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inside this issue

Economic Forecast Breakfast: Nationally recognized speakers make economic predictions. Page 4

We Are The Arts: Chamber hosted the 2009 Annual Meeting, which highlighted Lakeland's arts and cultural heritage. Page 8

Business After Hours: St. Joseph’s Academy showcases new facility. Page 6

FORUM FOR BUSINESS monthly THE LIFE, ART & VOICE Buy Lakeland. It makes good cents! • visit


March 2010 Vol. XX, No. 3

OF CUBAN BORN ARTIST CARLOS LUNA CommUnity Celebration 2010 Featuring Keynote Speaker: Internationally known Artist Carlos Luna

• 2010 • LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES The Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce announces its list of priorities for this year’s Legislative Session.

Thursday, March 18, 2010 – 11:30 a.m.– 1:30 p.m. The Lakeland Center – Exhibit Hall Purchase Your Tickets Online Visit And click on CommUnity Celebration Doors open at 11:15 a.m.

Ticket Price: $25.00 - Individual Tickets Corporate Table Sponsor Available: $350.00 (all tickets include parking) presenting sponsors:

One important issue is the “Vote ‘No’ on 4,” which proposes an amendment to the Florida Constitution that was previously referred to as Hometown Democracy. If passed, Amendment 4 would impose a referendum requirement on all local comprehensive plan changes. Florida Chamber of Commerce President Mark Wilson states: “If you like the recession, you’ll love Amendment 4.” Other issues include energy, taxes, transportation and term limits. See Page 2 article.

ALSO INSIDE: Upcoming Events • EMERGE Lakeland • Ribbon Cuttings • Members on the Move



Defeat Amendment 4: The Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce supports efforts to defeat Amendment 4 which will lead to higher taxes, job losses and more lawsuits.

Exploring Energy: The Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce supports offshore energy exploration and production to promote energy security and sustainability for Florida employers and consumers. Any offshore drilling proposals in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico should allow for ongoing military training exercises and ensure the protection for Florida's natural coastal and marine resources. Energy Solutions: The Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce supports a comprehensive energy policy that balances affordable, reliable and environmentally responsible energy sources while promoting economic and national security. Unemployment Taxes: The Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce supports the reestablishment of the base rate to the first $7000 of an employee’s salary; we ask the Legislature to rescind the requirement to refill the unemployment trust fund within 3 years, and to suspend any increases in unemployment taxes for 2 years.

Income Tax Increase: The Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce supports stability and predictability in the taxes employers pay and will oppose corporate income tax increases, unitary tax legislation or other tax proposals that will discourage investment in capital or jobs. Transportation: The Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce opposes the redirection of money from the State Transportation Trust Fund for nontransportation related purposes; we support an equitable return on local transportation projects; and encourage the FDOT to pursue efforts to redirect freight traffic from Lakeland’s downtown corridor.

Property Tax Relief: The Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce supports passing a joint resolution and additional legislation to stop the property tax burden on business property.

By Katie Daughtrey

Property Insurance: The Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce supports providing more affordable and available hurricane insurance to Florida's business owners and reducing current and potential assessments on Floridians from insolvent state-run insurers. Term Limits: The Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce opposes any efforts by the Legislature to impose term limits at any level of government. Streamlined Government: The Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce supports efforts to eliminate duplicative functions, bureaucracy and red tape burdens on employers.

Cost Benefit Analysis of Legislation: The Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce supports providing legislators a cost-benefit analysis of legislation to assist them in prioritizing limited taxpayer resources as efficiently and effectively as possible.


Vice President of Public Affairs

Florida business and labor leaders recently launched the “No on 4” campaign. “No on 4” is referring to Amendment 4, a proposed amendment to the Florida Constitution that was previously referred to as Hometown Democracy. If passed, Amendment 4 would impose a referendum requirement on all local comprehensive plan changes. The Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce is opposed to Amendment 4 and we encourage you to “Vote NO on 4” for the following reasons:

• THE DISRUPTION of local communities and the daily lives of Floridians will be extraordinary. Cities and counties will be required to hold elections for each proposed comprehensive plan change - not just major projects, but even minor technical details. In the last four years alone, this amendment would have required an average of over 10,599 additional local votes per year in Florida. In fact, had Amendment 4 been in place in 2006, the voters of Carrabelle - a small Franklin County town - would have seen 617 separate questions in a single ballot! • THE DISORDER will further disen franchise Florida's already-fatigued Continued on next page

No. 2

EMERGE Lakeland Goes Back to School By EMERGE Lakeland Marketing Committee

EMERGE Lakeland members attended a Higher Learning Luncheon in January at Keiser University. Debra Wright gave a moving tribute to her father, Dr. Clint Wright. Members also learned about many new and innovative programs available here in Lakeland at our universities.

