December 2022 Southwest Florida Business Today

Page 22

Hurricane Ian Recovery


As SWFL continues to recover and re-build, recall Hurricane Ian in photos on page 7, and read Hurricane Ian “Business Survival & Success Stories” throughout this edition, thanks to our generous content sponsors.

A look at commercial real estate & construction updates in Southwest Florida

Goodwill SWFL

Look at everything Goodwill SWFL does for the region and our business community.


Cogent Bank expands blockchain offering

Special to SWFBT


A look at commercial real estate & construction updates in Southwest Florida CRE Construction & Development


A collection of information to help you navigate Southwest Florida’s CRE, Building and Development marketplace.

Banking isn’t just about moving wads of cash anymore. In an increasingly digital world, currency that exists entirely in the virtual realm continues to see growing interest. Now, Cogent Bank launched services specifically catering to those investing in cryptocurrency and on the blockchain.

Mark Hindley, managing director of Blockchain Innovation for Cogent Bank, said Southwest Florida investors have a particular interest in the field, and his institution aims to serve those individuals with the greatest level of fiduciary responsibility.

“If you look at how a blockchain payment rail can revolutionize real estate transactions, can revolutionize supply chain transactions, we are finding interest and a lot of momentum,” he said. “There’s a tremendous amount of energy and there’s a tremendous amount of capital being deployed.”

Hindley describes three major groups of people interested in working with the security of traditional banks but the innovation of blockchain technology. One group is those technology developers who are actually building on pub-


Hendry council launches future of Airglades workforce

The Hendry County Economic Development Council announced the selection of VisionFirst Advisors to evaluate and provide workforce recommendations to support the ongoing expansion at Airglades International Airport. The report identifies skills required of employees in transportation and logistics occupations and provide high-level strategies to collectively plan for future

workforce needs.

VisionFirst is a Florida-based, economic development consulting firm that provides services focused on state, regional and local economic development strategy, workforce intelligence and location advisory services.

The goal of the assessment is to support the recent announcement by Airglades to develop a state-of-the-art per-

ishable cargo airport and full- service logistics center. The airport expansion will support international and domestic perishable growers, perishable importers, e-commerce fulfillment centers, production providers, wholesalers, retailers, carriers, allied organizations and the public.



Florida Venture Forum, Florida’s largest statewide support organization for investors and entrepreneurs, is calling for growth stage companies to apply to present at the 2023 Florida Venture Capital Conference, taking place at the J.W. Marriott on Brickell Avenue in Miami on Feb. 8 and 9. The Conference, now in its 32nd

year, is one of the largest gatherings of venture investors in the Southeast, attracting more than 500 attendees, including over 200 active venture investors.

In addition to company presentations, the event features panel discussions, keynote speakers and multiple networking and social events.

Founders interested in presenting, note final application deadline is PANEL See page 9

