Member of Adelphi University’s Profiles in Success program.
The mayor of Manalapan, Florida
Favorite Professor: “Donald Koster was very engaging. He didn’t take himself too seriously. He managed to get his point across and he did it in a very participative way so he wasn’t just lecturing. He just made his classes very interesting.”
Fond memories of Adelphi: “I loved my time at the University. I made a lot of friends. I loved the fraternity life. I liked most of my classes. It was a wonderful four years.”
Advice for current students, or new graduates: “It’s a different world than it was when I graduated. When I graduated there were jobs waiting for people. I know from the experience my children have had that it’s very difficult out there now. You have to be prepared to put your nose to the grindstone, get to work, and do whatever you have to do to fulfill whatever your goals are.”
“I’m into self-degradation,” quipped David Cheifetz, B.B.A. ’62, about why he decided to seek a second term as the mayor of Manalapan, Florida. He then laughed and said, “I just think everyone should give back to the community and have some sense of civic responsibility. I believe in volunteering and giving back…The public sector is very different than the private sector though, which I learned very quickly. Things you could get done in five minutes in the private sector could take months here.”
Cheifetz’s career in the private sector began during his senior year at Adelphi when he accepted an internship at a top accounting firm in New York City. After graduation, he was offered a full-time position at the firm. During his time at the firm, he was forced to take a six month leave of absence to enter the U.S. Army Reserves. Upon returning to his accounting role and completing three years at the firm, Cheifetz applied to take the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam (at the time it was a requirement for applicants to work in accounting for a minimum of three years before being permitted to sit for the exam). After passing the exam and becoming a CPA, Cheifetz became the assistant controller of The Plaza Hotel in New York City, and held various positions in the company (Sonesta Hotels) over the next five years. “Then I stumbled on what ultimately became my career,” he said.
Cheifetz had discovered a passion and talent for producing conferences and events. “In 1976, I started a business that ran for profit conferences on a variety of topics,” he said. “Eventually that morphed into a trade show business which then morphed into a publishing business.” As the founder and chairman of the Full Circle Media Corporation (FCMC), Cheifetz oversaw a staff of more than 100 employees that produced exhibitions in dozens of industry sectors. FCMC, which was also a publisher of five magazines, had offices all over the world including Mexico City and London. When Cheifetz sold FCMC to the Ullo International Exhibition Group in 1996, he had built it into one of the largest independent exhibition organizers in the United States.
After selling his enormously successful business, Cheifetz became the managing director of The Compass Group, LLC, an investment banking firm that focused on the exhibition and media industry. The firm offered management consulting, merger and acquisition, due diligence, valuation, business planning, and strategic advisory services. “Then when my kids all graduated from high school and went on to college my wife and I decided to move [to Manalapan, Florida],” he said. “After we moved in, I decided to volunteer for various positions to help out in the community.”
His volunteer work offered him the opportunity to meet many of Manalapan’s residents and learn about the challenges that were facing his new home town. He believed that perhaps he could contribute even more to his community and he was subsequently appointed to both the town’s Architectural and Zoning Commissions.
In March of 2011, Cheifetz took the next step in his career as a public servant and ran for election to the Town Commission. After winning the election by defeating the incumbent and serving on the Commission for two years, Cheifetz ran for mayor. In March of 2013, he was elected to serve as the mayor of Manalapan. He is now serving his second term as mayor. “Most of the time it’s sort of fun,” he said about his current role. “However, there are times when it is incredibly challenging.”
Despite holding a position that can often be demanding, Cheifetz said, “I live in a nice town with my wife Daryl who is the love of my life and I’m sitting in my office watching my boat bob up and down in the water. So, I have no complaints.” When asked if he is going to run for a third term, he confidently proclaimed, “No. I think it should be someone else’s turn.”
Cheifetz, whose first leadership role came at Adelphi when he was elected the president of the Alpha Phi Beta fraternity, said Adelphi helped prepare him for his career in the private sector and for his current role as the mayor of Manalapan. “Adelphi taught me how to think independently and gave me a sense of responsibility and obligation to the community.”
Published December 2016