April 2019 Southwest Florida Business Today

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Celebrating 11 Years

(239) 368-1219

SOUTHWEST FLORIDA’S B2B MARKETPLACE • 239-573-9732 Vol. 12 No. 6 / APRIL 2019 www.swfloridabusinesstoday.com


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Experts help you navigate the most recent changes in the law that could impact your business.




Talmage shares vision for Lee County Special to SWFBT Submitted by Karen P. Moore, Publisher

Law & Security


As the new Lee County Economic Development Office director, John Talmage is digging right in to his position. In a recent presentation to the Real Estate Investment Society, he noted, “The goal of the Lee County Economic Development Office is wealth-building and well-being.” “You’re the front lines,” he told his audience. “So you shouldn’t be coming to the government first; you should be going to commercial real estate professionals and commercial lenders first.” He added, “Finance and real estate

plus workforce equals economic development.” “The goal of the Lee County EDO,” he stated, “is to give a hand to the local community for its rapid development and to pay attention to the Talmage existing business community. We do this with good zoning and easy permitting.” It is exciting, Talmage shared, that so many businesses in Lee County are growing. “Our office receives two to three calls per day from site selectors

and companies looking to come here.” He then asked, “So to that end, what does the future for the Skyplex and ITEC look like? What can they be when they are built out with companies like Alta Resources, NeoGenomics and others coming with 10,000 jobs?” He indicated 25 tracts in Florida are identified as Opportunity Zones, including Lehigh Acres and North Fort Myers. “North Fort Myers is going to be my focus: 337 new business licenses were issued there in 2018 with quiet development activity occurring both on 41 and Old 41.” TALMAGE See page 14


SWFBT’s annual edition is a comprehensive overview of the SWFL market’s plans, projects and partnerships.


Ink appointed chair of Lee planning agency

James Ink of Waldrop Engineering was appointed as chair of the Lee County Local Planning Agency. Ink has served three terms with the LPA beginning in 2016. The LPA authority reviews and provides recommendations to the Board of County Commissioners concerning determinations of Lee Plan consistency, as the Lee Plan relates to proposed land development regulations and ordinances. CHAIR See page 3

Sprickit Digital agency launches in Naples

Sprickit Digital, a new digital marketing agency, has launched in Naples. The new digital marketing agency offers its clients digital marketing technology integrated into a proven foundation of strategy, creativity and results. This integration also involves a keen understanding of consumer motivations and behaviors. The digital marketing agency offers programmatic advertising, website design, email marketing, content marketing, storytelling, social media management services, search engine optimization and pay-per-click services. SPRICKIT See page 14

Hackathon students Matthew Perdomo, Jason Leiker presenting.

Hertz hosts annual Hackathon

Hertz in February hosted its “5th Annual Hertz Hackathon” at the company’s global headquarters in Estero. More than 80 students representing Florida Gulf Coast University, Florida Polytechnic University, University of Central Florida and University of South Florida participated in the event: “The Hackathon is a special event. It provides college students from across Florida the opportunity to help Hertz solve real-life problems that are important to our customers,” said Opal Perry, Hertz executive vice president and chief information officer. “Equally as important, it offers students the chance to learn firsthand from one another and their employee-mentors—all of whom Hackathon console & Hertz 100-year Anniversary Corvette remember what it’s like to be a college student, but also pany’s strategic partners, including Amazon Web Serwhat it’s like to be starting your professional career. It’s vices, Deloitte, IBM, Salesforce, Mulesoft, Thumbprint, really phenomenal to see the ideas, creativity and energy Southwest Florida Regional Technology Partnership, the students bring to the event.” XTIVIA, Brierley + Partners, Microsoft, Infor, Teradata The Hackathon is a 24-hour, non-stop innovation and and VergeIT. technology event led by Hertz Marketing and InformaHACKATHON See page 14 tion Technology and supported by several of the com-

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Southwest Florida BUSINESS TODAY

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Protecting your business from Falls and Premises liability You’ve built a great business plan, hired amazing staff and worked night and day to get your doors open. You’ve thought about the safety of your employees and customers and have taken steps to prevent dangerous conditions. You are ready to see some positive returns to your bottom line. But don’t rest on your success just yet. Accidents can happen and with them the possibility of injury lawsuits. Be aware of these unforeseen risks to your bottom line. Premises liability laws are designed to protect customers, vendors and sometimes even trespassers who are on your property, making you responsible for the safety of anyone who enters your business, even if you don’t own the property. Commercial leases often make safety the responsibility of the tenant and indemnify the landlord, so if an injury is caused by an unreasonably dangerous condition on the property, the business owner could be responsible. Determining when a business owner is legally responsible for premises injuries depends on whether the business owner acted carefully to prevent the possibility of injury. The general rule in Florida for premise liability lawsuits is for the business owner to: • Use reasonable care to maintain property and keep it free from hazards. • Warn of dangers that should be known to the owner and unknown to the customer that cannot be discovered through the customer’s exercise of due care. Slip and falls are the most common type of accidents, often caused by wet floors, faulty stairs, poor lighting, cluttered aisles, uneven or broken pavement, loose carpeting or other conditions. Lawsuits can also result from onsite injuries by vicious animals, broken elevators or violent customers or guests. In 2010, the Florida law changed regarding the burden of proof for slip and fall actions caused by a “transitory foreign substance,” defined as

any liquid or solid substance located where it doesn’t belong. The injured must prove that the business owner acted unreasonably in the upkeep of the property or knew that the fall situBY RICHARD L. ation was present PURTZ for a long time Guest Columnist without being addressed. Knowing of the danger includes “constructive knowledge.” For example, if a condition occurred with regularity, it was therefore foreseeable. Your clients and customers also have responsibility to avoid injury. Florida is a comparative fault state, which means that the amount of damage awarded to victims is reduced by their own percentage of fault. The District Court of Appeals found in August 2018 in Trugreen Landcare, LLC V. Charles, that business owner was without fault for injuries caused by an “open and obvious” hazard. The court found a man who tripped after stepping into a planter box should have anticipated the ground would be uneven when he stepped off the sidewalk. Best ways for businesses to avoid premises liability lawsuits are to: • Implement safety policies and procedures and keep an eye out for unsafe conditions. • Take immediate action to remedy the situation when a hazard happens. • Train your employees, so that they know how to identify and remove dangerous conditions. • Be sure to warn employees, customers and other visitors about potential hazards. Richard L. Purtz, a partner at Goldstein, Buckley, Cechman, Rice & Purtz, P.A., is a member of the Florida Bar, the American Association for Justice and the Lee County Bar Association. Call (800) 332-9404.

