Pensacola Magazine Sept 2017

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Eman El-Sheikh Director, UWF Center for Cyber Security

Jason Crawford CEO, IRIS

Michael Murdoch CEO & President, AppRiver


The State of

a collaboration with iten wired




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Editor’s Note my two cents on the subject

Kelly Oden Executive Editor Much like math, mechanics and electrical systems, I’m in awe of people who deeply understand technology. Don’t get me wrong—I know enough to get by (or just enough to be dangerous), but by no means do I understand it. I wish my mind worked that way, but I am more of a word girl—those I understand. Still, I am grateful that our community is full of incredibly intelligent and creative techies who can set up systems, resolve issues, and create amazing new programs, apps and devices to further our local tech community. I was very excited when Beth McClean, marketing chair for ITEN WIRED and Web Analytics Specialist at AppRiver, approached me about doing a story on the ITEN WIRED conference and our local tech industry at large. As we began discussing the potential, it became clear that this was much bigger than a single story and we decided to collaborate on a special State of Tech issue of Pensacola Magazine. ITEN WIRED, along with FloridaWest and a number of local tech companies all chipped in with their expertise and skills to produce this special issue and I am extremely grateful for their contributions. I also hope this is the first of many State of Tech editions in the years to come. Thanks for all of your hard work, Beth! In this issue, you’ll get an overview of the tech industry on the Gulf Coast, profiles of some of the

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leading women in cybersecurity, an update on the Florida Tech Caucus, some fascinating information on local startups and venture capitalists and, of course, a preview of the upcoming “Little Conference that Could”—ITEN WIRED. I hope you enjoy reading about the State of Tech in our region and I encourage you to consider attending ITEN WIRED no matter what your line of work may be. You’ll find some very smart people there who are ready and willing to share all of their tech tips and industry trends. As always, this issue also brings you the best of what’s happening in Pensacola. Check out our picks for the best upcoming food festivals as well as highlights from the upcoming STAMPED: Pensacola’s LGBT Film Festival. If poetry is your thing, prepare to be amazed by the sampling of winning poetry from the West Florida Literary Federation’s annual Student Poetry Contest. These are some very talented kids! As always, I hope you enjoy this special issue of Pensacola Magazine. I’d love to hear your thoughts at

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17 In Every Issue

Celebrate Culinary Culture


All The Write Stuff


Dust off your dancing shoes, cleanse your palate, and throw your scale in the garbage—it’s food festival season in Pensacola! Find out when, where, and how you can indulge your culinary curiosity at a variety of local food-centric festivals this fall.

The Escambia County Student Poetry Contest, sponsored by the West Florida Literary Federation, attracts hundreds of talented young writers each year. Learn about the contest and enjoy a few wonderful student poetry excerpts from the 2017 winners.

The New R&D Department


Venture capitalists and angel investors team up with tech startups to bring rapid and unique innovation to the Gulf Coast.

White Helps Create 30 Tech Caucus to Educate State Lawmakers

State lawmakers create the Florida Tech Caucus to help craft legislation that makes sense in handling the flood of technology issues now and in the future.

Editor’s Letter 6 Page 10 10 Pensacola 13 Scene Play/Live/Give 53 Our Storied 56 Past

Stamped: Pensacola's 22 ITEN Wired: The Little 33 LGBT Film Festival Returns Tech Conference that Could Independent cinema crosses with LGBTQ activism at the

Special Sections

STAMPED Film Festival helps bring awareness through the power of film.

On the Market: 75

The State of Tech


A comprehensive overview of the Tech industry in Pensacola and along the Cyber Coast.

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The ITEN WIRED Summit attracts hundreds of technology professionals, entrepreneurs, educators and students to the Hilton on Pensacola Beach each October.

Women In Cyber


Although women make up only 11 percent of the cybersecurity workforce nationally, their contribution to the industry is extremely valuable. We talk to five local women—all cybersecurity professionals—about what they do, why they do it, and why diversity is so important in their field.

Business Climate 57 A Real Estate Section

Cover Photo by Guy Stevens


SEPTEMBER 2017 Owners

Malcolm & Glenys Ballinger


Malcolm Ballinger

Executive Editor

Kelly Oden

Art Director

Guy Stevens

Graphic Designer/Ad Coordinator Carly Stone


Hana Frenette

Assistant Editor

Tanner Yea

Contributing Writers

DeeDee Davis • Charlotte Crane Duwayne Escobedo •Jim Rhodes Teresa Zwierzchowski • Tom St. Myer

Sales & Marketing Paula Rode, Account Executive ext. 28 Geneva Strange, Account Executive ext. 21

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NW Florida’s Business Climate Magazine and Pensacola Magazine is locally owned and operated. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction or use of the contents herein is prohibited without written permission from the publisher. Comments and opinions expressed in this magazine represent the personal views of the individuals to whom they are attributed and/or the person identified as the author of the article, and they are not necessarily those of the publisher. This magazine accepts no responsibility for these opinions. The publisher reserves the right to edit all manuscripts. All advertising information is the responsibility of the individual advertiser. Appearance in this magazine does not necessarily reflect endorsement of any products or services by Ballinger Publishing. © 2017

Page10 with DeeDee Davis

I know I don’t need to explain football fever to anyone who has gone to a college with a team or who has had a child who has attended a college with a team. And, of course, there are plenty of people out there who can claim neither and yet still are passionate about the game. Listen to the Paul Finebaum show sometime. So this is for those who don’t share the love or understanding of the bizarre craziness that follows college football. It’s not meant to make a fan or convert out of you. It’s only to offer a meager justification for the absolute insanity that overtakes anyone who cares. Stress is undoubtedly at the core of all misery and disease. But who can avoid it? The best we can do is take care of what we have and try our darndest to exercise and eat right, hoping that is enough. Ebola, Isis, Global Warming, Iraq, terrorism, cancer, gangs, drug dealers, where does it end? We are surrounded 24/7 with plenty to keep us up at night. But mercifully, in the fall, we have one reprieve, one glorious distraction. College football. There ain’t nothing like it. I have never exactly been what you would call a politically correct person, if politically correct means avoiding taking sides or offending anyone, so let’s just get it out there. I love Auburn football, though I was not raised to bleed orange and blue. I grew up in a home where Friday nights meant high school games, Saturday was all about college ball, and Sundays included a pro game. But Saturdays were the best. One game on the television and others on the radio, though often they were one and the same since my father thought, and still feels, the University of Alabama is the only school in the universe that matters. When you get all wrapped up in support of a team it has a way of blocking out everything crummy in your life. Unless you lose, that is. Even then, it’s a different kind of misery that you know you share with everyone else wearing your colors. And it’s not the kind of disappointment that changes the world like war and disease. It’s temporary. There is always next year and a clean slate with new players and if it was a really bad season, most likely new coaches as well. Other than maybe a Jimmy Buffett concert, 10 | pensacola magazine

where can you go to hang out all day drinking with people dressed in costume for the cause? I packed up recently to head for Auburn and stopped by my office before getting on the road. I work in a place where almost everyone has declared loyalty to a team. But there is something screaming like neon about a lone car in a parking lot adorned in magnets, shakers, flags, and yes, a tiger tail. What kind of normal person does this? It’s another story altogether when you hit the interstate with your brethren. Fight song blaring from the radio, onward to the game!

own win. You don’t say this out loud; you just keep it deep inside where some sign of it does occasionally show it’s ugly self in horrible ways like poisoning trees. But even alone with my television, I am wearing team support gear as if I was ready to suit up and take the field. And when the marching band struts out and fireworks precede the team bursting into the arena, nothing else matters. Not Ebola, not war, and certainly not politics. Not for three and a half hours anyway.

Tailgating is a culture of its own. Don’t try to find logic in leaving at daybreak to find a good parking spot, only to have an entire day to fill with revelry before taking the party into a stadium. Beer at 10 am? You bet. When you are there it seems so right. The day after is another story. The tailgate parties at most campuses are legendary, with Ole Miss probably topping the list. Staking your territory and setting up camp is what it’s all about. Once upon a time these gatherings included a couple of ice chests and some pom poms. Now they have television, catering, full bars and party favors. If as much effort went into solving world problems as goes into planning an SEC game weekend, there would unquestionably be peace and harmony among the nations.

And while we are cheering, hooray for the Institute for Women in Politics. The group held a bi-partisan gathering last week for former office holders, those seeking office, and those thinking about seeking office. President Amy Miller presented “Trailblazer” Awards to former Gulf Breeze Mayor Beverly Zimmern, former Escambia County Commissioner Muriel Wagner, and former Escambia County Commissioner Marie Young. The group meets regularly to support and encourage women to get involved in the political process. Contact Myra Van Hoose or Diane Mack for more information.

And it’s not all restricted to actually going to the game. Every bit as much goes into a stay –at- home -and -watch, because then you follow all of the games. Not that I am one of them, but many are said to take as much joy from another’s loss as they are from their

It’s only a game you may say? Not a chance.

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Celebrate Culinary Culture at Local Food Festivals

Festival season is upon us. As the weather finally cools, each weekend seems to be filled with culinary opportunities. Be sure to save your appetite for these fantastic food-centric festivals coming up in September and October.

Greek Fest

Few events capture all the fun of festivals and combine it with education and ethnic diversity as well as Greek Fest, which is celebrating its 58th anniversary this year.

The Pensacola Greek Festival is a staple of the Pensacola Bay area’s fall festival lineup, mixing southern hospitality with Hellenic culture and cuisine. The Pensacola Greek Festival is a wonderful opportunity for the Greek community to share their culture, traditions, heritage, faith, food, dance and the fun-loving spirit of Greece right here in our hometown. This year, the Pensacola Greek

Seafood Fest

It’s time to feast with Fiesta of Five Flags at the 40th Annual Seafood Festival, where you are invited to experience all of the cultural and culinary tastes of the Gulf Coast while strolling the picturesque parks and streets of Downtown Pensacola. Held Sept. 29 through Oct.1, in historic Seville Square, Seafood Fest offers fresh seafood prepared in every way imaginable, a variety of local artists and excellent musical entertainment. Enjoy the

Festival will be celebrating the island of Samos, a beautiful island some of our parishioners call home. Known for being the home of some of ancient Greece’s most famous mathematicians and philosophers, Samos brings to life the embodiment of Greek culture and flair. One of Pensacola’s oldest and most beloved food and cultural events is the Greek Fest. The festival takes place Oct.13 and 14 from 11 am to 9:30 pm and Oct. 15 from noon to 5 pm, all at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church on Garden Street. The weekend offers authentic Greek music, youth folk dancing and, of course, delicious traditional Greek cuisine. Visitors will have the opportunity to sample everything from chicken, roast lamb and pastitso to gyros, Greek fries and Greek salads and more.

first days of fall by spending your weekend outdoors at the family-friendly festival to be set up in Seville Square, Fountain Park, and Bartram Park with areas for children, arts and crafts, vendors, cooking demonstrations, a sports bar and beer garden. Don’t forget to visit Taste of Pensacola and Seafood Grille, where you’ll find several local and celebrity chefs doing what they do best. For more about the event go to

pensacola magazine | 17

Celebrate Culinary Culture Taste of the Beach

The Pensacola Beach Celebrity Chefs are prepped and ready to serve up the food and spice up the crowds at the 10th Annual Taste of the Beach festival September 15-16 on Pensacola Beach. Presented by the Pensacola Beach Chamber of Commerce, Taste of the Beach is Pensacola Beach’s annual foodie festival that celebrates the beach’s talented chefs and their unique coastal cuisine with cooking demonstrations, chef challenges, sample tastings and a free live concert. The Pensacola Beach Celebrity Chefs include Jere Doyle of Crabs We Got ‘Em; Dan Dunn of H2O at the Hilton Pensacola Beach Gulf Front Hotel; Josh Warner of The Grand Marlin; Dennis Moore of Flounder’s Chowder House; and John Smith of Hemingway’s Island Grill. Taste of the Beach offers ticketed, VIP events as well as food samples from over 20 beach restaurants for just $5 each. The festival, which is centered

around the Gulfside Pavilion at Casino Beach, amps up the entertainment with chef demonstrations, cooking competitions and live music. White Tie Rock Ensemble closes out the festival at the Gulfside Pavilion stage. White Tie is an ambitious group of local musicians that combine classic rock hits by artists such as Journey, Aerosmith, Van Halen and The Eagles with the precision and detail of a symphony orchestra, creating the ultimate music experience. For more delicious details, VIP event tickets or lodging information, visit www.

WSRE Wine & Food Classic

A soirée to commemorate WSRE’s first 50 years of broadcasting is set Oct. 20-22 in conjunction with the public television station’s annual Wine & Food Classic fundraiser. This evening of dancing, distinguished guests, fine wines and a dinner presentation from the Emmy-winning host of “Lidia’s Kitchen,” Chef Lidia Bastianich, will be the highpoint of WSRE’s year-long anniversary celebration. Public television leaders Pat Harrison, Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) president and CEO, and Paula Kerger, Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) president and CEO, are among the special guests expected to attend. This year’s WSRE Wine & Food Classic events will include the “Tastes Through the Decades” walkabout

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tasting on Friday, Oct. 20 and the “Milestones & Memories” 50th anniversary black tie gala on Saturday, Oct. 21—both at the Hilton Pensacola Beach. A Bodacious Family of Shops, the Wine & Food Classic presenting sponsor, will host a wine tasting and book signing at So Gourmet & Kitchenry on Sunday, Oct. 22, where guests will have the opportunity to meet Bastianich and sample wines from the Napa Valley vineyards of Silver Oak Winery. Bastianich will be signing copies of her new cookbook, “Celebrate Like an Italian.”

All the Write Stuff Student Poetry Awards 2017

written by Charlotte Crane

There are many ways to view a sun rise. Take a look through the eyes of Escambia County students who competed in this year’s Student Poetry Contest, sponsored by the West Florida Literary Federation. This year’s theme: “And When the Sun Rises.” Among the many entries are these shining examples, seen in excerpts of prize-winning poems: “A globe of light rises And shimmers. A big blob of liquid fire Blazed in glory.” Christian Huynh, sixth grade, Ferry Pass Middle School

“It would have to shine. And burn. And be a sign of something infinite and turn things and people nearby into their wilder selves and be dangerous to the ordinary nature of signs and glow like a tiny hole in space.” Ari’abasi Jenkins, grade 9, Tate High School

The contest has grown in popularity since its 1987 origin, thanks to the dedication of its founder, Ora Wills, a historian and author. This year WFLF presented awards to 54 student winners, selected from 711 submissions from 26 schools; last year WFLF had 415 entries from 12 schools and gave awards to 35 students.

