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R E G IONA L BU SI N E S S L E A DE R SH I P

VOICE OF BUSINESS MAGAZINE Januar y 2013

Inside this Issue: Top Teams Head South for Fun in the Sun Before the Big Game: Outback Bowl Beach Day

Life Gets Better For Directions for Living Member Spotlight: Windmoor Health Care Tampa Bay Sends Hope and Help


Message from the Board Chair 2013 BOARD OF DIRECTORS Executive Committee Nick DiCeglie, Board Chair James Nichols, Chair Elect Mike Bell, Immediate Past Chair Kristina Helferty, Treasurer Alex Chamberlain, Vice Chair Membership Development Jack Guy, Vice Co-Chair Tourism Nancy Longstreth, Vice Co-Chair Tourism Andrea Honan, Vice Chair Events & Marketing Stan Vittetoe, Vice Chair Business Development Chuck Warrington, Vice Chair Economic Development Carlen Petersen, Vice Co-Chair Government Affairs Donald Ewing, Vice Co-Chair Government Affairs Steven Williamson, Vice Chair Collaborative Partnerships Bob Clifford, President/CEO Brian Aungst, Jr., Legal Council

Board of Directors Ed Armstrong Carol Hague Jim Watrous Thomas Habel Karla Jo Helms Rick Wallace Melissa Seixas Ernestine Bean Rick Buschart Bob Roperti Kris Hoce Chris Maggi Jay Madhu Thomas C. Nash, II Tina Tenret Frank Dame Barbara McCarthy Bobby Mitchell Bob Childress Brian Aungst, Sr. Chip Falk Katy Planamenta Stephanie Schlageter Chuck Sullivan Doug Williams Frank Chivas Scott Goyer Deborah Holland Alexandria Zirbel

President’s Council Holly Duncan Doreen DiPolito V. Raymond Ferrara Bob Passwaters Jim Marshall Bud Elias

As we begin a new year, the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce is prepared to assist you and all businesses throughout our community. As the Chairman of the Chamber, I am pleased to work with our current members and welcome new businesses to our vibrant chamber. 2013 will be an exciting year for the Clearwater Regional Chamber as it embarks on new initiatives to assist local businesses expand and bring more jobs to our community. Specifically, we will be working closely with the community in launching such new initiatives as Small Business Focus Group, Women’s Leadership Group, a collaboration with St Petersburg College and their manufacturing program to create jobs and a renewed focus on our membership programs to bring added value for our members. As a business organization with more than 90 years of experience helping our Clearwater business community, we are uniquely positioned to help your business grow to the next level. We have a strong record of supporting our tourist industry, retail businesses, manufacturing companies, and small business. If you are a member of the Chamber, please take advantage of these new initiatives. If you are not a member, consider the Chamber and discover what you’ve been missing! As your Chairman, I am committed to helping each business grow so that our community remains strong and vibrant.

Nick DiCeglie Board Chair Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce

DIVISION PARTNERS Division Partners have made the decision to financially support the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce by not only being our largest contributors, but also by offering their time and talent to our many committees and sponsorships. Their value is immeasurable as they continue to support our community. Their support enables the Chamber to continually bring quality events, educational opportunities and leadership.

There’s a younger you inside

SM

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Contents

4 5 7 7 8

January | Message from the President Life Gets Better for Directions for Living 2013 Business of the Year Program Clearwater Gateway Farmers Market 2013 Ambassador Committee Leadership Launches “The Ambassador Leader” Campaign and Expansion

9 Clearwater Young Professionals 10 The Tampa Bay Business Journal is Finding

Creative Ways to Address the Unemployment Rate within the Tampa Bay Region

now... Did you k Clearwater High School was one of the

first, if not the first, to replace traditional textbooks, for the entire student body, with Kindle e-readers in 2010.

