Bay Biz Vol 10/Issue 1 (Jan-Mar)

Page 1




Veteran Owned and Operated

As the Broker-Owner of People 1st Real Estate LLC, Athrine Matthews has been serving the Bay County area and its Military Families for over 15 years. Athrine is sure to take care of all your Real Estate Needs!

(850) 624-3187 2310 S. Hwy 77 Ste. 175 Lynn Haven FL 32444

january - march 2020

departments 4



POLITICAL PERSPECTIVE Florida’s Military-Friendly Legislation


DEFENSE INTEL Military Spouse and Family Programs at Naval Support Activity - PC and Tyndall AFB

12 HEALTH How Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center Plans to Accommodate a Growing Bay County 16 EDUCATION Helping Make the Military Child’s Transition to a New School Easier 24 TECHNOLOGY The Various Methods of Technology and How They’re Used in the Military 26













24 16


features 20

COVER STORY Military Spouse Employment Made Easy in Bay County


The Bay Biz is published quarterly by the Bay County Chamber of Commerce. POSTMASTER send address changes to: Bay County Chamber, PO Box 1850, Panama City, FL 32402 or email The Bay Biz welcomes story ideas from its readers. To have your story added, please email To request additional copies, call 850-785-5206.

PUBLISHER Carol Roberts



COVER Wife greets military husband with a hug at Tyndall Air Force Base.

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS FOLLOW US ON: Kim Bodine, Lynda Brown, Airman & Family Readiness Center, Ashley Conner, Bailee Darbasie, Brandi DeRuiter, Sandy McPherson, Naval Support Activity Center - PC, Carol Roberts, Tammy Turnmeyer, Ashton Williams, and Garrett Wright

BAY BIZ MAGAZINE c/o Bay County Chamber of Commerce P.O. Box 1850 Panama City, FL 32402 850-785-5206 |

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Bay County Chamber of Commerce, Bay EDA, CareerSource Gulf Coast, Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center, Naval Support Activity - PC, Tyndall Air Force Base, and United States Air Force

BAY B I Z / JA N UA RY - M A R C H 2020


As we have wrapped up yet another amazing year for your Bay County Chamber, I’d like to give you some of the highlights.

the 2019 Legislative Agenda and they have now completed the

Of course as most know, our building at 235 W. 5th Street was hit

2020 agenda. We had a successful Tallahassee trip in Novem-

very hard by Hurricane Michael. Reconstruction has begun and

ber. City/County Managers meetings continue to serve as con-

we’re hoping to be back in downtown Panama City by the end of

duit to encourage local governments to work together. Pro-

January, first of February timeframe. Your staff has made three

moted Tyndall AFB Industry Day for contractors and partnered

moves during the time period. Currently the main operation is lo-

with Tyndall to hold one for local firms. Promoted participation

cated at Gulf Coast State College with two staff members manning

in Tyndall EIS for F35A/MQ9 Missions.

the office, while the balance work remotely from their homes. It’s been a challenge but we’ve made it work without skipping a beat in providing services to the community and to our members.

We broke records with Annual Dinner attendance with nearly 800 attendees.

The Chamber was instrumental in starting the process for a master plan for Tyndall Parkway and coordinating the cities of

All things considered we’ve had a phenomenal year:

It has been an active year for Governmental Affairs addressing

Callaway and Parker, Tyndall representatives and FEMA.

The Chamber maintains representatives on the Bay District Schools Citizens Oversight Committee and the Bay County Infrastructure Surtax Oversight Committee.

All events met or exceeded revenue.

We met membership goals/budget.

Our Chairman, Will Cramer, engaged in the Bay County Recov-

have recovered to the magnitude it has in such a short period of

ery Task Force as lead for the Economic Development Branch

time from that horrible day on 10-10-18. It is with leaders such as

and participated in City of Panama City recovery meetings.

our Chairman, Will Cramer, who has gone above and beyond to

Our community won the Great American Defense Community Award in which the Chamber took lead in planning/organizing all celebrations recognizing the occasion. Chamber representatives attended annual awards event in DC.

Succeeded, after two years, to encourage the Florida Chamber

have ever thought, not only our organization, our community would

serve, that have played a vital role. Will has given hundreds of hours away from his business to represent the Chamber on many fronts to do his part. Will continues to carry the legacy of his family and understands the importance of giving back to the community. Will, thank you my friend. It’s been a pleasure working alongside of you.

to take the lead role in the state to oppose offshore drilling

Looking forward to 2020, Andrew Rowell, our new Chairman of the

within the Gulf Training Range.

Board, will take the reins officially on January 24th at our Annual

Elizabeth Smith, our VP of Membership Services/Events, graduated from the Institute of Organizational Management, a four-year program conducted by the U.S. Chamber at the University of Georgia.

As I said in the beginning, it’s been a phenomenal year. Who would

Dinner & Awards Ceremony. We’re looking forward to an amazing year ahead of us as we have charted yet another aggressive business plan. Thank you to all for helping to Re-Build A Better Bay County!

Most recently, won Chamber of the Year for the state. We have applied four times and won four times, 2004, 2010, 2016 and 2019. In addition, at the FACP conference, Elizabeth was recognized for 15 years of service to the industry along with the


Chamber receiving numerous communications awards for this

Carol Roberts

publication, Bay Biz, and our Guide to Discovering Bay County.


BAY B I Z / JA N UA RY - M A R C H 2020


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political perspective Florida’s Military-Friendly Legislation by: Brandi DeRuiter, VP of Governmental Affairs, Bay County Chamber of Commerce


lorida is the proud home to 20 active duty military installations and the largest training and testing range in America. Not many are aware the military is the second leading

Health – Through their VALOR Program, the Florida Department of Health honors all valid and current medical licenses from other states and will issue the same license from Florida for no fee.

driver of our economy, accounting for $84.9 billion in economic impact and over 800,000 jobs. Florida claims to be the most military-friendly state in the Nation. Thankfully, our legislators and organizations, like the Florida Defense Support task force, work diligently to ensure this claim holds

lation honors all valid and current professional licenses from other states and will issue the same license for the corresponding profession from Florida.

true. These dedicated individuals are always working in support of

Education – The Florida Department of Education honors all valid

Florida’s military members and families so they feel welcomed and

and current standard or professional teaching certificates from oth-

are successful while they are here.

er states and will issue a corresponding Florida certification.

This article will take a look at a few of the military friendly laws Flor-

Law – The Florida Bar allows active duty military spouses, who are

ida has implemented to support and assist military members and

members of the bar of other states, to practice law in Florida when

their families.


Professions – The Department of Business and Professional Regu-

they accompany a military member stationed in Florida.


