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June/July 2013

Business Climate

The Local Impact of a

State Budget

The Summertime Tune­Up • National Seashore Gets a Makeover

from the

publisher’ s pen Malcolm Ballinger Publisher

In this issue of Business Climate, read about how decisions made on the state and federal levels are impacting us in Escambia County. Our schools, businesses and beaches are receiving some muchneeded aid as the result of some key decisions from the past several months. Last month, the Florida state budget for fiscal year 2013-2014 was signed by Gov. Rick Scott. The budget includes many lasting benefits for businesses and schools in Pensacola, including raises for Escambia County teachers, new programs at the University of West Florida, and renovations to the Port of Pensacola. Many in the area are hopeful that these developments are indicative of a stronger, more robust economy and a positive turn toward healthy business. Read about the increases and who they affect on page 54. Also in this issue, we discuss proposals to restore the Gulf Islands National Seashore to its former, pre-Ivan and pre-oil spill glory. The Department of the Interior is especially advocating a cleanup of asphalt along the seashore and the purchase of two passenger ferry boats. Starting on page 52, learn about what is already happening and what still has to be done to bring these exciting projects to life. The summer is a universally regarded downtime for many businesses, a chance to look forward to fall and relax for a few months. Bill McBean, a contributing author in the business world, discusses the danger of this downtime and encourages business owners to stay busy and get a leg up on the competition during these hotter months. Discover his seven tips for a productive summer on page 49. Finally, continue to learn the importance of information technology and how it relates to your business with Mike White, on page 59.

Reader’s Services Subscriptions If you have questions about your subscriptions, call Kassie McLean at (850) 433-1166 ext. 30 or email Gift Certificates NW FL’s Business Climate Magazine makes a great gift! Contact Malcolm Ballinger at (850)433-1166 ext. 27 or to arrange a gift certificate for your friend, business associate or loved one. Back Issues Is there an issue of one of our magazines that you just have to have? Were you featured in a recent isssue? Give us a call at 850-433-1166 ext. 30. Back Issues are $5.00/issue. Letters We welcome your letters and comments. Send letters to Ballinger Publishing P.O. Box 12665 Pensacola, FL 32591, or contact specific staff members under the “Contact us: Staff info” link on Change of Address When calling or emailing us your change of address, please provide us with both the old and new addresses to expedite the change. Writing Opportunities We are always willing to consider freelance writers and article ideas. Please send queries and/or suggestions to Kelly Oden, executive editor, at, or care of Kelly to the above postal address.



June/July 2013

C ontents >

f e a t u re s

54. The Loal Impact of a State Budget



> 49. productivity

The Summertime Tune足Up


52. development

National Seashore Gets a Makeover

in every issue 59. it tips 60. around the region 62. business scene



June/July 2013








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productivity >

The Summertime Tune-up: Seven Reasons to Perform a Half-Year Review and Let the Sun Shine on Your Business This Summer By Bill McBean

If you’re a business owner and you’re thinking about kicking back and taking it easy this summer, think again, says Bill McBean. He recommends using the season to do a half-year review of your business and take advantage of emerging opportunities while your competition rests.

Summertime and the livin’ is easy…or so the song goes. But as the days grow longer and warmer, small business owners might want to be careful about taking it too easy during June, July, and August. The reality, says successful entrepreneur and author Bill McBean, is that the season is actually a great time to do a half-year review and make some smart moves for your business while some of your competitors are in a summertime lull. “I’m not saying you have to work yourself to death this summer,” says McBean, author of The Facts of Business Life: What Every Successful Business Owner Knows That You Don’t. “I’m suggesting you work smarter, not harder. Often, business owners think they can just wait and review their business or implement needed changes after they’ve enjoyed the summer. But what happens is, owners come back from their vacations and they are ‘slammed’ trying to catch up and dealing with past problems, instead of looking for market opportunities or getting ready to ramp back up after Labor Day. “They end up trying to succeed with the same troubled systems, processes, and/or employee(s), so nothing changes; suddenly the year is almost finished, and valuable opportunities have passed them by. But trust me, there are many benefits to taking the time to do a half-year review right now—before time runs out to adjust to the market and make conquest sales to improve your bottom line.” According to McBean, summertime is a great time to “mash the gas” on improving your strengths and eliminating any weaknesses that have cropped up since the beginning of the year. “The key here is to identify what can be done quickly and implemented easily,” he says. “The more difficult challenges begin once you get these initial improvements in place. It’s also important to check in on the goals you made earlier in the year and make adjustments as needed.” Read on for a few tips from McBean on why you should do a summertime check-up on your business:

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Some important changes will take a while to fully implement. If you want to make changes in your operation, like ordering new inventory, hiring and training new employees, or putting a new marketing campaign together, it will take time to really get them rolling. “You might think, Oh, as long as we get this or that going by fall, we’ll be good to go for the rest of the year,” says McBean. “But why wait until fall? You probably have a little extra time right now to make things happen. So take advantage of it!” You can take action while your competitors are procrastinating. Most owners and their managers say, “Thank God we got through the winter months, and we are now in the meat of the market! Things should get better now…at least, I hope!” Then, they kick back and wait to see what happens during the next few months. But not you. “The important thing to understand is that while your competitors are taking this approach, you have a market advantage and an opportunity for conquest sales and more profit,” notes McBean. “But only if your changes are smart and you begin the preparation now. Set a goal to take action on at least one or two important goals. Do it while your competitors are sitting on their hands, and there will be conquest sales and a bigger payoff for you and your business.” Now you know what you didn’t know in December/January. Hopefully you did an end-of-the-year or beginning-of-the-year review back in December or January. That review probably raised some important questions. For example: What will the hottest products be this year? Will my biggest competitor’s expansion gamble pay off? What’s my biggest threat? And so on. “Now, almost halfway into the year, you should have answers to some of those important questions,” says McBean. “Most importantly, now that you know what you didn’t know, you can look at what it means for your business and make decisions accordingly.” You have the opportunity to regrip the reins. As a business owner, you must take control of your business. Owning and managing a business is not a democracy—it’s more like a dictatorship. When you aren’t ruling over your business, chaos will reign, and you will have upset employees and customers. “Success begins with great leadership,” explains McBean. “That means you and your appointed leaders—managers, department heads, and team leaders—must operate and stick to the processes you put in place every day, all day. If employees aren’t following your processes, you must get them on board. But if they won’t, the employee has made a decision for you—unfortunately, you will have to let them go.” Nothing good comes from waiting to look at your numbers. Are your sales up or down compared to last year and what you had forecasted for this year? Why or why not? Is your overall local market economy doing better than last year? If it is up, what products or services



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can attract this added disposable income in your market? If it is down, what do you need to do to protect your business? Is your industry up nationally and regionally? Sure, sitting on a beach somewhere will be a lot more fun than running these numbers, but when you’ve owned up to them, you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing where your business stands and what you need to do to get it (or keep it) on track. “One important thing to note: Most business owners look at sales revenues, expenses, and bottom-line net profit,” says McBean. “But don’t forget the importance of gross profit and the products and services that generate it. In reality, gross profit is what creates your net profit and provides meaningful measurement of sales and expenses. It is a factor that every business owner should be studying in detail.” It’s a great time to go after new opportunities. New opportunities are always presenting themselves. By running your business through a summer check-up, you’ll be able to reevaluate the products and services that could add value to your current customers while attracting new ones, and as a result increase profits for your business. “When you’re thinking about going after new opportunities, ask yourself a few important questions,” says McBean. “In what areas can you gain market share because your competitor is struggling? Have you attacked the customer base and gross profits of your competitors? And so on. By going after new opportunities now, you can take a bigger piece of the business pie in the coming months and enter next year in a stronger position both from sales and from the profits they generate.” There’s no better time to remotivate employees. Most business owners probably look at the summer as the time their employees check out for a bit. They go on vacation or daydream about it. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Great business owners know how to use the summer to remotivate their staffs. “One great way to remotivate employees is to set a pre-holiday objective and an end-of-summer goal,” says McBean. “A pre-holiday objective is the set-up for the overall summer goal. For example, let’s say your end-ofsummer goal is to increase the number of air conditioning services or brake work compared to last year by 50 percent. So your pre-holiday objective will be some portion of the overall summer expectation. You would then develop a promotion or a summertime special around air conditioning and brakes, giving your employees an opportunity to upsell your customers on a special limited time offer. “Keep in mind that most employees are looking for extra summertime cash, so give it to them for a job well done,” he adds. “It keeps them focused before they leave for vacation and ‘hungry’ when they return. And when the summer is over, your company will have had higher sales and profits from conquest sales and will be focused on the last four months, ‘springboarding’ your business for a

