2021 40 UNDER 40 DEADLINE IS WEDNESDAY
The deadline to nominate a distinguished professional for Gulfshore Business‘ 202140-under-40 awards is 11:59 p.m. this Wednesday, March 31. You may nominate yourself or someone else for the 2021 40-under-40 issue in September. We will identify 40 individuals who have distinguished themselves in their professions and in the community. We require that nominees must still be under 40 by Sept. 1. To access the nomination form, click here or visit GulfshoreBusiness.com.
LEE COUNTY DOT INVITES PUBLIC TO MEETING TODAY FOR ORTIZ AVENUE WIDENING
The Lee County Department of Transportation (DOT) invites the public to participate in an Ortiz Avenue widening project public meeting from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Monday, March 29, at the Hyatt Place at the Forum, 2600 Champion Ring Road, Fort Myers. The project will widen Ortiz Avenue from Colonial Boulevard to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard from two to four lanes. Additionally, Ortiz Avenue serves as a relief road to Interstate 75 during periods of heavy congestion. The project will accommodate future widening to six lanes. The open house meeting today is an opportunity for members of the public to review and comment on the project design. Lee County staff will be available to answer questions.
REPORT: SWFL UNEMPLOYMENT RATE AT 3.9% IN FEBRUARY
The unemployment rate for Southwest Florida was at 3.9% in February, compared with 5% in Florida, according to a report from CareerSource Southwest Florida, based on Florida Dept. of Economic Opportunity data. The February unemployment rate was 4.1% in Lee County, 3.4% in Collier County, 4.1% in Charlotte County, 3.1% in Glades County, and 4.5% in Hendry County. The top gain industry in February construction with 900 jobs gained, and the top loss industry was leisure and hospitality with 14,400 jobs lost. The Southwest Florida region continues to lead the way in the construction industry compared to the state of Florida, Janeth P. Castrejon, communications manager at CareerSource Southwest Florida, says. Glades County has the lowest rate of 3.1% possibly due to individuals not actively looking for work, Castrejon adds.
Video courtesy of Wink News
COMMUNITY MEMBERS UPSET BY REDEVELOPMENT PLAN CHANGES FOR NAPLES BEACH HOTEL
A historic family-owned resort in Southwest Florida is about to be demolished, and people who live near it are fighting plans to change it. The Athens Group plans to completely redevelop the Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club. Neighbors fear they’ll lose what they were promised with the new changes. Some have even made signs that say, “Save the 18-hole golf course,” and are calling proposed renovations the “Athens Amusement Park.” Some of the outrage stems from a picture of the reimagined golf course from a sales brochure for the developer’s condos. It shows the 18-hole course downsized to 10 holes with plans to add a sports park complete with pickleball courts and a rock-climbing wall. The developers say they will take the community’s comments into account as they continue to work on the plan, WINK News reports.
AVE MARIA CONTINUES TO TOP NEW HOME SALES IN COLLIER COUNTY
The 4,000-acre master-planned community of Ave Maria in Collier County reports more than 200 new home sales during the first three months of 2021. More than 3,000 new homes have been sold since the inception of the community, which recently ranked in the top 40 nationally for new home sales according to RCLCO Real Estate Advisors and John Burns Real Estate Consulting. Home sales were reported from Ave Maria’s four residential builders: CC Homes, Del Webb Naples, Lennar and Pulte Homes. Ave Maria is located east of Golden Gate Estates at the intersection of Oil Well and Camp Keais roads. For more information about the fast-growing community, call 239-352-3903 or click here.
STUDIO+ COMPLETES DESIGN OF NEW LOUNGE AT GOLISANO CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL
Studio+ and Lee Health have recently completed the construction of the Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) lounge located at the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. “The AYA Lounge provides respite for teenage and young adult patients in the children’s hospital,” says Chris Ressler, principal at Studio+. The lounge provides patients with a mature space to relax as compared to other areas in the hospital that have been traditionally designed for younger children. Studio+ was tasked with designing the space to act and feel more in line with a high-end coffee shop or lounge than a healthcare space. To achieve a more relaxed, residential feel, the designers incorporated floating shelves, modern cabinetry and hardware, blue glass subway tile, warm interior paint selections, and comfortable yet functional seating. The lounge also includes a television and gaming system so patients can socialize and relax in between their treatment sessions.
