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SPECIAL SECTION September 2017


Concerns over Beach Bill Rise Citizens voice their concern over the recently passed Escambia County Land Conveyance Act.



Where Does the Money Go? Pensacola’s budget for 2018 is under review, and a balance between growth and moderation has lead to discussion and controversy.



With more breweries set to open this fall, we take a look at the local favorites and some of the facts behind the brewing “boom.”

Find out what is happening in business, government and cultural news in the greater Pensacola area and northwest Florida.

The Business of Brewing

Around the Region

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Hops and Dreams: The Breweries of Pensacola By Hana Frenette


ensacola has a taste for beer. Pay a visit to any number of local neighborhood bars and you’ll find a wide array of beers— beer on tap, beer in a bottle, beer in a special decanter. Pensacola is overflowing with ales, lagers and porters, many made locally by small breweries, which are growing in number each year. According to Forbes, mid-year figures from the Brewers Association, the trade group for independent brewers, shows that American craft beer production volumes increased 5% in the first half of 2017.

Forbes also noted the number of breweries in the U.S. has increased by almost 50 percent, and it’s no different here in Pensacola. As of June 30, there were 5,562 breweries operating in the U.S., 900 more than there were at this time last year. And another 2,739 breweries are in the planning stage, according to the Brewers Association. The Pensacola community has welcomed several new breweries and wineries to the neighborhood, with even more planned for the fall. Take a look at some of the longstanding establishments, and learn more about the exciting newcomers slated for later this year.

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Economy Mcguire’s Brewery 600 E. Gregory St, Pensacola, FL 32502 McGuire’s offers fine Ales, Porters and Stouts brewed on premise in their traditional oak and copper brewery. Nature and the old-time know-how of a masterbrewer get the job done here. They brew with only the finest malted barley, imported hops, and McGuire’s very own house yeast. The brewery currently brews five regular beers and a rotating seasonal beer. Their regular line up includes McGuire’s Light Ale, McGuire’s Irish Red Ale, McGuire’s Porter and McGuire’s Irish Stout. Seasonal selections include Scotch Ale, Honey Wheat, Wild Irish Raspberry Wheat, Belgian Ale, India Pale Ale, Hefeweizen, Extra Special Bitter Altbier and Christmas Ale; just to name a few. They also make a very popular root beer served draft, right out of the keg. Stop in for a tour of the brewery during your next visit. Brewmaster Mike will gladly show you around and answer your questions. If you are a homebrewer, you may take some of McGuire’s yeast with you to try on your next batch. Local favorites include: McGuire’s Oktoberfest, McGuire’s Irish Red Ale.

Pensacola Bay Brewery 225 E. Zaragoza St, Pensacola, FL 32502 Pensacola Bay Brewery proudly claims that they make beer that goes down easy, for a city that never has. The small downtown brewery chooses ingredients of the highest quality and painstakingly turn hops and malts into flavorful brew. With each batch, they aim to create their own take on classic styles – all without added preservatives or chemicals. While their brewery is also considered a micro-brewery (which means they’re not producing mass quantities of beer – yet!), they approach making beer as a fine craft. Each recipe is a unique creation, and if you get a chance to take part in their special cask nights—the recipe may even be a once-ina-lifetime flavor. Pensacola Bay Brewery beers can be found in various establishments all over the Emerald Coast including Pensacola, Ft. Walton, Destin, 30A, Panama City Beach, Apalachicola and Alabama. Local favorites include: Lil’ Napoleon IPA, Lighthouse Porter, Queen Anne’s Revenge Imperial Stout.

Gulf Coast Brewery 500 E. Heinberg St, Pensacola, FL 32502 Gulf Coast Brewery is a microbrewery located in downtown Pensacola, just north of Gregory Street. Their wide variety of beer is brewed on site, in a large open room on view to all patrons. Depending on the time of day, brewery goers are able to watch a batch of beer as it goes through part of the lengthy brewing process. Gulf Coast Brewery also offers a walk in humidor with a variety of cigars to buy and a elegant cigar lounge to enjoy your cigar while sipping on a brew of your choice. Lockers are also available for rent to store your cigar until your next visit. While the brewery isn’t yet making their own wine, they do offer a sophisticated wine lounge for those who prefer a glass of vino instead of a hoppy brew. 60 | Business Climate | nwflbusinessclimate.com

Growlers are available on site and can be purchased and filled with your favorite beer before you head out to the beach or your next barbecue. Local favorites include: Pensacola Pilsner, Pineapple Blonde Ale, Hammered Hefeweizen.