great year and strong finish.” “With new information comes knowledge, and a summer check-up is a great way to gather the latest information about your business and market,” says McBean. “If you’re the first to harvest this information, you will be the first to use it to boost your business. You’ll have the chance to attack the market—where it’s hot and where it’s not—before your competitors. “Sure, you can always think of excuses not to do something,” he concludes. “But you also have the ability to take advantage of opportunities, jump on them, and maximize them. Use the summer to gather new information about your business and capitalize on it while your competition is in ‘the relaxed mode’—it’s what all great owners do.” About the Author: Bill McBean is the author of The Facts of Business Life: What Every Successful Business Owner Knows That You Don’t—now available at McBean is currently a featured contributor for The Huffington Post and Business 2 Community. A graduate of the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, and Mount Royal College in Calgary, Alberta, Bill began his career with General Motors of Canada Limited in 1976. After holding several management positions with GM, in 1981 he accepted a position with the Bank of Nova Scotia (ScotiaBank) as manager of a sizeable commercial lending portfolio. Two years later, however, GM approached him about opening a new automobile dealership in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, and, along with ScotiaBank, offered to lend him the required capital. Accepting the offer, Bill began his first business as a “start-up” the following year, beginning with ten employees. Over the next decade, Bill grew the Yorkton business, which became one of the most profitable GM dealerships in the region. Following his success in Canada, Bill was presented with an even greater opportunity in the United States. With his friend Bill Sterett, he purchased an automotive dealership in Corpus Christi, Texas, in 1992. Applying his business expertise, Bill turned the company around, increased sales revenue fivefold, and raised the employee count from 70 to almost 300. He also rearranged the local marketplace by acquiring a large portion of the market share from his competitors and by buying weakened competitors over a period of 11 years. About the Book: The Facts of Business Life: What Every Successful Business Owner Knows That You Don’t (Wiley, October 2012, ISBN: 978-1-11809496-9, $24.95, is available at bookstores nationwide, from major online booksellers, and direct from the publisher by calling 800-225-5945. In Canada, call 800-567-4797. For more information, please visit the book’s page on

June/July 2013 <



National Seashore Gets a Makeover

Photos Courtesy of Visit Pensacola

By Josh Newby


Although the Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010 was an initially unparalleled tragedy for the economy and environment of the Gulf Coast and Northwest Florida, regular steps are being taken to return both to their pre-spill glory days, and even to improve beyond that. In early May, the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees and BP reached a preliminary agreement identifying over $600 million in post-oil spill restoration projects. The 28 projects, scheduled for implementation in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, will focus on restoration of marshes, barrier islands, dunes, near-shore marine environments, and includes several projects to enhance access to



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recreational and other human-use opportunities across the Gulf. Although these projects have not reached the levels of finalization necessary to move forward, plans are already being made for a variety of propositions, some of which will have a positive and lasting impact on the citizens and businesses of Pensacola and the surrounding areas. “The Department of the Interior is pleased the Trustees are moving forward with planning and public review of this proposed suite of early restoration projects,” said Rachel Jacobson, acting assistant secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks at the Interior. “The Trustees have already helped jump-start Gulf restoration with the selection last year of ten projects totaling $71 million. Those

projects were presented to the public as early draft restoration plans—a total of 13 meetings were held— before the projects were finalized. The Trustees will use the same process of working with communities on this new group of proposed projects.” Possibilities for the Pensacola area include funding for a marine fisheries hatchery, oyster reef restoration across four counties, a boat ramp improvement for Big Lagoon State Park, the restoration of the Bob Sikes Pier, improvements to the Perdido Key boardwalk, and the removal of asphalt debris from a 386-acre area on Gulf Islands National Seashore and the purchase of two passenger ferry boats to take passengers from Downtown Pensacola to Fort Pickens,

