The Greater Naples Chamber, in partnership with Collier County Government and Florida Gulf Coast University, is pleased to present the Collier County Business Climate Survey Report for the first quarter of 2020.
About the survey:
The Collier County Business Climate Survey Report, published in partnership between Collier County Government, the Greater Naples Chamber, and Florida Gulf Coast University, provides primary research to the business community, elected officials, and other concerned citizens designed to gauge the state of Collier County’s economy over time as well as impressions and concerns about it in the future.
The Executive Business Climate Survey provides a view of the local economy based on responses from senior executives from a range of industries across the county. The internet survey was sent to 198 executives and business owners in Collier County.
The business climate survey is comprised of three areas of focus. The first area examines Collier County business executives’ impressions of economic conditions and trends with respect to hiring and investment. The second area provides the calculation of an Executive Business Climate Index (EBCI). The third area is comprised of issue-specific questions that change from survey to survey. The current “special topics” section focuses on the firm’s ability to fill their most skilled position and expectations they have for potential candidates.
Key survey results:
Key indicators seem to suggest overall confidence among business leaders’ that the local economy will not experience a decline in the coming year and optimism in business owners’ perception of the direction of the local economy in the last year:
One of the key features of this survey is the calculation of an Executive Business Climate Index. The EBCI provides a summary number which will allow one to quickly gauge whether the business climate in Collier County is improving or declining. The index measured at 66.4 during the first quarter of 2020 on a range of 0 to 100, 100 meaning the business climate is substantially better, and 0 meaning the business climate is substantially worse. Given that this is the first measurement overall, once more quarters are measured trends in the EBCI may be established.
Additional comments from the surveyed executives included cost of living concerns and availability of local and promotion trade work.
The Greater Naples Chamber and the Board of Collier County Commissioners selected Preferred Travel of Naples, Inc. as the Business of the Month for February 2020.
Each month, the award is presented to an organization that has enhanced the community through financial, volunteer and active involvement in organizations and programs that creates a better quality of life for all citizens in Collier County.
The Board of Collier County Commissioners and Bethany Sawyer, director of membership at the Greater Naples Chamber, presented President/CFO Olga Placeres with a commemorative plaque on Feb. 11 at the County Commission meeting.
“As a long-standing business in Southwest Florida, we are honored to have been chosen as Collier County Business of the Month and are proud to support the community that supports us,” said Placeres.
Founded in 1984, Preferred Travel of Naples is the largest travel agency in Southwest Florida with a team of more than 50 advisors specializing in leisure travel from cruises to world adventures. The company’s travel advisors—most of whom have been with Preferred Travel for over 10 years—strive to deliver differentiated travel experiences and personalized service.
Preferred Travel plans travel experiences to places around the world. Some popular destinations include Africa, Austria, Thailand, Spain, Australia, Germany, the Holy Land and more.
In addition to donations and sponsorships supported by Preferred Travel, the company also selects a local charity each year as the beneficiary of its annual travel show. One hundred percent of the ticket sales goes directly to the selected charity. Since 2007, $224,760 has been raised from the travel show ticket sales and donated to charitable organizations in Collier County.
To learn more about Preferred Travel of Naples, click here.
Leadership Collier Foundation announces new name for Growing Associates in Naples, welcomes Class of 2020
The Leadership Collier Foundation (LCF), of the Greater Naples Chamber, has unveiled a new name for its popular Growing Associates in Naples (GAIN) program: Associate Leadership Collier.
“Our Leadership Collier brand has a very strong reputation and association,” said Amanda Beights, vice president, Leadership Collier Foundation. “We want to provide consistency with all of our Leadership Collier programs, so this name change is a natural fit.”
Each winter, the LCF accepts approximately 40 area professionals for the Associate Leadership Collier program. The program is specifically designed for emerging leaders and professionals in Collier County, ages 21- 40. Participants go through an intense, eight-session series of workshops focused on key issues affecting the community. After graduation, Associate Leadership Collier members are inducted into the LCF Alumni Association and encouraged to take an active role in civic and professional issues, address area challenges and work toward solutions in the public interest.