General Information For Advertising, General Inquiries or Article Submission, please contact Editor Brittany Walsh at 727461-0011 • E-mail: bwalsh@clearwaterflorida.org

2013

10 Member Spotlight - Windmoor Healthcare 11 Hispanic Business Council 12 Outback Bowl Beach Day 13 Clearwater’s Dolphins 14 Tampa Bay Sends Hope and Help 15 Velez Wins Woman of the Year by the National

Association of Professional Women

16 New and Renewing Members 17 Ribbon Cuttings

Executive Chamber Management President/CEO Bob Clifford, Ext. 239 bclifford@clearwaterflorida.org

Membership

VP Business Assistance/Membership Advisor Cathy Germer, Ext. 233 cgermer@clearwaterflorida.org VP Membership Relations Misty Martin, Ext. 226 mmartin@clearwaterflorida.org Senior Membership Relations Advisor Loretta Mitchell, Ext. 223 lmitchell@clearwaterflorida.org

Copyright © 2013 • Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce located at 600 Cleveland Street, Ste.200, Clearwater, Florida 33755 • Phone 727-461-0011 • Fax 727-449-2889 www.clearwaterflorida.org. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any retrieval system, without the express written permission of the Clearwater Regional Chamber.

Office Administrator/Membership Concierge Mimi Farley, Ext. 227 mfarley@clearwaterflorida.org

All information in this publication is believed to be correct at the time of publication. The CRCC does not guarantee that all of the information contained herein is correct nor the absence of errors or omissions.

Communications/Event Manager Brittany Walsh, Ext. 229 bwalsh@clearwaterflorida.org

Public Affairs

VP Public Affairs Kathleen Peters, Ext. 222 kpeters@clearwaterflorida.org


Message from the President

By: Bob Clifford, President/CEO CRCC Happy New Year! The entire team at the chamber hopes that you and your family had a wonderful Holiday Season. Over the past several weeks our senior volunteer leadership and staff have reflected on 2012. As in most organizations and businesses, we look to our bottom line as the leading indicator of the year past. We did finish the year in the black with a small positive revenue position. Having said that, it is important that we reflect on the effectiveness of meeting the needs of our membership. The variety and number of opportunities that were produced are a great indicator of that measure. The CRCC created over 200 opportunities to grow your business and develop your brand. These opportunities covered all levels of our membership. On a regional base, we were very active having worked with our elected officials on three bills that were passed on the state level. The chamber continued to strengthen our partnership with the City of Clearwater in the areas of economic development and accessibility for our members. Our largest project of the year embraced the tourism industry, the artist and branding of our market. The project started out as a public arts project to greet our guest who attended the RNC. The dolphin project went from a vision of 20 to 101. The exposure was tremendous. Social networking allowed us to provide thousands of images of Clearwater throughout the world. All forms of media continue to be engaged with this project. What will 2013 bring? Outgoing chairperson Mike Bell is leaving the chamber in better condition than when he took the position. Mike’s vision, business skills and people skills allowed the chamber to grow in many ways other than just membership. Mike’s commitment to a better, more relevant organization started years ago as one of our ambassadors. He now passes the position on to Nick DiCeglie who will become our chairperson at the 91st Annual Dinner on February 6th. Nick brings with him new and innovative thoughts and skills that will complement the work of Mike and two of our recent past chairs, Carol Hague and Jim Watrous.

As in all organizations, change is ever happening. This past year Karen Christensen, who led our membership relations efforts out of the darkest times, left the chamber. Her tireless efforts to make us the best are greatly appreciated by our management and members. Looking forward, a new business structure has been implemented. Greater resources are being directed toward communications and events. As a membership organization, we are continuing to provide quality membership relations with a strong emphasis on our renewing member needs. We will continue to grow our organization by meeting the needs of the business community on a local and regional base. Job development, business growth and education will drive our chamber in 2013. These three tenants touch all our members. The tourism industry continues our strongest economic drive. Opportunities are waiting for us in medical services, medical device manufacturing and technology. We will be applying our efforts on job development, growth and education will be applied to these sectors. Thank you for your continued support in time and treasure to develop Regional Business Leadership.

Clearwater Voted Florida’s Best Beach Town! Congratulations to Clearwater Beach for winning USA Today’s Best Beach Town in Florida! Clearwater Beach received more than 25% of the votes, beating out 9 other popular Florida beach destinations. Thanks to everyone who voted!


