Gulfshore Business Daily: April 26

Video courtesy of WINK News

CHARLOTTE TECHNICAL COLLEGE PLANNING AIRCRAFT MECHANICS PROGRAM AT PUNTA GORDA AIRPORT

Charlotte Technical College received $1.7 million from the state of Florida to launch an aviation mechanics program at the Punta Gorda Airport. There is a demand for aircraft mechanics as the local airport grows, according to Punta Gorda Airport. The program is just months away from take-off in a recently renovated hangar. An aircraft engine trading firm donated an engine, valued at $2 million, to the school to give students hands-on training. High school students and adults will start classes in the fall, WINK News reports.

 

Video courtesy of WINK News

FISH FARM PLANNED FOR GULF UNDER PRESSURE TO SHOW IT WON’T HARM ENVIRONMENT

A proposed fish farm is under the microscope due to concerns that it could fuel red tide. Ocean Era hopes to deploy an aquaculture industry fish farm project about 45 miles offshore in the Gulf, northwest of Charlotte County, to fill the need for more seafood globally. The Velella Epsilon project is a single, small demonstration net pen that will be stocked with about 20,000 fish, about 1% the size of a commercial fish farm. While the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation is typically not opposed to aquaculture, Ocean Era’s project raises a red flag. It is concerned that the project will be located within an area where red tide is common, so it could provide nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus that could feed red tide blooms. An Environmental Protection Agency report due by June 1 will see if the farm meets water quality standards, WINK News reports.

 

FUTUREMAKERS ASKS REGIONAL EMPLOYERS TO TAKE ANNUAL WORKFORCE SURVEY

FutureMakers Coalition of Southwest Florida has launched its latest employment survey and asks for the region’s help in completing the online form. The survey is designed to capture the views and values of employers doing business in Southwest Florida. The Southwest Florida Community Foundation administers the survey on behalf of FutureMakers Coalition. FutureMakers is a regional initiative to transform the workforce by increasing the number of degrees, certificates, and high-quality credentials to 55%. The survey is divided into three sections, including a company’s future workforce, most desired workforce skills and the current state of a company’s workforce. It takes about 15 to 20 minutes to complete and will close on May 14. Aggregated results of the survey will be available after analysis on the FutureMakers website and as part of the annual outcomes reporting for the coalition. 

 

NAPLES HOUSING MARKET BREAKS RECORDS IN MARCH

The Naples housing market broke records last month, according to the March 2021 Market Report, released by the Naples Area Board of Realtors (NABOR), which tracks home listings and sales within Collier County (excluding Marco Island). According to the report, March’s historic activity included 1,851 closed sales, $1,582,474,997 in total sales volume, and 60,147 showing appointments. This makes March 2021 the highest-performing month on record over the last 13 years —the span of time NABOR has tracked key metrics reflecting the area’s housing market activity. March was also the first month in several years where there were more reported price increases than decreases. To view the entire report, click here.

 

APPLICATIONS OPEN FOR GOODWILL SWFL MICROENTERPRISE INSTITUTE

Individuals who are thinking about starting their own business but need some mentoring are invited to apply to the Goodwill Southwest Florida MicroEnterprise Institute, scheduled for May 17 – June 24. The MicroEnterprise Institute is a six-week training program to help emerging entrepreneurs start new ventures and grow small businesses. Graduates complete a comprehensive training course and prepare a solid feasibility plan. They also work with mentors and hear from subject matter experts in accounting, legal, marketing, insurance and funding. Returning to in-person this session, classes are scheduled from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday and Thursday evenings at 815 Nicholas Parkway East, Cape Coral. Social distancing, masks and hand sanitizer will be provided. Attendance is limited. To apply, click here or call 239-995-2106 ext. 2215. The session is $80; Volunteer hours can be substituted for the fee if income requirements are met. For more information, email Dorothy Browning at dorothybrowning@goodwillSWFL.org.