Parents, too, say they’re impressed by what poetry can do. Sandy Keating’s son, Jacob Weekley, a second-grader at Episcopal Day School, won a second-place award for his poem, “Dark and Light,” which injects humor by imagining a contest between night and day. Writing helps with reading and spurs creativity, says Keating. “He says things, and think ‘Wow, where did that come from?’ ”

English teachers in award-winning schools say poetry is a useful teaching tool. “I am teaching all the elements of poetry all year long –including alliteration, metaphor and simile,” said Kathy Garner, a teacher at Episcopal Day School who has been submitting student contest entries for 15 years. “I think writing poetry helps them with writing in all of their academics, with coming up with clarity of thought.” This year, 30 of the school’s 33 first and second grade students submitted poems and the school won all of the first and second grade awards. Writing poetry, says Tate High School teacher Cynthia Sarikaya, strengthens students’ overall reading and writing skills, which are life skills. “It’s a great way for students to apply what they’re learning and take a concept and write about it.” Sarikaya has been incorporating poetry into the classroom for five years, and has coached four WFLF winners in each of the last two years – among them Jenkins, who took a first place award. 20 | pensacola magazine

WFLF board member and poet Susan Lewis, who has been directing the Student Poetry Awards program for eight years, is amazed about the impact of student poetry writing. “We have here 10-year-olds and 14-year-olds that will open their hearts and the wisdom of ages pours out onto the page. You know they will write greatness. The future of my art is secure.” Submissions for the contest are made through the Escambia Schools system, and will be filed by teachers for the 2018 contest in December 2017. After the 2018 theme is announced, entry forms for students, parents and educators in Escambia County will be available at the Pensacola Main Library and Books-a-Million on Davis Highway. Winners are announced in the spring, and students and their poems are then featured in a WFLF-published book; the 2017 books will be distributed at a book launch to be held Saturday, Sept. 16, from 4 to 5 pm at

“In my books, The sunrise is symbolic For redemption For happiness, For joy, For rebirth.” Tori Vinson, sixth grade, Workman Middle School Pensacola Little Theater Board Room. One book is free to each winner, $9 for the public; all proceeds are used to support the Student Poetry Contest. Previous books are available on Amazon. Want an encore? Sal Caligiuri, a senior this fall at Tate High School, likes to write poetry. He was inspired for his Student Poetry Contest entry by what he thought life in New Orleans would be like: “The city is so historic, so musical.” His (complete) poem: And When The Sun Rises “The ones who come out at night are sometimes the most amusing / The friends you make and the memories you try to shake fall between the cracks / The city shines bright and the jazz blows through the air / And when the sun rises the city dims.”


Written by:





D E P M A ST m Fe s tiva l il F T B G L 's a l Pen saco 2017 R et ur n s for


s 2017 nears an end, we approach the 140th anniversary of cinema. The silver screen has evolved for more than a century, going from silent black-and-white film to ‘talky’ colors, going through trends and genres, and tackling difficult subject matter.

One subject that was often pigeonholed as ‘niche’ entertainment is LGBTQ film— from actors to actual films portraying the subject matter, it’s been underrepresented in the world of cinema. On the weekend of September 14, the STAMPED film festival hopes to give LGBT film the visibility and attention it deserves. The STAMPED: Pensacola LGBT Film Fest was formed in 2012 by Sara Latshaw, Deputy Political Director of the Florida ACLU, as a way to use local and national films with LGBTQ subject matter as a tool for education and acceptance in Pensacola. The ‘stamped’ title came about in 2015 22 | pensacola magazine

as homage to LGBTQ residents stamping money that was spent during Memorial Day weekend in the 90smoney that was easily tracked and showed LGBTQ tourists and residents had spent over $25 million in our local economy in one weekend alone. The STAMPED festival, which runs from the Sept 14 to 16, will feature over 20 films from around the globe, from both veteran and rookie directors, actors and producers, that share various themes and stories revolving around the LGBTQ community. One of these films is Alan, an animated short by Isabella Iampieri detailing her brother’s experiences as a trans person. “My brother and I have always been really close, and he has been a huge support for me over the years. When he came out to me as

written by Tanner Yea Iampieri attended the Rochester Institute of Technology for film and animation. Iampieri submitted Alan to STAMPED because she liked how focused the entire festival is on expanding diversity and providing an avenue for LGBTQ to speak, which she thinks is needed as there are few positive depictions of this community in media. “The LGBTQ community is finally starting to get a platform and people are finally kind of listening to us,” she said. “As long as there is still violence and hatred directed at the LGBTQ community then there will need to be a conversation about it.” The diversity of the film festival does not stop at animated features such as Alan.

“As long as there is still violence and hatred directed at the LGBTQ community then there will need to be a conversation about it.” trans, I wanted to do whatever I could and get him whatever he needed to be happy with himself,” said Iampieri. Alan is an animated interview between Iampieri and her brother Alan, and it was made as a senior thesis while

Other films include Because I Am, a film addressing LGBT issues in Zimbabwe as a response to current anti-gay Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. There is also more lighthearted fare like Meat—a story about a

A.A. Cunningham Road paving notice ... Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southeast (NavFac SE) has awarded a contract to mill and overlay A.A. Cunningham Road on NAS Pensacola. The work is scheduled to begin the week of Sept. 12 and expected to take four weeks to complete. Watch for “Road Closed” and “Detour” signs. Detour routes to facilities in the area will be Page Road to Warehouse Road and Farrar Road to Pat Bellinger Road. Drivers should observe the warning signs and proceed with caution around the work zones. The work schedule is weather dependent. For questions or more information, contact the PWD Construction Manager Bryan Moeller at 452-3131, ext. 3077.

gay vegan/non-vegan romance that takes a turn when the apocalypse happens and the nonvegan turns into a zombie. STAMPED will not only serve as a film festival, but as a place for the LGBTQ community and its allies to learn about local causes, charities and groups. Mikhail McMillian runs such a cause in TransReality—a non-profit focused on providing emergency housing, medicine, food and basic living necessities to trans people in need. “Grassroots movements and festivals are one of the most effective ways to raise awareness,” said McMillian, himself a transmale who transitioned in 1995. “The films open the public’s eyes to the hopes and fears of the LGBTQ community. It shows us as we are, as humans who are not so different from the cisstraight world.” TransReality will have a booth at the festival and will offer items for donations, applications for volunteering, and serve as a source of education. They will stand alongside other volunteer booths, as well as sponsorship partners such as the Red Ribbon Charitable Foundation—a non-profit dedicated to preventing HIV and AIDS. McMillian also believes that independent films have done well in bringing attention to problems facing the LGBTQ community, but says mainstream cinema has a long way to go. “When they do tackle the LGTBQ, they often use cis-straight people to play roles that should be offered to LGBTQ actors,” he said. STAMPED hosts LGBTQ-related cinema events all year, but this multi-day festival is what helps them achieve their goal of becoming a leading presence promoting inclusion and diversity throughout the Gulf Coast—all free of charge and open to everyone. The STAMPED: Pensacola LGBT Film Festival will take place from September 14 to 16, at the Pensacola Little Theater. For more information and show times of the films, visit To find out more about TransReality, visit

Vol. 80, No. 35



September 2, 2016

Fallen Special Tactics Airman honored at NASP By Capt. Katrina Cheesman Sibley’s unit. “This dedication 24th Special Operations Wing and memorial ruck is an important step for us as a brotherhood Air Force Special Tactics Air- to honor Forrest’s legacy of men dedicated a military freefall valor, and get a small bit of clotraining exercise into Pensacola sure.” Bay Aug. 26 to His teammates Staff Sgt. Forrest escorted the famSibley, a combat ily to Sibley’s controller from burial site, wearPensacola killed ing combat ruck in action Aug. 26, sacks weighing 2015, in Helmand more than 50 Pr o v i n c e , pounds to repreAfghanistan. It sent the deployed. was the first anOnce at the niversary of Sibcemetery, they ley’s death. completed a After free round of memoStaff Sgt. falling into the rial push-ups to Forrest Sibley waters of Sibley’s honor their fallen hometown, his teammates teammate. joined family members and Sibley, 31, had served in the friends to complete a memorial Air Force as a combat controller ruck march to his final resting since 2008. In his seven years of place at Barrancas National service, he received four Bronze Cemetery (BNC). Star Medals, once with valor for “When we lost Forrest, most heroism in combat, as well as a of his teammates were still de- Purple Heart for injuries susployed for another five months, tained in combat. and couldn’t attend any funeral “Forrest was one of our best or memorial event,” said Lt. Col. combat controllers, but he was Stewart Parker, commander of 21st Special Tactics Squadron, See Sibley on page 2

After parachuting into Pensacola Bay, members of the Air Force’s 21st Special Tactics Squadron make a memorial “ruck march,” a hike with full packs, from NAS Pensacola’s Bayou Grande Marina to Barrancas National Cemetery and the grave of teammate Staff Sgt. Forrest Sibley. Sibley was killed in action Aug. 26, 2015. He had served in the Air Force as a combat controller since 2008. Photo by Mike O’Connor For more photos, see page A4

CNATT: Make Labor Day weekend safety a priority Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Public Affairs

The Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training (CNATT) safety manager is reminding service members, civilian employees and their families to maintain safety awareness as they prepare for what is generally viewed as the end of summer. CNATTSafety Manager Krystal Hancock said that Labor Day, a federal holi-

day designed to honor the achievements of American workers, includes an extended weekend, with service members and their families often electing to travel to see family and friends. “Whether taking a long road trip or simply jumping in the car to run a quick errand, driving is inherently risky, and traffic mishaps continue to

be a leading reason for lost time, days, and lives across our force,” she said. Hancock said the National Safety Council (NSC) predicts this could be the deadliest Labor Day weekend for drivers in eight years, estimating that more than 430 people could be killed in traffic accidents throughout the Labor Day weekend. She added that service members, often sepa-

rated from their families and travelling significant distances to visit during the long weekend, should take some simple precautions before and during their trips. “Get enough rest before heading outsleepy driving is as dangerous as impaired driving,” she said. “Alternate drivers or take frequent breaks to ensure that whoever is behind the wheel stays alert.” See Labor Day on page 2

‘Be There’ for your shipmates during Suicide Prevention Month 2016 By James Rosenfelder U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery public affairs

NAS Pensacola to host 9/11 commemoration ceremony ... In commemoration of the events of Sept. 11, 2001, Naval Air Station Pensacola will present a ceremony at the National Naval Aviation Museum aboard the base at 10 a.m. Sept. 9. The event will include a guest speaker and a musical rendition from the NATTC Choir, a traditional “two-bell” ceremony, honors performed by the NASP Honor Guard and a 21-gun volley. The public is invited to attend.

Navy Medicine recognizes September as National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, which began Sept. 1. The theme for Suicide Prevention Month 2016 is “Be There.” Throughout the month, Navy Medicine will highlight the power of peer support and personal wellness, encouraging Sailors and Marines to be there for their shipmates. “Action starts with prevention,” said Vice Adm. Forrest Faison, Navy surgeon general and chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BuMed). “When a Sailor needs assistance, easy access to support resources and mental health treatment is essential, as is validation of help-seeking behaviors.” Suicide prevention is a yearlong effort. Suicide Prevention Month serves as a reminder that building resilience and preventing suicide requires all

members of the Navy and Marine Corps community to work together. Every life lost to suicide is one too many. “Take action if you notice anything

out of the ordinary for a shipmate; reach out to them,” Faison said. “If you are having difficulties, seek help if See Prevention on page 2

FatAlbertis getting a facelift...Fat Albert, the Blue Angels’ C-130 cargo plane used for transporting crew and equipment to air shows around the country, is currently undergoing a chemical de-paint process at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma after corrosion was found. Once the de-paint process and sheetmetal checks for any other corrosion are complete, Fat Albert will fly to Hill Air Force Base, Utah, for full programmed depot maintenance and paint. Photo by Kelly White


Published by BallingerPublishing, a private firm in no way connected with the Department of the Navy. Opinions contained herein are not official expressions of the Department of the Navy nor do the advertisements constitute Department of the Navy, NAS Pensacola or Ballinger Publishing’s endorsement of products or services advertised.





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24 | pensacola magazine




n April 2, 2002 when Michael Murdoch and Joel Smith first opened AppRiver’s doors, the two men could not have imagined they were on the forefront of a technology boom in Santa Rosa and Escambia counties. Fast forward 15 years – what started in a tiny broom closet with just two guys and a spam filter has exploded into a worldwide corporation of more than 250 employees with offices in Austin, Texas; Atlanta; Switzerland and Barcelona. Even as it is experiencing its own explosive growth, AppRiver is working alongside other local companies and organizations to expand the area’s technology footprint.

Contributed content: Teresa Zwierzchowski, Media Relations & Content Specialist for AppRiver and Tom St. Myer, Communications Director for the University of West Florida Center for Cybersecurity

pensacola magazine | 25

WHERE WE ARE Along with AppRiver, companies like Avalex, TechSoft, Hixardt, Navy Federal, Metova CyberCENTS, CSRA, BitWizards, IRIS, Digital Boardwalk and other non-profit organizations such as IHMC, FloridaWest, The Studer Community Institute and IT Gulf Coast have helped establish a tech foothold in the region, but all agree there is still much to be done to continue developing that landscape. “All of us realize we’re stronger together,” said Michael Murdoch, AppRiver president and CEO. “We have a compelling story to tell, as individual companies and as a region. That story gets better with each new technology degree awarded by our universities, each new job created in the technology field, each new innovation, and each new dollar invested by technology and knowledgebased companies in the area.” Scott Luth, executive director of FloridaWest, said, “I really see Pensacola as becoming the Cyber Coast, a tech hub where people want to live and work. FloridaWest has a mission of creating wealth for Escambia County and greater Pensacola, and our tech and cyber related industries are extremely important to that. We have witnessed significant growth over the past ten years in this sector, and moving forward Pensacola will be able to position itself to be a leader in tech, innovation and cyber.” Our region’s burgeoning tech and cyber industry may be further enabled through projects potentially funded through Triumph Gulf Coast allocations of the $1.5 billion BP 2010 oil settlement expected to spawn economic growth across eight Panhandle counties affected by the spill. Don Gaetz, Triumph board vice chair, and former Florida Senate president believes that economic diversification is vital for Triumph funding to be successful and a focus on innovative sectors such as advanced research, technology, mid-tech or high-tech manufacturing, as well as cybersecurity is needed. "My idea in developing the legislation was to put a third leg under the stool of Florida's regional economy (beyond military related economy projects) so we control, to some extent, our own fate by supporting high-growth projects that provide a strong return on investment to our region.” Gaetz said. Toward that end, Escambia and Santa Rosa counties are moving to capitalize on progress and growth. “Over the past 15 years, Santa Rosa County has continued to grow at a rapid pace, the county is experiencing growth like never before,” said Shannon Ogle26 | pensacola magazine