‘LIFE GETS BETTER’ FOR DIRECTIONS FOR LIVING IN 2012 Looking back on a historic calendar year, our 2012 Large Not-for-Profit of the Year award winner, Directions for Living, has a lot to celebrate. The social services agency kick-started the year with the NFP of the Year honor, then quickly added to their list of achievements for 2012. February’s addition of a new Chief Financial Officer, Paula Gainey, was followed by the most successful fundraiser in agency history last April, when Directions raised over $46,000 for the abused and neglected children they serve. Next they premiered their unique Family Works model, which won the agency the contract to serve as the sole provider of Diversion Services in Pinellas county, working in conjunction with the Sheriff’s Office to divert children from the child welfare system whenever possible. As that model began receiving acclaim at the local and state level, the agency then known as Directions for Mental Health prepared to unveil their biggest surprise yet. In July 2012, in the same month that the organization celebrated its notable 30th birthday, it revealed its new and improved brand identity by formally becoming Directions for Living, with a brand promise that ‘Life Gets Better Here.’ The new name and look were accompanied by a new website, www.DirectionsForLiving.org, and soon followed by a fall season marked by several new contracts, a new Call Center system to enhance the scheduling process for all 12,000+ clients across Pinellas and Pasco counties, the completion of a 2-year renovation at the administrative headquarters, and a 3-year CARF reaccreditation, the highest level of accreditation possible. Looking forward to 2013 and beyond, it is a safe bet that Directions for Living will have even more successful partnerships, noteworthy business achievements, and positive community impact to share with the Tampa Bay area and its residents. For more information, or to discover ways to get involved, please visit www.DirectionsForLiving.org.

ATTENTION: BUSINESS OWNERS/COMMERCIAL PROPERTY OWNERS/COMMERCIAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT COS! The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) states that individuals with disabilities may not be denied the full and equal enjoyment of the “goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations” that the business provides. Failure to comply with the law can be costly. Non-compliance with ADA can result in expensive lawsuits with substantial monetary penalties. Compliance is a continuing obligation and a financial protection. Like insurance, it only takes one occurrence to realize that it is much less expensive to comply on your own than to pay for a lawsuit settlement. With nearly 2,000 lawsuits filed in Florida alone last year, not ONE went to trial and the average lawsuit was settled at over $10,000.00 per defendant. Your city, county, and state occupational business licenses do not, in most cases, monitor ADA compliance. Both tenant and landlords are joint and severally responsible in complying with this federal civil rights law. 10% Discount for CRCC Members

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The Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce | Voice of Business   5


Congratulations to our Members! Congratulations to the Community Learning Center for winning $5,000 in gasoline in the Citgo Fueling Good Contest! The Community Learning Center ended the contest 1,000 votes ahead of the 2nd place competitors! Wow! The Community Learning Center was founded in 1998 with the simple but powerful idea that active, informed and trained citizens working closely with local schools and classroom teachers, can effect change. You can find more information at www.TampaYouth.org

Congratulations to Protection 1 for winning SDM Magazine’s “Dealer of the Year Award”! SDM is the #1 security channel media consistently ranked best read and most credible. Protection 1 won this prestigious award thanks to a fresh approach and customer-centered business model. Ed Woods, Security Consultant and Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce Ambassador, demonatrates the company’s culture in everything he does. Ed Woods Security Consultant for Home and Business 727-512-2165 edwoods@protection1.com www.MrSecurityPro.com

Congratulations to Ray Ferrara on being named Chairman-Elect of the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc (CFP). He began his duties this month and will become the Chairman of the Board in 2014. Ray is President and CEO of ProVise Management Group, a Clearwater based financial planning firm he started in 1986. He is on the board of the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce as well as many other community organizations. You can find more information about ProVise at www.ProVise.com

Congratualtions to Nick DiCeglie on his new position as Vice Chairman of the Pinellas County Republican Executive committee! Nick is also the Board Chair for the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce and Co-owner of Solar Sanitation. If you know of a member we can congratuate in next month’s issue please send information and logo to bwalsh@clearwaterflorida.org 6   The Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce | Voice of Business