County facilities. The Blue Sky facilities are the first public business technology incubators in Polk County. They will focus on attracting and nurturing entrepreneurial businesses by creating a place where USF Poly faculty, staff and students can work with businesses to develop innovative technology.

Dr. Tracey Tedder introduced the new Florida Southern College Roberts Academy. The Roberts Academy will open in fall 2010 to serve talented first- through fourthgraders with dyslexia. The Academy will offer a full-day program offering reading, math, science, and other elementary school subjects.

Members were also updated on Keiser University’s MBA program. EMERGE would like to thank all of the speakers for a great program as well as the Rib Crib for a great lunch.

Robert Goodman presented USF Polytechnic’s Blue Sky Incubator program which has two Polk

Please join us March 8 at 5:30 p.m. at Natalie’s Sports Bar & Grill for a drop by social and on March 16th

for Breakfast with Elected Officials. We’ll hold a Professional Development Breakfast with Dr. Rob Tate at Florida Southern College on April 22nd. Details for these events and more are listed on the EMERGE Web site, Whether you are looking to network and attend social events, seeking out volunteer opportunities or career development functions, EMERGE Lakeland has you covered. EMERGE promotes social interaction among young professionals, opportunities for philanthropic engagement and career enrichment. Visit to learn more about upcoming events, volunteer opportunities and development and social outings. Find EMERGE Lakeland on Facebook and Twitter… even more opportunities to keep up with events and programs!

“If you like the recession, you’ll love Amendment 4”

- Mark Wilson, President, Florida Chamber of Commerce

electorate. Voters will be deluged with highly technical background materials prepared by the local government planning staff. The legalese of proposed comprehensive plan changes, often puzzling for expert engineers and attorneys, will further dampen voter turnout. Lines at voting booths will grow as Floridians attempt the virtual impossibility of voting on hundreds of separate and often confusing ballot questions. • THE COST will be astronomical. Every city and county in Florida

will be burdened with the time and cost of holding additional elections to vote on proposed changes to comprehensive land use plans. Each of these elections will be costly. And with smarter growth stalled, Florida's robust economy will taper off to a recession while property taxes skyrocket to pay the bills. • THE RESULT will be a system that is far worse, not better. That's why respected environmental leaders refuse to support the amendment.

Looking for a business or service?

They know this amendment will not put a stop to all development, but will make well-planned, smarter growth impossible - thereby encouraging sprawl that reduces green space and makes effective growth management unachievable. We encourage you to regularly log on to to read updates on the “Vote NO on 4” campaign and to learn about the devastating effects this amendment will have on our state’s economy.

Lakeland visitors and residents are encouraged to do business with Chamber members. Browse the Preferred Business Directory to locate the products and services you need. To view the directory, visit the Chamber’s Web site at:

Nationally Recognized Speakers Present to Sell-Out Crowd

2010 Economic Predictions Offered Over Breakfast

Chief Economist at First Trust Advisors, L.P. in Lisle, IL. Dr. Lang is Co-Director at the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech in Alexandria, VA.

The 23rd Annual Economic Forecast Breakfast was held on January 14 at the Lakeland Center. This sell-out event was hosted by the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Allen & Company of Florida, Inc. More than 600 Chamber members and guests gathered to hear the highly anticipated economic predictions for 2010 presented by National Forecaster Brian S. Wesbury and Urban Research Specialist Dr. Robert E. Lang. Brain Wesbury is a nationally known economist who comes to Lakeland annually for this event. Wesbury is the

As always, this event was a tremendous success and an exceptional opportunity for Chamber members to gain insight into the economic forecast for 2010. To view a podcast of the event, please visit

Brian S. Wesbury presenting his predictions for 2010

Dr. Robert E. Lang presenting his predictions for 2010

Photo Credit: Gil Williams Photography, (863) 688-2949

Jack Stephens Recipient of This Year’s Jere Annis Award By Nancy Cattarius

WOW, to be described in such terms, we knew we had a winner for sure.


