Gulfshore Business Daily: April 10

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The Florida Small Business Development Center (FSBDC) at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) announces the 2019 finalists for the Distinguished Entrepreneur Award of SWFL. The 18 finalists were selected from a pool of 66 nominees from the five-county area of Southwest Florida. They are: Reema Bhatia, Stickboy Creative; Tyrone Belford, 4 Corner’s Creative; Ryan Carter, Scotlynn USA Division; Brian Chapman, Chapman Insurance Group; Rafael J. Feliciano, Food Idea Group; Catina Fletcher, Diamonds Haircare; Rochelle Graham-Campbell, Black Onyx World/Alikay Naturals; Teri Hansen, Priority Marketing; Timothy Hoffman, Hospitality Group Holdings (HGH); Samuel Lewis, Wear The Fund; Martin Ndungu, Medicab Transportation; Michael Peterman, VeraData; Key Powell, Key Security Services; Brian Rist, Storm Smart; Marilyn Santiago, Creative Architectural Resin Products (CARP); Samantha Scott, Pushing the Envelope; Caryn Smith, Driven by Design; and Jordi Tejero, CRS Technology Consultants. The awards dinner is set for April 30. Individual tickets are $75 per person and can be purchased at


John R. Wood Properties (JRW) has been ranked No. 86 in the 2019 Real Trends 500 for largest brokerages in the U.S. based on sales volume, with more than $2.5 billion. This number not only reflects the nearly 13 percent increase in closed sales in 2018 as compared to 2017, but also the magnitude of business that JRW is managing across Southwest Florida, according to a press release. More than 1,757 brokerages were reviewed for the list this year, breaking a record for the renowned Real Trends 500 in its 32nd year. Independent verification is a requirement of Real Trends 500 and rankings are based on closed transaction sides first, followed by sales volume.


Superintendent Kamela Patton (pictured left) has been named the 2019 recipient of the Leadership Collier Foundation Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Award. Each year, the award is presented to a Leadership Collier alumnus who fulfills the mission of the program through his or her continued education and work toward community betterment. Patton joined the Collier County School District in June of 2011. During the last eight years, Patton has enhanced existing programs, instituted new technological tools, improved communications and started new programs that resulted in a direct increase in student achievement. Patton is a 2012 Leadership Collier graduate and served on the Leadership Collier Board of Directors from 2013 -2015. She will be honored formally at the 2019 Leadership Collier and Growing Associates in Naples (GAIN) graduation ceremony on April 18 at Artis–Naples. For more information, contact Amanda Beights at or visit


The Neighborhood Health Clinic celebrates 20 years of providing quality care in Collier County from 2-5 p.m. on Friday at 121 Goodlette Road N., Naples. Guests are welcome to join clinic supporters, volunteers and staff for an open house celebration complete with food, entertainment and self-exploration of the recently expanded facility. More than 700 volunteers ensure the Neighborhood Health Clinic provides Collier County’s working, uninsured residents affordable medical and dental care. The clinic has had more than 107,000 patient visits since 1999. For more information, visit


Attorney Scott Atwood has joined Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt P.A. as a stockholder. He has been representing the interests of entrepreneurs, public entities, and businesses of all sizes throughout the U.S., including Florida and Georgia, for nearly 25 years. Atwood is also a Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil Mediator and member of the executive council of the Florida Bar’s labor and employment section. Atwood serves as president of the Lee County Bar Association Foundation and vice chair of the Sidney & Berne Davis Arts Center board of directors. He is also a member of the University of Florida Law Alumni Council and is an alumni of Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce Leadership Class of 2017. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Dartmouth College, law degree from the University of Florida College of Law, and Master of Arts from the College of William & Mary.


Gail Lamarche, director of marketing and business development at Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt P.A., spoke at the 2019 Legal Marketing Association (LMA) Annual Conference on Monday in Atlanta. She co-presented with Nancy Myrland, president of Myrland Marketing & Social Media, on the topic “Think Like a Marketer. Act Like An Owner.” This is the third time Lamarche has presented at LMA’s national conference. The session focused on personal branding, communication, and skills critical for success for legal marketers. With more than 20 years of experience in law firms, Lamarche is responsible for all of Henderson Franklin’s marketing efforts. She also blogs and speaks on the use of social media to various industry and professional groups. Lamarche serves on the Boston Red Sox Celebrity Golf Classic Tournament Committee benefitting the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. She is also a member of the Southwest Florida Seminole Club Board of Directors and is co-chair of is annual fishing tournament.


