JENNA BUZZACCO-FOERSTER | DIRECTOR OF GOVERNMENT RELATIONS
When Syd Kitson set out to create Babcock Ranch, he wanted to prove that growth and sustainability could go hand in hand.
Thirteen years later, his vision is a reality. And Kitson, the chairman and CEO of Kitson & Partners, said the Southwest Florida community is a model for what smart development can look like going forward.
“All these things that we’re talking about are what create community,” said Kitson. “Babcock Ranch doesn’t have gates. This is truly a town.”
Kitson talked about his vision for creating Babcock Ranch during the August 14 Wake Up Naples at Hilton Naples. In his 45-minute conversation with Naples City Manager Charles Chapman, Kitson discussed the process of building a town from the ground up, the importance of preservation and how to create community.
“One of the things we wanted Babcock Ranch to be was multi-generational,” he said. “We didn’t want it to be a bunch of old people like me. We wanted to have that great mix of people.”
The best way to attract young people: Build a school. That was one of the first things Kitson did, at the urging of former Gov. Jeb Bush, a member of the Babcock Ranch board. It proved to be a smart decision. The school quickly had a waiting list and has since moved to a larger location.
Kitson said Babcock Ranch has incorporated a variety of other features, including community gardens and free Wi-Fi outside, to make the town attractive to all types of residents. His team is focused heavily on solar power, becoming the first all solar community in nation, and autonomous vehicles.
These measures have helped achieve the goal of attracting a wide variety of residents. Kitson said more than half the buyers are young families, and a fair share of them work in the community.
Kitson encouraged landowners, developers and governments to “work in partnership” to ensure sustainable communities can flourish in the future.
“I think what Babcock Ranch is proving … is that people what that kind of living,” he said.
To register for future Wake Up Naples breakfast events visit www.napleschamber.org/wakeupnaples
MADELINE YOUNG | DIRECTOR OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS
Did you know the Naples Chamber has a Small Business Council? Collier County’s economy is dependent on small businesses and we value feedback and insight from each of our local entrepreneurs.
During July’s meeting, 15 council members from varying industries got together to discuss “out-of-season” tactics in slower months.
Blase Ciabaton from Naples Print Source led the conversation and cited a few ideas that keep his business running through the summer heat.
Keeping top talent
Those among the conversation said that finding ways to keep their top talent all year instead of losing them makes a significant difference on productivity and efficiency. Some examples to keep talent include hiring more part-time employees to keep their hours through the summer instead of cutting back, supplying flexible or remote work-time, providing “loyalty bonuses,” or planning individual or team volunteer days helps to maintain and engage staff members.
Find out what your team is looking for and how you as an employer can better serve them. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to buy the team lunch occasionally, to show that sign of appreciation.
Understanding your client’s needs is a great way to stay busy all year round. For example, Naples Print Source, known for its high-quality design and printing services understood their client’s needs for a database manager and found it perfectly aligned with their expertise and skill set. Now, they have diversity within their offerings and have budgeted work throughout the year that is less periodic.
Consider planning a “listening tour.” Go out and talk with customers. Find out ways that you can make their lives easier. Summer schedules are typically less chaotic, and that’s the perfect time to get qualitative insight, reflect and enhance your services.
Diversifying your client-base is another way to stay busy June-September. Finding clients in varying industries is a strategic way to manage the company’s workload. Supporting businesses in tourism, healthcare, nonprofit and government is an ideal way to expand your reach.
Planning Projects for the Slow Months
Take time to work with your team to prepare and “batch” projects for the entire year.
Whether it’s prepping that quarterly marketing plan, cleaning up the database or preparing materials, finding the time to build a backup for when things get crazy will prove to be invaluable in staying organized and efficient. Planning strategic internal projects in the summer months can keep creativity flowing when client work might slow down.
If you are a small business owner or work for a small business, consider joining the Chamber’s Small Business Council. To find out more contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Corey was born in Naples FL and lived here until the age 2. He moved to St. Petersburg, FL and then moved back to Naples in 7th grade where he attended Oak Ridge Middle School and Gulf Coast High School. Corey attended Florida Atlantic University on a full football scholarship after playing 1 season of high school football.
After earning a degree in English at FAU, he embarked on a professional football career. He told himself that he would give it at least 1 year to chase my dream of playing pro ball. Entering into his professional career he taught English at Barron High School for 2 years and in 2013 I embarked on his insurance career with State Farm Insurance. He worked for agent, mentor and Chamber Member, Brian Glaeser, and opened his own State Farm Insurance agency in 2018.