The name change will take effect immediately with the incoming Class of 2020. The Leadership Collier Foundation Board of Directors congratulates the following Associate Leadership Collier 2020 Class members:
Chair: Andres Paz, AdVenture
Vice Chair: Priscylla Oliva, Barron Collier Companies
Vice Chair: Alyssa Haney, First Florida Integrity Bank
Sabrina Allard, Halstatt Legacy Partners
Claire Baker, ACI Worldwide
Amber Barr, The Immokalee Foundation
Laura Bidireanu, Community Foundation of Collier County
Haley Blorstad, LandQwest Commercial and NCH Healthcare System
Lauren Branson, United Way of Collier County
Garrett Carney, Coleman, Yovanovich & Koester, PA
Debbie Chiu, NewsBank
Morgan Cote, Pedal Pub
Davidson Lee, Davidson Engineering, Inc.
Larry Falisi, Self-employed
Brittany Feroce, NCH Bears Den Childcare Center
Andrea Fortin, Hodges University
Adam Hall, Collier County Sheriff’s Office
Sara Hall, Roetzel and Andress, LPA
Tyler Hardt, Pelican Bay Capital Management, LLC
Karen Harmon, The Shelter for Abused Women & Children
Bryan Holmes, The Naples Airport Authority
Michael Hushek, Naples Aviation
Cody Jones, Collier County Information Technology
Chelsea Klotz, Champions for Learning
Moira Larkin, David Lawrence Center
Rebeca Linz, Dentons Cohen & Grigsby P.C.
Nicole Litchko, Collier County Public Schools
Brent Loewel, North Collier Fire Rescue and Pearson CRE
Madison McNally, STARability Foundation
Ashley McNamara, Barron Collier Companies
Wotts Mercy, Avow Hospice
Alexa Nargi, Arthrex, Inc.
Stefanie Nelsen, Corporate Spending Innovations
Eric Olson, Dentons Cohen & Grigsby P.C.
Sloan Percival, Artis – Naples
Jennifer Rei, Dee & Associates CPAs
Aome Rogers, PBS Contractors
Melanie Schmees, The Greater Naples Chamber
Caitlin Schubert, SimpleTiger
Misty Smith, Redlands Christian Migrant Association (RCMA)
Brooke Spencer, Wellfit Girls
Ramona Stockman, Barron Collier Companies
Joseph Stusek, Cummings & Lockwood LLC
Grace VanderMolen, Moorings Park
Brenton Weiskopf, Pelican Wire
Stephanie Yeargin, A Locksmith, Inc.
The Greater Naples Chamber has selected Gov. Ron DeSantis to be the recipient of its inaugural “Friend of Collier Business” award.
DeSantis was chosen because of his strong commitment to the environment, water quality and the businesses that depend on it. The Greater Naples Chamber’s Board of Directors commended DeSantis for his actions since being elected to address business and community leaders concerns about our water quality.
Michael Dalby, president and CEO of the Naples Chamber; Garrett Richter, the chair-elect of the Greater Naples Chamber, president of First Florida Integrity Bank and a former state senator; and Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster, director of government relations, presented DeSantis with the award during a trip to Tallahassee.
“More than 40% of the Chamber’s nearly 1,200 members are in the tourism and hospitality industry, and were significantly impacted during the 2018 red tide and blue-green algae water crises,” said Dalby. “We applaud Gov. Ron DeSantis for his bold actions to protect our precious resources and ensure Florida remains the best place in America to live, work and play.”
The Naples Chamber has identified water quality and Everglades restoration as a top public policy priority. It is a member of the Southwest Florida Alliance of Chambers, which is a coalition of Southwest Florida chambers of commerce committed to advocating at the local, state and federal levels to improve Southwest Florida’s quality of life.
For more information, visit www.napleschamber.org/advocacy.
The second annual Naples Children’s Business Fair welcomed an impressive 1,200 attendees to peruse and shop young entrepreneurs’ businesses on Saturday, Jan. 11 at Gulf Coast High School. The fair had participation of 123 youth-run businesses with 211 student participants.
Presented by Barron Collier Companies, the Greater Naples Chamber’s Leadership Collier Foundation hosted the fair in partnership with Collier County Public Schools to give students the experience of entrepreneurship firsthand and sell their original products and services to the public.
