Gulfshore Business Daily: October 11

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The deadline is approaching to purchase tickets for the Horizon Council, Horizon Foundation and Lee County Economic Development Office 2019 Industry Appreciation Awards, honoring businesses that have positively influenced Southwest Florida. Doors open and networking begins at 10:30 a.m., followed by lunch and the awards program from about 12:30-1:30 p.m., on Oct. 25 at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa. Winners will be announced in five categories. The finalists are: Community Steward of the Year – Sullivan State Farm Agencies, Markham Norton Mosteller Wright & Co., and Cushman & Wakefield Commercial Properties. Innovator of the Year – AXI International, HONC Destruction and Lamar Advertising. Manufacturer of the Year – Golden Manufacturing, HF Scientific and MY Shower Door / D3 Glass. Startup of the Year – Architectural Metal Flashings and Creative Architectural Resin Products. Business of the Year awards will be given in two categories. Small business finalists are Chris-Tel Construction, Edison National Bank and ITVantage. Large business finalists are MY Shower Door / D3 Glass, Sanibel Captiva Community Bank and Scotlynn USA Division. Tickets are $50 and include networking, lunch and the awards presentation. Tickets can be purchased at until Oct. 18.



The NaplesNEXT Ideas Festival announced a partnership with the Naples Children & Education Foundation (NCEF), founders of the Naples Winter Wine Festival. The partnership will bring together distinguished members and elected leaders of Collier County, state and local representatives, and national experts to discuss their viewpoints on the current and future state of the landscape of child wellbeing in Collier County for a State of the Community Summit, as part of the second annual NaplesNEXT. The 2020 NaplesNEXT will feature a full day of content sessions on March 2, capped off with a reception Monday night, featuring culinary and wine experiences and entertainment. NCEF will co-curate the State of the Community Summit the morning of March 3, where topics such as child advocacy, education and pediatric healthcare will be discussed. Register to attend NaplesNEXT 2020 at the Naples Grande Beach Resort by visiting A portion of each registration fee is tax-deductible and will benefit NCEF and other designated non-profit beneficiaries through a FoundationNEXT fund established through the Community Foundation of Collier County. NaplesNEXT is produced by the Leadership division of Intersport, a 20-time Emmy Award-winning innovator and event producer.



The Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce has assembled an expert panel to discuss the ramifications if a proposed amendment to increase the wage passes in 2020. The panel discussion will take place from 8:30-9:30 a.m. Nov. 8 at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre. The event begins at 7:30 a.m. with registration and networking, followed by breakfast and chamber announcements. Discussing the impact will be panelists Lois Croft, Southwest regional director for the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association; Victor Claar, associate professor of economics at Florida Gulf Coast University who holds the BB&T Distinguished Professorship in Free Enterprise; Dana Brunett, senior business development specialist for the Lee County Economic Development Office; and Jay Johnson, owner of Bubba’s Roadhouse & Saloon in Cape Coral. The master of ceremonies will be John Talmage, director of Lee County’s Economic Development Office. The cost for the event is $25 for chamber members and $35 for nonmembers. For more information or to register for the event, visit or call (239) 332-3624.



Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau (VCB) welcomes Ray Sarracino as its new communications manager. Sarracino’s role will include promoting The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel as a visitor destination in media outlets, both domestically and internationally. Through familiarization trips and building relationships with journalists, he will work to secure editorial coverage, as well as create content to promote Lee County. Sarracino brings more than 20 years of journalism and communications experience to the VCB. He most recently served as a public affairs specialist for the Department of Defense at U.S. Southern Command in Miami. Sarracino spent more than 20 years in the newspaper industry as a graphic artist for several newspapers, including USA TODAY. He also served part-time as a public affairs specialist in the Air Force Reserve. Sarracino earned his bachelor’s degree in communications from Excelsior College in Albany, New York.



The Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach Visitor & Convention Bureau has received an eTourism Summit Excellence Award (also known as the eTSY Awards), powered by Expedia Group Media Solutions at the eTourism Summit in San Francisco this week. Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach’s campaign, “Outsiders Welcome,” earned an award for Best Use of Video, which recognized superior digital video content. A collection of 13 diverse categories showcased tourism marketing programs across the globe, for which they were judged based on creativity, overall strategy and measurable consumer impact. The Outsiders Welcome campaign promoted differentiating factors of Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach from competing Florida destinations, and emphasized the area’s outside activities and natural settings. For more information, visit 


Olga Placeres


Olga Placeres, Preferred Travel of Naples’ new agency owner and president, was recently re-elected as secretary to the Signature Travel Network Board of Directors. Placeres attended Signature Network’s three-day annual meeting in September in Austin, Texas, along with Kristina Gear, managing director for Preferred Travel. This was the first year that Placeres attended as the sole owner of the travel agency, which she recently acquired after 30 years of being the agency’s CFO and agency manager. Signature Travel Network is a member-owned travel cooperative, headquartered in El Segundo, California, with a regional office in New York City. The network includes more than 291 member agencies with 601 retail locations in and outside of the U.S.



