Gulfshore Business Daily: August 24

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Florida Gulf Coast University’s (FGCU) Lutgert College of Business has created a Center for Agribusiness and a proposed agribusiness minor. The Center for Agribusiness will serve as a resource for the agriculture industry in Southwest Florida. It will track and distribute information regarding the economic impact and sustainability of agriculture. The center will also offer educational programs focusing on supply chain management, finance, management and marketing within the industry. The proposed agribusiness minor is intended to provide students with the knowledge needed to support all the business functions across the agriculture industry. The minor could be offered as early as spring 2019. Fritz Roka will serve as director of the center, effective Aug. 27. Roka joins FGCU after spending the last 23 years at the University of Florida. Since 2002, Roka has been an associate professor of agricultural economics. His new role will keep him in constant contact with the agribusiness and agriculture communities. For more information about the Center for Agribusiness or the proposed agribusiness minor, contact Vivek Bhargava at


The board of Physician Led Access Network (PLAN) has elected Dr. Serge Mistivar to serve a three-year term on the board of directors. Mistivar is board-certified in family medicine and serves as medical director for adult medicine at Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida (HCN) and physician in charge for the Naples and Immokalee regions. He is currently piloting a senior care program for HCN to bring ancillary services to low-income patient populations in Immokalee and Naples because transportation issues for these patients impact access to quality care. Mistivar was born in Haiti and attended college in Jamaica and New York before graduating from the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine. He completed his residency through the Palm Beach Center for Graduate Medical Education at Columbia/Palms West Hospital in West Palm Beach. PLAN’s mission is to make a significant difference in the health of the community by providing a safety net and increasing access to quality health care for low-income, uninsured adult residents of Collier County.


The Naples Players has appointed Alisa Marie Coccari as the director of marketing and PR. Coccari brings forth 20 years in the theater world, with a combined 10-year career in nonprofit marketing, PR, fundraising and event direction. Coccari studied with the New York State School for the Arts in Theatre in conjunction with the Julliard Acting Company and was awarded the NY Congressional Arts Theatre Scholarship from Hon. John J. LaFalce at Niagara University. She also studied under the master director of Maurice Daniels of The Royal Shakespeare Company as Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She graduated from from Kent State University as an Alpha Psi Omega National Theatre Honor Society member with a Bachelor in Fine Arts degree in theater and concentration in directing. In Chicago, she held a 10-year contract with Nissan & Infiniti Motor Corporation for national marketing events and worked the FIFA World Cup Soccer Finals VIP marketing events in Paris, France. Coccari has also worked in nonprofit marketing, event direction and fundraising for The Salvation Army of Naples and The Boys & Girls Club of Collier County.


Marketing and public relations professionals in Southwest Florida have launched an effort to share positive aspects of the region on social media in response to water quality issues. Employees of firms including iPartnerMedia, CONRIC PR & Marketing, M&M Multimedia, Pushing the Envelope, SEO Mechanic, Testimonial Tree, TLC Marketing & Creative Services, Veer90 and others are sharing video and images on their personal social media accounts enjoying local parks, botanical gardens, indoor amusements and patronizing locally owned restaurants and shops. The social media posts are using the hashtag #SWFLchallenge. The goal of the challenge is to motivate residents and visitors to create and share thousands of social media posts using #SWFLchallenge of them patronizing locally owned businesses and attractions. Everyone is invited to join the challenge.


The law firm of Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, P.A. attorney Kayla Richmond was elected to the Florida Bar Board of Governors, Young Lawyers Division (YLD). She is one of two governors for the 20th Judicial Circuit. Richmond has also been sworn in as the president of the Lee County Association for Women Lawyers. Richmond focuses her practice in the areas of divorce, marital and family law. She handles dissolution of marriage, custody, paternity, child support and domestic violence cases. Richmond has received accolades including being selected to the 2018 Class of Leaders in the Law by the Florida Association of Women Lawyers. Richmond also serves on the Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida’s board of directors and is chair of the Hunger Walk committee. She is also a mentor for Girls Going Places and a volunteer coach for Fort Myers High School’s Track and Field Team. Richmond is immediate Past President of the Lee County Bar Association’s YLD. Richmond received her undergraduate degree from the University of South Florida, law degree from Stetson University College of Law and graduate degree from Stetson University.


The public is invited to the STARability Foundation’s Family Forum Event, held from 10 a.m. to noon on Sept. 6. at the Naples Therapeutic Riding Center community room. This is an educational and fun free event for individuals with intellectual and developmental challenges and their families. The public is invited to join the celebration and learn all the ways to get involved in organizations that are enriching the social, recreational and creative lives of residents with additional needs. There will be refreshments available. Registration is required at


Valerie’s House earns grant for children’s Spanish-speaking grief group

Valerie’s House has received a $15,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Collier County Angel Fund for Small Nonprofits to create its first Spanish-speaking group for grieving children and families in Collier County. Valerie’s House provides children and their families who have experienced the death of a loved one with a safe place to share and experience support with others who are also grieving, while moving through the healing process. 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. For more information, visit To enroll, contact Frances Bustamonte at

Food campaign scheduled throughout SWFL

The first annual SOS: Sustainable Outreach Society—Goodness To-Go event will be held on Sept. 13 throughout Cape Coral and Lee County. The one-day campaign raises food and financial donations to benefit Cape Coral Caring Center, which typically experiences an uptick in the number of clients it serves during summer months but a downturn in pantry goods and monetary donations. The event doesn’t require participants to leave home, attend an event or bring anything to a predetermined location. On the designated day, enlisted volunteers will visit donors’ homes or businesses to pick up food, baby supplies, toiletries, gift cards or monetary donations. Donors can participate by going to to register for a pickup of donated items.

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