“This event is a great opportunity for youth in our community to get early exposure to the kinds of experience many business professionals wish they had had growing up,” said Nikkie Dvorchak, Naples Chamber vice president of events and development. “It was great to see students take their business plans and execute them from start to finish. We were blown away by the quality of their products, marketing, displays and salesmanship. We are already looking forward to how this event will continue to grow next year.”
Throughout the day, attendees had the chance to vote for the “most original business idea,” “highest business potential,” and “most creative business.” Local leaders served as judges and awards were presented in five age groups, with one student awarded the “Sunshine Award” –which granted this year’s winner, Genevieve’s Art, a spot to display and sell her product in a local Sunshine Ace Hardware store.
First place winners also won the opportunity to spend the day with Barron Collier Companies CEO Blake Gable visiting different industries in Collier County and learn what it takes to run a successful business.
Most Original Business: Storm Pet Toys
Benjamin Peterson, Max Varga, Jack Johnson, Macauley Ronninger
Highest Business Potential: VMC Designs
Most Creative: Bree Artiste
Sunshine Award: Genevieve’s Art
Age 6-7 Winners:
1st Place: Taralyn’s Treasures
2nd Place: Emma’s Sweet Art
3rd Place: Boo-Boo Buddies
Dawson Winge, Logan Grove, Janel Elwell
Age 8-10 Winners:
1st Place: John’s Woodworking
2nd Place: Tuti’s Terrific Treasures
3rd Place: S3 Creations
Ella Seidner, Mac Seidner, Devyn Seidner
Age 13-14 Winners:
1st Place – Colony Magic
2nd Place –Water Pros
3rd Place – Ready Cement Go!
Age 11-12 Winners:
1st Place: Stache Your Slime
2nd Place: Jumba’s Cotton Candy
3rd Place: Olivia’s Creation Station
Age 15-17 Winners:
1st Place: Nagen Bakery
2nd Place: Jame’s LeSage Photography
3rd Place: ABC Boba Tea
The Naples Chamber’s Leadership Collier Foundation will work with participants post-event to continue their professional growth, connect them with business leaders and provide support on their entrepreneurial journey.
For more information on the Naples Children’s Business Fair, visit www.napleschamber.org/cbf.
The event was sponsored by Barron Collier Companies, Sunshine Ace Hardware, Arthrex, Naples Daily News, First Florida Integrity Bank, ACI Worldwide, Neapolitan Family, Keiser University, Wintrust Banking Center, Brown & Brown Insurance, Fieldr, Beasley Media, Sugar Shack and Florida Weekly.
The Greater Naples Chamber announced today that Vi at Bentley Village, a continuing care retirement community, is the organization’s newest Legacy Leader. Legacy Leaders serve as corporate underwriters to the overall mission of the Greater Naples Chamber.
“Vi at Bentley Village is thrilled to enhance its affiliation with the Greater Naples and become a Legacy Leader investor,” said Joe Chambers executive sales director, Vi at Bentley Village. “We hope to become more involved in the local community, and to help the chamber and other Legacy Leaders highlight the benefits of living, working and expanding businesses to Collier County.”
Legacy Leaders are considered an influential group of key stakeholders in Collier County, who play a key role in the Chamber’s public policy involvement, economic development efforts and civic engagement. Through their contributions, the Chamber is equipped to educate the public on legislative issues, be a voice for business and strengthen informal ties among government, business and non-profit leaders to spark greater trust, civility and progressive cooperation.
“The decision by Vi at Bentley Village to become a Legacy Leader demonstrates their commitment to help shape and mold our community’s future,” said Michael Dalby, president and CEO of the Greater Naples Chamber.
In addition to Vi at Bentley Village, the Chamber’s Investors include: Arthrex, Collier Enterprises, ACI Worldwide Inc., Bank of America, Barron Collier Companies, CenturyLink, David Lawrence Center, Fifth Third Bank, First Florida Integrity Bank, Gallagher Lutgert Insurance, Lutgert Companies & Premier Sotheby’s, Golisano Children’s Hospital of SWFL, Healthcare Network of SWFL, Hilton Naples, IBERIABANK, Moorings Park, Naples Daily News, NCH Healthcare System, Inc., Stock Development, TECO People’s Gas, BUILD, LLC, Cohen & Grigsby, DeAngelis Diamond, Florida Power & Light, GATES Construction, Grant, Fridkin Pearson, P.A., Hahn Loser & Parks, LLP, Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, P.A., John R Wood Properties, Lake Michigan Credit Union, London Bay Homes and The Arlington.
