The Lee Building Industry Association (BIA) raised more than $60,000 during the fifth annual BBQ, Bands and Brew to benefit its nonprofit charitable arm Builders Care. Since 2010, BBQ, bands & Brew has net nearly $200,000 for Builders Care. More than 4,500 people attended the day-long event held Sunday, April 6 from 11 a.m.- 6:30 p.m. at the Lee County Alliance for the Arts.
The fundraiser featured local bands Alter Ego, Rocker, Deb & the Dynamics and The Grayson Rogers Band, as well as a BBQ competition to name the Best BBQ in town. For the fifth year in a row, Jonesez BBQ took home the People’s Choice Award and for the second time Famous Dave’s won the title of BEST BBQ in town. Other winners included Best Ribs & Best Presentation to Famous Dave’s, Best Pork to MoFo’s Food Truck, Best Side Dish to Blue Crawfish Catering and Best Chicken to Bonez Brothers BBQ.
The second annual Poker Run that began at Fort Myers Harley-Davidson and included three stops throughout Lee County before ending at BBQ, Bands & Brew at the Alliance for the Arts. More than 100 riders participated in the 50/50 raffle and one lucky winner took home $500 cash for the best poker hand.
The event is sponsored by Ferguson Bath, Kitchen and Lighting Gallery, Moen, Cape Coral Plumbing, Truly Nolen Pest Control, All-Star Equipment Rentals & Sales, Land Solutions, Suncoast Beverage Supply, Sunset Air, Action Automatic Door & Gate, Stevens Construction, Castle Harbour Homes, Dixie Buick GMC, Minto Communities, Bolaños Truxton, Grabber Construction Products, LCEC, Nilles Design and Wayne Wiles Floor Coverings. Media and promotions partners include WINK News, Florida Weekly, Priority Marketing, Cat Country 107.1, 95.3 The River and Happenings Magazine. Other supporting companies include Kinetico Water Supply, Nilles Design Group, Lightning Wireless Solutions, United Site Services, and Stock Development.
Builders Care is the nonprofit charitable arm of the Lee Building Industry Association (BIA). Its objective is to provide emergency repairs and construction services to elderly, disabled and economically disadvantaged people who are unable to obtain home repairs through traditional means. To date, Lee BIA Builders Care has put more than $2.4 Million in construction services back into the community at no cost to homeowners in need. Builders Care enlists the volunteer services of Lee BIA members and leverages grants and donated materials to provide construction and remodeling services to qualified homeowners throughout Lee County. Certified Building Partners include Stock Development and Minto Communities. Builders Care is headquartered at the Lee BIA offices at 10501 Six Mile Cypress Pkwy., Suite 104 in Fort Myers. The Building Industry Association (www.BIA.net ) is a 50-year-old association affiliated with National Home Builders Association and Florida Home Builders Association to serve the local building and related industries to strengthen our community by advancing a professional building industry through advocacy, education and services. Donations can be made online at www.LeeBuildersCare.org, or to the Builders Care general fund at BB&T Page Field branch at 4959 South Cleveland Ave. in Fort Myers. More information is available by calling 239-938-0056.
The Florida Sports Foundation recently reported an upswing in attendance for Florida spring training baseball games for the 2014 season. For the 15 teams in Florida’s Grapefruit League, average per game attendance increased 4 percent from 2013 for an average of 6,882 spectators per game. In 211 total games, 1,452,114 fans passed through the turnstiles.
Lee County teams finished second and sixth in the state for total attendance. The Minnesota Twins and Boston Red Sox were two of only six teams to finish with attendance over 100,000 for the season. The Boston Red Sox was one of four teams to set a new average per game attendance record with 147,669 total attendance, or 9,845 average per game. The Minnesota Twins finished with an impressive 107,806 total attendance, or 7,700 per game.
“The fact that spring training is drawing more fans than ever before is great news for Florida, and especially Lee County,” said Jeff Mielke, director of Lee County Sports Development. “Many of those fans are traveling for the game, staying in hotels, eating at restaurants and enjoying other attractions while they are here.”
According to a 2009 season economic impact survey by Bonn Marketing Research Group in Tallahassee, Fla., Florida spring training baseball provides the state with a $753 million economic impact each year.
This year’s spring training turnout came close to surpassing the record of 6,965 per game, set in 2012, but rainouts for key games, including the March 6 matchup between the Minnesota Twins and St. Louis Cardinals, put a slight damper on the 2014 season total. Operated by Lee County Parks and Recreation, Lee County’s five county-owned baseball complexes play host to more than 200 days of amateur baseball tournaments a year when they aren’t being used for spring training games.