2013 Business of the Year Program

By: Cathy Germer, Vice President of Business Assistance It is again an exciting time at the Chamber with our Annual Dinner coming very soon on February 6th, 2013. This event is full of surprises with the announcement of the Business of the Year winners. Each year we honor a Small, Medium and Large Chamber member business in both For-Profit and Not-For-Profit categories. There are many “perks” for being selected as a Business of the Year including your logo on a billboard for one month located on US 19, a spotlight article in the Chamber’s newsletter and recognition at our events as a Business of the Year winner. The winners are selected by a panel of judges consisting of Chamber members who volunteer their time to go out and meet all of the nominees to learn about their businesses, the challenges they have faced and resolved and their contributions to the community and involvement in the Chamber. This year’s entries are as following: For-Profit Nominees Nardo Naturals, Dr. Albert Gadomski, Healing Touch Oriental Medicine, Menaul Art, Haruspex, Easy Living, Radiance Day Spa, Sports Facilities Advisory, Kier Financial, ZVRS, Nationwide Title Clearing, Clearwater Gas, Mercury Medical, Tampa Bay Times, Hyatt Regency, Velez Consulting

Clearwater Gateway Farmers Market

By: Brittany Walsh, Communications/Events Manager In early 2012, a committee got together with an idea to create a community gathering place to enjoy a couple hours experiencing food and products from a wide variety of cultures. From this idea the Clearwater Gateway Farmers Market was created. The Market sets out with the mission to “to promote healthy urban neighborhoods by providing access to affordable and locally-grown foods to the Clearwater community”. The market hopes to accomplish many goals including encouring the creation of a “walkable district”, promoting culturally diverse food and products, and enabling low-income families and seniors to be able to purchase directly from the farmers. The grand opening and ribbon cutting was Janauary 12. With a high of 80 degrees, it was a beautiful day filled with music, fresh produce, delicious food, and handmade products ranging from children’s tutus to dog treats. The Market will be open Saturdays through May 25th from 9:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. They will reopen at a to be determined date in the fall. For more information on the market visit www.myclearwatermarket.com or call 727-776-7932.

Not-For-Profit Nominees Project Grace, Clearwater Sailing Center, Delphi Academy, Humane Society, Dunedin Art Center, Big Brothers/ Big Sisters, Community Learning Center, Habitat for Humanity, Eckerd It is a wonderful annual event and this year the theme will be “Mardi Gras!” For more information about the annual dinner go to www.clearwaterflorida.org and check out our event calendar. This event sells out every year with an attendance of over 500. The Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce | Voice of Business   7


2013 Ambassador Committee Leadership Launches “The Ambassador Leader” Campaign and Expansion

By: Kelly Haines and Ed Woods, CRCC Ambassadors Chair and CoChair About Our Ambassadors: The Clearwater Regional Chamber Ambassadors are highly motivated business professionals who support the Chamber’s mission. The Ambassador team is a group of Chamber member volunteers who believe in supporting the membership at-large in return for the opportunity to brand their business through repeated exposure. Ambassadors act in a “Servant-Leadership” capacity. Their first and primary focus is to serve the members by assisting them in obtaining the greatest benefits with their chamber membership. The Ambassadors do this by participating, networking and inviting to the varied member marketing and event activities. Leadership Training: The new 2013 ambassador leadership team of Kelly Haines, Ed Woods, Scott Linington and Loretta Mitchell are pleased to oversee the Ambassador Committee Program under the theme “The Ambassador Leader”. Leader is singular to reflect the united vision the ambassadors have as a body in leading the committee, their own businesses and the chamber membership at-large. Through a customized workshop facilitated by Executive Coach Robin Lavitch with Surpass Your Goal and a program around the principles of Kouzes and Posner’s “The Leadership Challenge”, the Ambassadors will create an inspiring vision of success which will guide them in their roles as they become effective Chamber Ambassadors and community leaders. Ambassador Committee Expansion: We are growing our Ambassador team. What a perfect time to become an Ambassador and share in creating our future vision by attending our Leadership Challenge Workshop. Do you know a Clearwater Chamber of Commerce member who is looking to actively promote their business? Do they love being the face of their company in the community? Do they believe in servant leadership? Recommend they become a Clearwater Chamber Ambassador. Contact Kelly Haines (727) 515-7717 khaines@ultimatemedical.edu or Ed Woods (727) 512-2165 ed@MrSecurityPro.com for a simple conversation to get things started.