where between 700,000 to 800,000 people travel each year. The US Department of Interior is a key proponent of the latter two projects and a funding proposal of approximately $15 million for both. The Gulf Islands National Seashore proposal would improve visitor access to the seashore and restore lost recreational opportunities that are important to tourism and the local economies, according to the proposal. Gulf Islands National Seashore Superintendent Dan Brown is confident both projects will be approved and is hopeful he will receive funding by early 2014. The first project involves removing tens of thousands of cubic yards of asphalt fragments and road base material that have been scattered over hundreds of acres and approximately 11 miles of the Fort Pickens and the Santa Rosa areas of Gulf Island National Seashore. The asphalt and related debris are left over from many years’ worth of storms that routinely battered Fort Pickens and roadways in the area. The estimated cost of this project is approximately $11 million. “A couple years ago we came through and removed the larger chunks of asphalt from the shore, but this grant would go towards many of those smaller pieces that still dot the area,” said Buck Lee, executive director of the Santa Rosa Island Authority. “I’ve been north to New England and I’ve been west to San Francisco, and I can attest that there is no prettier drive than the one between Navarre Beach and Pensacola Beach. Right now, all that unsightly asphalt detracts from the true beauty of that stretch.” The removal of the asphalt itself may not be so easy, though. “Due to environmental constraints, we can only work at removing debris between October and February,” said Brown. “Furthermore, we are limited as to the machinery we can use, to ensure we don’t harm any existing marine life. To do this right will take several years.” The project will have to go through the usual gamut of contract reviews and approvals before it gets

underway, but Brown insists that it will be worth it. “When we finally get our shores restored and looking pristine again, it will be very noticeable and well worth the effort,” said Brown. Another $4 million is proposed to cover the purchase of two ferryboats for use in a new ferry service to the Gulf Island National Seashore, an important step forward in a journey to have water transportation between the city and the beach that has spanned decades. The possibility of a ferry system has been discussed and planned for nearly 40 years, but the purchase of the boats signifies a huge victory for supporters of the concept. “This would be a great asset for the regional area,” said Lee. “It’s something else for the families to do in the area, as well as the people who come here on vacation. For our kids and grandkids, it’ll be a heck of an experience. Imagine families going out on the ferries, seeing porpoises jump alongside the wake as they head to Fort Pickens for a tour, then back to Downtown for lunch and a baseball game. It’ll connect some of the area’s most noteworthy attractions.” The very first feasibility study for the project was completed in 1978, followed by similar studies from different departments in 1989, 1995, 2000 and 2009. These studies looked at things like economic sustainability and route placement. It was determined early on ticket prices would have to be affordable to get families interested in the alternative to driving the roadways. Unfortunately, buying ferry boats would likely drive ticket prices too high for long-term rideability. The $4 million proposal to buy the boats

outright using BP restoration dollars is a game-changer for this reason Possibly delaying the project, though, is the fact that a number of stakeholders have to get on the same page before a sustainable system is launched. These stakeholders include Escambia County, Santa Rosa Island Authority, and the City of Pensacola. The city seems to be on board with the idea, as Mayor Ashton Hayward has indicated the importance of a ferry system and has promoted the concept of a terminal at the end of Palafox Municipal Pier. “One of the first things I did when I took office was to go up to DC, to the Department of the Interior, and meet with them, discussing the

importance of a ferry between Fort Pickens, Pensacola and our beach,” said Hayward in December. “We’re still talking about that.” Brown estimated that the boats could be up and running between 2016 and 2017, after the funding is in place, the routes are decided on and ticket prices are finalized. “The Department will continue to support restoration of the resources that were injured by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill,” said Jacobson “We’re committed to working with our fellow Trustees to ensure the Gulf is made whole, and that the residents of the region and other stakeholders and interest groups are fully engaged in those efforts.”

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The Local Impact of a State Budget

Photo Courtesy of University of West Florida

By Josh Newby

UWF Health Center

The new 2013-14 state budget for Florida, signed in May, contains

noticeable increases over past years and a variety of new funding for important Pensacola community projects. Salary increases for teachers, greater resources for the University of West Florida, and improvements and expansions for the Port of Pensacola are among the notable benefits the region will see. For many projects, this swell in funding is exactly what is needed to continue efforts of boosting the local economy and propelling education and transportation to even greater levels. For other projects, it is a step in the right direction, but still a disappointment when considering pre-recession budgetary limits. The new state-wide budget has outlined an impressive $20.3 billion for K-12 education, a funding increase of more than $1 billion that demonstrates a strong commitment to the enrichment of children statewide. About $264.5 million of the state budget is reserved for Escambia County, an increase of about $15.7 million over the previous year. 54