Swan Neck Winery and Meadery 2115 W. Nine Mile Rd Ste 9, Pensacola, Fl Swan Neck Winery and Meadery invites you to come drink like a Viking while enjoying traditional mead (honey-based wine.) Swan Neck Winery isn’t just about crafting the best-tasting alcoholic beverages—they also aim to give back to the Pensacola community. They do this by educating people about the art of mead making, while supporting small beekeeping businesses in the area and promoting the use of local ingredients. Swan Neck Winery offers engaging meadery tours to wine aficionados, tourists, and locals over the age of 21. Whether you are new to the concept of honey-based wine or an avid fan of this unique beverage, rest assured they’ll provide you with an enjoyable way to immerse yourself in the world of mead making—and drinking! In addition to the wine and mead, the winery also offers weekly performances by local and touring comedians and songwriters. Local favorites include: Honey blood orange mead, Blueberry elderberry mead, Madagascar bourbon vanilla mead.

Perfect Plain Brewing Co. 50 E. Garden Street, Pensacola, Fl. The newest brewery to grace the streets of downtown Pensacola! Perfect Plain is set to open its doors in November, and promises a mix of traditional brews with innovative flavors. The locally inspired, craft brewery is housed in a 5,300 square foot building on the site (not the same building) of the former J.M. Hilliard Carriage Works. Their 10-barrel brewhouse will be open air to the rest of the taproom to create an immersive experience. The space will also have glass garage doors across our entire storefront and a beer garden patio right on Garden St. Perfect Plain will have 12 of their own beers on tap once they are up and running, with additional products planned for bottle releases.





Extended Stay

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Where Does the Money Go?

An Analysis of Pensacola’s 2018 Budget By Tanner Yea At the end of July, Mayor Ashton Hayward revealed the proposed 2018 fiscal budget for the City of Pensacola. The city council met on August 1 and 2 to hold private discussions concerning the budget, but September will see two public hearings —one on September 13 and the final on September 20. According to Florida law, the budget must be passed before the end of the fiscal year, which falls on October 1.

The budget has received significant criticism, as some believe the money will not be allocated well. One critic is Councilwoman Sherri Myers, representative of District 2— which includes Cordova Mall, Sacred Heart Hospital, and a large variety of businesses, restaurants and urban communities. “The budget isn’t binding, the mayor can move around the money how he wants once the budget is passed. There’s a lack of oversight and transparency,” said Myers. “I’m also concerned about the bargain made with the LOST fund.”

The proposed budget is notable for a few reasons, but the stand-out reason being it is the largest budget since 2012. At $226.6 million, it is $8.7 million higher than last year’s budget. Comparatively, the budget for 2012 amounted to $222.1 million.

LOST stands for ‘local option sales tax’, a tax imposed on a city or county level instead of a state or federal level. 2018’s proposed budget has about $13 million going to LOST, a nearly $5 million increase from last year. These funds are used to purchase ‘capital equipment’, such as police cars, fire engines and other similar equipment.

Around $215 million of this budget will be paid by taxes and revenue, while the remaining $11.6 million will come out of various city reserves. The city’s millage rate—which is the amount per $1,000 used to calculate property tax—will continue to stay at 4.2895, which hasn’t changed since 2012.

Other notable budget shifts include a $948,800 decrease in funds for the port, a $1.353 million decrease in the Community Redevelopment Agency, and a $469,000 increase in the Urban Core Redevelopment Trust—a general infrastructure improvement fund that covers most of the downtown area.

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Community In addition, the Section 8 federal housing assistance program funding is down $849,000, and general governmental funding is down $279,000. Funding towards Maritime Park and its various programs has increased $524,300. The overall budget shows a general increase in funding for most divisions, with a continued focus on growing downtown. One organization receiving funds from the budget is the Florida West Economic Development Alliance, the economic development organization for Pensacola and Escambia County. FloridaWest is dedicated to building, growing and sustaining the economic potential and prosperity of communities, businesses and individuals in our Northwest Florida region by drawing new industry to the region, working with existing business on workforce needs and operating CO:LAB, a business incubator. “We’ve just come off of a recession, and the city, with the leadership of Mayor Hayward, has seen tremendous growth. All the construction and building shows a new demand for it,” said Scott Luth, CEO of FloridaWest. “That kind of growth requires an increase in funding (for the city), which is great. It shows that more people have invested in Pensacola.” FloridaWest is funded through non-departmental agency funding and has received a steady funding of $150,000 a year for the past five years. Luth said these funds account for FloridaWest membership dues for the city, and much of their funding comes from outside agencies. “We don’t have any plans for asking for increases from public funds, but we are going to increase private funding. We’ve always requested level funding from public sources,” said Luth. Other institutions have steady budgets, such as the Lakeview Center, which gains $20,000 a year, and the Council on Aging, which gains $70,000 a year.