For more business news, visit www.swfloridabusinesstoday.com

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APRIL 2019

Southwest Florida BUSINESS TODAY

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MyLegalEdge offers legal forms for all states Special to SWFBT Submitted by Aisling Swift

Carol Thompson-Finn didn’t want to follow a traditional route and get pigeon-holed into the corporate track after law school. So, she opted to focus on the non-traditional side of the law. “I noticed that so many of my friends were getting burned out working for the larger firms and billing the long hours,” said Thompson-Finn, 46, a graduate of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. “I knew that was not the life I wanted. I needed a work-life balance.” But she got an offer she couldn’t refuse, a clerkship on the Mississippi State Supreme Court, where she eventually began exploring entrepreneurship as her clerkship neared an end. The idea for a legal form startup, MyLegalEdge, was born. She continued working on her idea while juggling work at the Superior Court of Maricopa County, Arizona; legal publisher Commerce Clearing House; and Lexis-Nexis, the nation’s top research platform, jobs that provided invaluable experience for her startup. “I love research and writing,” she said. “Because of my experience in the legal forms industry, I thought I could improve upon the processes that consumers find valuable, such as locating the forms and the amount of forms offered.” When her husband refused to leave Naples, she set up MyLegalEdge in Collier County and later moved into the Naples Accelerator. “I found my passion was being an entrepreneur.

It was the perfect fit, combining the law and technology. It’s been a wonderful experience moving into the Naples Accelerator,” she said, citing a “tremendous amount of support and resources” from mentors, the staff and Collier County’s Office of Business & Economic Development. MyLegalEdge.com offers legal Thompson-Finn forms for every state that are well below competitors’ prices. Estate planning forms, living trusts, power of attorney forms, name changes, premarital agreements are among the popular forms—and Thompson-Finn wants to ensure MyLegalEdge satisfies every legal need. For example, many people don’t bother with estate planning until it’s too late. According to legal publisher LexisNexis, about 55 percent of U.S. adults have no will or plan for the transfer of assets when they die. Among African-Americans, the number jumps to 68 percent, and even higher for Hispanics, 74 percent. As a result, grieving family members face probate court, a lengthy and often costly process. However, MyLegalEdge allows anyone to put a plan in place, so others will know their wishes if they become incapacitated or die. The website’s forms are Word documents that can be changed into “PDF fill-ables,” which allow users to fill them out online before downloading and printing them. Site visitors also can browse the blog to obtain insights on various legal topics. The more information


Ink has more than 35 years of development consulting experience throughout Florida. He has directed The Lee Plan is designed to depict numerous complex entitlement efforts FL Tombstone ad 3.pdf 11 2/8/19 12:28 PM Lee County as it will appear in the year and high-profile projects. Ink has expertise in the comprehensive develop2030.

a person has, Thompson-Finn says, the easier it is to find the right paperwork. And she’s continually updating the site to offer more. “We focus on excellence in customer service, that personal touch,” she said, adding that one customer, an elderly man not accustomed to the Internet called her because he wanted to download a form, so she sent it to him for free, which surprised him. “He called back to say that most people don’t follow through.” To promote her business, Thompson-Finn uses Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram and the Florida Virtual Entrepreneurship Center, which features her bio. Because her website required coding to locate specific forms, it wasn’t an easy task, so she hired Synergy Networks in Fort Myers to set that up. “MyLegal Edge is poised to be a vibrant and valuable member of the Naples community,” she said. “We seek to bring innovation, collaboration optimism, and well-paying jobs to the local community.” Thompson-Finn also believes she has a social responsibility to give back by mentoring other entrepreneurs and donating to various causes. Before Veterans Day last year, she featured a Free Estate Forms for Vets campaign, which was so popular, she continued the offer until the new year, handing out $900 worth of forms to 21 veterans in 11 states. “It takes time to really grow,” she said. “One thing I found out about being an entrepreneur is that everything is not a straight line; entrepreneurship has its twists and turns, but I just persevere. I find the more optimistic I am, the more opportunities are presented.”

ment process specializing in waterfront-related development, including marinas, resort-hospitality, residential design and jurisdictional permitting and compliance. He serves on the City of Fort My-

ers Planning Board, Lee County Local Planning Agency, Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program Management Committee and several other boards and committees across Southwest Florida.

Lake Michigan Credit Union Commercial Banking announces the following loans: Loan Size ......... $6,500,000 Type of Loan ...... Business Acquisition Business............ Railroad Loan Size ......... $4,200,000 Type of Loan ...... Purchase Medical Office Building Business............ Investment Real Estate Loan Size ......... $4,100,000 Type of Loan ...... SBA 504 Construction/Perm Business............ Car Wash

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Southwest Florida BUSINESS TODAY

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Merchant cash advances: Stay Away! Many small businesses in Southwest Florida have difficulty obtaining loans—or extending additional credit—from commercial lenders. The reason being is that the success rate for small businesses generally is approximately 50 percent. More specifically, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates 50.7 percent of private sector businesses founded in March 2013 survived to March 2018. Accordingly, banks hate lending money to new companies; usury laws make such lending even less appetizing. Without these loans, failing companies begin to fall into financial distress and incur net operating losses. In an act of desperation, young businesses are increasingly falling victim to a lending industry that is unshackled by banking regulations or usury laws: Merchant Cash Advances (or MCAs). Companies would be wise to avoid MCAs, as they often lead unwary entrepreneurs to financial ruin. MCAs are largely unregulated because they are seen as a sale, rather than a loan. MCA providers argue they give floundering companies a lump sum (the “Purchase Price”) in return for a set amount of cash receivables (“Purchased Sum”), albeit for a fraction of the Purchased Sum’s actual value. Companies generally agree to pay MCA providers a fixed cash sum each day or week (a “Specific Daily Amount”) until they pay off the Purchased Sum. MCA providers often advertise “Factor Rates,” which are calculated by dividing the Purchased Sum by the Purchase Price. It can be easy to make the fatal mistake of believing the Factor Rate directly translates to an APR—for example, believing a 1.5 Factor Rate is equivalent to 50 percent APR—when in reality it can be much higher, as all “50 percent” is charged upon origination. Suppose an MCA provider gives $100,000 to Company A in exchange for a Purchased Sum of $150,000. MCAs are not annualized, and most last three to six months, so as-

sume Company A repays the $150,000 through a Specific Daily Amount over six months. The MCA provider in this instance can disclose a 1.5 Factor Rate, even though Company A is paying the rough equivalent of 174 percent APR. Consequently, uninformed businesses frequently fall prey to MCAs. MCA providers rarely provide APR figures; only California requires disclosures of that nature, though New Jersey’s state senBY MIKE DAL ate recently passed a bill which would LAGO impose similar requirements on MCAs Guest Columnist valued at $100,000 or less. Many MCA providers are located in New York because New York lets MCA providers take advantage of a document, based in English common law, which is known as a “Confession of Judgment.” Companies that sign Confessions of Judgment forfeit their right to dispute the contents of an MCA. New York courts accept Confessions of Judgment, which allow MCA providers to collect their money even if companies are domiciled in states that do not recognize Confessions of Judgment. New York’s Attorney General is investigating MCA providers, but relief cannot come fast enough. MCAs can be deceivingly enticing to the unwary. But the egregious repayment terms on this type of financing ultimately result in a death spiral for young, promising companies. Those companies that are unfortunate enough to yield to the MCAs temptation should seek counsel right away. Mike Dal Lago is the owner of Dal Lago Law in Naples. He can be reached at (239) 571-68777 or mike@dallagolaw.com.