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Photos Courtesy of Escambia County School Board

3 1. Ransom Middle School 2. N.B. Cook Elementary School of the Arts 3. Cordova Park Elementary School

Also notable this year was a pledge by Governor Scott to increase teacher salaries. Of the money allocated for education, $480 million has been set aside to go toward increasing teacher and principal salaries. Escambia and Santa Rosa counties are expected to receive about $11 million for raises, with individual districts and union representatives responsible for distributing and negotiating exactly who gets the money. Escambia County Superintendent Malcolm Thomas is hopeful that this increase in spending represents an economy that is finally able to make advances in education. He explained that 2013-14 will be the first fiscal year that there has not been a budget decrease since the recession. Nevertheless, much of his $15.7 million increase this year is already spoken for, in the form of contingencies from the state. “Of the $15.7 million increase, $6.8 million is already spoken for to pay for those promised teacher raises,” said Thomas. “Teachers in this area absolutely deserve a raise, and we still have a long way to go, so I was happy to see that happen.” Other requirements from the state include a $202,442 commitment to local teachers to reimburse them for the classroom supplies they may buy themselves, and $715,139, reserved for students who were added to the system in fiscal year 2012-13 which that year’s budget did not account for. All this spending leaves about $7.9 million to be spent by the local level. A $3.1 million increase in the Escambia County district’s retirement fund is coming online this year, as is

another teacher salary increase of $3.6 million, or 2 percent, decided upon last year. Other beneficiaries of the budget increase are the school nurse program, school safety recommendations, new rules for dual-enrollment, and the furtherance of the district’s financial stability. Although most of the increase is already spoken for, Thomas is encouraged that there was at least an increase at all this year. This allows the school board to avoid making painful cuts and worrying about their financial future; instead, they can focus on their job of enriching children’s lives and making their educational experience the best it can be. “This is a good year,” said Thomas. “We don’t have to make any cuts. There have been years when I wondered how we were going to scrape by, and this year we’re actually getting to spend some extra money. In my time here, no matter the financial difficulties, we have never once cut art, music or physical education, and that’s something I’m very proud of. Our priority is the students, and that has been reflected in our spending. We protect what is important to our students.” The public school system in the area is not the only educational beneficiary of the 2013-14 budget. The University of West Florida (UWF) also received additional funding this year, which will be put to good use with a variety of projects as the money achieves maximum benefits through the institution. One of the projects is the renovation of four older College of Business buildings, the final phase in a reimagining of the college that included the new, muchheralded Education Center that opened last year. This continuing project received $8.4 million in funding out of the budget, and Dean Ed Ranelli could not be happier about the effects this money and the renovation will have on the college he oversees. “This project is the culmination of years of waiting for June/July 2013 <





the renovation of four 1977 buildings that house the very successful and nationally recognized business program,” said Ranelli. “We are saving old buildings and bringing them up to code.” Another UWF project, for which the state allocated $4 million, is the online Complete Florida Degree Program, the purpose of which is to recruit, recover and retain the state’s adult learners and assist them in completing an associate or baccalaureate degree that is aligned to high-wage, high-skill workforce needs. UWF acts as the lead institution in the State of Florida, and collaborates with other universities and private postsecondary schools to implement the program. Dr. Pam Northrup is the head of the program and spoke on its importance to what might be a largely overlooked educational need. “The students served by this program are not your typical students,” said Northrup. “They have attended college at one time, but for whatever reason were unable to finish. This program takes a look at the credits they received when they did go to college, and identifies highwage, high-skill workforce needs that we can train them in while building on the education they already have. After they attain that degree, we will work with them to build networks and connections that can eventually get them a job.” Northrup said the money they have been given will go to building the program with assistance from other institutions, as well as targeting the potential students who are in the most need.



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Photos Courtesy of Escambia County School Board

1. A.K. Suter Elementary 2. Pensacola High School 3. Booker T. Washington High School

UWF is putting their money to good use in other ways, as well, including doctoral programs in physical therapy and nursing which will be collaborated on with other colleges in the state, including the University of South Florida and the University of Florida. “I’m very pleased to move forward with this because these programs meet some important community needs, and we are able to provide them through these partnerships,” said Dr. Martha Saunders, UWF provost and vice president of academic affairs. “We have a strong university system and are able to effectively collaborate on this.” Other UWF beneficiaries include $4 million for the Small Business Development Center, $3.75 million for an IT performance grant, and $10 million to the Office of Economic Development and Engagement oil spill recovery grant. The Port of Pensacola received a sizable slice of the budgetary pie for the next fiscal year, as well, receiving $2 million for improvements to the facility’s Warehouse 9 and the shore-side utility project.