“The Boston Red Sox winning the World Series, the renovations to the Minnesota Twins Hammond Stadium and Florida’s great weather has made Spring Training a success in Lee County,” said Lee County Parks & Recreation Director Dave Harner.
Created in 2003 to meet the growing demand for sports development in Lee County, the Lee County Sports Development office is recognized by the Florida Sports Foundation as one of the state’s 25 Regional Sports Commissions. The Lee County Sports Development office leads the recruitment and implementation of amateur and professional sports events and activities in Lee County, with the goal of providing economic impact to Lee County. Through local partnerships the Lee County Sports Development office provides services designed to address the needs of local, national and international sports entities including housing, access to venues, event management, transportation assistance, event promotion, marketing and local sponsorship opportunities. For more information, call 239-344-5201or visit www.leecountysports.org.
Kristen Nervo recently joined Bigham Jewelers as the jewelry store’s social media marketing coordinator. In this position, she will help expand and implement the company’s social media marketing activities.
Prior to joining Bigham Jewelers, Nervo was an assistant merchant and part of the Leadership Development Program at Abercrombie & Fitch, where she focused on product development and international business development.
Nervo has a Bachelor of Science degree in management with a concentration in marketing from Boston College’s Wallace E. Carroll School of Management. At Boston College, Nervo served as president of Women in Business, and she was active in the campus ministry and volunteered for the service organization 4Boston.
Her professional experience during college includes simultaneous positions as undergraduate business school peer advisor for the Carroll School of Management and undergraduate business law teaching assistant for the Boston College Law Department. She completed a summer internship as government markets intern for ESRI, one of the world’s largest privately owned technology companies based in Redlands, Cali. She also worked as administrative assistant to the owner of M.C. Hair Consultants & Studio MC in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, as well as the studio’s marketing and social media leader.
Bigham Jewelers is one of the largest independent family-owned jewelry stores in the country. Since 1995, the company has earned the reputation for servicing its clients with honesty, integrity and value. Bigham represents the finest jewelry and watch brands available in the world and was Voted “Coolest Store” in America 2005 by Instore Magazine. For more information, visit http://www.bighamjewelers.com/ or call 239-434-2800.
Insignia Real Estate Companies and Colonial Square Realty and Management Group announce merger, launch Kova Partners LLC
Insignia Real Estate Companies, a private fully integrated real estate and investment fund management company, and Colonial Square Management Group, a full-service commercial real estate management company, today announced a definitive merger to form Kova Partners LLC. Anthony Emma, Insignia Real Estate Companies’ chief executive officer, and Chip Olson, Colonial Square Realty and Management Groups’ principal and broker, will lead the newly formed company providing turnkey commercial real estate services in Lee and Collier counties. Headquartered in Naples, Kova Partners will also operate a second, expanded office in Fort Myers and maintain an office in Cranston, R.I.
“Kova Partners is the result of two strong commercial real estate companies coming together to increase the scope of our market offerings and expertise,” Emma said. “Through Kova Partners, we will be in a position to establish a greater presence in Lee and Collier Counties for all aspects of commercial real estate brokerage, property management, and capital investment services.”
Kova Partners LLC will be comprised of Kova Commercial and Kova Property Management companies. Each company specializes in facilitating the commercial real estate transactions and property management services. According to Chip Olson, who will serve as the managing broker and partner, the company is led by expert real estate associates, accountants, and property management staff. Kova Partners also engages with dozens of strategic partners in the commercial real estate industry for their financial, construction, and development initiatives.
“We are continuing to recruit commercial real estate market experts to add to our team,” said Olson.
The company plans to hire commercial real estate associates within Lee and Collier Counties to continue to with their expansion efforts in 2014.
Headquartered in Naples, Fla., with offices in Cranston, R.I. and Fort Myers, Fla., Kova Partners LLC is a fully integrated, full-service commercial real estate brokerage, property management, development consulting, and investment fund management company. Kova Partners is comprised of Kova Commercial and Kova Property Management and prides itself on its ability to enhance profitability in real estate for all of its clients through strategic partnerships and effective solutions. For additional information about Kova Partners LLC, please visit www.kovapartners.com or call 239-261-2627.
Sunshine Ace Hardware, with six locations in Lee and Collier counties, received the 2014 Business Ethics Award from the Uncommon Friends Foundation at the foundation’s Uncommon Evening awards ceremony on March 26 at the Harborside Event Center in downtown Fort Myers. Uncommon Evening is the annual Uncommon Friends Foundation awards event held in a celebration of the ethical best practices and actions of Southwest Florida community companies, organizations and individuals.
