NGALA Wildlife Preserve Wins Blue Chip Award

Plus: Bayfront Health also earns a top honor, a new hospitality association is planned, Community Foundation of Collier County's Q1 report and more.

The Collier chapter of the FRLA will become official in January.

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, Nov. 2


NGALA Wildlife Preserve is the winner of the 24th annual Blue Chip Community Business Award. The winner was chosen from 10 applicants by a panel of judges. Owner Donovan Smith has overcome personal and professional challenges to maintain and restore the wildlife sanctuary following two natural disasters that occurred within five months of each other, a press release states. Last spring, as a 7,000-acre fire tore through the sanctuary, Smith ventured into the preserve to save NGALA’s white rhino, Walter. As a result, he suffered second-degree burns on 20 percent of his body, including internal burns on his lungs. Following several weeks of recovery, Donovan returned to the preserve only to face a second natural disaster, Hurricane Irma, which caused even more damage to the preserve. Smith and his team overcome these extreme hardships and have worked to restore the preserve to its original state. It’s because of these efforts that NGALA Wildlife Preserve was found deserving of the 2018 Blue Chip Community Business Award. The award, coordinated and sponsored by McGriff Insurance Services and BB&T Bank, is given to for-profit businesses in Southwest Florida who have overcome adversity to achieve success. The finalists are determined through an application process that is reviewed by an impartial panel of judges.

Thursday, Nov. 1


The Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce has named Bayfront Health the “Donna Heidenreich Pinnacle Business of the Year.” The Pinnacle Award is given annually to a local business that has positively impacted the community and is chosen by a panel of judges comprised of previous award winners. Bayfront Health Punta Gorda was Charlotte County’s first hospital. Last year marked 70 years of healthcare service to Punta Gorda and Charlotte County. Over the course of the year, Bayfront Health Punta Gorda served more than 76,600 patients. For past award winners, click here.

Wednesday, Oct. 31


The Collier County Lodging & Tourism Alliance (CCLTA) will merge with the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA) to create the Collier chapter of the FRLA. The merge will become official in January. CCLTA members will be offered benefits for their businesses and employees through FRLA, including free consulting to assist with restaurant openings, licensing and permits, and discounts on required food certifications and training. All members receive cost savings for health benefits, prescriptions, payroll processing, tax solutions, loans, hiring, website design and more, a press release states. Current CCLTA members will become Collier chapter members of FRLA with the ability to renew their annual memberships at a discounted rate. Special introductory membership fees are being extended to current CCLTA members over the next two years to encourage participation and increase membership. The combined membership of the new FRLA Collier chapter is close to 200 hotels, restaurants, attractions and other allied members. The entire CCLTA board of directors will remain on the Collier chapter of the FRLA, including Randy Smith, who will step down as president. For more information, visit

Tuesday, Oct. 30


The Community Foundation of Collier County has distributed $2,538,052 in grants in the first quarter of its 2018-19 fiscal year (July 1-Sept.  30) to nonprofit agencies and scholarships for secondary education and specialized training. The distributions included $36,000 to the City of Naples for the Blair Foundation Tree Challenge to help reforest the city, which sustained significant damage from Hurricane Irma. Also included in the grant awards is $182,356 from the Community Foundation’s Changing Needs Fund, which is designed to be a safety net to help meet the changing needs of our community.  Naples Pathways Coalition received a $5,000 capital equipment grant from the Community Foundation’s Changing Needs Fund to expand its Lights for Bikes program, which provides service employees, who depend on bikes for transportation to and from work, with bike lights and safety gear. For more information, visit​

Monday, Oct. 29


A creative collaboration between Priority Marketing and Palm Printing has earned another Benny Award, the highest honor in Printing Industries of America’s global awards competition. The Premier Print Awards recognizes superior print quality and exceptional artistry. The two Fort Myers companies earned a Benny for “Cheers to 10 Years! Engaging Hearts… Changing Children’s Lives,” a print campaign that launched the 2018 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest. Priority Marketing and Palm Printing were the only Benny Award winner consisting of a partnership between two companies, and they were among just 18 entrants to win back-to-back Bennies. The 2018 competition drew more than 2,000 entries from around the world.

Publicly Traded Companies


NeoGenomics reported a third-quarter net income of $2 million compared with a net loss of $4.3 million in the prior year’s third quarter. The company also posted a net income of $2.3 million for the nine months ended Sept. 30, compared with a net loss of $4.9 for the nine months ended Sept. 30, 2017. Consolidated revenues for the third quarter of 2018 were $69.1 million, an increase of 17 percent over the same period in 2017. 

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