Lead Photo: Julio Estrella supports his growing family with a high-wage job achieved after he graduated from The Immokalee Foundation’s Heavy Equipment Service Technician program.
Video courtesy of WINK News
BAYFRONT HEALTH ER, URGENT CARE FACILITY SET TO OPEN IN CAPE CORAL THIS SPRING
A new $976,000 health care facility is being built in Southwest Florida’s largest city. Bayfront Health’s new emergency room and urgent care facility is set to be operational this spring off Del Prado Boulevard and Kismet Parkway in north Cape Coral. The new center comes at a time when there is extra stress on hospitals in the growing community. Construction is underway. Workers are putting on the finishing touches to make sure the doors to the emergency center open soon, and more people have access to crucial care. Bayfront Health plans to announce soon exactly what services the center will offer, WINK News reports.
Video courtesy of WINK News
LOCAL HEALTH ORGANIZATIONS TRYING TO STAY AHEAD OF POSSIBLE PPE SHORTAGES
Nearly a year after the start of the pandemic, health care workers are faced with a new challenge: lack of needles. Naples-based NCH was the local hospital system that alerted WINK News to the issue, adding how important it is to stay three to six months ahead of the problem. It helps mitigate the issue that the vaccine doses themselves come with syringes. In Lee County, the Florida Department of Health says its supply is OK. In Charlotte County, vaccination supplies were ordered in bulk six months ago because Joseph Pepe, director of FDOH-Charlotte County, says it was crucial for them to make sure they were ready for vaccinations, WINK News reports.
DISH NETWORK NEGOTIATIONS AT IMPASSE WITH WINK-TV
Despite WINK-TV granting numerous extensions to the DISH Network, little progress was made in securing a new agreement between WINK and DISH, so service was terminated Saturday night. By law, until an agreement is reached, DISH is unable to carry WINK. WINK cannot provide assurance that service to DISH will be restored. WINK has successfully negotiated carriage agreements with all other satellite and cable companies in Southwest Florida and have offered to settle with DISH on similar terms negotiated with other television providers. Viewers may also watch WINK over the air for free with an antenna on channel 11, WINK News reports.
FINALISTS NAMED FOR 2021 INDUSTRY APPRECIATION AWARDS
Twenty-one Southwest Florida companies have been named finalists for the 2021 Industry Appreciation Awards (IAA). The winners will be recognized at the annual IAA luncheon hosted by the Horizon Council, Horizon Foundation and Lee County Economic Development, held on May 14 at Caloosa Sound Convention Center in downtown Fort Myers. The categories and finalists are as follows. Business Resiliency and Innovation Award: Fort Myers Brewing Co., Sanibel Captiva Community Bank, Sewing Boutique; Large Business of the Year: NeoGenomics Laboratories Inc., Owen-Ames-Kimball Co., Stevens Construction Inc.; Small Business of the Year: Architectural Metal Flashings, Iron Ridge Insurance Services, Stickboy Creative; Innovator of the Year: Cigent Technology Inc., Energy Harness Corp., Metro Forecasting Models; Manufacturer of the Year: Black Onyx World LLC/Alikay Naturals, Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats, Storm Smart; Start Up of the Year: 239Work, Gather, Seed & Bean Market; Community Steward of the Year: Cushman & Wakefield Commercial Property Southwest Florida; Florida Repertory Theatre; The North Law Firm.
HF SCIENTIFIC OPENS NEW GLOBAL HEADQUARTERS IN FORT MYERS
HF scientific, a Watts brand and global producer of locally made instrumentation, test kits and chemical reagents used for monitoring water quality, has opened its new state-of-the-art headquarters in Fort Myers. Located at 16260 Airport Drive, Suite 140, HF scientific’s new design, manufacturing and distribution facility is nearly 35,000 square feet, three times the size of the company’s previous location. The new location houses 57 employees responsible for company operations including design, engineering, manufacturing and shipping of products used for monitoring water quality for drinking water, wastewater and ballast water applications. HF scientific moved its headquarters from Canada to Fort Myers in 1980. The company was acquired in 2005 by Watts.
ELITE HOME GAMEROOMS TAKES PIER 1 IMPORT’S FORMER SPACE AT COCONUT POINT
Elite Home Gamerooms opened Sunday at Coconut Point in Estero. The business sells or leases everything needed to equip a home game room, including a large selection of pool tables, arcade games, pinball machines, game tables, jukeboxes, furniture, bar sets, neon lights, art and memorabilia. The new store has a three-year lease but doesn’t have an exterior sign yet at the former 11,000-square-foot Pier 1 Imports store between Ulta and DSW near SuperTarget. Owner and founder John Russo, 55, has more than 30 years of experience in repair, restoration and installation of all coin-operated gaming equipment and games through his Elite Home Gamerooms and Saturn 5 Entertainment brands. He operates 10 locations along the Gulf Coast in Southwest Florida, including stores in the Coastland Center mall in Naples and Edison Mall in Fort Myers. Russo’s businesses have grown into a $5 million company with retail sales up 30% because of people sheltering at home during the pandemic, he said. Elite Home Gamerooms, 8052 Mediterranean Drive, Suite 31, is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.