tree, director of economic development for Santa Rosa County. “In the past, less focus was put on start-ups and the infrastructure needed to support their needs. I want to continue to have a focus on those start-ups by hosting seminars/ events that cater toward that crowd.” Ogletree also noted it is important for the area to offer environments in which businesses can grow and thrive. “For tech companies – more so than any other sector, talent is the No. 1 driver. It is important for us not to only offer a suitable business environment for those companies to thrive, but also offer a vibrant, eclectic community where the employees feel like they belong to the area to become one with Santa Rosa,” he said. “We are continuing to build the (quality of life) environment that employees/owners want to be in while working for ‘hot’ tech companies.” Escambia County Commissioner Doug Underhill also sees the opportunity our region has to grow the tech industry. “We have the opportunity to be on the forefront and move our area more toward a tech world. With what our military is doing and what UWF’s Center for Cybersecurity is doing and with what grassroot efforts are doing – we can make a difference,” Underhill said. “We, the nerds, have to take charge and change the dialogue. We have to stand up and show that growing our cyber future is important.” With the future in mind, organizations such as Innovation Coast, FloridaWest and IT Gulf Coast are working to grow the technological landscape in this area and lure companies and bring jobs. They also are working to develop a pipeline of education to help fill those prospective jobs with local talent. FloridaWest aims to maximize the potential of Northwest Florida through economic development, initiatives, programs and services aimed at attracting and recruiting new businesses, retaining and expanding existing businesses, developing and training our workforce, nurturing the global contributions of local entrepreneurs, and developing our community and assets to position our area as a rich and fertile location for growth- be it individual, community, or corporate. IT Gulf Coast’s primary focus also is to foster the growth of the tech industry and entrepreneurship in the area by creating educational and networking opportunities for its membership. One such company, Metova CyberCENTS has a long history of providing cyber research, design, engineering, exercise planning along with producing the state-of-the-art

cyber range environments used for training, experimentation, mission rehearsal, test and evaluation and exercises. Drawn to the Gulf Coast because of its rich history for cyber, innovation and training, Metova is focused on shaping the future of cyber professionals. The two groups collaborate each year to sponsor ITEN WIRED. The event, which takes place Oct. 9-11 on Pensacola Beach, aims to provide networking and learning opportunities for executives, entrepreneurs, technology and academia to foster local economic development efforts surrounding innovation, tech and entrepreneurship. CREATING CONNECTIONS FOR GROWTH In April, Innovation Coast – a consortium of local technology and knowledge-based companies – hosted its second Innovation Awards business plan competition. More than 60 companies competed for over $250,000 in cash and prizes in four categories: post-revenue, pre-revenue, veteran-owned, and student-owned companies. The competition was part of the organization’s commitment to showcase and grow the region’s innovation economy, including its technology sector. Another goal was to attract investment capital to the area to help fledgling companies take the next step. Notably, the 2014 Innovation Awards top prize winner – Intelligent Retinal Imaging Systems (IRIS) – just celebrated its first appearance on the 2017 Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies. The other local business featured on the list – AppRiver, a founding member of Innovation Coast – was honored for the 11th time. Florida’s existing technology infrastructure – 27,000 high-tech companies call Florida home – make it the #1 state

for high-tech employment in the Southeast. “We have good reason to be optimistic about the technology outlook,” says Andrea Moore, regional manager for international trade and ICT specialist for Enterprise Florida, the state’s economic development agency. “Currently more than 237,000 employees in the state’s tech industry and we’re ranked #3 nationwide for high-tech employment growth, according to COMP-TIA. Of course, it’s very competitive setting and it order to remain competitive, it is critical that we nurture our existing tech ecosystem and add to it with a steady pool of skilled technicians and STEM graduates.” EDUCATION IS KEY TO FLORIDA’S TECH FUTURE Education and creating a pipeline of talent from both counties is the key to continued growth and success of the cyber and technology industry from the university level down to secondary education. Officials in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties are working with schools to help foster that growth.

“Santa Rosa County is working with the school district to develop IT/Cyber curriculum that will help develop a pipeline of talent as well as a feeder for postsecondary education units for current companies within the county as well as those to come,” Ogletree said. In Escambia County, Underhill wants to invest more in reaching children in low-income areas and provide better access to technology as well as more technical skills. “If we can push into these areas, we hopefully can educate these children and help pull them out of the cycle (of poverty). We could see them coming back to our area to help their families and give back to the community, that is when we would start to see a change the landscape,” he said. The counties are not the only ones who see the importance of reaching the next generation. Sena Maddison, director of communications for FloridaWest, says the organization is working with local educators to help build talent. “We are working with the Escambia County School District, UWF, PSC and George Stone Technical Center to build in enrollment in our area IT and Cybersecurity Career Academies and to ensure that we have a robust workforce pipeline in those industries.” Maddison said. “FloridaWest is devoted to supporting the tech industry of today and building the tech workforce of tomorrow.” IT Gulf Coast provides $10,000 in support for our community STEM programs and provide computer science scholarships to the University of West Florida as well as offer events to help educate the IT community, according to IT Gulf Coast director Sean O’Brien. “We are a co-sponsor of ITEN WIRED, and as such distribute all funds left after expenses to scholarships and STEM sponsorships/events,” he said. “We also host monthly ‘lunch and learns’ where we bring in speakers from around the country to present on various topics of interest to the local IT community.” O’Brien also hosts a regional CIO Roundtable group that meets several times a year to share ideas, discuss the IT marketplace as well as trends in technology, challenges, successes and more. “One topic that dominates our discussions is the shortage of talent in the region and the business and economic impact of that reality on the region,” he said. “That issue has sparked IT Gulf Coast to host periodic job fairs, encourage various partnerships to develop the local talent pipeline, and sponsor cyber competitions/IT events in the area that

draw IT professionals and students from outside the area.” Additionally, for ITEN WIRED, New Horizons Computer Learning Center is giving away two scholarships for Network Security and Server Administrator. New Horizons specializes in a “fast track” to an IT Career. "Everyone from High School graduates to people looking for a career change can gain certifications and a start to an IT profession,” said New Horizons Center Regional Director, Laura Campbell. “The fact is, that the barriers to entry fall away as you gain certifications, and companies are looking for those certifications on your resume, sometimes even before the four-year degree.” CYBER COAST The University of West Florida has gone all in with a huge push to make the region the Cyber Coast. With the creation of its Center for Cybersecurity, multidisciplinary cybersecurity programs, cutting edge research and facilities, and prestigious designation as the National Security Agency / Department of Homeland Security National Center of Academic Excellence Regional Resource Center for the Southeast US, the University is leading efforts to expand cybersecurity education and industries in our region. One example is the teaming between UWF Center for Cybersecurity and Metova CyberCENTS to create the Florida Cyber Range and bolster cyber capabilities along the Gulf Coast and beyond. In a recent guest column to local media, UWF President Martha Saunders said she is hoping to create an “economic cluster around cybersecurity.” “Nationally and regionally, the demand for cybersecurity workers stays high. A national information security advocacy group, ISACA, estimates that in 2019 there will be a global shortage of 2 million cybersecurity professionals,” she wrote. “About 40,000 jobs for information security analysts go unfilled in the U.S. every year. In Florida, more than 15,000 cybersecurity positions go unfilled.” And that need will continue to grow. FloridaWest is currently working with area experts to produce a community strategic plan for growing the cybersecurity industry in Greater Pensacola – Escambia County. The strategy will identify best practices and a path forward for building the Cyber Coast. The overarching goal is to develop a shared regional cybersecurity vision and plan for Northwest Florida, Identify and focus policy, planning, and program offerings, and


IHMC is pioneering research in robotics, artificial intelligence, robotics, human-centered computing and more.

develop appropriate and relevant recommendations that will enhance economic development and establish Northwest Florida as a leader in cybersecurity. Northwest Florida: the Next Cyber and Tech Hub With all the initiatives and energy behind this movement, it’s easy to see why locals are invested in making it happen. Jay Smith, Founder of Data Revolution, sees Pensacola becoming a place for tech innovation. “I picked this area because I love it,” Smith said. “I know that we are on the verge of becoming a technology area, and I want to be a part of Job growth and local talent pool development. “ Vickie Patterson, a tech industry veteran for over 20 years, IBM technology executive leader and native Pensacolian recently started Invictus Knowledge Institute (IKI). IKI is a non-profit advanced technology training, research and development organization, which provides individuals with access to hightech, fast track training boot camps, hands-on technology project work. IKI was one of the 2017 Innovation Awards winners in the veteran’s category. “After living and growing my tech career in Austin for the past 20+ years, I can state with confidence that tech growth in Pensacola is happening with very similar patterns of which I’ve witnessed in Austin. The current local tech talent and leadership, the support for tech growth, and tech education, are all exponentially better than where Pensacola was 10+ years ago. With that said, I strongly feel there is HUGE potential for “insourcing” tech talent needs from

individuals along the Gulf Coast. We just need to be smart, learn from other tech talent strong-hold cities and seek opportunities for educating, training and employing the regions’ intelligent, hardworking people who love the area as much as any of us die-hard native Pensacolians,” Patterson said. ITEN WIRED Marketing Chair, Beth McClean said, “I love being an ambassador in promoting all the spark in tech, cyber and innovation in our local area. I grew up here and believe in giving back to a community and an industry that has been so vital to me and my family in growth, prosperity and jobsecurity.” It is very encouraging to see so many pockets of excellence, all of which are striving to connect the dots and leverage our existing tech prowess,” said Andrea Moore Regional Manager, International Trade & ICT Industry Specialist for Enterprise Florida Is Northwest Florida poised to be the next tech and cyber mecca? Passionate about economic development and entrepreneurship in Pensacola, Bill Wein, CEO of IMS Expert Services serves on several boards, including Innovation Coast, Pensacola State Board of Governors, and Summit Bank believes so. “All of our tech, knowledge and cyber ventures coming together is a perfect storm of opportunity especially when you bring the startup and entrepreneurial spirit into the spectrum,” Wein said. “When you consider the growth potential of our region, it's easy to see how soon this could happen for us.”

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T HE NEW R &D DEPARTM ENT: Vent u r e ca p ita l i sts an d sta r t u ps By Tanner Yea

Technology has been constantly evolving over the past few decades. Not just with the miniaturization of hardware, constant interconnectivity and virtual reality, but also on a level of how technology operates as a business. The development houses and research departments of major companies have taken a backseat, with tech startups and their venture capitalist benefactors taking center stage. Venture capitalists are any kind of person or company who is willing to invest money – or capital – in smaller companies who would not normally have access to bigger markets. They invest because these small companies can offer massive returns with only a small amount of risk. Companies like Facebook, Twitter, PayPal and Uber all started as tech startups and found their success through outside sources. In recent years, Pensacola has seen extensive economic growth, and along with that, an increase in tech startups and consumer interest. Places like Appriver and Robotics Unlimited have seen success with the aid of local entrepreneurs and angel investors who see potential in our Gulf Coast tech sector. Vernon Niven is a local entrepreneur, marking technologist, and one of the angel investors leading the forefront of this funding. Niven has spent his life in and around technology, starting off by using IT to improve large business processes in the late 90s, eventually transferring 28 | pensacola magazine

to Silicon Valley in 1999 to join a company that was acquired in 2001 for $9 billion dollars. He took his stock option and retired to Pensacola Beach in 2001 at the age of 37, where he now lives while he invests, advises and starts new online services and software businesses. “I prefer investing in companies and teams that exhibit four traits,” said Niven. “First is a really big market; it has to be easy for me to see that the winner of the market they are chasing will eventually be worth $1 billion or more. Second is proof of real, paying demand for their new product or service. Third is an experienced and gritty team. Finally, the business is an online service, SaaS business or a software/AI company—because that’s what I know best.” Niven has helped launch adtech company Tumri in 2004, which developed an online display ad that follows users across pages and advertises based on personal preferences. In 2010, he invested in The Ellerdale Group, a data-mining startup which was eventually acquired

by Flipboard—the current most successful news aggregator app in the world. “From an investor point of view, tech drives most economic growth today. You need to go where the growth is if you want to make any money,” said Niven. “From a personal point of view, tech companies exist to solve important problems for people in innovative ways. Maybe it’s the engineer in me, but I have always loved the challenge of solving a difficult problem for someone else.” Steve Millaway is another angel investor out of Panama City, and the CEO of TechFarms – a tech incubator that offers equipment and office space to upcoming startups. Though Millaway grew up in Panama City, he had to move to Arizona to pursue a tech career. He eventually moved back in 2007 in hopes of creating a

military and tourism sectors,” said Millaway. “We are spending all this time educating people for other cities like Atlanta or Austin, and it’s a crime.” Millaway is also developing TechFarms Capital, an angel investment fund focused on providing investments in startups in Florida, Alabama and Georgia. He said funding these startups will lure bigger companies to the Gulf Coast area, but we simply don’t have the workforce to support those larger corporations. Millaway said it is critical these start ups are funded to produce the needed workforce. Innovation Coast takes a slightly different direction in terms of investment. Though they do focus on supporting startups and larger businesses, the Innovation Coast Awards are a yearly competition the group holds to provide up to

Inside TechFarms, Steve Millaway (standing) gives a presentation to the Pensacola members of the Entrepreneurial Support Coalition, which is now part of the Northwest Florida Forward initiative.

place where tech startups along the Gulf Coast can flourish. “I’d say we are in year two of a 20 year period to fully develop a tech sector where it can rival our

$100,000 in prizes for burgeoning companies. They recently held 2017’s ceremony and awarded 12 companies with various funds. These companies include projects

address some of those issues.” Reshard believes that most cities across the country are using startups for economic development, and focusing their attention on these smaller companies to innovate more quickly and solve problems. Larger corporations still do their own in-house research, but they network and expand their views with startups. “Solutions are moving at such a high pace, that startups can do agile development,” said Niels Andersen, the President & CEO of KontactIntelligence, a medical software development company in Pensacola. “You can wake up with an idea on a Saturday, and a few months later you can have a business plan and a working prototype.” Andersen, along with Ryan Tilley—the COO of VetCV, Inc.—recently finalized a funding agreement from the Florida Institute in order to fully develop the VetCV application. Designed to serve as an online tool for veterans to track their records, assets, careers and more, the app was developed at the Florida Institute for Human Machine and Cognition—a tech incubator powered by public funds. “A lot of young talent is staying here or coming back,” said Tilley. “They find a community with a lot of acumen, access to capital and a desire to help. There are a lot of


like NumNum, an emerging baby brand; NeuBev, which has developed an eco-friendly smart water cooler; and Mine Survival, Inc, a company that manufactures respiratory escape systems. The winner for the year was Pensacola Bay Oyster Co., which is using the funds to expand oyster hatcheries that not only provide oysters as food, but help regulate the environment. Another recipient of this year’s Innovation Coast Awards is Lloyd Reshard, CEO of local tech startup Cognitive Big Data Systems, a retired Air Force engineer who formed Cognitive Big Data Systems as a way to make artificial intelligence systems more available for general use. The company is currently working on a computer vision app that uses machine learning to monitor security cameras. This project netted them over $25,000 in funding from the Innovation Coast Awards, and also served as the second award they’ve received. “Most cities have a startup entrepreneurial ecosystem. They have programs to help and guide companies through the idea, launch and growth stage,” said Reshard. “Pensacola has a program shortage in the idea stage, so they can’t teach new start ups the best practices for running a business. Programs like the Innovation Coast Awards have been able to

saved me time and money,” said Crawford. “Innovation is able to happen much quicker with small companies, but the problem is these companies need capital to grow. Venture capital groups and angel investors are a good way to fund that.” Crawford said that there is a small but collaborative tech community burgeoning in Pensacola, as public institutions like Florida West and UWF contribute, and industrialist entrepreneurs like Bill Wein, Mike Murdoch and Quint Studer lend a hand. Both venture capitalists and the startups they fund are looking towards a bright future where Pensacola and the Gulf Coast region stand out among places like Atlanta, Austin and San Francisco as a center of tech industry. They all have vision, drive and the experience to put Pensacola firmly on the cutting edge of what is new and innovative.


