The Buzz: Insider


WADDY PADILLA’S JOURNALISM CAREER has spanned print, radio and television. During his lengthy tenure, which dates locally back to the mid-1990s, he’s always had a side interest in what will now become his full-time career—construction. “This is a practical decision,” he says. Income from a successful business can potentially exceed that of a journalist, he says. Waddy recently stepped down as the editor at Florida Weekly’s Fort Myers edition, where he spent nearly seven years. The graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism has worked as on-air talent with 94.5 The Arrow, as a reporter at WINK-TV and the News-Press, and ultimately at Florida Weekly. In 2000, he started in construction in sales, gradually got into building, and eventually earned a state general contractor’s license. He launched Jupiter Construction and did a lot of commercial build-outs. But when the recession hit, he dissolved the company— with all the bills paid—and started at Florida Weekly. Now he owns Allegro Builders and will work in the Miami area and on the state’s west coast; he has places in Hialeah and Cape Coral. He will continue to write occasionally for Florida Weekly, though; he still has a place in his heart for storytelling and the curiosity that comes with the job. “I’m definitely going to miss journalism,” he says.


CONDITIONED AIR CEO THEO ETZEL is well respected for his success in business and work within the Southwest Florida community and has garnered several honors reflecting his accomplishments. They include Junior Achievement Hall of Fame in Collier County and Man of Distinction in 2013 by the Collier County Champions for Learning. With the recent release of his book, Invest Your Heartbeats Wisely, he is sharing his wisdom. According to the jacket copy, the book “is based on the concept that each of us has a limited number of heartbeats while on this earth and how we choose to spend, or invest, those heartbeats really does matter.” More information on the book and how to purchase it can be found at


IN 2011, HONOREE TESSA LESAGE served as sustainability programs manager for Lee County. She focused on balancing environmental, social and economic resources to promote sustainability within the community. She has since become director of strategy for the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, acting in a leadership role and delivering the organization’s message to the public. For example, Tessa was a guest presenter at Lumina Foundation’s national conference in February in St. Louis. The topic: “I’m a FutureMaker: Building a Coalition One Story at a Time.”