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Motivational speaker Dave Stevens has been selected as the keynote speaker for the 24th Annual Southwest Florida Blue Chip Community luncheon. Sponsored by  McGriff Insurance Services and BB&T Bank, the event will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Nov. 1 at Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa in Bonita Springs. During the event, small business owners in Lee, Collier and Charlotte counties who have overcome adversity to achieve success will be recognized. For information on the Blue Chip luncheon or to submit an application, contact Stacey Mercado at (239) 433-7189 or SMercado@mcgriffinsurance.com. Stevens, who was born with two flipper-like appendages where his legs should be, has an accomplished athletic career and worked at ESPN for more than 20 years. He is an ambassador athlete for the Dave Clark Foundation and a member of the Wounded Warrior Amputee Football Team. To learn more about him, visit https://davestevensspeaks.com.


Quality Life Center invites the community to a groundbreaking, breakfast and community event at 8 a.m. on July 27 at its Fort Myers campus. The center’s campaign to support the addition of a new wing on its existing building is in its final stages, as more than $1.2 million of the $1.5 million needed has been raised. In addition to breakfast, the complimentary event will include engagement activities to gather input about community challenges and solutions, followed by the groundbreaking ceremony at 9 a.m. For more information, visit  www.qualitylifecenter.org.


 Heather Doane, board secretary of the Southwest Florida Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA), ), has earned professional public relations accreditation and received the designation of Accredited in Public Relations (APR). Doane joins the more than 4,300 active public relations professionals worldwide, including 35 currently in Southwest Florida. To earn public relations accreditation, candidates must pass an oral presentation and rigorous written examination administered by the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB). FPRA is a member of the UAB. Doane works as the voter education coordinator for the Collier County Supervisor of Elections office, where she’s served for three years. She previously was a reporter for seven years at newspapers including The News-Press. She is a Master Florida Certified Election Professional through the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Election and a 2018 graduate of the Growing Associates in Naples program through the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communication from Suffolk University in Boston. She also serves as the events co-chair for the Humane Society Naples Young Executive Pawfessionals.


Edward V. Smith has joined Woods, Weidenmiller, Michetti, & Rudnick LLP as a partner in the firm’s probate and estate planning department. The addition of Smith increases the capacity of the firm’s estate planning practice. Smith focuses on providing creative, cutting-edge estate planning advice to individuals and business owners in Southwest Florida. Smith’s practice is focused primarily on estate planning, elder law, special needs planning, asset protection and probate and estate administration. Smith serves as president of the board of directors for the STARability Foundation.


Metro Forecasting Models LLC has appointed Alison DeFrancesco as a data analyst. In her new position, DeFrancesco is responsible for study area research, including demographics, economic characteristics, education metrics and baseline use allocation. She also assists in writing technical reports for clients. DeFrancesco is a 2009 graduate of Florida Gulf Coast University with a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal forensics.


Aaron Nash and Tracie Bagans have each been awarded the Rotary International Four-Way Test Award from the Rotary Club of Fort Myers South. Nash is the owner of Platinum Fitness and was awarded as the club’s non-Rotarian Community Winner. Bagans is the regional field services manager at Florida Power and Light (FPL) and was awarded as the club’s Rotarian Winner. The award recognizes people in the community who exemplify Rotary values in their personal and business lives. Nash opened two fitness centers in Southwest Florida, where he helped clients lose more than 100,000 pounds combined in three years. He launched a supplement line, Planet Fitness Supplements, started a podcast, and was recognized in the Naples Herald 40 Under 40 feature.  His business helped raise more than $34,000 in 2017 for at-risk youth and organizations like Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the ACT Women’s Shelter. Nash’s next goal is to raise more than $25,000 for Hurricane Irma relief through the United Way. Bagans serves as club president for the Fort Myers South Rotary Club board of directors and is involved in the Rotary District 6960 governors committee. She joined FPL in 1986 and has held committee positions with the Edison Electric Institute and the National Plan for Energy Efficiency. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in environmental science with a focus on renewable and sustainable technologies. Bagans is also on board of directors of the Heights Foundation and co-chair of the “Over the Edge” rappelling event that supports school success programs at the Heights Center. 

Charitable Notes

Allyn International donates to Octagon Wildlife Sanctuary

Each quarter, an Allyn International employee can nominate a local nonprofit organization they wish to be considered as that quarter’s charity. The employee whose nonprofit is chosen then becomes chairperson of the fundraising efforts for the quarter. Mary Winter ran the second-quarter charitable efforts this year for the Octagon Wildlife Sanctuary, a nonprofit sanctuary for abused and unwanted animals. From April through June, Winter put together a variety of events throughout the office including T-shirt sales, penny wars and a casual dress day. She also organized a bake sale, ice cream social, raffle for a paid-time-off day and more. She raised $1,183 in total, and the company will match the funds to donate $2,384 to the Octagon Wildlife Sanctuary. Allyn has donated more than $150,000 to charities worldwide. 

MarineMax Naples hosting school supply drive

MarineMax Naples and The Salvation Army are joining forces to collect school supplies including notebooks, pencils, paper, and backpacks for underprivileged youth in the Collier County area. MarineMax Naples will accept donations until Aug. 31, with a special, family-friendly Back up the Boat with School Supplies event taking place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Aug. 4 at its 1146 6th Ave. S., Naples, location. Guests will enjoy ice cream, entertainment, and a guest appearance from Sway, the Fort Myers Miracle mascot. During this time, MarineMax will continue accepting donations of school supplies for The Salvation Army to distribute to local area youth. For more information, visit ​http://bit.ly/2NKG0zm.

Country Songwriters to support veterans with concert

The Songwriters 4 Vets concert will run from 8-11 p.m. on Aug. 18 at Hyatt Regency Coconut Point in Bonita Springs. Six Nashville country songwriters, alongside Southwest Florida musician Ben Allen, will perform and share the stories behind their hit songs to honor and benefit local and national veterans. All of the fundraising proceeds will be donated to the Kevin Popke Foundation to support the Wounded Warriors Abilities Ranch and the Other Side of the Dunes charities. In addition to Allen, the songwriters include James Otto, Wyatt Durrette, Patrick Davis, Channing Wilson, Django Walker and Lauren Jenkins. Multiple ticketing options are available. The VIP ticket options include access to the VIP Meet & Greet with the artists, food, and an open bar from 6-8 p.m. For more details or to purchase tickets, visit ​www.songwriters4vets.com.

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