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.
ASHLEY WITKOWSKI, MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST
A staggering 75 booths—manned by individuals hailing from nonprofits across Collier County—lined the walls at the Hilton Naples. A therapeutic riding center sat next to an organization dedicated to combating adult illiteracy, which was kitty-corner from a nonprofit that builds bikes for children in need—to name only a few. Despite the uniqueness of each organization, there was one consistent quality that wove its way through each one: a passion for helping others.
The Leadership Collier Foundation (LCF), of the Greater Naples Chamber, hosted the 5th annual Get Involved Collier! Volunteer Expo on Oct. 21. In partnership with United Way of Collier County, the Community Foundation of Collier County and Greater Naples Leadership, LCF sought to provide a venue that would connect community members with volunteer opportunities at local nonprofits. With dozens of organizations with which to network, attendees were able to discover one (or several) groups dedicated to causes that they are passionate about.
Mete Timur, of Pilotcar EV and a member of the Leadership Collier Class of 2020, said he attended this year’s Volunteer Expo because he “wants to help.” With scores of nonprofits in attendance, Timur was able to find several groups he didn’t know about.
Among those were JDRF and Help a Diabetic, two organizations supporting and advocating for people living with diabetes. It’s a cause close to Timur’s heart, since his son has Type 1 diabetes.
“I would like to help them with our own experiences,” he said.
Exhibitors, who were able to connect with potential volunteers, also found the event beneficial.
Steve Kissinger, the chief operating officer at Meals of Hope, said he thought it was a great opportunity for community members to learn more about his organization.
Kissinger has attended the Expo with other organizations in the past, and said he was hopeful it would help Meals of Hope “gain exposure to a newer, broader community.”
“We need to leverage 35,000 volunteers a year, so this will help to get the word out,” he said.
Being that link in the community is a big part of why the LCF continues to host the Volunteer Expo year after year.
“The Volunteer Expo is our way of providing a natural connection point for volunteers and nonprofits in Collier County,” said Amanda Beights, vice president of the LCF. “The Foundation wants to educate and engage our community members to inspire collective impact. The expo is a great place for individuals to see the full scope of volunteer and board opportunities while supporting matching needs for local organizations in our community.”
Another reason why the LCF hosts the Volunteer Expo is because it knows volunteering—from serving on a board of directors to cleaning up a public park—has been proven to promote overall happiness as an employee and a community member. In fact, a paper published by Harvard Health suggests that weekly volunteering leads to happiness levels comparable to receiving a significant raise. It also states that when people collaborate as volunteers, they begin to build connections based on shared values, creating a stronger community.
For the first time this year, the LCF invited expo attendees to participate in three breakout sessions led by various community leaders that explored different volunteer-related topics.
John DeAngelis, co-founder of DeAngelis Diamond, led a session on building an intentional company culture that includes volunteer initiatives to support talent development and retention.
“Not only is volunteerism the right thing to do, it is good for business,” said DeAngelis. “It helps you attract the right team members, and it assists in creating a culture of empowerment and opportunity.”
Another breakout session—featuring Missy Lamont, executive director, and Anthony McClure, president of the board of directors, from Naples Therapeutic Riding Center—explored how organizations can build successful boards as well as how individuals can make the most of their board experiences.
“Board members are the fiduciaries who steer the organization toward a sustainable future,” said McClure. “We as board members owe it to our organization the duty of care, loyalty and obedience.”
Spencer Smith, director of programs for United Way of Collier County, led the final breakout session on best practices for connecting with volunteer opportunities.
“The value of connection is the most important component of volunteering,” said Smith. “The connection makes people feel more engaged and content in their community.”
The Volunteer Expo is proud to have facilitated connections between 300+ community members and 75 local nonprofits dedicated to serving needs in Collier County. Here’s to a more connected, content and engaged community.
Click here for a list of organizations that participated in the 2019 Volunteer Expo.
To learn more about LCF, visit www.NaplesChamber.org/leadership.
Advanced Hurricane Technology (AHT) is Collier County’s largest manufacturer and wholesaler of hurricane shutters and parts. In fact, they sell to most local shutter companies. So, if you have shutters in Southwest Florida, chances are that at least one part came from AHT!
Jaime Zabala, the company’s founder, immigrated to the United States in the early 1990s with his family to follow his own American Dream. He began his first hurricane shutter company, Imagen USA Inc., in 1993. By 1998 he was awarded a patent for the first true End Retention shutter, a system now adopted as the standard in the industry, but he found that all the major suppliers for this market weren’t local.
