Horatio Alger Association names 12 exceptional individuals, each of whom has overcome significant challenges to achieve professional and personal success, to its Member Class of 2018.

WASHINGTON, Dec. 5, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc., a nonprofit educational organization honoring the achievements of outstanding individuals and encouraging youth to pursue their dreams through higher education, today announced that Ronald M. Bergeron, Sr., founder and CEO, Bergeron Land Development, Inc.Bergeron Family of Companies and Bergeron Properties & Investment Corp., has been selected for membership in this prestigious organization. Mr. Bergeron joins 11 other esteemed business, civic and cultural leaders from across North America in receiving 2018 honors. For more than 70 years, the Horatio Alger Award has been annually bestowed upon admired leaders who have succeeded despite facing adversities, and who have remained committed to higher education and charitable efforts in their local communities.

Mr. Bergeron was raised in the small town of Davie, Florida. He learned to appreciate the local culture and history from his grandfather, who was a game warden for the Everglades. In his youth, Mr. Bergeron learned how to wrestle alligators, which earned him the nickname, “Alligator Ron.” After graduating from high school, he left home with a few hundred dollars in savings and took a job pumping gas. His boy scout master offered to let him live in a home on his coconut plantation if he would help with grounds maintenance. Before long, Mr. Bergeron bought his first tractor, a 1943 Ford Ferguson, and was mowing, baling hay and harvesting fruit for his boss and several of his neighbors. He recognized a business opportunity, and proposed that if his boss invested in more tractors, Mr. Bergeron would supply the labor. Within a few years, he bought his boss out and created Bergeron Land Development, Inc. He slowly bought more parcels of land and by the time he was 25, he had made his first million, employing more than 150 people, all while living in a house trailer until his 40s.

Today, Bergeron Land Development is part of the Bergeron Family of Companies, which also includes Bergeron Properties & Investment Corp., a real estate holding company, and Bergeron Emergency Services, a disaster recovery business. Bergeron Land Development is one of the largest site development and roadway construction contractors in Florida and all of Mr. Bergeron’s companies operate under a “leadership by example” mentality, which he believes to be crucial to his success.

“Ron is an excellent example of someone who has worked tirelessly for more than half a century to grow many successful businesses,” said Matthew Rose, president, Horatio Alger Association and 2013 Horatio Alger Award recipient. “It is important to acknowledge that in his rise to success, he has never lost sight of the importance of family and giving back to others. His entrepreneurial spirit will serve our Scholars well, and I look forward to working alongside him to further the reach of our programs in his home state of Florida and across the country.”

Mr. Bergeron is a tireless champion for the restoration and protection of the Everglades. A governor-appointed Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commissioner, he also founded the Bergeron Everglades Museum & Wildlife Foundation and is involved with the Everglades Coordinating Council, an umbrella organization for conservation and sportsmen’s groups in South Florida. An active community member, Mr. Bergeron lends his support to many local organizations including the Old Davie School Historical Museum, the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County, the Broward Partnership for the Homeless, Equine Therapies for Handicapped Children and the Nova Entrepreneur Program.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to have had a few opportunities throughout my life that I’ve worked hard to turn into successes,” said Bergeron Land Development Founder and President Ronald M. Bergeron, Sr. “I feel particularly lucky that my parents always supported me, and my children have helped to expand our businesses beyond what I ever thought possible. I understand that many Horatio Alger Scholars do not have the same strong support system, but it’s something I hope I can help provide for them through the Association. I am honored to join this outstanding organization as it continues to provide Scholars with the opportunities they deserve to reach their goals.”

Through its Members, Horatio Alger Association aims to educate young people about the limitless opportunities afforded to them by the free-enterprise system. To further this mission, the organization awards scholarships to outstanding high school students who are committed to pursuing higher education and giving back to their communities. Like Association Members, Horatio Alger Scholars have faced significant adversities, but have also displayed unmatched resilience in overcoming their challenges. Since the scholarship program was established in 1984, Horatio Alger Association has provided more than $125 million to students in need, all of which has been funded solely through the generosity of Association Members and friends.

Mr. Bergeron and the Member Class of 2018 will be formally inducted into the Association on April 5-7, 2018, during the Association’s 71st Horatio Alger Award Induction Ceremonies in Washington, D.C. The annual three-day event honors the achievements of both Members and National Scholars, affording both groups the opportunity to meet and interact, exchanging stories of hardships and triumphs.

For more information about Horatio Alger Association and its Member Class of 2018, please visit www.horatioalger.org and/or follow the organization on FacebookTwitter and Instagram using the hashtag #HoratioAlgerAward.

About Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans:

Founded in 1947, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc. is dedicated to the simple but powerful belief that hard work, honesty and determination can conquer all obstacles. The Association honors the achievements of outstanding leaders who have accomplished remarkable successes in spite of adversity by bestowing upon them the Horatio Alger Award and inducting them as lifetime Members. Horatio Alger Members support promising young people with the resources and confidence needed to overcome adversity in pursuit of their dreams through higher education. Through the generosity of its Members and friends, in 2017, the Association awarded more than $18 million in undergraduate and graduate need-based scholarships across the United States and Canada, and also provided college support and mentoring services to its Scholars. Since 1984, the Association has awarded more than $125 million in college scholarships to more than 25,000 deserving young people. For more information, please visit www.horatioalger.org.