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8   The Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce | Voice of Business


Clearwater Young Professionals The Clearwater Young Professionals would like to reflect back on what a wonderful year 2012 was for the organization... 2012 Philanthropic & Social Highlights •2nd Annual Big Brothers Big Sisters Day at Celebration Station – 25+ BBBS pairs played for free! •2nd Annual CYP/Chamber softball game Vs. the Coast Guard was again hosted at Bright House Field. Over $600 was raised for the Clearwater Free Clinic as CYP swept the Coast Guard again this year!! •2nd Annual “Win the Pin” Bowling Tournament •July was our “Fun in the Sun” beach party hosted at the Sheraton Sand Key. •CYP volunteered again this year at the YMCA Flat’s Fishing Tournament series. •A partnership is growing with the Dunedin Waterside Rotary as we collaborated with them for events such as our beach party & Dunedin Beer Olympics. We look forward to another great year! For information on upcoming events visit www.cyprofessionals.com

The Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce | Voice of Business   9


The Tampa Bay Business Journal is Finding Creative Ways to Address the Unemployment Rate Within the Tampa Bay Region

The Tampa Bay Business Journal is taking a creative approach to motivate the business community to fix the economic challenges the Tampa Bay region has experienced over the past years. They are challenging every one of the 116,000 businesses located within the seven-county region to hire one (1) additional employee. By expanding one employee, the region could put 116,000 Tampa Bay residents back to work starting a chain of events that could positively impact our local economy. The TBBJ sited that a single new hire can - on average - increase the US GDP by about $100,000. If your company would like to be a part of the efforts to fix our own unemployment rate, go to the TBBJ website and enter your business information and your company will be featured as a hiring company on their website and possibly in the Tampa Bay Business Journal. In addition, for each job uploaded, Feeding Children Everywhere will donate 100 hot meals to a local school to feed hungry children! When you Employ1 and upload your information, you can also choose a local school in which to have 100 meals donated to. Since starting this initiative, more than 2,425 have been added to the regions work force. These efforts could mean 116,000 new paychecks and 116,000 men and women re-entering the work force with the pride of earning those paychecks. That’s the spirit behind this new Bay area economic initiative. Consider joining the TBBJ and Employ1 Tampa Bay. To participate go to the Tampa Bay Business Journal website: http://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/special/2012/employ1tampabay

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Member Spotlight: Windmoor Healthcare

Windmoor Healthcare of Clearwater is a progressive, fully accredited private behavioral healthcare facility providing psychiatric and substance abuse treatment. Our professional team of experts is available to help all individuals through periods of crisis. Windmoor recognizes that every person and every situation is unique. Our treatment approach is individualized so we might help each individual navigate through their personal situation to a successful conclusion. Windmoor is a full-service psychiatric and substance abuse facility available 24 hours a day. Through our years of experience and dedication, our professional staff is able to assess each individuals needs and provide the appropriate level of treatment thus restoring hope and wellness to our patients and their families. Windmoor Healthcare offers a full array of services with-in the facility through specialized units each addressing specific behavioral health and/or substance issues. Windmoor also offers two specialized “outpatient” programs for those who do not require a stay in the hospital. Windmoor is also active in the community providing educational events and also sponsors educational programs for the business community in planning for and responding to behavioral health issues in the workplace. Windmoor Healthcare’s commitment to the Tampa Bay Community is long standing. It is the major resource in the Tampa Metro area for information on and assistance with substance and behavioral health concerns. We welcome your questions and invite you to tour our facility and meet our professional staff. To learn more about Windmoor Healthcare, please visit www.windmoorhealthcare.com or call us at 727-541-2646.


HISPANIC BUSINESS COUNCIL By: Cathy Germer, Vice President of Business Assistance

As we head into the New Year it is a good time to recall some events of past years.

