construction of the Broward County Performing Arts Center and Museum of Science and Discovery.
Built the first school in Broward County to serve children with learning disabilities/Crossroads.
Helped establish 2nd charter school in Florida which has won state and national acclaim and been recognized by receiving the Governor’s award for Outstanding Elementary School of the Year.
Austin has also served our community and nation as a United States Commissioner to the Inter American Tropical Tuna Commission and as a Director of the Stephen Foster Memorial Board, State of Florida.
In addition, he served as an exofficio Committee Member, Northwest Dade County, Lake Belt Plan Implementation Committee which set aside 1000’s of acres for Everglades Buffer Zone.
Recently Austin was inducted into the H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame, Nova Southeastern University and also honored at 2010 Riverwalk Trust Tribute for his role in the growth and development of Riverwalk Park and downtown Ft.Lauderdale.