Gulfshore Business Daily: January 7

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Fischler Property arranges sale of downtown riverfront site.


Christopher Westley, Ph.D, has been named Florida Gulf Coast University’s (FGCU) Lutgert College of Business new dean. Westley has served as interim dean since April 2019. He originally came to FGCU in 2015 as a professor of economics and director of the Regional Economic Research Institute. In his role as dean, Westley aims to enhance the college’s role in Southwest Florida and develop stronger ties among the faculty, students and business community. Westley has been collaborating with Dean Ann Cary, Ph.D., of FGCU’s Marieb College of Health and Human Services on the new master’s program over the last few months. Westley is also focused on reaccreditation, attending his first AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) meeting in February as dean. He also is looking at enrollment opportunities, the college’s ranking and fundraising. Plans to strengthen the School of Resort & Hospitality Management, based on input from the industry, are also moving forward. For more information, visit


Fischler Property arranges sale of downtown riverfront site.


ESH Fort Myers, LLC, an investor group from Ohio, purchased the 5.3-acre riverfront parcel, formerly known as OneWest, at 2220 First St. in Downtown Fort Myers. Located at the corner of First Street and Altamont Avenue, the site is a neighbor of the Publix-anchored First Street Village and the West End at City Walk apartments, currently under construction. One of the few remaining parcels with river frontage, the investment traded for $12.5 million and will be home to two luxury apartment buildings, four and five stories tall, and will include a parking structure. Fischler Property Co. (FPC) represented the seller, iStar Financial. No other brokers were involved.


Ryan Benson


Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recently appointed Ryan Benson, principal with A. Vernon Allen Builder, to the board of directors for the Florida Housing Finance Corp. to serve a four-year term, to be confirmed by the senate this session. Florida Housing Finance Corp. (Florida Housing) was created by the legislature more than 35 years ago as the state’s housing finance agency (HFA) that administers state and federal resources to help provide affordable homeownership and rental housing options for the citizens of FloridaBenson earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Stetson University and his Master of Business Administration degree from Florida International University in Miami. He has been in the construction industry for over 15 years, and was a finalist for the National Association of Home Builders Young Professional’s Award for two consecutive years.



St. Matthew’s House Board Chairman Rachael Loukonen announces five new board members have been elected to the St. Matthew’s House board of directors. New board members are Michael Duke, retired president and chief executive officer of Walmart Stores Inc.; Dennis Flint, retired chairman and chief executive officer of TaylorMade Group and Babcock Industries; Richard Grows, executive director of J.P. Morgan Private Bank in Naples; Dr. Robert A. Howell, retired professor of business at Harvard Business School, and William J. Wright, long-time donor to St. Mathew’s House. For more information, visit



Individuals who are thinking about starting their own business but need some mentoring are invited to apply to the Goodwill Southwest Florida MicroEnterprise Institute, scheduled from Feb. 10 through March 19. Classes are scheduled from 6-9 p.m. on Monday and Thursday evenings at the Public Works Building, 815 Nicholas Parkway E., Cape Coral. The MicroEnterprise Institute is a six-week training program to help emerging entrepreneurs start new ventures and grow small businesses. Graduates complete a comprehensive training course and prepare a solid feasibility plan. They work with mentors who are successful businesspeople, and hear from subject matter experts in areas of accounting, legal, marketing, insurance and funding. The course ends March 19 with a graduation ceremony. To apply, visit, or call (239) 995-2106 ext. 2215.  For more information email Jill Eden at The session is $80; Volunteer hours can be substituted for the fee if income requirements are met.


Sanibel Captiva Community Bank purchases Sanibel building to serve as new main office.


Sanibel Captiva Community Bank has acquired the building located at 2406 Periwinkle Way on Sanibel to serve as the bank’s main office. The bank has hired Benchmark Construction to handle renovations on the building that will start this month. Construction is estimated to be completed in September. The bank sold its main branch located at 2475 Library Way to the City of Sanibel to become the new senior center, which hosts the Center 4 Life Program operated by the City of Sanibel Recreation Department. In addition, the building will house administration offices for Community Housing and Resources, a nonprofit organization that provides affordable housing for families and individuals who work and serve the community of Sanibel. To learn more, visit



PyLadies, an international mentoring group with a focus on educating and empowering women to become active participants and leaders in the Python open-source community, has launched a chapter in Southwest Florida. Python is a programming language, with a community made up of individuals with diverse skills and backgrounds. The group will host educational and networking events to provide women and supporters with tools to achieve their professional goals. Inessa Pawson is the organizer of PyLadies SWFL. The inaugural event for PyLadies SWFL took place at the facilities provided by the Florida Gulf Coast University Department of Software Engineering.


