J. Patrick “Rick” Michaels, Jr.

Founder, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
The CEA Group



Rick founded CEA in 1973 to provide financial expertise for a select group of cable industry clients.  He led the company into a full-service international brokerage and financial services firm, which has included establishing and growing numerous affiliate companies and funds to expand the group’s ability to serve new market opportunities with a focused approach.

In 2000, for example, he co-founded Atlantic American Partners (AAP) to provide investment banking services primarily to Florida’s middle-market companies and to manage private investment funds in industries other than those represented by CEA.

Today, Rick interfaces with Company clients and supports colleagues on specialized transactions that require his expertise. Having visited 110 countries and worked in 60 countries, Rick still spends a considerable amount of time traveling to meet with clients developing and growing new business within the Group.

He also provides oversight and strategic advice to CEA portfolio companies – not only specific investment prospects, but strategic structures and vehicles for CEA’s participation.  For the most part, however, Rick focuses on creating and growing alternative asset management opportunities.

Prior to founding CEA, Rick was one of the original employees, and later, Vice President of TM Communications, the cable subsidiary of Times Mirror Company.

He was Vice President of the Cable Funding Corporation, a firm specializing in cable television financing and investments; Assistant Manager as well as On-Air Personality for Radio City, an offshore radio station featured in the 2010 movie “Pirate Radio,” also known as “The Boat That Rocked,” about Rock-n-Roll era of 1960’s.

Rick earned his BA from Tulane University graduating Magna Cum Laude. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, a Tulane Scholar and a Tulane Fellow.

He studied at the London School of Economics and later earned his Master’s degree from the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Pennsylvania.

Rick holds an Honorary Master’s degree from St. Leo University, currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Center of Entrepreneurship at the University of South Florida and the North American Advisory Board of the London School of Economics. He is also a member of the Florida Advisory Committee of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition.

Rick is a former Advisory Board member of the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also the former Vice Chairman of the Board of Visitors of the U.S. Naval Academy as well as a Board Member and Fund Advisor for the Heernett Environmental Foundation. Rick also founded the Republican National Committee Regents in 1999, served as Co-Chairman for the Regents through 2008, and was a Host Committee member for the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa.


Industry Distinctions, Awards:

  • 1988 Florida Entrepreneur of the Year - Venture Magazine an Ernst & Young Company
  • 1988  Who’s Who In the World, Who’s Who in Finance and Industry and Who’s Who in Cable Communications
  • 1988 The first Marian B. Gardner Memorial Lecturer in Cable Accounting and Finance for the Smeal College of Business Administration at Pennsylvania State University
  • 2004 Recipient of the University of South Florida Presidential Medal and the Free Enterprise “Man of the Year” award by the University of South Florida College of Administration
  • Past Board member of Enterprise Florida, the economic development committee created by the Florida Legislature
  • Past member of Federal Communication Commission’s Local, State, and Federal Advisory Committees
  • Former Director of the Home Shopping Network, Inc., The Box Worldwide, the Florida Cable Television Association and the Minnesota Cable Television Association
  • Past member of the Board of Directors of The Cable Center
  • Recently approved as a member of Society of International Business Fellows (“SIBF”)

Rick is also a proud member of the:

  • Cable TV Pioneers
  • American Broadcast Pioneers
  • Institute of Directors (UK)
  • Royal Overseas League (UK)
  • NCTA - The Internet & Television Association

Rick is highly regarded as a speaker and has been a presenter or moderator at industry gatherings around the world including Canada, the UK, Spain, Germany, UAE, China, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Australia.

CEA is always open to creative ideas brought to us by individuals and management teams. However, the ideas must come with a plan of execution and include management team which have the experience to turn ideas into business plans and the personnel plans into reality.

Turning dreams into reality requires the right people in the appropriate positions, who understand that there is no such thing as overnight success. Success is built by achieving a series of goals; overcoming challenges and overcoming road blocks, while at the same time constantly remaining vigilant to capitalize on new opportunities which can add value to the business.