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Executive Chef Mark Davidson
Executive Chef Mark Davidson


Bonita Springs Estero Economic Development Council has launched new branding that complements its name change to South Lee EDC. The new name and brand will be commemorated at the upcoming EDC Social, held from 4-6 p.m. on July 10 in the Cohen Center, Room 214, at Florida Gulf Coast University. Refreshments and light appetizers will be served. The event is free and open to the public. RSVPs are requested by email to South Lee EDC’s key strategic priorities are quality of life, workforce development, and business retention and expansion. The EDC exists to support thoughtful growth in local communities, to help relocating companies successfully plant new roots, and to attract business and resource partners that make the region economically stable. For more information, visit



Collier County ranked No. 5 in the Best Places to Get a Mortgage study by SmartAsset. The study determines top markets to secure a home loan in the state by analyzing data on mortgage approval rates, in addition to mortgage interest rates, average five-year borrowing costs and property taxes. Collier County was listed with a loan funding rate of 60.93 percent; five-year borrowing loan costs of $83,160; property tax of $9,188; annual mortgage payment of $15,699; and Best Mortgage Markets Index of 82.48. More information on the study, including the interactive map and methodology can be found here



New officers and six new board members were elected at the recent United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Okeechobee annual meeting. Officers and executive committee Members for 2019-2020 include board chair Beth Hendry, iBERIABANK; vice chair Robert Shearman, Henderson, Franklin, Starnes, & Holt PA; treasurer: Cynthia Hawkins, Wiltshire, Whitley, Richardson & English PA; assistant treasurer Craig Folk, Miller, Helms & Folk PA; secretary Mary Vlasak Snell, Pavese Law Firm; and immediate past chair David Fry, Vantage Construction Services. Joining the United Way Board of Directors are Nick Chlumsky, Nolte Wealth Management Group; Charles Idelson, Investors’ Security Trust; Calli Johnson, Bailey’s General Store; Victoria Moreland, Lee County Port Authority; Bill Motzer, Community Volunteer; Angela Pruitt, Lee County School District; and Bryan Simmering, Capital Bank US.



The Immokalee Foundation recently recognized 88 graduates–55 students enrolled in its programs from high school and 33 from colleges and universities–during an evening of celebration at Ave Maria University. Many of the high school graduates will begin college this fall with a Take Stock in Children scholarship, which accepts students beginning in seventh grade. In exchange for maintaining good grades and behavior, meeting regularly with mentors, and performing community service, Take Stock students earn scholarships to a Florida public college or university. The Immokalee Foundation has introduced a new curriculum supporting “Professional Careers in the New Economy.” The programming begins in middle school and introduces students to career pathways that lead to employment in high-demand jobs in Southwest Florida. For more information, visit


Executive Chef Mark Davidson


The Forest Country Club has hired Mark Davidson as executive chef following its recent full-kitchen transformation and renovation. Davidson plans to launch a cutting-edge menu that focuses on fresh, local fare including vegan and vegetarian options. Davidson started his career at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. Davidson has worked with chefs in California, Texas and the Caribbean and more. Davidson earned his Certified Executive Chef (C.E.C.) from the American Culinary Federation. The certification reassures consumers that the food they eat is prepared to the highest standard.



Kelly Davis, a partner in the Quarles & Brady LLP‘s labor and employment law practice group, has been named a 2019 Leader in the Law by the Florida Association for Women Lawyers (FAWL). FAWL annually names its Leaders in the Law to promote and recognize women in the hearts of their careers, who are making meaningful contributions in their communities through their legal service and volunteer activities, and who serve as positive role models for others through their mentorship. Davis was nominated by the Collier County Women’s Bar Association, FAWL’s Chapter for which she previously served as President from 2015-2016. Davis will receive the award along with this year’s class of Leaders in the Law at the 2019 FAWL Annual Awards and Installation Celebration, held during The Florida Bar Annual Convention on Wednesday in Boca Raton.



Run 4 Your Lungs 5K Run/Walk held in November

4 Words Foundation Inc. will host the inaugural Run 4 Your Lungs 5K Run/Walk from 7-10 a.m. on Nov. 9 at Lakes Regional Park in Fort Myers. Proceeds from this event will support uninsured and underinsured individuals who are referred into the Regional Cancer Center’s Lung Cancer Screening program receive Low Dose CT Lung Cancer Screenings. Screenings will be performed at Radiology Regional or Florida Radiology Consultants. Registration begins at 7 a.m. Runners will start at 8:15 a.m. with walkers following. Early registration for adults is $25 and youth (under 18) is $15.  The first 100 registered will receive event T-shirts. For those who cannot attend, there is also a virtual race with finisher medals provided to those who upload their date/time completed. Registration is now open here.


Capital Bank Foundation supports Healthy Start Coalition of Southwest Florida

Healthy Start Coalition of Southwest Florida has received a $10,000 grant from Capital Bank Foundation. The grant will enable Healthy Start Coalition of Southwest Florida to increase its outreach efforts for pregnant women and children who are in need of services, resources or education. Healthy Start Coalition of Southwest Florida is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) serving Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee Counties since 1992. Its goals are to prevent infant deaths and low birth weight babies and promote health and developmental outcomes for young children. Last year, more than 15,000 pregnant women and infants in Collier, Lee, Hendry and Glades Counties benefited from its services, according to a press release. For more information on our services, go to

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