The Occupational Opportunity Act requires the Department of

Some of the most notable military friendly laws include the encom-

Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) to issue a fee-waived

passing licensure reciprocity for military spouses. Florida recogniz-

professional renewable license member of the Armed Forces who

es every license from other states from health practitioners, pro-

served on active duty, spouses of members of the Armed Forces,

fessions, educators and attorneys.

and surviving spouses of members of the Armed Forces, provid-

BAY B I Z / JA N UA RY - M A R C H 2020

or eligible to move into government quarters or move temporarily for over 60 days to a location which is 35 or more miles from the rental premises. Landlords may not discriminate against military personnel. Discrimination on the basis of military status creates a cause of action against the landlord for civil damages. Additionally, landlords may not sue or otherwise attempt to retaliate against a tenant who terminated a lease because of military duties.

ing they have proof they hold a valid license for the profession issued by any other state. A few of the more common boards this law applies to include: Building Code Administrators and Inspectors Board, Construction Industry Licensing Board, Electrical Contractors’ Licensing Board, Board of Landscape Architecture, Home Inspection Services licensing program, Florida Board of Professional Engineers, Florida Real Estate Commission, Florida Real Estate Appraisal Board and Board of Cosmetology. Military Spouses are also offered Unemployment Compensation


benefits when they have to voluntarily leave employment due to

Although this article focuses on military programs and benefits codified into state law, we would like to recognize that Bay County’s business community is overwhelmingly supportive and very generous to our military members and their spouses, providing welcoming atmospheres and military discounts at almost every location.

relocation as a result of his or her spouse’s military orders. Having this standard in place allows the spouses of active duty military members who voluntarily resign from their jobs to keep the family intact as a result of the military member’s change of station orders or deployment to become eligible for unemployment compensation benefits.

Protections There is often a level of uncertainty for military members and their families regarding relocation contingent on permanent or temporary duty. Fortunately, a few of Florida’s laws offer protections from cell phone service contracts, motor vehicle leasing and rental agreements. Cell Phone Service - Service members may terminate cell phone service contracts by providing 30 days’ notice to the service provider if the service member moves, either permanently or on temporary duty for over 60 days, outside the area which the service provider provides telecommunications service; or the service member is discharged or released from duty and returns to an area not serviced by the service provider; the service members orders require a move outside the continental United States. Motor Vehicle Leases - Members may terminate motor vehicle leases by providing 30 days written notice to the lessor if either the service member is required to move outside the continental United States; or the service member receives orders for a period exceeding 60 days for duty outside the continental United States or for a temporary change of station. The statute specifically states the lessee is not liable for any other fee due to the early termination of the contract.

County Parks - Although non-specific, Florida law dictates County parks or recreation departments shall provide partial or a full discount on park entrance fees to military members, veterans, and the spouse and parents of certain deceased military members, law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and paramedics. State Parks - The Florida Park Service offers the Annual Entrance Pass at a discount or free of charge. This includes a 25 percent discount on annual entrance passes for active duty and honorably discharged veterans and free lifetime military entrance passes for honorably discharged United States veterans who have service connected disabilities. Surviving spouses and parents of deceased members who have fallen in combat are also eligible for free lifetime military entrance passes. State Forests - The Florida Forest Service offers the Annual Entrance Pass at a $10.00 discount for active duty and honorably discharged veterans and free Lifetime Military Entrance Passes for honorably discharged United States veterans who have service connected disabilities. These are just a few of the 80 military friendly laws, programs and benefits described in the Florida Military Friendly Guide. The full guide can be found at the Florida Defense Support Task Force’s website:

Rental Agreements - Service members may terminate their leases when they move permanently 35 or more miles from the rental premises, are prematurely or involuntarily discharged or released from Active Duty, are released from Active Duty when the leased premises is at least 35 miles from the home of record, are required

BAY B I Z / JA N UA RY - M A R C H 2020


defense intel Military Spouse and Family Programs at Naval Support Activity-PC and Tyndall AFB T Y N DA LL A FB

Story by Airman and Family Readiness Center, Tyndall AFB The Airman and Family Readiness Center is the cornerstone of the Tyndall AFB family support system, helping families and singles enhance their readiness and quality of life. There is a direct relationship between a member’s ability to successfully accomplish a mission, and the quality of life his/her family experiences. Because of this relationship, many programs and policies are available to promote a positive family environment. The A&FRC also helps commanders and base leaders meet their responsibilities for health and welfare of Air Force families and singles. Each unit has a Community Readiness Consultant appointed as their unit liaison creating partnerships with unit leaders to identify strengths, assess needs, address concerns and help resolve issues. Services are free and available to active duty military members and

Air Force Families Forever ensures the families of our fallen Airmen

their dependents, Guard and Reserve members and their depen-

are never forgotten by providing immediate and long-term compas-

dents, retired military personnel and their dependents and Depart-

sionate support.

ment of Defense civilians.

Programs include: Air Force Aid Society provides emergency financial assistance when unexpected emergencies arise including basic maintenance (i.e.: food, shelter, utilities), emergency maintenance of essential vehicle, funeral expenses/emergency leave and also provides programs such as education grants, Give Parents a Break and Bundles for Babies. Employment Assistance provides eligible family members and transitioning military members with employment information to

Military Family Life Counselors are available to listen and help service members, spouses, family members and children to address non-medical stressors (i.e.: deployment/reintegration, marriage and relationships, parenting/sibling and family problems, communication challenges and stress and anxiety). Personal Financial Readiness offers information, education and personal financial counseling to help military members and their families maintain financial stability and reach their financial goals. Personal Finance Managers offer information and programs (i.e.: in-

include local labor market information and employment trends and

vesting basics, budgeting, insurance, auto buying, free Carfax, free

assists with the job search process. Information and programs are

credit score, debt management and home buying basics).

available on rĂŠsumĂŠ writing, job search techniques, federal employment, interview skills and spouse employment.

Relocation Assistance assists members and their dependents with

Readiness provides information on family/personal readiness,


sponsor training, as well as information and assistance to new ar-

deployment and mobilization assistance, hurricane/disaster pre-


paredness, reintegration/repatriation and Hearts Apart (a morale

Volunteer Resources offers base information for volunteer recruit-

program for when members are deployed or TDY 30 days or more).

ment, training, recognition and on-base volunteer placement.

BAY B I Z / JA N UA RY - M A R C H 2020

Personal/Work Life services enrich and improve the quality of individual and family life by providing the knowledge and skills needed for effective living. Programs include Heart Link (an orientation for military spouses of less than five years) and Key Spouse (an official “Unit Family Readiness Program” that supports Airmen and their families by providing peer-to-peer network support to unit spouses). Casualty Assistance Representative (CAR) provides benefit counseling and assistance to the next of kin or other eligible beneficiaries of a deceased member, and assists the next of kin with claim applications for monetary benefits. Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) Counselor informs each retiring member and spouse, if applicable, of the options and effects of SBP as it applies to each individual circumstance, and explains how SBP operates, its role in estate planning and the possible consequences of not enrolling. Transition Assistance assists separating or retiring military members transitioning into civilian life through information and programs on job search strategies, VA benefits briefings, mandatory initial counseling and pre-separation counseling, individual transition plans and TAP GPS (class). Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) provides non-medical community/family support to enhance the quality of life of Tyndall’s special needs families. The EFMP program provides information and referral to both on and off base special needs resources. The program is designed to listen, support, advise, educate and navigate the EFMP process. It offers exceptional family member camps, respite care, special education information, local community resources, awareness of base resources and program navigation. Voting Assistance Program (VAP) is a program to assist Active Duty personnel and their family members with access to the Installation Voter Assistance Office (IVAO) to register to vote either at the polls or by absentee ballot. To contact Airman & Family Readiness Center at Tyndall AFB, please call (850) 283-4204, or visit at Base Support Center (Bldg 662, Rm 144).

