Gulfshore Business: August 1

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Tina Ekblad


Cottrell Title & Escrow of Collier County and Mettauer Environmental and VeraData of Lee County have been named to the latest Florida Companies to Watch list, a statewide program managed by economic development group GrowFL, in association with the Edward Lowe Foundation. These Southwest Florida businesses are among 50 second-stage Florida companies included on the list for expected growth over the next several years. They were selected from hundreds of nominees. From 2015 through 2018, these 50 companies generated $923 million in revenue and added 935 employees, reflecting a 123.9 percent increase in revenue and 131 percent increase in jobs for the four-year period, according to a press release. Companies named to the list will be officially recognized at the ninth annual Florida Companies to Watch Celebration on Nov. 14 at the Hard Rock Live, Universal City Walk in Orlando. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit


Tina Ekblad


Tina Ekblad, partner and planning director at Morris-Depew Associates, will participate in a panel discussion on expert testimony and litigation skills at the upcoming 2019 American Planning Association Florida Annual Conference, “Planning on the Upside of Paradise,” in Sandestin, Florida. Ekblad is scheduled to present as part of a “Litigation Skills: What Your Lawyer Wants You to Know” panel, held on Sept. 12. The session is designed to educate private and public sector planners on legal issues unique to litigation, as well as provide techniques to assist planners in preparing for litigation beginning with an initial development application and continuing through hearing. Ekblad has spearheaded Morris-Depew Associates’ land planning division growth over the last several years, including expanding the firm’s footprint to the North Florida region. She is involved in a variety of land planning projects for the commercial and residential sectors, mostly recently contributing to the approval by the Town of Fort Myers Beach for the Commercial Planned Development officially known as Margaritaville.



Studio+ continues to grow its Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) services. CPTED is defined as a multi-disciplinary approach for reducing crime through urban and environmental design and the management and use of built environments. Since 2014, Studio+ has designed eight campus perimeter security projects for the Newport-Mesa Unified School District. Most recently, Studio+ has utilized CPTED as a benchmark to generate specific campus perimeter security standards that will be implemented on all campuses in the school district. For more information, visit



Associates in Digestive Health (AIDH) has appointed Dr. Erin Barth and Dr. Christopher Fernandez to begin treating patients today. The expansion of services also includes a second medical office and surgery center, both located at 13051 University Drive across from the Barbara Mann Performing Hall in Fort Myers. Barth will be seeing new patients in the Fort Myers office. Barth recently worked with Kaiser Permanente in North California, had a private practice in Phoenix, and served eight years in the U.S. Air Force. Barth received her degree from Tulane School of Medicine and completed residency at University of California San Diego Medical Center. Her fellowships are in gastroenterology at Brooke Army Medical Center and Crohns and Colitis Foundation of America at Mount Sinai Hospital. Fernandez will be seeing patients in the Cape Coral office. Fernandez was born and raised in Miami, Florida and is fluent in Spanish. He is a graduate of University of Miami and received his medical degree from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and completed residency at University of Michigan Hospital and completed his fellowship in gastroenterology at the Henry Ford Hospital. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (239) 772-3636.



Dress for Success SW Florida’s Entrepreneurial Spirit Program (E$P) takes place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sept. 21 at Markham Norton Mosteller Wright & Co. P.A. in Fort Myers. Five Southwest Florida professionals will cover topics designed to inspire future business owners and prepare them for success. The speakers and topics are “Business accounting,” Angela Cooley, Mosteller Wright & Co. P.A.; “Understanding the importance of legal formalities, entity formation, copyright, trademarks and personal liability,” Christina Harris Schwinn, Pavese Law Firm; “Small business loans and financing,” Jenn Poppen, Fifth Third Bank; “Branding and marketing plans,” Connie Ramos-Williams, CONRIC PR & Marketing; and “Insurance for new businesses,” Janet Moore, BKS-Partners. A suggested donation of $25 to Dress for Success of Southwest Florida includes a continental breakfast, lunch and certification of completion. Seating is limited, and reservations are required at (239) 689-4992.