Protection Program



SOUTHWEST FLORIDA’S B2B MARKETPLACE • 239-573-9732 Distributed in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Estero, Bonita Springs and Naples Vol. 16, No. 2 / DECEMBER 2022 Celebrating 16 Years TAKE ONE FOLLOW SOUTHWEST FLORIDA BUSINESS TODAY ® ON: H G H E S T C R E D E N T I A L E D & M O S T A W A R D E D E d B A Y o u H a v e O N E O p p o r t u n i t y t o S E L L Y O U R B U S N E S S S E L L Y O U R B U S I N E S S w w w E d i s o n B A c o m 8 6 6 2 0 5 2 3 1 0 B U S I N E S S B R O K E R S O F F L O R I D A T O P D O L L A R P R O D U C E R Do you want a clean office ... or a clean and HEALTHY office? CONTACT US TODAY Nikko Conn Anthony Conn It’s not a matter of IF, it’s a matter of WHEN! Are You Ready? (239) 789-2267 Our trained technicians not only disinfect but sanitize your office with an electrostatic spraying process ® INSIDE THIS ISSUE Get Southwest Florida’s business news and information delivered straight to your mailbox each month. Start your subscription to Southwest Florida Business Today.® Call (239) 573-9732. Hoffmann Family buys Hertz Arena, Everblades stash for hemp growers MARKETPLACE CLEANING SEASON, & VOUCHER MEMBERSHIPS announces growth Fort Myers launches Diversity Committee Young entrepreneurs share ideas, earn awards FOUNDATION SHARK MARKETPLACE CLEANING Entrepreneurs developments Privacy Edison Business Advisors poised for growth South American businesses visit Fort Myers INTERNATIONAL SALUTE TO IN THE NEWS
Florida Venture Forum presenter application deadline
 Moore About Business Kick off your business week with “Moore About Business”! Tune in to SWFL PBS and National Public Radio (NPR) affiliate, WGCU radio at 90.1 FM, during Morning Edition and All Things Considered to hear SWFBT founder, owner and publisher Karen P. Moore share information and insights for and about our local business community. Listen to past segments at 
receive loan forgiveness so you will not be taxed on the loan, you must complete the simple application and receive approval. Contact your PPP lender ASAP for more info.  SWFBT
get current business news throughout the business day, visit
Cogent Bank Managing Director of Blockchain Innovation Mark Hindley, second from right, speaks at the Synapse Summit in Tampa about TassatPay, a blockchain platform used in U.S. banking. Submitted by Jacob Ogles, Editor lic or private blockchains. The healthy high-tech sector in Florida means regional banking has a significant stake in growing these clients. Cogent is working with asset fund managers, and with those investors who simply want something
CURRENCY See page 19
Bitcoin remains the most prominent crytocurrency, but blockchain involves security for all digital assets.
See page 4

A Letter from the President

As all of us are still recovering from the destruction of Hurricane Ian, it is difficult to celebrate any successes Sanibel Captiva Community Bank experienced in 2022. However, we are thankful for the thousands of customers who have trusted us over this past year to be their financial partner.

We have been working alongside our Southwest Florida community to recover and restore the vibrancy our area is known for. An essential part of that recovery is getting locally owned and operated businesses – the heart of our economy – operational. We are extremely proud to be the bank of choice for thousands of businesses who depend on us, in good times and bad. Since the storm, we have processed millions of dollars in loans that support rebuilding efforts in Southwest Florida. Additionally, we have created new loan products in direct response to the community’s need for lending solutions during this time. I’m confident that our community will rebuild, even better and stronger than before.

2023 will mark the bank’s 20th anniversary of business in Southwest Florida. As we look ahead, we are hopeful at the promise of helping even more business owners and residents. When we opened our doors in 2003 on Sanibel, we made a promise to stay locally owned and operated with an unwavering commitment to our community. We pledge to continue keeping that promise by empowering and supporting our neighbors, team members and customers through thoughtful banking and lending solutions, local decision-making, and ongoing support for the place we love and call home.

Sanibel Captiva Community Bank

LocalBank. Lending. Decisions.

We bank on relationships.

Looking to grow a business? Considering a real estate purchase? With Sanibel Captiva Community Bank, you get more than a bank and lender – you get a partner who can help you reach your business goals and save you money at the same time.

For nearly 20 years, we have focused on making the right loan for you and your business. And since we’re locally owned and operated, all our loan decisions are made right here. As one of Southwest Florida’s only locally grown community banks, we’re uniquely positioned to help our fellow businesses thrive and prosper.

Page 2 Southwest Florida BUSINESS TODAY ® DECEMBER 2022 8 convenient SWFL locations 239-472-6100 | NMLS #411904
Kyle DeCicco President and Senior Loan Officer 239-274-6225 NMLS #1096738 Lee Golden Senior Vice President, Director of Business Development and Commercial Loan Officer 239-274-6234 NMLS #940597 Rudi Hamer Vice President, Commercial Loan Officer and Relationship Manager 239-274-6260 NMLS #141625 Ready to Get Started? Contact our commercial lending team today.

United Way kicks off Annual Campaign to reach $11 million

United Way of Lee, Hendry, and Glades will host its annual 2022-2023 Campaign Kick Off on Dec. 14. The event will be held at Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, on the campus of Florida SouthWestern State College. Networking and light breakfast items will be available at 8:30 a.m. The program will start at 9 a.m.