VILLAGE SCHOOL OF NAPLES ANNOUNCES EXPANSION OF ACADEMIC AND ATHLETIC FACILITIES
The Village School of Naples announced a $3.2 million renovation and expansion of its academic, arts and athletic facilities to accommodate current and future growth. It is anticipated each of the projects will be funded with donor naming opportunities available. Included in the campus improvements are a near doubling of space in the current two-story upper school building, thanks to a donation by Douglas and Jeanne Kopp family, along with an expansion of the Lauren S. Tayon Drama Studio, thanks to a donation by the Tayon family of Naples. Also included in the latest phase is the addition of an all-new $2.2 million track and field stadium to be completed by late fall, pending county permitting, along with other related athletic facilities. Construction could begin on the projects as early as this spring. Expansion of The Village School’s upper school will be accomplished by converting existing church offices into additional classroom space and offices for administration, counseling and college admissions. In addition, a lunchroom will be converted into a culinary arts test kitchen to accommodate the school’s Culinary Arts Program.
TRI-TOWN CONSTRUCTION BREAKS GROUND ON CUSTOM HOME PROJECT
Tri-Town Construction is breaking ground in Bonita Springs on its next custom home project, incorporating environmentally friendly insulated concrete forms (ICF) building practices. The Southwest Florida company is the area’s expert builder for ICF, which has become one of the trendiest building practices due to its energy efficiency and strength against the elements. Tri-Town, which focuses on new home, high-end and whole-home remodeling, commercial remodeling and roofing, heavily practices sustainable construction by using zero VOC paint, Simple Green products, and Energy Star windows, doors and appliances.
THE GULF SHORE ASSOCIATION OF CONDOMINIUMS ANNOUNCES 2021 BOARD
The Gulf Shore Association of Condominiums (GSAC) has announced its 2021 Board of Directors, including president David Feight, Bay Shore Place; vice president, Howard Handler, Esplanade; vice president Stan Karpf – Monaco Beach Club; secretary Jeanne Seewald, Le Ciel Venetian Tower; treasurer Ginny Veras, The Spindrift Club; and president emeritus Jim Melican, Club Brittany. Directors at large include Dudley Goodlette, Terraces; Helen McGrath, Baypointe at Naples Cay; Ed Mulcahy, Gulfside; Pam Nicholls, Admiralty Point; Jay O’Connor, Terraces; Bill Rehring, Venetian Cove; and Daryl Shall, Harbour Cove. GSAC represents 78-plus condominium building associations in the Moorings and Park Shore communities along Gulf Shore Boulevard North.
LEE BIA BUILDERS CARE HONORS VOLUNTEERS, PARTNERS
Lee BIA Builders Care, the nonprofit charitable arm of the Lee Building Industry Association (BIA), recently presented its annual awards that honored community partners and volunteers for their commitment to Lee County homeowners in need. Awards include Volunteer of the Year, presented to Dan Pickard of Ferguson Enterprises; Partner of the Year, recognizing LSI Companies Inc.; Contractor Partner of the Year, presented to Plumbing Solutions of Southwest Florida; Michael English Hearts and Hammers Award, awarded to Dan Beiter of Cypress Bay Development; and the Whole Heart Award, awarded to Mandi Wray of Lee BIA Builders Care.
GULF COAST INTERNATIONAL PROPERTIES WELCOMES PARSONS
Reatlor Susan Parsons has joined Gulf Coast International Properties (GCIP). Born and raised in Kansas City, Parsons chose Naples as her home following a 12-year career in television news. A graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, Parsons left anchoring and reporting to raise her family and pursue her passion for philanthropy, volunteering and serving on boards of multiple charities including the American Leukemia Society, Touched by Cancer and Cystic Fibrosis Foundations. Parsons has helped luxury buyers, sellers and investors in real estate for nearly 20 years.
SOUKUP STRATEGIC SOLUTIONS HIRES TURNER
Soukup Strategic Solutions has hired Joe Turner as the director of fundraising, marketing, and communications. In this role, he will manage a team of specialists with expertise in fundraising, marketing, public relations, video production, data collection and analysis, and project management. Turner has more than 13 years working in the nonprofit sector. He was a senior marketing content creator at Hodges University, the director of institutional promotions and development at Florida SouthWestern State College, and the director of alumni relations at both Hodges University and Florida SouthWestern State College. He also worked in radio as the director of marketing and promotions for Clear Channel Radio. Turner is from Detroit, Michigan, where he graduated from Wayne State University with a Bachelor of Science in communications and media arts.
Matching $500,000 gift challenge celebrates HEST program’s 10th anniversary
The Immokalee Foundation welcomes the public to participate in a $500,000 matching gift challenge in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Heavy Equipment Service Technician (HEST) program and ensuring the success of its students for years to come. The Immokalee Foundation covers the cost of tuition, training tools and equipment, and provides a foundation advocate to guide students successfully through the HEST program. The two-year, highly specialized curriculum administered at iTECH is designed to develop a foundation of technical skills that will prepare students to maintain, diagnose and repair heavy equipment systems. The Immokalee Foundation and HEST program supporters Don Fites and his wife, Joyce Hagen, have offered a 100 percent match – up to $500,000 – for HESTdonations made online or by calling Melissa Phillips at 239-537-8355.
Don’t be the last to know what’s happening in Southwest Florida. Sign up for our free daily newsletter, Gulfshore Business Daily, to stay connected.