Photo Courtesy of Port of Pensacola


Photos Courtesy of University of West Florida


4 1. Pensacola Port 2. University of West Florida entrance sign 3. UWF School of Science and Engineering 4. Northview High School 5. UWF Japan House Warehouse 9, a 40,000-square-foot building in the middle of the port’s facilities, will receive a raised roof and overhead cranes to perform work on subsea specialty, high-tech equipment. That renovation will receive about $1.2 million of the total monies. The remaining $800,000 will fund Phase II of the port’s shore-side utility improvements project. Both of these projects should reap huge economic rewards for the port and the city as a result. They also contribute to a recently increased focus on marketing the port and increasing revenue. “Warehouse 9 would cement us further as a support center for the US Gulf oil and gas industry,” said Clyde Mathis, director of the port. “Shore power and sewer station additions would make us a more competitive ‘green’ port.” Without this sudden influx of money, Warehouse 9 would not be able to receive these improvements without

private capital, an unlikely development. Mathis added that the developments, and Warehouse 9 specifically, would add a number of jobs to the port and city. Mathis estimated that Warehouse 9 should see all improvements within about 10 months, as they have only done some preliminary engineering thus far. The other projects do not have an announced timetable yet. Many hope that this increased budget and expanded funding from the state for various entities important to the continued growth of the county are signs of an uptick in the economy and better times ahead, after the recession, an oil spill, and the sequester have set local businesses back. Most businesspeople are cautiously optimistic, as they set a watchful eye on developing programs and economic initiatives focused on revitalizing the Pensacola we all know and love. June/July 2013 <


>it tips

By Mike White

Why Online Backup

Regardless of its size, your company’s data is its most valuable asset. Think about it: what would you do without your financial or customer records? How long could your business survive without access to the critical customer and operational information? Many business owners who diligently insure their businesses or property don’t actually have a contingency plan for their data. Considering the variety of possible threats to your data—including hard drive crashes, theft, computer viruses, software corruption, natural disasters, and even human error— your unprotected data is living on borrowed time. The ramifications of a major data loss are so great that most companies that have the misfortune to experience it don’t survive more than six months. Different types of backup Some people backup their personal data—like music or photos—on CDs or external hard drives. But portable media used for backup are prone to failure, can be lost or stolen, and are difficult to organize and store. Plus, restoring your files from portable media can be a difficult and cumbersome process. A business needs a more secure, scalable solution. Some companies have an on-site server room. But those require a hefty investment—not to mention the staff to maintain them. The capital and expertise required for on-site data storage are beyond the technical and financial capacity of most small and medium-sized businesses. And it still doesn’t solve the problem of potential theft, or natural disaster.

Online Backup Is Secure, Fast, and Inexpensive With online backup, you can preserve all of your files in a secure, off-site environment without a major capital investment. We even manage the setup and the maintenance for you, so you can concentrate on your business. Our solution uses the same level of security that the top banks in the financial industry utilize for safe online banking. Your files are stored off-site in two mirrored data centers located on opposite coasts. Even if your company suffers a flood, fire, or break in, you can be sure that your data is safe. If you do experience a data disaster—for example, if your computer suddenly crashes—you’ll be able to quickly restore your files over the Internet. Online backup works automatically, backing up files as often as you schedule it. Even if you accidentally delete a file, our system automatically saves a copy of it for you. By cutting out manual steps, we remove the possibility of human error and equipment failure. In addition, our software is compliant with stringent compliance standards, so you know your data is both safe and secure. Our online backup solution offers the crucial protection you need to ensure the continuity of your business. Don’t leave your most valuable business assets vulnerable for another day.

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business news bits you should know

BBB Foundation announces “Student Ethics Scholarship” winners The Better Business Bureau Foundation’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics Student Scholarship recognizes high school students for their commitment to ethical behavior and personal integrity. Each student selected receives a $1,000 scholarship payable to the college or university of their choice. The eighth annual Student Ethics Scholarship winners for District IEscambia/Santa Rosa County are: Nicholas Kennedy Bookout, Gulf Breeze High School; Benjamin James Lockhart, Gulf Breeze High School; and Valerie Shallow, Pace High School. The BBB Student Ethics Scholarship Award program recognizes college-bound students who personify high ethics as demonstrated through leadership, community service, overall personal integrity and academic history.