Hardware and software developed by IRIS helps detect early signs of diabetes-related vision loss, allowing effective treatment before it progresses.

us here that are older and willing to give time and energy to help out young people figure out the business side of things.” Jason Crawford is one such talent, forming Intelligent Retinal Imaging Systems, Inc. (or IRIS) in 2011 and recently securing further financing from investors such as Ballast Point Ventures from Tampa and CoxHealth from Springfield, Missouri. Their company has also been recognized in the Inc 5000 fastest growing companies in the country. IRIS develops software and hardware meant to detect and diagnose diabetic retinopathy – the degradation of sight as a result of diabetes. In the last four years, their technology has examined over 200,000 patients – with one-out-of-seven of them having treatable eye disease they had no idea they had. “I think entrepreneurism is up, and the ability to start a company has also become easier due to cloud computing. I started a company without a server, only using the Microsoft Cloud, and it


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W hit e Helps C r e ate T ech Caucu s to Edu cat e S tat e L awma k e rs By Duwayne Escobedo

State Representative Frank White noticed that new innovations and technologies entered many of the most controversial debates in the Florida House during his freshman year as a state representative for District 2.


hite also had many conversations about technology with other state lawmakers in Tallahassee. How should Florida regulate Uber drivers? What about people who rent rooms in their house to people on vacation? How will 5G wireless technology affect cities? Those are just a few technology challenges the Pensacola Republican said he and his colleagues had to confront during the past legislative session. He decided state lawmakers would find an informal Florida Tech Caucus helpful in educating members, so they could craft legislation that makes sense in handling a flood of technology issues now and in the future. “I saw a need in some debates where our membership really could have used a background and understanding of new technologies,” said the 38-year-old White. “A small handful of us have a passion for technology and public policy. I see it being a central place, a hub, when we face a bill related to technology.” White said technology became a hobby for him. As an attorney he looked at document automation and read technologists focused on legal issues. Working with the Sandy Sansing car dealerships, he studied how machines affect almost everything car makers do. “I got interested in seeing how technology was changing whatever role I was in,” said the curious-minded White. “Technology is having a positive impact.” White said he envisions the fledgling caucus becoming critical to ensuring Florida remains a friendly place for innovation and technology businesses.

“We are the third largest state in the country and we are an influential state,” he said. “This is the place where all the debates tend to happen. It makes sense Florida steps out in front of it.” Already, California, Texas and Massachusetts have active existing technology caucuses, said White, who has worked on technology issues as an attorney. State Rep. Jamie Grant, R-Tampa Bay, one of the Tech Caucus founders, said the group has been formed just in time with issues like autonomous cars, artificial intelligence and electronic wills quickly advancing. He credited White for his leadership on the initiative. “We are seeing the continued emergence of technology in every sector of every industry that we regulate,” Grant said. “If we don’t have an intelligent, strategic approach for this, I don’t know how we can continue to grow Florida’s economy.” The technology industry in Florida is a key driver in the state’s economy, employing hundreds of thousands of Floridians. Florida companies are leaders in information technology, biotechnology, telecommunications, e-commerce, clean energy, agriculture, education, and healthcare. White said to ensure that tech innovation starts and grows in Florida, he is planning several Tech Caucus opportunities for lawmakers to talk with industry leaders. The caucus

“We can prepare ourselves to meet these policy challenges through education and awareness of emerging technologies...” – Frank White 30 | pensacola magazine

operates as a non-political, bipartisan group of lawmakers who that do not participate in any political campaign activity. White, State Rep. Nicholas Duran, D-Miami, and Florida Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersbur, have worked together to develop the Tech Caucus and schedule future events. Adam Thierer, a research fellow with the Technology Policy Program at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, is scheduled Oct. 11 in Tallahassee to make the case for permissionless innovation, which he wrote a book on. Permissionless innovation means innovators will not be forced to constantly seek the blessing of public officials before they develop and deploy new devices and services. Thierer will raise questions, about whether innovators should have to obtain a permission slip from government before they create something. What if the product has the potential to cause harm in some unexpected way? What if it conflicts with cultural norms or traditions? Should policymakers follow permissionless innovation or the precautionary principle, where innovation is restricted because its effects are disputed or unknown? White said it’s imperative that legislators are prepared to answer these questions with sound, consistent policy. “We can prepare ourselves to meet these policy challenges through education and awareness of emerging technologies,” White said. The Tech Caucus provides opportunities for education and open dialogue between industry leaders, educators, members, and staff on how we can advance innovation in the state. In June, several lawmakers attended an eGov Summit in Miami as part of the Tech Caucus. The summit brought together government officials, urban planners, and others to discuss how to turn their urban communities into smart cities through innovative technologies. White also forsees technology helping the state deliver services in criminal justice, education and health and human services. Large banks of data could identify families under severe stress and allow government services to step in and help. “There’s a fiscal case for it and a moral case for it,” said White. Grant is one of the founders of CareSync, which combines technology and exceptional services to help people better coordinate their healthcare. He likes the direction the Tech Caucus is headed and envisions its numbers and influence growing in the near future. “It’s like anything else. You can’t snap your fingers and have something,” Grant said. “We have to stay diligent and recruit candidates (to the Tech Caucus) who understand the importance of technology. We need to get more people involved in the process and facilitate technology in positive ways.”

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By Jim Rhodes, ITEN WIRED Planning Committee Director

The Little Tech Conference That Could All the buzz heard on Pensacola Beach each fall revolves around the ITEN WIRED Summit that attracts hundreds of technology professionals, entrepreneurs, educators and students to the Hilton. ITEN (Innovation Technology Entrepreneur Network) began nine

Photos by Barrett McClean

years ago as a Pensacola Chamber event. Walton, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Escambia, and Baldwin counties took turns hosting it each quarter. It was a happy coincidence that the venues lined the I-10 corridor, leading many people to think that’s how the organization got its name.  pensacola magazine | 33

ITEN WIRED:The Little Tech Conference That Could Why do you participate in ITEN WIRED?

We asked members of the ITEN WIRED Planning Committee why they support this innovation and technology champion for the Gulf Coast region. Read their candid responses below. Jay Smith, Data Revolution I participate in ITEN WIRED each year because I believe very strongly in its mission. This is the premier organization locally that merges what employers want with what our students learn. We continue to fulfill that mission better and better each year. ITEN WIRED is a huge part of getting everyone together on education awareness. Kelly Reeser, FloridaWest As the ITEN Programming Committee chairwoman, I have the privilege of working with innovative tech companies. I assist them through our incubation program – Co:Lab Pensacola. I hear daily from entrepreneurs about their needs and get to work toward finding a solution of how our community can collaborate to meet their needs. Northwest Florida has lots of potential to grow its technology sector. ITEN WIRED brings all of our tech players together to share ideas, make connections, and provide space that allows even more growth to happen. Beth McClean, AppRiver/ITEN WIRED Marketing Chair Being a West Pensacola native, I've been fortunate to work at two Inc 5000 companies locally – IMS Expert Services and AppRiver. I used what I learned as the volunteer marketing chair for ITEN WIRED because I truly believe in advocating for more innovation and tech in this region. More importantly, I get to "geek out" with other techies and digital marketers for three days in October. Sean O’ Brien, CSRA I participate in ITEN WIRED because as a Pensacola resident and IT professional I have significant interest in promoting the IT/Cyber industry in our area. IT/ Cyber industry growth represents both a win for me personally, as well as economically for our region. ITEN WIRED is a significant contributor to marketing this area to the rest of the country. 34 | pensacola magazine

The original concept was to create a forum for learning and network opportunities. IT and entrepreneurial leaders could take advantage of the summit to identify common struggles and brainstorm solutions to propel the innovation and technology industry forward. A few years later, the summit began to lose momentum when the chamber employees who oversaw the event left. IT Gulf Coast members saw the potential of the summit and offered to co-host it with the chamber and to handle the programming. When the chamber spun off its tourism and economic development arms a few years later, FloridaWest took over and that partnership continues today. I became involved with the ITEN planning team when I moved back to Pensacola from Charlotte, N.C. At that time, I was skeptical about finding employment in the IT field. When I left Pensacola in 1997, those jobs were mostly with the federal government and required security clearances I didn’t have. I was fully prepared to turn the U-Haul around and head back to Charlotte if things didn’t pan out. The first few weeks of job hunting didn’t ease my fears. If the tech jobs were here, they were well hidden. However, I landed a rewarding AppRiver job, ending all my thoughts of retreat. It struck me that the average person had not heard of innovative companies like AppRiver, CSC (now CSRA), Hixardt, or Avalex Technologies. They didn’t know that the Navy’s Center for Information Warfare Training was located right off New Warrington Road or that the Department of Homeland Security had a major presence here. They seemed unaware of the programs developed in local schools, colleges, and universities to build a talent pipeline to fill those high-paying tech jobs. The burgeoning startup scene also received little attention. Great stories existed like Intelligent Retinal Imaging Systems (IRIS), Robotics Unlimited, and Accountingfly. They started to spread their wings at the Gulf Coast Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (now CO:lab). How could all of these exciting developments be virtually invisible to the general public? When I assumed the role of ITEN planning director in 2013, I challenged the team to evolve the summit into an event that would bring visibility to these hidden assets and give people the opportunity to learn and speak with great thought leaders about current trends and issues facing the industry. The goal was to

have attendees leave excited and inspired about what we have going on. We wanted to keep pushing the envelope to take our innovation and technology scene to the next level. Going into my fifth year of leading the team, I could not be more proud of what they have accomplished. The summit has grown from one day full of keynote speakers and breakout sessions to a three-day event that now includes a job fair, CIO roundtable, cyber competition, and many opportunities to network with peers, speakers and sponsors. Being able to find enough speakers and sponsors has stopped being a concern. Finding enough room for what we have planned and the number of people that will attend is our new challenge. ITEN WIRED has grown into the “premier tech conference” for our region and I could not be more proud of what the planning team has accomplished. As one team member phrased it, ITEN WIRED has become “the little tech conference that could.”

Signs abound of more great things to come: • Navy Federal building a huge operations center in Beulah that is estimated to create thousands of jobs. • The National Flight Academy opened its doors to offer a truly unique STEM experience to middle and high school students. • The Cyberthon competition, created by our local AFCEA chapter, became a huge success and continues to grow in size each year. • Innovation Coast created a business plan competition for startups called the Innovation Awards and the first two installments have seen almost $400,000 in cash given to its winners. • The Center for Cybersecurity at UWF was created as a state-of-the-art facility and the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security has designated it as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education and as the CAE Regional Resource Center for the Southeast. • The emergence of co-work spaces like cowork@nnex, Pensacola Socialdesk, and Workbase are indicators that start-ups have a strong presence in our area and their numbers continue to rise. • In 2015, Studer Institute introduced EntreCon, an annual conference for local entrepreneurs and professionals to learn how to become great leaders, create engaging cultures, and grow their business.

Geeks on the Beach

In their second year, the Geeks have become ambassadors of not only ITEN WIRED but our Tech and Innovation community. Drawn from that community, this year they represent AppRiver, FloridaWest, VetCV, the Greater Pensacola Chamber and Apex Systems.

photos by Barrett McClean

Ali Sontag: After obtaining her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Florida, Ali relocated to the Gulf Breeze area to start a career in Recruiting and Human Resources. Since 2016 she has enjoyed working for AppRiver in HR as a Recruiting Coordinator. Every day her focus in this role is to grow and advance AppRiver’s talent-base through talking and connecting with local job seekers in the IT industry. Tech talent management, career growth, and opportunity for the local area is what recruiting for AppRiver is all about! It is a fun and rewarding way to meet people across the Gulf Coast, and to help them find opportunities in the growing local tech market. When she’s not recruiting, Ali enjoys teaching yoga in the local community and spending time at the beach with family and friends.

Bruno Estrella: The marketing guru, the Brazilian soccer star, and VetCV’s creative man. Bruno is originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, but he

has been living in Pensacola, Florida since 2013. Our Marketing Coordinator played for the University of West Florida Men’s Soccer Team for three years. At UWF, Bruno received his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing. Bruno also served as the UWF American Marketing Association president and worked as the Marketing Assistant for the UWF College of Business.

Lindsay Money is a native of Richmond, Virginia and a graduate of Longwood University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in Business Management. Lindsay and her husband, an IT instructor aboard Information Warfare Training Command Corry Station, relocated to the Pensacola area in May 2015. Prior to moving to Pensacola, she worked for the Richmond Technology Council. In this position she handled events and sponsorships for technology community members, was the primary contact at the council, and was the lead contact for the largest Women in Technology conference in the Southeast. She is currently the Vice President of Membership and Operations for the Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce.

Jim Rhodes is a native of Pensacola and is a graduate of Tate High School and the University of West Florida, where he received his degree in finance. He moved to Charlotte, NC in 1997 with a goal of furthering his career in banking. He later discovered he had a passion for information technology. Upon graduation from ECPI College of Technology he entered into the world of IT in 2001 and worked several years as a network engineer. He relocated back to Pensacola and has been employed by AppRiver since 2008 where he manages the mobile solutions team, which provides mobile device support for a global customer base of almost 300,000 users. He is actively involved in the Gulf Coast tech community because he believes in the region's potential to become a major hub of technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship. He is in his fifth year as serving as the director for ITEN WIRED. He is also a member of the boards for IT Gulf Coast and Innovation Coast. Jim has been married for 22 years and has two sons. He enjoys playing golf, road biking, and fishing.