Jack Stephens graduated from the University of Arkansas, and came to University of Florida for his MBA. After a very successful career at Broward General Medical Center, and North Broward Hospital District, he came to Lakeland Regional Medical Center in 1984 to become President/CEO, a position he has held for the last 26 years. Jack’s accomplishments and leadership within his industry and associated trade organizations are very extensive and impressive, but this award recognizes his leadership in our community. He currently serves as President of VISTE, he is a graduate of Leadership Lakeland Class IV and was Chairman of Leadership Lakeland Class V. He served as Chairman of the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce, Vice Chairman of LEDC and Co-Chairman of the United Negro College Fund. He has served on boards, either advisory or active of Polk Museum, United Way, Pride, Citizens’ CPR, Leadership Lakeland Alumni, Polk Community College Foundation, Barnett Bank, Imperial Symphony Orchestra, Junior League of Greater Lakeland, Florida Southern College Advisory Board of Overseers, and is a member of Rotary Club. He has been recognized in Who’s Who in America, and Who’s Who in the South and Southwest.

The Jere Annis Leadership Award was established in 1989 by the Leadership Lakeland Alumni Association to honor the late Dr. Jere Annis, an organizer of the Leadership Lakeland Program, past president of the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce, and Chairman of Leadership Lakeland Class I and II. Dr. Annis, who passed away in 1989, was a founder of Watson Clinic. This award recognizes a graduate of the Leadership Lakeland Program who has contributed significant community service on a continuous basis within the Lakeland area with an emphasis on govJack Stephens ernment, civic or social service which has created a positive impact on the community. In today’s world of modern technology it is possible to find out almost anything you want to know about someone through Google or your favorite search engine. Thankfully, what you cannot learn as easily is how a person is regarded by their spouse, their children, their co-workers and their peers. What is this person REALLY like, what is their true character? To learn more about our winner we decided to ask for 6-10 words that best describe him. The words we heard are as follows: from longtime peers- visionary, strategic planner, articulate, dedicated, calm, compassionate, protective, consensus builder, meticulous and sweet. From close co-workers- honest, dynamic leader, high level of integrity, sincere, intellectually strong, good listener, sense of humor, empowers others, great parent. From children- generous, wise, stoic, determined, sensitive, a leader. And lastly from his spouse- loving, caring, considerate, unique, ever-optimistic, kind, generous, thoughtful and devoted.

Jack’s beloved family includes his lovely wife Beverly and his sons Jack and Christopher. Jack will be retiring from Lakeland Regional Medical Center in September this year, but we look forward to his continuing leadership in our community. Congratulations to Jack Stephens, the very deserving recipient of this year’s Jere Annis Award.

No. 4

February Small Business of the Month Award presented

By Gary Cleveland

Cleveland & Company, Inc.

Over 25 years ago, Jim and Brenda Cleary began their landscaping business. In 1999, they opened their family business, Cleary’s Garden Creations. Cleary’s Garden Creations is owned and managed by Jim and Brenda, but customers have also come to know their children, Kristen, Ryan and Austin who are an integral part of the business. Cleary’s offers Lakeland a quality retail plant nursery product line, but prides itself in the customer service backed up with years of valuable local knowledge in the landscaping business. Cleary’s believes that this type of knowledgeable customer service is their niche in this very competitive market.

Maintaining a quality plant inventory is a full time job. Plants are propagated in Cleary’s offsite greenhouses or secured from the best plant wholesalers in the state to meet the needs and demands of the Lakeland community. In a small business, business owners can change quickly to respond to the consumers ever changing needs. Recently Cleary’s has made changes to product line offerings adding garden décor and birding products to respond to a need in the community.

Over the years, Cleary’s has been an active supporter of the local elementary schools by providing plant materials to help young students learn and experience planting and nurturing with a hands-on approach. During the Christmas season, Cleary’s has helped Lighthouse Ministries with donated Christmas trees for their supported families.

February Winner

Cleary’s Garden Creations James & Brenda Cleary 4680 Cleveland Heights Blvd. Lakeland, FL 33813 (863) 644-1900 (863) 644-7366 (863) 644-1900 (fax)

Through hurricanes, cold temperatures, scorching heat, heavy rains, drought and economic storms of the past, Cleary’s has provided a significant and positive effect on our community. As a true small family businesses, Cleary’s makes a quality difference in the Lakeland area market. The Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce would like to congratulate Cleary’s Garden Creations as the Small Business of the Month for February.

Small Business of the Month Committee Member Gary Cleveland (Cleveland & Company, Inc.) presents the February Small Business of the Month Award to James Cleary, Jr. and his family, (l-r) Brenda, Kristen, Ryan and Austin of Cleary’s Garden Creations.

