ALEXANDRIA D. OLSON, MARKETING COORDINATOR
Chamber member, Spectrum Concierge, a home watch and concierge service, has partnered with Fill-A-Bag and received approval from the City of Naples to install a beach clean-up station at Lowdermilk Beach.
What exactly is Fill-A-Bag?
Fill-A-Bag organization was born after winning the Miami Public Space challenge in 2018. Three Key Biscayne residents designed #FillABag stations to empower people to turn daily walks into meaningful beach cleanups.
The whitewashed 6’ post has 4 cobalt blue hooks and provides beachgoers with on-demand reusable bags and repurposed buckets to fill with trash during their strolls. These stations are strategically installed near trash and recycling bins, where collected trash may be responsibly discarded.
Although the initiative was born and raised in Key Biscayne, Fill-A-Bag Stations have been activated throughout Florida’s surrounding coastlines. There are currently over 30 Fill-A-Bag Stations and the first location on Florida’s west coast was activated earlier this year at Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park. The location at Lowdermilk Beach Park is the first in the city of Naples, with hopefully more following shortly after.
"As home watch and concierge professionals, our job is to ensure our client's homes are looking their best. We wanted to take that same approach with this Fill-A-Bag project and to leave the beaches better than we found them." - Robert Peia, Marketing Manager.
MICHAEL DALBY, PRESIDENT AND CEO
At the Greater Naples Chamber, we continue to see how COVID-19 has impacted many aspects of our economy. While some businesses have managed to push through, most have seen significant revenue losses, many have laid off employees and opportunities for relief are dwindling.
Moreover, there is another less visible toll on our economy--one not seen in storefronts or balance sheets. Business owners and managers are faced each day with making decisions that impact their staffs and even determining if they keep the lights on. It is not unusual for small business owners to have invested their savings, leveraged personal assets and taken loans to build their businesses. Their shops are often also their retirement plans.
Now, their livelihoods are threatened.
The uncertainly of these times has taken a toll on our collective mental health. Small business owners in particular face immense stresses in the face of sometimes unrealistic expectations.
For over 75 years, the Chamber has been the place to go when employers, residents and visitors need help. While much has changed over the past seven months, our commitment to helping Collier County thrive remains the same.
The Chamber stands ready to help employers, workers and community members recover from the lasting impact of COVID-19. While businesses often turn to us for connections to financial and business resources, we can also help connect employers and employees to mental and physical healthcare providers, make employment connections and, as always, give voice to our economy, which allows us to have the shops and services we count on.
We are here to help. Use us – and together we can ensure Collier emerges stronger than ever.
NCH Healthcare System COVID-19 updates and resources
Lee Health COVID-19 updates and resources
David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health COVID-19 updates and resources
Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida COVID-19 updates and resources
The Florida SBDC at Florida Gulf Coast University COVID-19 updates and resources
ALEXANDRIA D. HURT, MARKETING COORDINATOR
Lenkbar, LLC Selected as an Honoree of the 2020 GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch.
The Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce would like to congratulate Chamber member Lenkbar, LLC for their selection as an honoree of the 2020 GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch! This statewide competition identifies companies expected to see significant growth over the next several years.
82 finalists were announced earlier this year, and the 50 honorees were selected after a final round of judging by a panel of independent judges comprised of past honorees, economic development leaders and corporate partners of GrowFL. Companies were judged on a number of criteria including: growth in number of employees; impact of the business in the job market; increase in sales and/or unit volume; current and past financial reports; innovativeness of the product or service; response to adversity; and contributions to aid community-oriented projects.
Led by President and CEO Erik Papenfuss, Lenkbar LLC started operations in 2012 with three employees and an idea: to design and manufacture safe and innovative surgical instruments. Lenkbar, LLC prides themselves on their continuous innovation and contract manufacturing of medical devices. Their success is achieved through diverse manufacturing capabilities, cutting-edge machining practices, along with their own patented designs. Lenkbar’s growing success has facilitated their expansion into a new 20,000 ft2 state-of-the-art facility near the Naples Airport. Lenkbar, LLC was also a winner of the Company to Watch Award at the 2018 Excellence in Industry Awards™ presented by The Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce, which recognize Collier County businesses that exemplify innovation, economic diversification, and community enhancement. The Greater Naples Chamber and the community are thrilled to see this exemplary company continue to grow and be recognized.
GrowFL states that from 2016 through 2019, these companies generated $813 million in revenue and added 668 employees, reflecting a 103% increase in revenue and 113% increase in jobs for the four-year period. That translates into a 27% average annual revenue growth and 20% average annual growth in employees.
Even through the pandemic, these companies projected continued growth in 2020, with a 15% revenue increase and 17% growth in employees compared to 2019. If their projections hold, these companies will have generated $1.14 billion in revenue and added 887 employees over the last five years — a 133% increase in revenue and 150% increase in jobs since 2016.
The companies named to the list will be officially recognized at the 10th Annual GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch Celebration on February 18, 2021 at the Hammock Beach Resort and Spa in Palm Coast, FL.
