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Gulfshore Business Daily: February 4

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John Talmage

LEE COUNTY TO RECEIVE $7.1 MILLION GRANT FOR FLOOD RESILIENCY PROJECTS

Lee County has been awarded $7.1 million through the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s Rebuild Florida Infrastructure Repair Program for flood resiliency spending. This grant will allow Lee County to step up the pace of drainage improvements in the Mulloch Creek basin. The Lee Board of County Commissioners directed county staff to apply for the grant in October 2019. In the last several years, the Board of County Commissioners has set policies and directed major investments in the millions of dollars for both water quality and flood resiliency efforts. This is a next step in the flood resiliency efforts that began in 2016 with a study in North Fort Myers and continued through the rain events surrounding Hurricane Irma. For additional information about Lee County’s flood-mitigation efforts, visit www.leegov.com/flooding.
 

2020 BUSINESS HALL OF FAME, LEE COUNTY INDUCTEES ANNOUNCED

Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida will induct Sarah Owen, president and CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, and William T. Prather, owner and executive producer of Broadway Palm, into the 2020 Business Hall of Fame, Lee County. The award recognizes Owen and Prather as outstanding entrepreneurs who serve as role models for youth through their professional accomplishments and commitment to the community. The laureates will be honored during a dinner and awards ceremony on April 16 with a cocktail reception at 5 p.m. and dinner at 6:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa in Bonita Springs. For more information on the event, or to learn about sponsorship opportunities and purchasing tickets, visit www.JASWFL.org.
 

ESTATE PLANNING WORKSHOPS SET

Florida Bar Board Certified Wills, Trusts and Estates Attorneys Craig R. Hersch and Michael B. Hill, partners at Sheppard, Brett, Stewart, Hersch, Kinsey & Hill, P.A., will provide important insights regarding estate planning opportunities during their free Estate Planning Workshops. The Sanibel Island workshop takes place from 2 to 4 p.m. today at the Sanibel Community House. The Naples workshop will be held from 2-4 p.m. on Feb. 11 at the Naples Daily News community meeting room. Attendees will receive a free book titled “Florida Residency & Estate Planning Guide,” written by Craig R. Hersch. To reserve a seat at either the Naples or Sanibel Island estate planning workshop, sign up at www.sbshlaw.com/workshops or call  (239) 603-7034.
 

John Talmage

LUNCH & LEARN TO FEATURE LEE COUNTY’S ECONOMIC GROWTH 

The Naples Fort Myers Chapter of CREW will hold a Lunch & Learn from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Feb. 26 at Cantina Laredo in Fort Myers. The featured speaker will be John Talmage, director of the Lee County Economic Development Office, to discuss the decisions that are being made now to plan for and address present and future economic growth in Lee County. This event is hosted by the Naples Fort Myers Chapter of CREW, an organization dedicated to business development, leadership development, industry research and career outreach for women in the commercial real estate industry in Southwest Florida. The luncheon is open to the public, but pre-registration is required online at crewswfl.com/events on or before Feb. 19. The cost for the luncheon is $25 for members and $40 for non-members.
 

WELCOME AND DISCOVERY CENTER UNDERWAY AT LOVERS KEY STATE PARK

After nearly ten years of work and planning, the Welcome and Discovery Center at Lovers Key State Park is becoming a reality. In 2017, the Florida Legislature completed its 20-year plan for the park and allocated $4 million dollars to construct the building. Ground has been broken and construction has officially started with preliminary site work now underway. This new state-of-the-art, 4,000-square-foot facility is being established as the focal point for visitors to learn more about the recreational and educational opportunities the park has to offer. The Welcome and Discovery Center will inform, educate and entertain visitors of the four unique ecosystems within the park: Coastal Strand, Estuary and Mangroves, Maritime Hammock, and Beach and Dunes. Upon completion, the Welcome and Discovery Center will expand on ranger-led programs in the park and partner with other local organizations to study the culture and history of the park.  A partnership has already been formed with the FGCU Water School to share in park resources. Friends of Lovers Key (FOLKS) expects to open the new building by year-end, and therefore need additional support to help accomplish this exciting educational opportunity for the community. The challenge is to raise an additional $750,000 over the next few months. See friendsofloverskey.org to donate.
 

The name change for Leadership SWFL was announced at the Class of 2019-2020’s Graduation Reception at The Hub at the Bonita Chamber.