Additional finalists for the 2014 Business Ethics Award included The News-Press Media Group and Home-Tech. The award selection was derived from an independent panel of ethics experts from around the country who carefully reviewed each nomination to select the business that best exemplified the highest standards of ethical behavior.
Family owned and operated since 1958, Sunshine Ace Hardware serves Southwest Florida with six locations in Collier and Lee counties. The Sunshine Ace Hardware stores offer a wide array of products with more than 50,000 unique items at each location. Sunshine Ace proudly carries quality brands including Benjamin Moore paints, Scotts lawn and garden products, Craftsman tools, STIHL power tools, Weber and Big Green Egg grills, as well as Penn and Shimano fishing gear. For locations and hours, visit www.SunshineAce.com.
The Uncommon Friends Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization established in 1993, is dedicated to lifelong character building among today’s youth and business leaders. Its mission is to promote character education in schools, business ethics in the workplace and historic preservation of the Burroughs Home and James Newton Archives. For additional information, call 239-337-9505 or visit www.uncommonfriends.org.
Tickets still available for Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida Business Hall of Fame, Lee County dinner and awards ceremony
Tickets are still available for the Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida 2014 Business Hall of Fame, Lee County to be held April 17 at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa. Tickets are available at www.jaswfl.org and proceeds benefit local Junior Achievement programs.
During the dinner and awards ceremony, Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida will induct laureates Norman Love of Norman Love Confections and Mark Loren of Mark Loren Designs. The prestigious award recognizes outstanding entrepreneurs who serve as role models for youth through their professional accomplishments and commitment to the community.
The Title Sponsors are BB&T Bank and BB&T-Oswald Trippe and Company. The 15th Anniversary Sponsor is Comcast. Gold Sponsors are Audi Fort Myers, CenturyLink, Chico’s FAS, Edison National Bank, LeeSar and SKANSKA GATES. As sponsors, these local businesses help ensure that Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida can continue to provide programs for students in Lee, Collier and Charlotte counties that focus on the principles of work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy.
Junior Achievement is the world’s largest organization dedicated to inspiring and preparing young people to succeed in a global economy. Through a dedicated volunteer network, Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida Inc. provides in-school and after-school programs for more than 12,000 students in Collier, Lee and Charlotte counties that focus on three key content areas: work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy. Today, JA reaches 4.4 million students per year in 117 markets across the United States, with an additional 5.8 million students served by operations in 121 other countries worldwide. For more information about Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida visit www.JASWFL.org or contact Anne Frazier at 239-225-2590 or email@example.com.
Anne Frazier, Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida, firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-225-2590
Teri Hansen, Priority Marketing, email@example.com or 239-267-2638 or 239-849-3300 (cell)
Pavese Law Firm partner Christina Harris Schwinn explores why reducing employee turnover is good for your business at the May 6 UNET meeting
Pavese Law Firm partner Christina Harris Schwinn will focus on the financial benefits of reducing employee turnover by discussing employment relationships from beginning to end during the Tuesday, May 6 meeting of UNET, United Community Association Networking. The presentation begins at 4 p.m. followed by cocktails, networking and dinner and is held at Myerlee Manor at 1499 Brandywine Circle in Fort Myers. To register, visit http://ftmyersnetworking.com/.
Schwinn will provide attendees with what they need to know about how effective hiring and employment practices reduce turnover and exposure to employment discrimination and unemployment claims by implementing procedures that document misconduct, promote effective policies relating to conflict in the workplace and termination.
Schwinn is available to speak to local businesses and organizations on a variety of employment law topics and she can be reached at 239-336-6228 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Schwinn’s primary practice areas are employment law, business transactions, community association law and real estate law. Schwinn is an accomplished public speaker and regularly writes articles that have been published both locally and nationally in a variety of publications.
Pavese Law Firm is a full-service law firm with offices in Fort Myers, Cape Coral and West Palm Beach. The firm provides a broad range of legal services for individuals, families, small businesses and large corporations. Practice areas include agricultural, banking and finance, bankruptcy, business and taxation, civil litigation, community association, employment, environmental and water, estate planning, probate and trust, family, land use and government, and real estate law. Established in 1949 as a one-person general practice firm, Pavese Law Firm has grown into one of the largest legal practices in Southwest Florida. With a long history of service to Southwest Florida, Pavese Law Firm has played a significant role in the growth of local businesses, communities and major development projects. For more information, visit www.paveselaw.com.
The Conservancy of Southwest Florida honored its 650 volunteers during a breakfast awards ceremony held April 9 at Grey Oaks Country Club in Naples. JoAnn Johansen, manager of volunteers and interns for the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, reported that volunteers contributed a total of 72,802 hours, the equivalent of $1,324,996 in unpaid time, to the non-profit from Oct. 1, 2012 to Sept. 30, 2013.
