Gulfshore Business Daily: December 17

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Hodges University, through its faculty and staff, selected the Employee and Professor of the year winners. The 2018 winners are MariaVacca and professor Andrea Fortin. Vacca is the executive assistant to the dean of the School of Health Sciences. She joined the university in 2011.

Vacca helped the university earn the first workplace Blue Zones certification in higher education for its Naples and Fort Myers campuses, a press release states. Fortin joined the university in 2012 and is an associate professor in the School of Liberal Arts.

Fortin has been an important part of helping Hodges transition to monthly class starts, and developing its new Associate in Science degree in professional communication.


Mellow Mushroom opens today in University Village Shops at Ben Hill Griffin and Estero Parkways. Mellow Mushroom offers a bar, open lounge, and indoor and outdoor dining. The restaurant is known for its specialty and signature pizzas made with spring-water crust and fresh ingredients.

Get Fried and Slicers Hoagies have also been announced as future tenants AT University Village. They join Skillets, Tacos & Tequila Cantina, Thai Udon, The Shaved Ice Bar, Smoothie King and Frutta Bowls. Poke Fusion, Sunshine Sundaes, Marlins Brewhouse, and KC American Bistro are expected to open in winter and spring 2019.

Created by Miromar Development, University Village is a mixed-use development offering more than 70,000 square feet of commercial space and apartment residences for 588 students—expanding to 924 students next year.


Chico’s FAS partnered with Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) public relations and technology students over the fall semester on capstone projects.

Twenty-five FGCU seniors from the public relations class Campaigns & Capstones partnered with the Chico’s FAS recruiting team. The students were tasked with two challenges throughout their fall semester: attracting and retaining young professionals to Southwest Florida and attracting design talent. To combat these challenges, the students built social media campaigns, hashtag campaign recommendations, social media and website redesign. 

Twenty-five FGCU seniors in the computer information systems program partnered with the Chico’s FAS technology team. The technology students were tasked with three challenges throughout their fall semester: successfully launching a brand blog, re-designing a webpage, and developing an enterprise application portfolio. Chico’s FAS will continue to team up with FGCU students for projects like these in the future, beginning next semester.


Cornerstone Builders of Southwest Florida has opened a new showroom in collaboration with Good Deals Appliances at 6425 Naples Blvd. in the Costco and Lowe’s shopping center. The showroom is the company’s second showroom in Naples and is open Monday through Sunday. Guests are invited to visit the showroom to view kitchen designs, bathroom displays, custom cabinetry samples, high-end appliances and more.

The showroom operates in conjunction with Good Deals Appliances. Cornerstone operates three additional showrooms in Southwest Florida, including locations in Fort Myers and Marco Island.


Dr. Kent V. Hasen, board-certified plastic surgeon of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery & Med Spa of Naples, has become one of 1,000 doctors to be inducted into the RealSelf Hall of Fame. The honor is only given to the highest-rated and most active doctors on the RealSelf platform, the world’s largest online aesthetics community to learn about cosmetic treatments and connect with doctors and other clinicians.

To be included in the RealSelf Hall of Fame, doctors must have received a RealSelf 100 or RealSelf 500 award in the past. The program, which first launched in 2010, honors the top-rated and most engaged board-certified aesthetic doctors on RealSelf. Doctors are ranked in three categories: earning patient reviews, answering consumer questions, and sharing before and after treatment photos. For more information, visit


Scott Ross, the executive chef at Quail Creek Country Club (, has been named the 2018 Chef of the Year by the American Culinary Federation’s (ACF) Caxambas Chapter of Southwest Florida.

Ross was recognized for being an ACF board member and his charitable work, which includes hosting the annual ACF Golf Tournament at Quail Creek Country Club, as well as wine dinners to benefit culinary scholarships for the ACF. He’s also worked with the students of Taste of Immokalee and the YMCA during his tenure at Quail Creek.

In 2017, Ross, a Johnson and Wales University graduate, was also named Culinarian of the Year by the local chapter of the American Culinary Federation, which has approximately 260 members. He has more than 20 years of experience in the culinary profession and holds multiple culinary designations.


Findley Wise Wealth Management is now Touchstone Wealth Partners and includes three UBS office locations in Ohio, New York and Florida. With the formal recognition of the team's three UBS office locations, the scope of their services now aligns more strategically with the complexity of their clients' wealth needs, from multi-generational wealth to corporate retirement and executive stock plans, a press release states. Partners in the Florida office consist of Ken Wise, Stefan Contorno and Kenny Wise.

Touchstone Wealth Partners provides tailored, holistic wealth management to successful multigenerational families, corporate CEOs and accomplished entrepreneurs. For more information, visit


Clinic Celebrates 20 years at annual Gourmet Vintner Dinner

The Neighborhood Health Clinic is “Celebrating 20 Years of Hope & Healing” at the charity’s annual Gourmet Vintner Dinner, set for 6 p.m. Feb. 2 at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples. The event begins with a reception featuring a sampling of more than six wine-makers selected by The Ritz-Carlton’s sommelier. The main event follows with a gourmet dinner, live entertainment and a DJ, a live auction and “Pass the Hat” fundraiser with auctioneer Jon Finstrom, and dancing.

Funds raised during the event help the clinic to provide more than 27,065 patient procedures and 10,000 patient visits with Collier County’s working, uninsured men and women annually. Tickets for the cocktail-attire event are $375 per person. Tables of ten are available for $3,750. For more information, click here. ​

Bowlers benefit therapeutic programs for veterans

Bowlers from six local HeadPinz & Bowland Centers supported the efforts of Bowlers to Veterans Link (BVL) during the month of November. The final tally for donations from the HeadPinz and Bowland Centers is $42,345. Fundraising events were staged at the bowling centers throughout the month of November for BVL, a national charity that funds recreation and therapeutic programs and services for America’s veterans and current military members. The donation will eventually be used by the Veteran’s Administration clinic in Cape Coral. A portion of the donation will also be used to fund services at other Florida-based veterans’ clinics.

Youth Haven’s Soiree of the Season set

Youth Haven will host its signature annual fundraising event, Soiree of the Season, at 6 p.m. on Jan. 19 at the Ritz-Carlton Naples Beach Resort. All of the proceeds will directly benefit the children and teens whom Youth Haven serves. The evening, chaired by Youth Haven board member Jessica Santella, features dinner and cocktails, entertainment and dancing, a casino, giving opportunities and more.

Entertainment will be provided by DJ Ceron, Gerald Augustin, Showbiz Productions, and Scott Robertson Auctioneers. Tickets are $500 per person, and sponsorships start at $500. Both are available here. For more information or sponsorship opportunities, contact Meredith Curley at or call (239) 687-5155.


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