Corey is a family oriented person and he is motivated by his beautiful wife and 3 children. "I have an awesome relationship with my father and learned all about hard work by working with him in my family catering business. Many say he has the best BBQ in town! I am extremely passionate about what I do and I am even more excited about being able to represent a brand like State Farm Insurance here in my hometown," said Corey.
As a proud Chamber member, he is looking forward to assisting in the Chamber's advocacy efforts and meeting other business professionals in the community. To learn more about Corey visit www.insuredbycorey.com
Interested in becoming a chamber member? Contact Susan Kuhar at email@example.com
Stacey L. Herring (LC ’13)
Stacey L. Herring, Vice President of Private Banking with Morgan Stanley Private Bank, is no stranger to leadership, hard work and service to others. Born and raised in Southwest Florida, Herring has devoted her life to making a difference in the lives of those she encounters both professionally and personally – something she attributes to the lessons her aunt taught her growing up.
Herring shares, “I was exposed at a very young age to children who didn’t have the same life and opportunities that I had. It really had an impact on me and made me realize how blessed I was.”
Now she’s putting that passion to work for the LCF Alumni Association serving on the Board as the Leadership Lunch Chair and former Vice Chair.
Throughout her 25-year career in the financial industry, Herring has achieved great professional success. She has applied that experience and her passion for helping children to her community involvement, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed. In addition to winning awards as a top producer professionally, Herring was named a 2007 Gulfshore Business 40 Under 40, 2013 Champions for Learning Glass Slipper Award winner, and 2014 Community Foundation Women of Initiative.
Since getting involved with Leadership Collier, Herring has channeled the vast knowledge she gained and the profound connections she made along the way to make a meaningful impact in her community endeavors. During the LC sessions, she never missed a chance to meet each presenter and followed up with them afterwards knowing that one day she may need to call upon them. By being engaged, asking questions, staying involved and taking action, Herring has gotten the most out of her LC experience and our community is better for it.
As a self-proclaimed social person and constant learner, Herring enjoys her work with the LCF Alumni Association because of the opportunities it provides to spend time with other like-minded people committed to the greater good, to deepen relationships and stay connected with fellow alumni as well as stay up to date on topics that are valuable to making and keeping our area the best place to work and play. Something she takes back to her service work.
Herring said, “When choosing opportunities to give back, I prefer a leadership position or to serve as chair. I have a strong vision for the task at hand and bring passion and heart to my service work.”
The long list of her leadership roles for local charities includes Chair and Vice Chair of the Women of Initiative; Chair and Vice Chair of Junior Achievement of SWFL Business Hall of Fame; Chair of the Youth Haven Annual Lunch; Chair of the NCH Hospital Ball Gala; and Chair, Co-chair and Auction Chair for C’Mon Dream Gala.
Herring adds, “I believe that one person can make a difference, but a collective spirit can change the world. Leadership is what ties us together. Whether it’s a class project, serving on a board or chairing an event, Leadership Collier gives those of us who care a chance to come together and make a real impact by exposing us to the challenges that impact us as a community every day.”
AUTHOR: DEBORAH DROTAR, SERVPRO
The best way to reduce business interruption following a disaster is to plan for it now. As many as 50% of businesses may never recover following a disaster, according to the latest industry research. Of the businesses that survive, the overwhelming majority of them had a preparedness plan in place. Pre-planning can serve as an insurance policy aimed at peace of mind. Planning ahead speaks trust to your clients and your employees. Knowing what to do and what to expect in advance is the key to timely mitigation and can help minimize how water and fire damage can affect your business.
Are You Ready?
Many businesses have an emergency contingency plan in place, but few have a plan back into buildings following a disaster. It is estimated that 95% of disasters affecting regular business operations are internal or man-made, such as fire or internal flooding. With the proper planning, you can better recover from disasters after they occur.
Consider a plan post-disaster to help you recover. This is a vital component of any pre-existing contingency plan. Here are a few check points:
Think about the potential disasters that could affect your facility. Now ask yourself this question:
ARE YOU READY?
To find out more about the Emergency Ready Profile offered by SERVPRO of Naples/Marco Island contact Deborah Drotar. The Emergency Ready Profile is a start up approach that provides critical information needed to begin mitigation and recovery services.
SERVPRO of Naples/Marco Island independently owned and operated Franchises have been helping business owners recover from disasters for over 40 years… The Experience You Need! Trusted by Insurance companies across America. Over 1700 Franchise locations in all 50 states, specializing in fire water mold clean up and Restoration, we are faster to any disaster.
