VIP Destin Magazine - August 2022

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4495 Furling Lane Destin FL 32541 Unit 150 850.424.7772

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Volume XIX • Issue VIII

events 13 Ballet Under the Stars 17 Ribbon Cutting & Summer Soiree 24 One Year Anniversary Party Beach Bash 26 A Mid-Summer Soiree 30 July Power of Business Lunch 33 Beach Camp Brewpub Soft Opening 44 Niceville Young Professionals Tacky Tourist Social 46 Cruisin’ Tikis Destin 5-Year Anniversary 53 Smoke on the Coast BBQ and Fireworks Festival 56 Art of Charcuterie with Shelli 60 United Way Emerald Coast Annual Meeting 68 Civic Hall of Fame 75 9th Annual Great American Cookout

on the cover Donnavon Lalputan, Bobby Wagner & Joshua Cowsert Photography by Harley S. Sampson, Jr. at ECTS Ribbon Cutting & Summer Soiree 8

Be on the lookout for our VIP Destin Ambassadors, Joe & Lea Capers, at area events.

departments 21 49 58 63 72 78

Coastal Cuisine Swizzle Adventure Out Destin Style Save the Date I Am Destin

features 28 Starting a business? 37 Feed the Fire Within You 39 Young Professionals Profiles

VIP Destin Magazine Staff Publisher Greg Alexander

Art Director Priscilla Atkins

Associate Publisher Verla Price

Content Creator Anna Stockton

Publisher’s Assistant Nicole Partridge

Contributing Writers/ Photographers Verla Price Harley S. Sampson, Jr. Jeff Sarault Anna Stockton Savannah Vasquez

Advertising Stephanie Alvarez Kristin Moffitt Verla Price Graphic Design Patti Hall Alicia Noble

VIP Founder Jeff Watson


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New “Signature Collection” is now at Today’s Boutique. Copyright © 2015 Joseph Ribkoff Inc. All rights reserved. Any reproduction and/or use of the Joseph Ribkoff logo for commercial or promotional purposes is forbidden without the written authorization of Joseph Ribkoff Inc.

Today’s Boutique

We have moved to

Destin Commons near Belk & Level 10 Salon

Look for our signature pink awnings! We can’t wait to show you our new store!

New address:

4106 Legendary Drive, Destin (850) 837-5565


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letter from the Associate Publisher I was once a Young Professional Reflecting on the early years of my career, I count my blessings for having received excellent training and mentoring from brilliant, professional people who took an interest in my success. However, these thoughts leave me wondering if my degree of success would be the same if I had not been in the right place at the right time. With that in mind, we directed parts of this issue toward helping people start a career or take the first steps in becoming entrepreneurs. While enjoying our regular coverage of local events and seeing photos of your friends and co-workers, notice a few spotlighted young professionals in the market and some features with the business executive in mind. Today’s work culture has changed dramatically from standard 9 to 5 in an office to working from home or driving non-stop to conduct meetings. You will find some essential things to know when you are constantly on the road (Pro tip- every bank has a nice clean bathroom near the front door. Believe me, after 25 years on the road, this is great to know). In Coastal Cuisine and Swizzle, find some healthy snack ideas and smoothie recipes to keep you focused and hydrated while satisfying those tummy rumbles. Finally, the road warrior needs to meet with clients occasionally in a conference room or a quieter place than a busy restaurant. We are fortunate that Destin is home to Beachworx, featured in Adventure Out. Beachworx is a unique coworking office space offering everything you need to conduct business. Everyone needs at least one associate or friend to use as a sounding board for new ideas. Sometimes an idea sounds fantastic, and people around you will encourage you because they don’t want to hurt your feelings. I say pick up the phone and call the one person who will tell you the truth. I call these my grounding partners. They cheerlead for my great ideas yet care enough to quickly throw the brakes on my silly ones. One of my business partners and the guy who curbs my craziness, Jeff Sarault, contributed some tips for starting a business. Networking is the quickest way for a person to become known in the marketplace and gain new business leads. I advise joining all local chambers, such as the Destin, Fort Walton, Niceville, and Walton Area Chamber. Also, the Young Professionals organizations host monthly networking events and training. If you know of a non-profit or charity hosting an event you would like to see featured in VIP Destin Magazine, please call me. We love supporting as many non-profit causes as possible. Thank YOU for reading VIP Destin Magazine; please be kind, courteous, and shop local.

Associate Publisher 850-502-7970 Special Notice from our PublisherWe have been publishing through the season of COVID 19 without missing an issue or compromising our product in any way. We have overcome many hurdles without readers, friends, and fans even noticing (although it was ridiculously difficult). While we are past the direst times of the pandemic, its impact is still affecting business. We at VIP Destin especially felt those strains with our July issue, and we know you noticed. We had a beautiful issue put together and as it was on the press in Northeast Georgia, a lightning storm destroyed the press. Because of post-pandemic supply and demand issues the standard back up plan for our printing partner would not work. Because of our non-standard, large format, not many printers can accommodate printing our product, and although we attempted, no one could make it happen in a timely manner and our only option to get a July issue to you was to use a paper that could be ran on a different press. After receiving the product, we were further disappointed in the quality as it is far inferior to our standard. While out of our control, we apologize for the quality of print for our last issue. Our printer has new standards in place to avoid such an issue in the future and we hope you understand, just as many of you have experienced similar disturbances in your businesses and in your lives. We are so proud to have rebounded with such an outstanding issue for August. Enjoy. --Greg Alexander, Publisher 10


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7/27/22 11:13 PM

VIP Destin at the Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village

photos & story by Harley S. Sampson, Jr.


s the rain clouds rolled away, hope was restored that Ballet Under the Stars would take place at Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation’s (MKAF) Cultural Village on June 25. The Dugas Pavilion has hosted performances ranging from pop to country, and their rich tradition of diversified events continued by hosting Northwest Florida Ballet’s first visit to the Village with the performance of Ballet Under the Stars. This free event featured excerpts from works such as Beauty and the Beast and Don Quixote. Guest artists included international dancers as well as students from the summer workshop program. Attendees came from all over to enjoy this event, from locals to international visitors. One such notable guest was Suzette Benkenstein, from Capetown, South Africa, she said, “This is my first time attending a Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation event. Moving here I’ll get to enjoy the beautiful Destin/Fort Walton weather and attend more MKAF events.” For several decades Northwest Florida Ballet has provided premiere professional performances and has provided community engagement via outreach programs, which has enhanced the lives of area residents and visitors. Offering both instructional programs and public performances, the company has performed with other notable companies such as the Atlanta and Washington Ballets.

Andrea Whitfield & Anastasya Cobos

Cristie & Gary Worthington

Huck & Rebekah Hancock

Seleta & Peter Howard

Wyatt Sparkman & Kyra Morrison

Melanie Moore & Ryan Cobb

Denise Cavallaro, Benny Crawford, James Sisco & Natalia Stingley August 2022 | 13

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VIP Destin at Ballet Under the Stars

Holly Bowlby & Joni List

Trish & Ian Kellogg

Wesley, Mike, Zoey & Liz Kocher

Sharon & Bill Beck

Marie & Kevin Fessler

Nick Brooks & Fuchsia McInerney

Erin & Nora Geraghty

Ainsley & Jeane Gardner

Troy & Megan Byers 14

Trent Melcher & Katie Harper

Antonio & Marie Hildago


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Kyle Sanders & Suzette Benkenstein

Deborah, Molly & Mallory Lastrapes

Aidan Blow, Travis Blow & Kimberly McCleod

Cody, Jaxson & Anna Knowles August 2022 | 15

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VIP Destin at Emerald Coast Title Services and Hand Arendall Harrison Sale Offices

Tara & Brian Keister

Brian Whitehead & Amy Quinn

Jon Waldrup & Dion Moniz

Ribbon Cutting & Summer Soiree photos & story by Harley S. Sampson, Jr.