PSC honors faculty with teaching excellence awards Pensacola State College honored faculty at the Academy of Teaching Excellence ceremony recently at the Culinary Dining Room on the Pensacola campus. A selection committee comprised of former Teaching Excellence winners, students and alumni selected this year’s recipients. The 2012-13 inductees are Stacy Albaugh, English and Communications; Jennifer Brahier, Mathematics; Deborah McClintock, Collegiate High School; Rita Thrasher, Biological Sciences; Lou Bennett, adjunct faculty, Education; and Roberta Harvey, outstanding new faculty, Biological Sciences. Pensacola Energy presented SEE awards to local students Pensacola Energy presented its annual 2013 SEE Programs awards on Thursday, May 23, to 14 local fourth and sixth grade students. The SEE Programs (Saving Energy is Easy, Sustainability & Energy Education, and Smart Energy Education) are free educational programs provided for 2nd, 4th and 6th grade students in local public and private schools. Natasha Reynolds, Pensacola Energy’s Green Energy Specialist, has developed and implemented these programs. Since the inception of these programs, presentations have been made to over 6,000 students, and more than 50 students have received awards in the programs’ annual drawing and essay contests. This year’s 14 winners were selected by Kathryn Daniel of WEAR-TV 3 and Erin Kourkounis of the Pensacola News Journal. The winners are Jadon Fryman, Jenalynn Fernandez, Kody Kimberl, Kyle Kizilbash, Madalyn Singleton, Margaret Churchill, Mathew David Puglisi, Miah Do-Malden, Michayla Haber, Nevaeh Vaughn, Sandy Waters, Sharon Pearson, Vanessa Gross, and Wesley Andrews. PSC students win 64 medals at SkillsUSA Competition Pensacola State College students won 64 medals at the SkillsUSA State Competition held at the Pensacola Bay



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Center recently. More than 1,800 students from as far as Miami competed in 112 work force and technical events. PSC students won 32 gold, 24 silver and eight bronze medals. Gold medal winners advance to the national competition in Kansas City June 23-28. UWF partners with local elementary school to increase reading fluency Students at Ferry Pass Elementary School are increasing their reading skills as a result of the collaboration of fifth grade teacher and UWF alumnus Philip Ebert and UWF professor Dr. Keith Whinnery, serving as an example of the strong partnership between the UWF School of Education and the Escambia County School District. Last year, Ferry Pass officials enlisted the help of the UWF School of Education to research ways to improve reading fluency and integrate special needs students into regular classroom environments. Whinnery suggested the Classwide Peer Tutoring System, an evidence-based practice that provides a high level of student motivation and engagement to increase achievement and positive social interactions, while reducing behavioral problems. Navarre companies to expand ecotourism Three organizations are looking to expand services and increase environmental awareness and education on Navarre Beach. The Navarre Beach Area Chamber of Commerce hosted an awareness tour for area business leaders to see and learn more about the services offered by the Marine Science Station, Sea Turtle Conservation Center and the Marine Science Sanctuary. All three organizations are in the process of planning major expansions. Watercoloer Inn & Resort earns 2013 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence WaterColor Inn & Resort, the premier Gulf-front resort offering luxury accommodations mixed with a distinctive Southern charm, announced