If you are a Chamber member and interested in writing for the blog as an expert in your field contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, June 25, the Chamber along with ArgoTrak, Inc. hosted the Distinguished Public Service Awards Movie Night for First Responders for the fifth year in a row!
We had over 260 first responders and their families join us for a fun night out to enjoy Toy Story 4 at Paragon Pavilion all because of Argotrak and the Wheeler families endless support. Their families' smiling faces, joyous laughter and contagious comradery is one of the reasons I love this event and our community. ArgoTrak is company full of people who are truly passionate about the cause they are supporting and go above and beyond to give both philanthropic support and so much of their time.
ArgoTrak has been a DPSA sponsor for the past 5 years. They started their company 6 years ago as a staff of 5 and now have 13 team members and a customer base across all 50 states and dozens of international customers and they have been honored in the Inc 5000 list three years in a row. This summer they are moving their distribution and provisioning to North Carolina, but will continue to have local team members and a strong presence in Collier County.
“The ArgoTrak team holds first responders, and their families, very close in our hearts. We are so grateful for the sacrifice that is made daily, by the first responders and by their families, to keep us safe and secure in our community. We believe you cannnot say thank you enough, and this is why we try in small ways to make them feel special and appreciated. Sponsoring a movie night is super easy, what they do day in and day out is the tough part,” shared Christine Wheeler of ArgoTrak Inc. “Partnering with the Chamber to make these special events happen is a privilege. The Collier County business community has a great resource in the Chamber and we have always enjoyed partnering with the Chamber team to make great things happen!”
Chamber Membership Intern
Senior at Ave Maria University
Currently studying history with a minor in communications.
What projects did you work on during your internship?
During my six month internship I updated member information, such as adding logos and revising employee information, sent out letters congratulating members on ribbon cuttings or important milestones and supported the Chamber team whenever possible. I also enjoyed working at the annual Chamber Classic Golf Tournament, where I was able to network with some incredible people, as well as attending new member meetings where I saw first hand how the chamber assists business owners and encourages networking with one another.
What surprised you the most during your internship at the Chamber?
I was most surprised by the Chamber’s operations during my internship. Before applying for the position, I had no clue what a Chamber of Commerce was and how it worked. Upon doing research and being a part of the membership team, I was amazed how close businesses worked with the Chamber and how they interacted with one another to build up the business world of the Greater Naples area.
What’s your favorite memory from your internship?
My favorite memory from the internship would have to be assisting in the Chamber Classic Golf Tournament. I was able to interact with many different members and connect with past Florida Senator Garrett Richter. And witness a hole in one!
Do you have advice for students applying to or starting internships?
My advice for students who are applying to internships would be to make sure that you do research on the business or organization you are applying to in order to know what skills or knowledge you can showcase in your future projects. When applying don’t be afraid to possibly go out of your field of study, though being a history major, I have picked up skills and knowledge on how a nonprofit operates and can apply that knowledge later in my career.
For those who are starting an internship, be sure to walk in with a positive attitude and the determination for success. Your internship experience will be based on your attitude towards the work you do and how well you do it.
Now that I have finished my internship, I’m looking to finish up my senior year and after graduation begin the process of commissioning as an officer in the United States Air Force. It’s been a dream of mine since I was a kid to be a pilot and I feel I have what it takes to take on the challenge.
The Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce and the Board of Collier County Commissioners selected The Naples Players as the Business of the Month for June 2019.
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, the director of membership at The Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce, presented Bryce Alexander, executive director, and Derek Perry, director of development with a commemorative plaque on June 11, 2019 at the County Commission meeting.
Founded in 1953, The Naples Players provide high-quality arts access to every member of the Southwest Florida community. Their robust arts education program boasts over 1,000 students who participate in meaningful artistic programming and the organization has awarded over $60,000 in scholarships to local students in the past year.
Additionally, The Naples Players continues to make strides serving individuals with disabilities, offering Theatre therapy programming designed and taught by professional therapists and teachers.
As a hub for Collier County, The Naples Players works directly with dozens of nonprofit organizations and community groups to advance their missions and provide a safe and welcoming space for their nuanced programming. The organization is proud to maintain its extraordinary place in the community as the torchbearer for arts involvement and engagement in Southwest Florida.
To learn more about The Naples Players visit www.naplesplayers.org
The Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce announced the appointment of four new members to its Board of Directors, effective as of June 1, 2019.