Bill Blanken & Shane Abbott


merald Coast Title Services and Hand Arendall Harrison Sale hosted one of the summer’s most exciting ribbon cuttings on July 14. Held in conjunction with Hancock Whitney, the Summer Soiree was also the Walton Chamber’s July Business After Hours. Emerald Coast Title Services (ECTS) is an attorney-run title company with offices in Destin and Santa Rosa Beach. Founded in 1983, Emerald Coast Title Services is a full service, ALTA Certified title and escrow corporation. With customer service as its number one priority, ECTS has flourished and continues to grow as evidenced by their newest location on N. County Hwy 393 in Santa Rosa Beach near the 30A corridor. “We are excited to have the grand opening party for our new offices, which is a result of outgrowing our original Santa Rosa Beach space. Our growth over the past few years wouldn’t be possible without the support of our clients, friends and family, so we are extremely grateful to all of them,” said Dion Moniz, President Emerald Coast Title Services.

Kris & Megan Harrison

Chris Hellums & Sally Neal

Nick Brendlinger, Sandy Jowers & Jeff Dannelly August 2022 | 17

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VIP Destin at Ribbon Cutting & Summer Soiree

Rebecca Ison & Jamie McIntosh

Tina & Michael Ekblad

Matt McGuire, Stacey Bonezi & Blake Little

Deanna Turpen & Tabitha Wichowski

Christina & Richard Schlink, Brown Boswell

Jay Wachsmuth & Melissa Hines-Wachsmuth

Montana Farrow, Catherine Churchill & Nickie Cobble 18

Courtney Cole & Michael Anderseon

Stephanie Roberts & Dylan Bozarth

Bobby Wagner, Donnavon Lalputan & Joshua Cowsert


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Take it on the Run


story by Anna Stockton

ith life moving even faster these days, making good food choices throughout the day can be hard. Many times, you’re running around, busy with meetings, shuttling kids, or trying to make it across town to meet with that important client when it hits you -- the hunger that is. And teetering on the fine line between just being hungry and morphing into a hangry, short-tempered, unpleasant version of yourself, you need food! While zooming your car to a nearby fast-food joint is always an option, that may not be the healthiest choice and can even leave you feeling worse. Planning ahead and packing healthy foods for the day will not only help you get through the day -- it may eliminate having to apologize for things you said when you were hangry.

Say Cheese One of the best snacks to bring on the road is cheese. Filled with protein, cheese has the uncanny ability to fill you up quickly but also allows you to eat endless amounts when on a charcuterie board, but I digress. Cheese is the most portable of snacks and comes in prewrapped sticks, cubes, and slices. To up your protein intake, cheese sticks wrapped in meats and to-go mini meat and cheese snacks are now readily available at most grocery stores. These portable snacks pack plenty of punch and can easily fill in when there’s no time for a leisurely lunch.

Go Nuts Nuts are basically the superhero of food. Not only do they play a role in helping control cholesterol levels, they’ve also been proven to help control diabetes and improve heart health. Nuts also contain omega 3 fatty acids which are vital for helping prevent diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia, and aids in reducing rheumatoid arthritis. The fiber and calories in nuts keep you full in between meals and the best part is, they’re so darn tasty. Whether you get them plain, salted, or flavored, with mixed nuts you’re guaranteed to have a healthy, nutritious snack on the go. Trail mix is another way to enjoy a nut-filled snack on the go and adds dark chocolate, raisins, and other sweet additions to the mix, giving you a healthy way to satisfy your sweet tooth. Just be sure you don’t just eat the chocolate, as some people do.... or so I’ve heard.

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Where’s the Beef? There’s a reason why beef jerky has been around since the 1500s. This protein-packed food has been a go-to for everyone from cowboys on the range to hikers to modern-day road warriors. While its essentially dried meat, beef jerky is far more than that. It’s a high protein, low fat power food that is easily accessible and can be kept in your car or bag for long periods of time. Jerky now comes in a variety of flavors including teriyaki, blackberry, and chipotle and various meats including turkey and bacon.

Hit the Bars The protein bars, of course. Protein bars come in so many different varieties, there’s plenty to choose from. With flavors like birthday cake and sea salt and caramel, what’s not to love? These bars are packed with protein, carbohydrates, and great nutrients, making for a filling snack or meal replacement. Read the ingredients carefully though, some protein bars are loaded with sugars and are high in calories, leaving you with a sugar crash rather than a steady stream of energy.

Back to Basics Don’t be afraid to go old school and simply bring a sandwich or wrap along for your long workday. Planning ahead and making a sandwich not only saves you money but it can prevent unhealthy food choices too. Sandwiches and wraps have everything you need to keep your mind focused and sharp while giving you the energy to be your best self. Whether you go with meats and cheeses with piled on veggies or throwback to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, wraps and sandwiches are a classic choice for a meal on the go.

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VIP Destin at The Blake at Miramar Beach

Brian & Betsy Fenn

Bob Luitjens & Alan Meldrum

Joe Ost & Phillip Vlahos


Anniversary Party BEACH BASH photos & story by Harley S. Sampson, Jr.

Michelle Newchurch & Tabitha Ingermann


he Blake at Miramar Beach celebrated their first year with an anniversary party on July 13. Located just a few miles off Scenic 98, it was natural to have a beach-themed event. Families, guests, and residents enjoyed a fun-fi lled evening with music, smoked tuna dip, and a roasted pig. “We are so excited to celebrate our one-year anniversary in our new community, The Blake at Miramar Beach. It has been an amazing year of memories for our residents and our team! We look forward to many more celebrations,” said Susan Connor, Executive Director of The Blake. Fifteen years ago, Glenn Barclay co-founded The Blake to provide senior housing options that he was unable to find for his mother-in-law. Named after his son Blake, The Blake family of homes has grown to offer communities in Florida, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.

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Steve Coppi & Quintin Coppi

Gerri Tankersley & Janet Iyoob

Brieanne Raines & Joseph Brooks


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7/27/22 11:17 PM

Now partnered with Craft Yacht Charters

Operated by


Destin’s premier luxury yachting experience. Thank you for voting us Best New Business!

Enjoy the beautiful scenery Destin, Florida has to offer with a group or in a romantic setting. We have a variety of charter types so you can choose the one that’s right for you! Craft Yacht Charters is committed to providing you and your guests an unparalleled adventure that can only be experienced aboard your own personal yacht. Here in the panhandle there are many ways to see the sites and spectacular water wonders the area has to offer. Aboard Craft Yacht Charters you will experience the comfort and luxury of your own private yacht and avoid the one thing the cattle boats and all other high-capacity charters have in common… the crowds.

Enjoy the beautiful scenery Destin, Florida has to offer with a group or in a romantic setting. We have a variety of charter types so you can be sure to choose the one that’s right for you!


• Private ½ Day & Full Day Charters • Private Sunset and Dolphin Cruises • Thursday Night Fireworks Cruise


• European Luxury Yacht. Princess V72 • Professional Captain and Crew • Covered Seating on the Bow and Stem

New pickup location at Heron Harbor!



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VIP Destin at Hotel Effie

Phaedra & Patrick Yachimski

Dieter Cronje & Brad Busby

Staci Berryman & Heidi Blalock

A Mid-Summer Soiree photos & story by Harley S. Sampson, Jr.


otel Effie in Miramar Beach hosted The Emerald Coast Autism Center’s (ECAC) Mid-Summer Soiree with Chef Hugh Acheson on July 13. The intimate evening started off with a cocktail hour, followed by a special five-course meal prepared by the award-winning chef Hugh Acheson. While Chef Acheson went over the menu, which included lobster, snapper crudo aguachile, and New York strip steak, servers circulated the dining area with wines from Presqu’ile Winery in Santa Maria, California. The Emerald Coast Autism Center is a non-profit organization in Niceville dedicated to educating and improving the lives of individuals with autism in Okaloosa and Walton Counties and surrounding areas. One of the areas that the center has been working on is its transition to work program. Launched in 2022, the pre-vocational program, through the Florida Department of Education in partnership with Northwest Florida State College, teaches students job skills for future employment. “We are so grateful to be beneficiaries of this event. We are thankful to Chef Acheson and Hotel Effie for hosting this event. We will use the proceeds from this event for the capital campaign for our second facility in Niceville. The building will support our transition to work students, and to help young adults with Autism achieve gainful employment,” said Heidi Blalock, Co-founder and CEO.

