Horizon Council to Discuss Employee Engagement

Plus: NCEF breaks ground on new headquarters, Lee Health hospitals are top-ranked, and PGD's economic impact report.

Need to catch up on Southwest Florida business news? No problem. Here are the top stories of the week pulled from our daily newsletter, Gulfshore Business Daily.

Friday, April 19


The Horizon Council and the Lee County Economic Development Office will host the Horizon Council General Membership Meeting on April 26 at Florida SouthWestern State College, Building U, Room 102, in Fort Myers. Registration and networking start at 8 a.m. and the meeting begins at 8:30 a.m.

Guest speaker Mike McDonald, senior learning consultant and learning business partner with the Gallup organization, will focus on employee engagement and retention. McDonald will share current research on employee engagement and a few things managers and organizations can do to increase employee engagement, satisfaction and retention. To register, visit leecoedo.eventbrite.com.

Thursday, April 18


The Naples Children & Education Foundation (NCEF), the founding organization of the Naples Winter Wine Festival, is constructing permanent headquarters.

The 15,000-square-foot office building will be located on property purchased by NCEF in the Eagle View Professional Park on Goodlette-Frank Road, just north of Golden Gate Parkway. The building will serve as home to NCEF’s operations, which provide an annual average $10-million investment in community programs serving more than 45,000 at-risk and underprivileged children.

NCEF has partnered with developers Alex and Fred Pezeshkan, DeAngelis Diamond Construction, and John Cooney and Randall Stofft of Stofft Cooney Architects on the project. The building is slated for completion and occupancy in the first quarter of 2020, after the 20th anniversary Naples Winter Wine Festival. Approximately $6.5 million is needed to cover the costs of purchasing the land, constructing the building, furnishings and program development. These funds will be generated through a capital campaign that has been initiated separately from NCEF’s signature fundraiser.

Wednesday, April 17


The Lee Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday approved spending Tourist Development Tax revenues to replace elevated boardwalks, the paddle craft landing and the pavilion at Matanzas Pass Preserve on Estero Island.

The Matanzas Pass Preserve has about 1.25 miles of trails that wind through the canopies of mangroves and maritime hammocks in an undeveloped, protected area of the island. This bayside preserve situated within the boundaries of the Town of Fort Myers Beach offers visitors opportunities to observe wildlife and native plants. The boardwalk is in need of replacement to allow continued public access and to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The $1.1 million funding request for the project was approved out of the typical cycle for Tourist Development Tax projects so the work could begin in September and be completed in about six months. The Tourist Development Council in March recommended funding the request.

Tuesday, April 16


Four Lee Health adult acute care hospitals have been named among “America’s Best Hospitals” for 2019, a distinction that places them in the top 5 percent of hospitals nationwide, according to Healthgrades. This designation rewards hospitals that consistently exhibit comprehensive, quality care across all clinical areas.

Cape Coral Hospital, Gulf Coast Medical Center, HealthPark Medical Center and Lee Memorial Hospital are four of 18 Florida hospitals included in the grouping. Being in the top 5 percent means patients at Lee Health hospitals are less likely to experience medical or surgical complications and have the best chances for survival during and after hospitalization, according to a press release. For more information, click here.

Monday, April 15


Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) new Statewide Aviation Economic Impact Study values Punta Gorda Airport’s (PGD) total economic impact (output) at $1.275 billion.

FDOT’s profile on PGD attributes more than $100 million in on-airport impacts and nearly $573 million in visitor spending impacts. When combined with the multiplier impacts and payroll of nearly $419 million, the total economic output exceeds $1.275 billion.

PGD just concluded another record-breaking month for passenger traffic in March, with a total of 221,326 Allegiant passengers. This is a 14.71 percent increase from March 2018, which was also a record-breaking month. The economic impact assessment parallels PGD’s passenger growth, which reached 1,577,164 passengers in 2018, compared with 182,423 passengers in 2010.

In other news…

Nominations are now open for our 2019 Best of Business Awards. Vote for your favorite firms in several categories here by May 15.

Don’t wait until the end of the week to find out what’s happening in Southwest Florida. Sign up for our free daily newsletter, Gulfshore Business Dailyto stay connected.