St. Joseph’s Academy showcases new facility during Business After Hours By Sara Olsen

St. Joseph's Academy

St. Joseph’s Academy welcomed more than 300 Chamber members to their new campus at the January Business After Hours. Guests entered through the courtyard area of the school where they were served beverages and mingled with other Chamber members. The tasty food provided by Texas Cattle Company and Harris Seafood was served in the school’s dining hall.

Msgr. John Caulfield welcomed the crowd, blessed the food and gave a brief history of the school. Principal Lana Swartzwelder accepted the Chamber plaque. Tours of the school were provided by St. Joseph’s Academy alumni and 8th grade students. The sponsors that made this event possible were: DiCesare, Davidson & Barker, P.A., Thomas J. Stanton & Associates, Community Southern Bank, Texas Cattle Company, Harris Seafood,

The Gym Sports Bar & Grill and The Red Door Wine Market. St. Joseph’s Academy integrates faith, learning and moral values with an emphasis on a sound academic program, based on research and results. SJA serves students from PK through 8th grades. The school is located at 310 McDonald Street in the Lake Morton Historic District. For more information on SJA, please visit or call (863) 686-6415.

Chairman Joe L. Ruthven presents plaque to Principal Lana Swartzwelder of St. Joseph’s Academy, and Monsignor John Caulfield of St. Joseph’s Church

e dining hall was a perfect setting for networking.

Supporters provided wonderful food in St. Joseph’s beautiful setting.

Photo Credit: Polk State College Student, Justin Green. No. 6

The 2009 Chamber Annual Meeting on February 2 was a tremendous success! In keeping with the theme of “We are the Arts”, 2009 Chairman of the Board Anu Saxena (ASC geosciences, inc.) presided over an evening full of entertainment – from a “Red Carpet” welcome to performances, exhibits and art work generously provided by Explorations V Children’s Museum, the Florida Dance Theatre, Lakeland Community Theatre, Platform Art, Polk Museum of Art and the Polk Theatre. The evening’s cultural program culminated with an uplifting performance by the Imperial Symphony Orchestra.

e Scott Linder Small Business of the Year Award was presented to Gulf Coast Avionics and Rick Garcia by Martha Linder, widow of Scott Linder, in whose honor the award is named. (l-r) Chairman Anu Saxena, Rick Garcia, Martha Linder.

Singing the National Anthem a cappella were the Satin Dolls from the Harrison Center for the Visual and Performing Arts

We’d like to thank the following sponsors of the 2009 Annual Meeting. Without their generous support, this event would not have been possible:

GrayRobinson, P.A.

AT&T Center for Retina and Macular Disease Publix Super Markets, Inc. Watson Clinic LLP

e George Jenkins Award was presented to former Mayor Ralph L. “Buddy” Fletcher for his tremendous contributions to the Chamber and community. Mr. Jenkins’ daughter, Carol Jenkins Barnett, made the presentation. (l-r): Carol Barnett, Buddy Fletcher and Chairman Anu Saxena.

Imperial Symphony Orchestra Music Director Mark ielen conducted the full orchestra in a variety of musical pieces om Classical to Broadway to Patriotic.

Mark N. Miller, Esq., GrayRobinson, P.A., introduced Lakeland’s Imperial Symphony Orchestra, in a special performance highlighting Lakeland’s tremendous arts and culture community. No. 8

Outgoing Chairman Anu Saxena (r) officially passed the gavel to 2010 Chairman of the Board Joe L. Ruthven at the conclusion of the evening’s festivities. Joe L. presented Anu with his Chairman’s Portrait which hung in the Chamber’s lobby during 2009.

Pictured above, (l-r) Steve Newhouse, Lyle Philipson and Peter Munson share a few words before the Annual Meeting.

Imperial Symphony Orchestra Harpist Dolly Roberts entertained guests during dinner.