sections of the city are getting more attention, with the north end of Pensacola not getting its fair share of the budget. “The mayor didn’t seemingly plan for us to have a budget workshop, and the only reason we had it was because I had insisted upon it. The workshop agenda was not put together well, the council hadn’t even discussed our own budget, and the budget was given to us late,” said Myers. “It’s a moral issue. The money is not their money - it’s the taxpayer’s money, and I don’t like the way the decisions are made to use that money.” The budget needs a simple four-person majority of the seven-member city council in order to pass, but it must be passed in some form before the fiscal year begins on October 1.

“My administration has shown that it is possible to meaningfully rein in spending by addressing the growing cost of government,” said Mayor Hayward in his statement. “By differentiating between wants and needs and then further deciding which needs have the greatest priority, we have saved money where it needed to be saved and spent money where it needed to be spent. Now we intend to show that this model is sustainable over the long term.”

Mayor Hayward said that his budget tries to find a balance between enhanced services to taxpayers and completing them in cost-effective ways to combat increased spending. “My fiscal year 2018 budget proposal reflects this new reality,” said Hayward in a statement delivered by Public Information Officer Vernon Stewart. “I am proposing a budget that will keep us on the right trajectory by emphasizing improvements to the delivery of our core services and continuing the progress we have made in improving and maintaining our infrastructure.”

Both detractors and supporters of the budget will have a chance to speak at the two public hearings on September 13 and September 20. Both will be held at 5:30 pm at City Hall, and used to discuss both the budget and the continued millage rate. To view 2018’s proposed budget – both in brief and in detail – visit http:// www.ci.pensacola.fl.us/archive. There you can also find the city’s budgets dating back to 2004.

Councilwoman Myers said that the budget approval process itself has not been clear and orderly, and this has resulted in the city council not having an adequate amount of time to discuss changes. She also argues that certain

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Beach Bill Raises Concerns On June 29, a bill known as the Escambia County Land Conveyance Act, authored by Congressman Matt Gaetz, passed the U.S. House of Representatives in a voice vote. The bill aims to allow private ownership of public land on Pensacola Beach, Navarre Beach and Santa Rosa Island, thus overturning restrictions enacted in 1946 by the federal government, who deeded much of the land to Escambia County.

written by Hana Frenette

While the bill states it will, “preserve in perpetuity the areas dedicated for conservation, preservation, public recreation access and public parking,” many citizens are worried it could affect their unfettered access to much of the white sands and turquoise waters.

The citizens—mostly beach residence owners and leasers— who will benefit from this bill granting them “fee simple” land ownership are small in number compared to the much larger portion of the community who may suffer a loss of their access to public beaches. The legislation will allow leaseholders on Santa Rosa Island and Pensacola Beach the opportunity to acquire fee simple titles to their property, which until now, has only been leasable and deemed pubic land. It would continue to allow county commissioners the power to regulate public access to beaches, preservation standards and new developments—which would also remain limited by zoning development caps.

Environment In 1947, the federal government transferred land that was part of the Santa Rosa Island National Monument to Escambia County. Since then, residents of Santa Rosa Island have been ineligible to own their land; they can only lease it. At first, businesses and residents of Santa Rosa Island paid lease fees, but not property taxes. Since then, however, the rules changed; residents are now required to pay both lease fees and property taxes. “For too long, residents of Santa Rosa Island have suffered unfair double taxation, and have been denied the ability to own their own land. My bill lifts the burden of double taxation, and restores the American Dream of property ownership,” Congressman Gaetz said in a statement released shortly after the bill was passed. Community members in opposition to the bill argue that a simple waiving of either the lease fee or the property tax could prevent double taxation, eliminating the need for the bill entirely. Diane Krumel, a Pensacola native, strongly opposes the bill and believes the piece of legislation is a massive land grab from the public. “I believe this bill has implications to privatize our beach, and to open the possibilities to privatize the national parks and national seashore,” Krumel said. “This was a back room deal that the public was never aware of, and since it passed, I have dedicated every waking minute to stopping this bill.” Krumel, along with several dedicated volunteers, is spearheading the grassroots group, Save Pensacola Beach. The group hosts lectures and public forums, encouraging citizens to call their representative to vote no on the bill, and has started a petition against the bill which currently has 5,582 signatures in opposition to the proposed legislation. “We believe this is a good example of how people can change the direction of this bill. When the community comes and speaks out, they have to pay attention,” Krumel said. 66 | Business Climate | nwflbusinessclimate.com