Molly & Jason Carter

Kevin & Ashley Berry

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Nora Peczely & Sal Montalto

Andrea & Richard Catania


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Amelia James, Haley Graber & Clementine Acheson


sinus pain Corinne LaRocco, Von Keller & Michelle Lewis

hearing loss

Ally Akdamar, Emmy Akdamar & Lydia Blair

Emerald ENT provides treatment and relief for chronic sinus and allergy suffering, hearing loss, and many other ear, nose, and throat disorders.

Schedule your appointment today! (850) 797-6191

141 Mack Bayou Loop, Suite 102 Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459 Brian Weaver, Emily Roeckle & David Castro

Monday-Thursday: 8am - 5pm Friday: 8am - 12pm August 2022 | 27

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VIP Destin at Food For Thought

July Power of Business Lunch photos & story by Harley S. Sampson, Jr.

Tiffanie Nelson & Megan Harrison

Marianne Ireland & Gabby Kilgore

Dalton Allen & Cindy Eisman

Kevin Rosa & Gary Brielmayer

Jimmy Dallas & Janet Piepul



ood for Thought in Santa Rose Beach hosted the Walton Chamber’s Power of Business Lunch on July 13. Catered by Blue Magnolia, guests enjoyed good food and fellowship, all while learning more about Food for Thought’s (FFT) mission and goals. Attendees were greeted with smiles at the Chamber registration table then encouraged to participate in a real life pack the backpack exercise. When everyone was seated, the presentations began, which included the introduction of the newest Diamond Member, 1st State Bank. FFT Founder, Tiffanie Nelson then spoke saying, “We are happy to host the Chamber and introduce our services to members of the community and show them additional ways to volunteer and give back.” She shared the history of FFT, explaining that as a new mom she realized that there were a lot of people in the area going without food. Starting with a $300 budget from church, the family began distributing food, and at the end of the first year there was a waiting line for her services. Seeing the need and expanding her vision, FFT was founded and now serves 3,000 Okaloosa and Walton County students per week. Additionally, FFT has the Emeril Lagasse Foundation Full Circle Kitchen where children are shown a culinary career path that definitely serves the hospitality needs of the Emerald Coast.

Wilmer Rodriguez & Teresa Allen

Bill Blanken & Allison Smith

David Balmer & Mike Storey

Betty Sims & Bryan Gilbert


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Imani Wright & Janet Parker

Michele Pouliot & Gayle Gifford

Keri Carpenter & Judith Watkins

Stacey Hoffman, Ginny Richerson & Brenda Gray August 2022 | 31

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VIP Destin at Beach Camp Brewpub


Soft Opening photos & story by Harley S. Sampson, Jr.


each Camp Brewing Company hosted their soft opening on July 7. Located in the old Hog’s Breath location, BCBC is a fully renovated restaurant with a street-side brewery. Guests were treated to a menu with everything from smoked tuna dip and oysters to sandwiches. Keeping the Hog’s Breath theme of BBQ and seafood, the menu also included smoked snapper dip, smoked brisket mac & cheese, and seafood plates including the catch of the day, parmesan grouper, and an Emerald Coast favorite, shrimp & grits. “We’re a brand-new brewery in town and we want to be the new go to place,” said Michael Jones, Operations Manager. Expecting a large turnout, the staff were on their A game and were all smiles. While the event was invitation only, Chris Marks and his family, who were visiting from Illinois, were the “surprise” attendees as they were looking for a place to have dinner and were invited to join the festivities by Jones. Being a chef back in Illinois and a beer connoisseur, Marks and his family were happy to be seated at a table enjoying the food and beer. The hours of operation for Destin’s newest restaurant and brewery will be Monday through Sunday, 11:00 am to Midnight.

Caitie Cox-Brooks & Terrence Brooks

Mason, Heather, McKenzie & Chris Marks

Ryan Saiz & Meagan Ross

Kristal Edwards & Clarissa Jennings

Mick Guthals & Jim Bagby

Stacey & Mike Brady August 2022 | 33

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VIP Destin at Beach Camp Brewpub Soft Opening

McKenzie Burleigh & Maxine Orange

Terry Deville, Halle Delprincipe & William Blanchard

Mindy Holscher & Karah Young

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Tiffanie & Darren Nelson

Christen Cowgill & Hillary Fosdyck

Jennifer Hankins, Erin Story & Heather Cleveland

Alex Postelnek & Will Dargabell

John Eichelberger & Jamie Youngblood

William Gullahorn & Kyle Hamilton


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BEST TITLE SERVICES August 2022 | 35

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7/27/22 11:21 PM

F e e d t h e F ir e W it h in Y o u t o B e c o m e a L e a d e r in Y o u r F ie ld written by Verla Price

There are ways to stand out, move ahead of other young professionals in the market, and place yourself with the movers and shakers. Your path to success often begins as an excited, energetic, motivated, young person at the chamber breakfast meetings. You show up at different networking meetings and events. Local businesspeople start introducing you to their associates and mentoring you. You are on your way to becoming a solid businessperson in a successful career running your own company someday. Every single decision you make early on is vital to your success in the business world. F ind a career p ath and follow it: Become dedicated to the company that gave you a chance. Promote the business, assist in the company's growth and you will grow and prosper as the business excels. Business owners see a resumè cross their desk and the applicant might have the skills needed, but red ags may define the person as a job jumper, and they go into the do not hire pile. Granted, the person might be a ualified candidate. owever, with the time and effort it takes to bring a person to greatness within a company, decision makers are not willing to take the chance on a person agged as a job jumper. F inding th e correct p osition starts w ith th e interview : esearch the company, ask uestions, find out if this position fits you and you can build a career with this company. Never make the mistake of taking a job until something better comes along. Every single decision you make is vital to your success. Do not become a job jumper changing positions every time the ne t company posts for resumès.

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F ocus on th e good: earn to enjoy your daily work activities by starting with the right mindset. After all -- the word work has a meaning. You will be doing things you love and enjoy, and you will also be required to complete menial tasks and mind-numbing reports. Reality will set in after a few months, and you will reali e this is a job. You must get up early and stay late. You start feeling underpaid and overworked, maybe even unappreciated. Remind yourself why you took the position, buckle down, and work through it because if you leave or quit, you can begin the path of the job jumper and become un-hirable. Frankly, all companies have good qualities and bad -both fun and mundane workdays exist. FOCUS on the good. Only talk about the good things. Make a list of your achievements and keep it on your desk, reading it daily.

7/28/22 8:59 AM

Feed the fire within you with positives, motivation, and success. The person with the brightest fire will stand out in every crowd.

Self Motivation: In order to rise above the others in your field, you must be in a constantly positive, motivated mood. People enjoy working with and helping happy people. No one wants to be around a negative person who is always complaining. With today's technology, it is much easier to find ways to be motivated. In the past, we listened to CDs, read books, and attended training seminars. All you have to do is sign up for daily emails trending in the market, subscribe to training and daily motivational sites, listen to podcasts, and regularly give yourself compliments. You deserve to feel good about yourself.

Protect your image. Nothing is more important than your image in the market. People will talk about you, so make sure it is all good. Be trustworthy, maintain high ethical standards, and support good causes. Always operate with integrity, and above all else, do not tarnish the credibility of others. Mentor: Find a mentor who is successful and well-liked by others. Emulate his actions and learn to follow his path.

Stand out: If you want to rub shoulders with the decisionmakers in town, you need to be visible—volunteer for charity events, job fairs, public speaking events, and all networking events. Invest in yourself: You are lucky if you join a company that invests in your continued training and pays to send you to motivational seminars. You must also invest in yourself, however. Attend professional development classes, invest in subscriptions to newsletters in your business category, buy books, and read them when waiting for an appointment or on lunch break. Join professional associations such as the local chambers. Don't miss any chance to learn more about your profession or be around successful people. Utilize social media to your advantage: Create pages for yourself on all social media outlets. Your business associates will see your personal social media pages. A good rule is to post only things you want your client or manager to read.