including libraries, computer tutorial programs and employment opportunities within the local community. FERP also encourages volunteering when arriving at a new location. It is a great way to meet new people, learn new skills, create important networks and gain experience while contributing to the community. Additional family employment services and support include: Spouse Education Career Opportunities (SECO) Department of Defense established a comprehensive spouse-centered program called Spouse Education and Career Opportunities. This website is a one-stop source where eligible military spouses have 24/7 access to online education and career information, resources, tools and assessments. Spouses can search for schools and scholarships; find education and career information and search for employment. Military OneSource Military OneSource provides comprehensive education and career guidance, support and resources to military spouses pursuing employment or an advanced degree. Current information regarding career exploration; education, training and licensing; and employment readiness and career connections can be found in the menu’s education-employment tab. Check out tips and strategies for military spouses to help match your interests, skills and goals with a degree or occupation compatible with the mobile military life. The Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP) This program offers military spouses access to employers who are posting job openings and actively recruiting military spouses to include America’s Fortune 500 plus employers and portable career fields.


Story by Public Affairs, Naval Support Activity – Panama City

My Career Advancement Account Scholarship The scholarship program is a workforce development program providing a maximum tuition benefit of $4,000 with an annual fiscal year cap of $2,000 to eligible military spouses. To qualify for the scholarship applicants must have completed high school, pursue a

The Navy recognizes moving every few years creates career chal-

license, certification or associate degree in a portable career field

lenges for military spouses, especially those stationed overseas

and occupation.

or in remote areas. The Family Employment Readiness Program (FERP), offered by Naval Support Activity Panama City’s (NSA PC) Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC), addresses those challenges. FFSC offers workshops that include launching a job search, career planning, resume writing, interview techniques, federal em-

LinkedIn Premium Military spouses moving due to a permanent change of station or transitioning from the military now have access to a powerful tool that makes job hunting easier. The Spouse Education and Career

ployment information, goal setting and more.

Opportunities program and LinkedIn’s Military and Veterans Pro-

The goal of FERP is to help spouses with the processes of finding a

and those within six months of separating from the military access

job and maintaining a career as a military family member. FERP pro-

to a one-year upgrade to LinkedIn Premium at no cost.

vides a variety of services to assist the transitioning military spouse,

gram joined forces to give military spouses moving due to a PCS

BAY B I Z / JA N UA RY - M A R C H 2020


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BUILDING LASTING RELATIONSHIPS AND BETTER COMMUNITIES White-Spunner Construction is an active participant in building and growing the Florida Panhandle for 38-years. We understand what it takes to rebuild right through disaster experience gained throughout our history. We stand with you – ready to rebuild the 850 Community better than before! 2431 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Panama City, FL 32405 850-630-4274 BAY B I Z / JA N UA RY - M A R C H 2020


health How Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center Plans to Accommodate a Growing Bay County by: Sandy McPherson, HCA North Florida Division


s Panama City’s population continues to grow, decision-makers in Bay County are making plans to accommodate future residents. In addition to new schools,

counter overcrowded facilities and transfers out of town for medical care,” Griffin said. “That extra travel can be a huge burden on family

housing and infrastructure, the city will need increased access to

and loved ones, especially during long hospital stays.”

healthcare. But for a community still recovering from Hurricane Mi-

To address this shortage and meet the needs of a growing com-

chael, that won’t be an easy task. When the hurricane made landfall more than a year ago, it made a devastating impact on the community’s healthcare facilities, includ-

munity, Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center recently unveiled major development plans, including on-site expansions, renovations and new construction.

ing the 223-bed acute care hospital, Gulf Coast Regional Medical

“We were proud to serve our community during and after Hurri-

Center. Despite structural damage, the hospital’s ER remained open

cane Michael. In the same way, this expansion demonstrates our

throughout the storm and treated more than 2,000 patients. When

commitment to improving access to local healthcare and keeping

the worst of the weather passed, the hospital worked with HCA Healthcare’s Emergency Operations Center to transfer hundreds of patients to other medical facilities outside the area of impact for inpatient services.


“Unfortunately, patients in and around Panama City continue to en-

patients close to home,” said Griffin. “An expansion has been in the works for some time, and the number of patients coming to our hospital has consistently outpaced capacity. The time has come for growth.”

Although Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center quickly reopened and

Adding Hospital Beds – And Jobs

returned to full service, the hospital’s CEO, Brad Griffin, says there is

Anticipated to begin in early 2020, Gulf Coast Regional Medical Cen-

still a shortage of hospital beds in the region following the disaster.

ter’s expansion will add roughly 67,000 square feet to the facility.

BAY B I Z / JA N UA RY - M A R C H 2020

Investing in Growth, Technology and Safety Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center’s expansion announcement and ER groundbreaking punctuate 10 years of ongoing investment. Over the last decade, the hospital has devoted $200 million to medical and structural improvements. In October 2013, a critical care wing opened with a new adult level ICU, as well as the area's only Pediatric and Level III Neonatal ICUs. In 2018, a $13.3 million emergency department expansion created space for 44 private patient beds. With a total investment of nearly $62 million, the project includes the addition of three new floors across the existing north and south towers, which will house private patient rooms, a surgical ICU and a state-of-the-art inpatient rehabilitation facility. In total, the expansion will add 52 new beds, allowing the hospital to deliver quality acute care to more patients than ever before. Construction plans include a new connector, which will ensure that hospital staff, patients and visitors have easy access from the five-story north tower to the main building. Once construction begins, the project is expected to take 18 months to complete – and will lead to major job growth for the area. “Part of preparing for a growing population is making sure employment grows, too,” Griffin said. “We expect this expansion to create at least 100 full-time jobs in Bay County as we recruit new physicians and attract great talent to the area.”

Ensuring Access to Emergency Care In addition to the planned expansion at the main hospital, Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center recently broke ground on a new freestanding emergency department. Panama City ER is slated to open in May 2020. The 10,820-square-foot, full-service emergency room, located on U.S. Highway 231, will provide 24/7 care for both pediatric and adult patients. “Panama City ER will serve more than 10,000 Bay County residents each year,” said Griffin. “Residents who live a significant distance from the nearest hospital emergency room will soon have easier, closer and faster access to comprehensive emergency care.” The $11.5 million project will feature 11 private patient care rooms, a dedicated cardiac/respiratory resuscitation room, full-service lab and diagnostic imaging including X-ray, CT Scan and ultrasound. When completed, the ER is expected to employ a full-time staff of 30 medical experts and four emergency medicine physicians.

Reducing ER Wait Times According to Griffin, the addition of a freestanding emergency room like Panama City ER will help ease overcrowding at hospital emergency rooms and busy trauma centers. “There is a common misconception that every medical emergency requires a hospital visit,” Griffin said. “Yet, according to the CDC, only nine percent of freestanding ER patients are admitted to the hospital. Most of these patients can be successfully treated and released back home to recover on the same day – all from their neighborhood emergency room.”