Christian Andrea


The Collier Building Industry Association (CBIA) announced its 2019 Associate and Builder of the Year Awards and unveiled its 2020 Board of Directors at the organization’s annual Holiday Happenings dinner held Dec. 18 at The Club at Olde Cypress. Christian Andrea received the CBIA 2019 Associate of the Year award, recognizing more than 20 years of experience in the local business industry. The 2019 CBIA Builder of the Year honor was presented to J.P. Coleman, president of JP Coleman Construction. The Melbourne native has a bachelor’s degree in construction management from the University of Florida. The 2020 Board of Directors includes elected president John Williams of RWA, Inc.; Ryan Benson of A. Vernon Allen Builder as immediate past president; Leroy Christiansen of Gulfshore Insurance as past vice president; Matt Sellick of Stock Custom Homes as president-elect; Drew Kowalczyk of PulteGroup as vice president; Norm Gentry of BUILD, LLC as secretary; and treasurer Kevin Deardorff of Waldrop Engineering, P.A. Additional board members include Dominick Amico of Agnoli, Barber & Brundage, Inc.; Robyn Bonaquist of B-Squared Advertising; Cali Clardy of Refined Builders & Construction, LLC; JP Coleman of JP Coleman Construction; Dave Dunnavant of Peninsula Construction & Engineering; Michael Grable of Bonness Inc.; Marc Huling of Roetzel & Andress, L.P.A.; Scott Kish of KTS Group; Chris McEachern of Newbury North Associates; Sean Morton of Morton & Wasmer Builders, LLC; Nick Radick of Knauf-Koenig Group; and Kevin Rea of Specialty Building Services. Jackie Nelson of Clive Daniel Home is the Sales & Marketing Council (SMC) chairperson for 2020. 



Ninth annual Fort Myers Kidney Walk returns in March

The ninth annual Fort Myers Kidney Walk will be held at 10 a.m. on March 22 at Lakes Regional Park in Fort Myers. Onsite registration is at 8:30 a.m. Walkers, runners and even scooters are invited to take part in the two-mile non-competitive walk. Proceeds from the fundraiser will benefit the National Kidney Foundation of Florida. Participants can take part as individuals or form teams with family, friends or colleagues. The fundraiser is free and open to the public, but donations are welcome. Refreshments will be served before the event. The event will also feature a live DJ, awards for top fundraisers, special performances, health-focused education and other activities for the whole family. This year, the goal of the National Kidney Foundation is to raise $20,000. For information, to register or to support a walk participant, visit For questions, contact Joe Karan at


Home Base SWFL to host fourth annual Run to Home Base Florida

Home Base SWFL will host its signature fundraiser, the fourth annual Run to Home Base Florida presented by Equity Resource Investments, on Jan. 18 at Jet Blue Park at Fenway South. The ballpark will open for participants at 7 a.m. with Opening Ceremonies beginning at 8 a.m. and the race starting at 8:30 a.m. Supporters can choose from a one-mile walk or a 5K run/walk. Friends and family are invited to watch at the stands at Fenway South, with food and entertainment available throughout the venue on race day. All participants will receive a commemorative medal, race T-shirt and an official photo of them crossing home plate. There are also opportunities to win incentives for raising the most funds on personal or team fundraising pages. All proceeds from the 2020 Run to Home Base Florida will go directly to Home Base SWFL initiatives, including the new Home Base Outpatient Clinical Program at Lee Health, Warrior Health and Fitness Program, and the two-week Intensive Clinical Program in Boston. The cost to participate is $45 for adults, $20 for children 14 and under and $20 for military and veterans. For more information, visit


MDASF shows support for Senior Paws Sanctuary

Membership Directors’ Association of Southwest Florida (MDASF) hosted its annual Holiday Celebration & Fundraiser on Dec. 3, 2019. MDASF presented local charity, Senior Paws Sanctuary, with a check for $1,000 in addition to over $1,000 in numerous pet care items and various gift cards donated by its members. Senior Paws Sanctuary representatives, John and Debby Goldsberry, attended the celebration to receive these items and be presented with a check. Senior Paws Sanctuary, Inc. is a locally recognized animal rescue center in Southwest Florida (SWFL) focusing primarily on senior dogs.


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