Lead Photo: Seagate CEO named keynote speaker at ULI signature event
SURVEY: FARMING RANKS NO. 1 AMONG INDUSTRIES IMPORTANT TO FLORIDA
An overwhelming 98% of Floridians consider farming and ranching important, according to the findings of a survey recently conducted among registered voters statewide. During the past year, global trade was disrupted for months at a time but Florida was not without food due to the strength of its domestic food supply. During the survey, when voters were asked if they approve of the job Florida farmers have done to keep grocery stores supplied with fresh food during the pandemic, 93% agreed, including 78% who strongly agreed. In addition, 92% of Florida voters recognized the importance of a domestic food supply to feed Florida families, 90% recognize that Americans depend on Florida for fresh produce during the winter months, and 88% appreciate that Florida farms produce safe, wholesome and sustainable food. Florida farmers contribute $140 billion to the state’s economy each year and support 2 million jobs for Florida families, reports the Florida Ag Coalition.
COLLIER COMMISSIONERS APPROVE LEASE FOR 12-HOLE PUBLIC COURSE AND BIGSHOTS GOLF AT FORMER GOLDEN GATE GOLF COURSE
Collier County commissioners voted 3-1 on Tuesday to approve a long-term lease and operating agreement with CC BSG Naples LLC, doing business as ClubCorp, to operate and manage a 12-hole public golf course and a BigShots Golf recreation/entertainment facility on the former Golden Gate Golf Course property on the southwestern corner of Golden Gate Parkway and Collier Boulevard. The agreement allows the leasing of land for the construction and operation of BigShots on the property, supports the overall redevelopment plan for the property and approves all necessary budget amendments. “Collier County residents have been asking for municipal-type golf for 30 years,” Commissioner Burt Saunders said, noting that the county will receive subsidy payments of $300,000 to $400,000 a year from the project. The county purchased the 167-acre golf course for more than $29 million in 2019. Commissioner Bill McDaniel dissented Tuesday and Commissioner Rick LoCastro was absent from the meeting because of a family emergency.
SWFL RESTAURANTS AND HOTELS STILL STRUGGLING TO FIND ENOUGH STAFF
Some Southwest Florida businesses are struggling to keep their doors open for normal operation because they say they can’t find people to staff restaurants and hotels. The pandemic has made hiring nearly impossible. Fewer than five people have shown up for some job fairs. “We can’t get cooks, we can’t get servers, we can’t get managers,” Todd Brooks, owner of four Brooks Burgers restaurants in the Naples area, tells WINK News. “We can’t even get people to come in for interviews.” Businesses have had to cut back hours of operation to give overworked employees time off. Employment agencies in Naples say the construction industry comes in at a close second when it comes to staffing issues. Read the full feature about Southwest Florida staffing struggles in the June issue of Gulfshore Business magazine.
INNOVATUS HEALTH MAXIMIZES SHARED SAVINGS WITH COMMUNITY PHYSICIANS
Innovatus Health, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lee Health, achieved $3.1 million in shared savings for first quarter 2020 performance as a participant in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) Bundled Payments for Care Improvement – Advanced program. CMS’s Innovation department created the bundled payments program to develop new payment and service models to improve how health care is delivered and lower the cost of care. Innovatus Health, a network of local physicians and providers, delivered care at a cost 19% below the target during the 90-day period of the first quarter of 2020. This was Innovatus’ first time participating in the bundle program and it achieved 95% of the maximum savings possible, the organization reports.
NTV PROSPERITY FUND TO INVEST IN MINORITY-OWNED TECH BUSINESSES
Naples Technology Ventures (NTV) announces the kick off of its next fund, the NTV Prosperity Fund, a fund investing primarily in Black and other minority-owned companies. The fund will invest in promising early-stage technology companies in the pre-revenue, pre-seed and seed stages. It will seek investment opportunities within artificial intelligence and machine learning, blockchain, internet of things, robotics and other advanced technology sectors, with ideal companies operating under a software-as-a-service model. In selecting its investments, the fund will also consider whether an investment in a target company will likely expand job opportunities in marginalized communities.