Many of you may not know that the Chamber’s Hispanic Business Council was established in 2009 as the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce realized the importance of reaching out to the Hispanic businesses as a valuable and important force of the business community. Did you know…..the number of Hispanic-owned businesses in the US is expected to grow 41.8% in the next six years to 4.3 million with total revenues surging 39% to more than $539 billion. Spurred by growing entrepreneurial trends and affluence among the nation’s largest minority population the increase is expected to come at a rate of 8.5 and 8.7% respectfully over the next couple of years Without the tremendous efforts of the Hispanic Business Council we would not have been able to provide the networking, educational and community events and activities we have sponsored over the past 4 years. The Hispanic Business Council members are Lourdes Mayorga - Florida Bank Pilar Ortiz - TV Media Group; Robin Gomez & Katerini Gerakios – City of Clearwater Sandra Lyth – Intercultural Advocacy Institute (Hispanic Outreach Center) Catherine Alicea – Connelly, Carlisle, Field & Nichols Cathy Germer – Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce Quarterly we sponsor a luncheon with an informative speaker and monthly we hold the Hispanic Business Connection networking event at one of our Chamber member’s restaurant or office to promote their business. We have held large community events to celebrate Hispanic Heritage. In the coming year we will be partnering with the Hispanic Outreach Center and the Hispanic Business Incentive Fund(HBIF) to provide training, education and business assistance to Hispanic Business. We will also be partnering with Hispanic Chambers in Tampa to sponsor some networking events. ALL OF THESE EVENTS ARE OPEN TO ALL BUSINESS PROFESSIONALS HISPANIC AND NON-HISPANIC. - SO IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN EXPANDIING YOUR BUSINESS CONNECTIONS AND REFERRAL BASE WE WELCOME YOU TO PARTICIPATE IN THESE EVENTS.

The next Hispanic Mix & Mingle will be February 20th at Ceviche on Gulf to Bay from 5:30-8:00 P.M. We look forward to seeing you!

We are also recruiting for committee members and welcome your participation. If you would like any additional information or want to know how you can become involved please contact me cgermer@clearwaterflorida.org or at 727 461-0011 ext 233.

The Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce | Voice of Business   11


Top Teams Head South for Fun in the Sun Before the Big Game: Outback Bowl Beach Day By: Anita Treiser, Tourism Although the competition was scheduled for January 1st on the turf at Raymond James Stadium, a WIN was experienced December 30th on the sands at Clearwater Beach. Fans, players, bands, cheerleaders, coaches and locals came out to cheer on competitions of tug-a war, pie eating and band and cheerleader demos... Both Michigan and South Carolina enjoyed the sunshine and powdery white sand. A large sand sculpture with the team logos was a popular photo spot as well as the 6’ tall team dolphins flanking it. (Even artist Robert Daltry was on hand for some last minute primping of the dolphins that he painted.) It was easy to identify the Michigan Wolverine visitors – they were the ones in shorts and bathing suits. There was a cool breeze and the South Carolina Gamecocks and Floridians could be identified by their long sleeves. Actually the beach area behind the Hilton was a sea of maize & blue and garnet & black. It was impossible to tell who turned out in greater numbers, there were lots of both! Live music, sky divers, Outback Bowl merchandise, food and beverage and Allegiant Air ticket giveaways were also attention getters. The Chamber team was on hand to answer questions, talk about other activities during that time and invite visitors to return again soon. Many thanks to all those who sponsored this very successful event. This beach party and giant pep rally was a wonderful kick off for the game two days later. Special thanks to: Clearwater Gas Suncoast Hospice St. Pete/Clearwater International Airport & Allegiant Air for helping making this year’s Outback Bowl Beach Day a day to remember!

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The Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce | Voice of Business


