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Gulfshore Business Daily: November 15


Collier County ranked No. 5 in Florida in SmartAsset’s “Best Places for Employee Benefits” list. The study measured the unemployment rate and cost of living in each county as well as the percentage of the population securing health insurance and retirement funds through their employer. Counties were then ranked on the study’s index determining where people were most utilizing workplace benefits. Collier County was reported with an unemployment rate of 5.3%, health insurance coverage of 32.76%, cost of living of 61.2%, retirement savings contribution of 51.97%, and Best Places for Employee Benefits Index of 43.12. Additional study details including the methodology and interactive map can be found here.


Jim McDermott


Entrepreneur Jim McDermott, founder of Stamps.com and NanoH2O, will share insights and inspiration with guests attending the Benson Blackburn NextGen Speaker Series event, beginning at 8 a.m. on Dec. 6 at the main clubhouse of Grey Oaks Country Club in Naples. The NextGen Speaker Series brings together business and community professionals to encourage leadership, mentorship, empowerment and philanthropy. McDermott has started, run and invested in more than 25 companies. Stamps.com, under its previous name of StampMaster, was the first company to secure approval from the U.S. Postal Service to test internet-based postage, according to a press release. NanoH2O designed and manufactured reverse osmosis membranes for water desalination and reuse. McDermott earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Colorado College and a master’s in business administration from the University of California, Los Angeles. Tickets are $30 and available online at NextGenNaples.com.


BSU earns FWPCOA 2018 Safety Award.


Bonita Springs Utilities Inc. received a 2018 Safety Award for Utility of the Year from the Florida Water and Pollution Control Operators Association (FWPCOA) for its outstanding safety record. BSU also received safety commendations from FWPCOA for its collection system, distribution system, Water Treatment Plant and East and West Water Reclamation facilities. Bonita Springs Utilities Inc. is a not-for-profit water and wastewater utility cooperative founded by local citizens in 1970. For more information, visit www.BSU.us.



The Collier Building Industry Association’s (CBIA) November membership mixer will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Nov. 19 at The Sales Center, Eleven Eleven Central in Naples. Sponsored by The Ronto Group, the mixer is open to CBIA members and guests and will include wine, beer, hors d’oeuvres, and live music at the Ronto Group’s new community on Central Avenue between 10th Street and Goodlette-Frank Road in downtown Naples. CBIA encourages attendees to bring a new, unwrapped toy for a 6- to 12-year-old child as a holiday gift. All proceeds from this event will benefit the 2019 Sales and Marketing Council Annual Toy Drive. Recipients from this year’s toy drive will be Pine Crest Elementary School and Shadowlawn Elementary School students. RSVP’s are requested by Nov. 18; walk-ins will not be accepted. The cost is $20 per person for CBIA members to register at www.cbia.net/news/calendar, and $25 per person for call-in reservations. For questions, call (239) 436-6100 or email Nancy@cbia.net by Nov. 18.



The Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce will celebrate business and community leaders during its next monthly luncheon, held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. on Nov. 21 at Embassy Suites Fort Myers-Estero. During the event, the chamber will recognize the graduates of its 2019 Leadership Program, an 11-week program designed for leadership development in the chamber’s business members. Norman Love, president and founder of Norman Love Confections, is the guest speaker for the November luncheon, sharing “A Recipe for Building Customer Loyalty.” The November luncheon is sponsored by Pool Pros Inc. and Aqua Illusions. Admission is $25 for chamber members and $35 for non-members. To register, visit FortMyers.org or call (239) 332-3624.



Youth Haven is hosting an onsite Youth Care Worker Job Fair on Dec. 5. On-the-spot interviews and tours will take place from 9 a.m. to noon and 1-4 p.m. at the Youth Haven campus in Naples. Dynamic, caring individuals are needed to work full-time and part-time and PRN second and third shift positions within its emergency shelter. Youth care workers provide supervision of children in residence, consistency and structure in daily routines, assistance with record keeping, and overall duties necessary for the care and wellbeing of the children, many of whom have suffered trauma and have behavioral challenges. Job requirements include a high school diploma (associates or bachelor’s degree preferred, two recent years’ experience working with children, valid ID with clean driving record, local and federal background checks, and mandatory drug screening. Bring a resume, list of references, and driver’s license. For additional information, contact Lillian.Mendez@YouthHavenSWFL.org.