Washington, D.C. pianist Thomas Pandolfi will perform a private concert and interactive program for the students of Veterans Park Academy for the Arts in Lehigh Acres on Oct. 30. He will play for middle school students at 9:50 a.m. and for elementary students from 12:30-1:15 p.m. He also will answer questions from students interested in the arts and music. The concert is provided courtesy of the Fort Myers Community Concert Association as part of its outreach program for Lee County public school students. Pandolfi is a graduate of The Juilliard School, where he received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees as a scholarship student. He has performed all around the globe. In 2006, he released his first CD, and has recorded 10 additional ones. The Fort Myers Community Concert Association is preparing for another season with five classical concerts planned this winter at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall. All five concerts are included in one ticket price. For tickets, call the Barbara B. Mann Box Office at (239) 481-4849. For membership information, visit



David Ellis has been named director of business development for Heatherwood Construction Co., a Bonita Springs-based commercial construction company. A 30-year veteran of the construction industry, Ellis served six years as executive vice president of the Collier Building Industry Association before relocating to the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association in 2005. Most recently, Ellis was director of business development for CORE Construction in Sarasota. A Certified Association Executive and graduate of Leadership Florida, Leadership Collier, and Leadership Jacksonville, Ellis was named Executive Officer of the Year by the National Association of Home Builders in 2003. Ellis has led efforts to address affordable housing and homelessness in the communities in which he has served.



Lee County Legal Aid Society’s Speakeasy Golden Gala coming soon

The Lee County Legal Aid Society will host its Speakeasy Golden Gala event from 6:30-9:30 p.m. on Oct. 19, at the Burroughs Home in Fort Myers. The event celebrates the Lee County Legal Aid Society’s half-century of service. Cost for the event is $125 for individuals and $875 to buy a table for eight. The RSVP gets the attendee a secret password into the event, which includes a jazz band, cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a plated dinner for guests, who will be dressed in “Roaring Twenties” attire. The evening will also include a live auction. To get tickets and RSVP for the event, go to For more information, call Nanci DuBois at (239) 334-6118 or email her at


Charity for Change’s fundraiser Enchantment in the Rainforest set for November

The Charity for Change Gala, “Enchantment in the Rainforest,” will be held at 6 p.m. on Nov. 16 at Quail West Golf & Country Club. The fundraising event supports more than 5,000 students throughout Collier County who participate in Charity for Change’s after-school, summer school, preschool and in-school programs. The event includes a cocktail hour with a silent auction, interactive trivia-style games, dancing and dinner. The mascots for the program—Giver, an orangutan, and U2Can, a toucan—inspired the rainforest theme. State Sen. Kathleen Passidomo and John Passidomo are honorary co-chairs, and Becky Sharon is the event’s chair. The event emcee is Lois Thome, news anchor for WINK-TV. The event’s committee members include Kathy Feinstein, Jennifer Lofstrand, Caroline Marino and Sonya Sawyer. Sponsorships for the event are still available. Tickets are $250 per person, with tables of 8 for $2,000. For more information, visit or call Karen Conley at (239) 592-6787.


Run 4 Your Lungs 5K Run/Walk event sponsors announced

4 Words Foundation Inc. announces the sponsors of its 2019 Run 4 Your Lungs 5K Run/Walk event, held from 7-10 a.m. on Nov. 9 at Lakes Regional Park in Fort Myers. Event partners are Regional Cancer Center, Radiology Regional Center PA, Florida Radiology Consultants, and 21st Century C.A.R.E. Conditioned Air is the title Run 4 Your Lungs Sponsor, FPL is the Healthy Lung Sponsor, Black Business Solutions and Express Employment Professionals are the Breathe Easy Sponsors, 21st Century Oncology, Wawa, Leo Marino Concrete Contractors, and Publix are the Awareness Matters Sponsors, Henderson Franklin Starnes Holt P.A., Applebee’s, Align & Thrive Chiropractic, and Fleet Feet-Fort Myers are the T-Shirt/Award Sponsors. In-Kind Sponsors include First Watch Restaurant – Breakfast Sponsor, The New-Press – Media Sponsor, and iBeria Bank – Water Sponsor. Proceeds from this event will support uninsured and under-insured 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 Center PA or Florida Radiology Consultants. For more information, visit


Private shopping fundraiser to be held at Chico’s Company Store

A private shopping fundraiser benefiting the Southwest Florida Regional Technology Partnership (SWFRTP) will take place from 4-5:30 p.m. on Oct. 25 at the Chico’s FAS Company Store, 6120 Idlewild St., Fort Myers. Deep discounts on items from Chico’s, White House Black Market, SOMA and Boston Proper will be available for sale. Clothing and accessories will be priced from $3-$36 at the event. Tickets are $20 and now available at Only 100 tickets will be sold and advanced online purchase is required. All of ticket sales benefit the SWFRTP to continue free and engaging technology programs for area students and professionals.


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