 

LEE COUNTY MPO’S CITIZEN ADVISORY COMMITTEE TO MEET MAY 6

The next Lee County Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) meeting will be held at 3 p.m. on May 6. Agenda topics for the meeting include review/approval of an amendment to the Transportation Improvement Program, update on the MPO Board Caloosahatchee Bridge Pedestrian Facility Discussions, review and approval of the federal and state transportation priorities, review and approval of the joint regional TRIP Priorities with Collier and Charlotte Counties, presentation on the SR 31 Project Development and Environment Study, review of the draft fiscal year 21/22 through fiscal year 25/26 Transportation Improvement Program, and proposed amendments to the 2045 Long Range Transportation Plan. 

 

INDIA PALACE RELOCATES, OPENS NEW LOCATION IN BONITA SPRINGS

The new India Palace restaurant opened Thursday in Bonita Springs. The local business closed its 20-year-old restaurant Dec. 31 near Page Field in Fort Myers to make the 18-mile move south to The Center of Bonita Springs on the northwest corner of U.S. 41 and Bonita Beach Road. The new family-owned-and-operated Indian restaurant is tucked away behind Publix in a freshly renovated 2,500-square-foot unit that used to be Teri’s Summer Breeze diner many years ago. Although a few menu changes were made, expect the same northern India cuisine with separate menus and times for lunch and dinner. India Palace, 3300 Bonita Beach Road, Suite 147, is open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and for dinner from 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, and closed Monday. Call 239-939-2323 or click here

 

Barry Jones

HOLE MONTES SHAREHOLDER APPOINTED TO ESTERO PLANNING BOARD

Hole Montes Shareholder Barry E. Jones has been named to the Village of Estero’s newly formed planning, zoning and design board. Jones, who has 28 years of experience in civil engineering, has served on the Estero design review board for six years, chairing the body for the previous three years. The planning, zoning and design board combines Estero’s previous design review board with its planning and zoning board. The planning, zoning and design board is responsible for reviewing applications for rezoning, comprehensive plan amendments, site plan approvals and similar items for conformance with the Village Land Development Code and Comprehensive Plan. Jones joined Hole Montes in 2015 after serving in a variety of roles for engineering firms, design groups, utilities and development companies. Jones earned a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from the University of Florida and is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Florida Engineering Society. 

 

UBS ADVISOR EXPANDS PRIVATE WEALTH MANAGEMENT SERVICES IN BONITA SPRINGS

Bill Clegg, UBS senior vice president—wealth management, will expand comprehensive private wealth management advisory services in the firm’s Bonita Springs office. As a private wealth advisor with more than 20 years of experience working with ultra-high-net-worth individuals and companies in Southwest Florida, Clegg specializes in multigenerational estate planning, direct investments, liquidity events, business succession, legacy planning, and philanthropy. He joined UBS in 2008 to direct long-term financial planning and investments for affluent individuals and families. Clegg was recently named to the Forbes 2021 Best-in-State Wealth Advisors List for the second consecutive year. He is a Certified Financial Planner, Certified Investment Management Analyst and one of a select few UBS Financial Advisors who has earned the advanced designation of private wealth advisor in the firm’s 150-year history. Additionally, he holds FINRA Series 7, 8, 9, 10, 31, 63, 65 and Florida Life, Health and Variable Contracts licenses.  

 

George Gulisano

FLORIDA SKIN CENTER CEO JOINS BOARD OF CHARITY FOUNDATION

Florida Skin Center Chief Executive Officer George Gulisano has joined the Board of Directors of The Bobby Nichols Fiddlesticks Charity Foundation. The Bobby Nichols Fiddlesticks Charity Foundation, founded in 2002, is a group of Fiddlesticks members, known as Pipers, who volunteer to organize and run an annual celebrity pro-am invitational golf and charity tennis tournament. The mission is to generate funds to return to the community via charitable contributions for abused and at-risk children. The organization also recognizes the contributions and accomplishments of Bobby Nichols, winner of 14 PGA Tour tournaments, including the 1964 PGA Championship and 1974 Canadian Open. Nichols has been a resident of Fiddlesticks since its inception. More than $13.5 million has been donated to local organizations.