Arts & Cultural Organizations Impact Education, Economy By Kathleen L. Munson President

The theme of this year’s Annual Meeting, “We are the Arts” provided an excellent opportunity for the Chamber to showcase Lakeland’s rich arts and cultural heritage. A highlight of the evening was a special performance of the Imperial Symphony Orchestra. The arts truly enrich the quality of life and economic growth in our community. The importance of arts to the local economy in evident: Based on a 2007 study, the arts in Polk County generate an annual economic impact of more than $73 million. In 2008, Florida’s arts and culture industry generated more than $3.1 billion in local economic activity. This industry supports 88,326 full-time equivalent jobs, generates $2.1 billion in household income to local residents and delivers $446.5 million in local and state government revenue. According to Florida Tax Watch, 74.9% of visitors to Florida participate in cultural activities. Non-local visitors to these

activities spent an average of 137% more on lodging, meals, retail purchases and transportation than local attendees. What is even more important to consider is that, based on Department of Education 12th grade enrollment data for the 2007-2008 period, the more music and arts classes taken, the higher achievement in all measures is achieved. In other words, the arts make you smart!

Unfortunately, Florida’s investment in its arts and cultural resources has dropped dramatically in recent years. In 1994, Florida was ranked #2 nationally in per capita state appropriations for arts and culture. In 2009, the State was ranked #48, investing only 14 cents per Floridian. Because of that funding loss, approximately 51% of Florida’s arts and cultural organizations’ annual operating budgets now must be raised through individual contributions. Now more than ever, the support of Lakeland’s business and community leaders is critically important to the success of these organizations.

organizations. As part of the Annual Meeting’s celebration of the arts, seven of these organizations were recognized for all they do to enrich quality of life and economic growth. • Explorations V Children’s Museum • Florida Dance Theatre • Imperial Symphony Orchestra • Lakeland Community Theatre • Platform Art • Polk Museum of Art • Polk Theatre The diverse opportunities that these organizations provide enrich our educational outlets and stimulate our economy. Historically, the Chamber has invited a nationally-recognized speaker to serve as the keynote speaker at the Annual Meeting. This year, the Chamber is proud to contribute those funds to these organizations as our way of saying “thank you” and to offer the business community’s support during these challenging economic times. Your Chamber is proud to proclaim ….”We are the Arts”!

Our area is very fortunate to have so many quality arts and cultural

Pictured above, Joseph Raffael, Solstice, 2008, watercolor on paper, 59 x 86 inches, Courtesy of Nancy Hoffman Gallery. Exhibition through April 4 at Polk Museum of Art.

Florida Dance eatre’s ballerina Kassi Abreu performs during the reception.

At le, Annie and Sandy greet the Saxena children. Sandy is a rescue om the SPCA and will be available for adoption following the Orphans om Lakeland Community eatre’s production. Learn more at production of “Annie” entertained the crowd SandyeRescueDog.blogspot with their antics. Production runs March 4-21. .com.


e Chamber is proud to welcome 9 new members for January 2010 Through their membership in the Chamber, businesses invest in themselves and their community. We urge you to to “Buy Lakeland. It makes good cents!” by doing business with these new Chamber members. For the most up-to-date list of members, visit our on-line Preferred Business Directory at!

Advanced Concept Innovations, LLC

4100 S Frontage Rd, Ste 4 Lakeland, FL 33815-3203 (863) 577-8055 Manufacturers Matt Muller

Crystal Lake Middle School

2410 N Crystal Lake Dr Lakeland, FL 33801-6238 (863) 499-2970 Fax: (863) 603-6267 Schools - Secondary (Middle) Shandale Terrell

DJ Orthopedics

1600 Lakeland Hills Blvd Lakeland, FL 33805-3019 (863) 683-5237 Medical Equipment Kurt Stefan

Doster Construction Company 8529 S Park Circle, Ste 130 Orlando, FL 32819-9016 (407) 248-9961 Fax: (407) 248-9971 General Contractors Jon Kirson

Spartan Staffing

529 Brannen Road, W. Lakeland, FL 33813-2727 (863) 644-4927 (863) 646-2238 Cleaning-Commercial-Residential-New Const. Deanna Chambers

Tuffy Tire & Auto Service Center

6935 Carter Rd S Ste 7 Lakeland, FL 33813 (863) 644-5678 Dance Company/Dance Training Rebekah McLeod

Visual Print Group & Design

E & A Cleaning Inc.

Rebekah's Sole In Motion Dance Co., Inc.

1001 S Florida Ave Lakeland, FL 33803-1117 (863) 430-8428 Fax: (863) 686-7391 Employment Contractors Joel Malek

6597 N Church Ave Mulberry, FL 33860-2014 (863) 425-3444 Fax: (863) 425-0600 Automobile/Truck - Repair Robert Harris PO Box 93573 Lakeland, FL 33804-3573 (423) 421-3423 Advertising Carol White

Hats Off Volunteers Visit Member Businesses

At the end of January, the Chamber was pleased to release the 2010 Buyer’s Guide and 2010 Membership Decals to members. With the help of more than 60 volunteers, the delivery of the materials went off without a hitch!

