Gulfshore Business Daily: February 28

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Feb. 27 announced more than $14 million has been awarded to seven organizations through the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s (DEO) Rebuild Florida Workforce Recovery Training Program. Award recipients include local workforce development boards, schools, colleges and universities in communities impacted by Hurricane Irma. Hendry County School District was among the seven organizations awarded, receiving $1.46 million to expand the district’s workforce development program providing training in industrial mechanics, HVAC and welding. For more information, visit



The Florida Retail Federation (FRF) on Feb. 27 announced that 2020 retail sales are expected to increase between 3.5% and 4.1% over the previous year. The forecast, informed by economic fundamentals, also predicts national retail sales to total between $3.93 trillion and $3.95 trillion this year. The increase in consumer spending is mainly fueled by job growth, a press release states. In 2020, the economy stands to gain between 150,000 and 170,000 jobs per month, compared with an average of 175,000 in 2019. Unemployment—which is currently 3.6% nationally and 3.0% in Florida—is expected to remain at a record low. The forecast by the FRF is informed by the annual forecast issued by the National Retail Federation. For more information, click here.



Collier County ranked No. 5 in Smart Asset’s list of “Best Places to Start a Career in Florida.” The study measured the income and unemployment rates for people younger than 25 in each county, as well as income growth, costs of attending college and the relative purchasing power of a dollar in each county. Collier County was reported with a net median income of $36,729; $22,332 in cost of living; purchasing power of 1.6; annual college costs of $31,466; unemployment rate of 7.5%; income growth of 11.2%; and Best Places to Start a Career Index of 56.68. For more information on the study, including the methodology and interactive map, click here.



Airglades International Airport LLC (AIA) in Hendry County will hold a groundbreaking ceremony at 10 a.m. on March 2 for the new $2.1-million, 4,000-square-foot U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility. Representatives from AIA, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Hendry County will be in attendance, along with elected officials and local business leaders. The new facility is made possible through partnership and coordination with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Hendry County. The development of this facility will designate AIA as an official port of entry to the U.S. and create a major international multimodal logistics complex with far-reaching economic impact, while generating hundreds of new jobs at the airport, according to a press release.



The Speakers Assembly of Southwest Florida will host “The Challenge of Doing Well by Doing Good,” a business ethics panel lecture with business experts Robert M. Taylor, Dawn-Marie Driscoll and Edith Hunt. They will speak about the importance of ethical business practices and how it will help businesses. The lecture will take place on March 5 at The Center for Performing Arts. Doors open at 4:15 p.m. Taylor is the founding Chairman and CEO of the Mariner Group in Fort Myers. Dawn-Marie Driscoll is an Emeritus Executive Fellow and Advisory Board member of the Hoffman Center for Business Ethics at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. Hunt has 32 years of experience working for Goldman Sachs & Co. For tickets and more information, visit the or call Arden McCurdy at (239) 948-7909.


Taverna Bar Elevation Concept


Vasari Country Club in Bonita Springs will break ground at 9 a.m. on Tuesday on its $6.1 million Renaissance Project. The Renaissance Project will consist of expansive additions to the upper and lower levels of the clubhouse, including an outdoor covered dining area that will showcase Vasari’s resort-style amenities. The Club’s upstairs Grill & Bar Room will be expanded to approximately 2,500 square feet, which will include 43 more seats. The new focal point for the Club’s lower level will be the creation of the Piazza. To create the Piazza, the Golf Shop will be relocated to a new 1,800 square foot building in front of the existing Fitness Center. Renovations are expected to be completed by the end of December 2020.


Amanda Gunning


Florida Skin Center honored four team members as “Culture Warriors” for their application of the practice’s guiding principles, leadership skills and core values. The 2019 Culture Warriors are Amanda Gunning, a four-plus-year senior lead clinical services coordinator out of Cape Coral; Maya Thomas, a two-plus-year senior lead clinical services coordinator out of Fort Myers; Madelynne Peres, a one-plus-year lead clinical services coordinator out of Punta Gorda; and Nataly Villalba, a two-plus-year lead guest relations coordinator out of Lehigh Acres. Gunning, Thomas, Peres and Villalba were nominated by their colleagues, along with other nominees who were recognized as winners on the last Friday of every month. This year, the permanent program criteria will remain the same, including one winner per Florida Skin Center location, serving as a campaign that continues to grow. Those winners will be announced in December.