In 2003, Advanced Hurricane Technology was born, with the notion of supplying the local shutter market by putting quality and customer service above all else. Over the last 16 years, competitors have come and gone, but AHT has continued to innovate and grow. Today, the company’s footprint has spread throughout much of the southeastern United States and the Caribbean.
The company is now being managed by the next generation – Jaime Zabala Jr. (Zabala’s son) and Andy Zabala (Zabala’s nephew). Jaime Zabala Jr. and Andy Zabala kindly gave Greater Naples Chamber staff a facility tour. The Chamber team learned all about the company’s history, hard work and success, and the start of a strategic succession plan.
The cousins are taking the business to the next level by incorporating new technology into the winning formula established over 25 years ago: quality above all else. Together they own and operate the company according to their family values: “If it's worth doing, it’s worth doing right.”
Interested in becoming a chamber member? Contact Susan Kuhar at email@example.com
Fellowship Provided State and Local Chambers with Opportunities to Engage Nationally on Critical Education and Workforce Issues
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation announced Alex Breault, director of work-based learning of the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce graduated from its premier business leadership program. The inaugural Business Leads Fellowship Program trained and equipped leaders from state and local chambers of commerce with resources, access to experts, and a network of peers to build their capacity to address the most pressing education and workforce challenges.
“It was an honor to participate in this program with so many talented chamber professionals from around the country,” said Breault. “This experience has given me the tools and knowledge to better understand our workforce development opportunities.”
“As clearly displayed throughout this program, state and local leaders know better than anyone the critical link between education and economic development,” says Cheryl Oldham, senior vice president of the Center for Education and Workforce. “Not only did the Fellows gain a network of peers and experts in the field, the program is designed to help these leaders find opportunities to develop initiatives that will continue to advance the growth of their local economy and put education policy into practice.”
Following a competitive application and selection process, Breault was selected along with 32 other state and local chamber executives to participate in the second cohort. The four-month program covered the entire talent pipeline, including early childhood education, K-12, higher education, and workforce development.
Upon completion, Business Leads Fellows join the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s dedicated network of 200 chambers of commerce and statewide associations from around the nation who regularly engage on education and workforce initiatives.
In the modern workplace, even the most entry-level positions seem to require some form of related, hands-on experience. That is why Collier County high school and college students are turning to local internships to get a jump-start on their careers.
Jake Goguen, a senior at Florida Gulf Coast University completing a major in biology and a minor in chemistry, spent the summer interning for Arthrex, an orthopedic medical device company headquartered in Naples. His goal? To gain experience in the field of industry research.
Goguen first learned of the Arthrex internship program through his involvement with Youth Leadership Collier (YLC), a weeklong intensive program managed by the Chamber’s Leadership Collier Foundation that seeks to develop ethical leaders committed to active community involvement.
“YLC allowed me to gain knowledge of what opportunities were available in our area and helped point me in the direction of pursuing medicine and opportunities with Arthrex,” said Goguen. “The program also helped prepare me for college, giving me the chance to refine my leadership style, speaking abilities and networking.”
Goguen’s primary responsibility during his Arthrex internship was to conduct shelf life and degradation studies of Arthrex parts. He also played a pivotal role in testing prototypes, new equipment and studies with the Orthobiologics team.
“My internship has been an amazing experience that I would recommend to anyone,” said Goguen. “The Research and Development team that I worked with is extremely knowledgeable and helpful. Their guidance and this experience have really helped me solidify my goals.”
While the internship experience was undeniably impactful for Goguen and his career aspirations, his contributions—along with the contributions of each summer intern across Collier County— supported the company’s overall development and growth.
“Not only do internships benefit students, but they are important for our business as well,” said Alyssa McCoy, recruiter at Arthrex. “Interns provide teams with short-term support, fresh ideas and positivity to assist us with accomplishing our goals.”
In addition to the valuable input interns provide, companies who engage interns can significantly reduce the cost, time and effort when it comes to recruiting and training new hires. For this reason, the Chamber’s Leadership Collier Foundation is committed to cultivating opportunities for local businesses to partner with local students. The mutually beneficial internships equip students with professional, hands-on skills and, ultimately, encourage them to return to Collier County after graduation.
“Starting an internship program can be challenging and time consuming, but it can bring both the students and the company great success,” said McCoy.
Goguen is thankful to have been one of those students.
“My experience has prepared me for leadership positions at FGCU as well as given me a better understanding of the different industries in Collier County that I could potentially enter after graduation.”