Tickets are on sale for $15, available through the Barbara B. Mann website. The kickoff event is the start of United Way’s annual fundraising effort. United Way team members, partner agencies and volunteers will unite to raise awareness and excitement in the community through the testimonials of donors, advocates and recipients. Pacesetter results will be announced at this time. United Way Pacesetters are companies that run their campaigns early in order to set the pace for the rest of the community. The event also allows attendees to network with hundreds of United Way supporters. United Way Campaign Co-Chairs Sally Jackson and Matt Humphreys will lead the Kickoff to the goal of $11,186,558.

The theme of this year’s campaign has shifted to “United More Than Ever.” Regarding this year’s campaign theme, Jackson said, “United Way of Lee, Hendry, and Glades is our United Way. With one gift, you can help 90 agencies and over 260 programs that make a diff erence to people from early childhood through senior life. One person, one donor, one volunteer can make a

diff erence in the lives of many of our friends and neighbors. We want United Way to be your way to make a diff erence.”

“Being the chair of the United Way Campaign is an honor and a challenge,” Humphreys added. “It is a huge responsibility to raise nearly $11.2 million for our United Way especially in the aftermath of a disaster, but I will pursue the goal with passion and enthusiasm. When people ask me why I support our United Way, I answer that it is one of the most effi cient, eff ective, and compassionate ways to give back to the community I love. It is the best way to connect people who need help

with people who can help.”

A two-year lease for a 2022 Acura from Scanlon Auto Group will be given away to an annual contributor of $240 or more from the 2020-2021 United Way Campaign. Five donors to the campaign are drawn at random, and one will discover the keys in a gift box at the event.

All money raised in the United Way campaign stays in the local community to help support the local human service network. United Way Partner Agencies and initiatives include: The Alvin A Dubin Alzheimer’s Resource Center, Partners for Breast Cancer Care, Harry Chapin Food Bank, the Boys and Girls Clubs and United Way 211, to mention a few.

These agencies serve a diverse range of needs in our community such as nurturing children and youth, strengthening families, and meeting critical needs like helping the elderly and disabled live independently and empowering communities by bringing health and human services to neighborhoods.

In addition to raising funds for human service organizations in our community, the United Way promotes partnerships and collaborations among agencies and initiatives, helping them to work together focusing on issues and solutions that continue to improve lives.

Call United Way of Lee, Hendry, and Glades at (239) 433-2000 or visit

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United Way Campain Co-Chairs Sally Jackson and Matt Humphreys

Naples firms land patents on surgical inventions

Special to SWFBT

Individual inventors and major man ufacturers in Southwest Florida continue to innovate products of the future.

Arthrex, a Naples company awarded 566 patents since 2005, was issued an other on Oct. 25. The latest was for pointlocking knotless fixation devices, useful for surgical constructs and bone repairs. Soft tissue repair constructs include a fixation device, flexible strand, and pull device attached to a flexible strand, all provided within the body of a fixation device. A splice is formed by pulling on the shuttle to allow desired tensioning of

“Miami International Airport is cur rently the busiest airport in the nation and ninth in the world for international freight. The continued growth of the freight industry, combined with space limitations in Miami, positions Airglades as desirable alternative location, but we must ensure our workforce can sup port potential employers,” said Lillie B. Rentz, airport director. “This assessment is the first step to understand the existing workforce and what programs we need to offer to reskill and upskill our residents.”

With a focus on transportation and logistics industry needs and occupations,

soft tissue to be fixated or repaired rela tive to the bone.

Another Naples firm, Spinvention, also received a patent for a medical de vice, a motion-preserving spinal implant for total disc replacement. That can be placed between intervertebral space for total replacement of a degenerated spinal disc. End plates anchor and fuse the device with adjoining vertebrae and hold cores of the device in place. This will preserve the height and function of a degenerated disc. Nayan Manharlal Makwana of Naples is listed as the first inventor.

Sim*Vivo, another Naples company, was issued a patent on a device to remove

VisionFirst will approach the project through three main data analysis, syn thesis, and consensus phases.