Start www.swfloridabusinesstoday.com PUBLISHER Karen P. Moore PRINT EDITOR & ASSOCIATE WEB EDITOR Jacob Ogles PRODUCTION MANAGER Jennifer Ogles


P.O. Box 152299 Cape Coral, FL 33915-2299 News: 239-573-9731 All other: 239-573-9732 News email: editor@swfloridabusinesstoday.com All other information requests: publisher@ swfloridabusinesstoday.com The contents of Southwest Florida Business Today are copyright 2013 by Southwest Florida Newspapers, Inc. No portion may be reproduced without the express written consent of Southwest Florida Newspapers, Inc. The publication of any advertisement or article does not necessarily reflect the view of the publisher of Southwest Florida Business Today. For more information about any article or column appearing in Southwest Florida Business Today, for advertising rates or subscription information please call 239-573-9732 or email: publisher@ swfloridabusinesstoday.com


Southwest Florida Business Today is to provide the best business-to-business marketplace where business executives operating in Southwest Florida buy and sell goods and services via the exchange of news, advertising and information.

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The Small Business Development Center and Lutgert College of Business, both at Florida Gulf Coast University, are co-sponsoring a Cybersecurity Academy. This event is designed for IT personnel as well business owners, executives and managers who are involved in cybersecurity. The course, based on the National Institute of Standards & Technology framework, is designed so businesses can better comprehend cybersecurity and develop and implement optimal cybersecurity plans. • At the end of the training, attendees will better able to: • Develop action plans for securing information • Assess their business’ cybersecurity health and preparedness • Identify cybersecurity risks and threats • Know the right cyber incident response The two instructors are a vice president of Cybersecurity at Wells Fargo and the chief information officer at Naples Community Hospital. The Academy will be held over two days. The first day took place March 20. The second occurs April 3 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Emergent Technologies Institute of FGCU off Alico Road.

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St. Matthew’s House on March 1 unveiled a unique ecological and agricultural project at Port LaBelle Inn and Conference Center. The team at St. Matthew’s House will work with a local Boy Scout troop to install Hydro-Stackers to help produce healthy food to feed the most vulnerable in Southwest Florida. “We are always looking to improve the quality of our programs,” said Vann Ellison, president and CEO of St. Matthew’s House. “It is a joy for us be good stewards of the resources we have in LaBelle. At peak production we expect our new Hydro-Stackers to produce 600-800 pounds of fresh produce per week. “These fresh greens and vegetables will go directly to feed the men and women in our programs and provide job training as well. This project will advance the mission for everyone involved.” Establishing a vertical hydroponic growing system in LaBelle will allow St. Matthew’s House to maximize vegetable yield and produce efficiency with more vegetables produced per square yard, while decreasing the garden space needed to do so. “We are excited about the men and women in our program taking responsibility for their own lives,” Ellison said. “They want to steward their life, their time, and activities to transform their history of addiction into a walk with freedom. This project doesn’t just provide food. It also helps everyone in Justin’s Place learn a lifestyle of independence and self-sufficiency rather than one of dependence.”

APRIL 2019

Southwest Florida BUSINESS TODAY

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COMMERCIAL RE MARKET A look at commercial real estate trends and topics in Southwest Florida

Will Collier’s infrastructure “catch up” to its growth? Special to SWFBT Submitted by Karen P. Moore, Publisher The setting According to Adam Ahmad, owner of a Naples civil engineering firm, “While we need to plan to accommodate our continually growing population by working in advance, in my experience here in Southwest Florida, projects are rarely given the go-ahead until the people are already here. And then it is too late.” Ahmad and I were both attending an event to hear Nick Casalanguida, Collier County Deputy County Manager, talk about Collier County’s plan and implementation budget and schedule for future development. For a county that was initially home to 2883

residents in 1930, it has burgeoned beyond all earlier population growth models, now estimated to reach almost 400,000 residents by the end of this year. As Casalanguida shared in his presentation, this is simply the reality. “Because population growth is not an exact science, population growth rates always exceed the infrastructure budget increases available to accommodate the increasing population here in Collier County.” However, he noted, during the recent recession, while population growth only temporarily subsided, it took a few years for the county’s infrastructure investments to get back on track. Because we knew the population was still going to be coming here, after a brief pause due to the recession, the infrastructure investment ideally “should have” remained steady through the reces-

sion. But simply put, the older model did not “allow for” a recession of its duration, so the money was simply not available for infrastructure development during that timeframe. In other words, but for the recession, the region’s infrastructure development would have been much further along than it is today. So Collier County, along with other Florida counties, is now playing the infrastructure “catch-up” game. And in Collier County, due to its unique relationship to the Everglades, 80 percent of its lands are protected; only 20 percent of it is developable. And that available land exists largely in the eastern part of the county. COLLIER See page 10

Navigating the government guaranteed lending seas

As a lender getting into government guaranteed lending can be a daunting task. There are literally thousands and thousands of pages of policy. It’s almost as if they are trying to prevent you from figuring out how to apply for a guaranty or encouraging you to stay out. We often will start the process with our customers hoping for a pleasant experience ending in a train wreck of sorts with the borrower frustrated and the lender swearing off any types of government guaranteed lending ever. So as lenders what do we do? As guaranteed lending has become more mainstream, often customers will ask for programs by name or ask if you do SBA lending or USDA business and Industry loans outright. As lenders, it’s our job to serve our customers needs with creative and innovative ideas. If you are a lender that is a little long in the tooth or if you just started your lending career yesterday, let’s discuss some of the ways you can educate yourself on Guaranteed lending. You can read 10,000 pages of government policy. Exciting right? I mean, who doesn’t love an exciting read? Especially the type that was written by attorneys, in a dimly lit room that reeks of cigars and rich English leather? I mean, come on. What a page turner. Sure, it will take you two years to get back to your customer on

whether you can do this or that, do we have to take that as collateral or do you put 10 percent down or 23 percent. So, if you have plenty of time on your hands and your customer doesn’t mind waiting, this is your option. You can call your local district office. Better than option 1? Absolutely, your district office can give you some basic information and BY TOM tell you some options for guaranMAIALE teed lending. Although, usually Guest Columnist they will steer you towards a series of slides on a PowerPoint, or direct you to a webinar where they cover 10,000 pages in about thirty minutes. Make sure you have a super espresso coffee handy and 10 perfectly sharpened #2 pencils nearby because you are going to set a world record for most notes taken in a 30-minute time span. After recovering from writers’ cramp and icing down your wrist, you can go back and review your notes. Maybe you gathered enough information to ask a question and now you will be referred to option 1. Enter Lender Service Provider (LSP): Now here is a

For more business news, visit www.swfloridabusinesstoday.com revolutionary idea. What if you had a guaranteed lending department in your bank, without having the overhead of a department? An LSP is just that; they are guaranteed lending experts that work for your bank helping you navigate the guaranteed lending waters. They know the 10,000 pages of policy so you don’t have to worry. They facilitate the entire process, of knowing the policy, getting the guaranty, and making sure that you follow the rules from start to finish. It’s truly an innovative and creative way to serve your customer’s needs without additional costs to your bank. Call me today and let’s discuss how a Lender Service Provider can bring your bank to the guaranteed lending table. Tom Maiale, First Federal Bank SBA Lending Vice President and Business Development Officer, is a 17-year SBA Lending veteran with SBA Training from The National Association of Government Guaranteed Lending and The U.S. Small Business Administration. Contact him at tmaiale@cbcnationalbank.com or call (239) 288-9966.

