Gulfshore Business Daily: February 20

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Collier County is among the best places in Florida for saving money, according to SmartAsset’s annual “Best Places to Save” study. The financial company used metrics like income, cost of living, purchasing power and taxes to determine the places where residents have the best opportunity to save money. Collier County ranked No. 8 in Florida, with a median household income listed at $62,407; the cost of living at $36,858; the purchasing power of 1.69; estimated tax rate of 13.13%; and Best Places to Save Index of 49.36. For more information on the study, including the methodology and interactive map here.


Intrepid Aerospace has entered into a lease agreement with the Lee County Port Authority for Intrepid Aircraft Maintenance, a Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) facility and paint hangar encompassing more than 340,000 square feet in a new building to be constructed at Skyplex.
The MRO would be one of the largest in the state—with capacity for up to 11 commercial jets the size of Boeing’s 737 series—and the paint hangar will be the state’s only facility able to accommodate large, wide-body aircraft, including Boeing’s 747 and 787. The addition of a large-scale MRO at Southwest Florida International Airport will provide expanded services to all airlines, with 24/7 availability of certified technicians for troubleshooting, repairs, maintenance, aircraft and engine washing, heavy-maintenance service and more.
The MRO is expected to generate several hundred high-wage jobs in the first phase of operations. The Lee County Economic Development Office estimates the economic impact of Intrepid’s MRO to exceed $1 billion in the first 10 years of operation. 
Intrepid Aerospace was formed in 2010 and provides FAA-certified repair and overhaul services at its current facility in Fort Myers, including structural and advanced composite components, hydraulic, pneumatic, electromechanical, engine mounts, windows and cabin modules. An application for the Intrepid Aircraft Maintenance MRO has been submitted to the FAA, according to President and CEO Juan M. Mendez. Fort Myers-based Wright Construction Group will design and build the MRO facility at Skyplex.  The transaction was negotiated on behalf of Intrepid Aerospace by Kevin Taylor and Kevin M. Fitzgerald of NAI Southwest Florida, Inc.


Lee Health will begin offering clinic-based specialty pharmacy services this month. Specialty pharmacies provide additional support and education for patients suffering from chronic conditions, and the opening of the Lee Health Specialty Pharmacy advances Lee Health’s goal of being active partners with patients to help them along their health care journey. The Lee Health Specialty Pharmacy is being developed in collaboration with Trellis Rx, a leading technology-enabled specialty pharmacy services provider. The Lee Health Specialty Pharmacy will integrate specialized pharmacists and patient liaisons directly into the specialty care practices to support patients. This local, clinic-based approach will ensure patients receive the coordinated, personalized care required to improve adherence, according to a press release. Lee Health’s physicians and their staff will also receive additional integrated support to relieve the administrative and clinical workflow burden caused by these complex therapies. The Lee Health Specialty Pharmacy will begin offering services in the Lee Physician Group Rheumatology clinic this February. Services will be offered in the infectious disease and pediatric endocrinology clinics starting in March and will expand to other clinics throughout 2020. 


John Jung, a nationally acclaimed expert on financial markets, will provide insight on national economic trends and the implications for financial and real estate markets at the Real Estate Investment Society’s (REIS) upcoming luncheon meeting. Sponsored by Stevens Construction, the will begin promptly at 11:45 a.m. on March 10 in the Magnolia Room at Pelican Preserve’s Town Center in Fort Myers. The program promises a fast-paced look at the policies and politics affecting the economy and the outlook for business growth and development. Following the presentation, Jung, the senior managing director and head of BB&T Capital Markets, will respond to questions of specific interest to the Southwest Florida real estate investment and development industry. Admission is $30 for members and $40 for guests, which includes lunch. Reservations are required by March 5 and may be made at

The Dunbar Career Exploration Event will soon return.


The second annual Dunbar Career Exploration Event will be held from 6-8 p.m. on Feb. 29 at the Dr. Carrie D. Robinson Center and the S.T.A.R.S. Complex. The job fair event is aimed at residents of the Dunbar community, but all are welcome. The event will include music, food, and information about career opportunities. The event is organized by the Dunbar community and local churches. For more information, contact Africa Newby at (239) 931-8200 ext. 1221 or Amy Furlow ext. 1129.