Each year, the Chamber provides businesses the opportunity to enjoy one-on-one interaction with fellow members through the “Hats Off!” event. Delivering updated membership information and displays to the Chamber’s 1,600 brick and mortar businesses is a major task, and this year’s volunteers were up to the challenge! Florida Technical College played host to the team of volunteers, and coordinated with Il Forno Restaurant and Pizzeria for an outstanding breakfast. The Chamber is very grateful to have Magnify Credit Union as a partner in the “Hats Off!” event. By providing 100% recycled cinch bags for the 2010 Buyer’s Guides and 2010 membership decals, Magnify helped create a simple method for delivery and a beautiful package to share! Community Southern Bank and Fifth Third Bank deserve some special recognition for handling deliveries in Bartow and Tampa respectively. Special thanks go out to all the sponsors for the “Hats Off!” event, and special congratulations to the volunteers for taking the opportunity to meet and network with their fellow members! No. 10

Chris Georgetti (Florida Technical College) welcomes the group and explains how FTC works, and how important re-training is to the economy.

No. 12


During the month of January, our Visitor Information Center assisted hundreds of individuals, answering questions pertaining to Chamber member businesses and

the Lakeland community

Walk-in Visitors..................................628 Relocation Response Mailings................5 Relocation Response (Walk In) ............28 Accommodations...................................0

Winter Accommodations .......................0 Visitor Information Mailings ...................6 Visitor Center E-mail Inquiries.............139


Monday, March 8

EMERGE Lakeland Drop-In, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m., Natalie’s Sports Bar & Grill, 3120 So. Florida Ave.

Thursday, March 11

Schmooze a’ Palooza, 11:30 a.m. Beef O’ Brady’s Family Sports Pub, 4810 S Florida Ave

Tuesday, March 16

Emerge Lakeland Breakfast with Elected Officials, 8:00-10:00 a.m. The Lakeland Center, 701 W. Lime Street

Thursday, March 18

CommUnity Celebration, 11:30 am – 1:30 p.m. The Lakeland Center, 701 W Lime Street Business After Hours, 5:30 p.m. Office Furniture Depot, 2440 US Highway 98 N


Monday, March 8

EMERGE Lakeland Steering Committee Meeting, 3:45 p.m.

Wednesday, March 10

Government Affairs Committee Meeting, 8:00 a.m.

Thursday, March 11

Leadership Lakeland XXVII, Area Economy Day

Wednesday, March 17 Executive Committee 4:00 p.m.

Monday, March 22

Small Business of the Month Committee, 11:45 a.m.

Wednesday, March 24

Board of Directors Meeting Noon Lakeland Yacht and Country Club, 929 Lake Hollingsworth Drive


DATE 2010

North-With-The-Tigers August 27-28-29 Detroit Tigers battle Toronto Blue Jays Accommodations at the Westin Harbor Castle38 stories overlooking scenic Lake Ontario and within walking distance to the Rogers Centre, home of the Toronto Blue Jays!

Remember—if you are interested in this year’s trip, you will need a passport. You may obtain an application at one of our local post offices or go to the Web site: More information to follow or e-mail Jackie Johnson:

No. 14


The Chamber would like to recognize and thank the following businesses for their long-standing support and loyalty.


By Laura Taylor

Lakeland Economic Development Council

The goal of Y Lakeland, a program of the LEDC, is to connect college and high school students to Lakeland with information that is relevant to young people, whether that is finding information on an internship in our city or what is happening this weekend in Lakeland. LEDC's current intern is Lakeland native Josh Nederveld, a student at the University of Florida. He is a double major in Journalism and German. He combines his knowledge of pop culture and Lakeland with his extensive vocabulary to connect you to our city. Josh Nederveld

At Y Lakeland, the blog topics are many and varied. Some recent posts include previews about local events, like college movie nights at Lakeland’s Polk Theatre. Josh also writes news updates from Lakeland and around Polk County, like the Legoland deal and High-Speed Rail. He is always on the lookout for new stores and restaurants opening around town—Evolution Records and Jimmy Johns downtown have both been featured recently. And he features pieces on the city of Lakeland itself, such as good biking spots and parks around town, which is just part of what makes living in Lakeland such an amazing experience. For Chamber members that have children or friends in college or high school have them check out our Web site at To receive Josh’s daily blogs you can save our Web site on your favorites or just do what most students do to stay connected, friend ylakeland on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