Krumel has spent most of her life in Pensacola, enjoying the beautiful public beaches and National Seashore regularly. She was outraged to learn that so many other citizens like herself were surprised to discover the passing of the bill. “This is in my backyard; I won’t stop fighting to kill this bill until this is dead,” she said.

For too long, residents of Santa Rosa Island have suffered unfair double taxation, and have been denied the ability to own their own land,

—Gaetz. Krumel is concerned that the possible privatizing of the beach property could change the face of Pensacola Beach forever, paving the way for the same kind of over development the Gulf Coast saw in Destin during the last decade. “This is a worst-case scenario for the citizens of Escambia County,” she said. While the bill does stipulate the non-federal areas of Santa

Congressman Matt Gaetz Speaking at a rally held at the Pensacola Fish House, 2016. Photograph By Hana Frenette.

Rosa Island will be dedicated for conservation, preservation, public access and parking will all be preserved in perpetuity, many citizens are concerned about the bill’s overall environmental impact. The beachfront area from the Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier east to the National Seashore property is zoned for conservation and recreation, so if the bill passes property owners shouldn’t be able to make that land private. However, only about half of the beachfront west of the pier is zoned for preservation. Without the proper legal action, it’s possible the area could be sold to developers or privatized. “Keeping Santa Rosa Island beautiful is extremely important to me, and this bill ensures it stays as pristine as ever,” said Rep. Gaetz. in a statement released after the bill was passed. “People have pushed change for years, and now that change is finally coming. I’m happy to have been able to serve the people of Santa Rosa Island.” Congressman Gatez did not immediately return phone calls to Business Climate for additional comments. Local environmental activist and executive director of 350 Pensacola, Christian Wagley stated there is a

short-term concern that the bill does not protect preserved lands at Navarre Beach from development— which could lead to homes and buildings or dredging of a pass. He added that the longer-term environmental concern is that the science shows the days of large-scale beach development are numbered. Sea level has been rising vertically about one foot per century. Scientists predict in the National Climate Assessment that the rate will at minimum double—with two to six feet of additional rise in sea level by the end of this century. “Beach nourishment is a messy, expensive, and environmentallydamaging quick fix that we’ve been using to try and hold the shoreline in one place. But it won’t be enough to hold back the sea,” Wagley said. “We will need to enact a ‘strategic retreat’ that lets the shoreline move landward while we give-up the most vulnerable properties. That could mean relocating smaller homes and parking lots, and the removal of larger buildings that cannot be moved. With the first beach leases expiring in the 2040s, one way of managing this retreat would be to choose not to renew leases on the most high-risk properties. If these properties are owned it would make it much more difficult to have an effective policy of retreat, as ownership is permanent versus the more temporary nature of the current leases.”

Environment For anyone wanting to see retreat in action, Wagley suggests visiting national seashores like Gulf Islands, where the National Park Service is no longer building sand dunes in parks, and they are moving vulnerable structures and facilities out of the way while letting others go to the sea.

his stance against the bill through editorials. The Pensacola News Journal published an editorial from him in which he states, “The Matt Gaetz plan to give free and clear title to every leaseholder on the beach is a solution in desperate search for a problem to solve— there is no problem.”

Wagley suggests that in order to fight this bill and continue the protection of the land, citizens will need to pressure County Commissioners in both counties to maintain or strengthen protections for public access, recreation, and preservation that are in their respective land development codes.

Kerrigan goes on to note that the new legislation will be a benefit to the leaseholders, and a detriment to the citizens of Escambia County. “The land will never revert to the public when the leases expire if this law is passed. Forever the island will be in private hands,” he writes.