1. Does the region have the work force it needs today?

2. Is the workforce reliable, skilled or able to be trained?

3. How can the region ensure a steady talent pipeline for the future?

“The ongoing transformation of Air glades International will offer numerous job opportunities in export/import, re frigeration, storage, transportation and logistics,” said Keitha Daniels, director of the HCEDC. “This assessment will give us the data we need to ensure our residents and our community benefit from the airport’s growth.”

fluid from pleural space that includes a flexible, open tube with a slight resting curve. The tube may be connected to a portable suction and fusion device via a click connect device, and it may include an improved tip and tab for extending the cannulas to maintain the corridor of sta bility. The first inventor credited on the patent is John Fortune of Naples.

In Fort Myers, a water analysis sys tem from HF Scientific that detects trace amounts of copper and silver was rec ognized. Listing Cape Coral inventor Dorian Cauceglia first, the patent is for a real-time method for detecting copper and silver in water in parts per billion. A chemical process and mixing procedure

is outlined in the patent.

Inventor John McCall of Boca Grande is listed as an inventor listed on a new patent issued to Pioneura in New York. The patent is for a pharmaceuti cal treatment for neuroinflammation. Meanwhile, Brian Just of Fort Myers is credited as the first inventor on patents for both a pepper plant with pest resis tance and on a process to breed peppers for color, both of which were assigned to Missouri-based Seminis Vegetable Seeds. Marco Island inventor Dean Nor beck’s name appears first on a new pat ent for Wisconsin-based Johnson Con trols Tyco on a variable speed drive for a motor chiller coast-through.

SRMA offering resource help, complimentary trial membership

Manufacturers can receive a sixmonth no-cost membership if they sign up by Dec. 31.

Whether a business owner is a manufacturer in need, or a manufac turer wanting to help, the Southwest Regional Manufacturers Associa tion offers a wide range of resources to manufacturers in the Southwest Florida region, but one can only be accessed with membership. That’s access to the Community Network, allowing members to post requests

and questions, and receive notifi cations of resiliency resources, to other community members which include:

• All SRMA members via the SRMA Open Forum

• Members of other Regional Manufacturers Associations and various resource providers around the state of Florida, via the Florida Makes Open Forum.


Corey Smith builds Suffolk future

Giving back has long been a priority for Corey Smith, Class of 2012. That focus applies in his per sonal life, as well as to FGCU.

P.O. Box 152299 Cape Coral, FL 33915-2299 News: 239-573-9731 All other: 239-573-9732 News email: All other information requests: publisher@ The contents of Southwest Florida Business Today® are copyright 2022 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@

“FGCU cre ated so many op portunities for me that I really feel it’s important for me to give back to the university and to the communi ties that I live in and build in,” said Smith, a project manager with Suf folk Construction in Tampa.

He has worked on projects rang ing from $1 million to more than $75 million, including at Florida Gulf Coast University. Over the years, he has traveled to Guatemala with the FGCU nursing program, as their engineering support, sup ported the establishment of FGCU’s student chapter of Habitat for Hu manity and volunteered for the organization, and tutored middle school students in math, science and history. He’s also been active with the American Society of Civil Engineering, the College of Engi neering’s Civil and Environmental Advisory Committee, served on the FGCU Alumni Association Board of Directors and Lee County Public School’s Advanced Placement Cap stone Academy.

In recommending him for the award, Smith’s supervisor, Josh Christensen, says, “We strongly value our relationship with FGCU, and graduates like Corey only make that bond tighter and more valuable as we continue to recruit highly skilled graduates like Corey to our company.”

