Page 1







Fishing captain creates art with custom rods

Lack of international visitors affecting market

Kombucha brewer leaves corporate world



Sales up for boats, RVs during pandemic _____ __P. 30


FGCU’s Water School to enhance economy _____ __P. 38


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ZDENKO KORUNDA, MD 4513 Executive Drive Naples, FL 34119

• University of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ School of Osteopathic Medicine, Stratford, NJ, 2006

Board Certification & Advanced Training • Double Board Certified by American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Subspecialty of Pain Medicine • Medical College of Virginia, Pain Medicine Fellowship, Richmond, VA • Temple University, Residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Philadelphia, PA

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• M.D. University of Zagreb School of Medicine, Zagreb, Croatia, 1996

Board Certification and Advanced Training

• Board Certified in Pain Medicine by American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation • Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, OH, Pain Management Fellowship • Cleveland Clinic Health System, Cleveland, OH, Internal Medicine Residency • Castle Connolly’s National Top Doctors, 2012-2020

Medical Education • University of Nebraska, Omaha, NE, 2011


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Board Certification & Advanced Training • Board Certified in Physical Medicine and Rehab and Pain Medicine by American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation • University of Nebraska, Omaha, NE; Pain Medicine Fellowship • University of California Irvine, Orange, CA; Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Residency • Saint Petersburg General Hospital, St. Petersburg, FL; Tradition Rotating Internship

Medical Education

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Medical Education • M.D. University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, VA 2010-2014

Board Certification & Advanced Training

• Board Certified in Pain Medicine and Anesthesiology by American Board of Anesthesiology • Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, Pain Management Fellowship, 2018-2019 • Washington University in St. Louis, St. ouis, MO, Anesthesiology Residency, 2014-2018

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Contents. F E AT U R E S










The present and future of Southwest Florida’s signature sport

Local boat, yacht dealers see strong sales in 2020

FGCU’s Water School set to enhance local economy

Our experience is your advantage.

With over 70 years of experience, our law professionals focus on legal areas that are at the core of the challenges facing individuals and businesses today. Having the right attorney can make all the difference. We are here for you. As a new year begins, we look forward to continuing to serve the community and representing our clients with unwavering determination and leadership. Fort Myers 239.334.2195 Cape Coral 239. 542. 3148

West Palm Beach 561. 471. 1366

Agricultural • Banking & Finance • Business & Corporate • Civil Litigation Condominium & Homeowners’ Associations • Construction • Employment • Environmental & Water Estate Planning, Probate & Trusts • Land Use & Local Government • Marital & Family • Real Estate

Contents. D E PA R T M E N T S

TakeNote Spaces P. 10 Makers P. 12 Creatives P. 14 Bookmark P. 16 Trendline P. 18 Economic Commentary P. 20 P.10

B2B P 50

TOURISM How the lack of international, group visitors affects local market P 54

PHYSICAL THERAPY One of several industries moving its business model online P 56

NONPROFIT How NCEF’s grant making committee distributes funds without fisticuffs P 58

HEALTH CARE Health training that moves


beyond reps and weight P 62

ENTREPRENEURSHIP From steady corporate job


to launching a kombucha brewing business

4 G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 1


HORSEPOWER Genesis introduces a fresh take on its star sedan P 68

FITNESS Advancements, enhancements in wearable technology P 70

NEW & NOTEWORTHY Cool headphones for a charitable cause

p_71 WEEKEND GETAWAY Set the tone for the new year in posh Palm Beach










G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S J A N U A R Y 2021 5

It’s Not Just Dining ... EDI T OR IN CHIEF

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Shula’s Steak House Naples is the classic American, fine dining steak house. Treat yourself to the highest-quality menus paired perfectly with our award-winning wine list and craft cocktails served on crisp white table cloths. We go above and beyond to make sure that each and every carefully considered detail comes together in a way that entertains, not overwhelms, so that you can focus on enjoying the moment and making memories with your guests. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or just the end of the work week, your experience at Shula’s steak House Naples will stick with you long after you’ve left the table. Reservations 239.430.4999 Private Dining Call Stephanie Scholes 239.659.3176 Dinner 5 PM to 10 PM Located at the Hilton Naples 5111 Tamiami Trail North

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Volume 26/Number 1, January, Gulfshore Business (ISSN 1935-8199), is published 12 times a year by Gulfshore Life, 26101 Tamiami Trail, Bonita Springs, FL 34134. Subscriptions are free to qualified individuals residing in the United States. For customer service inquiries or to change your address by providing both the old and new addresses, contact: Gulfshore Business, PO Box 17156, North Hollywood, CA 916157156. Telephone (818) 286-3160 or email Periodicals postage paid at Naples, FL, and at additional mailing offices. Copyright 2020 by Gulfshore Life. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher. Unsolicited manuscripts without return postage will not be returned. DISCLAIMER: Advertisements in the publication do not constitute an offer for sale in states where prohibited or restricted by law. Occasionally we make our subscriber list available to carefully screened companies that offer products and services that we believe would interest our readers. If you do not want to receive these offers, please advise us at Gulfshore Business, PO Box 17156, North Hollywood, CA 91615-7156. Please include your name and address as it appears on the mailing label of your most recent issue. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Gulfshore Business, PO Box 1 7 1 5 6 , N o r t h H o l l y w o o d , C A 9 1 6 1 5 -7 1 5 6 .

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from the editor. JANUARY 2021

completion in 2022 (see pg. 38). The Water School is designed to bring new hope to both the environment and the economy. With a total of five degrees offered, graduates will have a better understanding and appreciation for water issues as they enter the workforce. According to Shelton Weeks, department chair of

The View Ahead If there’s one thing 2020 taught us, it’s that change

economics and finance in the Lutgert College of Business and Water School affiliate faculty member, the ultimate goal of the school is to protect local natural reHEIDI RAMBO CENTRELLA EDITOR IN CHIEF

sources, as well as the area economy. And if it weren’t for our prized and pristine beaches, for which many tourists flock to

is inevitable … and necessary. Change isn’t always a

the area, our robust hospitality industry

bad thing; it forces us to experience new challeng-

could be in jeopardy.

es, face uncertain realities and push ourselves to

Tourists not only seek relaxation at our

new limits and greater heights. Change also cre-

beaches, they also come for sports. While

ates new opportunities for growth. So now that

golf has long been a driver in attracting

we’ve bid adieu to what we can with great certainty

visitors, recent years have demonstrat-

call a challenging 2020, there’s no need to look in

ed that pickleball and baseball’s spring

the rear-view mirror. Rather, forward thinking and

training are major draws, as well. In fact,

mindful intention should pave the way as we wel-

research shows the popularity of golf has

come a new year.

been on the decline since pre-recession

Living in this slice of paradise we call home af-

2006, although it remains a hefty con-

fords many pleasures for most preferences, from

tributor to our state coffers (see pg. 22).

fine dining and shopping experiences to an array

Of course, the sports industry took a hit

of sports and recreational pastimes. These trea-

in 2020 with cancelled tournaments and

sures bestowed upon the residents and visitors of

events across the board, which resulted in

Southwest Florida must not be taken for granted, however. In order to continue being able to appreciate the region’s offerings, it’s imperative that we’re well informed about the threats, as well as opportunities, in our various communities. Florida Gulf Coast University has been working

p.22 GOLF CAPITAL Greens and fairways dot the topography of Southwest Florida.

the natural domino effect that occurred in the hospitality industry—food, lodging, shopping and transportation. But that’s part of the rear-view mirror that’s best not used moving forward. Better days should be ahead; cheers from our

diligently to improve one of our greatest resources

Gulfshore Business family to yours for a

through The Water School, which is scheduled for

bright and prosperous 2021.

8 G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 1

p_12 The art of custom-built fishing poles


Courtesy Aldo Castillo; Vanessa Rogers


New Era for Art in Naples GLOBAL INFLUENCES INSPIRE DOWNTOWN GALLERY p_10 By Melanie Pagan

TakeNote S PA C E S

JANUARY 2021 By Melanie Pagan


1 0 G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 1

INTERNATIONAL INFLUENCE Contemporary art fills Aldo Castillo’s new gallery in downtown Naples.

Aldo Castillo has a secret superpower: He can sense what

Castillo, who opened his first gallery in Chicago in 1993

type of art a community is ready for based on how it’s de-

and has directed art fairs from Miami to Shanghai, based

veloping. That special sense led the seasoned internation-

the location’s look off his global experience.

al art curator and adviser to open Aldo Castillo Gallery in October on Fifth Avenue South in Naples.

“I wanted to give the gallery an architectural feel, like a loft in SoHo, New York, or London, where you see a gallery

“It took me nine years to make the move to Naples,”

in this lofty, raw space,” he says. “When you come to the

says Castillo, who also has a self-titled gallery at the Mi-

gallery, contemporary art is surrounded by architecture

romar Design Center. That’s because now, he said, more

that matches.”

people seem to be enjoying the city year-round than as a

The gallery is located in one of the properties owned

seasonal escape from chilly northern winters. “It is still a

by David Hoffmann, chairman of Hoffmann Commercial

hidden jewel with very sophisticated people, but the look

Real Estate and founder of Osprey Capital LLC, who, with

is more international.”

his family, owns multiple hospitality-centered spaces in

The diverse community may call for the kind of con-

the area. Castillo thanked him for helping bring the new

temporary works Castillo has gathered to fill his new,

space to life. “Mr. Hoffmann understands the power of

1,704-square-foot gallery.

art,” he says.

“I give artists the freedom to create in whatever medi-

Naples is undoubtedly making more room for the in-

um they want,” Castillo says. In October, the unit featured

dustry, with a dedicated design district and more creative

art by Augusto Esquivel, who makes sculptures out of

spaces cropping up. And Aldo Castillo Gallery may drive

buttons, and Mariana Monteagudo, who forms dolls from

that growth even further.

mixed media. Aldo Castillo Gallery lets the bold art speak for itself, with crisp white walls, light wood floors and clean lines

“The whole area of Southwest Florida, especially Naples, is looking forward to a bright new contemporary future,” he says. “That’s why I made the move here.”

creating a minimalist backdrop. Natural light floods in Courtesy Aldo Castillo

from the oversized front windows, which help draw in shoppers from the street. “Even when the gallery is closed, they can still enjoy the art,” Castillo says.

Aldo Castillo Gallery 634 Fifth Avenue South, Naples

G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S J A N U A R Y 2021 1 1




By Justin Paprocki

Pole Position THE ARTISTRY OF JIM FORTMAN’S CUSTOM FISHING RODS From a distance, it’s just a fishing pole.

requests that it made sense to make it

But look closer and you’ll see the intri-

a side business. He started J-Stick’um

cately woven threading in diamond pat-

Custom Rods and Jigs in his garage. Now,

terns along the rod. “They are a piece of

he’s got a backlog of about three months’

art,” says Captain Jim Fortman of Naples.

worth of work.

In addition to running fishing charters

He starts essentially from scratch with

in the backwaters of the Everglades, Fort-

a rod, adding custom grips, a reel and

man makes custom fishing poles­­—a hob-

guides for the line. The most intricate

by that stretches back to his childhood in

part is looping the thread around the

Fort Lauderdale. He started building his

rod or adding specialty logos. The fin-

own rods just for fun. Then as he got old-

ishing touch involves a coating of ep-

er and a little more experienced, he start-

oxy, a time-consuming process that

ed making them for friends and family,

involves three to four days of layering.

and eventually started getting enough

He’ll do a pressure test before putting

FUNCTIONAL ART Capt. Jim Fortman of Naples creates custom-built fishing poles.