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-- Y O U N G P R O F E S S I O N A L S --

Chase Turner Service Manager Adventure Marina

Chase Turner chose his career due to his passion for our beautiful coastal waters. Raised in Niceville, Chase attended the Marine Mechanics Institute in Orlando studying marine engines for outboards, sterndrives, and diesel engines, graduating in top of his class before returning home to begin his career. Chase is humbled to have taken his service department to what he believes is one of the best on the Gulf Coast -- only achieved by consistently delivering quality results. Customer service is something this world seems to lack, so great customer service sets them apart. Chase dreamt of becoming a Yamaha Master Technician -- a prestigious award that less than 400 people carry in the country. It takes years of dedication, experience, and two rigorous tests on the same day at Yamaha’s headquarters. After years of on the job training and continuing education at Yamaha headquarters, Chase accomplished this dream. The best part of Chase’s workday is seeing the smiling faces of a family purchasing their first boat. He and the team make it a point to go above and beyond with their deliveries, which has shown a 98% Customer Satisfaction Rating – national average is 75%. Chase knew he wanted a career involving the water-- if it involved a boat, even better. Being in a position that helps, serves, motivates, encourages, teaches, and leads others has been an honor and a humbling task. When not working, Chase enjoys recreational watersports, although, he is an amusement park junkie. Fun fact -- Chase has never been on a commercial airplane. He also has never been out of the country except on a cruise ship but looks forward to changing both very soon.

Jackson Milligan Beach Concierge Excel Beach Service

Jackson chose his career solely for his love of money, women and liquor. To his chagrin, piracy was no longer an option in modern society. The son of two local entrepreneurs - his dad a GC and his mom owns CRYO850 in Destin – he graduated from Seacoast Collegiate High and attended NWFLSC. As a voracious reader, most of Jackson’s knowledge comes from his vast library. While his job is taking care of Seaside homeowners and their guests, Jackson also dabbles in Crypto. He defines his job as doing whatever it takes to ensure his clients have an excellent vacation experience. He loves the idea that his office is the white sandy, beach of the Gulf of Mexico and he is paid to exist daily in a place others only visit once or twice a year. Jackson is well connected on 30a (south of the dune line) and knows how to get things done for his clients. He believes his ability to have authentic conversations on a variety of subjects sets him apart. Well-read and opinionated, Jackson is always up for a good debate. This self-proclaimed pirate is often called a Lone Wolf. He shuns social media and is told nothing is surprising when it comes to him. He is generous and caring and recently provided housing and employment to a girl and her dog to help them start a new life here on the Emerald Coast. Off season, Jackson can be found exploring the world. He has been to 44 states and several countries with plans to tour the US East Coast and Thailand, Egypt, France and Costa Rica this fall. Fun fact -- Last year, Jack rode a bicycle from Santa Rosa Beach to Key West. August 2022 | 39

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-- Y O U N G P R O F E S S I O N A L S --

Kersten Bowman Realtor® Corcoran Reverie

Real estate runs deep in Kersten’s family backed by two previous generations of developers and investors. She chose real estate because of endless avenues, never tiring of the hustle. After graduating from the College of Charleston with a BS in Administration, she completed a masters in sports studies from the United States Sports Academy. Kersten and her husband, Ryan, grew up in Daphne, AL, and reconnected after college. They moved to the Emerald Coast for the military and have been local for eight years. They have two children: Linley (5) and Jackson (2). She has been a Realtor for eight years and finds the professional relationships with other local experts such as lenders, handymen, inspectors, and title companies all important for a smooth closing process. Kersten becomes a resource for clients and helps them become involved in the local community, noting that is what truly turns a house into a home: feeling comfortable in a new location. Most of her clients have become long-term friends. Her favorite part of the workday is the fact that it is different every day. Every transaction, every client personality, and every property have a unique process from start to finish, keeping her motivated, interested, and accountable to maintain knowledge of the industry and to continue to grow personally and professionally in the industry. When not working, she spends time with family and friends in the outdoors -- pool, beach, or bay side, or visiting one of our many outdoor parks. Fun fact -- Kersten has won 6 Alabama State Volleyball Championships and participated in Florida’s first collegiate beach volleyball season in 2008. She is still involved as a coach for indoor youth volleyball.

Ashley Bowen

Licensed Title Agent, Director of Operations Emerald Coast Title Services Ashley says she “tripped and fell” into her career. She graduated from UWF with a degree in mathematics at the beginning of the “Great Recession” planning on a career in civil service -- but they had stopped hiring civilians. Her love of numbers and all things real estate led her to call on the then owner of ECTS, and the rest is history. Ashley will be celebrating ten years with ECTS in 2023. Ashley, a local rarity, was born and raised in Destin. Her grandparents moved to Destin and purchased the Flamingo Motel in the 70s, where Boshamps sits today. Her great uncle, Ken Beaird, was the mayor of Destin when Ashley was a child. She remembers helping break ground on the DMS building. Ashley’s mom worked at the Destin Chamber for years and now has been running the Destin Fishing Rodeo for the last 25. Her siblings live here with their families. Ashley’s knowledge about Florida real estate contracts plus her years of experience provide her insight to be exceptionally efficient at closings. If she has not seen it before, she learns to tackle it. With a dream team of attorneys and support staff at her fingertips, she gives each transaction her all and the proof shows with their repeat business and Google reviews. Handing keys to buyers and being able to congratulate sellers on a closed transaction is where Ashley finds joy daily. When not working, Ashley is either traveling or dreaming about traveling Fun Fact: I am small, but I like to tell people I am “freakishly strong.”. 40


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Come Play with Our Pets Family Owned and Operated

THANK YOU FOR VOTING US BEST PET CARE & ACCESSORIES! 6235 N. Davis Hwy Pensacola, FL 32504 (850) 637-1123 PetlandPensacola

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415 Mary Esther Cut Off NW Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548 (850) 796-2424 PetlandFortWaltonBeach

7/27/22 11:24 PM

-- Y O U N G P R O F E S S I O N A L S --

Kayla O’Leary

Marketing Coordinator Championship Title Agency, LLC Kayla O’Leary grew up in a Mexican-American family that believed beans and rice was a major food group and that Selena Quintanilla is the only music you need. She was raised in Hollister, California, and attended Sonoma State University in Napa Valley. Brandi Culhane at Championship had a gut feeling that Kayla would be a perfect fit as Marketing Coordinator – and she was right. Kayla loves meeting with new realtors and seeing what makes them different. Helping them find their “thing” is one of her favorite tasks. Going to the fun events and galas are always a highlight, but the best part of Kayla’s workday is reviewing the pictures. Giving everyone a nice tan is her specialty. When not working Kayla is on the boat with a Pub Sub or at Pepper’s Mexican Grill in Shalimar where the staff knows her order. Fun fact -- Kayla is a huge movie buff. Growing up without cable created a VHS movie monster. Blockbuster, Red Box, AMC Stub Member, and now a grown up with my own streaming devices. Music means nothing to me, but movies are everything. Now pass the popcorn.

Gulia Metcalf

Casi Stubbs, DMD

Nine years ago, when Gulia Metcalf was expecting her first born, she wanted a career shift from hectic real estate. She dreamed of all cute ruffles, bows, smiles, and excitement and conceived the idea to open Pink N Blue Avenue. Although a challenge, opening the business strengthened her position in the Destin community. Gulia has lived in Destin since 2004 and feels blessed. Her slogan for the store is “Let’s Grow Together” and is play on the children she dresses, and her community. The store is growing year over year and offers both online and in person children’s clothing with over 300 brands. Gulia says passion, faith, joy, determination, and work ethic along with support of friends has made her dreams come true. She receives messages daily for advice on outfits, helping with gender reveals, and baby showers. Gulia loves spending time with her two children and husband, Greg. Fun fact -- Gulia enjoys politics, cooking, reading, and has traveled to 5 continents and 20 countries. Her most sacred time of day is watching the sunset.

