Job Creation, Talent Program Launches

Plus: Southwest Florida Community Foundation gets a new CFO, a startup accelerator program launches, a TGR Financial year-end income report and more.

Friday, Feb. 1


The Southwest Florida Community Foundation has promoted Luis Leon to chief financial officer. Leon joined the foundation as accountant in 2012, was named controller in 2014, and director of finance in 2017.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Leon was employed at Target in Fort Myers. He was part of the executive team leader management program, where his primary focus areas were logistics, replenishment, presentation and team management. Leon earned his bachelor’s degree in finance from Florida Gulf Coast University in 2012 and a master’s degree in accounting from Florida Atlantic University in 2018.

He is a member of Stellar Technologies’ Client Advisory Board, where he is involved in strategic discussions and beta testing databases to enhance the operations of community foundations. Leon also volunteers with the Sigma Phi Epsilon Florida Omicron chapter at Florida Gulf Coast University.

Thursday, Jan. 31


TGR Financial Inc. (TGRF), the holding company for First Florida Integrity Bank, announced 2018 earnings growth of 85 percent with its year-end financial results. The company produced a return on average assets of 1.1 percent on record earnings of $15 million for 2018. Earnings represented $0.78 per diluted share for the year, an increase of $0.35 over prior year. Common shares of TGRF closed on Jan. 29 at $11.16.  Net income for the year was $15 million, an increase of $6.9 million compared with 2017 results.

Wednesday, Jan. 30


The Southwest Florida Enterprise Center’s (SWFLEC) nine-week startup accelerator program will begin today at SWFLEC’s Fort Myers headquarters. The curriculum features Kauffman Fast Trac augmented by custom content and one-on-one coaching sessions. The facilitators are Mike O’Donnell, serial entrepreneur and angel investor, and Mike Love, director, SWFLEC.

In addition, the program features talks by local entrepreneurs who have recently raised capital and launched a new business. Program sessions are every Wednesday in February and March, with the exception of the investor pitch night taking place on March 26 at the Riverside Community Center in Fort Myers.

The participation cost is $50 per session for each of the eight sessions, or $350 for all eight sessions in advance. Participants must attend at least six sessions to be eligible to pitch at the final session and win prizes. The program is taking reservations for Sessions two through nine. For more information or to register for the program, contact Love at (239) 321-7086 or

Tuesday, Jan. 29


Fort Myers Mayor Randall Henderson was the featured speaker at the Nolte Wealth Management Group of Wells Fargo Advisors upcoming market outlook seminar “The End of Easy.” The event took place at 11 a.m. on Wednesday at the Crowne Plaza Fort Myers at Bell Tower Shops.

Financial advisors were also be on hand to educate investors on the best ways to position their portfolios amidst an ever-changing economy. Guest speakers included John Molinari, vice president, First Trust; and Jack Goldin, senior advisor consultant, Franklin Templeton. They addressed a potential fed rate hike, trade wars, global and economic slowdown, a looming recession and more.

Monday, Jan. 28


The Fort Myers Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) has launched its Job Creation & Talent Attraction Program. Targeted industries eligible for the program include research and development in the physical, engineering, computer or life sciences; light assembly, packaging and fabrication associated with research and development in the physical, engineering, computer or life sciences; software, computing and technology; light manufacturing; and general office. This program will incentivize the creation and retention of full-time employment within the Fort Myers Community Redevelopment Areas by offering a grant payment to companies that create or relocate high wage full-time jobs within an area. Companies can earn up to $8,000 when a new employee is living and working in a CRA area. Currently, funding for the new Job Creation & Talent Attraction Program is only available in the downtown redevelopment area. For more information, visit

In other news…

How Kristen Coury is leading the way to fresh initiatives and a bold new theater space at Gulfshore Playhouse.

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