1 2 G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 1

on the guides to make sure it’s up to his durability standards. “When you buy custom built, they’re a lot tougher,” Fortman says. Prices range from $200 to $400 for a rod. He sells at the Vanderbilt Farmers Market in Naples, but takes orders online and ships across the country. Most of his rods get used, of course. But he’s created a few that are displayed as art pieces, such as the one threaded Vanessa Rogers

in pink and white for breast cancer awareness. The majority of fishing rods are mass manufactured, but Fortman takes pride in knowing that he’s creating something that a serious fisherman can appreciate. “It’s a lost art,” he says, “but it’s worth doing.” G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S J A N U A R Y 2021 1 3

TakeNote C R E AT I V E S

JANUARY 2021 By Melanie Pagan

Vanessa Rogers (left); Courtesy Alliance for the Arts (2)


1 4 G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 1

SHOW MUST GO ON Because of the pandemic, live performances are socially distanced outdoors at Alliance for the Arts in Fort Myers.

Dinner and a show sure looks different these days at Alli-

and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which fol-

ance for the Arts, a creative hub for self-expression in Fort

lowed in November, along with James McClure’s Laundry

Myers. Instead of theater seats, audience members sprawl

and Bourbon.

out on marked squares to see live performances under the stars. The live theater season, which launched in October, is set entirely outside for the sake of social distancing. The arts industry has been no exception to COVID-19’s effects, after all. When the pandemic first hit, the Alliance for the Arts had to cancel most of its planned events, Executive Direc-

The live performances are just one way the Alliance for the Arts is keeping the community together, Black said. “When trouble hits and people feel isolated from each other, we think of how we can encourage people to remain creative and connected,” she says. “We truly believe in our mission to inspire and transform lives and engage our community in the arts.”

tor Lydia Black says. “We were one of the first industries to

The socially distanced shows are set to have a two-week

close, and certainly one of the last to be able to reopen, be-

run once a month, with the season planned through March.

cause our business is gathering people together.”

Visit for more information.

But the show must go on, and in a serendipitous twist, the organization had just finished a significant outdoor expansion now known as Alliance ArtsPark. The public space has plenty of room for fresh-air fun. “We could never have predicted a pandemic, but over the last two years, we have invested in landscaping, sidewalks, lighting and a new paint job,” Black says. ArtsPark is anchored by the Caloosahatchee Water Wall, a towering structure created by artist Michael Singer. “We’re seeing a ton of people use the outside facility,” she adds. Shortened performances take place on the intimate GreenMarket Stage, initially intended for live music, gardening workshops and the weekly Saturday GreenMarket. “With the help of a local Eagle Scout troop, we’ve expanded the stage to be able to offer a larger space for socially distant performances and concerts,” Black says. “We wanted to be able to responsibly bring small groups of people together to enjoy the arts.” Smaller casts treat guests to classic plays such as Duck Variations, which kicked off the show season in October, G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S J A N U A R Y 2021 1 5






Did you know that up until approximately 1800,

timely new book, Honorable Business—A

the average daily wage for labor had not changed

Framework for Business in a Just and

appreciably since the Stone Age? The average

Humane Society, by Professor of econom-

Sausage, leads a

person in 1800 earned $1-$3 a day, as did the av-

ics James R. Otteson, the Ryan Chair of

book club in Naples

erage person who lived 100,000 years ago. They

Business Ethics at the University of Notre

with about a dozen

each lived in extreme poverty. So, what generat-

Dame. Otteson maintains that there are

other high-power

ed all the prosperity we have now come to enjoy?

only two methods to attain wealth: ex-

friends. The group

The advent of free markets and specialization as

tracting it from others through coercion

only reads non-fic-

envisioned by Adam Smith in his seminal book,

or generating it by creating value for oth-

tion as a way to

The Wealth of Nations. The governments and

ers with honorable business practices. His

businesspeople that put his ideas into practice

litmus test for what is ethical is very sim-

have lifted billions of people out of extreme pov-

ple: Any willing transaction that creates

erty in less than 250 years. Anyone who doubts

value for both parties is ethical; any trans-

that business and the free market has accom-

action that extracts value through means

plished this need look no farther than China to

of theft, fraud or coercion is unethical. He

see what freeing people from the yoke of commu-

states that all transactions up until 1800

nism has done for them.

were extractive, and that is why almost ev-

an avid reader and former CEO of Johnsonville

keep learning and sharpening the mind. Every month, Stayer shares the latest page-turners earning a permanent spot on his ever-expanding bookshelves.

Even though this has happened, there is still a

eryone lived in extreme poverty.

lingering feeling among many people that busi-

Honorable Business is filled with many

ness is morally suspicious. That is the subject of a

examples that give great weight to Otte-

1 6 G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 1

son’s assertions and demonstrates why business is an hon-

Myers thought he was the first American to ever make this

orable profession—because it provides the wherewithal for

flight, only to learn in 2017 that he was the second. The first

all the improvements in people’s lives we have witnessed. I

was Charles Lindbergh, 60 years earlier. The preparations

put more dog ears on this book than there are at the West-

and planning for this adventure were almost as daunting

minster Kennel Club. This is an especially important book

as the flight itself. The state of disrepair of the airports and

for all businesspeople in these times when young people are

navigation systems he used as technical stops in Russia

being led to socialism by teachers, professors and ignorant

tested his skill as a pilot … and made for suspenseful read-

politicians who condemn business and the market econ-

ing. One doesn’t have to be a pilot to enjoy this section of

omy. It exposes socialism as a destructive philosophy of

the book. It is a lesson in how proper planning and prepara-

wealth extraction, not wealth creation. That is why it has al-

tion are valuable in any endeavor.

ways failed and always will fail. As Margaret Thatcher said,

Myers did find an exciting business opportunity: refuel-

“Socialism is fine until you run out of other peoples’ mon-

ing cargo jets coming out of Asia going to the United States.

ey.” Read this book and then give a copy to your children and

He realized that Petropavlovsk was the ideal location, and


could substantially reduce costs for cargo operators. This should have been a home run. His story of what it took to

Flight Plan

develop the business and operate it is a great lesson for

Cross Winds by Steven Myers is a book about flying and

anyone interested in doing business in Russia. This was

entrepreneurship. Myers is an accomplished pilot and a

a golden opportunity for the people of Petropavlovsk and

renowned consultant to the aerospace industry. He was

Russia in general. The effort it took to deal daily with theft,

invited by the post-Soviet Russian government to look at

corruption and alcoholism is a testament to the ingenuity

business opportunities for their space program located on

and fortitude of Myers and his people. It is also an insight

the Kamchatka Peninsula. The first half of the book is about

into why Russia, with all its resources, is rapidly becoming

flying his Aero Commander turbo prop across Alaska and

a second-rate power. This is a shocking tale of power and

the Bering Sea down the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia.

corruption that is well worth reading. G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S J A N U A R Y 2021 1 7




By Justin Paprocki







N aples , Immokalee, Marco Is land

Fort Myers , Cape Coral

Punta Gorda

2 019


2 019


2 019

2 02 0

3 1 .7

3 1 .4


45 .7


8 .1

Ja n

3 2 .4

3 1 .8



8 .1

8 .3

Fe b

3 2 .4

3 1 .7


42 .1

8 .1

8 .4

M ar

Naples is particularly reliant on jobs from

3 1 .7

1 9.9

45 .8

2 2 .7

8 .0



its restaurants, hotels and other tourism-

3 0.1

2 0.7

43 .5

2 9.1



M ay

related services. Pre-pandemic, employment

2 8 .4

2 2 .8

41 .7

3 4.2



Ju n

2 7.6

2 2 .7


3 1 .0



Ju l

2 7.3

2 3 .7


3 3 .0




Statistics. In Fort Myers, it’s about 15%. In

2 7.1

2 4.9


3 3 .1




April of this year, those jobs declined by

2 8 .6

2 6.7

41 .8

3 5 .1




about 37% compared to the previous year. In

3 1 .1

43 .5



Fort Myers, the drop was even greater: 50%

3 1 .7

45 .2



continue to be among the worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic. And more details are emerging at just how hard those industries were hit.

in tourism and hospitality accounted for about 20% of jobs in the Naples area, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor

below April 2019. Leisure and hospitality jobs are rebounding, but not as quickly as other job sectors.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

1 8 G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 1

G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S J A N U A R Y 2021 1 9




B y To m S m y t h e , P h . D .

The Changed and Changing Economy The pandemic of 2020 is arguably the most significant

transition that the economy is currently experiencing and

event in modern times. It is leading to radical change in so

will continue to experience in the near future. We will

many areas of our lives: health, social, cultural, political,

not return to the “business as usual” that we knew before

economic and more. When we look back, we may have fun-

March 2020. Many of the changes that have come as a re-

damentally altered how we develop new drugs and address

sult of the pandemic are here to stay. As humans, we gen-

health crises. Will we ever shake hands or hug again as a

erally resist change—it is messy. What the pandemic has

greeting? Will museums, cinemas and theaters ever return

required us to do to survive is to embrace change, and if

to the forefront of our cultural lives? Have we entered a

you don’t, you will be left behind.

new era of closed national borders, and will supply chains

The need to embrace change is particularly important

be as diverse and offices be as commonplace in the future?

for two groups in our economy. The first is small business.

No single event of the last 150 years is likely to compare in

In larger companies, there are executives who specifical-

total with the change that the pandemic has brought.

ly help promote and lead change within organizations,

From an economic perspective, let’s be abundantly

although the people in those roles likely never imagined

clear: The pandemic has brought economic turmoil that

the magnitude of change they would currently be manag-

is as bad as, if not worse than, the Great Depression. But

ing. With small businesses, owners and entrepreneurs are

while the magnitude of the current economic situation is

generally so focused on what’s in front of them that they

equal to or greater than the Depression, we also have many

haven’t had the bandwidth to respond to change, much

more tools at our disposal to fight against this upheaval.

less embrace it and develop ways to incorporate it into

We now have central banks that understand the signifi-

their businesses. Going forward, small businesses will be

cance of well-functioning markets. Unlike the Depression,

required not only to respond to change, but to anticipate

our banking system is in a much better position to handle

it. It will be imperative to “seek” change to compete and

the current crisis, in part because of what we experienced

survive. That means owners must encourage idea genera-

in 2008. And, with the development of technology over the

tion from employees, at all levels, and be willing to fail and

last 25 years, we could still subsist without ever stepping

learn from it.

foot in a retail store again – tragic as that would be.

The second group that must embrace change are the

As we begin to cope with and hopefully eliminate the

99% of us who are not small-business owners. We work

health effects of COVID-19, we also need to embrace the

for someone in a job. The nature of every job in the world

2 0 G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 1

Courtesy Florida Gulf Coast University


EMBRACING CHANGE Tom Smythe says the pandemic requires businesses and employees to adapt to a new economic reality.

is going to change. There will likely be much more focus

close to launching professional credentialing that is very

on technology. My job is no different; I have gone from

targeted, skill-based education modules for community

never having taught in an online environment to being

members to remain relevant in current jobs or prepare for

mostly virtual. To make that switch has required the will-

a future change. Other programs, ranging from job shad-

ingness to learn new things and to challenge my old ways

owing to formal degree and certificate programs, should be

of doing things.

sought out on a regular basis.