COMMUNITY IMMERSION PROGRAM BEARS NEW NAME

The Bonita Springs Area Chamber’s community immersion program, Leadership Bonita, has unveiled a new name: Leadership SWFL. The announcement was made in front of more than 60 alumni at the graduation celebration for the program’s 2019-2020 class. In addition to the new name, Leadership SWFL will also feature a new program partnership between the Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce and the Sanibel-Captiva Chamber of Commerce. Online applications are open now at BonitaSpringsChamber.com/Leadership-SWFL and must be submitted by 5 p.m. on March 27 for consideration. This program is ideal for business professionals looking to get connected in Southwest Florida and understand how local organizations interact, according to a press release. Full-day class sessions for the program will run from May through December 2020. Contact Christleen Knaub for more information at Christleen@BonitaSpringsChamber.com.
 

Yulia Yugay

WCG NAMES CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER

Wilson Creative Group (WCG), a full-service advertising and marketing agency, has promoted Yulia Yugay to the position of chief financial officer. She previously served as the agency’s financial manager. In her new role, Yugay is responsible for managing the agency’s finances, including financial planning and projections, management of financial risks, record-keeping, accounting practices and administration, financial policies and reporting, and data analysis. Originally from Kazakhstan and fluent in three languages, Yugay previously served in executive positions as chief operating officer, human resources director and financial controller for companies in the Naples luxury retail and nonprofit sectors. 
 

SUFFOLK UNVEILS DIVERSIFICATION STRATEGY, NEW BRAND IDENTITY

Suffolk has unveiled a diversification strategy focused on leveraging its core competency of construction and expanding into additional service lines to create a fully-integrated platform that adds value for clients across the entire building lifecycle. As part of the strategy, Suffolk launched a contemporary brand positioning and identity that reflects the company’s forward-thinking outlook, reflects its broader future ambitions, and differentiates the company and its unique business model and capabilities.  
 

Bay Design Store warehouse

BAY DESIGN STORE OPENS NEW WAREHOUSE

Bay Design Store has opened a new warehouse store in North Naples. Bay Design Store features an extensive, ever-changing collection of home furnishing that complement the casual, yet elegant Naples lifestyle, according to a press release. The new warehouse store’s 5,000-square-foot open floor plan showcases a home furnishings collection of furniture, accessories and fine art. A different collection is available at the downtown store. The increased combined inventory will allow customers to furnish complete designer-detailed rooms almost immediately. The public is invited to the new warehouse store for shopping, a chance to win prizes and more during the store’s Grand Opening Week celebration, held until Saturday, Feb. 8. For more information, visit BayDesignStore.com.
 

Fashion models gather to showcase the latest styles and trends prior to Guardian ad Litem Foundation’s “Fashion to a Tea” event. (Photo credit: Guardian ad Litem Foundation, 20th Judicial Circuit)

Charitable Notes

Guardian ad Litem Foundation raises $10,776 at ‘Fashion to a Tea’

Guardian ad Litem Foundation, 20th Judicial Circuit, raised $10,776 at “Fashion to a Tea,” a high tea luncheon that raised awareness and support for programs assisting foster children in Charlotte County. Fashion to a Tea included lunch, a silent auction, surprises and a fashion show with models showcasing styles available at HipNotique, a boutique in Punta Gorda. Proceeds from Fashion to a Tea will help Guardian ad Litem Foundation provide funds to recruit, train and support volunteer advocates who offer a voice on behalf of abused, neglected or abandoned children in the courts, schools and child welfare system. The Foundation also provides funds to purchase basic necessities, clothing, movie tickets and theme park tickets for children, as well as pay for tutoring and participation in youth sports and clubs. The inaugural 2020 Voices of Hope Gala will start at 6 p.m. on March 28 at The Club at Grandezza. For ticket and sponsorship opportunities, visit VoicesForKids.org or call (239) 533-1435.
 

In The Garden Spirit Tree benefits The Captiva Island Historical Society

In The Garden – Sanibel’s Retail Garden Center and Outdoor Showroom has planted a spirit tree that benefits local nonprofits. The olive tree was chosen because it represents love and charity, according to a press release. Spirit tree donations from Feb. 1-29 benefit The Captiva Island Historical Society. Canvas spirit tree tags can be purchased at the garden center gift shop for $5.  Purchasers can write well-wishes or blessings on the tags and attach them to the tree. All tag sales will be donated to The Captiva Island Historical Society. In The Garden will match all tag sales. For more information, visit www.rswalsh.com.

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