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.
Want more information? Contact our Director of Work-Based Learning, Alex Breault, at email@example.com@napleschamber.org
Matin A. Nestares (GAIN ‘17)
Born in Argentina and raised in Maryland, attorney Martín Nestares has made Collier County his home for just over four years and he is already making a significant impact. Martín is a Founding Partner of ABN Law, Vice-Chair of Collier Child Care Resources, a board member of the Council of Hispanic Business Professionals, a member of the Chamber’s Public Policy Committee, and is involved with the Collier County Bar Association. He is also raising a family here – he and wife Kennedy have a 15-month-old son, Francisco – and he is a graduate of Growing Associates in Naples (GAIN) 2017.
Martín’s favorite part of his GAIN experience was “making lasting professional and personal relationships while gaining a deeper understanding of the community around me” and seeing the areas in his community where he might be able to give back. He cites these as some of the reasons Leadership Collier Foundation (LCF) programs are so important for Collier County.
“The challenge with community involvement is that it sometimes may feel that you are on your own,” explains Martín. “GAIN allowed me to develop a stronger network of professionals who are willing to be engaged in their community and work together in order to make Collier County a great place to work and live.”
He believes that LCF alumni can make a difference in the key issues facing Collier County. “One of the biggest challenges for our community is how do we continue to grow while at the same time protecting our natural resources which attract so many of our visitors and new residents,” explains Martín, who enjoys spending time outdoors. He also cites lack of civility and listening to other points of view as another challenge, saying “we may not always agree on everything, but we should have an open mind and listen to the ideas of others.”
Martín encourages LCF graduates and other professionals “to become just a little more involved in their local government,” such as attending a County Commissioners meeting to voice their opinions, and to help foster that open dialogue that is so important for our society.
The Leadership Collier Foundation™ (LCF), in coordination with The Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce, held its graduation of the Youth Leadership Collier™ (YLC) program on Friday, June 7, 2019 at NCH Healthcare System.
The mission of YLC is to develop ethical leaders committed to active community involvement. Reaching nearly 500 students to date, Youth Leadership Collier (YLC) empowers students to become effective leaders through hands on experiences and field work, while encouraging students to begin their careers and community leadership in Collier County.
The LCF Board of Advisors congratulates the graduates of the Youth Leadership Collier Class of 2019:
Makaylee Alexis, Lorenzo Walker Technical High School
Patrycia Antoniak, Naples High School
Vincent Barbaro, Seacrest Country Day School
Ruthamar Bellevue, Immokalee High School
Tanner Bradley, Barron Collier High School
Nehemie Cyriaque, Golden Gate High School
Chayil Dickerson, Palmetto Ridge High School
Alexis Diegel, Barron Collier High School
Dominic DiMercurio, St. John Neumann Catholic
Garrett Fandrich, Gulf Coast High School
Sydney Gaul, Community School of Naples
Abbigale Grensing, Lely High School
Ariana Huber, Gulf Coast High School
Alex Hunter, Gulf Coast High School
Robert Leithauser, Seacrest Country Day School
Diane Medina Batista, Community School of Naples
Faterlmine Metellus, Barron Collier High School
Tyler Myers, Seacrest Country Day School
Jonathan Oliva-Infante, Golden Gate High School
Adelyne Olson, Barron Collier High School
Carly Richards, Gulf Coast High School
Hanah Samuel, Community School of Naples
Savannah Smith, The Village School of Naples
Joe Stover, First Baptist Academy
Cesca Thorne, Seacrest Country Day School
Nimsi Trujillo, Golden Gate High School
Jefferson Valladares, Golden Gate High School
Tanner Vandenbosch, Barron Collier High School
Santiago Velasquez, Lely High School
Savanna VonSteenburgh, Everglades City High School
Julien Zappulla, Seacrest Country Day School