We also will likely see companies want employees who

The pandemic has led to tremendous change. Equal-

are able to do multiple jobs, whether that be in a new set

ly important, it has sped up the process of change. As for

of job responsibilities or as “backup” for the next “event.”

small-business owners and employees, we must embrace

Of course, there are also jobs that are gone forever. Peo-

and anticipate change. If we don’t, the changes will leave

ple in those types of jobs, or if they think their job could

us behind.

become one of the “victims” of the future, actively need to seek ways to upgrade their skills through formal and infor-

Tom Smythe, Ph.D., is a professor of finance in the Lut-

mal means. For example, Florida Gulf Coast University is

gert College of Business at Florida Gulf Coast University. G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S J A N U A R Y 2021 2 1



2 2 G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 1



GOLF CAPITAL Courtesy Shadow Wood Country Club

Shadow Wood Country Club in Estero is one of hundreds of courses in the region.

G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S JANUARY 2021 23


Fly over Southwest Florida, and you can’t miss it. The well-manicured fairways, the dots of sand, the deep blue lakes—golf dominates our topography. The so-called Golf Capital of the World attracts thousands of tourists a year to play its links, and even more who seek to live in its dozens of golf course communities. The 140 or so (mostly private) golf courses generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for Southwest Florida. But the game just isn’t as popular as it was 15 years ago. And many of those people looking to buy in private communities are looking for amenities other than golf. It’s unlikely golf courses will be leveled for pickleball courts anytime soon, but it raises questions how it could continue to be the lifeblood of Southwest Florida. Golf has been ingrained in the Gulfshore since the Fort Myers Country Club opened in 1917 shrouded in pines and palmettos. Just a little south, golf was featured in the heart of downtown Naples. A small course with sandy greens stretched along Fifth Av-

a course during their stay, according to the county’s Convention

enue South. They were modest courses by

and Visitors Bureau. Nationally televised tournaments such as

today’s standard, and as the population grew,

the CME Group Tour Championship and QBE Shootout contin-

so did the demand for the game. During the

ue to reinforce that narrative of Southwest Florida as a golfer’s

development boom of the ’80s, it wasn’t just

paradise. “Golf has always been very important for us,” says CVB

enough to have a home; it had to be next to a

Executive Director Jack Wert.

top-notch golf course. In 2013, the National

A study by two University of Florida researchers was published

Golf Foundation named Naples the golf capi-

in 2002 about the economic impact of golf in the Sunshine State.

tal of the world with 212 people per golf hole.

Even though it’s nearly 20 years old, it’s worth noting that golf

Golf remains the most popular sport for vis-

in Southwest Florida generated $737 million in revenue (more

itors to Naples, with nearly 10% playing on

than $1 billion in today’s dollars), second only to the Miami-Fort

2 4 G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 1



about the future of the game here and just

25 POPSTROKE AND TOPGOLF Some of the most

but plans are on

but a complement,

popular golf is

hold due to the

Bartoli says. Close

happening off the


to 10 million people

course. It’s at places

places including

Stroke and other

high-growth, tour-

TopGolf, an increase

eater-tainment ven-

ist-friendly areas of

of more than 70%

ues where the game

the Sun Belt, making

over the last five

is just one part of a

Southwest Florida

years, according to

night out. At Pop-

the perfect spot.

trade group Syngenta

Stroke, which recent-

The idea behind the

Growing Golf. A study

ly opened in Fort My-

original eater-tain-

by TopGolf found

ers, you play on Tiger

ment venues such as

that 23% of new


Dave & Buster’s was

golfers started the

putting courses.

to give families and

game shortly after

Food and drink are

a younger generation

playing at a TopGolf

brought out to you on

a variety of options

location. That may

the course.

at once. You can

be an indication that

essentially have a

the booming popu-

typical minigolf

fun night out with-

larity of TopGolf and

experience with

out having to shuttle

PopStroke is helping

windmills and giant

between a restaurant

to grow the game.

zebra statues," says

and another location

Only time will tell if

PopStroke CEO Greg

or two.

those new golfers


Golf courses dominate the topography of Southwest Florida.

play at off-course

Stroke is targeting

"It's not like your


Bartoli says Pop-

like TopGolf, Pop-

PopStroke likes to

keep hitting the links

The first PopStoke

differentiate itself

… or just hit the on-

opened in Fort Myers

as reaching across

site bar after a nice

in September 2020,

all ages, Bartoli said.

round of minigolf.

and plans are in the

It's for everyone

works for another

from the veteran

in Naples. (TopGolf,

golfer looking for a

which is built around

fun night out with a

its giant driving

spouse to the family

ranges, planned a

of four who wants

Fort Myers location

to play minigolf and grab a quick dinner. The relationship to the game of golf is complex. It's not really competition

G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S JANUARY 2021 25


PICKLEBALL POWER Southwest Florida is

coronavirus scuttled

about 9,400 room

synonymous with golf

the growth of pickle-

nights booked by

and tennis. Why not

ball, but it is poised

out-of-town guests,

pickleball? Pickleball

to make a comeback.

according to the CVB.

is one of the fastest

“Pickleball will


growing sports in the

continue to be big

approved in 2019 a

country with more

for us,” says Collier

master plan for the

than 3 million players

County CVB Executive

East Naples park.

in 2019, according to

Director Jack Wert.

The second phase

the Sports & Fitness

East Naples Com-

is a $21.5 million

Industry Association.

munity Park went

investment that will

That’s about a 12%

from a few underused

include a 3,500-seat

increase from the

tennis courts and

pickleball stadium, a

year before.

a skate park to 64

new welcome center

pickleball courts that

and additional park-

Florida, pickleball

buzz with activity

ing. Funding isn’t

courts have sprouted

daily. The county has

secure yet, so the

up by the dozen over

pumped close to $5

timeline is a little up

the last five years.

million into the park

in the air. But it’s a

Tournaments are tak-

over the last five

sign that the coun-

ing place that bring

years, including add-

ty remains serious

thousands of specta-

ing a $750,000 shade

about pickleball. “It’s

tors and millions of

structure over sev-

like Field of Dreams ;

dollars. East Naples

eral of the courts. As

build it and they will

US Open Pickleball

Community Park

they’ve added courts

come,” says US Open

Championships in

hosts the largest: the

and amenities, the

co-founder Terri

East Naples.

Minto US Open Pick-

players just keep on


leball Championships


In Southwest

in April, in addition to

COURTING SUCCESS Although Southwest Florida is synonymous with golf, pickleball is a rising star because of the annual Minto

The US Open is

several other tour-

scheduled to bring

naments. Just north

2,700 top pickleball

in Punta Gorda is the

players from around

PicklePlex at Florida

the world and more

SouthWestern State

than 10,000 spec-

University. It opened

tators for the five-

just last year—and

day event. Last year,

pre-pandemic, was

the tournament was

hosting tournaments

cancelled due to

almost monthly. Like

the pandemic. But

most industries, the

the previous year, it generated about $4.5 million for the local economy, including

2 6 G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 1

Lauderdale-Palm Beach area. Of course, times have

Courtesy Michael Gauthier (left); Getty (right)

changed and so has the industry.

The dynamics are a little different here in Southwest Florida. Nice weather year-round makes the Sunshine

Golf was booming pre-recession. In 2005, about

State a golfer’s dream. In fact, Florida has more golf

30 million people, fueled by Tiger Woods highlights,

courses (about 1,250 at last count) than any other state

played a round of golf. That number steadily dropped

in the country. But in recent years, golf has faced some

and has relatively plateaued. Last year, about 24.3 mil-

stiff competition. The golf course communities that

lion stepped on a course for a round. Golf courses have

have been the heart and soul of Southwest Florida are

also been steadily closing nationwide. Since 2006, the

evolving. Residents don’t just want golf; they want golf

number of courses has contracted by about 10%, ac-

and fitness and yoga and pickleball. The catch is that

cording to the National Golf Foundation. The reasons

golf continues to be the top revenue-driving amenity in

are varied. Many industry insiders say there’s been a

communities, often meaning that communities need to

market correction, that there was an overestimation

get the most out of their courses to support everything

in the interest in golf in the mid-aughts and since then,

else. "It's not that golf is dying. It's just that members

the industry has been settling in. Others point to shift-

want to do more,” says Jason Becker, CEO of Golf Life

ing demographics—maybe younger people don’t want

Navigators, a Naples-based firm that assists residents

to spend the money and time on golf.

seeking to live in golf communities.



G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S JANUARY 2021 27


YOUTH SPORTS You can see the

could bring more

growing market for

SUV caravans now,

families to Collier,"

soccer, football and

traveling down I-75

says Collier County

lacrosse, in particu-

with mom, dad and

CVB Executive Direc-

lar. It projected that

kids in tow—and

tor Jack Wert. "Youth

a sizable event lo-

a whole bunch of

amateur sports have

cation could bring in

sports equipment

a lot of pent-up de-

more than 200,000

in the trunk. Collier

mand. Parents love

people a year and

County is making a

to travel with their

would generate about

strong play to be-


$468 million in eco-


come an epicenter

The county has

nomic impact over 20

of youth sports. It’s

tried to keep up with

years. The price tag

come to fruition with

youth sports demand

was big: $80 million.

the Paradise Coast

to varying degrees

The country approved

Sports Complex off

of success, includ-

raising the bed tax

I-75 and Collier Bou-

ing opening North

from 4% to 5% to pay

levard, where plans

Collier Regional Park

for the complex.

call for 21 athletic

in 2005. But demand

fields and a 3,500-

still remained strong.

of phase 1 on July 4

seat stadium. It’s not

"We ended up max-

was canceled due to

just for local youth

ing out the capacity

the pandemic, but

leagues. The goal is

quickly,” Wert says.

the first event was

to attract those SUV

“We were having to

held last summer—

caravans from across

turn down some of

the FBU Top Gun

the South or even the

the events that we'd

Showcase, bringing


had for years."

in the nation’s top

mom, dad and the

In 2016, the coun-

kids will need places

ty-hired research

to stay, food to eat

firm Hunden Strate-

and things to do. "We

gic Partners released

The grand opening

football talent.

its report on Col-

lier’s needs, finding


that the county was

Building upon the lucrative

in prime position

green attraction of golf

to capitalize on a

(above), the new Paradise Coast Sports Complex (left) meets the local growing demand for youth sports facilities.

2 8 G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 1

29 millions into its two golf courses, including


a $5 million major refurbishment of its Loch

Normally, spring is for baseball in Lee Coun-

Ness Course and a $1.5 million sprucing up on

ty. But spring training was cancelled March 12,

its famed Long Mean Course, which will host a

2020, meaning Hammond Stadium and JetBlue

USGA event in 2022. It also plans a $1.9 million

Park only saw a little more than half of their

sports amenities renovation with new pickleball

scheduled games. That left Minnesota Twins and

and bocce courts. General Manager Ryan Shaw

Boston Red Sox fans a little bummed, and possi-

Fiddlesticks Country Club recently poured

says he’s noticed a trend in recent years: People are gravitating more to outdoor activities, whether that’s golf or al fresco dining. He says that could bode well for golf, which he says continues to be the main attraction at his club. "We feel golf is on the rise," he says. Over the last several months, golf has actually gotten a boost from an unlikely source. When the pandemic hit, social distancing became the

bly kept millions of dollars out of Lee County. Each year, visitors to the ballparks spend close to $69 million locally, 82% of which happens outside the stadium, according to a 2018 study by Davidson Peterson Associates for the county. That directly supported: • 940 jobs • $2.5 million in local tax revenue • $4.8 million in state revenue

norm. Golf ranks low on the COVID-risk factor—outdoors, easy social distancing, limited

Breaking down the total amount spent, visitors

contact. At Fiddlesticks, Shaw saw an increase

spent the most on:

of about 50% in rounds as the state started to

• Lodging: $18.4 million

reopen. That’s been true across the board local-

• Food/beverage: $14.4 million

ly. After seeing modest increases earlier in the year, rounds played were up more than 30% in Lee and Collier counties over the summer com-

• Shopping: $9.3 million • Transportation: $5.5 million • Sightseeing/other entertainment: $3.2 million

pared to last year, according to market research firm Golf Datatech. Nationwide, more people are playing—and buying. Retail sales nationwide in August were also up about 30% compared to August 2019, according to Golf Datatech. The trick now is seeing how much of this resurgence in interest can be captured. Becker’s Courtesy Paradise Coast Sports Complex (left); Getty (3)

firm Golf Life Navigators asked clients if they were more likely to play golf after the pandemic passes. Almost 80% said yes. “How long will this stay? Will golf continue to stay strong?” Becker asks. “Those are the questions we don’t have answers to quite yet.” And those answers may just determine the future of golf both here and afar. G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S JANUARY 2021 29


Local boat, yacht dealers


see strong sales in

By Beth Luberecki

2020 despite pandemic

G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S JANUARY 2021 31

Back in spring 2020, local boat dealers weren’t feeling too optimistic about how the year would turn out. Things had been going well in January and February, but then the COVID-19 pandemic hit in full force, and everything just seemed to stop. No one was shopping for a boat.