We Care About SWFL Looking for a high visibility Commercial Realtors location in Cape Coral? With dedicated space for informa�on: • On our website with a Commercial Real Estate sec�on & directory • In our quarterly Commercial RE Market pullout in both the print & digital versions of SWFBT • With zoned and full-run inserts • With guest column opportuni�es • With digital marke�ng op�ons For more informa�on, call Karen at (239) 770-7527


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APRIL 2019

Southwest Florida BUSINESS TODAY

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COMMERCIAL RE MARKET A look at commercial real estate trends and topics in Southwest Florida

Krise elected chair of Airport Advisory Committee

Pure Florida, Tin City ownership and Turrell, Hall & Associates reopened the historic Tin City Waterfront boardwalk after damage from Hurricane Irma forced its closure.

Tin City Boardwalk restoration complete Pure Florida, Tin City ownership and Turrell, Hall & Associates reopened the historic Tin City Waterfront boardwalk after damage from Hurricane Irma forced its closure. “We would like to thank the restoration team including engineers of Turrell, Hall and Associates and the owners of Tin City for their hard work and dedication to this important restoration project after Hurricane Irma.,” said Harry Julian, owner Pure Florida. “We are excited the modernized boardwalk will ensure our guests have the best experience possible during their visit.” Visitors to Pure Florida will experience wider, more user-friendly walkways with plenty of space along the new waterfront boardwalk as they come to board the M/V Double Sunshine for Sightseeing and Sunset Cruises and M/V Lady Brett for Deep Sea Fishing Charters. Visitors can also enjoy new covered seating

while waiting to board the M/V Double Sunshine in the Indian Chickee Hut built by members of the Seminole Tribe with a plaque describing the history of the structures. The restoration project took 18 months of hard work on the complex project since the seawall that supports the boardwalk and restaurants (Riverwalk and Pinchers) was severely damaged in the storm and needed to be rebuilt. The boardwalk now allows a pedestrian connection under U.S. 41, allowing people to walk along the waterfront uninterrupted between Tin City, Bayfront and beyond. The boardwalk is made from the dense hardwood Ipe. This is the same wood used at the Naples City Dock, Naples Pier and the Gordon River Greenway. Ipe, also called Brazilian walnut, is a beautiful exotic wood from South America. Ipe wood structures are hard, strong and naturally resistant to rot, abrasion, weather and insects.

Sanibel Captiva bank purchases Gateway building To commemorate their Gateway branch’s second anniversary, Sanibel Captiva Community Bank has announced the acquisition of the branch’s building, located on Gateway Boulevard. Sanibel Captiva Community Bank purchased the building from Walkerbilt. The 17,000-square-foot office building was built in 1989 and is currently fully leased by a variety of businesses. The bank has hired Fowler Construction to renovate the building, including Sanibel Captiva Community Bank has announced improvements to the common areas, bathrooms, the acquisition of the Gateway branch’s building, stairwells and main entrance. In addition, the bank located on Gateway Boulevard. Sanibel Captiva Community Bank is nationally will be repaving the parking lot and adding new ranked by S&P Global Market Intelligence as top landscaping to the property. “This building is a great addition to our port- 25 best-performing community bank out of more folio because of its excellent location and the di- than 4,500 banks with assets under $1 billion. It is verse group of tenants who offer a wide variety of well capitalized, with almost $450 million in asservices and products to the Gateway community,” sets, and generates the highest return on equity of said Craig Albert, Sanibel Captiva Community all Florida banks in excess of $155 million in total assets. Bank president and chief executive officer.

The Lee County Port Authority Airports Special Management Committee elected commercial real estate agent Randy Krise as chair during its Feb. 19 meeting The authority also chose Robbie Roepstorff as vice chair. Other members of the Airports Special Management Committee include Noel Andress, John Goodrich and Fran Myers. The committee also includes two regional members, R. Scott Cameron and Dana Carr, who represent the interests of neighboring Collier and Krise Charlotte counties. The committee advises the Board of Port Commissioners on policy matters pertaining to Southwest Florida International Airport and Page Field in Fort Myers. Each Port Commissioner appoints one ASMC member, who serves without compensation. Southwest Florida International Airport served nearly 9.4 million passengers in 2018 and is one of the top 50 U.S. airports for passenger traffic. Page Field provides services to corporate, commercial and private aviators and accommodated more than 98,000 aircraft operations in 2018. No ad valorem taxes are used to run or expand the airports, which are funded solely with revenue generated from their operations.

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If you have a commercial property and would like financing or refinancing, please call John Svirsky 239-631-0033.

Page 8

Southwest Florida BUSINESS TODAY

APRIL 2019

COMMERCIAL RE MARKET A look at commercial real estate trends and topics in Southwest Florida

Choose the right commercial professional for you RON STRUTHERS, CCIM


Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, North Port, Venice, N. Fort Myers & Pinellas Park Specializes in all facets of commercial brokerage and leasing in Charlotte County area. 2019 CCIM Florida Chapter Southwest District President.


• • • • •

941-769-3316 rstruthers@ccim.net www.commercialrealtyfl.com


PETER WEST, CCIM, SEC Venice, North Port & the entire Gulf Coast A Realtor since 1984, Peter has worked in all facets of real estate. Currently he operates four brokerage offices in FL & MA. He is licensed in FL, MA, NY & VT • • • •

BISHOP WEST REAL ESTATE, LLC 413-822-2571 pwest@ccim.net www.bishopwestfl.com



If you are a CCIM-SWFL Chapter member, as a benefit, you are eligible to participate in this section. Contact 2019 CCIM SWFL President Ron Struthers for details at rstruthers@ccim.net Ron says: “This ad got me listings. It works!”

FRED KERMANI, CCIM, AIA Collier, Lee & Charlotte Counties Partner, licensed real estate broker and architect in Florida & California with 36 years of real estate and design experience. Specializes in land marketing and investment properties. • LAND • INVESTMENT



239-659-4960 fred.kermani@creconsultants.com www.creconsultants.com/fredkermani

STEVE GANT, CCIM, MAI Charlotte, Desoto, Lee & Sarasota Counties

Steve is a Charlotte County native and commercial real estate expert with 21 years of experience. Local Knowledge. Expert Qualifications.