Hahn Loeser & Parks LLP has hired Curtis Cassner as a partner in the firm’s trusts and estates group in its Naples office. Cassner is board certified by the Florida Bar as a specialist in wills, trusts and estates and in tax. He also is a Certified Public Accountant licensed in Ohio. Prior to Hahn Loeser, Cassner was an attorney at Bond Schoeneck & King. He has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America and was selected as a Top Lawyer in trusts and estates by Naples Illustrated in 2018. Cassner chairs the wills, trusts and estate certification committee for the Florida Bar.  He is a member of the board of directors for NAMI of Collier County and a member of the advisory board for Legal Aid Services of Collier County. Cassner earned his Juris Doctor from Northern Kentucky University’s Salmon P. College of Law, his Master of Business Administration from Northern Kentucky University and his Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Cincinnati after receiving an honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force.

Charitable notes

Maureen Lerner, Robin Hamilton, Lynne Shotwell, Carol Dinardo, Sue Dalton, Nancy White at Magic Under the Mangroves

Record $2 million raised at Magic Under the Mangroves

The Conservancy of Southwest Florida raised a record $2 million net at its 15th annual Magic Under the Mangroves gala, held on March 7 at the Conservancy Nature Center. Conservancy member and longtime supporter Robin Hamilton chaired this year’s event. Magic Under the Mangroves featured cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, music and a seated dinner by award-winning, certified green caterer Windows Catering of Washington D.C. Attendees also participated in a silent auction and spirited live auction. Over 15 years, Magic Under the Mangroves has raised more than $12 million to fund scientific research, education programs, policy development, advocacy and wildlife rehabilitation programs that support the Conservancy’s longstanding mission of protecting the water, land, wildlife and future in Southwest Florida. Magic Under the Mangroves was presented by Northern Trust with William Raveis Real Estate as a supporting sponsor. Media sponsors included Florida Weekly, Gulfshore Life, Naples Daily News and NBC2.

Gulfshore Playhouse raises more than $1 million at annual gala

Gulfshore Playhouse recently celebrated its ninth annual gala “Bubbles, Baubles and Broadway” with a record-breaking $1 million raised for the Annual Fund for Artistic Excellence. More than 85 individuals responded to the call “What Part Will You Play” and donated $564,000. The evening continued with top bids for experiential auction lots. The Havana Nights-themed gala also featured entertainment by acclaimed Broadway singer Doreen Montalvo, with music direction by New York City Music Director Matt Aument, along with more than 320 guests celebrating the 15th anniversary of Gulfshore Playhouse. Two students from the Teen Conservatory program also performed ballads from Les Misérables and A Secret Garden. All proceeds from the annual gala benefit the Annual Fund for Artistic Excellence. This year’s gala also celebrated the continuation of the “Next Stage Capital Campaign” for Gulfshore Playhouse as its progresses with design plans for a new theatre and education center in downtown Naples.

Friends of Foster Children Forever receives Community Foundation grant

Friends of Foster Children Forever has received a $27,125 grant from the Community Foundation of Collier County. These funds will help support the emergency childcare and afterschool programs for children in foster care. The Community Foundation of Collier County awards annual grants through a competitive application and review process. Selected organizations receive grant dollars from the Changing Needs Fund. This fund is made up of donors who believe in the Community Foundation’s ability to identify and grant to the most community’s most current needs.

League Club grant ensures 6,580 more books for Collier kids

Books for Collier Kids (BCK), a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing a steady stream of new books to children in low-income families throughout Collier County, was awarded a $14,805 grant from The League Club’s Community Trust Fund.  Part of the $343,743 The League Club’s awarded to 35 area charities during an April 4 event, the funds help BCK provide high-quality, age- and curriculum appropriate books to 658 students in Calusa Park and Sabal Palm elementary schools, ensuring each will receive a new title every month during the next school year.

Avow receives grant for youth, adult bereavement services

Avow has received a $20,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Collier County to support its adult and youth bereavement programs. Avow Kids has been providing bereavement services for children ages 5-17 years old for more than 36 years. Avow relies primarily on donations to cover the cost of grief and bereavement care. The cost of adult and youth bereavement services annually is $693,000. For more information, call (239) 261-4404 or visit

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