Page 4 Southwest Florida BUSINESS TODAY ® DECEMBER 2022
Michelle L. Hudson WEBSITE ASSISTANT Angelica Torres
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. what keeps you and your business ahead of the game. Anticipating what’s next... Here’s what is ahead for 2023 for Southwest Florida Business Today®. Due to recent expansion, we are now hiring for part-time newspaper delivery drivers in Naples and Estero. Please call (239) 770-7527 for details. Jan. 20 Dec. 16 Jan. 11 MONTH • Commercial Real Estate • Financial Review FEBRUARY Call to reserve your advertising spot today: (239) 770-7527 Keep up with the latest business news, events and more!
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JANUARY Don’t forget to post your virtual and in-person B2B events to calendar SWFL’s most comprehensive B2B events calendar ® EDITORIAL DEADLINE (WED., 5 pm)
SRMA See page 8
Grants Grace gathering checks continued nors, nonprofit Most ago in The

Daniel Wayne Homes builds on community roots

Daniel Wayne Homes, a premier custom home builder, has deep generational roots in Southwest Florida. Dating back to the 1950s, members of the Dodrill family began vacationing on Sanibel Island. After moving to Southwest Florida in the early 1970s, the Dodrills began the construction of a Sanibel community. That is where it all began. Construction and development of the area’s beautiful land was a family tradition that carried on to Dan Dodrill, who founded Daniel Wayne Homes in 1992. For the last 30 years, Daniel Wayne Homes has developed families’ dream homes in our region.

Since the start, Daniel Wayne Homes has promised and delivered trust, quality and unmatched, personal customer service. Throughout the last three decades, Daniel Wayne Homes has developed hundreds of homes from comfortable ranch homes to beachfront estates, been honored with numerous awards and designed remarkable communities such as Caloosa Creek, Coconut Creek, Hammock Creek and Horse Creek.

As the area’s family-owned custom-home builder, Daniel Wayne Homes has extensive knowledge of residential construction and design that delivers high-quality homes with style - and staying power. The company has experienced numerous changes to development codes and styles, leading the pack and always putting safety procedures in place - even before they are required.

Horse Creek, Daniel Wayne Homes’ most recently sold-out community, encourages residents to enjoy the natural surroundings of the neighborhood. Sitting on the Orange River and next to the Buckingham Rural Preserve, these residences are constructed with quality and have a front-row seat to starry night skies. The theme of living an Olde Florida lifestyle in the midst of Southwest Florida’s natural beauty is a Daniel Wayne Homes signature.

Highlighting the allure of Florida and the craftsmanship of Daniel Wayne Homes, the family-owned company prioritizes both style and safety. These homes are not only traditional, but they are also sus-


tainable in the Sunshine state’s inclement weather. Due to the impeccable designs and mindful construction techniques, properties by Daniel Wayne Home’ are made to sustain strong weather and protect the families that reside in them. The estates built by Daniel Wayne Homes stood strong during Hurricanes Charley, Wilma, Irma and now Ian.

Looking into the future, Daniel Wayne Homes’ foundational values have set the company’s direction for years to come. Daniel Wayne Homes aspires to continue building excellent single-family homes with classic Florida architecture and design. They plan to continue their customer-first focus and enhance it further, investing in technology to enhance communication between clients and their team. Daniel Wayne Homes has made a mark on Southwest Florida that will long be recognized and they will continue to serve their friends and neighbors in the years ahead.

Contact Daniel Wayne Homes at or (239) 466-3955.

The Community Foundation provides nonprofits $5,192,500

The Community Foundation hosts its 2022 Grants Ceremony on Dec. 13 from 1 to 2:30 p.m., at Grace Church Cape Coral campus, during a public gathering for this year’s grant award recipients with checks ranging from $1,000 to $36,000.

Foundation officials said they are grateful for continued support, and thanked board members, donors, professional advisors, volunteers, families and nonprofit partners for making it one of America’s Most Admired Small Foundations.

Since its inception in Cape Coral almost 50 years ago in 1973, the foundation has donated $5,192,500 in grant distributions to support nonprofits. The ‘lit-

Don’t forget to post your in-person and virtual events on our B2B events calendar at

tle but loud’ community foundation thanked donors for supporting it through the good and bad times.

Supporters helped the foundation reach $5.1 million in grants and distributions to support charitable organizations.

The Community Foundation is one of America’s best small foundations with a big vision focused on kindness, compassion and generosity.

St. Andrew Catholic School receives a grant for $36,737.00 to support their education initiative for elementary and middle school students.