Michelle Borders is the co-owner of Naples Networks Services, an IT consulting and maintenance firm for small and medium companies in and around Collier County. She is a current Naples Chamber Ambassador, a 2012 Growing Associates in Naples (GAIN) graduate and a 2014 Leadership Collier graduate. She has coordinated the Youth Leadership Collier Application Evaluators for the past 3 years and is the chair the Chamber’s Small Business Council. Borders has been a proud member of Naples Area Professional League of Executive Services since 2010 and has held various positions on the board including President in 2015. Borders also volunteers as a mentor for Grace Place, Champions for Learning and the Small Business Development Center at FGCU.
Lisa Van Dien
Lisa Barnett Van Dien is general counsel and a vice president of London Bay Homes. Prior to joining London Bay Homes, Van Dien practiced with the law firm of Cheffy Passidomo, P.A., for over 15 years, where she was a partner in the firm’s real estate department. Lisa currently serves on the Executive Council of the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section of The Florida Bar, and has previously served in leadership roles on the Board of Directors for the Collier County Bar Association, the Board of Directors for the Collier County Women's Bar Association, the Real Estate Section of the Collier County Bar Association, and the Naples Area Board of Realtors Legal Resources Committee. She is a founding member of the Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples and a past chair of Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida. She formerly served on the 20th Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission as an appointee of then Gov. Jeb Bush, and the Real Estate Board Certification Committee of The Florida Bar. Van Dien is a graduate of the Leadership Collier Class of 2008 and a graduate of the Leadership Florida Class of 2013 (Class XXXI).
Thomas S. Monaghan
Although best known as the founder of Domino’s Pizza and former owner of the Detroit Tigers baseball franchise, Thomas S. Monaghan is currently devoted to non-profit endeavors, specifically focused on Ave Maria University and Ave Maria School of Law. Monaghan sold Domino’s to Bain Capital, Inc. in 1998, leaving behind its day-to-day operations, which he had overseen for 38 years. In 1998, he founded Ave Maria Institute in Ypsilanti, Mich. (which later became Ave Maria College), a Catholic liberal arts institution designed to prepare students for leadership in academics, professional careers, and service to the Catholic Church and society as a whole. The college was the forerunner of Ave Maria University which was a continuation of its educational mission when it was founded in Florida in 2003. The university’s current campus is located in Ave Maria, Fla., which is northeast of Naples. Monaghan currently serves as Chancellor and a member of the university’s board of trustees.
Aysegul Timur, Ph.D., is assistant vice president of strategic initiatives, strategy and program innovation at Florida Gulf Coast University. She received her Doctoral degree in business administration from the University of South Florida, and both her Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in business administration from the University of Istanbul. Her areas of specialization include business policy and organizational development, quality control, statistics for strategic planning, health and international economics. She is a go-to expert for workforce development and was recently honored by the Florida College Access Network as one of its first Workforce Education Innovators. Before joining FGCU, she was the dean of the Johnson School of Business and senior vice president of academic affairs at Hodges University. Timur is also a 2012 graduate of Leadership Collier and serves on the Leadership Collier Advisory Board and the Partnership for Collier's Future Economy Board.
2019 -2020 Naples Chamber Board of Directors are:
Chair, Bill Barker, Naples Daily News
Chair Elect, Garrett Richter, First Florida Integrity Bank
Immediate Past Chair, Dan Lavender, Moorings Park Retirement Community
Libby Anderson, TalentForce Solutions
Derrick Ayers, Innovative Food Holdings
Michelle Borders, Naples Network Services
Russell Budd, PBS Contractors
Scott Burgess, David Lawrence Center
Dave Cato, Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida
Charles Chapman, City of Naples
Eileen Connolly-Keesler, Community Foundation of Collier County
Tom Donahue, Shula’s – Hilton Naples
Phil Dutcher, NCH Healthcare System
Anne Fleming, Waterside Shops
Jeff Fridkin, Grant Fridkin Pearson, P.A.
Bill Gaston, BUILD, LLC
Mary Beth Geier, Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation
Kerry Geroy, Naples Global Advisors
Dudley Goodlette, Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, P.A.
David Gordley, IBERIABANK
Buddy Hornbeck III, Gallagher Lutgert
Errol Howard, Wells Fargo Bank
CJ Hueston, Corporate Dimensions, Inc.
Jason Korn, Cohen & Grigsby, P.C.
Cee Cee Marinelli, Barron Collier Companies
Eddie Metzger, TECO Peoples Gas
Thomas Monaghan, Ave Maria University
Edward Morton, Wasmer, Schroeder & Company, Inc.
Stefan Muehlbauer, Sustainable Projects Group Inc.
Leo Ochs, Collier County Government
Danny Pate, CenturyLink
Kamela Patton, Collier County Public Schools
Dr. Emily Ptaszek, Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida /CHS Healthcare Foundation
Kevin Rambosk, Collier County Sheriff’s Office
Timothy Reiter, Fifth Third Bank
Craig Saks, ACI Worldwide
Julie Schmelzle, Bank of America
John Schmieding, Arthrex, Inc.
Kingman Schuldt, Greater Naples Fire Rescue District
Jeanne Seewald, Hahn Loeser & Parks LLP
Randy Smith, Naples Transportation & Tours
Stephanie Spell, Collier County Sheriff’s Office
Katie Sproul, Halstatt, LLC
Ed Staros, Ritz-Carlton Resorts of Naples
Brian Stock, Stock Development
Aysegul Timur, Florida Gulf Coast University
Vicki Tracy, Gulf Coast International Properties
Jeev Trika, DMA – Digital Marketing Agency
Patrick Utter, Collier Enterprises
Lisa Van Dien, London Bay Homes
Pablo Veintimilla, Centennial Bank
David Weston, Naples Lumber & Supply
Ryan Williams, Kevin Williams Construction, Inc.
Michael Wynn, Sunshine Ace Hardware, Inc.
JENNA BUZZACCO-FOERSTER, DIRECTOR OF GOVERNMENT RELATIONS
Southwest Florida’s business community racked up several big wins – from money for water quality improvements to legislation aimed at strengthening workforce training – during Florida’s 2019 legislative session.
But for those successes to continue, lawmakers said business and community leaders need to make sure their voices are heard on important issues.
“Collier County is near and dear to our hearts,” said Rep. Byron Donalds. “We want to hear from the people that are doing the work every single day in Collier County. We want to hear issues, especially before we go back to Tallahassee and … we want to be able to hear these things from you, so we can act on them.”
Donalds was joined by Senate Majority Leader Kathleen Passidomo and Rep. Bob Rommel at Wake Up Naples on June 12 to discuss the 2019 legislative session. The trio highlighted several pieces of legislation of importance to the business community and discussed a variety of issues ranging from home rule to the state of bipartisanship in Tallahassee.
“We’re different than Washington,” said Passidomo. “We don’t have rancor, and I hope that never happens. When I help my colleagues, it’s helping everybody. You will see us working together and it’s really marvelous, I think.”
Passidomo said her role as Senate majority leader meant she served in a different capacity this year, filing fewer bills and working to make sure bills important to Floridians made it across the finish line.
One of those proposals is a bill that creates pathways for career and technical education in Florida. Lawmakers said it was something the business community has asked for and will help create a talent pipeline for employers across the state.
“For a long time in education we got in this mode of you have to go to college to be successful,” said Donalds. “What we’ve realized is we got it wrong. You can be successful without going to a four-year college or university.”
The legislation provides a pathway for students to graduate from high school, while being in an apprenticeship program. It also establishes a “college and career decision day,” allows a computer science credit to act as a substitute for a math or science credit and requires school districts to offer a half-credit financial literacy course as an elective.
Creating a talent pipeline is a top priority for the Chamber, which works with hundreds of students each year to better prepare them to enter the workforce. Lawmakers highlighted several industries they thought could be areas of growth in the future, including telecommunications, autonomous vehicles and the medical industry.
“We have to be smart,” said Rommel. “One thousand people a day move to Florida.”
Passidomo and Rommel also said they believed the state’s legacy industries will continue to be big economic drivers in Southwest Florida and throughout the state.
“In Florida, no matter what (construction) and hospitality are going to be No. 1 and No. 2,” Rommel said.
Lawmakers also lauded the passage of assignment of benefits (AOB) reform, something which has been attempted in years past, and significant funding for water quality and Everglades restoration. They also encouraged attendees to contact them – and their local counterparts – to tell them about the issues that are important to them.
“Everybody in this room has an interest in something we’re doing,” said Passidomo. “When your group does a call to action, don’t ignore it. Call us. Let us know your thoughts, how you feel and let’s work through it together. I would rather listen to somebody from my community than someone from Jacksonville.”
Want to tell Collier lawmakers how they’re doing? Visit the Chamber’s action center today to easily find your representatives and send them an email.