Garfield “Gar” Beckstead graduated as an engineer from the University of North Dakota in 1961 and joined the Western Electric Company in their New York headquarters. After spending seven years with the Western Electric Company in New York and Cleveland, he went on to earn his MBA in Finance and Business Administration from the Weatherhead School of Management in 1969.
Gar then joined McKinsey and Company where he spent most of his time working in Japan and Scandinavia. In 1976 he left his successful career in international business consulting to purchase and develop the mile-long, historic island of USEPPA off the Southwest coast of Florida. The end result was a private island paradise with a sterling and worldwide reputation. The London Times proclaimed it “The Crown Jewel of the Florida Coast- Useppa Island,” and Conde Nast Traveler magazine called it “One of the top 25 true island retreats in the world- serenity, great facilities and fishing, and no cars. Useppa has it all.” Today Gar is the CEO, founder and owner of the Useppa Island Club.
During subsequent years, Gar developed a second major oceanfront resort property called Palm Island Resort, located on the Gulf of Mexico. Palm Island Resort has approximately 3 miles of oceanfront and has become a well-known vacation destination for families, as well as those who wish to own an oceanfront residence. Additionally, over the years Gar has spearheaded and organized several successful land and development related trusts and partnerships in the Southwest Florida area.
Gar currently resides in Sarasota, Florida, where he takes great delight in enjoying life with his four young grandchildren. He has served on numerous boards, including the Foundation Board for Florida Gulf Coast University, Florida's 11th State University. In 2013, Gar was awarded the University of North Dakota’s prestigious Sioux Award, the highest honor given by the Alumni Association for achievement, service, and loyalty.