“In March, we all thought the world was ending,” says

GULF LIFE Sales were up

Jim Connor, general manager of MarineMax Naples, which

in 2020 for all

sells new and pre-owned boats and yachts.

boats, so much

But to everyone’s surprise, the exact opposite happened. By May, customers had started to come back. They wanted to find ways to get out of the house and had extra discretionary income from cancelled family vacations and more meals being eaten at home. And they were ready to take the

so that Capt. Dan Mercier (far right) of Sea Tow Naples had one of his busiest years ever.

helm of a new boat. to date for essentially all categories of boats, from power-

do,” says David Hirshberg, sales manager at Galati Yacht

boats (up 8% year to date) and freshwater fishing boats (up

Sales in Naples, which sells new yachts from brands such

10%) to saltwater fishing boats, cruisers and yachts (each

as Viking and Princess, as well as previously owned yachts.

with growth ranging from 11% to 15%).

“Boating happened to be one of the things you could still

When Connor finished his fiscal year at MarineMax Na-

do. We picked up steam through May, June, July and Au-

ples on Sept. 30, sales were up 40% for the year across all

gust, and we have not slowed down since then. We had the

boat sizes. October 2020 was up about 55% over the same

strongest August and September that we’ve ever had, with

month in 2019.

sales levels approaching where they were in 2006, which was a high year for the marine industry.” Nationally, August 2020 data from the National Marine Manufacturers Association showed that sales were up year

“We were completely selling out of things,” says Connor. “Everyone flocked to the sea for some solitude and distance.” Instead of a complete bust, 2020 wound up being a strong

3 2 G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 1

Getty; Courtesy Sea Tow

“It became apparent that COVID-19 wasn’t going away quickly, and people only had so many things they could

TO THE RESCUE For Capt. Dan Mercier

maintenance on their

Sr., 2020 wasn’t just his

own equipment. “Boy,

10th year as owner of

we had to stay up on

Sea Tow Naples. It was

that quite a bit,” says

also one of his busiest

Mercier. “There were a

years on record.

lot of long hours, late

The COVID-19 pan-

nights and early morn-

demic brought a lot of people out on the water,

ings.” Things calmed down

and there were a lot of

into the fall, giving Mer-

new boaters navigat-

cier time to prepare for

ing things for the first

whatever 2021 brings

time. Sea Tow provides

his way. In the mean-

on-water maintenance

time, he offers some

(think of it like AAA for

advice to all the new

boats) and might get

boaters out there.

the call when a novice—

“Take a boating

or any kind of boater—

class,” he says. “If

runs into trouble.

you’re a brand-new

“I’m going to ballpark

boater, safety is such

it here, but I think our

a huge factor. Anything

service calls increased

can happen out there.

at least 10% to 15%,”

If you know the ‘rules

says Mercier. “And my

of the road,’ it’s a huge

membership base has

factor in making every-

been growing, which is

one safe out there.”

a pretty good indicator for me also. I’d say we had a good 5% increase

year for local boat dealers, with most expecting to surpass or meet 2019 sales levels, despite two months of virtually nonexistent sales in 2020. They expect the good times to continue into 2021, but elevated sales bring some new

in memberships.” That boost in business made it hard at times to keep up on the

challenges. The biggest one right now: inventory levels. Lots of Buyers, Not Enough Boats As sales levels have remained strong, both new and used boats have become increasingly difficult to find. Yacht builder Hinckley Yachts, which has a sales center in Naples, first experienced tightening inventory on its brokerage (or pre-owned) side of the business in May. G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S JANUARY 2021 33


“Most of our brokerage inventory was cleared out within six weeks,” says Scott Bryant, vice president of sales and marketing for Hinckley Yachts. “Come June 1 or so, the new boat market

Boating’s not the only

dustry Association and

way to travel in so-

ITR Economics, 2020 RV

cially distant style. RV

shipments are expect-

sales have also seen

ed to end up at about

an uptick during the

424,400 wholesale

COVID-19 pandemic.

units, which would be a

“People still want to

4.5% increase over 2019

just lit up, and we basically are selling out into

travel and have va-

and the fourth best

a year from now. We sold almost a year’s worth

cations,” says Timo-

annual total on record.

of inventory in a short amount of time.” That

thy Lowry, marketing

Forecasts for 2021 call

means customers who ordered a new boat from

director for North Trail

for RV shipments of

RV Center in Fort Myers.

some 507,200 units,

“RVing presents the

which would be a 19.5%

best way to do that

increase over 2020 and


the best annual total on

Hinckley won’t get it until well into 2021. Some boat manufacturers had to close their factories during the spring pandemic shutdowns and are still working to catch up. That would cause problems in a normal sales environment, but it makes it even more challenging when there’s such strong customer demand.

Lowry says 2020 sales at North Trail RV Center and its Fort

measurable record for the industry. Lowry said a lot of

Myers Airstream dealer,

first-timers entered the

Airstream of South Flor-

market, but existing RV

ida, are “definitely up”

owners also chose to

from 2019. (He declined

upgrade their vehicles.

issues, and that ripple effect goes through our

to provide any specific

And he considers the

industry, as well,” says Philip E. Osborne, vice

numbers.) Both loca-

outlook for 2021 to be

president of operations for Naples Boat Mart,

tions have been selling


which sells boats from brands including Yama-

through inventory and

Dealers have had to get creative to find inventory for buyers. “The whole world is experiencing inventory

ha and Grady-White. “All of these manufacturers are tied to global supply chains and normally keep as little inventory as they can. So manufacturers are having to work through capacity issues both from staffing and parts availability. We worked with dealers in other parts of the country that didn’t see the same increase in demand,

“A lot of people have

have hundreds of units

gotten into the life-

on order.

style who weren’t into

That same kind of

it before,” he says.

thing has been going

“Whenever you have

on all over the country.

that additional amount

According to recent

of people who become

data from the RV In-

customers, it’s going

or have seasonality that affects their demand

to increase everything. RVing gives you that

differently. Everyone is kind of playing the shell

safety and ability to go

game to allocate capacity as best they can to sat-

anywhere you want and

isfy the market.”

experience things in a

Hirshberg at Galati Yacht Sales in Naples deals

unique way. I think this

primarily in yachts from the mid-30-foot range

could be a real boon for

up to more than 100 feet. Yachts in the $100,000

our industry for quite a

to $500,000 price range have been the strongest

number of years.”

segment in 2020, and for those kinds of customers, a lack of inventory can be especially difficult. 3 4 G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 1

POWER BOATS Yachts in the $100,000 to $500,000 range saw the strongest sales in 2020, reports Galati Yacht

Courtesy North Trail RV Center; Courtesy Grady Whites

Sales in Naples.

“Those type of buyers really need to be able to look at

time shopping online, it’s beefed up its online presence

and touch things to buy it,” he says. “They don’t do well

to showcase inventory virtually and provide customers

buying from catalogs. So that presents a bit of a problem

with information vital for purchasing decisions. “And

when we’re low on types of inventory, because it’s hard-

there’s always a past client’s boat we can borrow if a

er to give people a sense of what they’re buying unless

customer needs to go for a sea trial or just touch and

they can actually see it in front of them.”

feel the boat,” says Connor.

Connor expects to see stressed inventory levels into the first quarter of 2021. And that could have an im-

An Influx of New Boaters

pact on sales volume: “If you don’t have product, it’s

A large number of first-time boaters entered the mar-

tough to sell it.” He’s finding ways to get around that,

ket in 2020. That presents both opportunities and

though. As MarineMax saw more customers spend

challenges. G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S JANUARY 2021 35

FERR AR I P L A N T S ITS FL AG In 2020, Ferrari didn't

interior. “It provides the

thorized Ferrari dealer

match its record-break-

client with their own

to turn to for service

ing 2019 sales figures

personalized Ferrari and

from a factory-trained

of more than 10,000

makes the experience

technician—or a new

vehicles, but the luxury

for customers unique,”

Ferrari when they’re

car company still re-

says Helder Rosa, gen-

ready to upgrade.

mains red hot. The new

eral manager of Ferrari

Ferrari of Naples offers

of Naples.

That urge for a new car has been a bit

the luxury automotive

The eye-catching

experience local fans

structure on U.S. 41

the COVID-19 pandem-

of the Italian sports car

near Immokalee Road

ic, says Rosa. “People

have long been dream-

is the first Southwest

want to get out; they

ing about.

Florida location for

want that freedom to

New Country Motor Car

get out,” he says. “And

foot, state-of-the-art

Group, which also has

whether it’s a Ferrari or

dealership includes a

a Ferrari dealership in

I don’t care what kind of

second-floor indoor

West Palm Beach. Rosa

car, they want the abili-

showroom offering a

says factors such as

ty to have their own car

“museum-like experi-

Naples’s wealth and the

so they can go explore

ence.” Customers can

number of Ferrari own-

and get out on the road

visit the on-site atelier

ers already in the area

and drive.”

to customize their Fer-

made the city an ob-

rari, from the steering

vious choice for a new

to be in the market for

wheel to the leather

dealership. And those

a new ride to check

fabric used in the car’s

owners now have an au-

out the new Ferrari of

The 58,000-square-

stronger lately due to

But you don’t have

Naples. “We know that the Ferrari brand will bring people into the dealership who may not be considering buying a Ferrari but just want to be part of the experience,” says Rosa. “And we want to deliver a message that says, ‘Come visit Ferrari of

GETTING FEET WET Local dealers saw many first-time owners buying boats in 2020.

Naples to really experience that excitement.’”

3 6 G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 1

to understand how much boat they could afford based on the monthly payment that they would put on a trailer and keep in their garage or side yard,” says Osborne. In past years, only about 10% of sales at Galati Yacht Sales in Naples were financed. But now 30% to 40% of buyers are taking out loans to purchase boats. “Many more people are getting financed than were before,” says Hirshberg. “The finance companies have been extremely busy, and it’s taking longer to get financing now.” Naples Boat Mart has increased the amount of training it offers during new boat deliveries because there are so many first-time boaters making purchases. “If you go out and buy something new and the dealer says, ‘Here’s the keys and have a good day,’ and then you get it stuck on a sandbar your first time out, those are the people who get into boating and get turned off quickly,” says Osborne. “But if you do business with a reputable dealer where someone shows you the ropes the right way, the industry data tell us you’re here to stay.” But doing that takes time and effort. Naples Boat Mart is investing in both its team of employees and the trailers, racks and other equipment needed to support robust sales. “This is a very capital-intensive business to “It’s been a really adaptive year for us,” says

be in,” says Osborne. “So just because we may be

Osborne. “We typically would refer to Naples as

up in volume, with the additional training time

a fairly mature boating market, because there

we have to do and all the other stuff that has to

are probably more barriers to entry to boating in

come with it, the profitability side of the picture

this market than other markets. It can be daunt-

doesn’t get significantly rosier. We’re working

ing to get into boating here from a dollars and

harder for the same amount of money.”

cents standpoint.”