Eric Johnson


Eric Johnson has been named general manager of The Club at the Dunes, part of The Dunes of Naples private residential community in Naples. Johnson comes to the Club at the Dunes from Skaneateles, New York, where he was a hospitality management consultant. Prior to becoming a consultant, Johnson was the general manager and chief operating officer at Skaneateles Country Club. Born in New Buffalo, Michigan, Johnson started in the hospitality business as a caddie at The Dunes Club, a private club in New Buffalo. He is a graduate of Purdue’s Hospitality School.



Lianne R. Martin, a nationally certified physician assistant, has joined Dr. Cynthia R. Strohmeyer and Pat Gorton at Dermatology Specialists of Naples. Martin is a University of Florida graduate and has been specializing in medical and cosmetic dermatology since 2010.  She brings with her a passion for early detection of skin cancers, as well as other skin disorders including acne and rosacea.  She specializes in full skin exams as well as injectables, and has also trained with numerous laser technologies.



Dennis Cokenour, vice president – credit officer of First Florida Integrity Bank (FFIB), has graduated from the Graduate School of Banking at Louisiana State University (LSU). Cokenour was among the 185 bankers receiving graduation diplomas on May 31 from the Graduate School of Banking at LSU. This three-year program provides courses covering all aspects of banking, economics, and related subjects. Students traveled from 21 states and Mexico to participate in this session. Cokenour has 23 years of experience in the banking industry. He is a graduate of Purdue University with a Bachelor of Science degree in business, with a major in finance and a minor in accounting. He joined FFIB as vice president – credit analyst in August of 2008.



Capital Bank has named Brandon Johnson has been named commercial banking senior vice president for Lee County. Johnson has lived and worked in Southwest Florida for more than 40 years in leadership positions with Fifth Third Bank and most recently First Florida Integrity Bank. He currently holds Series 6 and 63 Securities Licenses as well as licenses for Life, Health & Variable Annuity Insurance. Johnson has served as a board member for Impact for Development Education and has been involved with the United Way and Leadership Lee County. He is a graduate of Florida Gulf Coast University. His hiring takes place at a time when First Horizon National Corp. is bringing together its family of companies under a unified set of brand names and a new logo.  In the fall, Capital Bank will deliver modern individual experiences where data and technology enable in-person and digital interactions.



Gulfshore Playhouse meets $20 fundraising match challenge for expansion

 Gulfshore Playhouse has met the $10 million challenge of its Next Stage Capital Campaign, set out by philanthropists and Broadway producers Patty and Jay Baker in 2016. Initial gifts and pledges have now reached $20 million to support the construction of the new Gulfshore Playhouse Theatre and Education Center at the corner of Goodlette-Frank Road and First Avenue South. In addition to the Bakers, a recent significant gift came from Naples’ philanthropists and Broadway producers Sandi and Tom Moran. The Morans have been longtime supporters of excellence in the arts in Naples. In addition, a pledge has been received from downtown Naples developer Phil McCabe. Support from several dozen other local donors, including the Wynn Family, round out the matching gifts. The Next Stage Capital Campaign has also received 100 percent participation from all members of the Gulfshore Playhouse Board of Directors. For more information, visit


Naples Art to host back-to-school supply drive, pencil-messaging event

Naples Art is holding a back-to-school supply drive and pencil-messaging event for students in need from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Aug. 5 at its downtown Naples location. Participants are encouraged to bring new No. 2 pencils on which they can write inspiring messages for students to read as they start the new school year. Sharpies, coffee and snacks will be provided. Please bring school supplies and art-related school supplies to the Naples Art pencil messaging event, or drop them off at the Naples Art building at 585 Park St., Naples, anytime now through Aug. 7. All supplies will be delivered to an underserved elementary school in Collier County.


Children’s museum receives $50,000 anonymous grant

The Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples (C’mon) has been awarded a $50,000 grant from an anonymous donor to assist in funding our pre-K outreach programming. This grant is particularly important to C’mon as it allows the museum to continue critical programs that would otherwise not be possible. Pre-K outreach programming includes four visits of STEM-based outreach lessons presented to underserved preschool students to boost science knowledge and preparing them to be kindergarten ready. This grant also includes funds for enrichment supplies to be added into each classroom to extend learning.


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