The Escambia County Land Conveyance Act was originally supported by Senator Bill Nelson, who recently spoke at a town hall meeting on Aug. 7 at Pensacola State College, stating he would review the bill thoroughly to ensure it would preserve areas on the island that were originally set aside for conservation. Nelson has been instrumental in protecting the Gulf Coast from oil drilling offshore, and is a champion for environmental preservation of the Panhandle. The bill could likley not move forward without his support. Another popular Pensacola voice, attorney Bob Kerrigan has used several local media outlets to voice

The bill will go before the Senate on Sept. 5 and Krumel urges the citizens of Escambia County to continue calling their representatives, and spreading the word about the unintended consequences of this piece of legislation. “All we can do is try to educate the public, let them find out for themselves and demand that we have a referendum and slow this bill down,” Krumel said. “Many people believe this is one of the largest unprecedented land grabs in history—we as citizens need to have a voice in what happens to this county.”

the privatization of pensacola beach could be detrimental to tourist and resident beach access along santa Rosa Island.

Many people believe this is one of the largest unprecedented land grabs in history—we as citizens need to have a voice in what happens to this county, — Krummel

Dianne Krummel, second from right, with members of save pensacola beach. For more info, visit savepensacolabeach.org. nwflbusinessclimate.com | Business Climate | 67

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Around the Region

First City Art Center’s 11th Annual Pumpkin Preview Party Oct. 13 & Pumpkin Patch Oct. 14th First City Art Center’s 11th annual Glass Pumpkin Patch takes place on Saturday, Oct. 14th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 1060 N. Guillemard St., (on the corner of Guillemard and Gonzalez St.). This year, attendees will have over 4,000 hand-blown glass and hand-thrown clay pumpkins to choose from. The pumpkins are created by members of First City Art Center’s glass and pottery guilds. The unique pumpkins come in all shapes, colors and sizes. Come and purchase one-of-a-kind pieces that are guaranteed to be “picked” quickly. Prices for pumpkins begin at $20. The Pumpkin Patch is First City Art Center’s largest fundraiser of the year and the sale helps support programs, outreach, and over 50 local artists. The event will also feature glass demos 12pm-2pm, and a kids activity area 11-2. First City Art Center is throwing a Pumpkin Patch Preview Party, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 13th. Entry to the event includes complimentary hors d’oeuvres, drinks, live music, and chance to be the first to shop the pumpkin patch to “pick” a one-of-a-kind pumpkin. There will be glass and pottery demonstrations, door prizes, along with other surprises during this festive night out. Tickets are $25 per person at the door. Advance tickets are available online for $25 until Oct 12th at 12:00 pm. There is a limit of one glass or pottery pumpkin purchase during the preview party per ticket. Prices for pumpkins begin at $20. FCAC members will be allowed to enter the event at 5p.m. If you’re not a member yet, you can become a member at the preview party! For more information, contact 429-1222 or visit www.FirstCityArt.org.

Live Bronco Riding at Flora-Bama The iconic Flora-Bama brings its’ 5th annual edition of “Bulls on the Beach”, Friday and Saturday, September 8-9th. This spine tingling, family-friendly event, features 2,000 pounds of rip-snorting bull trying to buck off a professional cowboy in an eternally long eight seconds! Each rider has to ante up for this “Invitation Only” event with the winnings going to who best masters these bucking beasts. This, the ninth event of the $125,000 “Beach” series features an international circuit of riders including local favorite, Cody Harris along with Chris “Booger” Brown, both stars of INSP Network’s “The Cowboy Way: Alabama” reality show. Along with rodeo clowns, there will be an opportunity to ride the mechanical bull before and after the show for $5. The whole family is invited with gates opening at 6pm, Friday and Saturday. Admission is $25 ($40 for both nights) for adults 18 and over; $15 ($20 both nights) for 7-17 year olds; and free to kids under 7. Members receive free $5 drink ticket with purchase.