Tim Ficker


Tim Ficker, executive director at Cypress Cove from 2009 to 2013, has accepted transition into the HealthPark Florida Life Plan Community’s top management position. He returned to the 48-acre campus this past October in an interim capacity and recently agreed to move into the executive director’s role for a longer period. The announcement of his new management status at Cypress Cove follows the appointment of Cypress Cove’s Mary Franklin, director of resident services, to the position of associate executive director. Ficker brings with him 25 years of experience in executive leadership in the senior living field. During his management career with senior retirement communities, he has served for continuing care retirement communities such as Erickson Retirement Communities and Shell Point Retirement Community. In 2013, he founded a consulting and coaching firm, TDF Resources, Inc., and has since served with MHS and Trilogy Consulting as managing director. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in history and urban studies from Denison University and a Master of Arts in theology from Fuller Seminary. Ficker is a certified John Maxwell Team Executive Coach and Gallup Strength Finder Coach.


Studio+, an architecture and interior design firm, has been selected to complete the design for Ginsberg Eye’s interior expansion and renovation. The design provided by Studio+ will reinforce Ginsberg Eye’s desire to create a unique patient-focused environment centered on solutions that address individual client needs. In order to increase the capacity of the eye clinic’s exam and procedure rooms, the design team worked together with Dr. Ginsberg and Dr. Tanimoto to create design solutions that focused on quality of care and clinical process. Patient flow played a vital role in assessing design options that would increase the overall patient experience including consolidation of patient check-in and check-out, as well as patient access to the clinical care team. The expanded clinic will reflect the ultra-modern feel of the Ginsberg Eye clinic with clean minimal details and natural finish material selections, according to a press release. When complete, Ginsberg Eye will continue to serve patients as a boutique patient-centered ophthalmology practice in Naples. Partners for the project include Select Structural, Jenkins Maag, and Made in Rio, Inc.  


Housing Authority of the City of Fort Myers awarded $2.3 million Jobs Plus Grant 

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that the Housing Authority of the City of Fort Myers (HACFM) will receive a $2.3 million Jobs Plus Grant to build upon existing partnerships that will assist families living in public housing in achieving employment-related and other self-sufficiency goals. HUD’s Jobs Plus Initiative connects public housing residents with employment, education and financial empowerment services with an evidence-based model proven to help public housing residents find and keep jobs. It combines traditional employment, training and job placement services with a rent incentive and a place-based investment in building community support for work. For more information on HUD’s Jobs Plus Initiative, visit

Lee Health Provides $25,000 grant to Lee Association for Remarkable Citizens

Lee Association for Remarkable Citizens (LARC) has been awarded a $25,000 grant from Lee Health to support LARC’s Wellness LAB (Learn, Achieve, Become).  LAB will offer an experiential learning environment for hundreds of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) that transforms traditional program areas into spaces for innovation, vocation, demonstration and learning. Five Labs will focus on skills for work and independent living and include Lab for Living, Wellness Lab, Smart Living Lab, Vocational Exploration Lab, and Collaboration Lab.  The grant will support the Wellness Lab on LARC’s Fort Myers campus. For more information, visit

Annual ‘Donor Appreciation Dinner’ celebrates Lee County philanthropists

The Cape Coral Community Foundation invites the Southwest Florida community to an evening of networking, celebration and generosity at the 2020 Lee County Honors. The celebration will be held at 6 p.m. on April 16 at the Palmetto-Pine Country Club in Cape Coral. During the Lee County Honors event, six humanitarians will be honored for giving back to the community and appreciated for their service to support nonprofit organizations. Honorees are Wayne Kirkwood, Gloria Raso Tate, Brian Rist, Lee Pitts, Chris Spiro, and Dylan Zsebe. Guests will enjoy music, dinner, and beverages. Tickets are $100 in advance. Space is limited, so attendees are encouraged to register online in advance at

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