Florida DEO to Provide $1.5 Million in Workforce Training

Plus: Leadership NEXT's upcoming event, Ding Darling embarks on a major land acquisition campaign, a travel center opens in Naples and more.

Need to catch up on Southwest Florida business news? No problem. Here are the top stories of the week pulled from our daily newsletter, Gulfshore Business Daily.

Friday, Feb. 15


Leadership NEXT will host an event on downtown Fort Myers’ culinary scene from 5 to 7 p.m. on March 12 at Downtown Social House (SoHo) in Fort Myers. Guests will hear firsthand from one of the masterminds behind the River District’s emergence as a culinary hub. The event will also feature a discussion about general real estate development in downtown Fort Myers and a behind-the-scenes look at the Kearns Restaurant Group.

Frank J. Aloia Jr. of Aloia, Roland, Lubell, & Morgan, PLLC, will also speak at the event. Complimentary light appetizers and refreshments will be available. Leadership NEXT is free to attend for members of the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce and $10 for nonmembers. Register in advance at FortMyers.org

Thursday, Feb. 14


The “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS) has announced a campaign to raise $9.5 million to purchase 68 acres of Sanibel property adjacent to the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. From private donors, DDWS has to date raised $2 million toward the minimum $3 million it will need to raise in order to receive support from other funding sources.

The conservation and planned restoration of the property, known as Wulfert Bayous, will protect a four-acre lake, 16 acres of existing mangroves, hardwood uplands, and 22 active gopher tortoise burrows. Wulfert Bayous contains 15 acres of wetlands that can be restored and enhanced to create a wading bird colony. Improvements would also include limited, passive public access for wildlife viewing. For more information, to make a donation, or to pledge support, visit www.savewulfertland.org or contact Birgie Miller at (239) 292-0566 or director@dingdarlingsociety.org.   

Wednesday, Feb. 13


Expedia CruiseShipCenters has opened a new full-service retail travel agency within the Village on Venetian Bay at 4380 Gulf Short Blvd. N., Suite 818, Naples. The new business is owned and operated by Tracey Codd and Dan Ganter, along with location manager Deborah Rogers. The Naples location will be Codd and Ganter’s fifth Expedia CruisesShipCenters location in Florida.

Expedia CruiseShipCenters—part of the Expedia Group family of brands—offers cruise vacations and more through its over 255 locations across North America. Expedia CruiseShipCenters vacation consultants are sought on a full-time or part-time basis, at their retail centers or as a home-based agent, a press release states.

Tuesday, Feb. 12


The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) will award $1.5 million in workforce training grants to eligible Floridians through the Everglades Training Program. Created and funded by the Florida Legislature and administered by DEO, the Everglades Training Program is designed to meet the changing workforce needs of the Everglades region.

This program allows eligible schools and businesses to deliver nonagricultural occupational training to Floridians in Collier, Glades, Hendry, Highlands, Palm Beach and Okeechobee counties. The deadline to apply for tuition and employer-based grants is Feb. 18. To apply, visit www.FloridaJobs.org/EvergladesTrainingProgram.

Monday, Feb. 11


Southwest Florida housing price appreciation starts continue to show annual strength, according to Metrostudy's fourth-quarter 2018 survey of the Naples/Fort Myers housing market. Quarterly starts are up 6.5 percent over the fourth quarter of 2017, while annual starts are up 12 percent from 2017 numbers. Quarterly closings are up 14 percent from the fourth quarter of 2017 and annual closings for 2018 are up 3 percent over 2017. New home inventory remains constrained, and finished, vacant inventory is low, an over-build situation, similar to which occurred in 2005-2006, is not anticipated, the report shows.

For the full report, including a county-by-county breakdown, click here

Publicly Traded Companies


Beasley Broadcast Group Inc. (BBGI) has released operating results for the three-month and 12-month periods ended Dec. 31. The company reported a fourth-quarter net income of $2.1 million, down from a net income of $69.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2017. Net income from the 12-month period was $6.5 million, down from $87.1 million the year prior. The decline in 2018 fourth-quarter net income primarily reflects the lower operating income during the period and a $62.2 million year-over-year net increase in income tax expense, a press release states. The company recorded a $59.7 million deferred income tax benefit in the 2017 fourth quarter due to a reduction in the federal tax rate following the enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and a revaluation of deferred tax assets and liabilities using the new rate. 

In other news...

Envision Solutions seeks to market a technology that helps stroke victims regain their sight. Learn more here.

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