AMANDA BEIGHTS, SENIOR DIRECTOR, LEADERSHIP PROGRAMS
Last week the Youth Leadership Collier (YLC) Class of 2020 had an exciting community leadership opportunity. After hearing from Garrett Richter, President of First Florida Integrity Bank and Chairman of the Greater Naples Board of Directors (LC, 93 ), and Libby Anderson, President of TalentForce Solutions (LC, 01), at the kick-off training for first impressions and general leadership skills, students were then presented with a leadership project in partnership with the Community Foundation of Collier County (CFCC).
Laura Simmelink (LC '17), explained that a CFCC donor has pledged $10,000 to support student philanthropy initiatives in Collier County. The donor has given YLC the decision on how the students will deploy $10,000 to a nonprofit meeting a community need. The class first read the Community Needs Assessment, then broke into small groups for discussion on how to create the greatest impact in the community. Essentially, the students will decide which funding focus best fulfills “building a stronger Collier County.”
Below are the initial ideas the students have brainstormed, and they will decide from there which one topic they will address:
1) Educating middle school-age children on career options
2) Homelessness in children and the elderly (Those most helpless)
3) Feeding early childhood and Elementary age children
4) Affordable housing for essential workers
5) Housing for families with children
Stay tuned for how this community leadership project continues!
For more information on Youth Leadership Collier (YLC), contact Amanda Beights, Senior Director, Leadership Programs, at (239) 403-2903 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
JENNA BUZZACCO-FOERSTER, DIRECTOR OF GOVERNMENT RELATIONS
The Greater Naples Chamber Board of Directors voted unanimously on Oct. 24 to approve the Chamber’s 2021 legislative priorities.
The 2021 priorities were crafted following input from the Public Policy Committee and various Chamber partners. The priorities are in line with previous years’ priorities. The Chamber’s priorities primarily focus on career and technical training, housing affordability and water quality.
The Chamber’s 2021 water qualities priorities mirror those of the Southwest Florida Alliance of Chambers, of which the Greater Naples Chamber is a member. Formed in the wake of the 2018 water crisis, the Alliance is focused on smart solutions to our water quality concerns.
2021 Legislative Priorities
Contact Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster, the Chamber's director of government relations, for more information about the Chamber's advocacy and public policy work.
JENNA BUZZACCO-FOERSTER, DIRECTOR OF GOVERNMENT RELATIONS
From record voter turnout to a referendum to increase funding for conservation efforts here’s what you need to know about the results of the 2020 election:
• The Florida Division of Elections reported more than 11 million Floridians voted in the 2020 general election, putting turnout around 77%. About 1.5 million more votes were cast in 2020 than in 2016.
• Collier County crushed the turnout game, with the Collier Supervisor of Elections reporting that more than 90% of voters cast a ballot in the general election. Collier County led the pack in voter turnout, followed by Sumter County with nearly 88% turnout. Lee County voters also turned out in record numbers, with nearly 82% of voters casting a ballot.
• An amendment to increase the state’s minimum wage narrowly passed. The amendment, which gradually increases the minimum wage to $15 an hour, received 60.8% of the vote. The amendment increases the state’s minimum wage from $8.56 to $10 in September 2021, then goes up a $1 each year until it reaches $15 in 2026. Click here to see how Floridians voted on the five other amendments on the ballot.
• Southwest Floridians voted overwhelmingly to send Byron Donalds, a Naples-area Republican, to the U.S. House of Representatives. Donalds received 61% of the vote, defeating Fort Myers Democrat Cindy Banyai. Donalds pledged to make water quality and the environment a priority, saying the No. 1 issue for the region is “water quality.” Donalds replaces Rep. Francis Rooney, who announced his retirement last year.
• Look for a few fresh faces in Tallahassee during the 2021 Legislative Session. Republican Lauren Melo sailed to victory in the Florida House District 80 seat, receiving about 64% of the vote. Melo, a Naples realtor and owner of Florida Realty Specialists, replaces Donalds in the Florida House.
• In Lee County: Adam Botana won the House District 76 race with about 66% of the vote. House District 76 includes Bonita Springs and Estero, and Botana replaces Ray Rodrigues, who won a seat on the state Senate. Mike Giallombardo won the race in House District 77, which covers Cape Coral, and Jenna Persons won her race in House District 78, which covers Fort Myers.
• Incumbents also sailed to victory on Tuesday. Rep. Bob Rommel easily defeated Democrat Sara McFadden, pulling in 66% of the vote. Rep. Spencer Roach received 61% of the vote in House District 79, which includes Lehigh Acres.
• Rick LoCastro, a retired Air Force colonel, is heading to the Collier Board of County Commissioners after handily defeating Democrat John Jenkins. LoCastro, a Republican, will replace Commissioner Donna Fiala in Commission District 1, which includes East Naples and Marco Island. LoCastro said he was excited to get to work and plans to meet with senior county staff, constituents and stakeholders to get up to speed before his first meeting. Fiala is retiring after serving on the BCC for 20 years.
• A popular conservation program will be restarted, after 77% of Collier voters approved a tax referendum for conservation purposes. Voters approved a 0.25 millage rate for the county’s Conservation Collier acquisition program. The new tax means homeowners will pay about 25 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, or about $75 a year for a $300,000 home. Conservation Collier will use at least 65% of the funding to acquire new land. Ten percent will fund public amenities at existing preserves, while the remaining 25% will be used for management. The Collier Board of County Commissioners needs to approve the increase before it goes into effect.