Gulfshore Business Daily: June 28, 2018

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The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 7(a) Loan Program has launched the Express Bridge Loan (EBL) Pilot Program. This Pilot Program was authorized on Oct. 16 and is available through Sept. 30, 2020. The Pilot Program is available for SBA Express Lenders to provide immediate loans up to $25,000 with a 50 percent SBA guaranty for small businesses located in the counties affected by a presidentially declared disaster. The EBL Pilot Program permits a streamlined delivery available through existing SBA Express Lenders.  Small business owners are not required to apply for an SBA disaster loan in order to qualify for an EBL loan and are advised to contact their bank as soon as possible to determine eligibility. Lenders must be authorized as SBA Express Lenders at the time of the presidential disaster declaration in order to offer this assistance. SBA 7(a) Lenders that do not already participate in the SBA Express program are encouraged to contact their SBA District Office to find out how to participate. For more information, click here.


The Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce has installed its 2018-19 board of directors and officers for the chamber and its foundation. The Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors will be led by board chair Joe Mitchell, Pool Pros Inc.; vice chair Bryan Blackwell, Molloy Financial Group; second vice chair Jim Larkin, Crowne Plaza Fort Myers at Bell Tower Shops; treasurer Angela Schivinski, Fort Myers Florida Weekly; and immediate past chairman Dan Adams, Stevens Construction. New board members include Chris Peters, Fort Myers Miracle; Stephen Sanford, Lamar Advertising; Samantha Scott, Pushing the Envelope; and Kelly Talamo, Stokes Marine. The Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s board of directors will be led by board chair Adams, Stevens Construction; joined by Dr. Guido Minaya, Minaya Learning Global Solutions LLC; treasurer Sharon Thompson, Hughes, Snell & Co., P.A.; and secretary Suzanne Boy, Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt P.A. 


WGCU-FM was honored with four national awards from the nonprofit Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI) on June 23. WGCU won first place in the nation in Division B, for stations with four to seven full-time employees, in the following categories:  Breaking News, for "Hurricane Irma Hits Southwest Florida," by station staff; Newscast, "All Things Considered Feb. 6 Newscast," by Jessica Meszaros; News/Public Affairs Program, "Trump's Immigration Orders Hit Home in Southwest Florida," by Julie Glenn and Matt Smith. WGCU won second place for Best Writing, "Artificial Mangroves Could Bring Back Vanishing Habitats in Florida," by Meszaros. PRNDI’s contest is the only national one recognizing outstanding public radio news reporting at local stations. 


State Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto on June 26 presented CONRIC PR & Marketing owners Connie Ramos-Williams and Rick Williams and the CONRIC team with The Florida Senate Medallion of Excellence for commitment to serving the community. The Florida Senate Medallion of Excellence is bestowed upon companies that go above and beyond to make the community a better place to live through generous service and goodwill. Jeanne Sweeney, president of the Above Board Chamber of Florida, nominated CONRIC PR & Marketing for the honor. Ramos-Williams opened CONRIC PR & Marketing in 2007, primarily serving budding entrepreneurs. Today, CONRIC provides comprehensive branding, public relations, advertising, marketing and web development for new and established local and national companies. For more information, visit


Sun Country Airlines will inaugurate service to three new seasonal nonstop destinations this fall between Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) in Fort Myers and Madison, Wisconsin (MSN); Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas (DFW); and St. Louis, Missouri (STL). Flights will begin on Sept. 28 for Wisconsin and Oct. 3 for Texas and Missouri. The service will be offered twice weekly. For more information or to book a flight, visit


The July Above Board Chamber of Florida luncheon meetings will discuss how to build a successful business by creating a strong team of professionals and plan for the day to leave the team. The first meeting will take place 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. on July 12 at the Crowne Plaza Fort Myers at Bell Tower. A panel will share strategies for dealing with an evolving and diverse workforce, including recruitment and training ideas for employee retention. The panelists will include Angela J. Pruitt, the School District of Lee County; Robin Larkin, Performance Management Associates in Naples; Denise Perchall, AccessPoint in Bonita Springs; and Lori Burke, Sunshine Ace Hardware. Hollinger Jobs President and CEO John Huttner will serve as master of ceremonies. The next luncheon will be held from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. on July 23 at the Hilton Naples. Attendees will learn why all good business planning documents outline a clear exit strategy from day one. Panelists for the luncheon include Theo Etzel, Conditioned Air; Karen Williams Mosteller, Markham Norton Mosteller Wright & Co.; and Susan K. Moyer, Cadeau & Co. Inc. in Estero. Kristyn Wellesley, digital media and audience engagement expert at the Naples Daily News, will be the master of ceremonies with Ursula Pfahl, vice president of business development at Bigham Jewelers, as the coordinator of the luncheon’s itinerary. The cost to attend the events are $29 for members and $34 for nonmembers on or before July 5 for the Fort Myers event and on or before July 16 for the Naples event. After those dates, it’s $32 for members and $38 for non-members. Nonmembers are encouraged to attend. For more information, call Jeanne Sweeney at (239) 910-7426 or visit


Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt P.A. has added Christopher Price to the firm’s trust and estate department. Price assists clients by developing their estate plan, including wills, revocable and irrevocable trusts, powers of attorney, living wills and health care surrogates. He also advises clients on estate tax and gift tax minimization strategies, handles selective estate and trust litigation, and represents probate and trust administration clients throughout Florida. Price holds a masters of law degree in taxation from the University of Florida College of Law, law degree from St. Thomas University School of Law, and an undergraduate degree from Florida State University. He is a member of the Estate Planning Council of Naples and past president of the Rotary Club of Naples Bay. He is also a graduate of the 2011 class of the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce leadership program Growing Associates in Naples. Price holds an AV rating, the highest rating by Martindale Hubbell.​

Charitable Notes​

David Lawrence Center receives $150,000 human and social services grant

The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation Board of Directors has awarded David Lawrence Center (DLC) a $150,000 human and social services grant for enhancements to child and adult crisis services. The goal of the funding is to increase the overall service capacity in Acute Care Services which includes the 24/7 emergency treatment services available through the Emergency Services Assessment Center, Baker Act Receiving Center, adult and children’s mental health Crisis Stabilization Units and Crossroads adult detox unit for substance use disorders. DLC has experienced a growing number of admissions of people with suicidal ideation and/or behaviors in the 30-bed unit, which is consistently at peak capacity. Until a facility expansion can be completed, this funding will help improve treatment services as well as the admission and discharge process. ​

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