Gerald “Jerry” Godshaw
Leadership Collier Foundation Board Member
Jerry Godshaw, a retired economist who was a partner with Arthur Andersen and then Deloitte, is one of the more recently added board members for Leadership Collier Foundation. A Greater Naples Leadership (GNL) graduate of Class #20, Jerry helps to bring collaboration between the GNL and LCF organizations.
“I joined the board as an opportunity for GNL and LCF to work together more and do things jointly, cooperating, such as with volunteering” said Jerry, “and so our organizations can learn from each other.”
Jerry also is active in Greater Naples Leadership serving as Chair of the Community Services Committee and on the GNL Board.
He relocated to Naples approximately 10 years ago, and as GNL programs are structured more for those who have retired or are nearing retirement, his GNL class experience enabled him to learn more about his new home community and contribute to making Naples an even better place to live and work. Jerry now serves on the Collier County Advisory Committee on Productivity as well as the Advisory Committee on Mental Health and Addiction.
“One of the things that GNL did is alerted me to certain things in Collier County where I could make a difference, such as mental health and addiction, he says. “I was surprised to find out what a high percentage of the inmate population of the county jail have severe mental illness and substance abuse.”
Jerry describes the necessity of treating these inmates to reduce the rate of recidivism, to help them manage their illness and contribute to our community. While we’re fortunate for all the cooperation between involved entities, he says that unfortunately our level of resources is currently lacking.
Jerry also noted that another critical issue in Collier County is affordable/workforce housing. He believes housing affects every one of us in our community and government should play a more active role in this and in most areas of social services.
How can LCF and GNL alumni make a difference? “We can help find housing for employees, encourage that builders and developers receive proper incentives, and that government look at densities,” he advises. “Put pressure on our elected officials, engage other leaders and residents in the community. More diversity in our neighborhoods can help improve our community.”
Jerry would like to see a more actively engaged, civic and civil conversation in the County. More progress could be made, he says, if more people got involved civically and philanthropically in the community, including more seniors.
“Not every community can say they have what we have in terms of leadership development. If we don’t take care of our environment and our social issues, we’ll lose the edge that makes Naples a great place to live.”
Volunteerism isn’t just good for the soul – it’s also good for business.
Need an example? According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, Floridians contribute more than 340 million volunteer hours per year, resulting in an $8.2 billion economic impact statewide.
“I think you, as business leaders, will understand this inherently,” said Volunteer Florida CEO Clay Ingram during November’s Wake Up Naples. “An hour of volunteerism in the state of Florida equates to more than $20 an hour, if you had to pay market rate for the things that volunteers do.”
He continued: “That’s pretty serious and it’s money that doesn’t need to be paid. It can stay in the organization’s pocket and can help them do mission critical things that you don’t have to pay labor for.”
Ingram, the former CEO of the Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce, gave attendees an overview of Volunteer Florida and spoke about the role volunteerism plays throughout the state during the Nov. 20 Wake Up Naples at the Hilton Naples. Sponsored by United Way of Collier County, the event was a chance for community members to learn how they can get involved and make an impact in their communities.
Aside from the economic impact of volunteerism, Ingram said people who volunteer are “more likely to find employment, perform better in school and be civically engaged.”
“When I got the appointment to Volunteer Florida, it struck me that we have a limited number of hours and days on this Earth, a limited number of heartbeats and breaths,” said Ingram. “To take this limited precious resource you have and give it to another person or organization to help them is an incredibly powerful thing.”
Despite the overwhelmingly positive socioeconomic impact, Florida ranks 50th in the nation for volunteerism. Utah ranks No. 1 in the nation, followed by Minnesota, Oregon, Iowa and Alaska.
The Florida Chamber wants to change that. The state chamber has set a goal of ranking in the Top 12 for volunteerism by 2030 and is working with a variety of organizations – including Volunteer Florida and the Florida Nonprofit Alliance – to increase the rate of volunteerism throughout the state.
The Greater Naples Chamber and its Leadership Collier Foundation are committed to connecting Collier County residents, businesses and visitors to volunteer opportunities.