But the hope is all these brand-new boaters

But as more people turned to boating as a pan-

turn into lifetime customers. “Once a client has

demic-friendly activity, it brought new buyers

a good experience and they receive good service,

into Naples Boat Mart. “All of a sudden we were

they will stay part of the brand and be very loyal

visited by a segment of customer we hadn’t seen

to it,” says Connor. “And they’ll grow within that

as many of before—the average person seeking

brand to their next boat.” G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S JANUARY 2021 37


P A G E 38

3 8 G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 1


ď ´

FUTURE WAVE Rendering of The Water School building, targeted for comple-

Courtesy HuntonBrady Architects

tion in 2022.

JANUARY 2021 39



Chris Reilly’s nose is always on the lookout for red tide. There’s a certain smell to it, he said, that hits before the first waves of dead mullet and catfish wash up on shore. As the owner of Florida Adventures and Rentals based out of Marco Island, Reilly knows

what a red tide outbreak can mean. “A month ago I thought I smelled something, and my stomach dropped,” he says. “This is the absolute last thing we need in the tourism industry right now, especially with what’s been going on this year. It would be completely detrimental to us.” Like a lot of local business owners, Reilly relies on clean water to keep his company operating. Another red tide or blue-green algae outbreak would mean not just seeing local wildlife suffer, but seeing lost income for Reilly’s company and his employees. That’s why he’s one of the many Southwest Florida businesses looking to The Water School at Florida Gulf Coast University as a new hope for both the environment and the local economy. Founded in 2019 and with a 114,400-square-foot and nearly $58 million building set to open during the spring semester of 2022, The Water School is billing itself as more than a marine science center. It anticipates being a major factor in the success of area companies. Michael Martin, who became president of FGCU in 2017, knew early in his tenure that water would be a key component in the university’s longterm plans. “When you think about the unique nature of Southwest Florida, among the first topics that comes up is water,” Martin says. “We live in one of the most interesting laboratories for water on the planet. We’ve got freshwater problems, we’ve got saltwater problems, we’ve got agriculture versus urban problems. We’ve got rising sea levels. We’ve got red tide. We’ve got blue-green algae. When we asked ourselves what this university


should be good at, water was at the top of the list.”

Kayak Guide

Martin and his team recognized that addressing water issues locally isn’t purely an academic exercise. Unless the water problems are solved, he said, they will have an adverse effect on the economy for decades. “We have all come to agree that it’s one of the most critical issues of our times.” To that end, Martin requested that Greg Tolley, director of The Water

“Everyone I know was impacted by the red tide outbreak in 2017, whether in ecotourism or tourism in general. If we don’t have a healthy environment

School, appoint an interdisciplinary faculty specializing in topics that

and we don’t have clean water,

go beyond marine science. As Tolley creates The Water School’s curric-

then we don’t have an economy

ulum, he’s not only pulling from the university’s science faculty. He’s also

down here. So much is based

reaching out to the College of Business, the College of Engineering and the College of Health and Human Services. “A lot of the solutions for water problems in the past were not sustainable because the right people weren’t around the table,” Tolley says. “We need players from different

around our waterways. The Water School is going to put us on the map and create a lot of awareness around this issue. It’s going to be a breakthrough

disciplines and perspectives if we’re going to be successful. In Southwest

for Southwest Florida having

Florida, our environment is our economy. We segment these things, but

it here.”

they’re all connected in a very real way. We need to leverage that connec4 0 G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 1

THE WATER SCHOOL BY THE NUMBERS Year Founded: 2019 Year Building Will Be Completed: 2022 Graduate Degrees Offered: 2 (M.A. Environmental Studies, M.S. Environmental Science) Undergraduate Degrees Offered: 3 (B.S. Environmental Geology, B.A. Environmental

tivity to make sure we’re doing some real

es—it offers three undergraduate and

and permanent good.”

two graduate degree programs—it also

Science) Number of Faculty:

Shelton Weeks is part of this strategy

exposes students on other career tracks

30 core faculty + 50

of connectivity. As the department chair

to the importance of caring for the local

affiliate faculty from

of economics and finance in the Lutgert

environment. “If we’re going to make a

other programs or

College of Business and a Water School

difference in the long run, we need ev-

affiliate faculty member, he’s part of the

eryone to participate: businesses, resi-

university’s interdisciplinary approach.

dents, government officials,” Weeks says.

colleges Number of Students: 516 (graduate and undergraduate)

“The Water School is designed to reach

“I think our graduates will leave FGCU

across academic programs,” Weeks says.

with a greater sense of obligation to lis-

Class: 2019

“We want this to span everything that

ten and be part of the conversation. Our

Money Allocated in the

we’re doing at FGCU.” The ultimate goal:

next wave of graduates will have a better

to protect local natural resources and, by

appreciation for water issues as they’re

extension, the area’s economy. “Water

running for public office and sitting in

relates to everything in Southwest Flor-

corporate boardrooms. When they’re

ida. It’s absolutely critical to businesses

tasked with shaping policies, they’ll bring

across the region. We’re trying to have

that perspective to bear.”

a positive impact in terms of preserving this precious resource.” Courtesy The Water School

Studies, B.S. Marine

That forward-looking, water-focused

Year of First Graduating

Latest State of Florida Budget: $3 Million

DEEP RESEARCH Science students assist

perspective is exactly why Andy Hill sup-

FGCU professor Jo Muller

That positive impact, he says, extends

ports The Water School’s approach. Hill

in taking sediment core

well beyond the classroom. Though The

runs Andrew Hill Investment Advisors

Water School certainly caters to those

Inc., an investment management firm

pursuing studies in the marine scienc-

that integrates environmental, social

samples from a coastal lagoon.

G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S JANUARY 2021 41


NEEDFUL THINGS Though the building that will house The Water School is set to be completed in 2022, the university has an ongoing list of needs. These include: Annual scholarships for undergraduates: $1,000 to $2,500 each Undergraduate endowed scholarships: $25,000 each Research equipment for The Water School: $1,000 to $500,000 Financial support for graduate students: $50,000 Support for the Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education: $250 to $10,000 Eminent scholar endowments: $1,500,000 And the biggest opportunity for giving? “We called it The Water School because there’s a space between ‘The’ and ‘Water’ for someone’s name,” says Michael Martin, president of FGCU. “We wanted to make it simple so that when someone came along and wanted to endow it, we could widen out the space.”

BILL D’ANTUONO Offshore Naples Fish and Dive Charters “Everything I do is about the water—traditional hook-and-line fishing, spear fishing, diving charters, commercial fishing. If you look back when we had the nasty red ride outbreak two years in a row, it was terrible. No one wanted to get in the water. It hurts business if the water is bad. The Water School is definitely something we need here.”

4 2 G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 1


and governmental (ESG) issues into its investment research process. The firm’s top holdings are geared toward solving climate change and pollution

TODD CARROLL Gulf Star Marina

issues, and it focuses on companies that approach transportation and energy production in responsible ways. Hill has been a guest lecturer in FGCU’s business school, and he has also donated a classroom to The Water

“My family has owned the marina since 1991, and we’ve seen how water is such an important natural resource in our area. We’ve all got to participate to minimize water

School. Each year, Hill’s firm holds

problems and see if we can

an annual charity event in which it

make it better—for us and for

donates to various local charities,

the next generation. Hopefully,

and last year the firm underwrote the work of a graduate student from The Water School. On a personal level, Hill understands the importance of clean water

some of the students from The Water School will go on to find what’s causing these problems and solve them so future generations don’t have to worry about it.”

to the quality of life in this area—he’s a crack catch-and-release saltwater fisherman. “It wasn’t very long ago that our whole ecosystem was on the verge of collapse with the red tide outbreak,” he says. “We’re still healing from that process, and it serves as a reminder of how delicate the situation can be.” Hill drives an electric car and has solar panels on the roof of his home.

WATER LOGGED The Water School flag

He believes that everyone must do his or her part. Hill predicts that The

displayed at Vester Marine

Water School will play an integral role in the future of this area. “Our eco-

Field Station (bottom left);

nomic activities are tied to the health of our ecosystem,” he says.

James Douglass works on water research (top left); and FGCU alumnus Adam Catasus displays a sediment core sample (above).

Courtesy The Water School (3); Courtesy Bill D'Antuono (1)

FGCU science professor

As for Reilly at Florida Adventures and Rentals on Marco Island, he’s doing his part, too. He and his staff are heavily involved in beach cleanups, and they’ve been collecting water in the Ten Thousand Islands as part of a national research study. “We’re here to preserve and do as much as we possibly can,” he says. “Clean water is imperative to the survival of this area.” Like many business owners, he’s hoping The Water School will be the catalyst Southwest Florida needs to protect both the local environment and the local economy. G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S JANUARY 2021 43





4 4 G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 1



G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S JANUARY 2021 45

There is no better time to be out on the water

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Pelican Isle Yacht Club - Again Awarded Platinum Club of America Status - #7 Yacht Club in USA! Pelican Isle Yacht Club is proud to announce that the Club has been selected again as a Platinum Club of America! Platinum Club recognition is the most respected award in the Private Club industry with only the top 5% of Private Clubs receiving Platinum Status. Pelican Isle Yacht Club was awarded 7th place nationally in the Yacht Club Category 2021-2022. PIYC first appeared on the Platinum Clubs list at #14 in 2014, then as #10 in 2016, and rose to #7 in 2019 following a comprehensive renovation in 2018. Further recognized by the Platinum Club Organization as one of the top 50 Yacht Clubs in the World in 2020, these accolades reflect the highest quality of Member Experience as well as the fullest expression of the seven selection criteria. Ali Feezor, General Manager at Pelican Isle Yacht Club, commented on this award by saying “It is an honor to have been recognized again by PCoA. This reflects our commitment to excellence and pursuit of the highest possible standard. Pelican Isle Yacht Club is a special place; it is our beautiful surroundings, our friendly Membership and our professional staff that are key to our success.” Initiated in 1997, the Platinum Clubs of America vote takes place every two years and is conducted through a nationwide vote of 4,100 Club Managers and Presidents or Owners of the finest Private Clubs in the Nation, which makes Platinum recognition the most respected acknowledgment in the industry. Voters are requested to select 300 Clubs in five categories; Golf Clubs, Country Clubs, City Clubs, Athletic Clubs and Yacht Clubs. The Clubs are ranked by score, highest to lowest. 150 Country Clubs, 50 Golf Clubs, 50 City Clubs, 30 Yacht Clubs and 20 Athletic Clubs are acknowledged with Platinum status until the next vote in September 2022.

