Meyer Inaugurated as Hodges President

Plus: the Innovation Leadership Forum nears, RSW has record-breaking December traffic, the Naples market ends with record-high inventory and more.

John Meyer

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, Jan. 25


Hodges University has inaugurated its fifth president, John Meyer. The ceremony was held on the university’s Naples campus. Guest speakers included Jeff Allbritten, president, Florida SouthWestern State College; and Mike Martin, president, Florida Gulf Coast University. Hodges University, a regionally accredited, private nonprofit institution founded in 1990, prepares students to leverage higher learning in their personal, professional, and civic endeavors. The school has more than 10,000 graduates with a 93 percent rate of continued success in careers. For more information, visit

Thursday, Jan. 24


The Level Up Leadership Institute for Innovation Leadership Forum 2019, presented by Level Up Coaching & Consulting, will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Feb. 9 at the Holiday Inn Ft. Myers Town Center.

The Leadership Forum features the following presenters: Dr. Steve Smith, a master organizational development tactician; Ismail Joseph, an expert on the millennial mindset; Tatiana Fortune, senior center director at Collier Senior Resources’ Golden Gate Senior Center in Naples; John Paul a certified accountant and founder and CEO of ICFO Consulting Inc.; and Dr. Phil Phillips, a leader, speaker, trainer and business consultant who has helped more than 100,000 leaders and organizations worldwide achieve success.

Tickets are $159 per person and include lunch. For more information and to register, visit or call (239) 603-7040.

Wednesday, Jan. 23​


During December, 958,717 passengers traveled through Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers, an increase of 9.8 percent compared with December 2017. Year-end passenger traffic was up 6 percent compared with last year, and the best year-end traffic in airport history, a press release states. Delta Air Lines led December traffic with 165,344 passengers traveling to and from Fort Myers. Rounding out the top five airlines were Southwest (149,892), Spirit (121,638), Frontier (118,516) and American (114,081). Page Field saw 8,397 operations, a 15.2 percent increase from December 2017. In addition, nearly 3.2 million pounds of air freight moved through Southwest Florida International Airport in December 2018.

Tuesday, Jan. 22


Lee Health has named Stephanie Wardein as system director, community affairs. Wardein will spearhead all community relations activities and programs for Lee Health. She will lead community outreach and education, collaborating with other community organizations to develop working solutions to address local health-related needs. Her responsibilities also include developing and expanding relationships with community leaders and supporting Lee Health’s ongoing community benefit reporting. 

Wardein has been with Lee Health since 2012, serving in various community relations roles, including manager of community programs. In 2018, she was named one of Southwest Florida’s 40-under-40 honorees by Gulfshore Business magazine. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal arts – theology from Franciscan University and a master’s degree in theological studies from the Institute for Pastoral Theology at Madonna University. 

Monday, Jan. 21​


The Naples area housing market ended 2018 with an 11 percent increase in total closed sales and a 14 percent increase in inventory compared with 2017. Sales of homes above $1 million continued to drive the market in 2018, especially in the condominium market, where closed sales of condominiums more than $1 million increased 37 percent.

Inventory at the end of 2018 was the highest on record in six years, according to the Year End 2018 Market Report released by the Naples Area Board of REALTORS, (NABOR), which tracks home listings and sales within Collier County (excluding Marco Island). To view the entire report, visit

In other news...

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