Griffin notes, while growth is important, staying on top of advancements in the medical field remains a top priority. That focus has helped secure the facility’s status as a leader in several fields, including robotic surgery. Safety is another major priority for the hospital, which was awarded its third consecutive 'A' in the fall 2019 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, a national distinction recognizing achievements in protecting patients from harm and providing safer healthcare. "Advanced technology and talented physicians alone do not add up to safe and effective healthcare. That’s why we also focus on ensuring our colleagues have the most comprehensive safety training," said Griffin. "Being one of the safest hospitals in the country is a distinction we continually strive for."

Celebrating Bay County’s Spirit As Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center continues to strive for safety, technological advancement and growth, Griffin and the leadership team remain inspired by the resilience of the Bay County community. “As our community continues rebuilding, we want our patients to know they can depend on Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center for convenient access to comprehensive healthcare services,” said Griffin. He and his team look forward to serving the current and future residents of Bay County. “We’re making changes that meet the needs of today’s patients, while also taking into account those who will need medical care tomorrow,” said Griffin. “Whenever residents or visitors see our logo at our hospital, an affiliated clinic or a freestanding ER, we want them to know they can expect nothing less than the highest quality healthcare.”

Griffin added, the nine percent of patients with more serious conditions can still access the treatment they need. After being stabilized at the freestanding ER, they will be seamlessly transferred to Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center for expedited admission. BAY B I Z / JA N UA RY - M A R C H 2020


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education Helping Make the Military Child’s Transition to a New School Easier T Y N DA LL A FB

Story by Tammy Turnmeyer, Chief, Child and Youth Services Flight Military Child Education Officer

December 2015 during which they trained forty-three S2S groups around the world. The focus was sustaining the S2S program and included interactive ice breaker ideas, fundraising tips, and setting goals. The success from Rutherford's webinar created a series of S2S webinars.

The partnership between Tyndall Air Force Base, Naval Support Activity Panama City, and Bay District Schools began in 2006. However, the partnership grew significantly in 2009 when both Tyndall Air Force Base and Naval Support Activity Panama City hired School Liaison Officers to serve as advocates for military families. This strong partnership has continued and we are committed to exceptional service to military families, military-dependent students, to students in the broader community and to those in education who serve them. Through our strong partnership and collaboration we have implemented unique programs and opportunities for Bay District School students, teachers and parents.

Training to Assist Military Children and Families

Recognition of Military Students

The School Liaison Officer (NSA Panama City) and School Liaison

Honor Cord Recognition - Military personnel and their families relo-

Officer ( Tyndall AFB) work diligently to provide training each year to district personnel, school administrators, and guidance counselors regarding the unique situations and events faced by military families. In support of the school district and its teachers, a component is included in the training that allows those attending to receive in-service points toward their educator recertification in the state of Florida. The Trainings that have been provided include: Responding to Military Children with Exceptional Needs, Living in the New Normal and Anchored 4 Life, refresher training for Student 2 Student (S2S) and Junior Student 2 Student (JS2S), and a Principal Tour. Training plans for SY16-17 included a fourth S2S/JS2S Symposium

are completed during a student’s high school years making it challenging for a student to become established within a high school. Along with the transitions to several schools, students have to make many family adjustments and sacrifices when their military parent is deployed. With this in mind, Tyndall Air Force Base in collaboration with Bay District Schools and Naval Support Activity Panama City implemented the “Honor Cord Recognition Program” in 2014. Again in 2015, with additional collaboration with Bay Haven Charter Academy Incorporated and community donations, Tyndall Air Force Base purchased Recognition Honor Cords for all military dependent

for all middle and high school programs in September 2016 and

students to wear at their graduation ceremony. Each student was

STOMP (Specialized Training of Military Parents) for families with

also recognized by an American Flag icon next to his or her name in

children with special needs.

the graduation program and by the high school principals during the

Student 2 Student Recognition

ceremony. The Honor Cord was significant to some military students because this was the only recognition they received due to

Rutherford High School, Panama City, Florida, was one of five

the multiple moves and high schools they attended. This event was

schools recognized for its outstanding Student 2 Student (S2S)

very moving and lauded by both the military and local community.

program in 2014 and 2015 at the Military Child Education Coalition


cate six to nine times within a military career. Many of these moves

annual conference.

Month of the Military Child - In recognition of the Month of the

For the third consecutive year, Rutherford High School was recog-

both installations along with one military family from each school

nized for their exceptional S2S program for 2016 and attended the

to attend a School Board meeting in the month of April. During the

2016 Military Child Education Coalition annual conference. Ruther-

meeting, military families are recognized for the sacrifices made by

ford’s S2S group was also selected to facilitate the S2S Webinar in

military dependents while their military parent serves. Along with

BAY B I Z / JA N UA RY - M A R C H 2020

Military Child, Bay District Schools invites Wing Commanders from

this recognition, the Superintendent signs the “Month of the Mil-

many things, such as, assisting families with valuable information

itary Child Resolution” and each family receives a small gift to in-

about the local school system as they transition to their new duty

clude a copy of the signed Resolution. Bay District School students,

station, as well as assisting the schools by providing programs and

faculty and staff are encouraged to wear Purple on a designated

resources they need to help the families.

day in the month of April in appreciation of the sacrifices made by military-dependent students while their military parent served our

Most programs and resources provided by the military and facilitat-


ed by the SLO are geared to help all of the students in the school,

Bay District School Teacher of the Year Cathy Felty, Bay District Schools “2018 Teacher of the Year” was provided an incentive flight in a T-38 from Tyndall Air Force Base. This was the first year that Tyndall AFB partnered with Bay District Schools to provide this opportunity to a teacher.

not just military children. Saying goodbye to friends so often and moving to a new place with a different culture is hard. Programs such as Junior Student 2 Student (middle schools), Student 2 Student (high schools), and Anchored 4 Life (elementary) help transitioning students feel welcome and make the adjustment easier. These student-led programs connect new students with their peers, provide information about the area and tours of the school,

Pete Taylor Partnership Awards

and alleviate many of the fears new students face.

Tyndall AFB, NSA Panama City, and Bay District Schools received

The Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission (MIC3)

the “2015 Pete Taylor Outstanding Partnership Award” and the “2018 Pete Taylor Exemplary Partnership Award”. The annual award encourages and applauds the outstanding partnerships formed between military installations and school districts that serve military children. Award winners are selected from schools and military installations around the world by the Military Child Education Coalition, a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring quality educational opportunities for all military and veteran-connected children affected by mobility, transition and family

also deals with the challenges of the frequent relocations of military children from state to state. The Compact is a law, which has been adopted by all fifty states through state legislation. The Compact covers specific educational issues such as enrollment, immunizations, course and special program placement, special education services, absences related to deployments, participation in extracurricular programs, and waiving courses and testing that were completed in another state. The specifics of the Compact help to level the playing field for transitioning military-dependents


by allowing for uniform treatment as they transfer between school


The Military Family Life Counselor (MFLC) program provides

Story by Lynda Brown, School Liaison Officer, Naval Support Activity Panama City

districts and states.

broad-ranging support in the schools to military-dependents, family members, and educators who support them. MFLCs have a Masters or Ph.D. level degree in child and youth behavioral issues and are provided by the Office of Secretary of Defense at no charge to the