ABOVE BOARD CHAMBER TO HOST BIZ SEMINARS ON MAINTAINING QUALITY THROUGH GROWTH
The Above Board Chamber of Florida is presenting two seminars to explore and discuss proven methods of maintaining product and service quality during growth periods. June’s Above Board seminar, “Maintaining Quality Standards During Periods of Extreme Growth,” will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Fort Myers and Naples. The Fort Myers seminar will take place June 10 at the Crowne Plaza Bell Tower. Fort Myers panelists include Bill Daubmann, My Shower Door; Ryan Carter, Scotlynn USA Division; and Norman Love, Norman Love Confections. The Naples seminar will be held on June 14 at the Hilton Naples. Panelists include Daubmann; Claudine Leger-Wetzel, Stock Development; Ursula Pfahl, Bigham Jewelers; and Scott Leamon, TJS Janitorial Floor Care LLC and TJS Elite Residential. Early Bird registration for each event is $33 for Above Board Chamber members and $35 for nonmembers. To register, click here. Both seminars will also be available on Zoom for those who are unable to attend in person.
AVE MARIA CONTINUES RECORD-BREAKING HOME SALES IN 2021
Ave Maria, the fastest-selling new home community in Collier County, reports more than 680 new home sales within the last year. Since the opening of the development in 2007, more than 3,000 new homes have been sold in the 4,000-acre master-planned community, planned for about 11,000 residences at full buildout. Home sales were reported from the four residential builders in Ave Maria: CC Homes, Del Webb Naples, Lennar and Pulte Homes. “The community’s residential and commercial developments, including new professional office suites and dining and retail options, are driving the record-breaking growth in 2021,” says Cee Cee Marinelli, director of development for Ave Maria.
LAKESIDE STORAGE SUITES COMING SOON
Due to the success of the Island Storage Suites luxury storage facility, Allan Development Group LLC, in partnership with Hardy Development Group, is bringing nearly 80,000 square feet of additional mancave-style storage units to Southwest Florida with Lakeside Storage Suites at ITEC. Phase one reservations are limited and are available for reservation now. Scott Allan created the luxury storage facility on Old South Way in south Fort Myers that sold out in record time, selling 68 units in less than two years. These recreational storage suites, currently selling for $185 per square foot, are customizable, temperature and humidity-controlled. For an additional investment, a second-story mezzanine space can be added for entertainment and relaxation purposes. For more information, email Allan at Scott@AllanDevelopmentGroup.com.
WALK-IN AVAILABILITY EXTENDED AT COVID-19 VACCINE CLINIC
Lee Health is permanently continuing walk-in vaccine availability for the community. Anyone can get a vaccine at no cost to them by visiting our COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Gulf Coast Medical Center. The clinic is open from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday. Appointments can also be made online here. In an effort to further increase vaccine availability to the community, Lee Health’s vaccine clinic will also be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 29. Lee Health is now offering the opportunity for all patients 18 and older to choose which COVID-19 vaccine they receive, based on current availability. Lee Health currently has Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines immediately available for anyone wishing to get vaccinated. Those aged 12-17 are still only able to receive the Pfizer vaccine and must have a parent with them when they receive their vaccination.
WILDERNESS COUNTRY CLUB MEMBERS APPROVE NEW CLUBHOUSE PLAN
Wilderness Country Club in Naples announced that residents of the private country club community have voted overwhelmingly in favor of replacing the development’s 47-year-old clubhouse building. Plans call for a $13.6-million clubhouse to be built on the site of the current facility, featuring indoor and covered outdoor dining along with private meeting rooms and a new pro shop. The two-story building will showcase an Old Florida architectural style with panoramic views of the championship golf course. “Our current clubhouse building, originally constructed in 1974, has served us very well, but it is coming close to the end of its use and requires significant updates,” said Alan Raulerson, general manager/chief operating officer for Wilderness Country Club. “It is anticipated that building demolition will begin in early 2022 with the brand-new clubhouse opening to our members in the spring of 2023.”