941-628-2625 steve@riverside-services.com www.riversiderealtyservices.com

• • • • •


Lee, Collier & Charlotte Counties Senior Vice President and Senior Credit Officer. More than 30 years of commercial lending experience. CCIM Senior Instructor and 2019 Florida CCIM Chapter Southwest District Treasurer.

Why use a CCIM?

There are countless benefits to working with a CCIM. Commercial real estate investment requires the counsel of a qualified professional. A Certified Commercial Investment Member provides clients with the assurance that every decision will be made in the best interest of their investment objectives. When assembling a commercial real estate investment team, start with a CCIM.

941-624-1916 mmize@csbtfl.com www.charlottestatebankandtrust.com

BEV LARSON, CCIM Lee, Collier & Charlotte Counties

Larson has over 39 years of diversified experience in the SWFL market. She is a Certified International Property Specialist. 2018 Florida CCIM Chapter Southwest District President.


CCIM is the most prestigious designation commercial real estate professionals can achieve within the industry. Graduate-level education, coupled with industry-leading technology tools, practical proven experience, and in-depth knowledge of their local markets, gives CCIMs the ability and the credibility to conduct business confidently and successfully. By partnering with a CCIM, you effectively utilize the top-level, most reliable performers in the industry: with an average of 19 years of experience, 70% of CCIM members hold executive-level positions and 90% of members refer clients to other business services. When you use a CCIM, you choose the most credible professional in the business.

LAHAINA REALTY 239-281-1290 bev1314@aol.com


Overall, CCIM’s global network enables members to close thousands of transactions annually, representing more than $200 billion in value. But closing transactions is only part of what CCIMs can do. In addition to holding dealmaking occupations in every property sector, CCIMs are also found in’ leasing, asset management, development, lending, financing, property management, site selection and corporate real estate positions. So, whatever assistance your real estate project requires, a CCIM can help you achieve a better result. In fact, only 6 percent of all commercial real estate practitioners hold the elite CCIM designation, which reflects not only the caliber of the program, but why it is one of the most respected designations in the industry. When you use a CCIM, you choose a professional who produces measurable results.

The CCIM designation is conferred by the Chicagobased CCIM Institute, a commercial real estate affiliate of the National Association of REALTORS. Learn more about the value of working with a CCIM.


Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry & DeSoto Counties

Qualifying Broker / Managing Director Licensed Real Estate Instructor Director Royal Palm Coast Realtor Association Director, CCIM-SWFL District Past President Commercial Investment Professionals of Southwest Florida Past President SWFL Commercial Alliance Vice-Chair Laguna Estates CDD



CCIM designees are bound to the strictest ethical guidelines and standards of practice in the industry today. In addition, each CCIM has successfully completed a graduate level program comprised of 160 hours of education. If you ask around the industry, you’ll learn that companies and other real estate professionals are more likely to seek out experts who possess the CCIM designation, as they know CCIM stands for trust, knowledge and reliability. When you use a CCIM, you choose experts with integrity.

• • • • • •



Today there are CCIMs in every state, across Canada and Mexico, and in more than 30 countries around the world. Domestically, the network encompasses more than 1,000 markets, from large metropolitan areas to small cities and towns. A truly global network, CCIMs are a powerful force in markets large and small. When you use a CCIM, you choose a trusted community of real estate professionals that are consistently sought for their dependability, intelligence, success and confidence.



• • • •


ADAM PALMER, CCIM Fort Myers, Naples, Sarasota, Tampa & Orlando Principal & Managing Director LandQwest Commercial, President - Florida CCIM Chapter, 12-time CoStar Power Broker Award Winner


239-898-8686 adam@adampalmer.com www.adampalmer.com

• • • • •



Lee, Collier & Charlotte Counties Recipient of the RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement and Hall of Fame Award. Serving the SWFL market for over 30 years. We have 7 CCIMs to serve all our clients' needs.

RE/MAX REALTY GROUP 239-281-0441 mfrye@ccim.net www.michaeljfrye.com

• • • •


APRIL 2019

Southwest Florida BUSINESS TODAY

Page 9

COMMERCIAL RE MARKET A look at commercial real estate trends and topics in Southwest Florida

Choose the right commercial professional for you CARLOS ACOSTA, CCIM


Lee, Charlotte, Collier & Sarasota Counties

Lee, Collier, Charlotte & Sarasota Counties SWFL CCIM Past President, Florida CCIM Membership Chair, CCIM International Committee. Hablo Español. • • • •



239-265-2628 theresa@ccim.net www.sperrycga.com

ERIC DEYOUNG, CCIM Charlotte & Sarasota Counties Vice President of Commercial Lending with more than 12 years experience. Graduate of University of Florida, MBA at FGCU. Active volunteer and community leader.



941-223-3179 edeyoung@csbtfl.com www.charlottestatebankandtrust.com

PAM WITTENAUER, CCIM Fort Myers, Estero, Cape Coral, Bonita Springs & Naples

Past Board Member and Treasurer of CIP. RE/MAX 100% Club Award Member in 2018. Over 10 years in commercial real estate. RE/MAX Commercial Top Producer in 2018.

• • • • •

RE/MAX REALTY GROUP 239-989-7077 pwittenauer@remax.net pwittenauer@engagerealestate.com


ENN LUTHRINGER, CCIM Lee, Collier & Charlotte Counties A partner with CRE Consultants and 15-year commercial real estate veteran, he specializes in the medical and professional office market.


239-994-3703 enn.luthringer@creconsultants.com www.creconsultants.com



An office, industrial and investment property specialist with more than 30 years of commercial real estate experience in successfully assisting clients with acquisitions, dispositions and leasing.


Naples Office 239-649-7755 dave.wallace@creconsultants.com

• • • •


Managing Principal/Qualifying Broker. Specializing in acquisitions and disposition of retail, office, industrial, land and investment sales. 5-time CoStar Powerbroker.

Why use a CCIM?

There are countless benefits to working with a CCIM. Commercial real estate investment requires the counsel of a qualified professional. A Certified Commercial Investment Member provides clients with the assurance that every decision will be made in the best interest of their investment objectives. When assembling a commercial real estate investment team, start with a CCIM.

CRES of SWFL 239-823-0115

cacosta@ccim.net www.cresswfl.com

Collier, Lee, Charlotte & Hendry Started in Commercial Real Estate in 1980. She is a Certified Paralegal. A Lee County resident since 1968, she has astute knowledge of the Southwest Florida market.

239-850-2811 debrajohnsonshuey@icloud.com www.debrajohnsonshuey.com

Fort Myers, Naples, Sarasota, Tampa & Orlando Artem has been globally recognized by Commercial Investment Real Estate Magazine as one of the top 10 CCIMs under 30. 2019 Florida CCIM Chapter Southwest District Secretary.


• • • • •

The CCIM designation is conferred by the Chicagobased CCIM Institute, a commercial real estate affiliate of the National Association of REALTORS. Learn more about the value of working with a CCIM.