Dr. Casi Stubbs always loves answering the question about why she became an orthodontist. To her, being an orthodontist is an extremely fulfilling job that allows her to connect with her patients and her community by creating beautiful smiles and helping to instill more confidence in them.

Owner Pink N Blue Avenue


Owner/Orthodontist Stubbs Orthodontics

When talking about her practice, she says, “What sets us apart is that we make our patients feel like family. My staff and I not only work hard to give the best orthodontic results, but we go the extra mile to work with our patients’ busy lives. We try our hardest to take care of our patients and families.” Casi is quick to make certain that she and her office staff establish relationships with patients and with one another. As a busy professional, for Casi, every day is a balance between being at work and being a mom. When she is not in the office she can be found hanging out with her family. They are very active and love to enjoy the Emerald Coast and all the outdoor activities it provides. Fun Fact - Casi used to water ski for Florida State University and she is proud that her youngest daughter is currently working on following in her footsteps.


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“Have an Adventurous Day!”




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VIP Destin at The Wharf 850


Tacky Tourist Social photos & story by Savannah Vasquez

Tricia Brunson & Mack Busbee


loha shirts, floppy hats, fanny packs, and socks with fl ip flops were the fashion statement of the night at July’s Niceville Young Professionals (NYP) meeting. The theme of the night was tacky tourist, with a grand prize from Costa McDonald’s of free Big Macs for a year, given to the member deemed the tackiest. The winner was hard to choose as everyone came in their best tourist attire, however, the winner was Aly Wrann. About 25 young professionals met at the social, hosted by Okaloosa County Teachers Federal Credit Union at The Wharf 850 in Niceville. Throughout the evening members networked, won door prizes, and talked about giving back to the Niceville community. “This year our focus is on the Chamber itself,” said Natalie Davis, Chairman of NYP. “We are creating a plan to revamp the Chamber building to be more inviting to the community. As a NYP group we have talked about creating an outdoor area with a pavilion and a garden for community members to use as a meeting place.”

Dylan Clarrey, Emily Clarrey, Tori Fleischman & Meryl Meigs

Mitch Anderson & Angela Roy 44

Aly Wrann & Erica Nelson

Lisa Wright & Deanna Simonsen

Julie Mosley, Brian Haugen, Dr. Mike Mosley & Aaron Peck


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Alison & Tony Defalco

Home of the 102 foot bar including 32 beers on draft. Happy Hour $1 off all drinks and selected 1/2 price appetizers ~ Daily 3-6 Live Music Wednesday thru Saturday ~ 5:30-8:30

Jenni Brunson, Leslie Moland & Alyssa Turner

125 Poinciana Boulevard, Miramar Beach, FL 32550 850-842-3200 | Sun-Thur 11 am to 9 pm; Fri-Sat 11 am to 10 pm

Need Shade!

Shea Boykin & Natalie Davis

veTeran owned

Commercial Shade Sails Shade Structures

Design, Build, Install Tony Pons, owner - FL Lic conTracTor #cBc1260686

850-303-2212 |

Brandon Ellison, Aly Wrann, Kellie Brock & Josh Woeckener

serving FLorida, aLaBama, and georgia

August 2022 | 45

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VIP Destin at The Edge Seafood and Skybar

Cruisin’ Tikis Destin 5-Year Anniversary photos & story by Harley S. Sampson, Jr.

Haley Blaise & Heather Thomas


ocated in Destin Harbor, the Edge Seafood and Skybar was the site for the July 23 Cruisin’ Tikis Destin 5-year anniversary party, and Emerald Coast Autism Center fundraiser. Tiki attire was highly encouraged with a prize for best dressed. Donations at the door resulted in the donor receiving a lighted lei, a raffle ticket, and an adult beverage. With a matching donation from the Dugas Family Foundation, $6,484 was raised for the Emerald Coast Autism Center’s (ECAC) new 20,000 square foot center. Founded in 2009, ECAC is dedicated to educating and improving the lives of children with autism. Ian & Haley Blaise, owners of Cruisin’ Tikis Destin, were happy to be raising funds for ECAC. “Our own Captain Al is co-founder of Emerald Cost Autism Center and we love giving, so the proceeds from tonight’s event are going to the center as this is our way of giving back to the community,” said Haley. Situated on the campus of Northwest Florida State College, ECAC serves individuals in Okaloosa and Walton Counties. With the addition of the Emerald Coast Learning Center, ECAC will now be serving individuals needing assistance in transitioning to the area’s workforce.


Delores & Donnie Sutton

Staci Berryman & Ian Blaise

Aerika Wardrip & Lauren Cooper

Hayden Shaw & Kolbi Amos

Mamie Arnault & Cooper Orman

Chad Crane & Kristy Small

Elise Gilbert & Lucy Shamblin


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Jesse Juliano & Luke Juliano


A new synergistic partnership between Beachworx & VIP Destin Magazine is designed to support your business’s growth in a professional office environment. Your membership includes a dedicated workspace and value-packed digital and print promotions to VIP Destin Magazine’s audience.

Rachael Rockman, Brandon Simpson & Rylee Aden

Contact us:


• • • • • •

Dedicated desk with 24/7 access Three monthly meeting room credit hours Advertising for your business on Inclusion in VIP Destin Magazine’s email blasts Invitations to exclusive events presented by VIP Destin Magazine & Beachworx Access to a community of amazing professionals

@thebeachworx 34990 Emerald Coast Pkwy. | Suite 300 Destin, FL | (850) 974-3435 Dee Personett, Stacy Kratz & Cindy Black August 2022 | 47

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7/27/22 11:27 PM

Smooth(ie) Operator

story by Anna Stockton

hey say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It gets you moving, energized, and ready to take on whatever life throws at you. Of course, what you choose to have for breakfast helps determine your level of readiness, for example, having a high sugar treat like a donut for breakfast may leave you ready to test the “nappability” of your office chair rather than leaving you ready to take on the day. High protein, high fiber, and nutrients are key in finding that morning meal that will fuel your day and keep you at your peak performance. Breakfast smoothies are a quick and easy way to start your day off with a healthy power play.


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Of course, not all smoothies are created equal. Some give you more calories and processed sugar than what you’d need in an entire day, so using the right ingredients is key. This power-packed smoothie is made with all natural foods, perfectly combined to make a tasty and healthy start to your day. Rolled oats are highly nutritious with the added bonus of possibly lowering blood pressure. Oats are high in fiber and carbohydrates, so they keep you full longer. Greek yogurt is another power food, high in protein it helps boost your metabolism along with improving bone health. This yogurt can also help you build muscle mass, improve gut health with its probiotics, and studies have shown it can lower your risk of type two diabetes. Spinach has long been known as a super food, with a high iron content, vitamins A and C, and plenty of calcium. These leafy greens can also help with eye health and potentially aid with cancer prevention. The fruits in this smoothie are healthy heroes all on their own. Orange juice is a powerhouse fruit juice loaded with vitamin C and folate. This juice is high in nutrients as well as antioxidants that are important for maintaining overall health. Orange juice also has qualities that can prevent kidney stones, promote heart health, and reduce inflammation. Bananas are often overlooked as the rockstar fruits they are. Not only are they full of antioxidants, but the potassium in this fruit also helps keep your heart healthy along with helping with muscle recovery after a strenuous workout. Blueberries are low in calories and high in nutrients. They’ve also been proven to reduce the DNA damage done to our cells as well as improve brain function and improve memory. Combining all these power foods into one super powered smoothie is a tasty way to take advantage of the ingredients’ multiple health benefits, while the high fiber and protein keep you full of energy to help you make the most of your day.

Power Packed Smoothie Ingredients:

1 cup orange juice 1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats 1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt 1 banana 1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries 3 cups baby spinach 1 cup ice


Add all ingredients to your blender and blend until smooth.