GATES CONSTRUCTION BREAKS GROUND AT ISLAND COUNTRY CLUB
Gates Construction has started the addition and renovation of the wellness center at Island Country Club. The center will offer a variety of spaces designed for specific fitness requirements, including an exercise room with mirrored wall and ballet barre, a Pilates room with overhead suspension system, and a cardio/weights area with a window wall featuring golf course views. There will also be two spa treatment rooms, and men’s and women’s restrooms. The wellness center expansion project is being designed by Peacock + Lewis – Architects and Planners LLC.
VI AT BENTLEY VILLAGE TO LAUNCH REDEVELOPMENT OF CARE VENUES
Vi at Bentley Village has announced plans for a large-scale revitalization project to refurbish the community’s skilled nursing facility, Bentley Care Center, and assisted living residences. These two care areas are part of the Vi at Bentley Village campus, which also includes independent living apartments and coach homes. The $41 million redevelopment is anticipated to commence in the third quarter of 2021 and conclude within 18 months. In the Bentley Care Center, resident rooms will be redesigned for enhanced privacy. Once completed, there will be 84 private rooms. In addition, the therapeutic areas, multipurpose spaces and activity areas will be enhanced to allow for growth of services. Integrated into the Bentley Care Center will be the new “Bentley Center for Living Well,” which will house new wellness, home health and therapy services. Parking areas, building entryways and exterior spaces at the care center will also be revamped. In the assisted living residences, the expansion will increase resident capacity to 84-one-bedroom assisted living apartments and 15 memory support apartments. The renewal will also include new living and dining spaces with a lounge and bar, and multipurpose, fitness and activity rooms. The courtyard will be re-envisioned to provide enhanced seating and shade structures along with new landscaping.
PALMIRA GOLF CLUB COURSE RENOVATIONS BEGIN
After two years of planning, meetings, focus groups and design modifications, the Palmira Golf Club golf course renovation project has officially begun, starting with the Ibis Course. Kipp Schulties, golf course architect, and Ryangolf, contractor, are committed to completing the renovation of 18 holes by the end of November and the last nine holes by the end of this year so members can fully enjoy the 27-hole course this coming season. The Renaissance Center Club at Palmira (RCC), which is managed by the Palmira Master Homeowner’s Association, has also undergone a $4.95 million Vision 2020 Renovation Project and is reaching completion. In phase one, one tennis court, two bocce courts and two pickle ball courts were added; in phase two, a new fitness center was built and aerobic studio were renovated; and in phase three, the indoor dining area was updated, covered bar overlooking the lagoon-style pool expanded and the kitchen and server station was renovated.
BUSINESS AFTER HOURS NETWORKING EVENT HELD APRIL 7
Registration is now open for SWFL Inc.’s next networking event, an April 7 Business After Hours networking event, held from 4-6 p.m. on April 7 at Goldfish Swim School in Bonita Springs. Tickets are $15, and no chamber membership is required to attend. SWFL Inc. members with the Nonprofit or Relationship Package can RSVP online for free. Register in advance here. No tickets will be sold at the door. Each ticket includes two beverages and food provided by Goldfish Swim School.
HOOTERS OF SOUTH FLORIDA CELEBRATING OPENING DAY OF MLB SEASON
Hooters of South Florida is celebrating Major League Baseball’s opening day at their Bradenton, Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Naples, Port Charlotte and Sarasota locations starting Thursday, April 1. Catch every game all season with MLB Extra Innings at the Bradenton, Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Naples, Port Charlotte and Sarasota locations. Hooters Girls at these locations will be showing their baseball spirit during opening weekend wearing jerseys and baseball hats of their favorite teams. All 16 Hooters of South Florida locations will be offering a fry collector’s cup special. For an additional $1, get a large fry in a collector’s cup. Try them with traditional seasoning or fiery.