20+ Years Renewals 1947 – 63 Years Lanier Upshaw, Inc. 1953 – 57 Years Gillum-Waddell Plumbing Co., Inc. Lakeland juMemorial Gardens 1955 – 55 Years Universal Building Specialties 1956 – 54 Years Bernie Little Distributors 1960 – 50 Years Hauger-Bunch, Inc. Realtors 1967 – 43 Years McKay Enterprises 1968 – 42 Years B & B Auto Body Works, Inc. 1969 – 41 Years Jefferson-Allsopp, Inc. 1973 – 37 Years PAI Pension Services, Inc. 1975 – 35 Years Sonitrol Southeastern University Quality Petroleum Corp. 1976 – 34 Years Musser & Richards, L.L.C. 1978 – 32 Years Southside Package & Lounge 1979 – 31 Years Heacock Insurance Group 1980 – 30 Years Browning Moving & Storage/United Van Lines 1981 – 29 Years Overhead Door Co. of Polk County Verplanck Plumbing, Inc.

1982 – 28 Years Tidwell's Urethane Foam Service 1983 – 27 Years Harley-Davidson/Buell of Lakeland, Inc. 1984 – 26 Years Keith Hilliard, D.M.D., P.A. Register Construction & Engineering, Inc Thom Downs Antiques, Inc. Lakeside Pediatrics/Northside 1985 – 25 Years Givaudan Flavors Brett Blackmon, Inc. Family Eye Center South Florida Central Credit Union Busch Gardens - Tampa Bay 1986 – 24 Years Daryl A. Johnson, CPA Spherion 1988 – 22 Years Troiano & Roberts, P.A. Smith, Feddeler, Smith & Miles, P.A. GLT Total Office 1989 – 21 Years Newberry's Refrigeration ALBE Stamp & Engraving W. Clinton Wallace, P.A. APG Electric, Inc. St. Joseph's Catholic Church 1990 – 20 Years Rain Soft/Discovery Marketing & Dist., Inc. Lakeland Housing Authority McVay-Wood Engineering, LLC

15-Year Renewals

10-Year Renewals

Summit Consulting, Inc. VISTE/Volunteers in Service to the Elderly Florida Handling Systems, Inc. Mike's Painting & Home Improvements, Inc. Florida Kitchen and Bath Designs, Inc. Bartow Printing Company Craig A. Mundy, P.A.

Gordon Appraisal Services, Inc. Rib Crib Hair Razors Salon, Inc. Platinum Financial Planning George Ross, Inc. Village at Lake Highland

5-Year Renewals Black & Brew Coffee House & Bistro Mimis Cafe Premiere Commercial Furniture & Design, LLC Lilly, O'Toole & Brown, LLP


Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc.

Is pleased to be recognized by FORTUNE as one of the "100 Best Companies to Work For" for the sixth year in a row. Even in the midst of a difficult economy, KHA employees reported high satisfaction with the firm.

Southern Homes

bd’s Mongolian Grill

Things are heating up in Florida for bd’s Mongolian Grill, thanks in large part to the restaurant chain’s new Tampa-area franchisee. Darryl Thomas has purchased the Lakeland, Fla., and Oldsmar, Fla., bd’s locations and has already begun his efforts to expand the brand locally.

Gerardo Miranda joins Southern Homes as a New Home Specialist. He would be selling new homes at Patterson heights in Haines City. Southern Homes’ is pleased to announce December’s Sale person of the month, Janet Backman. Twice in a row!

Cipher Integrations

Don Kane of Cipher Integrations has completed a certification assessing his knowledge of installing, configuring, and administering Microsoft Windows Operating Systems and is now recognized as a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP).

Achievement Academy

Is pleased to announce that Cece Christian has been hired as the Marketing Coordinator. Cece comes to us with a background in fundraising and event planning for organizations such as The Lakeland Pig Festival, Lighthouse Ministries, Inc. and The Junior League of Greater Lakeland, Inc.

Watson Clinic LLP

Clinic hand surgeon Anne M. Meo, D.O. recently received certification from the American Osteopathic Board of Orthopedic Surgery. Dr. Meo practices from the Main Clinic location at 1600 Lakeland Hills Boulevard in Lakeland. Family medicine specialist Rony J. Alvarado, MD has relocated his practice to Watson Clinic’s Lakeland Highlands office on 2140 E. County Rd. 540A in south Lakeland. He previously practiced at Watson Clinic’s Plant City office.