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August 2022 | 51

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David M. Rutherford *Military Discounts Available*



850.460.2995 127 Harbor Blvd. | Suite 3A | Destin, FL 52


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VIP Destin at Destin Commons

photos & story by Harley S. Sampson, Jr.

Sheri & David Jones


hroughout the year Destin Commons is home to several events, and on July 3 it was host to the 11th annual Smoke on the Coast BBQ and Fireworks Festival. Benefiting Coins for a Cause, which is a partnership between Destin Commons, its shoppers, and the local non-profit community, people gathered for family entertainment and live music. Presented by Presto! At the Magic Parlor, over a dozen BBQ teams showed off their culinary skills. One notable team was the Air Force Enlisted Village/Knife’s Edge team. “Carrie Knife is our chef and with a name like that she’s got to be a great chef. We love this event and have been here for many of the events. It’s a great way to meet people you ordinarily wouldn’t,” said Brooke McLean, President and CEO, Air Force Enlisted Village. In addition to smoked meats and mac ‘n cheese, festival goers enjoyed music from Duchess Band who sang covers ranging from Guns N Roses to Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride.”

Luke & Kayleigh Higdon

Josh Rody & Kat Kuja

Natalie, Barrett, Paisley & Torin Hayes

VaTema & Gianna Ivy

Angie & Hayden Miller

Summer & Juan Castillo

Corbin & Amy Sinex August 2022 | 53

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VIP Destin at Smoke on the Coast BBQ and Fireworks Festival

Brandon & Artem Bancoro

Lexy Burns with Oliver

Christian Thompson & Nichole Scarveles

Jennifer Salvatore, Patrick & Haley Champagne

Tre Harper & Abriana Samartino 54

Brady, Bethany & Brayden White

Chris & Keri Klaus

Cheri Davis & Pam Bertrand

Ed & Joanna Pelaez


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7/28/22 10:32 AM

VIP Destin at J. Leon Gallery & Studio

Art of Charcuterie with Shelli photos & story by Harley S. Sampson, Jr.


.Leon Gallery & Studio hosted the Art of Charcuterie with Shelli on July 16. Shelli Chinlund has 7 children and having cooked for

that of large a family she believed she had enough experience to try something new: charcuterie. “A year ago, I did my first board and over the winter I applied for my catering license. Because this is a form of art, I was asked to be a part of the J. Leon Gallery & Studio workshop series,” explained Shelli. Workshops range from The Art of Resin Pours with Barbara Suhadolnik to Beginning Wheel with Jecca Rose. Gallery owner/artist, Jason Lindblad noted that Shelli’s workshop, “is one of many, with more to be scheduled in the future.” Prepping for the workshop Shelli stated that her purpose was to teach someone to make a beautiful board, and to be entertaining. As the workshop began, Shelli lived up to her end of the bargain as everyone was smiling and laughing, however, between the laughs, instruction took place as students were taught how to choose and cut their cheeses, how long prepared boards can remain unrefrigerated, and other food handling tips. Additionally, workshop attendees were taught how to make roses with strawberries and cheese, while also learning about color and how to make the board pop. With a little guidance, an assortment of food items, and a willingness to experiment, each student completed a board which was different from the next, showing that there is obviously an art to charcuterie.


Shelli Chinlund & Jason Lindblad

Ray & Barbara Suhadolnik

Sharon Gibbs & Wendy Cooper

Sandy Smith, Connie Tenberge & Keely Geitner

Emily Probst & Lynn Nickell


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7/27/22 11:29 PM



Do Not Miss Promoting Your Business in Our September

Leading Ladies Issue Various opportunities exist to showcase your product r servi e t t e area’s most savvy women. Call: 850.502.7970 Email: Now offering carpet cleaning.


(850) 376-6774

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7/28/22 11:33 AM

Beachy Office Vibes story by Anna Stockton photos by Harley S. Sampson, Jr.

Melissa Fertitta, Director of Operations, Steven Franco, CEO, Melanie Gray, Administrator


he professional climate has changed in the last decade or so -- gone are the days of a stiff office environment, sitting in a cubicle, clocking in at nine, leaving at five. The COVID pandemic confirmed this even further when we found that the office worker doesn’t have to be in a traditional office setting to be productive. As the ways we work have changed, so have the opportunities for unique, modern workspaces like Beachworx, showing us a new and different way to do business. Located along Emerald Coast Parkway in Destin, Beachworx is a coworking office space like no other.


Originally designed for vacationers visiting the area, who have a houseful and just need a little peace and quiet to get some work done, this unique office space has morphed into a place popular with local businesspeople. With flexible, affordable coworking space, Beachworx offers private office suites as well as an open-concept coworking space, and even board room and meeting spaces are available. Hot desks can be rented in the coworking space by the day, week, or even month-tomonth. These hot desks are a great opportunity to get your work done in a space that’s not only functional but also offers a great opportunity to network with other hot desk tenants. If a quieter workspace is needed, private offices are a flexible alternative to traditional commercial office spaces with no long-term lease commitments. These are available to rent month to month and come fully furnished, although you’re welcome to bring your own furniture or special touches to personalize your space. If you need to do a presentation or meet with important clients, BeachWorx’s boardroom is the way to go. The boardroom comfortably seats 10 people at the table, however, seating can be configured to accommodate an additional 12 people if needed. Whiteboard, conference phone, presentation tools for Mac and PC are all available to the client. In addition to these cool options, Beachworx also offers another unique idea --


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the virtual address. This is perfect for someone who has a home-based business and wants to have an actual brick and mortar address for their business that’s not their home address. This gives more credibility to your business when a professional office building comes up in a Google search. A virtual address is also important for the safety and security of your family as it will ensure a disgruntled or enthusiastic client can’t just drop by unannounced. Virtual memberships are also great for those who want to have an address to expand their businesses to the Florida market. Beachworx is the vision of Owner Steven Franco, whose realty business, Rodos Realty Partners, purchased the Destin Commerce Center in 2016. At the time, the four-story office building was leased with long-term tenants Merrill Lynch and a national bank. The third floor was available for lease and Steven, a native of Atlanta, believed the coworking concepts that were taking off around that time in larger markets would be a great amenity for the beach. In the beginning, Beachworx’s open coworking space was very popular, but Franco quickly realized there was an even larger demand for executive suites, also known as their private offices. This led to the build-out of three additional suites on the third floor. Now the coworking company is expanding to the second floor with even more executive suites to fill the demand for private office spaces. Beachworx takes pride in taking care of their clients and helping them make the most of business and networking opportunities available. For instance, their hot desk promotions include a partnership with VIP Destin Magazine. For $600 per month, you get a dedicated desk, meaning you can leave your computer, personal effects, etc., at a hot desk, and you receive additional marketing support for your business in VIP Destin Magazine. You’ll get your logo on your desk, similar to private office members, who put their logo on their office window. In addition, you’ll get your logo on one rotation on Beachworx’s digital pylon on HWY 98, with about 52,000 daily views from drivers. Your logo and a 25-word tagline will appear on the Beachworx ad in VIP Destin Magazine. Plus, you’ll be invited to VIP Destin’s advertiser-only events and be included in a quarterly VIP Destin email blast that reaches 85,000 people. As the professional climate changes, changing your own business climate to something a little beachier isn’t a bad idea. So, whether you’re on vacation and enjoying the beautiful Gulf Coast waters, working from home and needing a little peace and quiet, or looking to expand your networking and business contacts, Beachworx has the opportunities you’re looking for.