Children of active duty military members face many challenges

schools. These counselors are housed within the school to provide

in their education. Currently, there are approximately two million

support by engaging in activities with the children, direct interven-

children of active duty military, of which roughly 85 percent attend

tion in the classroom, modeling behavioral techniques, providing

public schools. On average, these children and their families relo-

feedback to staff, outreach to parents, facilitating group lessons,

cate every 2.9 years. Of these, over two million have experienced

and conducting parent and staff training sessions. They also ad-

deployment of a parent at least once since September 11, 2001.

dress issues such as school adjustment, deployment and reunion,

Military children live a unique lifestyle, which often requires them

sibling and parent-child communication, behavioral concerns, fear,

to make many sacrifices of their own. This lifestyle causes them to

grief, loss and daily life issues.

have to say hello and goodbye to numerous friends in numerous locations each time they move, they are forced to give up positions on sports teams and other extracurricular activities, all while remaining brave and strong while they help hold down the home front during deployments. These students often face many issues and obstacles that create an uneven playing field in their educational lives. To bring these facts closer to home, Florida has the fifth highest number of school-age military-dependent children in the country. Fortunately, there are resources in place to help children of active duty military members overcome the many challenges they face in education. Naval Support Activity Panama City and Tyndall Air Force Base have School Liaison Officers (SLO) who serve as the primary liaison between families and the schools. The job of the SLO involves linking military families to the education resources they need, as well as providing information regarding educational opportunities that help children reach academic success. This includes

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s we take this month to honor our military, we would like to focus on the

With our large military population, it stands

proximated at more than 5,600 (this num-

to reason our economy is largely influenced

ber does not include indirect jobs) along its

by military operations. It is estimated near-

29,000-acre peninsula in the Gulf of Mexico.

most crucial person in a military house-

ly 40 percent of our county’s economy is

It was well-known for hosting the world’s

hold—the military spouse.

generated by our military bases and related

largest collection of F-22 Fighter Jets. Since


the hurricane, TAFB has brought back over

Bay County is a military community with many of our residents stationed locally at either Tyndall Air Force Base (TAFB), Naval Support Activity in Panama City (NSA PC) or the Coast Guard Station. In fact, 30 percent of Bay County’s population is comprised of military and military affiliates. The military

85 percent of its personnel. There is also a $3 billion plan in place to rebuild the base.

lations to host research, development and

This project is anticipated to last the next

testing laboratories. It is housed along a

five to seven years and will make TAFB “a

373-acre track on St. Andrew Bay and has

base of the future”.

an economic impact of over $600 million annually. Four thousand civilian and military

Obviously, it makes great sense that our

personnel are employed here.

community be as military friendly and ex-

active duty military, retired military, military

TAFB had an economic impact of $596 mil-

erations and military personnel as possi-

spouses and other family, as well as govern-

lion annually before Hurricane Michael and

ble. The cornerstone of that commitment

ment contractors.

a number of civilian and military jobs ap-

should be the support we show to military

make-up of our county includes a mix of


NSA PC is one of the primary Navy instal-

BAY B I Z / JA N UA RY - M A R C H 2020

ceptionally supportive of local military op-

families. Military spouses serve along with

their entire household suffers. When the

the military member every day. They are

military family is unhappy, there is a higher

the ones who keep everything together

chance the active duty spouse may request

when their active duty spouse is deployed.

to relocate, or even worse, separate from

Not surprisingly, their careers often must

the military entirely in order to accommo-

revolve around their spouse’s career, which

date better living conditions for his or her

can make obtaining employment difficult. Unfortunately, military spouse employment is a national issue, and not in a good way. The 2017 unemployment rate for military spouses was 16 percent, 11.9 percent higher than the 2017 national unemployment rate of 4.1 percent.

family. While businesses must consider their bottom line when making decisions about hiring and training investments, it is important to understand the full picture when it comes to hiring a military spouse. Military spouses bring a variety of skills and experiences that can help an organization thrive. From their adaptability to their cultural experiences, military spouses account for some of the most well-rounded and hardworking employees in the workforce. Average lengths of employment at a single company have declined dramatically over the past 10 years, meaning military spouses may not leave

Many military spouses find themselves facing barriers to employment such as employ-

any sooner than other employees. Finally,

At CareerSource Gulf Coast, we show our

military spouses are critical thinkers and

support by connecting area military fami-

problem solvers. They are flexible and are

lies to education, training, and employment

accustomed to quickly acclimating to their

resources. To help the military spouse and

environment and recognizing new opportu-

military family thrive in our community, we


are committed to seeing to it they have the resources they need to locate and ob-

er concerns about how long they will be able

tain suitable employment opportunities

to hold their position, lack of employment

as quickly as possible. We also take great

opportunities, decreased pay rates and lack

pride in hiring military spouses as part of

of advancement opportunities and training.

our team.

Often, military spouses find themselves working in part-time positions and in career

CareerSource Gulf Coast considers it a great

fields outside of their expertise and/or certi-

honor to work with military families every

fication. While many military spouses have

day. We are proud to provide area military

some college, college degrees or technical

families with priority-of-service. We have

training, only 29 percent have found em-

Military Family Employment Advocates at

ployment opportunities that utilize these

our Job Center to work exclusively with mil-

assets. This is incredibly problematic con-

itary families, providing career counseling,

sidering most people prefer to work full-

connections to employers and employment

time in a career that aligns with their interests, skills and education. This is true for

If we truly support our area military bases,

military spouses as well.

we need to fully-embrace our military fami-

The lack of employment opportunities coupled with family responsibilities and spouse deployments contribute to significant levels of mental and financial stress for military families. In fact, 80 percent of military spouses have reported that job searching, alone, has created strain between them and their military partner.

lies and especially our military spouses. We need to provide equal opportunities for success and wellbeing for our military spouses and their families when it comes to hiring. It is time to let go of the fear of losing a team member due to a military move. We challenge our area employers to not shy away from hiring military spouses, but rather, provide these individuals opportunities for

For most households a two-person income

employment. Not only is it the right thing

is required, the military household is no dif-

to do, but you might find yourself pleasant-

ferent. When military spouses are unable to

ly surprised at the results you receive from

find adequate employment opportunities,

these individuals.

opportunities, resume building and editing, interview preparation and more. We also work closely with TAFB and NSA PC. Together, we have taken a team approach to assisting our area military families, seeing to it we provide the resources and support necessary to succeed in the Bay County community. We encourage military families to visit to view the full-list of services we provide, all at no cost. You may also contact us at (850) 872-4340. SUPPORT OUR TROOPS -




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BAY B I Z / JA N UA RY - M A R C H 2020


technology The Various Methods of Technology and How They’re Used in the Military


Story by Airman 1st Class Bailee Darbasie, 325th Fighter Wing, Public Affairs

mander. “It includes weapons loading, aircraft generation, weapons integration, aircrew employment and weapons effectiveness.” This iteration of Combat Archer was the eighth exercise Tyndall has seen since Hurricane Michael.

In September 2019, the 83rd Fighter Weapons Squadron conducted a Combat Archer exercise on base. Combat Archer is part of the 53rd Wing’s Weapons System Evaluation Program and the Department of Defense’s largest air-to-air live fire missile employment exercise.