Bubba Watson Donates Half-Million Dollars to Children’s Hospital Professional golfer Bubba Watson announced Sunday that he is donating $500,000 to the Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart as a result of winning the MetLife MatchUp, an online voting contest. Watson – who is a resident of Pensacola and was born at Sacred Heart Hospital Pensacola – has won nine championships on the PGA Tour and is a two-time winner of the Masters Tournament. He was one of 10 professional golfers selected as finalists in the MetLife MatchUp. Fans were asked to vote online for the best recovery shot of the season. The player whose shot had the most votes would win a $1 million prize. During the voting Watson announced that if he were to win he would donate $500,000 to the Studer Children’s Hospital and use the other $500,000 to support junior golf. Thanks to an outpouring of support from Watson’s global fan base and the Northwest Florida community, Watson was named the 2017 MetLife MatchUp Champion. The shot that won Watson the MetLife MatchUp took place in the opening round of The Greenbrier Classic 2017. Watson found his tee shot in the woods requiring a punch out shot into the fairway. He then bent his third shot onto the green on the par-4 13th hole and finished it off with a 41-foot putt to save par. Watson’s donation will support the construction of Sacred Heart’s new four-story children’s hospital, which will increase access to specialized pediatric and maternity care and consolidate inpatient pediatric services in one convenient location. Sacred Heart is a member of Ascension, the largest non-profit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system. “I have always been proud to represent Pensacola around the world” said Watson. “It’s where I was born and raised. People in Pensacola helped me to become better at the game of golf and to become a better person. When I came back to Pensacola after living elsewhere for eight years, I thought about how I could help the city, how I could become an important part of it. Living here with my family, I want Pensacola and the entire Gulf Coast to be a great place for all families. When I learned about the Children’s Hospital and the need for the new building and expanded services it really hit home. I knew I

had to help the dream come true. Completion of the children’s hospital is like bringing a championship to Pensacola.” The MetLife MatchUp marks a continuation of Watson’s support of The Children’s Hospital. In 2015, the annual charity event Bubba Bash, run by the Bubba Watson Foundation, raised $100,000 for the new children’s hospital. “We’re thrilled to have such enthusiastic support from the Watson family during our construction of the new children’s hospital,” said Susan Davis, president and CEO of Sacred Heart Health System. “In addition to his professional golf success, Bubba Watson has worked tirelessly to better our community. We consider it both a blessing and an honor that he’s chosen to give so generously to Sacred Heart. This gift will touch the lives of thousands of sick and injured children for generations to come.” The Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart is the region’s only children’s hospital, serving families across Northwest Florida, South Alabama and South Georgia. Expected to be complete in spring 2019, the new children’s hospital will be connected to the front of the existing children’s hospital and will include a pediatric emergency room and trauma center, new operating rooms dedicated to pediatric surgery, an expanded neonatal intensive care unit, a pediatric intensive care unit, a pediatric oncology unit, a medical/surgical unit, observation beds and a pediatric rehabilitation gym. The Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart is a 117-bed facility that offers a wide range of services to meet all of a child’s medical needs, from a pediatric emergency room and neonatal intensive care unit to pediatric intensive care, cancer care, rehabilitation and a medical staff of more than 120 board-certified physicians across 29 pediatric specialties. The Children’s Hospital provides quality, compassionate care to children, regardless of their parents’ ability to pay. For more information about the services available at The Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart, visit www.sacred-heart.org/ childrenshospital.

Pensacola Children’s Chorus Announces Newest Annual Event “Itali-ano”! Announcing PCC’s newest annual event: “Italiano,” an evening of Italian food (Ital) and dueling pianos (iano) featuring PCC’s own clever and quick witted musicians, Martin Tate and Alex Gartner. Hosted by emcee and comedian T. Bubba Bechtol, the evening is sure to entertain!

Get together a group of friends for this fun filled, high energy, interactive musical event. Enjoy R&B, classical rock, top 40, country and your favorite SEC fight songs!

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Around the Region

FloridaWest Celebrates Fastest Growing Companies FloridaWest is celebrating two of our innovative companies—Intelligent Retinal Imaging Systems (IRIS) and AppRiver—who have been named to Inc. Magazine’s 2017 list of the 500/5000 fastest growing, privately held companies in America. These companies account for 275 jobs headquartered in our region and represent over $75M in sales.

Only the second Florida-based company to ever achieve this milestone, AppRiver makes the Inc. 5000 list for the eleventh consecutive year. The Gulf Breeze-based company is an industry leading cloud cybersecurity and productivity solutions provider and boasted 66% growth to land at No. 4111, a jump up from last year’s ranking.

CO:LAB client IRIS, the industry leader in early detection systems for diabetic eye disease, premieres on the Inc. 500 list at #459 with an astounding 955% sales growth in the past three years. The IRIS retinal telemedicine platform was developed to help end preventable, permanent blindness caused by diabetic retinopathy through early diagnosis.

“These companies represent the innovation and creativity that the entrepreneurs of Northwest Florida are known for,” said FloridaWest CEO Scott Luth, “These companies create jobs and a diverse economy where innovation can thrive. We celebrate their achievement and look forward to their continued success.”