After attending medical school, Goguen plans to move back to Collier County where he hopes to conduct research with Arthrex as an orthopedic surgeon. He credits his internship experience in large part for helping him solidify his career aspirations.
“You feel like part of a larger team, and I couldn’t be more grateful to have completed my internship experience in Collier County."
The Leadership Collier Foundation (LCF), of the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce, has partnered with United Way of Collier County, the Community Foundation of Collier County and Greater Naples Leadership to host the fifth annual “Get Involved Collier! Volunteer Expo.” This event will be held from 3-6 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 21 at the Hilton Naples, 5111 Tamiami Trail N.
Community members are invited to network with 75 local nonprofits and learn more about volunteer and board of director opportunities in Collier County. For a full list of exhibitors, visit www.napleschamber.org/getinvolvedcollier.
Attendees also are invited to partake in three breakout sessions:
The Volunteer Expo is free, but attendees are encouraged to register prior to the event at www.napleschamber.org/getinvolvedcollier.
The manufacturing industry has been the industry to watch over the past few years.
That’s not surprising considering that manufacturing in the United States is the ninth-largest economy in the world. In fact, manufacturers in the U.S. perform more than three-quarters of all private-sector research and development in the nation, driving more innovation than any other sector.
Here is a quick look at manufacturing by the numbers:
Collier County is on par with the national trend, supporting a strong and ever-growing manufacturing industry. Check out these quick facts about manufacturing in Collier County:
So, what’s next?
Understanding and addressing trends in the manufacturing industry will aide in the growth and vitality of the industry. By 2020 there will be an estimated 3,227 workers retiring in manufacturing positions in Collier County alone. Since January, there have been 1,600 postings for positions related to manufacturing operations, confirming the demand for labor in this industry.
Recognizing the need, Collier County is creating a pipeline for future talent and continues to promote technical education by opening training programs, such the Center for Manufacturing Excellence, which will expand and enhance Immokalee Technical College’s manufacturing offerings at a centralized location. The Center, which is set to open in January 2020, will not only offer a traditional machining course, but also create specialized, industry-specific training programs and an apprenticeship program.
“Collier County has been crucial for our business and strategic delivery,” said Cindy Santiago, human resources manager at Progress Rail, a supplier of railroad and transit system products and services. “Starting from our early beginnings, the county has supported our initiatives to support our community and bring new talent. At Progress Rail, we believe in building partnerships, supporting our community and building the next generation of workforce.”
The Greater Naples Chamber works to engage students and business operations alike to create a vibrant economy in all industries, including manufacturing.
National Manufacturing Day is Friday, Oct. 4, and we have partnered with Pelican Wire and Arthrex to host work-site tours for high school students to showcase local manufacturing careers. These events allow manufacturers to open their doors and connect with future workforce. Follow us along on Facebook and Instagram the week of Oct. 4, as we highlight the manufacturing industry.
Do you have an hour to spare to engage and inspire students about local opportunities? Visit napleschamber.org/collierleads or contact Alex Breault at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looking for resources for your business? Check out the resources available to you below.
Collier Leads, a collaboration between Southwest Florida’s major educational institutions and local businesses, create work-based learning opportunities—such as internships—that a crucial to the development of our future workforce.
Contact: Alex Breault, director of work-based learning, email@example.com
Business Retention and Expansion
Take advantage of business support programs that improve your bottom line, grow your business and create jobs at no cost to you!
Melanie Schmees, director of business & economic research, firstname.lastname@example.org
Economic Development Resources
The Chamber's focus on economic development is to create a healthy economic climate where businesses can thrive. To meet this goal, we provide key services and support, ranging from relocation and expansion expertise to long-term planning with our community partners. Learn more about our partners here:
Nikkie Dvorchak (GAIN '17)
As Vice President of Events and Development for the Greater Naples Chamber, Nikkie Dvorchak manages all the monthly and annual Chamber events and giving for the organization. Her work with the Chamber has given her the wonderful opportunity to work with a variety of businesses, community leaders, and talent every day. “When I see the efforts of so many people in Collier and what they do to help each other out, to do good for those in need, to take time to participate on committees, boards, and to volunteer, it truly is a place unlike any other. I am so fortunate to be able to be a part of it,” Nikkie said.
In 2011, Nikkie and her husband made the big decision to move to Naples from Pittsburgh, Penn. “Pittsburgh will always be a huge part of who I am and I love going back to visit, but I love that I can now call Naples home,” Nikkie said. “I had been visiting the area with my family for many years. It was always a dream of mine [to live here]. I decided I didn’t want to wait until I retired but wanted to live my dream now. The people are by far the best part…but of course the beauty, quality of life and endless opportunity are what make Naples really special.”