239-200-6153 anashman@LQwest.com www.lqwest.com/agents/artem-nashman


CCIM designees are bound to the strictest ethical guidelines and standards of practice in the industry today. In addition, each CCIM has successfully completed a graduate level program comprised of 160 hours of education. If you ask around the industry, you’ll learn that companies and other real estate professionals are more likely to seek out experts who possess the CCIM designation, as they know CCIM stands for trust, knowledge and reliability. When you use a CCIM, you choose experts with integrity. Overall, CCIM’s global network enables members to close thousands of transactions annually, representing more than $200 billion in value. But closing transactions is only part of what CCIMs can do. In addition to holding dealmaking occupations in every property sector, CCIMs are also found in’ leasing, asset management, development, lending, financing, property management, site selection and corporate real estate positions. So, whatever assistance your real estate project requires, a CCIM can help you achieve a better result. In fact, only 6 percent of all commercial real estate practitioners hold the elite CCIM designation, which reflects not only the caliber of the program, but why it is one of the most respected designations in the industry. When you use a CCIM, you choose a professional who produces measurable results.





• • • • • •



Today there are CCIMs in every state, across Canada and Mexico, and in more than 30 countries around the world. Domestically, the network encompasses more than 1,000 markets, from large metropolitan areas to small cities and towns. A truly global network, CCIMs are a powerful force in markets large and small. When you use a CCIM, you choose a trusted community of real estate professionals that are consistently sought for their dependability, intelligence, success and confidence.




CCIM is the most prestigious designation commercial real estate professionals can achieve within the industry. Graduate-level education, coupled with industry-leading technology tools, practical proven experience, and in-depth knowledge of their local markets, gives CCIMs the ability and the credibility to conduct business confidently and successfully. By partnering with a CCIM, you effectively utilize the top-level, most reliable performers in the industry: with an average of 19 years of experience, 70% of CCIM members hold executive-level positions and 90% of members refer clients to other business services. When you use a CCIM, you choose the most credible professional in the business.

• • • • •

Lee, Collier & Charlotte Counties Broker/owner of Krise Commercial Group and 2016 Florida CCIM Regional Vice President and Institute Board Member.


• • • • •

239-633-8672 randy@krisecg.com www.krisecg.com


HEATHER RIDEOUT, CCIM Charlotte & Lee Counties Heather comes to the commercial real estate world with over 20 years experience in small business consulting, as a successful small business owner and as a real estate investor.


• • • 941-979-1174 • Rideout@kwcommercial.com www.RideoutCommercialGroup.com •


Page 10

Southwest Florida BUSINESS TODAY

APRIL 2019

COMMERCIAL RE MARKET A look at commercial real estate trends and topics in Southwest Florida

Orangetheory Fitness continues growth in Southwest Florida Orangetheory Fitness, a national fitness franchise, is expanding its presence in Southwest Florida. A new location is opening on Santa Barbara Boulevard in Cape Coral. The studio, owned by Bob and Barbara MacIntyre, held a grand opening party in February. “We are thrilled to be opening another studio in Southwest Florida,” Bob MacIntyre said. “Our clients have had outstanding success with reaching their fitness goals, and we look forward to

continuing that success in Cape Coral.” Orangetheory’s scientifically developed program has earned international acclaim and media attention for its proven results. On average, members burn an estimated 6001,000 calories per workout, and the 60-minute sessions are designed to help clients burn additional calories for up to 36 hours after the workout. This is what Orangetheory Fitness calls the

“after burn,” and it’s based on a physiological concept known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or EPOC. Sessions are led by experienced group personal trainers who oversee each member’s progress through heart-rate monitors. “Our programs are for everyone,” MacIntyre said, “and we encourage anyone that is looking for a great way to get in shape, or stay in shape, to come visit us at any of our Southwest Florida studios.”

Diamond Custom Homes expands, moves

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Luxury custom homebuilder Diamond Custom Homes announced the company has moved into a new office building adjacent to the Vanderbilt Galleria on Galleria Court. The new 4,200-square-foot second floor office space primarily serves to accommodate the growing Diamond Custom Homes team and provide a more inviting space for clients. The space has seven offices, a selection area, two spacious conference rooms, two collaborative bullpens and a well-appointed kitchen. Each bullpen also contains numerous desk spaces for project managers and other members who spend the majority of time onsite. Karen Valesco, Diamond Custom Homes director of Architectural Services, executed the office’s interior design.

COLLIER PAGE 5 Upcoming projects and programs That being said, Casalanguida outlined numerous infrastructure plans for the county, both planned and underway, spanning the next several years. Those that currently have at least some funding available for use toward their development include bridge replacements, intersection development, road extensions and public parks. Each of these projects also, however, currently have a funding shortfall. Other proposed projects that currently do not have funding earmarked for their development include EMS stations, a new Sheriff’s forensic/evidence building and hurricane resiliency projects at its current facilities, a career and technical training center, a new domestic

For more business news, visit www.swfloridabusinesstoday.com “Our primary motivation for the move was the growth we have experienced over the past couple of years,” said Diamond Custom Homes President Michael Diamond. “We simply needed more office space. Given the need, we’re taking advantage of the opportunity to offer our team a more innovative workspace with an enhanced conference room to meet the needs of our clients and our team.” The space is also home to Edge Cabinetry, a company focused on high-end custom cabinetry and millwork, which Diamond launched several years ago. Edge occupies Suite 203 and has its own reception area, collaborative workspace and shares the selections and conference rooms. animal services shelter and a mental health facility. Some of the project shortfalls have been voter-approved to be covered or partially covered with county tax funds. Some of these shortfalls may come from additional sources of public funding (i.e. from the state,) and some of this shortfall coverage will come from private enterprise. The future Collier County’s future is not coming; it is here. While it is an exciting time, it is also a time of great turmoil and tumult. As Casalanguida’s presentation indicated, balancing politics and economic growth with environmental preservation and quality of life is a delicate process, and one that requires the diligent attention of and participation from all of us.

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APRIL 2019

Southwest Florida BUSINESS TODAY

Page 11

COMMERCIAL RE MARKET A look at commercial real estate trends and topics in Southwest Florida

5th adds five: 5th Avenue South adds five businesses

5th Avenue South welcomes five new businesses: New England Investment and Retirement Group, Salon East, Area Home and Design, La Trattoria and La Pescheria. New England Investment and Retirement Group is in the investment advisory and wealth management business. The company has been in business for 23 years, after operating successfully from the Boston area since 1995. The fastest growing portion of their business is business succession, where the company prepares businesses for sale; there is even a separate arm of the company dedicated to dealing with this, called Business Succession Advisors. Salon East is a hair salon originally from East Hampton, New York specializing in cutting, coloring, color correction, event hair and makeup. Co-owner JoAnn Gustafson is a Board-Certified Master Colorist and “loves to personalize beauty and see the unique-

ness of every client” and believes a warm atmosphere and team approach are essential to her mission of making feeling beautiful accessible to all. The salon has seen a successful season so far and already has plans for growth. Area Home and Design is a high-end residential design and renovation store located on 5th Avenue South. The store has already seen impressive foot traffic and sales. Owner Joel Hartman describes the content of the store as mid-century modern, but the content changes based on season and trends. Area Home and Design makes custom cabinetry and has an exclusive furniture line called Twist Modern, from Naples’ own Michael Cape. The store manages projects large and small, whether focused on the entire home or materials such as tile and window treatments. La Trattoria is a new Italian pizzeria and restaurant located steps away from the entrance of 5th Avenue.