Corey Vertich


Corey Vertich, principal with Uhler and Vertich Financial Planners, has been named a member of the Raymond James Financial Services 2020 Leaders Council. This honor is presented only to those financial advisors who have demonstrated an extremely high level of commitment to clients through personal service and professional integrity. Membership is based on prior fiscal year production and annual requalification is required. Vertich, a graduate of Barry University School of Business in Miami, began his financial planning career in 1989 and became a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) in 1994. He has served as president of the local chapters of the Institute of Certified Financial Planners and Financial Planning Association of Southwest Florida. Vertich was charter president of the Kiwanis Club of Iona McGregor. He is an Eagle Scout and a life member of the National Eagle Scout Association.


Bruce L Scheiner


Bruce L. Scheiner, the founder of Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, is celebrating 50 years as an attorney. Scheiner served as a clerk in the Florida Office of the Attorney General while he was attending law school at the University of Miami. After receiving his law degree and passing the Florida Bar, Scheiner was hired in 1970 as assistant attorney general, handling criminal appeals. Scheiner later relocated to Fort Myers and worked at First National Bank. A few months later, he opened his own law practice on the second floor of a building on First Street, becoming the 110th attorney in the city, according to a press release. In 1981, he opened the office where the firm is currently located, expanding in 1986. Scheiner and his wife have since started a scholarship program, the “Make a Difference Award,” where the firm gives scholarships to middle and high school students over a five-county area: Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades. For more information, visit



2020 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest raises $1.4 million 

More than 300 bidders came together during SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc.’s 2020 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest, raising more than $1.4 million to advance pediatric health care across the region. Celebrating its 12th year, the two-day signature event, themed “Painting a Difference: Putting Kids First,” featured Chef Vintner Dinners on Feb. 21, hosted in private luxury venues across the region, followed by The Grand Tasting and Live Auction on Feb. 22. At the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa in Bonita Springs, The Grand Tasting brought 10 local chefs and 17 vintners together to showcase an array of culinary creations and wines in a courtyard scene. A live auction followed in a tented setting, where guests bid on 38 auction lots. The live auction highlighted a special Fund-A-Cause addressing the critical need for eye care services in Southwest Florida, which raised $564,000 to support the establishment of the SWFL Children’s Charities Eye Institute at Golisano Children’s Hospital. For more information, visit

United Arab Emirates gifts $3.5 million to United Way of Collier and the Keys

Officials from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is granting $3.5 million in funds to The United Way of Collier and the Keys to help restore seven iconic reefs in the Florida Keys. The donation will launch one of the largest investments in reef restoration in the world, according to a press release. The gift is part of a larger $10 million pledge to the state of Florida for Hurricane Irma relief efforts.  United Way of Collier and the Keys will execute the gift’s impact strategy in partnership with experts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) along with other local, state, national and international stakeholders. The majority of these funds will be made available through United Way to local reef restoration organizations to execute the critical reef restoration work. The United Way will oversee, manage, and distribute the grant as part of its continuing Hurricane Irma recovery programming and assistance.

NCEF Infant Toddler Wing dedication.

Guadalupe Center dedicates NCEF Infant/Toddler Wing

Guadalupe Center recognized its longstanding support from the Naples Children & Education Foundation on Feb. 20 by dedicating a wing of its main campus in Immokalee in honor of the philanthropic organization. The NCEF Infant/Toddler Wing is one of two wings at the Morgridge Family Early Childhood Education Campus, which serves up to 270 children ages 6 weeks through 5 years old. The Infant/Toddler Wing was constructed in 2006 with support from NCEF. Along with the Jim Near Wing, the facility offers hope to many families who are otherwise unable to afford a high-quality early learning program. In January, NCEF celebrated its 20th Naples Winter Wine Festival, which has raised $212 million since its inaugural event in 2001. Guadalupe Center has been a beneficiary since the grant process was initiated in 2002.

Tickets available for FGCU Resort & Hospitality Management Program’s Wanderlust fundraiser

Florida Gulf Coast University’s Resort & Hospitality Management Program will host its 31st annual Wanderlust event on April 4 at the iconic Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club. The event is themed “A Travel Through the Decades.” During the event, attendees enjoy gourmet cuisine along with silent and live auctions that offer opportunities to bid on a variety of travel packages and experiences. Proceeds from the event benefit students in the Resort & Hospitality Management Program in the form of financial assistance, scholarships, and resources that help them graduate at the forefront of the hospitality industry. Reservations for Wanderlust are $250 per person or $3,500 for a corporate-sponsored table of 10. Premium sponsorships are also available. For more information or to make a reservation for Wanderlust 2020 call (239) 277-6295 or e-mail For more information, visit

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