Industry Appreciation Awards honor local businesses

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Ilana Schmelzer of Fort Myers Brewing

Brewing beer and banking don’t have much in common. But on Friday, they did.

The Fort Myers Brewing Co. and the Sanibel Captiva Community Bank each won the Business Resiliency and Innovation Award as part of Lee County’s 29th Industry Appreciation Awards. These are awarded by the Horizon Council, Horizon Foundation and the Lee County Economic Development Office.

The brewery shifted to making hand sanitizer during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The bank also had its hands full, loaning millions of dollars to Southwest Florida businesses in need during the height of the pandemic-caused, economic shutdown of 2020.

Other award categories and winners:

Community Steward of the Year: Cushman & Wakefield, in business since 2007, has emerged as one of the region’s largest real estate brokerage and property management companies. It supports many nonprofit organizations, including Junior Achievement, Champions 4 Children, Residential Options of Florida and PACE Center for Girls in Lee County.

Innovator of the Year: Cigent Technology has developed cybersecurity systems for corporations and governments from its Midtown Fort Myers headquarters. Energy Harness Corp., an LED lighting manufacturer with a Cape Coral facility, invented a UVC light fixture that can eliminate airborne pathogens, including COVID-19.

Manufacturer of the Year: Storm Smart, founded 25 years ago, has grown to become the largest manufacturer and installer of hurricane protection products in North America.

Two39 Work Group

Startup of the Year: Two39 Work, founded in 2018, launched Two39 Labs, which attracts business mentors to relocate to Southwest Florida, supporting entrepreneurs in the region and connecting those who lost jobs with local opportunities.

Small Business of the Year: Stickboy Creative, founded in 2017, develops software and designs websites and mobile apps.

Large Business of the Year: Stevens Construction, now 18 years old, is building a new corporate headquarters at Hope Preserve in south Fort Myers. It has expanded to have offices in Orlando, Tampa and Sarasota. The Lee County Building Association has named Stevens its Contractor of the Year nine times since 2007.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Gary Griffin, president of B&I Contractors and a Fort Myers native, received this honor. He previously served as chairman of the Horizon Council and president of the Horizon Foundation, which were behind the Industry Awards.

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