There are seven criteria for a Club to be considered for selection as a Platinum Club of America by Club Leaders Forum and include the following: • UNIVERSAL RECOGNITION • EXCELLENCE IN AMENITIES AND FACILITIES • CALIBER OF STAFF AND PROFESSIONAL SERVICE LEVELS • QUALITY AND COMMITMENT OF MEMBERSHIP • GOVERNANCE AND PRUDENT FISCAL MANAGEMENT • ADAPTING TO CHANGING TIMES • OVERALL EXPERIENCE Dennis W. Burns, Executive Director of Club Leaders Forum and Platinum Clubs of America stated “Clubs are always striving to meet and exceed Member expectations and sustain Membership levels. Platinum status confirms that Clubs are planning for their future and are adapting to changing times. Above all, a Platinum Club understands the value of its professional staff and a Platinum Club is universally recognized for excellence. Clubs also respect the recognition by their peers in the industry.” There is no better time to be out on the water! Pelican Isle Yacht Club is conveniently situated in an exclusive Southwest Florida location just five minutes from the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico at Wiggins Pass on the Cocohatchee River. PIYC is comprised of 400 Memberships and 190 Boat Slips, as well as a rich offering of Lifestyle Programming and Amenities. As Membership continues to grow, so do the dining and lifestyle offerings. The Club is comprised of Members and Employees who are proud of our friendly and inclusive atmosphere, professional organization and beautiful location. For more information please contact Kathie Pedit, Director of Marketing & Membership Development, at or visit

G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S JANUARY 2021 47

Welcome to the premier

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p_50 Lack of international visitors affects local tourism market








Courtesy Flying Eagle Kombucha; Kevin Bires

Flying Solo



G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S JANUARY 2021 49

Business 2 Business



By Beth Luberecki

A Missing Piece Typically, the summer months bring European tourists to

that means they weren’t spending money at hotels, restau-

Southwest Florida. And that influx of British families sun-

rants, shops and other local businesses.

ning on our beaches or German visitors wildlife-watching at

“International visitors typically stay longer and spend

local parks and preserves provides a tourism boost at a tra-

more,” says Tamara Pigott, executive director of the Lee

ditionally slower time of the year.

County Visitor & Convention Bureau. “It’s a big commit-

But in 2020, those foreign visitors couldn’t travel to

ment, just like when we take an international trip. You plan

Southwest Florida because of the COVID-19 pandemic. And

for that, and typically you have a lot of activities planned. So

5 0 G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 1

Courtesy Pure Florida (left); Courtesy Everglades Convention & Visitors Bureau (right)


RETURN RESERVATIONS European travelers are optimistically booking flights for 2021, says Jack Wert, executive director of the Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention & Visitors Bureau.

BY T H E N U M B E R S Lee County Total number of visitors in 2019: 4,926,400 2019 visitors from Canada: 216,762 (4.4%) 2019 visitors from Germany: 192,130 (3.9%) 2019 visitors from United Kingdom: 103,454 (2.1%) 2019 visitors from Europe: 403,965 (8.2%) (includes Germany and UK numbers plus numbers from other European travelers) 2019 visitor expenditures: $3.272 billion 2019 Canadian visitor expenditures: $217.9 million (6.7%) 2019 German visitor expenditures: $198.4 million (6.1%) 2019 United Kingdom visitor expenditures: $119.6 (3.7%) 2019 European visitor expenditures: $472.3 million (14.5%) (includes spending from Germany and UK plus spending from other European travelers) Source:

the extra tourism spend is usually a little higher.” Most international travelers to Southwest Florida come from Germany, the United Kingdom and Canada. The Europeans come most frequently during the summer into the fall, while the Canadians are often snowbirds. When they’re not able to visit our area, it affects more than just the obvious tourism-related businesses. Tourism tax revenues fund capital improvement and beach renourishment projects and grants for local arts organizations. Sales tax revenues sup-

Collier County Total 2019 2019 2019

number of visitors in 2019: 1,928,600 visitors from Canada: 46,152 (2.4%) visitors from Europe: 307,063 (15.9%) visitor expenditures: $1.55 billion


port local government budgets. When international travelers aren’t contributing to these coffers, it has a trickle-down effect. Tourism spending also spreads into all kinds of other local businesses. “When a hotelier pays its employee, then that employee goes to Publix and Publix pays its employees,” says Pigott. “It multiplies throughout the community. Plus, hotels have

Charlotte County Total number of visitors FY 2019 (October 2018-September 2019): 656,200 FY 2019 visitors from Canada: 45,934 (7%) FY 2019 visitors from the United Kingdom: 13,124 (2%) FY2019 visitor expenditures: $427 million

to have insurance, carpeting, landscaping services: It applies to people you might not think are in ‘the tourism business,’ but they’re providing some sort of business service that is directly related to the tourism industry.” Everyone’s in a holding pattern when it comes to international travel, waiting to see how the pandemic plays out and its effects on travel restrictions currently in place. It might not be until summer 2021 G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S J A N U A R Y 2021 5 1

Business 2 Business TOURISM

before we see a steady stream of inter-

travelers are optimistically booking

mer or the spring and fall shoulder

national visitors in these parts.

flights for 2021. “That tells me there

seasons, again bringing visitors to the

But fortunately, these visitors are

is pent-up demand to come to South-

area at slower times.

eager to return to Southwest Flori-

west Florida when everything opens

The good news is that many meeting

da. “Florida is kind of a magical place

up again,” he says. “And when things

planners have rescheduled planned

for international travelers,” says

do reopen, many people will already

2020 events in the area, rather than

Jack Wert, executive director of the

have their reservations ready to go, so

cancelling them altogether. The bad

Naples, Marco Island, Everglades

it’s not going to be as slow of a restart.”

news is that those business travelers

Convention & Visitors Bureau. “So

International tourists aren’t the

aren’t spending money in the area

if those visitors do come back to the

only visitors Southwest Florida has

United States, chances are they’re

been missing. Meetings and group

“Group meeting attendees tend to

coming to Florida.”

travel have also taken a hit because of

eat all of their meals out,” says Wert.

Wert has heard from his interna-

the pandemic. A lot of that travel also

“They’re out in the market quite a bit

tional representatives that European

typically took place during the sum-

after their meetings. Meeting attend-

right now.


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ees often extend their stay and become

tion. But in Lee and Charlotte coun-

says Pigott. “The hard part about this

leisure visitors, and more and more of

ties, just 2% of visitors in 2019 said a

is we’re in the middle of this crisis, and

them are traveling with their families.”

business conference or meeting was

we’re starting to have that feeling that

their reason for visiting.

it’s never going to end. But it will end,

A lack of group business doesn’t just hurt hotels with meeting space or the

The meetings and group travel sec-

and we will come out from this. And

restaurants nearby. “It’s also extra

tor probably won’t bounce back locally

this continues to be an extra-special

business for all the ancillary services

until the second quarter of 2021. A re-

place to visit.”

that are associated with meetings,

cent survey conducted by the Florida

In the meantime, local tourism offi-

whether that’s ground transportation

Society of Association Executives, for

cials are working to maintain the rela-

or AV services, so those are impacted

example, found that 53% of respon-

tionships they’ve already established

negatively, as well,” says Jennifer Hu-

dents weren’t planning on booking

with meeting planners and interna-

ber, public relations manager for the

in-person meetings until 2021, with

tional travelers. “We’re not stopping

Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach Visi-

24% waiting until 2022.

our marketing messaging, but we’re

tor & Convention Bureau.

“We have to accept the reality of

changing our message a good deal,”

The size of the meetings and group

the situation, and the reality is that

says Wert. “It’s soft messaging that

market varies locally. Wert puts it at

business travel probably will be more

says when you’re ready to travel again,

about 30% of Collier County’s visita-

slow to recover than leisure travel,”

we’re going to be ready for you.”

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Business 2 Business PHYSICAL THERAPY

JANUARY 2021 By Artis Henderson

Range of Motion PHYSICAL THERAPY AMONG INDUSTRIES MOVING ITS BUSINESS MODEL ONLINE Though the last decade has witnessed a general shift toward internet-based businesses, some industries seemed destined to retain their in-real-life operations. Not anymore. Even physical therapy—that most hands-on of occupations—is moving toward telehealth. “It’s part of our future business model,” says Dr. Scott Gray, a Fort Myers physical therapist who owns the Back in Motion physical therapy clinics. “With telehealth, we can reach anyone worldwide, not just in the Fort Myers market.” But doesn’t physical therapy require an in-person examination? Not necessarily, Gray says. “A lot of times, if you listen closely enough, your patient will tell you what’s wrong. They can explain what happened, what makes it better and what makes it worse. We can also take them through movement tests over video.” Still, as with all telemedicine, physical therapy via online tools has considerations that don’t affect in-person appointments . For one, not all states allow physical therapists to when dealing with insurance payments and telehealth, and providers need to ensure that they’re operating using HIPPA-compliant technology. Physical therapists who offer online appointments should also check with their malpractice insurance carrier to make sure their liability coverage extends to telehealth. Surprisingly, physical therapy via the internet is not a product of the pandemic. The American Physical Therapy Association had already issued a statement in favor of telehealth long before COVID entered the common vernacular. Still, the pandemic helped increase both awareness and acceptance of online physical therapy.

TELEHEALTH FOR THE LONG HAUL Dr. Scott Gray and Dr. James Porco (bottom right) say virtual physical therapy visits are part of their future business models.

“Telehealth has given us a fantastic opportunity to help those at risk and keep them in motion,” says Dr. James Porco, a Southwest Florida-based physical therapist. “We’ve been able to get patients back to health without leaving their homes.” Now that patients have seen the convenience of online physical therapy, many are sticking to it even as COVID restrictions are lifted. “They’re realizing that they don’t 5 4 G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 1

Kevin Bires (3); Courtesy Back In Motion Sport & Spine Physical Therapy (middle)

provide their services via telehealth . There are additional billing questions to factor in

have to sit in Naples traffic for 40 minutes or take off half a day for an appointment,” Porco says. Besides convenience, telehealth physical therapy has other unexpected upsides. According to the American Physical Therapy Association, patients who receive physical therapy through virtual appointments are more likely to maintain their home exercise programs . It also offers physical therapists an opportunity to see a patient’s home and discuss mobility and falling challenges. And a patient’s family or caregivers can participate in a telehealth appointment, too. This is especially useful when patients have family members who need to stay home because of COVID risks. Between these benefits and the convenience, practitioners are predicting that physical therapy delivered virtually will last long after the shutdown. “I think telehealth is here to stay,” Gray says.

G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S J A N U A R Y 2021 5 5

Business 2 Business



By Artis Henderson

Good Stewards Each October, in a conference room inside the Naples

Grant Making Committee. “It’s a very rigorous and so-

Children & Education Foundation (NCEF), the trust-

phisticated process.”

ees of that year’s Grant Making Committee gather for

Since its inaugural year in 2001, the Naples Winter

the first time. They’ll assemble each month afterward,

Wine Festival has raised more than $212 million. Every

for hours at a time. Meetings that start before noon are

dollar raised is invested back into the community with

known to go late into the afternoon. Lunch is catered,

the aim of improving the lives of the county’s most vul-

but it’s nothing elaborate—sandwiches and chips, most-

nerable children. In 2020, the Grant Making Commit-

ly. Sodas and bottles of water. Not a single glass of wine.

tee selected 43 local nonprofits to receive funds. Thir-

Though the Naples Winter Wine Festival is a lush and

ty-three individual grants were given, ranging from

lavish affair, its Grant Making Committee is nearly the

$50,000 to $657,000, along with multi-year grants tar-

opposite. Here, they mean business. The committee is

geted to each of NCEF’s seven initiatives: early learn-

tasked with a very serious job: deciding how to delegate

ing, healthcare, hunger, mental health, oral health, out-

the millions of dollars raised at the festival to worthy

of-school time and vision.

charities across Southwest Florida. “It’s not just a rub-

Grant applications are received throughout the year.

ber stamp,” says John Walter, chairman of this year’s

Beginning in October, the community groups that have put in applications are divided among the committee’s 10 members, who are then tasked with learning about those organizations—meeting with directors and staff, reviewing finances and determining how a grant will affect the community through that organization. Sometimes, committee members are so touched by what they discover that they’re motivated to give on their own. Committee chairman Walter and his wife became donors at ABLE Academy after his Grant Making Committee visit. The couple also contributed to NCEF beneficiaries Naples Therapeutic Riding Center and Guadalupe Center. “You find how important

5 6 G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 1

Courtesy Naples Winter Wine Festival (opposite); Courtesy Naples Children & Education Foundation (4)


COMMUNITY INVESTMENT The annual Naples Winter Wine Festival auction (opposite) helps the Naples Children & Education Foundation fund programs such as a dental clinic and child care (left). NCEF trustees include Paul and Barbie Hills (above top) and John and Carol Walter (above).

some of these organizations are to the community, and

“Those charitable organizations that do the best job with

you can’t help but get involved,” he says, which prompts

our children, those are the ones we want to support,” says

the question: do committee members have favorites?

