Broadcasters Club of Florida Names First Female President

Plus: Collier County ranks No. 1 in state for biggest tax refunds.

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


Friday, February 7


The Broadcasters Club of Florida announces Kate G. O’Neal as the first female president in its 80-year history. The Broadcast Pioneers was formed in the ’40s by its original founder HV Kaltenborn and was soon recognized as a national organization. O’Neal is currently the program director of Society Bytes Radio, a podcast-radio station and is part of the Radio Ear Network Family of Hybrid I-Radio stations owned and operated by Amanatee Group, LLC.  Under her direction are plans to increase membership opportunity with social and professionalism at the forefront for women and youth in media awareness for past, present, and future growth. The Broadcasters Club of Florida meets the second Friday of each month from September through June with a lunch style format. For more information, visit

Thursday, February 6


Collier County ranked No. 1 in SmartAsset’s “Places With the Highest Tax Refunds and Places that Owe the Most” list for Florida. To determine the counties that received the highest average refunds, the study divided the total amount of money refunded by the IRS to residents by the number of refunds given out in each county. Collier County was reported with a number of 121,020 taxpayers that receive refunds, $4,418 in average tax amount refunded, 46,940 in the number of taxpayers that owe taxes, and $14,268 in average tax amount owed, for an overall Taxes Refunded Index of 83.12. For more details on the study, including methodology and an interactive map, click here.

Wednesday, February 5


The Lee Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday voted to purchase seven new Sprinter ambulances for the County’s Emergency Medical Services fleet to replace older vehicles. The seven new 2019 Mercedes Sprinter Custom AEV Type III Ambulances, with customizations and extended warranties, will be purchased from ETR, LLC. They will be purchased using an existing competitive bid contract with the Florida Sheriff’s Association for a total amount of $1.26 million. The new vehicles are expected to be in service by this fall. The vehicles replaced by the newly purchased vehicles will be assigned to the reserve fleet. Reserve vehicles are fully operational and are used when other vehicles are temporarily out of service. In Fiscal year 2018/2019, the division responded to more than 87,000 emergency incidents with more than 91,000 responses. These responses were answered from 42 EMS stations across the division’s six geographic districts.

Tuesday, February 4


Lee County has been awarded $7.1 million through the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s Rebuild Florida Infrastructure Repair Program for flood resiliency spending. This grant will allow Lee County to step up the pace of drainage improvements in the Mulloch Creek basin. The Lee Board of County Commissioners directed county staff to apply for the grant in October 2019. In the last several years, the Board of County Commissioners has set policies and directed major investments in the millions of dollars for both water quality and flood resiliency efforts. This is a next step in the flood resiliency efforts that began in 2016 with a study in North Fort Myers and continued through the rain events surrounding Hurricane Irma. For additional information about Lee County’s flood-mitigation efforts, visit

Monday, February 3


The 2019 survey results are in for the first year of On the Table Southwest Florida, a Collaboratory initiative by the Southwest Florida Community Foundation and partners. Seventy-two percent of respondents said they were more hopeful than worried about what the future holds for the community. More than 50% of males said they think the people in the community are somewhat more united than divided when it comes to addressing important goals and challenges, while 50% of females stated the same. Fifty-two percent of respondents said they agree the community provides everyone opportunities, with white respondents as the largest race group to strongly agree and African American respondents as the largest race group to strongly disagree. More than 50% of Boomer-aged females also disagreed, while more than 50% of Gen X-aged males agreed. Forty-nine percent of respondents said affordable housing was the top priority social issue in the community. Based on the responses to an open-ended question, there were several areas of emphasis that many respondents mentioned, including 13.04% pointing to Quality of Life. Several respondents brought up the “need to give back and collaborate” when it comes to the community leveraging its positive attributes. The most critical economic issue the community faces, according to the survey data, is the availability of high-paying jobs.  For the full survey results, click here
Don’t wait until the end of the week to find out what’s happening in Southwest Florida. Sign up for our free daily newsletter, Gulfshore Business Daily, to stay connected.