Katie Hogan serves as the business development intern at FloridaWest Economic Development Alliance. Throughout her internship, Katie has worked on many projects, enhancing and assisting FloridaWest’s professional team in furthering economic development initiatives for the greater Pensacola/Escambia County, Florida area. Prior to joining FloridaWest, Katie attended the University of Southern Mississippi where she obtained her Bachelors degree in International Studies and Spanish before completing her Masters degree in Economic Development this August.

re-located down to Pensacola to support this market full time. What he enjoys most about his job is connecting local tech talent with local businesses in the Pensacola area. In Josh’s free time he likes to fish, hike, sports, and anything competitive. Josh is excited to continue to be an active member of the tech field in the Pensacola area!

Erik Petersen is a former U.S. Navy sailor and originally from Western Massachusetts. This now Panhandle diehard is one of the main friendly, helpful voices for AppRiver end-user support. In his spare time, Erik enjoys sailing competitively and volunteering in the community. He is a catalyst for positive change by serving in organizations such as Gulf Breeze Toastmasters and Pensacola Young Professionals. Erik is an Inweekly Rising Star 2017 and the original Geek on the Beach est. 2016.

Josh Flanders grew up in Birmingham, AL and moved back after graduating from the University of Southern Mississippi. After moving back to Birmingham Josh began working with Apex Systems Inc. He started his career with Apex as a recruiter in Birmingham. He is now an Account Manager with Apex and has been working on the coast for close to a year now. He has recently pensacola magazine | 35

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Women in

C y b er by Kelly Oden

By now, you’ve probably heard that the cybersecurity industry is a hot job market, but did you know that recent studies predict a cyber workforce shortfall of 1.8 million by 2018?

This lack of talent creates big increases in wages, so one would think more young people would choose a security path in their education programs. Many are, but one demographic is conspicuously absent from the cybersecurity sector: women. A recent study by the Center for Cyber Safety and Education found that only 11 percent of cybersecurity professionals are women. In contrast, 52 percent of millennial women hold a degree in computer science, so it’s not an absence from technology in general, just the security sector. Lucky for us, the Gulf Coast region is home to a number of female cybersecurity professionals—many of whom are CEO’s, presidents, executives and directors. We spoke with five of these incredible women to get their views on the industry—both locally and nationally—and to find out how our community can prepare for the security needs of the future. »

pensacola magazine | 37

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WOMEN IN CYBER wide variety of interests, from coding and technology to communications and policy. Cybersecurity careers are very rewarding, with the potential to help others, make a difference in your community and ultimately help protect and defend our nation. Employers are looking for diverse professionals with communication, team work, time management and problem-solving skills. My advice to young women considering a career in cybersecurity is to try it. Get your feet wet. Try participating in a local cybersecurity competition, club or event. Be willing to learn From your perspective, describe the cy- and explore. Cybersecurity is a lot more fun than it bersecurity industry in the Northwest may seem! My best advice for women to succeed in Florida region and tell me how you envi- a cybersecurity career is to follow your passion and challenge yourself to reach higher. Don’t be afraid to sion it changing over the next 10 years. The cybersecurity industry in Northwest Florida is try new things or take risks. Learn from every experibooming. We have tremendous assets here. UWF ence and mentor. Take advantage of opportunities to was recently designated as a National Center of step up and lead. Academic Excellence (CAE) by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security. Why do you believe diversity matters in This year, UWF was named as one of six NSA/DHS the tech industry? Why is it important Cybersecurity Regional Resource Centers across the for more women and minorities to work nation with our goal being to advance cybersecurity in cybersecurity and related fields? education and workforce development. In addition, Diversity is critical for so many reasons. We need inwe have so many assets across the military, public and novation in cybersecurity. We need to stay ahead of private sectors in our region that continue to grow. the cyber attackers and hackers and maintain our naPensacola is evolving into a strong cybersecurity tional leadership in cybersecurity and cyber defense. community and the UWF Center for Cybersecurity True innovation requires diversity—diversity of has become the hub that helps bring it all together— thought, diversity of background, diversity of people. to connect people and organizations, and develop Diversity will help us continue to make advances in innovative programs and pathways that advance the the field and grow the number of skilled professionfield and support the community. I think that the als. We have to attract and recruit women, underrepresented groups and diverse students to increase future is very bright for Florida’s Cyber Coast. the number of skilled cybersecurity professionals and How much job demand is there locally keep up with the evolving needs. Some of our initiafor cybersecurity professionals? What tives focus on increasing cybersecurity awareness and factors will shape this demand in com- interest in our communities and schools —through community events and talks or camps for K12 stuing years? Cybersecurity impacts every person and organiza- dents and teachers. We want to help women and untion, whether that involves keeping our mobile and derrepresented students, who may otherwise never Internet-connected devices secure or organizations consider cybersecurity, learn about proper cyberthat work to keep our financial and healthcare in- security practices and how rewarding cybersecurity formation secure. The job demand for cybersecu- careers can be. rity professionals is huge across our region and national. Last year, there were over 200,000 unfilled How important are mentors in the cyjobs in the US according to the Bureau of Labor bersecurity field? Statistics. Globally, we are looking at a shortage of Mentors are vital for advancing and increasing exapproximately 2 million people by the year 2019 pertise in the field. The technology, tools and methaccording to recent reports. That’s how big of a ods used by cyber defenders and attackers continue deficit we have. Data released earlier this year from to evolve. Mentors can share their expertise and showed over 1300 unfilled cyberse- insight to help students prepare for and succeed curity jobs right here in Northwest Florida and that in a rapidly evolving field. Mentors are especially our region’s cybersecurity job growth rate is much important for underrepresented groups such as higher than the national average. Northwest Flori- women and minorities. We need more mentors to da is becoming a hotspot for cybersecurity and that serve as role models and share their success stories is very promising for people considering careers in as well as the challenges they faced and lessons they cybersecurity. There’s job demand right here. They learned. The more we have mentors willing to share can find a rewarding job while helping to build our their stories and insight—from academia, industry and government—the more we are going to inspire cyber community. and prepare future cybersecurity professionals and What would you say to young women leaders. who are thinking about a career in cybersecurity or related fields? What’s the best advice you could offer for success? Cybersecurity offers career pathways that cater to a industry. In addition to strengthening Pensacola’s cybersecurity community, I am working to advance the field through research efforts. My current research focuses on how we can develop innovative cybersecurity defense tools using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning techniques. On a broader level, what motivated me to pursue higher education was the opportunity to help and inspire others. Having the opportunity to inspire students to find their passion and make a difference is very rewarding.

Dr. Eman El-Sheikh Director, Center for Cybersecurity, University of West Florida

Dr. Eman El-Sheikh is Director of the Center for Cybersecurity and Professor of Computer Science at the University of West Florida. Eman has extensive expertise in cybersecurity education and workforce development and has received several awards related to cybersecurity education and diversity. She leads UWF’s efforts as the National Security Agency (NSA)/Department of Homeland Security (DHS) National Center of Academic Excellence Regional Resource Center for the Southeast U.S. and has received several grants to enhance cybersecurity education and training for K12, college and non-traditional students that emphasize increasing the participation of women and underrepresented groups in cybersecurity. Eman received her MSc and Ph.D. in Computer Science from Michigan State University and her research expertise is in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. How did you get involved in the cybersecurity industry and what is your focus? I’ve always been interested in solving problems and helping others. Cybersecurity attracted me because of the emerging needs at UWF and in our region. We are working on strengthening Pensacola’s cybersecurity community by expanding interest and skills in cybersecurity, preparing students for successful careers and supporting our growing cybersecurity

pensacola magazine | 39

WOMEN IN CYBER From your perspective, describe the cybersecurity industry in the Northwest Florida region and tell me how you envision it changing over the next 10 years. Because we are a defense contractor my purview is limited to that segment of the industry. The government has several installations along the Gulf Coast that have technology data centers. The networks and systems that are supported have increasing policy and processes required for accreditation and cyber risk mitigation. The industry must be ready to respond to these requirements with properly certified and experienced cyber workforce team members. The industry is already moving to a perspective that you are not just a technology worker but all technology workers are also part of the cybersecurity workforce.

Hazel Wiggington Chief Executive Officer and co-founder, H2 Performance Consulting Corporation

Hazel Wiggington is the Chief Executive Officer and co- founder of H2 Performance Consulting Corporation. Ms. Wiggington has over 20 years of experience providing consulting to Federal and DoD agencies. Prior to co-founding H2, she held management positions at KPMG Consulting and BearingPoint in their Public Services Division. Ms. Wiggington has a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Shepherd College, and she is a long time member of Vistage CEO Group 2037. How did you get involved in the cybersecurity industry and what is your focus? We are a technology services company, so really, we have always been involved. However, the increased spend you see over the last five years by IT departments is in large part due to the need for increased cybersecurity capabilities. As a defense contractor, our customers are constantly bombarded with threats and vulnerabilities that our team members must mitigate or respond to.

How long have you been in the cyber security industry and what changes have you seen since you began? About five years. There is an enormous increased mandated burden on IT departments without the associated resources required to adequately pace with the evolution of cyber threats. Additionally, IT organizations are struggling with getting leadership to understand that cybersecurity is not just an ‘IT’ responsibility but an ‘organizational enterprise’ responsibility. Finally, mobile technologies and social media have created a whole host of new cybersecurity challenges.

What are one or two of the most interesting projects you are currently working on or have accomplished in the past year? We are excited about a new product that we have in development that will revolutionize the way What is one of the most interesting the government assesses the security posture of security issues you’ve had to solve in systems—taking system accreditation to a near real time state. your career? By nature, most of the security issues we have solved are, at this time, still sensitive in nature How much job demand is there loand we are not at liberty to discuss. Some of it is cally for cybersecurity professionals? work on classified systems so we definitely cannot What factors will shape this demand in coming years? discuss those. For defense contracting locally there will be high How much job demand is there lo- demand for system administrators and cyber cally for cybersecurity professionals? analysts with the required cyber workforce certiWhat factors will shape this demand fications and security clearance. Data and accessibility drive demand. The more data we create, in coming years? The job demand is already huge both in our com- and the more accessibility we want to that data munity and nationally. Last year there were over from various devices, impacts the cybersecurity 200,000 unfilled jobs according to a Department resources required. of Labor Statistics report. Globally, we are looking at a shortage of about 2 million people by the year What soft skills do you think are most 2019 according to some reports. So that’s how important for cybersecurity profesbig of a deficit we have. But right here in North- sionals? west Florida, data released earlier this year from Teamwork and critical thinking. Effective showed that we are actually grow- security requires coordination across teams and ing at a much faster rate than the national aver- departments. Protecting and hardening networks age in cybersecurity jobs. So, that’s very promising is not cookie cutter and cybersecurity professionfor people considering careers in cybersecurity. als must be able to integrate their skills, knowlThere’s job demand right here. They can stay lo- edge, and experience of themselves and others to cal and continue to build this cyber community. problem solve and be effective. For our region to be growing much faster than the national average in cyber job growth is huge. That What would you say to young women really means that Northwest Florida is becoming a who are thinking about a career in technology or related fields? What’s hotspot for cybersecurity. the best advice you could offer for sucDid any one person, event or idea in- cess? spire you to get into the cybersecurity The education/degree is important, particularly when working in certain government entities, field? What or who was it? If you are in the business of providing technol- but experience and certifications are crucial. Beogy services, you are in the cybersecurity field. gin doing internships early if you are in college. This is a reality of technology going forward. I If you are not, then you need to get into a technisaw a quote one time that said that “those of us cal school and get your certifications and techniwho are responsible for protecting systems and cal training. Finally, if you want a career where networks, have to be right all the time. However, once you are finished with your schooling you do hackers have to be right only once.” The world not want to deal with continuing education then of security in technology is forever changing and IT is probably not for you. in constant evolution. pensacola magazine | 41

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WOMEN IN CYBER good mix of military, commercial, government, academic and training operations necessary for a healthy cybersecurity ecosystem. Pensacola’s Cyber Coast is the nation’s oldest trusted source for cybersecurity training and expertise and has a unique opportunity to become a regional and national leader in cybersecurity. With its many resources, including Naval Air Station Pensacola, private IT/cyber sector, cybersecurity public sector, and cybersecurity educational offerings, Pensacola offers partnership and business growth opportunities, balanced lifestyle choices, and an innovation ecosystem. Building on Corry Station’s reputation as the “cradle of cryptology,” Pensacola is well positioned to grow cybersecurity capabilities by leveraging innovation, enhancing public-private partnerships, and cultivating a workforce to support a complete cybersecurity ecosystem.

Janet Woolman

Founder, Innovation Strategies, LLC Janet Woolman is the founder of Innovation Strategies, LLC— a consulting firm that partners with communities, companies, and corporations to conduct strategic planning, improve efficiencies, reduce risk, and increase competitiveness. Her education and background in information science has contributed to her work in cybersecurity, strategic planning, and innovation education. Woolman holds a M.L.I.S. degree from Louisiana State University and has spent over a decade working in higher education.

What are one or two of the most interesting projects you are currently working on or have accomplished in the past year? FloridaWest Economic Development Alliance, on behalf of the cybersecurity stakeholder community, retained my company to develop a cybersecurity strategic plan. This plan will build a strong workforce, enhance the economic and community impact of cybersecurity in northwest Florida, and elevate the region as a state and national leader in cybersecurity. The proposed cybersecurity strategic plan emphasizes the competitive advantages of Pensacola, outlines needs and opportunities, inventories capacity, and offers four goals and multiple broad strategies to grow the cybersecurity industry. Last year, I was fortunate to work as a consultant on a project to protect assets and harden the infrastructure of a 1,070-acre chemical corporation complex against worst-case terrorism scenarios. It was an incredible and time sensitive challenge to work within the National Preparedness System framework to reduce vulnerability to threats and hazards, protect critical infrastructure, enhance Maritime Domain Awareness, and delve into unfamiliar access control structures and intrusion detection systems. Throughout the years, I co-founded an Innovation Center, managed an environmental research center, directed research and development, constructed an entrepreneurial center, created digital tools, and engaged in many other unrelated opportunities at my organization. Being flexible and curious can take one on undreamed of career paths.

ment opportunities, practice and special resources are central to recruiting and retaining qualified professionals. Locally, a conundrum exists in that employers need educated, experienced, and certified (often clearance-holding) individuals (of which exists a limited pool). New cyber graduates usually lack (and need) experience and certifications. Eighty-four percent of cybersecurity postings require at least a bachelor’s degree and 83 percent require at least three years of experience. According to Cyberseek, the Pensacola MSA has a high concentration of cybersecurity job demand relative to the national average. Cyberseek indicates that Pensacola’s supply/demand ratio of cybersecurity workers is low. What would you say to young women who are thinking about a career in technology or related fields? What’s the best advice you could offer for success? The cybersecurity workforce shortage is projected to reach 1.8 million by 2022, according to a Frost & Sullivan’s 2017 Workforce Study of over 19,000 information security professionals globally, and “across 170 countries, women represent only 11 percent of the total cybersecurity.” When I started my career, I was the only female working in information technology at my organization. Now, more women are working in information related fields, and there is a golden opportunity for women to lead in cybersecurity efforts. My advice to young women is to always possess a sense of curiosity and never have a “comfort zone.” Fear of failure will prevent you from exploring new opportunities and ideas. If you do not know how to do something, research the issue, learn, run simulations, and conduct a quick cycle of “fail fast, fail cheap.” Throughout your life, always keep learning.