@thebeachworx 34990 Emerald Coast Pkwy. | Suite 300 Destin, FL | (850) 974-3435 August 2022 | 59

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VIP Destin at The Place on Beal

Carolyn Ketchel & Bonnie Barlow

Deanna Simonsen, Susan Sharpe, Rita Anisimova & Laurie Guzman



Annual Meeting

photos & story by Savannah Vasquez

onors and volunteers from United Way Emerald Coast packed the house at The Place on Beal on July 19, ready to celebrate another year of service in Okaloosa and Walton Counties. More than 100 people, representing 40 local companies and non-profits, gathered to recognize the positive impact they had on the local community. “We are excited to celebrate the past year and all our achievements, and recognize our donors and volunteers for the services they have provided,” said Kelly Jasen, United Way Emerald Coast CEO. “We are celebrating a $1.2 million impact here across Okaloosa and Walton Counties, but more importantly that represents 43,000 individuals who are served by the United Way program this past year.” During the celebration, guests enjoyed tapas from Vibe Productions as well as frozen cocktails from Tap the Coast.

Jason Fulghum & Matt Zasada

Kelly Jasen & Kim Cox

Darra Flanagan & Emily Shelton

Alice Radomski & Kristi McClelan

Nicole Lockwood, Tracy Johnson, Sam Smith, Marlee Tucker & Thomas Everidge

60 |

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Jessica Leavins & Tim Bolduc

Shawne Werne, Tiffany Merrel & Sarah Calhoun

Carrie Parker & Stephanie Kitchen

Mike Coupe, Jerry Williams & Bernard Johnson August 2022 | 61

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Stylish Staples

story by Anna Stockton

hether you’re a young professional just starting out, a stay-at-home parent reentering the work force, or someone who may be switching careers, you may be overwhelmed with the thought that you have to find something to wear to work, every. single. day. Before you start panicking and pondering why you need to spend money to buy clothes so you can go make money, keep in mind a few solid pieces go a long way when building your work wardrobe.

Blazing Trails A well-tailored blazer will be your best friend in the workplace, as it can complete your suit or be worn over a wrap dress for a more polished look. It’s better to go with a classic cut and avoid trends as trends come and go (shoulder pads, anyone?). Your blazer will serve you far longer in a traditional style. Tailoring is key and gives a professional and put together look. It’s even more important for the fellas to have a few welltailored and classic blazers in their closet. This wardrobe staple will easily transition from the boardroom to a night at the ballet. Singing the Blues Assuming you don’t have someone like Meredith from The Office, whose wildly inappropriate casual Friday attire ruins the privilege for everyone, your office will probably have a dress down day at some point. A good, office-appropriate pair of jeans will come in handy and allow you to participate without breaking the rules. Go with wide-leg, straight, or boot-cut jeans for the most professional look. Stay away from skinny jeans or jeggings as those tend to be too tight for an office setting and make you the one responsible for the end of casual Friday. Good luck getting invited to the office happy hour after being the “fun ruiner.” Best Foot Forward Good shoes will take you far, literally. A pair of shoes that are professional, fashionable, and versatile are a fabulous investment. Going with a nude or black pair of heels or flats will get you more bang for your buck as you can wear them with more outfits, while sticking with a more classic style means you can wear them for years to come without looking dated and “out of style.” This is a good investment for the men as well. A nice, polished pair of dress shoes are important for a good first impression. Going with a classic oxford or dressed up loafer is sure to last you for years and never go out of style. August 2022 | 63

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“Dress” for Success Dresses are another important staple in your business wardrobe. Sheath dresses are a stylish yet professional option that is versatile enough to be dressed up when paired with a blazer or down when worn by itself. Sheath dresses generally have a tailored look that is perfect for an office setting. Another great option is a wrap dress. Wrap dresses are a girl’s best friend as they’re flattering to most body types and are versatile enough to easily go from a business setting to a night out. Of course, making sure necklines and hemlines are office appropriate is important when choosing a dress, keeping it classy will ensure you’re taken seriously as the smart, professional woman you are. Exercise your right to Accessorize Accessories are the icing on the cake of professional outfits. Men’s ties, belts, cufflinks, etc. are all important in obtaining a polished, office-ready outfit. And while it’s nice to express your individuality and personality, classic staples are the way to go when you want to give a professional and squared away impression. I’m not saying you need to throw away your Hooters tie, maybe just save it for a different, more appropriate occasion. Ladies have more leeway when it comes to accessories. Going a little wild with prints, interesting earrings, and fun handbags are all acceptable and are good staples for your wardrobe as long as they still give the impression of professionalism.

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Business Profile Keeping it All in the Family photos & story by Carlos Saffron

Joseph Battitori and Ella Battitori grew up in an old coal mining town of Pittsburg in southeast Kansas. Joseph, after visiting Destin for a vacation, realized all the opportunities the area had to offer. Shortly afterwards he made the move to Destin, he was 19 years old. He immediately got a job working down on the harbor giving dolphin tours. After a summer of working on the harbor he got a new job opportunity to be the project manager for a home building company. He managed jobs for several years before he began building homes himself. Ella, after graduating high school in 2019, decided to spend the summer visiting Joseph in Destin. That summer, she worked as a dock attendant at the local marina. Once summer came to an end Ella concluded that she did not want to go back home as planned and decided to stay in the Destin area. She continued her studies in nursing, but soon realized all the business opportunities that laid before her, and she switched paths. Ella studied business management for a year before getting her Florida Real Estate License. One day she and Joseph were tossing around the idea of opening a boutique coffee shop. That was more than enough motivation to start the project. Before she knew it, her brother and stepfather had purchased a 1978 airstream to make it happen. They spent six months completely renovating the trailer and it was ready to go, the idea of Coastal Coffee Company came to life.

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Coastal Coffee serves breakfast burritos, a variety of bagels, and some ama ing muffins along with all your coffee needs. Ella was very adamant when it came to the coffee, that she would only serve the best coffee she could find. er choice was ava a coffee and it’s now a big hit. They are open from 7am to 2pm (weather permitting) Tuesday through Sunday and are located on the estin arbor on the appy’s Boat ental property. Here is a great example of two young adults that have been able to follow their dreams, and are always waiting at the coffee shop with a smile to greet you. Instagram & Face Book: mycoastalcoffee. 850.329.5655

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VIP Destin at Niceville Community Center

Civic Hall of Fame Luncheon photos & story by Savannah Vasquez

Dr. Devin Stephenson & Lannie Corbin

Bernard Johnson & Mel Ponder


large group of Niceville and Valparaiso area leaders and Chamber members gathered on July 20 to commemorate past community leaders and induct two new members into the Niceville Valparaiso Civic Hall of Fame. The Civic Hall of Fame began in 2016 to honor outstanding leaders in the community for their service to the Northwest Florida area. “The overall goal of this recognition program is to preserve our rich history and recognize the extraordinary efforts put forth by people that care enough to dedicate their time to making the area better,” said Tricia Brunson, Niceville Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce President. “These are residents who truly lead by example and have a vision that they couple with hard work that produce amazing results.” To date, there have been 20 inductees into the Niceville Valparaiso Civic Hall of Fame, each having met the criteria of being long-time residents of the Emerald Coast and having made a significant positive impact on the development of the local area. July’s event saw two new members inducted into the Civic Hall of Fame; the late Jane Wooten Meigs and James “Jim” Richard Heald. Wooten Meigs was honored for her work in the Chamber of Commerce, particularly remembered for founding the annual Christmas parade, as well as her service at First United Methodist Church (now Crosspoint), helping to establish many local outreach programs including the Bargain Box, a fundraising thrift store that is still in use today. Heald was honored for his work with InDyne and Eglin Air Force Base, especially for his part in lobbying congress to protect the Gulf of Mexico from offshore drilling in the immediate area. He was also honored for his selection by the Florida House of Representatives to serve on the Florida Defense Support Task Force as a spokesperson for change in local military affairs. “When you listen to the accomplishments of the individuals, it is humbling and inspiring at the same time,” said Brunson. “The honoree and the family members are often surprised that their work is highlighted in a public forum because their dedication is part of their personal value system, they don’t do it for recognition or praise.”