Caroline Ridgeway


The Imagine Solutions Conference has appointed Caroline Ridgway to its management team as growth strategist. In her new role, Ridgway will support overall growth strategies for the organization and its related events, including the one-day thought leader Imagine Solutions Conference and individual Imagine Solutions Big Ideas Seminars. Ridgway is the founder of C1B1 Communications, a boutique communications firm based in Naples, with experience across the nonprofit and for-profit sectors related to strategy, public affairs, and high-level communications. The 10th anniversary Imagine Solutions Conference, “Visionary Viewpoints,” will take place on Feb. 24 at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples. Emmy Award-winning CNBC anchor Tyler Mathisen will host the full day of presentations and interviews, with 20 visionaries addressing eight key issues, including the opioid crisis; high risk/high reward cancer research; the intensifying water problem; a business solution to our country’s political system; questions surrounding Facebook and more. Unique to the 2020 conference will be Norman Lear in a live interview, telecast exclusively to Imagine Solutions. For more information, visit www.ImagineSolutionsConference.com.


Board Member Kay Holloway, Series Underwriter and  Board Member/Major Underwriter Alexandra Bremner, and Board Member Victoria Stephan.


The Fort Myers Community Concert Association Inc. board of directors announce Alexandra Bremner and her mother, Eunice Bremner, as the underwriters of the entire 2020 concert season. Alexandra and Eunice are the niece and sister of the late Berne Davis, who was the series underwriter for many years prior to her death in 2016. Program sponsors include Rob and Ruth Diefenbach, Madeleine Taeni and Marge Kirby. The announcements were made at the fall meeting of the Community Concert Association Nov. 10, sponsored by Fran Fenning at FineMark National Bank & Trust Co. At the event, Bob Crossman received the Honorary Life Membership award. Don Fjellin and Taeni were honored during the event as well, and Karen Globetti and Deanne Kyle were elected as board members. For more information, visit www.fortmyerscommunityconcerts.org.



The $5.3 million grant will enhance wetland habitat for roosting and nesting birds.

‘Ding’ receives $5.3 million grant toward Wulfert Bayous habitat restoration

The National Fish & Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) announced on Nov. 12 its award of $5.3 million to J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island. The grant will further the refuge’s plans for restoring the newly acquired, 68-acre Wulfert Bayous, which lies adjacent to it. The “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS) partnered on the application for a Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund grant aimed at restoring bird populations affected by the catastrophic BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in 2010. The acquisition process for Wulfert Bayous, completed earlier this year, entailed $3 million in private funds raised by DDWS and $6.5 million contributed by the Lee County Conservation 20/20 program. The refuge will begin managing the parcel as part of its complex later this year. For more information, visit dingdarlingsociety.org.


Moorings Park Foundation presents grant to Hodges University

Hodges University accepted an $18,000 grant from Moorings Park Foundation. The grant will benefit Hodges University students in the form of scholarships. Specifically, the grant will help nursing and Clinical Mental Health Counseling students reach their educational and career goals, according to a press release. The Moorings Park Foundation, through the generosity of individuals, support its mission through philanthropy and charitable giving. The foundation also works with and supports outside organizations in ways that benefit both Moorings Park and the participating organization.


LARC Awarded $5,000 grant from autism license plate proceeds 

Lee Association for Remarkable Citizens (LARC) received a $5,000 grant from funds generated through the sale of the Florida “Support Autism Programs” specialty license plates. The grant will support art therapy programs for teens and adults with developmental disabilities at LARC. The Autism Services Grants Council awarded a total of $106,900 in grants to 22 Florida-based nonprofit organizations that provide services and programs for individuals with autism and related disabilities. For more information on the Florida “Support Autism Programs” specialty license plate, visit www.autismlicenseplate.com


Florida Skin Center provides 160 free skin checks

Florida Skin Center provided 160 adults and children with complimentary, full-body skin checks during its annual Check It! Day in Fort Myers on Nov. 9. That translates to 66 more exams than the practice conducted during the 2018 Children’s Day. Florida Skin Center doctors and physician assistants addressed warts, molluscum, precancerous spots and more on a first-come, first-served basis. Skincare vendors were also available for educational training on skin health and wellness, as well as product demonstrations. Check It! Day was topped off with family-friendly entertainment by DJ Cease, a post-skin-check photo booth, raffle prizes, giveaways and Pelican’s SnoBalls. The event concluded with tours of the upcoming Fort Myers office extension—a 3,000-square-foot annex with seven exam rooms, spa-like amenities, and a topical compound and oral dispensary.


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