“The test and training range near Tyndall is the only air space that can support this type of large scale event,” said Conner. “It was a major driving factor in keeping the base operating after the storm.” In doing so, rotations of various units have been able to participate

“The purpose of this exercise is to evaluate the full spectrum of air-

in exercises while effectively testing and training their Airmen and

to-air employment,” said Lt. Col. Vaimana Conner, 83rd FWS com-


BAY B I Z / JA N UA RY - M A R C H 2020

“This new delivery method increases the time and speed that the MK-18s are delivered,” said Currie. “They are able to stay on station longer because they don’t waste their internal batteries getting to the minefield. Sailors are our most valuable asset and this new technology puts them out of harm’s way.”

“Combat Archer is the only opportunity for units to load and employ air-to-air weapons,” said Conner. “It’s a critical element of the U.S. Weapons School syllabus where future weapons officers are able to gain invaluable expertise that they can take back to their squadrons.” For the F-35A Lightning II fighter jets involved, this exercise was the first employment of the AIM-9X Sidewinder missile, a technologically advanced version of its predecessor, the AIM-9. The new system includes infrared-tracking, air-to-air and air-to-surface capabilities, making it a better fit for fighter aircraft. Conner went on to explain the base’s long history as a staple for aerial weapons employment. From its early beginnings as an aerial gunnery school, to being the predominant host of Combat Archer and the entire mission of the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group, Tyndall has proven its aerial abilities—even after the storm. “Team Tyndall continues to thrive during the rebuild,” said Conner. “Exercises like Combat Archer showcase the vital importance that the base provides to the warfighter and Department of Defense.”


Story by Ashley Conner, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City Division NSWC PCD engineers partnered with Naval Underwater Warfare Engineers at Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD) recently completed a flight test using a device that will prevent Navy personnel from having to enter a minefield during mine hunting and clearing missions. “The Airborne Surface Quad Thruster Interface Device, or ASQUID, attaches to the side of a MH-60 helicopter. Once the helicopter is in the right location, the ASQUID lowers the MK-18 into the water and they are able to search for mines,” said Tim Currie, NSWC PCD Technical Program Manager for Aviation Systems and Mission Package in service engineering agent. “Once the mine sweep is complete, the helicopter can fly over the area and the ASQUID can retrieve the MK-18.”

Center Keyport engineers to perfect the technology and Air Test and Evaluation (HX) 21, an MH-60 helicopter test squadron, completed the flight test to certify the design. “We wanted to make the ASQUID easy for any MH-60 crew to operate,” said Currie. “Instead of creating our own controller, we purchased XBOX controllers, something we thought a lot of Sailors would be familiar with operating.” The ASQUID was a Naval Innovative Science and Engineering (NISE) funded project which was deemed a successful experiment and will be on display at the Department of Defense Lab Day in Washington D.C. on April 25, 2020.

The MK-18 is an underwater drone the searches for mines and is currently delivered to mine fields using a rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB). The RHIBs are slow, can’t be used in rough waters, and puts Sailors in close proximity to dangerous minefields.

BAY B I Z / JA N UA RY - M A R C H 2020


economic profile current labor statistics for bay county LABOR FORCE




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Bay County Population: 175,075 Median Age: 40.7 Labor Force: 89,425 Average Wage: $37,485 Households: 70,487 Household Income: $53,244 Per Capita Income: $28,478

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August - October 2019 from Garrett Wright, Vice President, EDA of Bay County At the BayEDA Investor’s Meeting in October, the Economic Development Alliance of Bay County (BayEDA), Port Panama City, City of Panama City, and Bay County announced the exciting news of a leading distribution company for custom kitchen cabinets choosing Panama City for its distribution and final assembly headquarters. Clark and Son, Inc. (Clark and Son) completed a search throughout the United States for this new facility, before choosing Panama City. Clark and Son have formed a joint venture with Wood Genix, a world leader in cabinet manufacturing. Through the partnership, they have located a new production facility in Merida, Mexico. The first 290,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility became fully operational at the end of 2019. In Mexico, the company is also in the process of constructing an additional 500,000 sq. ft. production facility to add the remainder of the manufacturing lines.

For their logistics and distribution facility, Clark and Son, Inc. will be leasing a 100,000 sq. ft. existing facility in Port Panama City’s Intermodal Distribution Center. The project represents an investment of $5 million and will bring approximately 50 new logistics and distribution jobs to Bay County. The average wage for the new jobs will be $45,000. At the facility, the company will complete nationwide distribution to its growing customer base, sub-assembly of cabinets, and regional distribution directly to contractors and installers. For their products, Clark and Son completes private labeling and distribution of cabinets to their customer base including 84 Lumber, Surplus Warehouse, and many others. To service the regional customer base of Bay County, Clark and Son will also be investing in a retail and design showroom where wholesale flooring, cabinets, hardware, backsplashes, and other associated building materials can be purchased.

Through this partnership, Clark and Son will import its products through Port Panama City and distribute nationwide through their logistics center in Panama City. Once both production facilities are completed in Merida, it is estimated the inbound container traffic from Mexico to Port Panama City could increase by 20%. Due to this increase in container traffic, the economic impact to Bay County and our region will be significant due to the multiplier effect from maritime related jobs.

Termed “Project Diego”, the relationship between BayEDA, Port Panama City, and Clark and Son, Inc. was established through the ‘Sister City’ partnership with Merida, Mexico and the ‘Sister Port’ partnership with the Port of Progresso located in the Yucatan of Mexico. Company leadership became familiar with Panama City through these combined efforts as well as recent economic development projects located in Bay County, Florida. Due to these relationships, this is the second economic development project that has invested in Bay County from Merida, Mexico.

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On November 8th, the Bay County Chamber of Commerce held the Annual First Responders Appreciation Luncheon presented by Tyndall Federal Credit Union. Local Law Enforcement, Fire, EMS, and Dispatch personnel were honored at FSU Panama City. Officer Bobby White of the Gainesville Police Department served as the Keynote Speaker for the event. In 2016, he was dispatched to a noise complaint where a group of teenagers were reported to be “playing basketball too loudly.” Instead of asking them to leave, he joined them for a pick-up game. This interaction was filmed on Officer White’s dash cam and published on the Gainesville Police Department’s Facebook Page by the Department’s Public Information Officer. The video received over one million views in less than eight hours, attracting attention from national media and Shaquille O’Neal. After all of the attention, the department was flooded with donations of basketball equipment, thus creating the Basketball Cop Foundation, an organization aimed to connecting Law Enforcement agencies across the country with kids in their communities. At the event, Officer White discussed the importance of First Responders connecting with members of the community outside of their emergency role.

Awards were given in the categories of First Responder of the Year for Fire, Law Enforcement, and EMS. FIRST RESPONDER OF THE YEAR - FIRE Firefighter Shanen French, Panama City Fire Department FIRST RESPONDER OF THE YEAR – LAW ENFORCEMENT Officer Mikayla Edwards, Lynn Haven Police Department FIRST RESPONDER OF THE YEAR – DISPATCH Communication Specialist, Brandi Tew, Bay County Emergency Services FIRST RESPONDER OF THE YEAR – EMS Medic Kelly Guillory, Bay County Fire & Rescue

Congratulations to all the First Responders who were nominated for awards by their departments or family members.


