Gulfshore Business Daily: February 27

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Lee County hosted 158 amateur sporting events in 2018, generating its highest year on record in terms of hotel room nights sold. The events generated $72.2 million in direct visitor spending, a $6.3 million increase from 2017.

Lee County Sports Development reports 163,546 hotel room nights sold; 169,761 sports tourism visitors; and an increased number of annual events, from 144 to 158. The 2018 numbers reflect amateur sports only.

The numbers do not include spring training impacts for the Boston Red Sox or Minnesota Twins, the Fort Myers Miracle minor league baseball or the Florida Everblades minor league hockey. For more information, visit


The Lee County Port Authority Airports Special Management Committee (ASMC) during its Feb. 19 meeting elected Randy Krise as chair and Robbie Roepstorff as vice chair. Other members of the ASMC include Noel Andress, John Goodrich and Fran Myers. The committee also includes two regional members, R. Scott Cameron and Dana Carr, who represent the interests of neighboring Collier and Charlotte counties.

The committee advises the Board of Port Commissioners on policy matters pertaining to Southwest Florida International Airport and Page Field in Fort Myers. Each port commissioner appoints one ASMC member, who serves without compensation. For more information, visit


Andrew Hill Investment Advisors, Inc. will host “Cybersecurity Presentation” at 4:30 p.m. on March 28 at the Naples Sailing & Yacht Club. The presentation will be followed by a reception. Carrie Kerskie, president and CEO of Griffon Force, will discuss investment account risks, three easy steps for identifying a scam, medical identity theft and how investors can protect their online accounts. Kerskie also will provide best measures to take in protecting a recently lost loved one and contacting creditors after a death. For reservations, contact Elicha Moore at or call (239) 777-7429.


Conditioned Air Company of Naples Chairman and Owner W. Theodore Etzel III served on a panel of judges for the Templeton Business Ethics Case Competition, held Feb. 21-22 at Stetson University in DeLand. Teams from 18 educational institutions from throughout North America participated in this year’s competition. After receiving an actual business case, teams were given two weeks to prepare and submit an executive summary and visual presentation. 

During the event, teams made oral presentations to the judges. Bracket winners then delivered a final eight-minute oral presentation to the entire body of judges in a plenary session including all conference attendees, members of the Stetson University community and the public. A native Floridian, Etzel graduated from Stetson University’s School of Business with a Bachelor of Science in economics and finance.


The Above Board Chamber of Florida will host two seminars on the value of generosity. Vicki Thomas Tracy, chief operating officer at Gulf Coast International Properties, will serve as the master of ceremonies for the first of the two luncheon meetings, held from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. on March 11 at the Hilton Naples. The following panelists will be featured: Brian Rist, executive chairman, Storm Smart; Lee Kraus, president, the Naples Women’s Club; Melanie King Musick, area director, Best Buddies Florida; and Matthew Flores, co-owner and partner, Zampogna Flores, PLLC.

Connie Ramos-Williams, president and chief marketing officer of CONRIC PR & Marketing, is the master of ceremonies for the second meeting, held from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. on March 14 at the Crowne Plaza Fort Myers at Bell Tower Shops. She’ll lead the following panelists: Brian Rist, executive chairman, Storm Smart; Gail Markham, Markham Norton Mosteller Wright & Co. P.A.; Diana Willis, owner of Jason’s Deli of Southwest Florida and The Wilrock Group LLC; and Marc Collins, owner of Marc Collins Designs.

The cost to attend is $30 for members and $38 for nonmembers by March 7 for the Naples event and March 8 for the Fort Myers event. After those dates, it’s $35 for members and $40 for nonmembers. Lunch is included in the price. Register at or call (239) 910-7426.


Fort Myers based d3 creative studio welcomes back Andrea McKiddie. She will play the lead role in communicating, planning and monitoring of various d3 projects going forward. McKiddie has a background in project management and public relations and has held both supervisory and managerial positions at d3 creative studio before. Anthony DeBono founded d3 creative studio in 2013. The Fort Myers 3-D firm specializes in creating marketing solutions for those in architecture, real estate development, and other industries.


Technology entrepreneur, angel investor and startup mentor Michael O’Donnell will present "Creating a Healthy and Sustainable Startup Community" during the invitation-only SCORE Southwest Florida Annual Awards Luncheon, held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on March 18 at Gateway Golf & Country Club in Fort Myers.

O’Donnell mentors for StartupNOW, a business accelerator program run by Broward College, and for Startup FAST, a new accelerator launched by the Southwest Florida Enterprise Center in Fort Myers. He has been active in the startup communities of Seattle, Silicon Valley, Tampa and South Florida.

His expertise in the tech industry includes founding Data Technologies, Ask-Me Multimedia, and, and helping to launch CompuServe Sprynet and Design Intelligence. He specializes in mergers and acquisitions, with a focus on leading buyouts of growing tech companies. During the luncheon, awards will also be presented to recognize successful business owners mentored by SCORE and SCORE volunteers. The 2019 SCORE Southwest Florida Annual Awards Luncheon is sponsored by IBERIABANK.


Naples Bay Resort has hired marina manager John Boltz, a licensed captain with more than 25 years of experience on the water. Boltz will be managing the boat, kayak, stand up paddleboards and bike rentals, along with the Ship Store and boat slips. He comes to the Naples Bay Resort after spending six years at the Port O Call marina in Naples. Prior to moving to Naples and consulting for the marine industry, Boltz offered private cruises to local residents and tourists on the Bay of Green Bay and Lake Michigan.


Men of IMPACT raises more than $300,000 for Earn to Learn FL

The Southwest Florida Women’s Foundation recently hosted its inaugural Men of IMPACT dinner to recognize SWFL men who have distinguished themselves by elevating the status of women during their career or through community service. The 2019 Men of IMPACT are: Norman Love, Norman Love Confections; David Lucas, Bonita Bay Group; Jim Nathan, LeeHealth; Dr. James Orr, 21st Century Oncology; Orlando Rosales, Media Vista; Reinhold Schmieding, Arthrex; Kent Shoemaker, Lipman Family Farms; and Brian Stock, Stock Development.

More than $300,000 was raised from corporate sponsors, including BNY Mellon Wealth Management, Florida Community Bank/Synovus, FineMark Bank, and other individuals and corporate sponsors. Florida Prepaid College Foundation provided a Challenge Match of more than $100,000 to leverage the funds raised during the event’s cash call.

Proceeds from the Men of IMPACT outreach will support Earn to Learn FL students to achieve their educational goals. To support Earn to Learn FL students, contact Brenda Tate at (239) 908-0301 or or click here.

Best Buddies to host first Friendship Walk in Southwest Florida

Best Buddies of Southwest Florida will host its first Friendship Walk in support of community members with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) living in isolation. The event will take place on April 6 at Miromar Outlets. This celebration will include the walk, music from a live DJ, face painting, food and more activities for people of all ages. Register to walk by joining a team or gathering friends, coworkers or family together and creating at

Sponsorships are available starting at $500. Call (239) 275-2510 for more information. Best Buddies aims to reach and surpass a fundraising goal of $30,000.

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