that it has received a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence award. The accolade, which honors hospitality excellence, is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews on TripAdvisor, and is extended to qualifying businesses worldwide. Only the top-performing 10 percent of businesses listed on TripAdvisor receive this prestigious award. Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa honored with 2013 Meetings & Conventions Gold Tee Award Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa – the largest full-service beachfront resort on Northwest Florida’s Gulf Coast – is the proud recipient of the 2013 Meetings & Conventions Gold Tee Award. Selected by readers of the meeting trade magazine, the annual Gold Tee Award is presented to properties that set themselves apart for outstanding golf facilities for meetings and conventions. Florida Department of Health in Santa Rosa County closes Environmental Health Building in Milton Effective immediately, the Florida Department of Health in Santa Rosa County is closing its Environmental Health Building at 5505 Stewart St. The move will consolidate public health services under one roof and decrease expenses, making additional funds available for support of the Department of Health’s mission in Santa Rosa County. Call to Artists: Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival Poster Competition An audience of thousands, a $1,000 prize, and a chance to become a piece of Pensacola art scene history: the Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival is now accepting submissions to its annual poster design competition. The winning artist receives a $1,000 cash award. Creative artists of all ages are encouraged to submit their designs. Entries should be appropriate for replication for posters, T-shirts and other GGAF promotional items. The posters have become a regional collectors’ item, and the competition is a great opportunity for local artists. Complete rules and guidelines are available at First City Art Center accepting registrations for upcoming workshops First City Art Center is now accepting registrations for its upcoming AMACO glazing and hand-building workshop with guest instructor Diana Faris and American Art and Clay Company (AMACO), on July 13 and 14. Workshop fee is $65 and class size is limited to 16 students. Workshop will be held at First City Art Center, 1060 N. Guillemard St., Building 3. New Hampton Inn & Suites opens in Pensacola Hampton Hotels, the global brand of over 1,900 mid-priced Hampton Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites and Hampton by Hilton hotels worldwide, has announced the official opening of its newest property, the 90-room Hampton Inn & Suites Pensacola/Gulf Breeze located at 61 Gulf Breeze Parkway. The Hampton Inn & Suites Pensacola/Gulf Breeze is owned by GB Hotel Investments and operated by Banyan Tree Management. It is the fourth Hampton hotel in Pensacola, ahead of 15 more Hampton hotels slated to be opened in Florida and more than 250 Hampton properties in the pipeline in the US. The hotel brings 30 jobs to the area.

peopleonthemove< SunTrust hires Ashley Vannoy SunTrust Bank, North Florida recently announced that Ashley Vannoy has joined the company as Vice President and Commercial Relationship Manager. In this role, Ashley is responsible for serving clients in Pensacola and surrounding markets. A panhandle native, Ashley has been in banking since 1997 in a number of positions, including mortgage banking, private banking, wealth management and commercial, with particular recent experience in commercial. Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa appoints new marketing manager Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa, the largest full-service beachfront resort on Northwest Florida’s Gulf Coast, has announced the appointment of Megan Harrison as the resort’s new marketing manager. Harrison will oversee all advertising, public relations and social media marketing. PSI appoints principal consultant Professional Service Industries, Inc. announced that Jeremy Jernigan, CIH, CSP has been appointed a Principal Consultant for their Indoor Air Quality/ Mold/ Other IH service line. Jernigan is a graduate of the University of West Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies. Jernigan is based in PSI’s Pensacola operations office where he serves a dual role as a Regional Scientist. He has been with PSI since February 1998. Bloomer, Geri & Company announce promotions Bloomer, Geri & Company, CPAs is proud to announce the promotions of Cheryl M. Riggs and Edina O. Simmons to Accounting Semi-Senior. Cheryl, who joined the firm in January 2012, served an internship with the Escambia County School Board. She holds a B.S.B.A.  Marketing from Louisiana State University, and a B.S.B.A. Professional Accountancy and M.Acc. Professional Accountancy from the University of West Florida. Edina, who previously worked as a manager/bookkeeper for small businesses, is very knowledgeable on issues facing small business owners today. She joined the firm in January 2012, and holds a B.S. Accounting (cum laude) from Colorado Technical University and an M.Acc. from the University of West Florida. Chism joins Big Brothers Big Sisters Natalie Chism has joined Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida as the Director of Marketing and Development. Her responsibilities include organization and implementation of fund development programs, special events, public relations initiatives, and marketing campaigns. To be included in Around the Region or People on the Move, email your news releases and business announcements to June/July 2013 <


>business scene the Relay for Life

Mayor Ashton Hayward addresses participants and volunteers

Cancer survivors walk the Pensacola Opera Salon Series at the beautiful home of Ron and Jan Miller

Gracious hosts Ron and Jan Miller

Donna Quin and Evelyn Davis

Pat Windham and Eloise de Varona

Todd Thomas wows the audience



June/July 2013

June/July 2013 <


Northwest Florida Business Climate June/July 2013  

In this issue of NWFBC, study the local impacts of the Florida state budget, signed recently. We also look at projects intent on providing t...