“As we broaden our efforts to develop the next generation of solutions and reach even more patients, we are pleased to be recognized by Inc. as one of the country’s 500 fastest growing private companies,” said IRIS CEO Jason Crawford. CO:LAB, a program of FloridaWest EDA, supported by Pensacola State College, is Pensacola’s business incubator and growth accelerator.

The 2017 Inc. 5000 is the most competitive crop in the list’s history. The average company on the list achieved a mind-boggling three-year average growth of 481%. The Inc. 5000’s aggregate revenue is $206 billion, and the companies on the list collectively generated 619,500 jobs over the past three years. Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found at www.inc.com/inc5000.

Philanthropist, Pensacola Attorney Fred Levin Honored for Gift to Further Cancer Research Mr. Fred Levin was honored at Brigham and Women’s Hospital for the establishment of the Fredric G. Levin Distinguished Chair in Thoracic Surgery and Lung Cancer Research, in recognition of his gift this year in the amount of $2 million. Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston is affiliated with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, one of the world’s leading comprehensive cancer treatment and research centers. The hospital is also affiliated with Harvard Medical School. Mr. Levin was diagnosed with lung cancer in January, 2016, and his tumor was surgically removed at the facility several months later. As of the present time, the cancer has not recurred. “I certainly hope that there will be medical discoveries through the use of this money at this great institution,” said Mr. Levin. “I’m sure the advancements they make with this donation will not be in time for me, but hopefully it will be significant for others in the future.” Dr. Raphael Bueno, MD, Chief of the Division of Thoracic Surgery at Brigham & Women’s, is the first recipient of Mr. Levin’s gift. Each year the recipient will be the chief of the thoracic surgery at Brigham and Women’s, and this honor will continue in Mr. Levin’s name in perpetuity. 70 | Business Climate | nwflbusinessclimate.com

As part of Mr. Levin’s gift, the chief of thoracic surgery at Brigham and Women’s will come to Pensacola annually for at least ten years to conduct a conference for Pensacola regional physicians and administrators, to encourage an exchange of knowledge and research to benefit the medical community in Mr. Levin’s hometown and across the country. The conference will be held during the month of April. Mr. Levin’s chair establishment ceremony was held at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, August 15. Mr. Levin addressed the audience, which included physicians from Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, as well as family and distinguished guests from Pensacola. Among them: Susan Davis, President and CEO of Sacred Heart Health System; Carol Carlan, President of Sacred Heart Foundation; Dr. Ranjith J. Dissanayake, MD, Sacred Heart Cancer Center Medical Center Oncology; Dr. Luis Navas, MD, Medical Center Clinic; Dr. Ken and Nancy Ford, Founder and CEO of the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition; Dr. Martha Saunders, President of the University of West Florida; philanthropist Quint Studer; philanthropist Teri Levin; Laura Rosenbury, Dean of the University of Florida Levin College of Law; daughters Debra Dreyer and Kim Brielmayer; and son Martin Levin, shareholder for Levin Papantonio.

NAS Corry Station to receive new fully-stocked USO center The United Service Organizations Northwest Florida and the Armed Forces Families Foundation are scheduled to unveil a new USO center at Naval Air Station Pensacola Corry Station on August 30. The new USO Corry Station will be unveiled during a grand opening ceremony at 11 a.m. on Aug. 30, which will include words from distinguished guest speakers, refreshments and a tour of the new facility. USO Corry Station will be a 1,400 square foot recreation lounge, equipped with snacks, refreshments, arcade games, high-speed Wi-Fi, flat-screen televisions, a study bar with laptops, a self-serve kitchen, and a rest area with couches. The new facility will also include outdoor recreational space for special events, like BBQ’s, lawn game tournaments and holiday celebrations. Furnishings, electronics and supplies for the new USO center were made possible by the Armed Forces Families Foundation, a charity organization helping military families throughout the southeast U.S. AFFF donated a total of $49,006 to completely outfit the space as well as provides snacks and supplies for the remainder of the year. The funds donated by AFFF were raised within the Pensacola community through annual fundraisers held at local Taco Bell restaurants. “It has been an honor working with USO Northwest Florida to bring this center to the students and team members stationed at NAS Corry Station. This project has been in the works for some time and we are thrilled to finally present it to our military service members,” said John Wright, a member of the board at AFFF. “Because each AFFF project is funded by donations made at local Taco Bell restaurants, this project is truly an example of the generosity of the Pensacola community.” Last Dec., AFFF also provided $26,282 in funding to upgrade furnishings and entertainment systems within the USO Naval Air Station Pensacola. AFFF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides 100 percent of the funds raised back to projects to help military families. I learned about the Children’s Hospital and the need for the new building and expanded services it really hit home. I knew I had to help the dream come true. Completion of the children’s hospital is like bringing a championship to Pensacola.”