Hills. “We’re picking winners.”

“People definitely have favorites,” says Paul Hills, an-

Grant Making Committee members are appointed by

other Grant Making Committee member. “That’s human

a nominating committee and serve a term of five years.

nature. But we don’t get into any fist fights.”

It’s not a position for the faint of heart. “You have to have

Instead, committee members are required to evaluate

your head in the game, and you have to be focused,” Hills

each organization based on objective metrics. Charities

says. “You’re allocating large amounts of money, and it’s

are evaluated on their financial stability, leadership and

not your money. It’s money that people have generously

whether or not there’s any duplication with another char-

given. We have an obligation to be very good stewards of

ity. Committee members report back on their findings.

that money.” G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S J A N U A R Y 2021 5 7

Business 2 Business H E A LT H C A R E

JANUARY 2021 By Bobby Anderson

Fuller Fitness Focus HEALTH TRAINING THAT MOVES BEYOND REPS AND WEIGHT Nino Magaddino was in his early 20s when depression, anxiety and confusion came at him in waves, knocking him down and holding him under. “I just wasn’t in a good place,” the certified master trainer and owner of Max Flex Fitness in Naples says. “But I noticed when I started to exercise, I was happier and felt like I had more of a purpose.” It wasn’t until Magaddino found his purpose that he started to accomplish his goals. For the first time, he saw not only who he was but who he wanted to become. Since starting in 2011, Magaddino has grown Max Flex Fitness to include nearly 10 nationally accredited fitness and wellness consultants. And the focus isn’t on lifting weights or doing cardio; it’s about seeing the person you want to become and going about it the same way an athlete would train for a competition. “I think it’s empowering,” says Magaddino, who specializes in personal and corporate training. “When I receive a new client, they might be overweight or feel pressure to lose weight. We try to change their frame of mind. If I can get them to feel they are training Gutter

as an athlete, that can be more motivating than saying, ‘You need to lose 25 or 30 pounds.’” 5 8 G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 1

Magaddino agrees the red-hot Crossfit phenomenon of the early 2000s spurred functional fitness programs focused on the concept that everyone is an athlete, whether they embrace it or not. A proliferation of athletic apparel companies urging peo

EMPOWERING Max Flex Fitness,

ple to train like athletes has further created a niche market in training, nutrition and mind-body wellness offerings. “I think people wanted to enjoy more of an active, healthy

a Naples business

lifestyle, especially here in Naples,” Magaddino says. “That

started by Nino

means playing sports like tennis, golf or even playing with

Magaddino in 2011,

your kids and grandkids.”

trains clients to move like athletes.

Clients become stronger, but they still need to move functionally. “Our training is training them to move like an athlete. We like to focus more on balance, agility, strength and core and even plyometrics that transfer even more into everyday life.” Traditional strength training focuses on push-pull movements on one plane of motion. But life is multi-dimensional, moving side-to-side and twisting and turning. “Science and data showed functional training was preventing injury and getting them stronger in everyday life,” Magaddino says. “[Crossfit] was a fantastic movement designed to teach people how to work out functionally, but what they found was a lot of people were getting injured because, maybe, of the coaching.” In the fitness industry since 2001, Magaddino became a certified personal trainer and then had to build 10 years of coaching experience and multiple other qualifications be-

Kevin Bires

fore he became a master trainer. He’s one of only 100 National Academy of Sports Medicine-certified master trainers in the U.S., and the only one in Collier County. He pours G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S J A N U A R Y 2021 5 9

Business 2 Business H E A LT H C A R E

that experience into his athletes, whom he notices more and more are female. Magaddino said women have been particularly drawn to the concept of training like an athlete, receiving a sense of empowerment that only comes with conquering goals. The chiseled bodies and increased energy are just some of the side benefits. The interest has been so strong Magaddino recently created a 28-day all-female accountability group focusing on daily habit and lifestyle coaching coupled with weekly accountability emails and calls. Customized meal plans, recipe guides and weekly team Zoom calls create an atmosphere to help his female clients bond while accomplishing goals. THINKING LIKE AN ATHLETE Laurie Martin is a certified life coach who helps both amateur and professional athletes with stress relief, meditation and working through


obstacles to achieve their goals. Her business—

Nino Magaddino, the only

Smile Across Your Heart—provides business

certified master trainer in

and life coaching, yoga instruction and tips on

Collier County, owns Max

stress relief. Three of her classes are approved by

Flex Fitness in Naples.

the Florida Department of Nursing and Florida Department of Nursing Assistants, and she’s auMartin said framing what you’re going through makes

“The mind is really important,” the yoga in-

all the difference. And training like an athlete begins with

structor and wellness guru says in discussing an

thinking like one. “Emotions can get in the way of a lot of

athlete’s mindset. “We do the physical poses, but

goals. Focus is the most important thing,” she says. “Where

I really focus on the mental and the inner chat-

are we focused? More important than that is what we’re

ter, because that’s everything. Where is the mind

focused on supporting us or hurting us. Are we focused on

while you’re doing the physical activity?”

solutions or the problem?”

6 0 G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 1

Kevin Bires

thored three books.


Southwest Florida

THOUGHT LEADER OF THE MONTH Investing In Women Investing for women, and by women, has many key differences from investing for and by men. Women have historically lived vastly different lives than men, and therefore, have needed to approach many of the same ideas and challenges as men in diverse ways. In older generations, the female spouse often was (and sometimes still is) completely left out of the investment and financial conversations and decisions. Fortunately, our culture is shifting, and women are approaching this very important relationship with their advisor with more autonomy and power than in decades past. It has opened the door to a great deal of research, and changing the way that advisors approach married couples and single female investors. After removing gender biases, many of the challenges in the investing landscape are similar between women and men with some key differences. One of the most important and obvious is the fact that women live longer. Right now, the average age for a male is 79 years versus 84 years average for a woman. Women need to account for five more years of income than men. Also, statistically it is likely that women will, at some point, take charge of their family finances due to the death of a partner, landing her with all of the responsibilities for managing a portfolio she may know little or nothing about. At the same time, women are statistically more likely to be paid

less than men throughout their careers. Women currently earn $80.5 cents for every $1 their make counterpart earns. The peak of a woman’s income also occurs earlier than a man. A woman’s earnings peak in the period between 35-44 years of age, while a male’s earnings continue to increase until the period of 5564 years old. This earlier peak in earnings combined with living longer and earning less, sets women up for a higher chance of outliving their retirement savings and a diminished standard of living in their later years. Women are much more likely to take a period of leave from work for the care of children or parents, which means that women on the whole, are working with a much smaller average nest-egg for retirement. Additionally, throughout their lives, women are paying much more for healthcare and accessing the healthcare system more often. While some of these gender-gaps are beginning to change, women have to continue to prepare for their retirement taking all of them into account and translating that into actionable investing behavior.

conservative investors and less prone to get turned on by the stock of the month.

This changing behavior and the understanding of the phenomena that impact a woman’s portfolio is what make women generally “better” investors. Because of all the factors discussed above, women are usually working with a smaller portfolio to grow for retirement. Thus, studies have shown that women are generally more

Female investors generally do more research before investing, trade less often and are more likely to accept advice from a professional. This combination of a more conservative approach, doing the research and less emphasis on trading in and out of hot stocks put the female investor on track to be able to withstand a longer retirement with a smaller nest-egg.

A. Scott Hansen Vice President

1415 Panther Lane Naples, FL 34109 Office: (239) 591-6615 Cell: (239) 919-4095

Business 2 Business



By Artis Henderson

‘Let Yourself Feel Like a Badass’ Two years ago, Maddy Eagle was on the rise at Gartner.

Eagle discovered kombucha in her mid-twenties. The

Within the marketing department, she’d moved from as-

fermented tea beverage contains gut-friendly probiotics

sociate program manager to program manager to senior

that some say help with everything from digestive issues

program manager in short order. She was good at her job,

to arthritic pain. Eagle experienced regular inflammation

and she liked the company. Still, something wasn’t quite

flare-ups that left her joints swollen and painful, and she

working for her. “The promotions felt rewarding to me,

found that when she drank kombucha, it eased her symp-

but I was like, ‘What does this all mean?’” says Eagle, now

toms. “It was exactly the solution that I was looking for,”

31. That’s when she began her side hustle.

Eagle says.

6 2 G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 1

Courtesy Flying Eagle Kombucha


She started homebrewing her own kombucha in early 2018, and when she felt restless in her corporate job, she started selling her kombucha at farmers markets on the weekend. Eagle spent a year selling her kombucha at markets and wrestling with a decision about her 9 to 5. Finally, she chose to take the leap. After she got her last promotion, she decided to look at it as a parting gift from Gartner. “It gave me the time to close up things,” she says. “That way I could help my team, my program and my product continue to grow even as I saw my way out.” In September 2019, Eagle gave her notice and became a full-time entrepreneur. Since then, she’s seen steady growth in her business—from 10 gallons every three weeks when she started to 360 gallons every three weeks today. And she’s taken the next step: she launched a kombucha bar within Millennial Brewing’s taproom in downtown Fort Myers. “I find the best situations come from a place of openness and honesty and collaboration,” Eagle says of the conversation that led to Millennial offering to sublease space within their brewery. “It’s important to have conversations with people. Your community isn’t going to know your struggles or your strengths if you’re not going out and being open with them.” This idea of community has been crucial to Eagle’s success. At Gartner, she found herself surrounded by a group of empowering women who offered advice and encouragement. “You need to have a support group, whether that be friends or family or your partner,” she advises other aspiring entrepreneurs. And make sure they have the right frame of mind. “You want people in your life who encourage you to be adventurous and allow you to find something you’re passionate about.” For women entrepreneurs in particular, this sense of adventure is crucial. “Don’t be afraid to be empowered,” she says. “Let yourself feel like a badass.”

BREWING BUSINESS Maddy Eagle launches a kombucha bar within Millennial Brewing’s taproom in downtown Fort Myers.

G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S J A N U A R Y 2021 6 3

"Alexa play 96.9 WINK FM"

T O D AY ' S H I T S & Y E S T E R D AY ' S FAV O R I T E S



Fresh take on star sedan

Wearable health monitors


Courtesy The Breakers; Courtesy Hyundai; Courtesy Apple



After Hours



By James Raia

A Noteworthy New Beginning GENESIS INTRODUCES A FRESH TAKE ON ITS STAR SEDAN The 2021 Genesis G90 marks the fifth model year of

and close relative Kia, has a 10-year powertrain warran-

the flagship sedan. It’s the South Korean underdog, still

ty. The rival German brands don’t. The Genesis Expe-

young, unheralded, but a worthy challenger to front run-

rience extends the warranty with three years or 36,000

ners from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. If its stal-

miles of complimentary maintenance, valet and connec-

wart German rivals haven’t noticed it yet, they should.

tivity services and navigation system map care.