BAY B I Z / JA N UA RY - M A R C H 2020

Pictured in front (from left to right) - First Responder of the Year - Dispatch Winner Brandi Tew, First Responder of the Year - Medic Winner Kelly Guillory, Gainesville Police Department Officer Bobby White, LASIK for Local Heroes Contest Winner Lesil Taylor, First Responder of the Year - Law Enforcement Winner Mikayla Edwards, and First Responder of the Year - Fire Winner Shanen French (not pictured - award was accepted by a member of Panama City Fire Department).

Special Appreciation Video A special appreciation video produced by the Bay County Chamber of Commerce and WMBB-TV was shown at the luncheon. The video features local officials and First Responders. To view the project, visit Thank you to Verizon Wireless for your sponsorship of this piece.

Challenge Coin A challenge coin was placed at the seat of everyone in attendance, and boxes were sent to each department in Bay County to thank First Responders for their service. The coins were made possible by Gulf Coast State College and Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center.

LASIK for Local Heroes Contest The LASIK for Local Heroes contest was announced at the event and sponsored by the Eye Center of North Florida. Lesil Taylor with Bay County Emergency Services won free Lasiks eye surgery, courtesy of Dr. Bret Fisher.

Thank you to our sponsors for supporting this event honoring our local heroes: Presenting Sponsor: Tyndall Federal Credit Union Keynote Speaker Sponsor: Ascension Sacred Heart Bay Lasik For Heroes Sponsor: The Eye Center of North Florida Award Sponsor: Emerald Coast Hospice Coin Sponsors: Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center and Gulf Coast State College Lunch Sponsor: Outback Steakhouse Video Sponsor: Verizon Wireless Gold Sponsor: Lifeguard Ambulance Services, WMBB, and UF ShandsCair

BAY B I Z / JA N UA RY - M A R C H 2020


workforce connection CareerSource Gulf Coast Prepares for the 2020 Bay County Job Fair by: Kim Bodine, Executive Director, CareerSource Gulf Coast


areerSource Gulf Coast values our community partnerships. With our partners, we fuel education, employment and economic prosperity in our community.

Most importantly, come to the Bay County Job Fair dressed profes-

As we prepare for the 2020 Bay County Job Fair, scheduled for

form a first impression—make sure you make a positive one. Dress-

Saturday, February 1, we reflect on these strong partnerships and

ing in business attire and arriving prepared with your resume shows

consider how fortunate we are to serve this great community. The work we do together exponentially increases the impact we have on those we serve. With Haney Technical Center, the Bay County Chamber of Com-

sionally with printed copies of your resume secured in a portfolio. Studies show it takes around seven seconds for an individual to

employers you are taking this opportunity seriously. It also portrays positive qualities like preparedness, organization and professionalism. You will also feel more confident when attending the job fair and networking with the employers.

merce, Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce, Gulf Coast State College, the Fleet and Family Support Center of Panama City and Tyndall Air Force Base Airman & Family Readiness Center, we will host the 33rd annual Bay County Job Fair, the largest job fair in the county. We urge the community to prepare for this event, too. The premise of this event is for employers to connect with job seekers face-to-face. If you are a job seeker interested in participating in this event, it is best to come prepared to communicate with employers and discuss your employment qualifications. First, do research on the event and the employers that will be participating. Know where the event will be, in advance, to ensure you

If you need assistance preparing for the event, we have staff mem-

get there with plenty of time to network.

bers ready to assist you! To learn more, please visit our website at

Determine which employers you should prioritize at the event based on the positions for which each employer is hiring and the

CareerSource Gulf Coast offers many services for both job seekers

positions you are most interested in. We strongly recommend re-

and employers, all at no cost. To receive assistance with all aspects

searching the companies for which you are interested in working in

of the job search process, from finding a job to creating a resume,

order to acquire an understanding of the nature of each company and its work culture. Doing so will help you determine if the company would be a good fit for you. We have maintained a current list of the employers that are participating in this event. You can find

please give us a call at (850) 872-4340 or stop by our Job Center in Panama City. We are open from 8 AM-4:30 PM, Monday through Friday.

the full list on the CareerSource Gulf Coast website (

The 2020 Bay County Job Fair will be held Saturday, February 1, at and Facebook page.

Gulf Coast State College in the Student Union East building. Veter-

We also recommend developing your “elevator pitch” in advance. This is a brief summary of who you are, your professional accomplishments and your employment qualifications. Employers will have the opportunity to review your resume during and after the event, but providing the highlights personally will help to make you a memorable candidate. 30

BAY B I Z / JA N UA RY - M A R C H 2020

ans, veteran spouses, spouses of active duty and transitioning service members will receive early access from 9 AM-10 AM. The public is welcome to attend starting at 10 AM.

Kristin Hamilton Centennial Bank Kristin Hamilton is a Commercial Loan Officer with Centennial Bank on Stanford Road in Panama City. Hamilton started her career in banking as a teller in 2006. Now, she works as a Loan Officer. After high school, Hamilton completed a three-year course through the Florida Bankers Association, Florida School of Banking. Hamilton has been employed with Centennial Bank since 2010 and feels her time with the company has been instrumental in her banking career. Centennial Bank affords Hamilton the opportunity to participate and volunteer in various organizations around Bay County. A large part of her time is spent volunteering with the Junior League of Panama City, serving on the Board of Directors of One Positive Place and actively participating in the Chamber’s Bay Young Professionals group since 2015. She was also a graduate of the 2001 inaugural class of Junior Leadership Bay of Bay County. Hamilton grew up in Washington County and moved to Panama City after turning 18. Hamilton, along with her husband, Blake, now reside in Sunny Hills, where they enjoy spending time outdoors and playing with their dog.



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BAY B I Z / JA N UA RY - M A R C H 2020


Florida’s Best Places to Dine Honored with 2019 Golden Spoon Awards

Two Bay County restaurants were recently featured as Florida’s best places to dine. Firefly and The Grand Marlin were recognized with Florida Trend’s 2019 Golden Spoon Awards. The annual winners appear in the Golden Spoon special section in the December issue of Florida Trend magazine. Over 150 top restaurants are honored in Hall of Fame, Golden Spoon or Best New Restaurant categories. For over 50 years, Florida Trend has provided readers with a guide to the state’s finest restaurants, celebrating the diversity of dining opportunities from coast to coast. These offerings range from the treasured institutions in the Hall of Fame to trendy newcomers making their debuts. The Golden Spoon Awards recognize individual achievement and distinctive contributions to the Florida restaurant scene. “Dining out is a major activity for Floridians and our nearly 130 million annual visitors,” said Florida Trend Publisher, David Denor. “We are pleased to recognize these leading restaurants.” For a complete searchable list of the Golden Spoon Award winners organized by region, go to Golden-Spoons.