Why do you believe diversity matters in the tech industry? Why is it important for more women and minorities to work in cybersecurity and related fields? A 2015 U.S. study found that African-Americans, Asians and Hispanics represent less than 12 percent How did you get involved in the cyberof information security analyst positions combined. security industry and what is your focus? According to the International Consortium of MiI began my career as a coder and developed a webnority Cybersecurity Professionals, “Under-particisite for a Louisiana State University initiative. I pation by large segments of our society represents a went on to develop a few more websites and provide loss of opportunity for individuals, a loss of talent information literacy instruction. Soon afterward, I in the workforce, and a loss of creativity in shaping began managing electronic resources for McNeese the future of cybersecurity.” A recent MIT study State University Library. In that role, access to and How much job demand is there locally found that diversity in the workforce increases revemanagement of information systems was an imfor cybersecurity professionals? What nue by 41 percent. Diversity of thought influences portant concern. After moving to Florida, I began factors will shape this demand in com- problem-solving and catalyzes creativity which is working with FloridaWest Economic Development the foundation of innovation. ing years? Alliance and education, public, and private stakeCultivating an integrated cybersecurity workforce holders to develop a cybersecurity strategic plan for that is globally competitive and retained is a comthe Pensacola area. plex challenge. Cutting-edge cybersecurity education, training exercises, and professional developFrom your perspective, describe the cyment are necessary to generate a continuous cyber bersecurity industry in the Northwest workforce pipeline. Education and training must Florida region and tell me how you enbe available from early childhood throughout life. vision it changing over the next 10 years. Continual hardening of the workforce, advancePensacola is an amazing community and maintains a pensacola magazine | 43

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WOMEN IN CYBER From your perspective, describe the cybersecurity industry in the Northwest Florida region and tell me how you envision it changing over the next ten years. All along the upper Gulf Coast, it’s sort of the same mix—which is an interesting mix. We’ve got military installations, which have nearby defense contractors who need an extremely high level of cybersecurity. We also have mom and pops who have absolutely no security and who don’t think they need it. Then there is a wide range in between. Obviously things are going to change a lot over the next 10 years. The small businesses are becoming more aware of the issues now. They are becoming more active and they understand that they need to do more to secure their business networks. Technology is advancing rapidly, but the cyber security landscape is advancing even more rapidly. So, trying to predict 10 years into the future of this industry—I think I would have to be psychic.

Glenda Snodgrass President, The Net Effect

President and Lead Consultant at The Net Effect since its inception in 1996, Glenda’s dynamic personality and effective teaching style have made her a sought-after public speaker and corporate trainer across the Southeast for more than 20 years. How did you get involved in the cybersecurity industry and what is your focus? I got involved in cybersecurity when I was working for the Mobile Area Free Net in 1995. It was the first Internet Service Provider (ISP) in the Mobile area, a nonprofit organization providing free internet to schools. Pretty quickly I realized that when we started bringing internet into businesses, there was going to be a huge security problem. So, after a year at the Free Net, I left and started The Net Effect—my own consulting firm. We started out building firewalls for small and medium sized businesses, because at that time the only commercial firewall software options on the market were very expensive and SMBEs couldn't afford them. The business has grown over the years and we’ve evolved into strictly consulting and and project management. We do network security assessments, mitigation plans, written security policies, employee training, and corporate training. We have clients with anywhere from three to 11,000 employees.

What would you say to young women who are thinking about a career in cybersecurity or related fields? What’s the best advice you could offer for success? Be better. You’ve got to be better than the guys and we can be, because we all have different skills and varying interests. Women do tend to be better at communication. Women often have the experience of having worked as a secretary or mailroom clerk or sales clerk, which helps us understand the user's perspective. Make those your strengths. The field of cyber security is huge. There are so many different areas. Figure out what you are good at and what you like doing and focus on that.

Why do you believe diversity matters in the tech industry? Why is it important for more women and minorities to work in cybersecurity and related fields? Women and minorities are included in the group of users we are trying to protect. I firmly believe What are some of the most interesting that information security is largely about undersecurity issues you’ve had to solve in standing the user and how people use data. If you don’t understand how people use data—how they your career? My ITEN WIRED presentation this year is on want to use it, how they need to use it and how INFOSEC bloopers. It’s a one hour look at some they actually use it despite what they say—then of the biggest “oops” moments we have run across you cannot protect that data. The range of cyber doing network security for clients. We have found security professionals needs to match the range of backgrounds of the users in any industry. We need some pretty amazing things through the years. to understand our users. How much job demand is there locally for cybersecurity professionals? What How do you educate clients who don’t factors will shape this demand in com- always understand the language and concepts of cyber security and its value ing years? There is a huge demand for cyber security profes- to their business? sionals in government. I see those job openings I start out by scaring them! To be perfectly honest, come across my desk all the time. Also with de- I do a lot of public speaking and I do a lot of trainfense contractors there is a very high demand for ing. My particular strength is explaining technical cyber security professionals. In the private sector, things to non-technical people in a way they can especially the small and medium sized business— understand. But I do always start out by scaring not so much. What I see a real need for is more people, just a little, shaking up their preconceived IT technicians with a bent for security—with an notions about computers and security, in order to understanding and a mindset for security—to get their attention. So many people really don’t help the small and medium sized businesses. So have any idea of the risks that they face personally often I find that small and medium-sized business- or the risks their business is facing online 24/7. So es (SMBs) are literally wide open to the Internet I have some pretty eye opening examples of things without realizing it, or understanding that this is I can throw out there to wake them up. Once I a problem. Oftenheir IT vendors have put them have their attention, I can talk to them about their in this position because their techs don’t have a current threat posture and what they can do to security mindset and they don’t fully understand address that. the risks of what they are doing sometimes. For example, hey’ll open up a hole in a firewall for RDP so they can remotely access the server and help the customer out without having to go onsite. Well, that’s a great customer service thing, but now the small business has a gaping hole in their firewall. The techs don’t always understand that they are putting the business at risk in this way and the business owner doesn’t understand this is a risk. That’s where I see a growing need over the next few years—for there to be more cyber security awareness in the IT industry as a whole. pensacola magazine | 45

Smarter defense Tomorrow’s technology delivered today.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Deven Leigh Ellis The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

WOMEN IN CYBER es, too. I recently started helping a small business with compliance activities.

Michelle Ward

Founder and CEO, Cyber Safe Workforce LLC

From your perspective, describe the cybersecurity industry in the Northwest Florida region and tell me how you envision it changing over the next 10 years. In this area we have a lot of defense work and that of course has a cybersecurity focus. I think rather than looking at cybersecurity as an industry, we need to look at how it is supporting the industries and the businesses that are already here. Being online is a part of doing business, and companies are putting themselves at risk if they don’t manage the activities or information they have online. Cybersecurity is really all of the activities you do to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information in electronic format. Almost every business has electronic information it needs to safeguard. To address the workforce challenge, if someone is graduating from college in a technical field, it helps that they have a little bit of security training no matter what their field. Technical employees need to have some background in security otherwise that role may not be getting filled in whatever company they are working for especially if there is no formal information security role.

What are you working on currently? One of the big things you’ll hear if you talk to Michelle Ward spent over 10 years do- security professionals is that compliance does not ing software engineering for secure en- equal security. Compliance is a snapshot of where you are at a particular time according to some vironments prior to founding Cyber Safe standard. A lot of the tools out there don’t do a Workforce LLC. As with programming, great job of connecting all the dots and allowing Ward takes the same logical, problem- you to create an information security program. solving approach to constructing a cy- Current tools pretty much just generate a report bersecurity awareness program that is based on controls and standards, which equates right for organizations. Ward holds the to a lot of documentation, but it may not be opCISSP® and CSSLP certifications and erationally useful to that business. So, what I’m has had training in ethical web appli- trying to develop is a software tool that will allow anyone, particularly small businesses, to become cation hacking. compliant in a manner that doesn’t involve going How did you get involved in the cyber- out and paying a consultant tens of thousands of security industry and what is your focus? dollars. So, even a small business can have a robust I got involved when I started working for the information security program and be compliant federal government right out of college. I worked without breaking the bank. for Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center. At the time, I was a programmer developing web ap- What changes have you seen in the inplications that had to meet a certain standard of dustry since you began? security. Later on I supported other government Aside from the terminology, I think there are more agencies as a contractor. Working in a classified regulations coming out. I’m working on complienvironment, information security was of utmost ance related to a defense acquisitions regulation, importance, so that’s really where I got my start. which requires contractors to carry on some of I had to get certifications in information securi- the same information security procedures as they ty in order to continue to be a systems engineer do in the government itself. The financial indusand build web applications for the government. try has had these regulations for a long time. The Now, my focus is helping businesses secure their regulations are necessary because otherwise people people—making them aware of the online threats just don’t do the security part. They see it as a cost and handling information appropriately so that it center rather than a requirement. doesn’t leak out unintentionally. I work with a lot of public entities, and I work with small business-

How much job demand is there locally for cybersecurity professionals? What factors will shape this demand in coming years? I think regulations will definitely shape the demand. Defense, government, finance, healthcare—basically the heavily regulated industries are the ones that are clamoring for the security professionals. I don’t think small businesses will be spending a whole lot more than they already do on security. What soft skills do you think are most important for cybersecurity professionals? People skills and communication skills are very important. You have to see the big picture. You have to understand the business and what it needs to accomplish and then you have to be able to frame the risks associated with certain things so that you can actually ask for resources for your security program. I think that is still a big challenge. What would you say to young women who are thinking about a career in technology or related fields? What’s the best advice you could offer for success? Get out here and try things. You learn best by doing. Don’t shy away from joining a club or a competition just because you are afraid that you might not know as much as somebody else. Put that aside. You learn so much from just getting in there and doing things. From that experience, you will gain confidence. Why do you believe diversity matters in the tech industry? Why is it important for more women and minorities to work in cybersecurity and related fields? Anytime you have more diversity of thoughts and backgrounds, it helps create better solutions. I only see a positive in bringing more people together with more diverse backgrounds so that we can think through problems in unique ways. At the end of the day, technology has to work for people, right? You don’t just build systems to have cool robots that do nothing. We build systems to help people so the more diverse the background of technology professionals, the more people we can help. You do a lot of mentoring. Why is that so important to you? It’s important to me to inspire the next generation. I enjoy helping students who may already have an interest in technology so that they can consider looking at security as a specialization. I want them to think critically, so anything I can share that can help them, I certainly want to do that. Also, I want to show that women can be successful in this industry.

pensacola magazine | 47

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pensacola magazine | 49

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That’s the Power of Light. Call 866-955-2225 today for a free consultation FROM 50 | pensacola magazine

11.4.17 7:30PM

with Tracy Silverman, electric violin

with Westwater Arts:

Symphonic Photochoreography

BARBER Overture to The School for Scandal

SAINT-SAENS Piano Concerto No. 5 “The Egyptian” R. STRAUSS Suite from Der Rosenkavalier

CURIALE Awakenings

RAVEL La Valse

Dvořák Symphony No. 9

COPLAND Suite from The Tender Land


TRIBUTE with Classical Mystery Tour 2.10.18 7:30PM

with Guest composer

SILVERMAN The Kiss and the Chaos Incidental Music for Il Distratto KENJI BUNCH Cello Concerto Embrace in C Major GINASTERA Dances of Estancia BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 5

with Dee Daniels, vocalist Dee Daniels brings her swing, soul, and blues inspired program celebrating Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Peggy Lee, and more to ring in the New Year with us!

4.28.18 7:30PM

Scott Kluksdahl, cello & UWF Singers

HAYDN Depiction of Chaos, from The Creation

MARQUEZ Danzon No. 2


BERLIOZ Roman Carnival Overture

12.31.17 7:00PM

1.13.18 7:30PM 7:30PM with

For Season Tickets Call 850.435.2533

and more to be announced

Symphony No. 100 “Military”


4.7.18 7:30PM

with Gil Shaham, violin The Classical Mystery Tour returns to perform the legendary music of the Beatles, live in concert with the Pensacola Symphony.

BERLIOZ Symphony Fantastique

Te Deum for the Empress Maria Therese

TCHAIKOVSKY Romeo and Juliet STRAVINSKY Symphony in Three Movements TCHAIKOVSKY Violin Concerto



with Santiago Rodriguez, piano



10.7.17 7:30PM







Twenty years ago, Nemours, one of the nation’s leading children’s health systems, made a promise

Our promise to be here for generations to come.

to help children in Northwest Florida grow up healthy. Today that promise is stronger than ever. Your family can rest assured that Nemours will continue to be here with you every step.

Nemours Children’s Specialty Care, Pensacola Care also available in Bonifay. To make a specialty care appointment, call (850) 505-4700.

Pediatric specialty care in audiology, cardiology, hematology/oncology, orthopedics, pulmonology and more. See all that we offer at © 2017. The Nemours Foundation. ® Nemours is a registered trademark of The Nemours Foundation.

play/live/give artists active between the mid-19th and mid-20th centuries who rebelled against the conventions of their day by exhibiting alongside their male counterparts, receiving awards, and clearing a path for future artists. The collection of paintings embody the early influence of French impressionism and its precursor, the Barbizon Style. For more information, visit

Chef Challenge – A Challenge to End Hunger Fear and Folly: The Visionary Prints of Francisco Goya and Federico Castelo at Pensacola Museum of Art Sept. 1 – Dec. 31

Despite living in different centuries, Francisco Goya's (1746-1828) and Federico Castellon's (19141971) body of work often draws sharper relationships to one another than to their contemporaries in their attention to the darker and complex side of the human condition. Many artists have been drawn to the dark and the fantastic, but few have probed the human condition with the insight and truthfulness found in these images. For more information, visit

Night Watch at Pensacola Little Theatre

Bands on the Beach Throughout Sept.