 

GRAYROBINSON WELCOMES CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER

GrayRobinson P.A., which has offices in Naples and Fort Myers, has hired Stacie DeMonbrun as chief marketing officer.  As a member of GrayRobinson’s administrative leadership team, DeMonbrun will serve under the firm’s president and CEO, Dean Cannon. DeMonbrun joins GrayRobinson after serving in various legal marketing roles at AmLaw 100 law firms.  Most recently, DeMonbrun served as the chief client development officer at Akerman, where she worked with firm leadership to establish and execute firm-wide strategic priorities and oversaw the client development team. Prior to her tenure at Akerman, DeMonbrun served in various marketing and communications roles at Holland & Knight LLP and Dean Mead. DeMonbrun is a graduate with the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in advertising and a minor in business administration.

 

Greg Thomas

THOMAS NAMED BANK VICE PRESIDENT

Gregory S. Thomas, a portfolio manager in the trust and investment management services division of Charlotte State Bank & Trust, has been promoted to vice president. Thomas joined the bank in 2017. Based at the bank’s Murdock office in Port Charlotte, he manages the investment holdings for clients via their trust, IRA, or individually titled accounts. Thomas graduated from Mercy College in New York with a bachelor’s degree in government in 1988. He began his career in computer and internet technology in New York City and operated his own consulting and support firm in the early 2000s. He then spent four years as a supervisor and manager with Whole Foods Market in New York and Connecticut prior to entering financial management in 2009. Starting at a firm in North Carolina, Thomas moved to Punta Gorda in 2010. He has held securities and insurance licenses and spent eight years as a financial manager before joining the bank.

 

David Brady Jr.

PBS CONTRACTORS HIRES PROJECT MANAGER

PBS Contractors has welcomed David G. Brady Jr. to its team as project manager. Brady is the newest edition to the commercial division of PBS Contractors and brings decades worth of project management experience to the team. PBS Contractors is celebrating 35 years in business in Naples and Southwest Florida. The company builds luxury homes and commercial spaces.

 

CHARITABLE NOTES
 

Best Buddies Southwest Florida raises more than $60,000 with Friendship Walk CARE-a-Van  

Best Buddies Southwest Florida hosted its third Friendship Walk on April 17 at Miromar Outlets. The CARE-a-Van drive-thru event raised $61,613. While the Friendship Walk is one of two major fundraisers the organization hosts, the day-of event is a celebration of the progress made toward inclusion for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). The next Friendship Walk will be held at Miromar Outlets on April 30, 2022. Opportunities to volunteer on the walk planning committee are available. If interested, contact Jennifer Mackler at Jenniferlm@leeschools.net. Proceeds from the Friendship Walk support local programs that provide one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development and inclusive living. 

 

Residential Options of Florida to sponsor inaugural golf tournament

Residential Options of Florida (ROOF) is hosting its Inaugural Charity Golf Tournament at 7:30 a.m. on May 8 at Heritage Bay Golf and Country Club in Naples.  The four-person scramble fundraiser will help ROOF accomplish its mission to empower individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to successfully obtain and maintain affordable and inclusive housing of their choice. ROOF is partnering with Glide Golf to assist with registration. To register, click here.
 

Home Base SWFL receives $30,000 from Bowling Management Associates 

Home Base SWFL, a nonprofit founded by the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital dedicated to supporting veterans, service members and military families, received a $30,000 donation from Bowling Management Associations, which owns and operates six HeadPinz and Bowland Centers throughout Naples, Cape Coral and Fort Myers. The money was collected from bowlers at each of their locations to Home Base SWFL’s Warrior Health and Fitness Program. Founded in 2014, the program empowers veterans to take control of their physical and mental health and provides tools to assist in managing stress and identify the triggers that would necessitate more intensive and complex treatment – services also available through Home Base SWFL. The grant will specifically improve access to the supervised exercise, nutrition education, and stress and sleep management skills provided in Lee and Collier County in collaboration with Lee Health and the Greater Naples YMCA. 
 

Lisa and Bob Walsh of R.S. Walsh

R.S. Walsh In The Garden donates $5,000 to The United Way

R. S. Walsh In The Garden donated $5,000 to The United Way of Lee County. A portion of every sale at the garden center from November through March was donated to The United Way. In The Garden matched donations up to $50 per person. All donors were also entered into prize drawings for plants and a self-contained fountain. The United Way is a collaborator and local funding entity that addresses issues and provides solutions within the community. The United Way helps more than 90 different partner agencies assist those in need.

 

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