As the subsidiary luxury brand of Hyundai, Genesis

As a comfort cruiser, the Genesis G90 has few short-

has risen quickly among the automotive watchdogs. Car

comings. The cabin is spacious and plush, with lots of

and Driver to J.D. Power and Motor Trend to Kelley Blue

adjustments for the Nappa leather seats, all heated and

Book annually simultaneously bestow automotive hon-

ventilated as desired. Matte finish interior wood trim

ors while touting themselves. Genesis, with its G70, G80

complements the brown interior and metallic Hima-

and G90, has been a star for a few years, most notably

layan Gray exterior. The rear seat center console folds

with the G70, its value-priced sedan.

forward, revealing controls for the two rear-seat moni-

bo-charged V6 or 5-liter V8 with 420 horsepower and eight-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard; all-wheel drive is available. While not as sports-oriented as some competitors, the Genesis has enough power to satisfy performance junk-

tors attached to the back of the front seats. It’s an intimate small theater on wheels. While the G90’s luxury is impressive, so too is the manufacturer’s emphasis on safety and technology. The Genesis has 10 airbags, and half a dozen safety systems— forward collision avoidance to lane keep assist.

ies. The top-line sedan is also a smooth operator, taking

Two features can be polarizing: The recently added

occupants on quiet, smooth rides with near-effortless

large “Crest” grille is reminiscent of the Mad Max ve-


hicles’ bravado, and the retro basketweave wheels are

Like its original release as the Hyundai Genesis (2010 to 2016), the Genesis lineup (including the new GV80

further attention-grabbers on a car that doesn’t otherwise boast.

SUV) has two qualities the leading luxury sedans can’t

Sales of the Genesis G90 have been disappointing,

match: Its starting price is about $15,000 less than the

only a few thousand per year. It’s a shame. The top-flight

new Audi A8 and BMW 7-Series and $22,000 less than

sedan is as appealing as more prestigious brands. It just

the Mercedes-Benz S-class; and Genesis, like Hyundai

doesn’t have the same badge recognition.

6 6 G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 1

Courtesy Hyundai

The G90 is the limo-like cruiser, offered as a twin tur-

COMFORT CRUISER For the price, the Genesis G90 garners the attention of auto enthusiasts.

Facts & Figures: Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 5.0 seconds

Horsepower: 420

Price as tested: $76,695

Airbags: 10

Manufacturer’s suggested retail price: $75,700

Fuel economy: 16 mpg city, 24 mpg highway

Manufacturer’s website:

Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 5 years/60,000 miles; Powertrain, 10years/100,000 miles; Corrosion, 7 years/unlimited miles; Roadside Assistance, 3 years/36,000 miles


After Hours



By James Raia

Fitness Info on the Go ADVANCEMENTS AND ENHANCEMENTS IN WEARABLE TECH Fitness enthusiasts often belong to one of two groups. Some

Apple had 31.7% of the market share of wearable devices

practitioners get their physical health and mental fitness

worldwide. Further data details that about 20% of Ameri-

while getting away from time, deadlines and associated

cans own a wearable health or fitness device.

stresses. But in increasing numbers, runners, cyclists, walk-

Wearables provide motivation and encouragement as

ers, golfers, swimmers and participants in any activity that

well as timely reminders to stand and stretch or walk (for

assists in their wellness want to know more.

those who work at desks). Real-time notifications of activity

have advanced fitness exponentially. The data available

allow users to monitor their activities as they happen. The data can also be stored for review.

from wearable monitors has greatly improved people’s un-

Fitness watches replaced chest monitors only about five

derstanding of factors that determine three key areas of life-

years ago as the fitness accessory of choice. But the go-to de-

style synergy—fitness, health and well-being.

vices have quickly attracted advanced competition. “Smart”

Consider the staggering statistics: According to a report

running shorts and shirts can now record heart rates and

by Grand View Research, a market research and consulting

monitor cadence and stride length. Rings calculate dura-

company headquartered in San Francisco, the connected

tions of exercise and count steps.

health and wellness device market is projected to become a $612 billion global industry by 2024.

The benefits of wearable devices have also enhanced physicians’ abilities to more quickly access patients’ health.

“Using a watch and monitor while exercising can be a

Glasses can detect concussions and measure vision perfor-

great addition to your fitness program,” says Scott Gray,

mance. Electrocardiogram monitors can attach to a user’s

owner and founder of Back in Motion Fitness and Perfor-

chest and track heart activity. Some medical wearables can

mance in Fort Myers. “The key benefits are being objective

detect when a wearer is about to get sick by noting an elevat-

about your progress and tracking things like heart rate, cal-

ed heart rate and increased skin temperature.

ories burned, oxygen saturation and steps taken throughout the day.”

“Although it does have its benefits with fitness training, not all devices are as accurate as you may think, so be sure

Personalized health monitoring is vastly boosted by Ap-

to find a fitness device that has a reputable brand and re-

ple, Fitbit, Samsung and Xiaomi, the Chinese multination-

views,” says Gray. “Lastly, make sure that you’re using these

al electronics company headquartered in Beijing. In 2019,

devices to supplement your workouts, as nothing beats a

6 8 G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 1

Courtesy Apple: Getty (right)

Fitness devices and accessories, usually called wearables,

HISTORY OF WEARABLES Although other options are quickly expanding, the largest percentage of wearable fitness technology is still found on users’ wrists. Here’s a brief timeline of the concept: • 1 975–The calculator watch debuted, the first combination of technology and fashion ... and it was expensive. • 1 979–Portable music systems were simple, portable tape decks often clipped on belts or carried with shoulder straps. • 2 008–Fitness trackers were unveiled, and were simple by HEALTHY FUTURE

today’s standards. Functions

The connected health and wellness device

included calculating calories

market is projected to become a $612 billion

burned, distance traveled,

global industry by 2024.

hours slept and steps taken. In addition to watches, trackers were available on bracelets,

sound training program and working hard. Don’t get paralysis by analysis of the data.” NCH Healthcare System Inc. in Naples, part of the Mayo Clinic Network, offers a checklist for using a fitness monitor. It uses the term “activity tracker.” Some trackers have more elaborate features that may have difficult set-

rings and shoes. • 2 015–The Smartwatch debuted. It combined a traditional watch with the technology to pair the user’s tracking features and phone.

up instructions. But many monitors are simplified and more conducive to regular wearing because of their ease of use. For indoor and outdoor use, a device readable in different types of lighting is important. Extra features, such as monitoring heart rate and waterproof construction and extended battery life, are important—but are also reflected in the cost of wearable devices. G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S J A N U A R Y 2020 6 9


JANUARY 2021 By James Raia









Listen Well The Troubadour, like other products offered by the Los Angeles-based LSTN Sound Co., is made from various types of wood. It’s offered to “change lives through the power of music”—and that’s not just hyperbolic ad copy. Sales proceeds benefit LSTN’s charity partner, Starkey Hearing Foundation. After they witnessed someone hear for the first time, co-founders Bridget Hilton and Joe Huff began the company to provide hearing aids to people worldwide—in fact, team LSTN recently traveled to Peru to help more than 1,000 people receive hearing aids. The wireless over-ear Troubadour headphones have upscale and stylish zebra wood housings. The specs include Bluetooth 4.1, 40mm drivers, 8-plus-hour battery life, a backup cable for wired use, built-in mic/controls, vegan leather ear pads, 32-ohm impedance and a 30-foot operating range. Earbuds, speakers and children’s earphones are also among the company’s other products.

7 0 G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 1

Courtesy LSTN Sound Co.


After Hours W E E K E N D G E TA W AY


Courtesy Breakers

By Artis Henderson

As we say adieu to a year of pandemic and civil unrest, a

Where to Stay

detoxifying weekend retreat is definitely in order. Shake

Flagler built The Breakers (One South County Road, Palm

off the stress of the last 12 months in a destination creat-

Beach; 877.724.3188;—the second of his

ed for relaxation: Palm Beach. Built by railroad magnate

sweeping luxury resorts in Palm Beach—in 1896. After

Henry Flagler at the turn of the 20th century as a winter

a fire in 1925, the hotel was reconstructed by a New York

resort for the Northeastern elite, Palm Beach continues

City design firm, the same one behind the Waldorf-Asto-

to cater to a well-heeled crowd. Spend the day relaxing in

ria on Park Avenue. Reopened in 1926, the updated hotel

one of its spas, sip fresh juice on its sugar-sand beaches

was modeled after the Villa Medici in Rome. It’s long been

or visit a top-tier restaurant for a divine meal. Here’s to

the go-to destination for European nobility and American

starting 2021 right.

presidents. The Rockefellers, Vanderbilts and Astors have G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S JANUARY 2021 7 1

After Hours W E E K E N D G E TA W AY

all rested their gilded heads on its high-thread-count pillows. Today, the resort’s guest rooms and suites have been updated with modern decor and amenities, though the hotel has maintained its historic charm. Where to Eat Indulge in fine dining at Buccan (350 South County Road, Palm Beach; 561.833.3450;, long acknowledged as one of Palm Beach’s top restaurants. Here, the menu is modern and inventive, with plenty of small plates that make for perfect sharing. Though the kitchen—helmed by James Beard nominee Clay Conley—turns out top-tier dishes, the atmosphere is anything but stuffy. Boisterous and convivial, Buccan combines relaxed Florida charm with an upscale vibe. Where to Spa The Eau Spa inside the luxury resort Eau Palm Beach (100 South Ocean Blvd., Manalapan; 561.533.6000; eaupalmbeach. com) is a decadent shrine to relaxation and escapism. With 42,000 square feet of dedicated spa-space, guests can relax in the outdoor garden, soak in the al fresco tubs, lounge in the sauna or steam rooms and enjoy beauty treatments. In this whimsical paradise, the champagne and cupcakes flow freely. Where to Cleanse Meraki Juice Kitchen (328 Fern St., West Palm Beach; 561.508.6640; is a one-stop health shop that offers plant-based cuisine, cold-pressed juices, fresh baked goods, coffee and ice cream. Try the Bright blend, made with pineapple, fennel, apple, lemon, lime, ginger, kale and

RELAXING START Steak Tartare with black truffle and Tuna Crisps ‘fish vin’ wonton small plates at Buccan (top) in Palm Beach; and the soothing pool at Eau Palm Beach

parsley, kale, apple, grapefruit, lemon and mint. Ready to re-


Courtesy Buccan; Courtesy Eau Palm Beach

cilantro, or the Gratitude mix with celery, romaine, spinach, lease 2020? Get serious about letting go with a juice cleanse. Meraki offers one-day juice cleanse packages that aim to balance the thyroid, regulate hormones and calm inflammation. Enjoy them while you relax on the beach, and you’ll be ready for all the new year has to offer.

7 2 G U L F S H O R E B U S I N E S S J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 1















G 6






With hundreds of physicians and dozens of affiliated health service providers, Access Healthline is the most powerful source for all your healthcare needs. If you are looking for a doctor close to home, want more information about the services we offer, or have a question about NCH, call today and speak with one of our representatives about the many healthcare options and physician choices that are here for you, only at the NCH Healthcare System. To speak with an Access Healthline representative, call us from 7am to 7pm, 7 days a week at NCH-7777 (239-624-7777)

Profile for Gulfshore Life

Gulfshore Business January 2021  

Gulfshore Business January 2021  

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