The foundation works with a variety of nonprofit partners – including United Way, the Community Foundation of Collier County and Greater Naples Leadership – to host the “Get Involved Collier! Volunteer Expo.” The annual volunteer expo is a chance for community members to connect with volunteer opportunities.
The foundation is also teaming up with United Way to host a “Day of Action” on Feb. 28. The day – planned for Leadership Collier class members, alumni and businesses – provides community members the opportunity to make a significant collective impact on a single day.
“I hope, with conversations like this, we’re able to start creating a culture of volunteerism in Florida and serve each other like never before,” said Ingram.
__Interested in volunteering? Visit Volunteer Collier, powered by United Way of Collier County, to connect with local volunteer opportunities.
The Leadership Collier Foundation (LCF), of the Greater Naples Chamber, has named high school senior Julien Zappulla as its first-ever student board member. The decision to add a student board member was rooted in the desire to hear the student perspective on issues, especially as the Foundation’s work with youth and talent development continues to grow.
“As the LCF continues to advance our work with talent development, having a student voice on our board of advisors has proven to be very valuable,” said Amanda Beights, vice president of LCF. “Julian is not only a graduate of our Youth Leadership Collier (YLC) program but has also been active in the Foundation’s work-based learning initiative. We look forward to continuing this model of student involvement with all of our work moving forward.”
Zappulla, a 2019 Youth Leadership Collier graduate, attends Seacrest Country Day School where he is the captain of the robotics team and a member of the varsity soccer team. Additionally, he sings in the Naples Philharmonic Chorus. Zappulla also spends time mentoring local robotics teams, refereeing robotics competitions and creating STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs at the Boys and Girls Club.
“I am passionate about both the Greater Naples Chamber and LCF because I have a drive to communicate and network with people, and YLC was truly a life changing experience for me,” said Zappulla. “As an LCF board member, I look forward to providing a student perspective in discussions at board meetings and other events.”
Zappulla plans to attend Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts where he hopes to receive a masters in robotic engineering and artificial intelligence. His primary goal through a career in engineering is to advance the intelligence, design, and useful capacity of machinery, emphasizing robotic systems and controls.
To view all members of the LCF advisory board, click here.
Tony McClure (LC ‘15)
Tony McClure, a partner in the litigation department at the law firm of Porter Wright, hales from Ohio. When he relocated with his family to Naples in 2012, not only was he looking to make his mark professionally in his new hometown, he was also searching for opportunities to have an impact and connect with like-minded people.
Leadership Collier was the perfect fit for his pursuits, and the friendships and opportunities that followed have fulfilled him in ways he never imagined were possible when he started the program in 2015.
For Tony, Leadership Collier IS community. He shares, “It’s a group of people from all types of industries and backgrounds coming together to learn more about Collier County and to learn more about each other. That’s what community is all about.”
Tony was hooked from the very first session, and the rewards just kept coming. He said, “The entire day was aimed at allowing us to get to know each other better. By the end of the day, I already had the beginning of so many good friendships – which I still have to this day.”
Tony, whose son has special needs, quickly found a home to apply his leadership skills, passion for community and love for his son, when he joined the Board of Directors for Naples Therapeutic Riding Center (NTRC) in 2015. His son benefits from their therapeutic horseback riding lessons.
Tony is also finding ways to give back to the next generation and the LCF Alumni Association through the Leadership Collier Mentor Program, which pairs Youth Leadership Collier participants with GAIN and Leadership Collier alumni working in an industry where the mentee has an interest. He also serves on the Public Policy Committee of the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce, as well as the Pro Bono Committee for the 20th Judicial District of Florida.
Tony’s advice to fellow alumni, “Use those friendships you’ve made and build on them. These are people with whom you’ve shared countless memories. Accept this gift and continue to build those great relationships. Your life will be richer for it.”
In addition to these fulfilling leadership opportunities that have come his way as a result of his LC experience, Tony shares that some of his best friends are LCF alumni – two of whom recently married and now have a child. Talk about a richer life?!
Now President of the NTRC Board, this month Tony was invited to share his leadership expertise on board development at the LCF Get Involved Collier Volunteer Expo. Never one to shy away from an opportunity to connect his LCF friends and his passion for special needs, Tony invites alumni to join him in support of NTRC’s signature fundraiser, The Bootstrap Boogie Barn Dance, on November 9th.