It’s Your Future. Own It.

Nor-Tech expands headquarters in Cape Coral Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats is stepping up its staff and production in its new manufacturing headquarters in Cape Coral. The custom boat builder expects the $2 million, 55,000-square-foot facility to increase production by 30 percent. The Cape Coral expansion doubles the company’s total 100,000 square feet of manufacturing space in Lee County, which includes 45,000 square feet in North Fort Myers. Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats established its roots in Cape Coral in 1991, founded by Norwegians Trond Schou and Nils Johnsen. It chose Cape Coral for its most recent expansion to take advantage of city incentives, ample space for its facilities and the city’s available workforce. Nor-Tech has partnered with Cape Coral Technical College to train skilled staff. During the past 28 years, the company has innovated its designs and produced approximately 50 different models of boats ranging from 29 feet to 80 feet. It is currently focused on its line of cen-

From the owners of Caffe Milano, La Trattoria is new to the Avenue, but its partners are well acquainted with its charm. La Trattoria specializes in serving authentic Neapolitan pizza with light and airy dough. The rustic Italian restaurant also offers hearty homemade pasta, cheese, bread, fish and meat. The easygoing family style restaurant has imported nearly all of their appliances and ingredients from Italy, from the oven to the dough mixer. La Trattoria aims to create the warm ambiance felt in authentic family-style Italian restaurants. La Pescheria is a new seafood restaurant located on 5th Avenue South. From the owners of Molto Trattoria, La Pescheria provides guests with an interactive dining experience that empowers them to make purchasing decisions that support healthy oceans. Each meal is prepared by top chefs who bring the stories of the evening to life through each course.

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Page 12

Southwest Florida BUSINESS TODAY

APRIL 2019

APRIL 2019

Southwest Florida BUSINESS TODAY

Page 13


Business owners are over-paying their taxes Most small businesses leave their federal tax credits and incentives unclaimed—and therefore overpay their taxes. U.S. Senator Charles Grassley, chair of the Finance Committee, recently told a group of small business owners that tax credits, like the R&D tax credit, are permanently available to them now. “You just have to show up.” Unfortunately, here in Southwest Florida and throughout the nation, small business owners (93 percent) are not showing up to claim their credit. Most are too busy to know about it or they think that tax credits are only for large corporations. Some think the application process would be so complicated that they don’t apply. Others may be afraid that it would increase their chance of audit. Many tax incentive experts say that is not true for those staying within the IRS perimeters in their industrial sector. This is backed up by court cases that clarified procedures for claiming these credits in favor of the business. When asked about tax credits, most business owners think, if I qualified, my CPA would tell me. Not true! While a good Tax CPA is often a business owner’s most trusted advisor, most tax CPAs do not calculate the 7,000-plus tax incentives for their clients. It’s not their fault; it is just not what they do. Unfortunately, many business owners think they do, and therefore miss out by overpaying their taxes. Not

doing this for years or decades cost some business owners hundreds of thousands of dollars, that they could have used to re-invest in their company, tucked away for their retirement or children’s education. Just ask Jerry Wright. Mr. Wright missed out on the R&D tax credit for years. In 2015, he sold his company, Save Phace, the world leader in face BY RICK protection. His company’s clients PERRY were Marvel, Bass Pro Shops and Guest Columnist Snap-on Tools, to name a few. The company that purchased Save Phace bought his assets and liabilities. Taxes are a liability, so after the purchase, the company quickly filed for the R&D tax credit. When Mr. Wright got the check in the mail from the IRS, he had to send it off to the new owner. Wright lamented, “That was a tough day, and I was shocked and disappointed that my CPA I had for 18 years knew about the R&D tax credit, but did not file for it. When Mr. Wright asked his CPA why didn’t he file for the R&D tax incentive, the CPA responded, ‘Jerry, I do your taxes, I don’t do Tax Incentives.’” Mr. Wright learned the hard way that tax incentive CPAs are a specialty field, often with Master’s in

taxation, and that tax CPAs are focused on your personal and business taxes, not all of the federal, state and local tax incentives. Progressive CPAs are reaching out on behalf of their clients to business tax incentive specialists to help them claim these valuable federal, state and local credits. Because most CPAs are held in high regard by their clients, this outreach strengthens their relationship by helping their client get back the taxes they overpaid. It is a win-win. A Fort Myers CPA recently told a group at the Bonita Springs Chamber of Commerce that they contracted with a tax incentive specialist to help one of their clients get back over $100,000 with the R&D tax credit. This was a company related to the construction business. Do you think this business owner will ever leave their CPA after getting advice like that? In the next edition, learn why “Research” is a key word with the QRA, and about some of the business sectors and local tax credits that are available in Southwest Florida. Rick Perry, an Independent Broker for American Benefits Exchange, is managing member of Transatlantic and Your Strategy Partners, an economic and business development consulting firm in Bonita Springs. Contact him at rick@yourstrategypartners.com.




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Page 14

Southwest Florida BUSINESS TODAY

APRIL 2019


For more business news, visit www.swfloridabusinesstoday.com

Enhanced by a team of design professionals and digital analysts, Sprickit has the goals to grow throughout the southeastern United States. Sprickit’s selling proposition is its team of branding experts behind the digital capabilities. Wilson Creative Group, a full-service marketing and advertising agency, spearheaded the foundation of Sprickit, an innovative and collaborative agency with an ideal combination of talents. “Many digital companies have digital experience, but they don’t have the killer marketing strategy and creative needed to really catapult brands to the next level of digital performance,” said Peggy Wilson, president of Sprickit. “This is why Sprickit is so important, because clients can have both.

We make it approachable for clients to understand. We educate and inform, dispelling myths and providing the tools to help small and medium sized businesses make educated decisions. Almost like making the intangible, tangible.” Wilson Creative Group has followed the growing trend toward digital advertising and expanded a business model accordingly. “We are thrilled to be launching Sprickit,” said Wilson. “We look forward to expanding our scope of services for our existing clients and reaching new businesses outside of the Florida market.” The digital marketing agency will assist businesses target specific audiences, get discovered more prominently in searches, and improve content on their websites.