Innovations FCU is proud to be selected as a Best Credit Union to Work For 2019! A memorable experience starts with our Team Members at Innovations Federal Credit Union. We are pleased to announce, Innovations was selected for Credit Union Journal’s annual ranking of Best Credit Union to Work For 2019, a project in partnership with Best Compa32

BAY B I Z / JA N UA RY - M A R C H 2020

nies Group. Innovations’ team members completed an anonymous survey earlier in the year and the top three reasons employees like working here are: the staff can take part in dress-down Fridays, cell phones and paid cell phone plans are available to all mid-level managers and above, and employees can get creative by making videos about the credit union for YouTube. Other team members value working at Innovations because of our competitive compensation and benefits packages, family friendly work environment, and active community involvement. President/CEO, David Southall said, “We strive to be an employer of choice in Bay County and we are committed to investing in our team members and their future.” Innovations Federal Credit Union has served its members since 1952 by helping them build a sound financial future. Presently, Innovations has over 20,300 members and manages assets in excess of $264 million. Innovations Federal Credit Union serves the financial needs of everyone who lives, works, worships, and volunteers or attends school in Bay County. For more information about Innovations Federal Credit Union, please contact us at 850.233.4400 or visit

City of Lynn Haven Appoints Vickie Gainer as New City Manager Gainer was appointed as City Manager for the City of Lynn Haven on November 15, 2019. She is the first woman and African American to hold this position. Gainer has a diverse background with more than 30 years in communications/marketing and strategic planning and public policy. She has a strong community relations background, serving on over 15 boards with-

in her career. For the past nine months, Gainer served as the acting city manager. In her two years with the city, Gainer worked as the grant and contract manager, deputy city clerk, interim human resources director and the director of administrative support services. Before joining the city in 2017 Gainer worked as the Regional Business Development and Marketing Director for Gatehouse Media, Communications Director at FSU-PC and assistant marketing director for Peoples First, to name a few. Gainer feels her knowledge and relationships in Bay County have helped her fulfill the role of City Manager.

“This job is all about being a servant leader. A city manager must have a strong desire for the City to recover and succeed over anything else,” Gainer said. “That means you might have to be in the trenches some days when loads of work are on your desk and treat every resident with compassion, dignity and respect, as if they were your only resident. The city manager must be a strong, capable and confident person who can write the ‘vision and make it plain’ for the citizens.

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new members 850 Building Group PO Box 1992 Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459 (850) 832-5650

First Choice Physical Therapy 11501 Hutchinson Blvd. Panama City Beach, FL 32407 (850) 249-1603

St. Andrews Bay Watch PO Box 15028 Panama City, FL 32406 (850) 763-4303

Air Methods Transport 5500 S. Quebec St., Ste. 300 Greenwood Village, CO 80111 (303) 792-7400

FL Dept. of Health in Bay County 597 W. 11th St. Panama City, FL 32401 (850) 872-4455

State Contractors, LLC 2208 W. Hwy 390 Lynn Haven, FL 32444 (850) 571-5250

Anytime Fitness 856 S. Tyndall Pkwy. Callaway, FL 32404 (850) 640-6150 Aramark 70 Bulldog Rd. Freeport, FL 32439 (850) 401-8075 Behar & Peteranecz Architecture 842 Harrison Ave., Ste. 1 Panama City, FL 32401 (850) 528-6540 Branch Networks 7506 Holley Cir. Panama City Beach, FL 32408 (850) 785-1969 Carroll & Hudson, P.A. 12815 Emerald Coast Pkwy., Ste. 124 Miramar Beach, FL 32550 (850) 502-2958 Cruise Planners Panama City, FL 32404 (850) 832-5373

Hodges Welding and Fabrication 1717 Kentucky Ave. Lynn Haven, FL 32444 (850) 441-3508 Hometown Eye Care 426 W. 23rd St. Panama City, FL 32405 (850) 215-2020 Hope Panhandle, Inc. 3009 Hwy 77, Ste. F Panama City, FL 32405 (850) 252-6202 Inland Construction & Engineering, Inc. 29 E. 10th St. Panama City, FL 32401 (850) 872-2129 La Quinta Inn & Suites 1030 E. 23rd St. Panama City, FL 32405 (850) 914-0022

Culpepper Construction 1741 N. Sherman Ave. Panama City, FL 32405 (850) 215-8724

Loan Depot 3120 W. 23rd St., Ste. 2 Panama City, FL 32405 (850) 481-2063

Door to Door Services, LLC 805 Minnesota Ave. Lynn Haven, FL 32444 (850) 209-2006

Newby's Brew & Booze 7800 Front Beach Rd. Panama City Beach, FL 32407 (850) 774-8665

DSG Cabinetry 3704 W. 23rd St., Unit B Panama City, FL 32405 (850) 481-8383

Shield Environmental Solutions 803 Jenks Ave., Ste. 21 Panama City, FL 32401 (850) 869-2079

ECO Roof and Solar 6808 Thomas Dr. Panama City Beach, FL 32408 (239) 596-3509 Emerald Coast Mobile Vet (850) 630-0643 Federated Insurance (727) 433-2857


from September 1 - November 30, 2019

BAY B I Z / JA N UA RY - M A R C H 2020

Sinclair Construction 3904 Whitehead Blvd. Panama City, FL 32404 (850) 549-9771 Southern Blue Construction 210 Bulldog Rd. Freeport, FL 32439 (850) 601-1350

The Sweat Shak 2495 Hwy. 77 Panama City, FL 32405 (850) 366-2348 Tractor Supply Company 6450 E. Hwy 22 Callaway, FL 32404 (850) 566-4104 Trulieve 9950 Hutchinson Blvd. Panama City Beach, FL 32407 (844) 878-5438 Waterworx Car Wash 1003 W. 23rd St. Panama City, FL 32405 (850) 441-3148 Wendy's 109 S. Tyndall Pkwy. Callaway, FL 32404 (850) 769-3907 White-Spunner Construction, Inc. 2431 MLK Blvd. Panama City, FL 32405 (850) 630-4274

member anniversaries

from September 18 - December 17, 2019

5 years

15 years

40 years

Allstate Brown Insurance Agency Edgewater Crossings First American Title Insurance Co. Mr. John Lincoln Roberts & Roberts Inc. Sequence Fitness Sunnyside Beach and Tennis Resort The Morris Law Firm ZHA Inc.

Dale Carnegie Training G&W Inspections GM Appliance Innovations Federal Credit Union Mercury Marine MidSouth Bank Naval Support Activity

Campbell Orthodontics Tyndall Federal Credit Union

10 years

Carr, Riggs & Ingram LLC.

Eastern Shipbuilding Group Emerald Coast Behavioral Hospital Hancock Whitney

20 years 25 years Better Business Bureau of NW Fla

30 years Boys & Girls Clubs of Bay County Port Panama City, USA

Better Business BureauÂŽ 1.Free Business Reviews 2.Verified Customer Reviews 3.Scam Alerts #StartWithTrust


Staff local with your Panama City experts. Adecco Staffing–Panama City, FL 850.747.1211

BAY B I Z / JA N UA RY - M A R C H 2020


Verizon keeps business


BAY B I Z / JA N UA RY - M A R C H 2020

PO BOX 1850 P A N A M A C I T Y, F L 3 2 4 0 2




System Service & Engineering, LLC, along with our elite team of HVAC, plumbing and electrical specialists, will be making house calls next year! Now you can experience the same SS&E quality and gold standard service @Home.

System Service & Engineering, LLC

For more information, visit

205 Mosley Drive Lynn Haven, FL 32444 850.441.3458

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