This has been a record-breaking year for volunteerism at the Conservancy, which recorded 40,725 hours the previous year, the equivalent of $72,402.
Johansen attributes the significant increase in volunteer hours to the expansion of various programs such as Environment Education, which could not have been carried out without volunteer support. Volunteers are necessary to administer Conservancy programs including Environmental Education, Environmental Policy, Environmental Science and Wildlife Rehabilitation. The group includes the Conservancy’s all-volunteer Board of Directors.
“These volunteers really are special, and they have become dear friends,” says Johansen. “It’s an amazing group of people with very diverse backgrounds, and the Conservancy’s programs simply wouldn’t be possible without them.”
Johansen, who has been the Intern and Volunteer Services Manager for the Conservancy since March 2007, oversees 650 volunteers as well as 50 interns annually. Upon her retirement this year, she leaves them in the capable hands of the new Intern and Volunteer Services Manager Kelly Roades, Johansen honored two special volunteers for significant contributions to the non-profit: Mary Witzke and Lillian Sciacchitano.
Witzke has been a Conservancy volunteer since 1994, and as of Sept. 30 had contributed a total of 12,500 hours. She was Volunteer of the Month in May 2000 and served as president of the Conservancy’s Volunteer Connection from 1999 to 2002. Sciacchitano joined the Conservancy as a volunteer in 1992 and has contributed a total of 5,446 hours working at Johansen’s side. She was Volunteer of the Month in 2000. Both women continue to serve as active volunteers.
To become a Conservancy volunteer, please complete an application on line at www.conservancy.org/volunteerapplication and visit our website www.conservancy.org or call 239-403-4212 for more information.
Ken Buschle, head of Quality Control and Specifications for GMA Architects and Planners since 1988, has been elected to serve a two-year term on the board of directors of the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI).
CSI is a national association dedicated to creating standards and formats to improve construction documents and project delivery. The organization is unique in the industry in that its members are a cross section of specifiers, architects, engineers, contractors, code officials and building materials suppliers. The organization has 146 chapters and more than 15,000 members. CSI is renowned in the industry for its rigorous certification programs for professionals seeking to improve their knowledge of accurate and concise construction documents.
Buschle joined the Florida Southwest Chapter of CSI in 1997. He has served multiple roles at the chapter level including two terms as chapter president. He is currently completing his term as southeast region president, serving Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.
For the past 31 years, GMA Architects has been Southwest Florida’s leading architectural design firm. Earning recognition from the Florida Southwest American Institute of Architects, The Florida Home Builders Association and the Lee County Building Industry Association, the firm has provided award-winning architectural and interior design services for a broad range of clients in the public and private sectors, including several leading area developers. For more information, call (239) 275-0225 or visit www.GMAarchitect.com
Jackson joins the company with more than 30 years of construction experience with a specialty in concrete and tilt wall construction. Prior to joining Stevens Construction, Jackson served as superintendent for a large commercial contractor where he completed more than 170,000 square feet of healthcare construction, including numerous projects for Sarasota Memorial Hospital, Radiology Regional Centers and 21st Century Oncology. At Stevens Construction, Jackson is the superintendent for Landmark Hospital, an 86,676-square-foot, 50-bed, long-term, acute care facility in Naples, Fla.
Ruby brings a 25 year background in commercial and medical office construction throughout Florida. Ruby has completed more than 1,460,428 square feet of commercial construction including a 60,000-square-foot office for Hertz and a one million-square-foot distribution facility for Winn Dixie. Ruby is responsible for the onsite supervision of Physicians’ Primary Care of Southwest Florida, a 10,580-square-foot medical office in Lehigh Acres, Fla.
Houser joins Stevens Construction with more than ten years of experience in construction. A graduate of the University of Florida, Houser has completed more than $40 million in commercial construction including the Northwest Regional Library in Cape Coral, Fla. and the Fort Myers Regional Library. Houser is serving as superintendent for the former Jalapeno’s renovation, which at completion will house Physicians’ Primary Care of Southwest Florida and Blue Moon Pizza.
All new team members will work from the company’s Fort Myers office located at 6208 Whiskey Creek Dr.
With offices in Tampa, Fort Myers and Orlando, Stevens Construction specializes in providing construction management, general contracting, and consulting services to clients and design professionals. Other services include site and design team selection, budgeting, project scheduling, permitting, cost and quality control, and warranty service. The company builds healthcare, commercial, public and hospitality facilities throughout Florida. For information, visit www.stevensconstructioninc.com or call 239-936-9006.