Saenger Classic Movie Series

Pensacola Beach’s popular outdoor summer concert series, Bands on the Beach, features a lineup of performers sure to please every musical taste. Located in the beautiful Gulfside Pavilion overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, the series features regional artists performing a wide variety of music. Bring your lawn chair and join us every summer for hot music, smooth grooves and a whole lot of good times. Bands on the Beach begin at 7 pm. This month features Mr. Big & The Rhythm Sisters on September 5, Mass Kunfuzion on September 12, Chloe Channell on September 19 and Westside Players on September 26. For more information, visit

Each summer beginning in July the Saenger screens ten weeks of classic movies with tickets for only $5.00. Sit in the historic Saenger Theatre and enjoy some of the greatest movies of all times on the big screen, the way movies were meant to be seen. September wraps up this years movie series with Bringing Up Baby. For more information and show times, visit

Rebels With a Cause: American Impressionist Women at Pensacola Museum of Art

Sept. 1 – 10

Directed by Brandi Hicks Lane. An outstanding Broadway success, this ingeniously devised thriller builds steadily in menace and suspense until the final, breath-stopping moment of its unexpected, "twist" ending. What do you see in the dead of night? A thrilling mystery from beginning to end. For more information, tickets and showtimes, visit

Sept. 2

Sept. 8 – Dec. 31

Women. Rebels. Artists. Rebels With a Cause presents a selection of works by female

Sept. 7

Come join us this September for an evening of culinary delight as we host our first Florida Chef Challenge. Our Chef Challenge event is held during Hunger Action Month (September) to raise awareness concerning the issue of hunger and how it affects 1 in 6 people along the Florida Gulf Coast. Hunger Action Month is a nationwide hunger-relief awareness campaign set forth by our corporate affiliate, Feeding America. Ted event is at the Sander Beach-Corrine Jones Resource Center, and admission is $60 in advance. For more information and to buy tickets, visit

RadioLive Sept. 7

After a two-year hiatus, WUWF's popular monthly acoustic concert series, RadioLive, returns on Thursday, September 7th at the Museum of Commerce in Historic Pensacola. RadioLive fans will look forward to enjoying the performances of many old friends and new musical groups in the coming months. The scheduled performers for September 7th are Grant Peeples, Sarah Mac Band, Smithfield Fair. Tickets are $10 and available in advance at or at the door beginning at 5pm on the day of the show. Doors open at 5pm. Show starts promptly at 6pm. More information is available at

Emerald Coast Beer Festival Sept. 8

Hailed as the premier beer festival on the Gulf Coast, the Emerald Coast Beer Festival will be held again this year at the Seville Quarter Good Time Emporium. More than 50 craft breweries pensacola magazine | 53

play/live/give from throughout the United States, a dozen homebrew clubs throughout the Southeast region and several major distributors participate each year to provide samples of various craft beers, meads, ciders and wines. The festival will be held at Seville Quarter starting at 5 pm. For more information and to buy tickets, visit

Pensacola Dragon Boat Festival Sept. 9

Pensacola Dragon Boat Festival is a festival brought to you by your local Northeast Pensacola SERTOMA. Come and watch teams compete in lavishly decorated dragon boats as they race across Bayou Texar starting at Bayview Park. Over 40 teams and thousands of spectators will be there to join in the festivities. For more information, visit pensacoladragonboatfestival. com.



One World, Many Voices

on the Co�st

A Celebration of Diversity Through Song

From toys to tinsel and snowflakes to Santa, the Pensacola Children’s Chorus knows how to celebrate the season. Your family won’t want to miss Christmas on the Coast, where we’ll transform sunny weather into a winter wonderland. You’ll experience all the sights and sounds of the holidays that will have you humming through the New Year!

One World, Many Voices is a celebration of music’s rich cultures and how we can achieve oneness through song. Guest conductor and renowned composer Andrea Ramsey will take the podium to bring her own style and flavor to our eclectic program. Join us as we bring a global message to our small town home.

December 8, 9 & 10, 2017

February 18, 2018

Show�ime Do you like Broadway? Get your ticket. Country, rock, or even disco? Then Showtime is right for you! Join us for a celebration from music across all genres, featuring our amazingly talented PCC singers. From lights to sound and costumes to choreography, you’ll leave dazed and amazed. Don’t miss this musical extravaganza! May 4, 5, & 6, 2018

TICKETS ON SALE TO THE GENER AL PUBLIC BEGINNING: October 25, 2017 January 16, 2018 March 21, 2018 WWW.PENSACOL ACHILDRENSCHORUS.COM 54 | pensacola magazine

Sept. 14

Legendary sludge metal/experimental rock group The Melvins have been bringing noise and distortion to the stage since 1983, and on September 14 they are crashing into Vinyl Music Hall. With roughly 27 albums and touring their first double album, the Melvins will fill the hall with droning riffs and intense sound that has influenced so many other groups. They will be supported by Spotlights. Doors open at 7 pm. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

Mama Won’t Fly at Pensacola Little Theatre Sept. 22 – Oct. 1

Directed by Kathy Holsworth. Join Valerie Russenberger and her cast of friends on this hilarious road trip. Three generations travel from Alabama to California to get to a wedding. They meet family, friends, strangers and each other along the way. For more information, tickets and show times, visit

Jazz at Jackson’s Sept. 28

Join us at Jackson’s Steakhouse on Thursday, September 28, for our latest installment of “Jazz at Jackson’s.” The featured performers for the evening are vocalist Ellen Vinson accompanied by noted pianist Bobby van Deusen. Together, they will present a program featuring many jazz standards of songs by composers with enduring popularity highlighting the American Songbook. In addition, they will perform a number of Broadway favorites. Show starts at 5 pm and 7:30 pm. For more information, visit

40th Annual Pensacola Seafood Festival

Philately & Friendship: The Art of ACE Aug. 24, 201 - Feb. 27, 201 T. T. Wentworth, Jr. Museum, 330 S. Jefferson St. Featuring 50 illustrated envelopes and personal correspondence created by members of the Art Cover Exchange from 1939 to late the 1940s.

Sept. 29 – Oct. 1

Sample a variety of mouth watering seafood dishes and enjoy continuous entertainment in Fountain Park. Arts and crafts vendors will be displaying their unique wares, many items reflective of our area's unique Gulf Coast lifestyle. A children's area is filled with activities for all ages. The Fiesta Seafood Grille offers cooking demonstrations where you can watch area chefs prepare regional delicacies. The festival will be held at Seville Square Park starting at 11 am Friday and Sunday, and 10 am Saturday. For more information, visit

Postal art sent to local artist and ACE member Manuel Runyan #299 | 850.595.5990

An Evening with Jeanne Robertson at Saenger Theatre Sept. 30

An overnight success nearly half a century in the making, Jeanne Robertson keeps audiences rolling on the floor with laughter. At 73 years young, this former Miss North Carolina stands tall at six-foot-two and has a personality, heart, and sense of humor that soar just as high. This refined humorist brings delightful Southen charm and loads of laughter to each performance. Jeanne Robertson's comedy is sharp and witty, and always leaves a lasting impression. For more information, tickets and show times, visit

Greta Dietz Allen, Evening Shadows, 1900, oil on canvas, Collection of the Huntsville Museum of Art.

REBELS WITH A CAUSE: 407 S. Jefferson St. Pensacola, FL 32502 850.432.6247 Museum Hours: Tues. - Wed. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thurs. - Sat. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sun. 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Mon. Closed

American Impressionist Women

Sept. 8 – Dec. 30, 2017 The Henderson Thornton and Kugelman Family galleries Organized by the Huntsville Museum of Art. pensacola magazine | 55

Our Storied Past

The Town house Motor Inn

Located at 16 West Cervantes Street, the Town House Motor Inn opened in Pensacola in 1948 and boasted of the fine amenities offered: private, tiled bathrooms, radios, Beauty Rest mattresses, air conditioning, and phones in every room. The Town House quickly became a popular stop for visiting dignitaries, including Amanda Blake and Milburn Stone of Gunsmoke, as well as movie star John Wayne. Initially, the motel was a single, two-story building. Additional buildings were added to the hotel in 1952, 1953, and 1957. Mr. and Mrs. W. A. Head built, owned, and operated the motel for eleven years and sold the business in 1959. The motel closed in 1975. After change of ownership and renovations, the building reopened in 1978 as the Town House Square office complex. However, the office complex closed several years ago and the site has been vacant. Plans are underway to raze the old hotel buildings and construct a 25-unit townhouse community on the property.

56 | pensacola magazine

Photos courtesy of UWF Historic Trust


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 | Business Climate | 57

58 | Business Climate | 27127-0817 WSRE PM-BC Sept FP ad.indd 1

8/21/17 3:12 PM


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. | Business Climate | 59

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 |

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

2187 Airport Boulevard • 850-478-1123

1144 Airport Boulevard • 850-479-8900

601 East Chase Street • 850-432-0202

5049 Corporate Woods Drive • 850-474-3777

700 East Chase Street • 850-439-3330


PENSACOLA DOWNTOWN 850-932-9314 • • 311 Gulf Breeze Pkwy • Gulf Breeze, FL | Business Climate | 61


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.

62 | Business Climate |

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:// 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 | Business Climate | 63


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 |

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 | Business Climate | 67

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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

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 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! | Business Climate | 69

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

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 |

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

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. | Business Climate | 71

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In This Section By the Numbers: A Look at July's Market Highlights page 78 Neighborhood Spotlight: Pace page 82

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On the Market Featured Home

Location, Location, Location The McKenzie from Pensacola homebuilders D.R. Horton offers location, design and comfort in an ideal setting. Located in Vintage Creek, a brand new community just two miles from the New Perdido River boat ramp and three miles from Navy Federal headquarters, The McKenzie is a homebuyer’s dream come true. Featuring five bedrooms and three baths, The McKenzie is a best seller due to the 9 ft. ceilings, separation of bedrooms, and a very open layout from the kitchen through the dining to the family room. The McKenzie also features a gourmet kitchen with Frigidaire stainless steel appliances, Moen faucets, granite in kitchen and baths, ceiling fans in family and master, and

hardwood flooring everywhere except bedrooms. A spacious 11 X 23 covered back porch is perfect for entertaining or relaxing. The very spacious Master Bath features a five foot tile shower w/ bench seat, and a large walk-in closet as well as linen closet. There’s plenty of room for a large family or frequent guests, too. The other four bedrooms are quite spacious—with a full bath just steps away. A study is located across from the dining in the front of the home and offers a gorgeous view out the picture window. The home also features a 50 gallon electric water heater, an efficient heating and cooling system and a large, two car garage. The premier community of Vintage Creek boasts a number of high end amenities including rolling hills, large oaks, a swimming pool and a clubhouse.

7991 Woodbrook Rd. 3113 SQFT. | 5 BEDROOMS | 3 BATHS | new gated community | new home construction Features: Built-In Microwave, Continuous Cleaning Oven,

Dishwasher, Disposal, Granite Countertops, Island, Pantry, Wall Oven, Baseboards, Ceiling Fans, Crown Molding, High Ceilings, Recessed Lighting, Trey Ceiling, Walk-In Closet

CONTACT Rebecca Purvis or Karen Horton Sales Representatives (850) 478-1178

Pricing effective August 26, 2017 and subject to change at any time. §Square foot dimensions are approximate. Pictures, photographs, floor plans, elevations, features, colors and sizes are approximate for illustration purposes only and will vary from the homes built. Home and community information including pricing, included features, terms, availability and amenities are subject to change and prior to sale at any time without notice or obligation. Please contact a sales representative for details. ©2017 D.R. Horton, Inc. Florida Registered Building Contractor License #RB29003307

pensacola magazine | 77

BY The NUMBERS a look at JULY'S Market Highlights


Median Sale Price

75 Avg. Days on Market


Monthly Sales


Quarterly Sales

Market Highlights July's sales were up 15 percent over last month and five percent over the same month last year. 78 | pensacola magazine

Median sales price for July remained just shy of $190,000

July DOM remained at 75, the lowest level thus far this year.

Single Family Inventory in the $200k-$299k range dropped 6.4 percent, with all other inventory remaining virtually unchanged.

Information courtesy of Pensacola Association of Realtors

Promotional Feature

ask the


An experienced Realtor is an invaluable tool to guide sellers and buyers through complex real estate transactions. An interested buyer is only the beginning. Contract negotiations, financing, inspections, repairs, survey, title work, appraisal, final walk-thru, and schedule logistics are all steps that make for a successful closing.

National Association of Realtor statistics show the average FSBO sells for 17 percent less than a Realtor assisted sale. The stats show most buyers prefer using the services of a professional Realtor, so you’re best efforts to save money will likely cost you even more, not to mention the wasted time and Bruce Baker, MBA needless stress. 1. Knowledge. What you don’t know will often hurt you right in the wallet! The number one reason buyers prefer to use a realtor is to help make sense of important market data. Realtors have a daily pulse on market trends such as pricing, available inventory, and even have access to properties that aren’t yet on the market. An agent will help you best prepare your property for the market and stand out to buyers in the best light possible. 2. Time/Security. What is the value of your time? Do you have the resources available to properly vet the inquiries? Are you available to show your home at a moment’s notice (while you are at work or on vacation) Lost opportunity here could cost you greatly. 3. Presentation. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Do you know how to properly prepare your home and stage it for the market? What repairs are best done before the property goes on the market? Do you have an eye for how a space will translate on camera?

