Mike Shah Shares Skills, Good Fortune With Needy
By Space Coast Medicine and Active Living // December 25, 2013
CENTRAL FLORIDA HUMANITARIAN
‘What Really Matters Is Leaving A Legacy’
The residents of Palm Bay’s Driskell Heights and Powell subdivisions remember when Mr. Ross Evans dispensed neighborly advice along with the groceries at his store.
After Mr. Evans died, this neighborhood hub fell into a miasma of drugs and crime, but the Brevard Neighborhood Development Coalition—together with the city, resident leaders and other community groups – wants to rebuild the store into a model neighborhood complex where fairly priced, healthy food is readily available, where area youth can learn job skills and where a clinic can tend to residents’ health care needs.
Helping the project with his time, treasure and talent is Mahesh “Mike” Shah, founder of Southeast Petro Distributors, a major distributor to gas stations in Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee.
“Mike’s enthusiasm and expertise has been invaluable as we have developed the business plan and launched the capital campaign for Evans Center,” said Lynn Brockwell-Carey, executive director of the Brevard Neighborhood Development Coalition.
“He led the way as the first Evans Center donor in our Community Contributor Tax Credit program. As a project partner, Mike is making a difference for thousands of low and moderate income residents who will have better access to healthy foods and health care at Evans Center.”
The multi-use Evans Center will be the cornerstone for the revitalization of the Powell and Driskell Heights subdivision, providing a market with affordable healthy foods in a community where almost 70% of residents have very little transportation. In collaboration with the Brevard Health Alliance, Evans Center will also be the site for a health clinic for this low-income, primarily African American neighborhood.
Mike Shah is no stranger to the struggles of small businesses. In 1980, he purchased his first gas station and convenience store in Cocoa. Shah always treated customers the way he would want to be treated. He worked long hours and built his company from the ground up.
Shah, his family and his company do not forget who helped him: his community. The Shah family and Southeast Petro have a long history of helping local nonprofits.
“After all that hard work and being successful, you feel great, but, still, you feel something is missing,” said Shah.
“As a business owner, many of us often wonder whether we are making a difference in the world and in our community, which has given us everything. I have been there and decided to do something about it.”
Mike Shah leads his family and his company by example. “These are extraordinary times and a lot of people are hurting,” he said. “It is the responsibility for all of us who are privileged to do all we can and help. There is no greater satisfaction than knowing you are making a difference in the community. What really matters isn’t profits, but leaving a legacy.”
Shah’s list of charities is long and diverse, including Crosswinds, Junior Achievement, Brevard Community College Foundation, United Way of Brevard, IndiaFest, the Sharing Center of Central Brevard, Brevard Weed and Seed, Project Hunger, Brevard Neighborhood Development Coalition, the Aga Khan Foundation, American Red Cross, Health First Foundation. He is founding member of Manav Mandir, a home for orphans.
He offers more than financial aid. With Evans Center, for example, Shah was glad to share his real-world expertise to help get the store up and running.
A native of India, Shah left his homeland in 1971 to work in Zambia as an architect for the government. In 1976, he immigrated to the United States, purchasing a hotel in St. Augustine in 1979 before buying his Cocoa gas station in 1980.
Shah cherishes his family, which includes wife Rashmi, son Summit, daughter Monica and grandchildren Kayden and Naya.
He leads his family and his company by example.
“These are extraordinary times and a lot of people are hurting,” said Shah.
“It is the responsibility for all of us who are privileged to do all we can and help. There is no greater satisfaction than knowing you are making a difference in the community. What really matters isn’t profits, but leaving a legacy.”
The Central Florida Humanitarian Awards were created to recognize outstanding individuals and organizations that dedicate their Time, Talent or Treasure to help people in need locally – and around the world.
This year, more than 40 deserving humanitarians will be honored during the Gala, which will be held Thursday, Nov. 8 at the Hilton Melbourne Rialto Place, with the festivities beginning at 6 p.m.
“Over the years, our editorial team has had the distinct honor and pleasure of identifying and featuring the many members of our community who give back so much and are dedicated to reaching out and helping others, here and throughout the world, in a multitude of ways,” said Maverick Multimedia Editor-In-Chief Dr. Jim Palermo.
“We remain firmly committed to identifying and telling those stories and providing a timely media platform to recognize Space Coast and Central Florida residents’ altruistic contributions on a regular basis in our magazines, as well as SpaceCoastDaily.com,” said Dr. Palermo.
This inspiring and compelling event is sponsored by Brighthouse Networks, Health First, Brevard Physicians Network, MPAC ACO, Community Credit Union, Kindred Hospital, Knudson Brain & Spine Law Injury Office, Florida Pain, Space Coast Medicine & Active Living magazine, CentralFloridaMedicine.com and SpaceCoastDaily.com.
FOR MORE INFORMATION or to make a reservation to attend the Central Florida Humanitarian Awards Gala call 321-615-8111 or e-mail SpaceCoastMedicine@gmail.com