PARAGON FLIGHT TRAINING SELECTS SENIOR VP
Lee Collins has joined Paragon Flight Training at Page Field in Fort Myers as senior vice president. He is responsible for setting and achieving business goals, leading strategic direction and overseeing operations for the flight academy that trains and educates aviators from around the world. Collins was a captain and pilot responsible for the operation and safety of flights worldwide for 20 years with UPS. He has extensive community involvement with nonprofit organizations as a board of directors member and other engagements. Prior to joining Paragon Flight, Collins was president of the 30,000-member Coalition of Airline Pilots Association in Washington, D.C. Collins was also the government and legislative affairs chairperson for the Independent Pilots Association in the District of Colombia for 17 years before taking on the coalition post. In addition, he was a member of a team of representatives assigned to the Department of Homeland Security’s 9/11 Task Force. He holds a Master of Divinity from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Kentucky.
FLORIDA SKIN CENTER HIRES PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT
Florida Skin Center has welcomed Shana Peterson to the practice. Peterson is a certified physician assistant specializing in general and cosmetic dermatology. Peterson joins Florida Skin Center from New Mexico, where she worked for a large dermatology practice as a medical provider, diagnosing and treating all skin conditions, including skin cancer. Peterson’s passion for dermatology came at an early age when a loved one was diagnosed with melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. She graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and earned a Master of Science degree in physician assistant studies from DeSales University in Pennsylvania. She began her career as a provider for a dermatology office near her hometown in Pennsylvania. She developed an extensive background in skin health, expanding to laser and cosmetic procedures.
LEE HEALTH WELCOMES NEW RESIDENT PHYSICIANS
Eight new family medicine residents will begin their training at Lee Health through The Florida State University College of Medicine Family Medicine Residency Program. The first-year residents were announced at the annual Match Day celebration on March 19. The new residents include Dr. Sandy Bolis, Dr. Jessica Byas, Dr. Danielle Ferra, Dr. Laura Hart, Deliabell Hernandez, Dr. Nicole Jimenez, Dr. Stacy Stephen, and Dr. Audrey Wagner. The residency program, based at Lee Memorial Hospital with The Florida State University College of Medicine as its institutional sponsor, accepts eight new doctors each year for a three-year residency. Medical school graduates are required to complete residency training in their specialty of choice to become independently practicing physicians. These new resident physicians were selected after a rigorous vetting and interview process of the more than 1,500 applications received from U.S. medical students and physicians from around the world for the eight available positions.
B & I EXPANDS ELECTRICAL DEPARTMENT
B & I Contractors, a Florida-based subcontracting and building services firm, has promoted several team members. Michael Donnelly has been promoted to Southwest regional electrical operations manager. Donnelly has part of the team since 2014. Dustin Harrington has been promoted to electrical superintendent in the southwest region. Harrington has been in the electrical trade for the past 16 years and holds his electrical journeyman’s license. He joined the B&I team in 2016. John Mernin was promoted to electrical superintendent in the southwest region. Mernin has 23 years of experience in commercial construction and has been part of the B & I team since 2014. Rob McCool has been promoted to west-central regional electrical operations manager. McCool has been relied on for large-scale projects since he joined the team in 2014.
LEE COUNTY MEDICAL SOCIETY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR EARNS CAE DESIGNATION
Lee County Medical Society Executive Director Julie Ramirez has earned The American Society of Association Executives’ Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation. The CAE is the highest professional credential in the association industry. To be designated as a CAE, Ramirez had to work in nonprofit organization management, complete a minimum of 100 hours of specialized professional development, pass a stringent examination in association management, and pledge to uphold a code of ethics. Fewer than 4,500 association professionals currently hold the CAE credential. Ramirez has been the executive director of LCMS since 2015.
Southwest Florida Community Foundation receives support for COVID-19 relief work
The Southwest Florida Community Foundation has received a $65,000 grant from the newly-formed Momentum Fund to continue its COVID-19 relief work supporting community-run organizations working with communities of color, low-income populations, and other groups being disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. The grant was one of 129 grants, totaling $8.5 million, awarded by the Momentum Fund. The Momentum Fund launched in May 2020 with a vision of ushering in a new model of philanthropic giving that unapologetically centers racial equity and explicitly prioritizes the needs of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities. The Momentum Fund is managed by United Philanthropy Forum. To view a complete list of Momentum Fund grantees, click here.
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