Clearwater Dolphin’s Trail Where Are They Now? By: Anita Treiser, Tourism

101 dolphins later – yes, we do mean Dolphins not Dalmatians – you can find many of them on the Clearwater’s Dolphins Trail. The Trail winds through Clearwater and Pinellas County and also includes five additional Florida counties. (http:// tinyurl.com/cwdolphin) Add-ons to the Trail will continue for a few months as artists complete their designs and owners place their dolphins on display. As soon as each dolphin is available for public viewing, we place it on the Trail. Some dolphins are continually moving to different office locations. In the near future, you may see a dolphin visiting the State Capitol or maybe more Welcome Centers around Florida. The way to be “in the know” is to keep checking the online Trail. Stay up to date on our Facebook page, “Clearwater’s Dolphins.” The Dolphins Trail is one of the few public art projects in multiple locations throughout Florida that is viewable 24/7. With 101 businesses and philanthropists that own the dolphins and over 75 different artists who designed the dolphins, there is a wide variety of styles to be seen. For Outback Bowl, team dolphins were created. These dolphins traveled from Clearwater Beach host hotels to the Beach Day celebration on the sand and crossed Tampa Bay to Raymond James Stadium. No matter where they were, people lined up to have their photo taken with these dolphins. It is expected that a starting point will soon be identified for the Trail, but rest assured there is no ending point. Additional dolphins may be purchased. The Chamber maintains a wait list for those interested in owning their own dolphin. Another delivery of dolphins may occur within a few months. More dolphin delights on the horizon – dolphin discounts, dolphin reunions, the stories behind the original 50, geocaching and more.

now...

Did you k

Places Rated Almanac lists Clearwater as one of the top five places to live in the United States. Nine livability factors - cost of living, climate, crime, health care, transportation, education, the arts, recreation and jobs - get equal weight to identify metropolitan areas with across-the-board strengths when determining final ranking in the book. The Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce | Voice of Business   13


TAMPA BAY SENDS HOPE & HELP TO SANDY FAMILIES America’s Disaster Relief has continued growth of their nationwide organization by opening a Florida Division in Pinellas County, to be of service as second responders following a disaster in the Tampa Bay area and Florida. Headquartered in Montrose, Colorado, 18 months ago the Tampa Bay area was selected as a central location for Florida’s Division. Jan France – CEO along with Gumersindo “Gumer” Rodriguez – Chief Cook and Head All-Around Man, just returned from a trip to New York & New Jersey taking donated blankets, coats and other warm, needed items to those suffering in the North’s freezing cold winter, following Super Storm Sandy. Most of the donations and funding for the journey came from the Tampa Bay area. Many are still homeless, some over 60 days without electric and questionable water for drinking or bathing. While there, having driven a 1 ton truck and pulling a 20 ft. trailer – they transported much needed supplies from drop off locations to where food, water and warm items were needed on the streets, never knowing where their next location would be located or how safe the neighborhood would be. The GPS was set to the given locations and like a magic carpet the truck and trailer rolled through the heavy New York traffic – loaded to maximum capacity, being guided by a voice “exit on the right, take the left fork - 500 feet turn left, 1000 feet your destination will be on your right.” Ms. France said, she did this for two days before she had time to look at a map to see where they had been, “We just went where the voice told us to go. We had NO idea where we were headed OR where we had been. God is our co-pilot and we had a voice - what could be better?” The 12 day journey of over 3,500 miles, “Was extremely rewarding, as well as very depressing – leaving one feeling sad, knowing whatever you do, it is not enough for the pain, cold and loss these families are suffering.” said CEO - Jan France. America’s Disaster Relief and Ms. France are not new at disasters, they have assisted following disasters in;CO, TX, NM, UT, IA, KS, AL, LA, FL, MO, NY, NJ over the past decade. Those wishing to see more pictures of the Super Storm Sandy Journey or other disasters “LIKE” America’s Disaster Relief page on Face Book. If you have household items to donate; towels, sheets, dishes -see web site for suggested new or gently used donations. (NO CLOTHES) There is a warehouse in St Petersburg – Call: Karen - Warehouse Manager @ 727- 953-3060 Items will be boxed and ready to assist those having lost their household items in a disaster – FREE. America’s Disaster Relief is supported solely by Grants, Donations and Fundraisers. They have never been reimbursed by FEMA or Red Cross for any of their services. They have no paid staff; this organization is and has always been run by volunteers. 100% of YOUR donations go to the expected place it was intended. If you wish to volunteer – send an email with ‘Florida Volunteer’ in the Subject. If you would like to be added to their Florida email list – send an email, Subject – ‘Add to Florida email’. If you know of local Grants available, please send any information to Jan France. WCDisasterRelief@aol.com 14 

The Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce | Voice of Business


Velez Named Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women It is such an honor to be named Woman of the Year in my profession of Accounting from the National Association of Professional Women. As a CEO and owner of a woman owned business, Michelle Vélez takes the upmost pride in her attention to building the business and taking great care of her clients. She truly believes in empowering women to be all that they can be. Her skills and areas of expertise include bookkeeping, sales, marketing, property management, human resource management, lawyers, tourism and hospitality management as well as professional networking. When she is not working day and night at her business she loves to travel. Her commitment to her staff and the community is above and beyond the call of duty. The decision to start her business was one spurred by the fact that she lost her job in the hospitality business and that decision has been one of the best decisions she has made in her life. She started Vélez Consulting in 2009 with the business focused on helping small businesses from the ground up or from whatever position they may find themselves. The business offers services to small businesses so that a small business can use whatever service they need, as if they were a one-stop source for business services and consulting. Supporting small business as an advocate for the community, the Hispanic community in particular, is extremely important to Michelle and she has made every effort to join community groups in order to promote that advocacy. Her passion is helping small to medium businesses. She is involved in several organizations including the Hispanic Business Initiative Fund as a committee member, National Association of Professional Women, Hispanic Association of Professional Women and Charity Chics. She desires to give back to the community and help create awareness for women that think that they cannot own a company. She truly believes that there is a lot of competition for Accounting, Bookkeeping and Tax Services and she takes pride in offering all levels of these services. Her company offers evening and weekend appointments, speaks four different languages that include English, Spanish, Ukrainian and Russian, saves clients overhead costs in payroll, and also goes to the client when needed to do the accounting and bookkeeping in their office. Her company’s mission is to provide the clients, big & small, with comprehensive, accurate, & affordable accounting & business consulting services. When she started this company she took a leap of faith and knew that with determination and perseverance anything would be possible. She is proud to announce that Vélez Consulting is moving by the end of January 2013 to their new office spaced located 200 N Corona Ave Clearwater, FL 33765. As with many professional women, she could not accomplish all of this alone and she wants to thank her Friends and family for their support and her two boys for standing by her side. She would also want to thank the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce, a group for which she serves on the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce Ambassador Committee and the Hispanic Committee, for their support. The Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce | Voice of Business   15


Welcome to our new members from November and December! Acu-line Best Buy Mobile Store #2383 Clearwater Beach Hotel Comfort Suites Clearwater Bay Executive Inn Florida Spine Institute PNC Bank Salon Absolute Sweetwater Bakery Tequila’s Mexican Grill & Cantina

Thorntons, Inc. Thorntons, Inc - Fuel Fleet America’s Disaster Relief Clearwater Garden Tower DKM Certified Public Accountants HBIF Mike Bell Patch.com Tampa Bay Partners The Sales Verification Company

Thank you to our renewing members from November and December! 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares, Inc. Alfa Enterprises USA Inc. Anti-Pesto Bugkillers Automated Mailroom Breyley Apartments Cash America Celebration Station Chiropractic Health Center, Inc. Clearwater Towing Service Coldwell Banker Creative Contractors, Inc. Dunedin Fine Art Center Easyliving, Inc. Enterprise Rent-A-Car Feather Sound County Club Florida West Insurance Francis Wilson Playhouse Goodwill Industries Suncoast, Inc. Holiday Inn Express - ICOT Center Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites JK Flowers Junior Achievement of West Central Florida Kathryn Welsh Kentauros Team Security Kwall, Showers, and Barack, PA Leukemia & Lymphoma Society 16 

The Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce | Voice of Business

Maggi Tax Advisory Mary Kay Cosmetics MedExpress Urgent Care Medifast Weight Control Center Metal Industries, Inc. Moss Feaster Funeral Homes Kier Financial Group O’Keefe’s Palm Pavilion Panera Bread - Countryside Pinellas Technical Education Center R’Club Child Care, Inc. Reliable Movers & Storage Ruth Eckerd Hall Sandpearl Resort Sea Captain Resort on the Bay Sunbelt Credit Suncoast Hospice Tampa Bay Grand Prix Tampa Bay Lightning Tampa Bay Times The Gainey Agency, LLC. Vision Ace Hardware VJ Consulting LLC Wayne Purdy European Motors, Inc.


December Ribbon Cuttings

Thorntons, Inc.

Pacifica Senior Living

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