Pat Dooley has joined Central Florida SCORE as a volunteer counselor. His expertise is business management.

CPS Investment Advisors

Chas P. Smith, CPA/PFS, president of CPS Investment Advisors, was keynote speaker at the CPAlliance Training conference held in Celebration, Florida. His topic was “Retirement Income Planning”.

No. 16

Coldwell Banker Commercial Saunders Real Estate, LLC

Richard Dempsey, ALC, Realtor®, and sales associate at Coldwell Banker Commercial Saunders Real Estate (CBCSRE) in Lakeland, FL, was recently installed as the 2010 President of the Lakeland Association of Realtors® (LAR) for a one-year term of service.

The Lakeland Chamber prints business announcements each month as space permits. Please mail your announcements to the Chamber or e-mail:


Owner Lyle Philipson announced James Bohannon has joined the AlphaGraphics business center located at 4130 S. Florida Avenue as a Sales and Marketing Consultant.

Imperial Swan Hotel and Suites

Pleased to announce Jennifer C. Vinson, Outside Sales and Marketing has joined Imperial Swan Hotel and Suites. The Swan has 168 rooms including 30 Executive Suites with Whirlpool Tubs and over 10,000 sq. ft. customizable banquet space.

Northwestern Mutual Financial Network

Thomas G. Pate, CLU, ChFC, CASL has been awarded a professional designation in the field of long-term care, Certified in Long-Term Care (CLTC). The program is independent of the insurance industry and focuses on providing insurance professionals the tools they need to meet their client’s long-term care planning needs.

Browning Moving & Storage/United Van Lines

BM&S was Agent of the Month in August and won the 2009 “Heart of Quality” and “Customer Choice Award”. BM&S is one of 500+ United Van Lines agents with a fleet of 20+ full-time interstate drivers and 25+ local crew members.

Danielle Fence Mfg Co

Proudly announces that Todd Weihmeir will assume the management and promotional responsibilities for their new 20,000 sq ft Outdoor Design Center opening in March 2010. As part of his new role, Todd will coordinate the introduction of 25 new product lines. Proudly announces that Jeff Vikari will be transitioning from his role as Director of Marketing to lead the Commercial Sales Group initially focused on the New Home Construction market. The addition of the complete outdoor living products line offers endless opportunities to their builder partners.

Polk Museum of Art

Is proud to welcomes new Curator of Art, Adam Justice. Justice will be in charge of organizing the Museum’s exhibitions with the assistance of the Artistic Programs Committee. He is also responsible for working with the Acquisition and Collection Committee.

Stinson’s Home Design Center

Is proud to announce that they have been awarded the “ColorCenter of the Year” for the State of Florida from Mohawk. This honor was presented at the December 2009 Mohawk Floorscapes/ColorCenter Convention in San Antonio, TX.


The following companies recently celebrated a ribbon cutting in the month of January. See the photos on our Web site at

Each month, the Chamber enlists the help of 20 volunteers to mentor new and current members with involvement in Chamber events and programs. This dedicated group of professionals is rewarded for their efforts through a points system, and the Karen Houtz Chamber Champion of the month is announced.

M.S.E.A. Solutions, Inc. • (863) 965-4621

This month, the Chamber staff would like to recognize Karen Houtz with Community Bank of Florida for her outstanding attention to Chamber members and attendance at events! Karen is a wonderful asset to the Chamber and to the Lakeland community!

Any Lab Test Now

4226 US Hwy 98 N, Lakeland, FL 33809 • (863) 853-8100



Tuffy Tire & Auto Service Center

6597 N. Church Avenue, Mulberry, FL 33860 • (863) 425-3444




Special thanks to Mayor Gow Fields and all the board members and Chamber Champions who truly make these ceremonies a special event. No. 18

THURSDAY, MARCH 18 • 5:30 TO 7:30 P.M.

$10 Chamber Member ~ $30 Non-Chamber member Your R.S.V.P. is appreciated! Visit to register and pay using your credit card or email to register and pay at the door.

Return Service Requested


P.O. Box 3607 • Lakeland, FL 33802-3607




Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce OFFICE FURNITURE DEPOT 310 MCDONALD STREET

March 2010 Forum for Business Monthly  

Monthly magazine of the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce

March 2010 Forum for Business Monthly  

Monthly magazine of the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce