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Passport Winter Park Fall/Winter 2022 Vol. 18
What We Do
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John Houghtaling is managing partner and majority owner of Gauthier, Murphy & Houghtaling LLP, a law firm with a legacy that spans half a century. The firm famously paved the way to the $246 billion U.S. tobacco settlement in 1998, and since then has won settlements and verdicts in an additional $4.8 Billion in litigation. Houghtaling specializes exclusively in Property Insurance Claims. As of the first quarter of 2021, he leads the firms Claim Management team that is processing more than $3 Billion dollars of property and loss claims for some of the largest property owners in the nation.
Houghtaling began his career in 1996 moving boxes of files for $8 an hour in the Gauthier & Murphy Firm. At the time, Gauthier & Murphy was leading a coalition of 100 law firms against the U.S. tobacco industry. Named senior partners, Wendell Gauthier and Bob Murphy took Houghtaling out of the file room and promoted him to a law clerk in 1997, and as an attorney in 1998. Within his first year of practice Houghtaling became the firm’s top earning associate. He had a string of wrongful death and product liability victories that have set records in Louisiana including a $4.3 million marine wrongful death settlement in 1999, and a $6.25 million settlement for a local New Orleans business in a breach of contract action in 2005. Additional recoveries include $7 million in one of the largest personal injury settlements in Louisiana, $5.25 million in a multi-death fatality, $4.7 million for a drunk driver fatality in in 2004. He also headed the expert discovery and case development that led to a $49 million personal injury verdict in Taylor vs. American Home Insurance.
In 2005, Houghtaling would be featured on the front cover of City Business Magazine in an article entitled, “Famed N.O. Practice Ruled by New Lawyer,” describing how within 8 years Houghtaling rose from the file room to managing partner and majority owner of the firm.
Under Houghtaling’s leadership, the firm, Gauthier Murphy & Houghtaling moved from general litigation into a firm that specialized in Property Loss Claims. Houghtaling now leads the firm’s Third Party Administration of property insurance claims for property owners throughout the nation. The firm is currently processing more than $3 Billion Dollars of property loss and damage claims for property owners across the United States and Europe.
In 2020 the Wallstreet Journal, Bloomberg News and Business Week all featured Houghtaling in Page One articles profiling Houghtaling’s national leadership first party insurance claim management and litigation. In 2014, Houghtaling’s career was featured in an hour long CNN documentary episode of Inside Man with Morgan Spurlock. In addition to CNN, Houghtaling’s career has been featured in a documentary on Frontline, and appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, MSNBC, Fox News, and more than 100 print and TV media. One of Houghtaling’s high profile corporate fraud cases against a U.S. billionaire served as the basis for the 2017 Hollywood legal thriller, Misconduct, staring Al Pacino as the New Orleans lawyer, and Anthony Hopkins.
Houghtaling law practice focuses on the negotiation and litigation of property development and indemnity contracts. In his Property Indemnity Contract Practice (Property Insurance) he works with individual property owners at every level, from individual homeowners to some of the nation’s largest Real Estate Investment Trusts and Property Management and Ownership Groups. His practice focuses on property casualty solutions, the legal and forensic documentation of property damages, the contracting with mitigation and recovery contractors, and the processing of indemnity insurance for business interruption and property loss. Outside of Insurance, Houghtaling’s practice as a lawyer, developer, and executive has a focus in complex infrastructure development strategy, and contracts in the gas and energy sector.
Christopher Fountas has spent much of his career founding, building and funding early/growth stage companies, many in the sectors of clean technology, advanced materials, agriculture and communications.
Mr. Fountas is a cofounder of Arsenal, one of the oldest venture/growth investment firms in Florida. During his tenure at Arsenal, Mr. Fountas also co-founded the establishment of several strategic and mainline investment vehicles:
– Florida Opportunity Fund: Mr. Fountas and Jennifer Dunham spearheaded the establishment of the Florida Opportunity Fund (“FOF”), a $130M Florida focused fund with strategic investment partners that include the State of Florida, the US Department of Energy and the US Department of Treasury. The FOF is one of the most successful state sponsored venture capital programs in the US.
– Arsenal II and Arsenal III: Mr. Fountas co-founded two private growth stage funds focused on investment in the sectors of Advanced Materials, Healthcare IT, Enterprise Software and Logistics.
– DoD Venture Capital Initiative: Mr. Fountas and Jason Rottenberg worked with the DoD to establish OnPoint Technologies, a strategic investment vehicle focusing on the transitioning commercial technologies in mobile power and energy into the DoD, including, energy storage, generation, transfer, software, hardware and other related energy, renewable energy, energy efficiency and other clean technologies.
Prior to Arsenal, Mr. Fountas was with MILCOM Technologies, where he helped create and build companies that commercialized technology from Tier 1 Defense Contractors and US National Labs. At MILCOM, Mr. Fountas helped establish and serve on the executive teams of several companies with valuations of over $1B in the communication, advanced material, chip processing and enterprise software sectors. Mr. Fountas also assisted in the sale or IPO of many of these companies.
Prior to MILCOM, Mr. Fountas was a Partner with Baker & Hostetler, where he managed an international corporate securities and M&A practice, and counseled US and foreign public and private companies focusing on the energy, automotive, advanced material, hospitality, agricultural and clean technology sectors.
Mr. Fountas also co-founded, Alpine Fresh, one of the leading producers, sales and distributors of high-margin fresh produce in the US, developing and implementing multiple state of the agricultural technologies, including genetic development, production management, sustainability, food safety, quality enhancement, tracking and traceability, and other agricultural technologies.
Anil Deshpande is the Chairman of the Anthros Advisory Board. He has over 40 years of experience in commercial, industrial and residential development and construction. He is the co-founder of Park Square Homes and served as its CEO for 20 years. His development projects have included hospitals, office buildings, hotels, and industrial plants, and he served as project manager for the construction of Orlando International Airport. Today, Anil is involved in commercial ventures in Central Florida and India. He is a partner in two IT firms and sits on the Board of Directors of Seaside National Bank and Trust.
Committed to serving his community through philanthropy, Anil helped found the India Center at the University of Central Florida. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Hindu Society and the Indian American Chamber of Commerce. He contributes to many other social and educational causes through a family foundation.
Helen Usher serves as the Director of Benefits for Anthros Inc. In this role she administers health insurance plans with premiums of more than $12 million annually and is the trustee of 401(k) plans with more than $30 million in assets. In her career she has created customized service delivery platforms for clients in more than 30 states, and Anthros clients benefit from her unparalleled expertise in insurance products, retirement planning and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Helen also facilitates ongoing training and development for the Anthros client relations team, and under her leadership more than 60 percent of new clients come to Anthros through referrals. Previously serving as Director of Operations, Helen has been at Anthros since it was founded and built the systems and processes that make it successful today.
Anurag Dandiya is the Founder and CEO of Anthros. As CEO, he leads a handpicked team of professionals that provide the best in client-focused human resources management and business and brand consulting.
Anurag has been in the human resources and Professional Employer Organization (PEO) industry for more than two decades and is known for his willingness to re-engineer the service delivery model to meet client needs. For him, success in business has never been about the quick win. Instead, it is about building relationships over decades and identifying what’s relevant for clients now and in the future. He sees profits as a byproduct of building a legacy with the right team.
Before founding Anthros, Anurag served as Executive Vice President and Director at HR outsourcing companies with annual revenues of more than $1.2 billion. He negotiated a $400 million client acquisition, the largest to date in the PEO industry, along with two other acquisitions valued at over $100 million.
Anurag grew up in India, where he attended The Air Force School in New Delhi and the elite St.Stephen’s College, established in 1881 by the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, and known internationally for its distinguished alumni. Growing up in India, Anurag was deeply inspired by his father Subhash Dandiya, who served in the Indian Air Force as a fighter pilot and retired as a decorated Commanding Officer.
Since 2014, Anurag has served on the Board of Directors for the Florida Association of Professional Employer Organizations (FAPEO). He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), the premier leadership organization of chief executives around the world. YPO is made up of more than 29,000 chief executives in 130 countries, each recognized for having achieved significant leadership success at a young age. He is also a member of executive coaching organization Vistage International, as well as the Ferrari Club Racing Association. In 2011, he was named Rookie of the Year by the Ferrari Club, and in 2012 he won the 360 Ferrari Challenge Daytona race. A leader in corporate and social responsibility, Anurag is a Founding Donor at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts and frequently fundraises for organizations that transform the lives of children and promote the arts. Anurag resides in Central Florida with his son Aidan who is an up-and-coming actor.
Ed Whalley serves as the Chief Financial Officer at Anthros Inc. An accomplished leader with more than 28 years’ experience in the human resources and hospitality industries, Ed comes to Anthros with a distinguished record of achieving profitability and operational excellence. In his role as CFO, Ed oversees business development, financial operations and compliance, and also works closely with the CEO on strategic planning and scaling operations to support the company’s growth.
Before joining Anthros, Ed served as CFO and Executive Vice President of Corporate Development at a large golf course management company, where he managed all aspects of financial services and planning, business development and compliance for more than 25 golf clubs. He has also been a business development executive at one of the largest HR outsourcing companies in the United States. During his tenure, the company grew by $40 million. Ed has also held leadership positions at other major golf management companies, including Kitson & Partners Club Services, whose portfolio reaches from Central Florida to Hawaii, and Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, where he started career. In addition to his expertise in finance, operations, sales and management, Ed brings to Anthros a commitment to transparency and team building.
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Since 2014, Anurag has served on the Board of Directors for the Florida Association of Professional Employer Organizations (FAPEO). He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), the premier leadership organization of chief executives around the world. YPO is made up of more than 29,000 chief executives in 130 countries, each recognized for having achieved significant leadership success at a young age. He is also a member of executive coaching organization Vistage International, as well as the Ferrari Club Racing Association. In 2011, he was named Rookie of the Year by the Ferrari Club, and in 2012 he won the 360 Ferrari Challenge Daytona race. A leader in corporate and social responsibility, Anurag is a Founding Donor at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts and an Honorary Founding Member of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Foundation. He frequently fundraises for organizations that transform the lives of children and promote the arts. Anurag resides in Central Florida with his son Aidan who is an upcoming actor.
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Wes is Anthros Inc.’s Director of Business Development, leading the company’s growth and shaping client relationship strategy. As a key member of the Anthros leadership team, he provides strategic guidance in customizing products and services to meet client needs. Before coming to Anthros, Wes was Vice President and Senior Relationship Strategist for a major bank’s wealth management group. In his 20 years in financial sales, he has held senior business development roles at PNC Wealth Management, SunTrust Bank, Merrill Lynch and Bank of America, where he established a record of building and leveraging client relationships to generate new revenue. Anthros clients benefit from Wes’ expertise in banking and investment products, portfolio management, keen industry insight, a deep personal network and proactive approach to help them develop HR strategies that support their long-term business goals.
BA, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL
CFP course work completed through Florida State University
Professional Licenses, Series 7, 63 and 65 – all current
Bill Edwards serves as the Director of Legal Affairs for Anthros Inc. He is an expert in labor and employment law and one of only a handful of attorneys specializing in employment practices liability claims. In his role as Director of Legal Affairs, he provides Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) compliance training and strategic human resources and risk management consultation. Prior to joining Anthros, Bill served as Of Counsel in the Tampa office of Broad and Cassel and Director of Legal Services for a national PEO. He has defended clients from charges of discrimination brought before the EEOC, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and various human rights commissions, and has also represented clients in wage claims before the Department of Labor.
Bill is a member of the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO) and the Florida Association of Professional Employer Organizations (FAPEO) and also serves on NAPEO’s Legal Advisory Council.
Dyannah Byington joined Anthros Inc. as Brand Manager in 2016. As Brand Manager, she leads the team’s efforts to enhance brand awareness and brand equity, promote company culture and craft social media and content strategies for Anthros and its clients. A lifelong storyteller with a passion for marketing and communications, Dyannah has years of experience in content creation, social media and digital marketing and has helped shape brand stories for companies in hospitality, retail, arts and education. She is a graduate of Amherst College and Columbia University, where she earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. She is also a native of Central Florida and a graduate of Park Maitland and Trinity Preparatory School.