HACKATHON PAGE 1 “We challenged the students to work hard and remember nothing is impossible as they sought to help Hertz create a location of the future that delights our customers by making their journey faster and easier,” said Steve Wittman, Hertz vice president of E-commerce. “We also reminded them that Hertz has implemented solutions and hired top talent from previous Hackathons. The event is really a wonderful opportunity and fantastic experience for everyone involved. We look forward to hosting it again next year.” Why is the Hackathon special? The Hackathon engages the best and brightest students from top Florida universities to leverage new and innovative technologies to solve important business challenges, officials said. The theme for this year’s event was “Location of the Future.” Students were tasked or challenged with helping Hertz create a location that will delight customers

TALMAGE PAGE 1 “Lehigh Acres is also growing,” according to Talmage, “because Bonita Springs and Estero are full. So that situation gives both Lehigh Acres and North Fort Myers a lot of new planning and building opportunities.” To that end, and to aid investors, he shared the Lee County EDO is working on a project with Dana Brunett and the Small Business Development Center at FGCU. “Our goal is to create a ‘toolkit’ on an interactive website to locate Opportunity Zones and to provide the tools needed by potential investors to identify possibilities within these zones.” He then announced, “I am happy to say that we recently rolled out an initial version of this ‘toolkit’ to an investor at the Collaboratory in Fort Myers.”

by making their journey faster and easier. A “location of the future” was set up in the lobby that included kiosks, cars and an exit gate; and students competed for prizes in these three areas: • Visual Recognition • Artificial Intelligence (AI) • Internet of Things (IOT) Twenty-three teams competed in the Hackathon. Their hacks or solutions were judged using the following criteria: business value, customer value, proof of concept, innovation and presentation. The winners were: • 1st Place for Visual Recognition: Jeffrey Fleurent, Devon Jerothe and Edgar Meruvia from Team Solvitor and representing Florida Gulf Coast University • 1st Place for Artificial Intelligence: Shreyas Dalvi, Cristian Malaga, Amitha Rajappa and Ettienne Voges from Team Captain Planet and representing University of South Florida • 1st Place for Internet of Things: Kartikay Bali, Mohit Dedhe, Brent Hovan and Brianna Pereira from Team Vision and representing University of South Florida











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Is SWFL attractive for graduates? Many of my followers know I am attending FGCU and about to complete my Bachelor’s in Communication and Public Relations this summer. While I was taking a Public Relations Research class last fall, we finalized a project based on the perception of young college students about staying in Southwest Florida after they graduate from Florida Gulf Coast University. As long as I’ve been in Southwest Florida, over 20 years, the topic about retaining young talent in our area has been a challenge and up for discussion among many workforce and economic development agencies. Because of this dilemma, my college group and I decided to find out how college juniors and seniors felt about staying in Southwest Florida. The research included focus groups with FGCU’s junior and senior students, surveys and content analysis about the job opportunities local business offered on Social Media. We mainly looked for their opinions about job opportunities, corporations listing jobs and internships, and what is important for college graduates when looking for a job and company. The results from the various research tactics showed the majority of juniors and seniors felt there were not enough entry-level jobs. The areas they desired more within a company are their culture and growth opportunities, along with ranking soft and interpersonal skills to be more important than experience. They also preferred a company that offers benefits like 401k, health insurance, sick days and vacation days. The second survey’s results showed college graduates without internship experience had a more difficult time landing a job than those who had internships and built connections. Most of them desired to work for a corporation versus and nonprofit or agency.

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Most students that have been in Southwest Florida for over 10 years shared their desire to leave the small, laidback towns of Southwest Florida and venture into bigger cities with more job opportunities. The same was true about those students who came from big cities into Southwest Florida to attend FGCU University; they BY JANETH preferred this area to the busy CASTREJON cities. Guest Columnist Other factors of importance to college students were focus on sustainability, affordable housing and fun activities to do. Some seniors are looking for more things to do, like Sarah. “I like the area of Southwest Florida, but I am personally planning on moving back to South Tampa after graduation,” she said. “The city is bigger and there are more fun things to do every day!” But Victoria, an FGCU Senior comments differently. “When I first moved here I couldn’t wait to leave,” she said. “The more I live here, the more I’m ok with staying after graduation.” Overall, the research study opened my eyes to some extend but it also reinforced what I already knew about the perceptions and reasons to leave Southwest Florida by our college graduates. We need more entry-level opportunities, affordable housing and lots of fun things to do to keep our young talent locally.

Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, powered by Techstars, is now accepting applications for its second class. Founders and entrepreneurs around Southwest Florida developing the next generation of connectivity, media, and entertainment companies are encouraged to apply now at techstars.com/comcast through April 7 for this year’s program. The class will begin on July 15. The accelerator is part of Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs for Entrepreneurs, a collection of programs that give talented entrepreneurs access to Comcast NBCUniversal’s renowned network of partners, brands, and mentors to foster rapid breakthroughs in connectivity, media and entertainment. Comcast NBCUniversal and Techstars will select up to 12 startups to participate in this immersive 13-week program and position the companies for possible partnerships with Comcast NBCUniversal’s partners and brands. The startups will work directly with mentors and product experts from across Comcast NBCUniversal’s businesses. Accepted applicants will partner with mentors and teams at the new Comcast Technology Center in Philadelphia. They will also participate in custom workshops, training sessions, and business meetings unique to the company and its LIFT Labs program. The accelerator will culminate with a “Demo Day” in October, where the companies will pitch their businesses to hundreds of investors, mentors, Comcast NBCUniversal leaders, and members of the tech and startup community. In addition, each company will have access to work space at LIFT Labs in Philadelphia until June 2020.

Janeth Castrejon is the social media coordinator for CareerSource Southwest Florida. Contact her at jcastrejon@careersourcesouthwestflorida.com or call (239) 225-2500, ext. 5239.

Windows 7 end-of-service coming in 2020 By Stephan Gmelin Guest Columnist

Microsoft has announced that on January 20, Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 (Server 2008R2) will reach their EOL (End of Life) Product Life-cycle; meaning Microsoft will no longer provide routine security updates making these systems considerably more vulnerable to cyber attacks and therefore no longer HIPAA compliant. Even the presence of a single non-compliant device (computer, router, switch, etc.) can deem your entire site to be non-compliant so this should be taken seriously to avoid potential data loss and/or fines. As you are reviewing your IT budget for 2019, take into account some or all of your hardware may need to be replaced. If you still have Windows 7 32bit operating system computers in your environment ,you should consider replacement. Any facility that has Windows 7 64-bit operating system computers deployed may have hardware deployed that can easily be upgraded to Windows 10 Pro or may need only minor upgrades such as memory. Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008

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R2 is a software operating system that does not have upgrade options. You will definitely need a new server platform to address a migration to Windows 2016 Server or Windows Server 2019 operating system. Because of the number of systems/sites still running these older operating systems, scheduling PC and server upgrades is several months out. Considering supply issues from the Far East (trade sanctions, etc.), hardware vendors are experiencing supply shortages and price pressures. Aside from the hardware supply line, scheduling downtime for your migration to the new operating system/hardware and possible application compatibility issues for the new operating systems should be considered. A gradual rollout of new PCs will reduce the budgetary impact and allow staff members to familiarize themselves with the new operating system. Having a plan to deploy a new server for your facility well in advance of the deadline will make a smooth transition a lot more likely. January 2020 will be here in no time. Stephan Gmelin is founder of Technical Doctor. Learn more at www.technicaldr.com. Contact him at (239) 220-5980.


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