Eight Major Disadvantages Sellers Face when going For Sale by Owner (FSBO) From precise pricing and proper staging to expert photography, 3-D tours, video, etc., positioning yourself correctly against the competition requires expert knowledge of the market - an experienced agent is your best asset. 4. Marketing. Do you know the types of buyers looking for your neighborhood and how to reach them? Do you have access to predictive buyer analytics to take advantage of social media? Can you effectively gain the attention of the Realtors in your community – the very people who will have access to the large source of buyers for your property? A well-connected agent, particularly one with a large franchise such as RE/MAX, has the built-in agent network needed to market your property and capture buyer leads from across the globe. 5. Negotiation experience. You’ve received an offer! Now what? The best negotiation will be devoid of the emotional tie you inevitably have to your home - are you the one-in-a-million individual who can effectively do this? Do you have access to a contract that provides a fair balance of protection to both parties? What protections do buyers rightfully look for? What terms/conditions are in your best interest as the seller? What costs should you incur within the local market? Do you know how to negotiate to keep the buyer in the game versus walking away? 6. Inspection and repair know-how. The inspection process is one of the most difficult parts of the transaction, even for seasoned real estate professionals. Do you know what inspections to expect? Do you know what items are required to be in operating condition? Do you have a vendor list for required repairs? 7. Transaction management. You’ve struck a deal on price and terms, but how do you professionally and successfully manage the closing between two parties with opposing agendas, one of whom is you? Multiple inspections, title work, survey, appraisal, lender requirements, and repair vendors all must occur in a timely manner. How will you handle challenges like unexpected repairs, termite damage, and appraisal discrepancies? What if the buyer’s financing is shaky? Do you have trusted

back-up lenders who will tell you the truth? These are potential pitfalls and deals are likely to fall apart if not handled with the experience of a seasoned professional. 8. Closing finesse. Do you know the full closing protocol within the local market? What are normal expectations and legal obligations of all parties involved? In what condition are do you turn the home over to the buyer, and when? What is a normal request for a final walk-thru and how do you handle last minute requests? What happens when the lender delays, a natural disaster occurs or homeowner insurance requirements threaten to become a show stopper? When must all repairs be completed? What disclosures are required? Real Estate transactions are complex in nature and both buyers and sellers stand to lose much if the transaction isn’t handled by a professional. Buyers are, by-in-large, afraid to go at it alone without the advice of a professional, neutral third party, and they are willing to pay for it. The buyers who go after a FSBO, do so for one reason – to take that extra 17 percent away from you, the seller! To submit a question or for more information contact Bruce Baker, MBA at 850.449.0365, or Kathy Batterton at 850.377.7735,

Kathy Batterton

pensacola magazine | 79








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17 w. Cedar street | suite 2 pensacola, Fl, 32502 phone: 850.434.2244 fax: 850.434.8081

Knowledge opens doors

East Hill

1628 E. Mallory Street $315,000 | MLS# 521795

Pensacola Beach

104 Ariola Drive $1,650,000 | MLS# 49811

precious east Hill Cottage 3 Blocks from Bayview park! This 2 bedroom 1.5 bath also features a full studio Apartment with living area adjacent to the kitchen and a separate bedroom and bathroom. The main house offers Corian Counters, Custom Cabinets, and pine wood flooring. Awesome curb appeal!

Contemporary gulf Front Fully Furnished “sand Castle”! Multiple Balconies & windows allow you breath taking views of the gulf. This home has 4,300 sF and offers 5 bedrooms, 4 full bathrooms, elevator, master suite with a wet bar and spacious bath/sun room overlooking the gulf. guests can enjoy the 2nd Master suite. Covered carport great for entertaining!

Linda Turner • 850-324-4235 •

Billy Hale • 850-377-6188 •

Downtown Pensacola

506 Port Royal Way $589,000 | MLS# 520943


9248 Bell Ridge Drive $294,900 | MLS# 517297

This fifth-floor unit faces south over pensacola Bay within the gated port royal development. The 2,112 sq. ft. unit offers an additional 216 sq. ft. of balcony space. The original 3 bedroom floor plan was recently updated to afford more space in the living area by opening up 1 of the existing bedrooms. only one Block from one of the “10 great streets in America”!

Here’s your opportunity to own a home in the popular Bell ridge subdivision! Conveniently located in the Beulah area across from the navy Federal complex and less than 5 minutes to the interstate, this home has many desirable features. Main home has over 2,500 sqft with 3br/2.5 ba along with a nearly 1,600 sqft detached 2 car garage that features a half bath, separate water heater and built in workshop!

Frasier Phelps • 850-485-2665 •

Lauren Schneider • 850-516-1993 •


Pensacola is a great city, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention all the towns and communities just outside the city limits that make up our diverse urban sprawl. Many workers, educators and leaders commute into the city, but return to their comfortable, quiet neighborhoods when the workday is over. That’s why we are shining our Neighborhood Spotlight on the community of Pace, an unincorporated community just a short drive northeast up US 90. Seeing a boom in recent years, Pace provides great schools, quiet living and a relaxed pace that makes it an appealing place to raise a family. History of the Neighborhood Pace was recognized as an unincorporated area as early as 1912, distinguishing itself from other local communities like Floridatown and Pea Ridge. The community was named after James G. Pace, a lumber, paper and turpentine producer who operated within the community. Though only having a population of 7,300 in 2000, the area became much more suburban and the population shot up to more than 20,000, according to the 2010 census – all within nine square miles. Properties and Prices Despite its size, Pace is one of the fastest growing communities in northwest Florida. According to Trulia, the average sale price in the neighborhood is around $270k, though most are around $150k. These houses are often suburban brick-faced ranch style homes between 1000 and 2000 square feet. Many of them have at least three bedrooms and two baths. The area has seen a lot of growth since 2000, so many of the houses are only about a decade old, perhaps a little older. There are also many new construction homes being built. Rental properties are few and far between, however.

82 | pensacola magazine

Pace is a laidback community, as most residents are in their mid-30s to mid-40s, often married with children. Traffic in the suburban streets is light, and a short drive down US 90 will get you to the heart of Pensacola. For utilities, ECUA handles waste, Pace Water Systems provides water, Gulf Power provides electricity, and AT&T or Cox Communications offers internet and cable servicews. Local Attractions Pace is part of the Santa Rosa County school district and offers great opportunities for the families within the area. Pea Ridge Elementary, Berry Hill Elementary and S.S. Dixon Intermediate are great for younger children, and Thomas L. Sims Middle and Pace High serves the teenagers. Their school district covers most of the entirety of Pace and they have a great reputation in academics, sports and arts. Pace is more suburban, meaning it offers a plethora of outdoor experiences. In addition to Benny Russell Park – which features a sprawling playground, picnic area and open spaces – they are numerous trails to see the beautiful pine forests and wildlife native to northwest Florida.

Though there are many fast food restaurant options in Pace, small cafes and restaurants like Coffee Break Café, Bayou Café and Steven’s Market Deli provide cozy atmosphere and great food. For groceries, Winn-Dixie and Publix are the go-to stores. For the rest of your shopping needs, Santa Rosa Commons offers shopping spots like Target and PetSmart.

Summary Pace is in the middle of a huge growth spurt, as it provides a family-oriented community that isn’t far from Pensacola. With new construction going up constantly and more people looking for an urban escape, now is the time to look into visiting this cozy community. For more information on Pace, visit or speak to your realtor to find out why Pace should be a place you call home.

on sale now!

manof Lamancha March 16 & 18, 2018


don’t want the kids room to smell like oranges, the living room flowers and the bathrooms fresh cotton. Just pick one fragrance and stick with it. Your eyes and nose are happy. How about your ears? You can’t move your home if you live by a train track or a busy street. You can, however, lessen unwanted noises. If you have time before your home shows, put on some music. Not your favorite rock band or reggae group. The music should not distract the buyers. Just pick an easy listening channel. Again, if you don’t want to leave music on for hours while you’re at work, invest in a white noise machine. Or pick out a small water feature. You can find them at home improvement stores.


Potential sellers, remember your five senses—sight, smell, hearing, touch and taste! If you want your home to sell quickly, take note. You must present buyers with a pleasant experience for all their senses. Open your front door, what do you see? What do you smell? This is the first impression a buyer will have of your home. Let’s start with sight. Is there clutter everywhere? That pile of mail in the kitchen? Every school picture of your child from kindergarten through high school up on the walls? Shoes by the front door? Take stock. You’re used to seeing 84 | pensacola magazine

your own home, now look at it through a buyer’s eyes—they will want to make it their home. So, step one, pick up. Move your piles of stuff, take the majority of personal pictures off your walls, and the dog’s bed needs to go in a closet during the showing. Now, what do you smell? Is it the shoes? The cat’s litter box? A buyer’s sense of smell can be assaulted the moment they walk in the door. Maybe you don’t have time to light a candle every time your home shows. Don’t worry, candles are great but you can also swing by almost any store and pick up air fresheners. They’re cute and they can plug into the wall or sit on a table. Pick a soothing smell and keep it uniform throughout the house. You’ll definitely want one right by the front door for that immediate “Ah, this home smells great” reaction from the buyer. Keep that nice smell going, you

The last two senses get a bit trickier. First, there’s touch. Buyer’s normally won’t run their hands all over your home but they will touch certain things. Light fixtures—if their agent hasn’t already turned all the lights on, buyers will. They can’t be sticky! Go around your home and make sure all the light switches are clean! Same goes for all the doorknobs in your home. A buyer will open everything, including random closets and the door to the garage. Now check out the kitchen. Your counter tops should be free from any food particles and any stickiness Don’t forget the handle to the refrigerator, buyers always open the fridge. Make sure their senses of sight and smell won’t be overwhelmed. A filthy fridge can be a deal breaker. Okay, the last one—taste. Be assured no one is going to lick your walls! So, this sense is an easy one to please. Put some cookies on a tray. Not into baking?Just set a bowl of candy on the counter. Are you a healthy eater? Trade out candy for granola bars. It doesn’t matter, just offer up a treat for the buyer. They’ll remember your house as the “the yummy house.” Buyers are looking for ways to differentiate your home from the others they looked at that day. Satisfy their five senses and your home will be the one that stands out!

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Annie & Steve handled everything for us! THE GUTHRIE TEAM Steve (850)450.4639 Annie (850)748.6659 1313 Creighton Road Pensacola, FL 32504 Office (850)912.4123 | Fax (850)912.4969

Here’s to kickoff. Contact me today. Shellie Isakson-Smith Mortgage Loan Originator Office 850.436.7846 Cell 850.232.3224 shellieisakson-smith@ Loans subject to approval, including credit approval. Shellie Isakson-Smith NMLS 440325.

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Alexis Bolin Group • Ranked Amongst the Top 1/10 of 1% of all Real Estate Agents Nationwide • Over 5,100 Closed Sales • "Who's Who" in Residential Real Estate Alexis Bolin-Broker Associate Lisa Mix-Realtor Associate • One of the Most Influential Agents in Florida • One of the Most Awarded Agents in the Nation Cell (850) 777-0275 Cell (850) 572-4102 • International Hall of Fame - 2013 Office (850) 478-5446 Office (850) 478-5446 • Real Estate Experts Hall of Fame - 2013 • CRS - Certified Residential Specialist • ABR - Accredited by a Representative • MRP - Military Relocation Professional


Low interest rates, a strong economy and the turn of the seasons are all causing the real estate market to heat up. More homes on the market bring more competition to buy the inventory that is out there. And one way to stand apart from other buyers who are vying for their dream home is to take steps to improve your credit score now. "Preparing your finances is a must before the busy real estate season," says Barrett Burns, president and CEO of credit score model developer VantageScore Solutions. "Knowing your credit scores and making improvements is essential to getting the best loan at the best rates. This also makes you a more attractive home buyer, especially in a competitive market." With limited time, you may think there's nothing you can do to improve your score. Burns says that's an incorrect assumption. While you can't make dramatic jumps in just a couple months, there are several steps you can take that may influence your score to increase enough to get you prequalified for the loan you want. Keep in mind, lenders will pull 88 | pensacola magazine

your scores from all three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion), so it's wise to check your credit report from each of them. You can do so for free once every 12 months at For best results, monitor at least one credit score from each of the bureaus. You also can check your credit score for free through a large number of online services, such as CreditKarma. com, or Other sites offering free VantageScore credit scores can be found at Once you have your reports in hand, you can take steps that may have a positive impact on your scores.

Step 1: Check for errors A credit report gives a comprehensive list of your lines of credit and payment history. The first step is to review your credit report for errors and take steps to make corrections, including past and present names, loan amounts and credit cards in your name. When checking your credit score, bear in mind that some differences in credit scores across bureaus is normal. But if one of the three credit scores is

an extreme outlier, it could be worth double-checking your credit report from that bureau to make sure it doesn't reflect any questionable or erroneous activity.

Step 2: Don't miss a payment Creditors are interested in seeing how you manage credit, and the consistency of behavior counts. You should always pay at least the minimum amount due on bills on time every month. An easy way to ensure you don't miss a payment is to sign up for automatic bill pay when available.

Step 3: Lower credit utilization levels Credit utilization is the ratio of a credit card balance to the credit limit. If your balance is $5,000 and your credit limit is $10,000, then your credit utilization for that credit card is 50 percent. In general, a good credit utilization is less than 30 percent, so if you have a higher ratio, consider using your tax refund to pay down this debt.

Step 4: Don't close old credit cards If you have a credit card that is no longer used but was previously paid off on time each month, don't close the account. Not only is this good for your credit utilization ratio, but it also is another indicator you're a responsible candidate for a loan.

Step 5: Don't apply for new credit Avoid applying for any new credit, such as an auto loan or a new credit card account, between now and the time you will close on a home purchase. Lenders considering your loan application request your credit score from one or more credit bureaus. And these lender "inquiries" are recorded with one or more of the three national credit bureaus, which may lower your credit score by 10 to 20 points. The score decreases typically only last a few months, as long as you continue to make payments on time. But unless they're absolutely necessary, try to avoid additional inquiries until after you've secured your mortgage. If you follow these five steps, you may see an increase in your score within a few months so you can get a loan and be an attractive buyer when it comes time to put in a bid for your dream home. Keep in mind, the more you can put toward the down payment, the more instant equity you'll have, the lower your monthly payment will be, and the better your chances are of not needing private mortgage insurance (PMI), which can add hundreds of dollars to your monthly payment. Plus, if you're able to put down more than a lender requires, a mortgage company may be willing to give you a pass on other issues on your application, such as a less-than-stellar credit score.

Let Gulf Winds help you finance your dream home. Our mortgage professionals are right here in our branches. That means you talk with a real person (not an 800 number) who lives in the community and understands our market. You get all the loan options those big box financial institutions offer AND the personal service you deserve. Experience the difference a credit union makes. Come in and see us today to start your journey toward your dream home.

Visit your local branch or learn more at:


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1612 Smugglers Cove Circle 3 BED | 4 BATH | 4,513 SQ FEET


his luxuriously elegant, custom designed home was featured by H&G Magazine. Truly captivating is the view of the Santa Rosa Sound through glass paned walls and a multitude of picture windows. Indulge in the luxury of a home theater, a wine closet with distinctly crafted iron/copper doors, a well appointed wet bar and a grand master bedroom with panoramic water views and 10 ft tray ceilings. The grand master bath promotes a serene sanctuary. The generously sized kitchen offers GE Monogram appliances and flows between the dining room and two living areas. Equipped with manicured landscaping, a 1,200 sqft lanai and a pier with dual boat lifts. Nestled in Smugglers Cove in the quiet part of Gulf Breeze, this neighborhood offers a number of amenities. A truly distinct home fit for royalty.

Kim Gibbons

90 | pensacola magazine

Emerald Coast Realty

Pensacola Realtor, Real Estate Broker

Top ERA Broker in the entire State of Florida Ph: 850-912-9826

Why choose K.W. Homes?



Timeless Style

"Dated" is not how you want your home to be described. When you choose K.W. Homes, your home will have classic style with value that increases with time.

Expert Knowledge

Anyone can keep up with trends, but it takes an expert to incorporate the latest features without sacriďŹ cing the integrity of your home's classic style.

Individual Attention

K.W. Homes limits and carefully manages their list of active projects. This allows for better communication and certainty that your home will be completed on budget and on time.



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