Around the Region

UWF Center for Entrepreneurship expands outreach under new leadership The University of West Florida College of Business recently named Dr. Ed Ranelli director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, where he will continue outreach initiatives. Ranelli served as dean of the College of Business from 2000 to 2013, and was named dean emeritus of the college in 2014. He assumes responsibility for leading the Center for Entrepreneurship, which was founded in July 2015 through a $1 million gift commitment from Quint and Rishy Studer. The purpose of the Center is to encourage and support educational initiatives related to entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial-thinking while serving as a comprehensive resource for economic innovation for students, industry and community partners. “One of my joys as a professor at UWF has been to help launch students into successful careers and lives,” Ranelli said. “Through the Center for Entrepreneurship, we strive to expose students from many disciplines to entrepreneurial thinking, and help all students to

develop skills and attributes such as perseverance, integrity and relentlessness that will help them achieve entrepreneurial success.” Another major goal is to seed and feed innovation and entrepreneurial thinking through engagement and interactions with established entrepreneurs and executives in business, technology, engineering, mathematics and the arts. The Center will provide opportunities for students to engage with guest speakers in the Idea Space in the UWF library and in their UWF classes; participate in mentorships and internships with community partners; work on real-world problems and case studies; and job shadow experienced CEOs and community leaders. Pensacola business and community leader Quint Studer serves as entrepreneur-in-residence, and other business and community leaders and UWF faculty will be invited to take part in fellowships with the Center for Entrepreneurship. “I have known Dr. Ranelli since 1996 when we were both at Baptist

Health Care,” Studer said. “It will be great working with him to introduce UWF students to the wonderful learning experiences available at the many excellent companies in the area.”

The first will be “Innovate Like da Vinci,” held on Sept. 6 at 4:30 p.m. in the John C. Pace Library Idea Space. Studer will also present on how to be successful in career and life on Sept. 20.

“As entrepreneur-in-residence, Quint is team-teaching a class on entrepreneurship and sharing his experiences as an entrepreneur and a transformational community leader,” Ranelli said. “Other successful entrepreneurs serve as guest speakers to share their stories with students about how to succeed in their careers, businesses and lives.”

On Oct. 5, 2017, the Center will host the Da Vinci Innovation Celebration, where UWF students are invited to participate in presenting innovative concepts from any discipline they choose, with local entrepreneurs serving as judges. More than 20 cash prizes, totaling $5,000, will be given away to student presenters. The lectures at the UWF library’s Idea Space will serve as preparation sessions leading up to the event.

As the Center aims to expand interest in entrepreneurship, toolkits will be offered to faculty, particularly in STEAM disciplines, to aid them in exposing non-business students to entrepreneurial programs such as Business Model Canvas and The Lean Startup. The Center will host a series of lectures and events this fall to promote innovation and entrepreneurship among UWF students and community members.

In addition to supporting UWF students with experiential learning, the Center continues to work with the Small Business Development Center and the Studer Community Institute in offering counsel to local businesses. For more information about the UWF Center for Entrepreneurship, visit uwf.edu/cfe.

Beck Partners Makes Top 100 Best Companies List Beck Partners was recently named one of Florida’s Best Companies To Work For. “We are in this business to connect people together, grow their business and protect their most valuable assets. Our people are fearless innovators in the office and in the community, that continually drive each other to keep growing and evolving. Culture is something we have because of our awesome people that we actively seek when adding to our team of professionals. We are especially honored to be representing Pensacola in this list and the recognition as a great workplace,” says Justin Beck, CEO of Beck Partners. The annual Best Companies list is featured in the August issue of Florida Trend magazine. Onehundred companies are ranked in small, medium and large employer categories. To participate, companies or government entities had to employ at least 15 workers in Florida and have been in operation at least one year. Companies that chose to participate underwent an evaluation of their workplace policies, practices, philosophy, systems and demographics. The process also included a survey to measure employee satisfaction. The combined scores determined the top companies and the final ranking. nwflbusinessclimate.com | Business Climate | 71

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