Nikkie has planted her roots firmly into the Naples community and her commitment to supporting our local area extends well beyond her important work in the Chamber’s offices. She is also a co-chair of the Zoobilee event at the Naples Zoo, where she works to help raise awareness and bring in needed funds for environmental education programs and for conservation initiatives to save threatened and endangered species. Nikkie’s dedication to our local zoo has earned her a position on the Naples Zoo’s Board of Directors beginning in October 2019. She is also a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, serving on the organization’s National Philanthropy Planning Committee. As a GAIN graduate, she also serves on the LCF Alumni Association Events & Outings Committee.
Nikkie’s favorite Chamber event is the Naples Children’s Business Fair, which will be held on January 11, 2020. Nikkie says, “This event gives young entrepreneurs ages 6-17 the opportunity to showcase their product or service to the public. We had amazing participation our first year, and I can’t wait to see it continue to grow this year.” Please support her efforts by attending and participating in the exciting upcoming Chamber events she has worked so hard to plan.
The Greater Naples Chamber is honored to announce our 2019 Distinguished Public Service Award Winners! Established in 2003, the Distinguished Public Service Awards recognize the outstanding contribution of an individual or team to their respective public service profession and to the well-being of Collier County. This year’s award categories and honorees include the following:
EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES
Deputy Chief Tony Camps, Capt. Anthony Maro, Capt. Matthew Allen, Lt. Mike Smith, Lt. Kevin Escalera, Lt. Tony Delatorre, PM Moises Galicia & Lt. Jorge Castillo,
Collier County Emergency Medical Services
This team of dedicated professionals with Collier County Emergency Medical Services has taught over 260 classes and has trained over 6,800 Collier County residents as part of the Stop the Bleed Campaign. The two-hour class prepares individuals with the knowledge and skills needed to provide medical care for surviving a mass violent event, such as an active shooter. A graduate of the first class taught by this team used her training to survive the Las Vegas shooting in October 2017.
Lt. Robert Schank,
North Collier Fire Control and Rescue
Lt. Schank began his career in fire safety in 1997 with the North Naples Fire District. He is now a lieutenant with the North Collier Fire Control & Rescue District. He coaches soccer at Lely high school where he focuses on mentoring youth, with many of his mentees following in his professional footsteps. Schank has been responsible for influencing over 20 emergency responders to start their career in Collier County.
Lt. Michael O’Reilly & Sgt. Matthew Doyle,
Naples Police Department
Lt. O’Reilly and Sgt. Doyle, of the Naples Police Department, were off duty attending a Boy Scout swim test when they noticed a man having a seizure in the pool. Both men jumped into action and began rendering emergency aid. Through several cycles of CPR and a shock from an available AED, they were able to bring the patient’s pulse back and save his life. Within a week, the man was fully recovered.
PST-II Kristopher Murphy,
Naples Police Department
PST-II Murphy, of the Naples Police Department, received a 911 call from a panicked woman indicating her stepfather was unconscious on the floor with irregular breathing. Murphy immediately recognized the emergency as cardiac arrest and had the stepdaughter begin chest compressions within 3 minutes and 15 seconds of receiving the call. After 78 seconds, the man began breathing on his own, and he was alert and speaking minutes later.
Retired Deputy Chief Michael Nichols,
City of Naples Fire-Rescue Department
Retired Deputy Chief Nichols played a key role in producing the first-ever five-year strategic plan for the City of Naples Fire-Rescue Department. He also had a vital role in forging a partnership between the Naples Fire-Rescue, Collier County Sheriff’s Office and Motorola to implement and deploy the new computer-aided dispatch system improving unit response time. Additionally, Nichols has been instrumental in teaching and mentoring local youth in the annual Naples Police and Fire-Rescue Youth Academy.
The Greater Naples Chamber will honor 13 Collier County first responders with the 17th annual Distinguished Public Service Awards on October 9 at the Hilton Naples from 8 a.m. - 10 a.m. The keynote speaker will be Collier County Judge Janeice Martin of the 20th Judicial Circuit. Reserve your seat today!
The event is sponsored by Naples Daily News, Rick Hendrick Chevrolet Naples, Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, P.A., First Florida Integrity Bank, 100 Club, Dragon Horse Media, Burntwood Tavern, Lee County Electric Cooperative
and Life In Naples.