Mike Guidry & Don Bishop

Duane Gallagher & Teresa Halverson 68

Robin Nelson, Tricia Brunson & Leah Brown

Judy Byrne Riley & Meghan Riley Bowling


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Mel Ponder, Marion Riley Taylor & Dr. Mike Mosley

Dawn Heald, Michael Heald, Genevieve Heald, Pat Heald, Jim Heald, Beke Heald & Greg Heald

Dr. Robert Crosby, Bruce Burnsten, Sean Medsker & Chuck Nunemaker

Carayln Durham, Martha Meigs Lang, Kahler Lang, Shannon Lang, Meryl Meigs Sanders & Hunter Sanders August 2022 | 69

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850-654-5466 (LIMO)

• 24/7 live reservations and dispatch • Easy online reservations • Over 14 years experience • GPS tracking on all vehicles

221 Main Street Destin, Florida 32541

Providing Quality Car, Truck, & SUV Repairs • Oil change • Vehicle diagnostics • 27 point inspection • Cooling system flush • Factory maintenance schedule • Brake system flush • Brake system operation and inspections

850-837-6667 221 Main Street Destin, Florida 32541

Serving Destin *Sandestin *Santa Rosa Beach * Seaside * Fort Walton Servicing all domestic vehicles and specializing on European models such as Audi, BMW and Jaguar see the website for full list. 71 654limo.indd 1

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AUGUST 11 Sounds Like Summer Pavilion at Watersound 75 Origins Main Street | Watersound 6:00-9:00pm The Watersound Town Center offers music, theater, outdoor movies, and more under the shade of their pavilion. Come and enjoy the summer sounds of J & The Causeways in the 30A Songwriters Festival Concert Series. Visit for information and line-up.

AUGUST 20 10th Annual Paddle at the Park Henderson Beach State Park 17000 Emerald Coast Parkway | Destin Races start at 9:00am The 10th Annual Paddle at the Park, sponsored by HCA Florida Destin Emergency, is returning to the beaches of Henderson Beach State Park. This event features 1- and 3-mile recreational races and a 6-mile elite race. Awards will be given out after the races have been completed. Kayaks and inflatables are welcome too. Visit for all race info.

AUGUST 26 3rd Annual Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge Golf Tournament Blackstone Golf Course 108 Blackstone Lane | DeFuniak Springs 9:00am Mark your calendar for the 3rd Annual ECWR Golf Tournament powered by Step One Automotive Group, the hole-in-one sponsor. Enter for your chance to win 2022 Buick Escalade or one of three other prizes. Join the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge’s mission of education, conservation, and rehabilitation for the welfare of Florida’s native wildlife through rescue, rehabilitation, and release. It’s time to “Do it FORE the wildlife!”

AUGUST 21 Summer Haze Music Festival North Beach Social 24200 US-331 | Santa Rosa Beach 12:00-9:00pm This full day event will feature some of the area’s favorite musicians at both The Bay and North Beach Social with a portion of proceeds benefiting the Alaqua Animal Refuge. Come out and enjoy a full day of music from the Luke Langford Trio, Electric Duck Phat, Dion Jones, Queen’s Ransom, Boukou Groove, The Iceman Special, and more surprise guests! Visit for more information.

AUGUST 27 Hammers and Hotrods Car Show Okaloosa Technical College 1976 Lewis Turner Blvd. | Fort Walton Beach Registration 8:00am Car Show Starts 10:00am Calling all car enthusiasts! Join the Building Industry Association of Okaloosa and Walton Counties for their first annual Hammers and Hotrods Car Show. See the raddest hotrods around while supporting a great cause! Visit for more information.

Go to to register.

Visit for more events! 72


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7/27/22 11:37 PM

VIP Destin at Destin Chamber of Commerce


Great American Cookout photos & story by Harley S. Sampson, Jr.


he Destin Chamber hosted the 9th Annual Great American Cookout on July 7. This event was sponsored by Community Bank and Emerald Coast Title Services. At the helm of the BBQ was Dion Moniz, President of Emerald Coast Title Services. While many of the Chamber events are held in a more formal setting, Shane Moody, President and CEO of the Destin Chamber wanted to celebrate Independence Day and do something fun and informal for the members. With beautiful weather, great food, and great company, the cookout was a hit. The Chamber’s monthly nonprofit spotlight was Fisher House. With so many military installations in the Panhandle, Fisher House plays an important part in the lives of many military families. Aubrey Johnson explained, “Fisher House is a comfort home on Eglin, allowing military families visiting service members seeking medical attention to stay for free.” In 2019 alone Fisher House hosted over 1,100 guests and provided 2,900 beds, saving military families almost $300,000 in lodging. Volunteers and donors are always welcome to support the mission. Whether it’s BBQ, networking, or just some time away from the grind, don’t miss out on the next Destin Chamber event.

Dion Moniz & Justin Woodard

Chrissy Harmon & Vicki Jiles

Kayla O’Leary & Savannah McQuaig

Shane Moody & Les Porterfield

Kent Tinsley, Chip Wells & Arlen Busenitz

Shane Bininger & Jason Fulghum

Linnette Wolfgram & Sean Whalen August 2022 | 75

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VIP Destin at 9th Annual Great American Cookout

Tatiana Kakliauskas & Nicole Noblitt

Lee Holland & Tori Combs

Ryan Evans & Stacey Young

Carla Jordana & AngelaMarie Pacley

Daniel Herring & Michelle Royce

Bryana Bahmer & Bill Head

Larry Cowsert & Josh Cowsert

Cindy Russel & Monica Bell 76

Bobbie Celano & Glen Eichelberger

Sheree & Jeff Moody

Nicole Lockwood & Lori Smith


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Bobby Parker What is your hometown and how did you end up on the Emerald Coast? I am proud to call Destin my hometown – yes, I was actually born here - and while I have spent some time in Alabama, the Emerald Coast always seems to call me back home. What is your profession? I am the Vice President of Marketing for Corcoran Reverie – a high-end real estate firm in Northwest Florida and Nashville and an affi liate of The Corcoran Group in NYC. While my educational background is in Elementary Education and I taught school for three years, I have always been in a marketing and public relations role even before college. Having a creative and innovative mind while also having a knack for building relationships, marketing and public relations has always been an ideal fit. It is also a profession that is always evolving, so it always keeps me on my toes. In addition to my professional career, I am in the incoming President of the Northwest Florida Coast Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association, I am a founding board member of the Fort Walton Beach Cultural Arts League, founder of Northwest Florida Coast Pride, the Young Professionals of Destin Liaison for the Destin Chamber, and I serve on the IDEA [Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, & Access] Committee for the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County and the Marketing Committee for the Seaside School Half Marathon & 5K. What are some of your favorite things about Destin? What makes it unique? Definitely the people, and the vibrant arts community. Destin locals are truly amazing individuals that are genuine and have a passion for their city; they are the definition of Southern Hospitality. I’ve also become spoiled when it comes to seafood because there is nothing like fresh Gulf seafood that’s caught in the morning and on your plate that same evening. The arts community in Destin is thriving with a talented group of local artists that make Destin an even more beautiful place including visual and the performing arts. Destin is such a unique place because despite its growth over the years and the changes that we have seen, it has stayed true to its roots and history as the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village.” Three words that best describe you. Ambitious, Authentic, Loyal, Innovative. I’ve never been one to fit in a box, so just three words couldn’t describe me! Favorite place for dining, entertainment, and outdoor activities? My favorite place in Destin for dining, entertainment, and outdoor activities has always been the Destin Harbor. I will never turn down dinner at Boshamps [you can never go wrong by ordering the Snapper Destin] or “harbor hopping” between the Red Door Saloon [best bushwacker hands down], Boathouse Oyster Bar [the perfect place for live music and to rub elbows with the locals], and The Harbor Tavern. There’s also so much to do on the water along the Harbor such as a pirate cruise aboard the Buccanneer, watching the dolphins aboard the Southern Star, or taking a pontoon out to Crab Island. Plus, there’s always something fun happening at HarborWalk Village! Finish this statement. I AM Destin because… Destin – the people and the community – helped me discover my authentic self and helped shape me into the person I am today both personally and professionally. Destin is truly a special place and the epitome of “home.” photo by Kay Phelan

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