SEAGATE CEO NAMED KEYNOTE SPEAKER AT ULI SIGNATURE EVENT
Matt Price, CEO and partner at Seagate Development Group, was featured as the keynote speaker during the Urban Land Institute of Southwest Florida’s signature Lee County program. This event was sponsored by Seagate, DeAngelis Diamond, and Morris-Depew and Associates. The presentation took place on May 13 at the Holiday Inn Fort Myers Airport-Town Center. It also featured speakers from NeoGenomics Inc., Scotlynn Transport LLC/Scotlynn USA Division Inc., and Lee County Economic Development. It was followed by a happy hour and tour of Seagate’s new headquarters off Alico Road in Fort Myers. During the presentation, Price spoke about Seagate’s design-build process related to the Alico Corridor and Lee County’s overall growth.
ROOKERY BAY ENVIRONMENTAL LEARNING CENTER REOPENS
The Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center at 300 Tower Road in Naples reopened on May 17 after being closed for the past year during the height of the pandemic. The wooded property along Henderson Creek features aquariums, a touch tank with marine critters, natural history exhibits, an art gallery, gift shop, picnic areas and walking trails. The center will be closed on May 31 to observe Memorial Day and July 5 to observe Independence Day. Admission of $8 for adults and $5 for children ages 6-12 benefits the Friends of Rookery Bay, a non-profit organization that supports the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. Guests may apply their admission fee toward Friends of Rookery Bay membership on the day of their visit. Active and retired military personnel and family members are free year-round.
NCH receives $5.7 million gift for women and children to receive care closer to home
The Bill and Julia Van Domelen Foundation has awarded NCH Healthcare System a transformative gift of $5.7 million. The funds provided from this gift will support the recruitment and hiring of high-priority staff positions to enhance patient care. NCH will have the opportunity to train operating room teams, emergency department (ED) healthcare workers, and inpatient staff to care for patients with a level of confidence that is obtained through simulation training. The funds will also help raise the quality of care for NCH’s tiniest patients by elevating its current neonatal program to a Level III NICU. These resources will also be used for expanding NCH’s fetal maternal medicine program and provide care that will aid soon-to-be-mothers with high-risk pregnancies. Further expansion of pediatric surgery and anesthesiology is also part of the plan and growth in pediatric imaging. Additionally, a portion of the gift will help pediatric ED patients create more comfortable environments for children and teens with emotional, behavioral, and mental health challenges.
Guadalupe Center’s Tutor Corps class sets record with $4 million in college scholarship offers, grants
All 30 high school seniors graduating from Guadalupe Center’s Tutor Corps Program will be attending college in the fall and have received a collective $4 million in scholarship offers and grants, including $378,400 in scholarship funding by tutoring children in Guadalupe Center’s After-school Tutoring & Summer Enrichment Program. Guadalupe Center honored its Tutor Corps Class of 2021, its largest class to date, on May 4 during a private ceremony held at Immokalee High School. Family members and mentors joined students to celebrate their achievements. Tutor Corps is a college-preparatory program that offers college and career readiness guidance, ACT and SAT prep, mentorships, financial literacy, and scholarship assistance. Guadalupe Center’s mission is to break the cycle of poverty through education for the children of Immokalee.
Vectra Digital gives back for Earth Month
Vectra Digital recently partnered with Lee County Parks and Recreation to clean up the Sanibel Causeway Beach in honor of Earth Month. Team members from engineering firm Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson (JMT) joined Vectra for the cleanup on April 24. With garbage bags in hand, the team picked up trash on two of the Sanibel Causeway beaches. They removed about 100 pounds of trash from the beach in two hours, Vectra Digital reports. The Sanibel Island beach cleanup is a part of the efforts by Vectra Digital to give back to the community. During the holidays, the team participated in a step challenge, with Vectra providing the winner with a donation of $1,000 to the charity of their choice.
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