DECEMBER 2022 Southwest Florida BUSINESS TODAY ® Page 5 KNOWLEDGE. INTEGRITY. RESULTS. Mike Dal Lago, Esq. Christian Haman, Esq. Jennifer Duffy, Esq. Serving Naples, Ft. Myers, Sarasota & Tampa 999 Vanderbilt Beach Rd. Suite 200 Naples, FL 34108 2256 First Street Suite 181 Fort Myers, Florida 33901 (239) 571-6877 BUSINESS LAW BUSINESS RESTRUCTURING BUSINESS BANKRUPTCY CONSUMER BANKRUPTCY • Business Formation • Corporate Governance • Fiduciary Duties • Insolvency Matters • Out-Of-Court Restructuring • Bankruptcy Reorganization • Chapter 7, Chapter 11, Chapter 13 And Subchapter V Bankruptcy Cases • General Corporate Counseling Accolades include: “Super Lawyers is a registered trademark of Thomson Reuters” LOOKING BACK, LOOKING AHEAD

Perk & Brew keeps up energy through all the region’s turmoil

When owning and operating a small business you are faced with many challenges. Which licenses do you need, loans, equipment, finding the right staff, no sleep, etc.? Sometimes it all comes crashing down on you all at once and sometimes the pieces fall into place gracefully. Sometimes you can afford to eat and sometimes you learn to live with ramen noodles. But when you are doing what you love, it’s all worth it. After red tide, green algae, Irma and COVID, we’ve all had our own hurdles to champion. Business became much more challenging for everyone. But we got through it.

For my business, 2022 was off to a great start. It is one of the best “seasons” since I opened and a lot of locals were back out into the world. Things were starting to settle nicely. Then came Sept. 28. Now we are all faced with a new set of challenges and forced to, yet again, make the best of the situation and make changes to fit our new circumstances. In doing so, we have been able to bond by helping one another in this trying time. People have been picking up debris, gutting houses, giving rides, housing strangers, providing meals, gathering supplies and doing so without complaint. People are simply helping. I believe this will continue throughout 2023. It will be a year to focus on our community. Support local businesses, bring up your neighbors trash cans, donate, lend a hand. I am positive about the future not just for Perk & Brew but for our community that has endured so much and keeps on going.

Theresa Knazek is one of the owners of Perk & Brew. Contact (239) 542-6080 or perkandbrew@

Eligibility for bankruptcy just became easier

Let’s face it, sometimes businesses fail for no particular reason. Whether it’s an unexpected increase in costs of goods sold, or too much competition within the local economy, good businesses with good management do fail (a phenomenon known as a “routine business failure.”) The good news for these companies is that they can be saved in many instances by utilizing Subchapter V, Chapter 11 Bankruptcy (a so-called “Sub Five” or “SubV.”)

SubV bankruptcy was designed specifically for small to mid-size businesses when our Federal lawmakers recognized the expense and complexity of a “regular” Chapter 11 bankruptcy was an impracticable option. Ultimately, small businesses were being denied access to the Bankruptcy Court because they were being “priced out” of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process. As a result, small businesses in distress had no viable options other than to shut down, fire their employees and close the company.

Kudos to Congress. They came to the rescue by creating SubV, which implemented the following cost saving measures in comparison to a regular chapter 11 bankruptcy:

The SubV process is much quicker than a regular chapter 11 case. A plan under SubV must be filed within the first 90 days of the case. This a strict deadline.

• In SubV, the Debtor does not need to file a legal document known as a “Disclosure Statement.” Disclosure Statements are very complicated documents and are tantamount to a “prospectus,” which is issued by companies before they solicit public investors. Congress recognized that in most small business cases, these documents were unnecessary.

• In a “regular” chapter 11 case, the Debtor has to pay quarterly fees to the Office of the United States Trustee. These fees add up and can be substantial depending on the size of the Debtor. SubV has eliminated these fees.

• When a “regular” chapter 11 case is filed, creditors are solicited to join an Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors (“Committee.”) If a Committee is formed, the Debtor becomes responsible for the legal fees that are incurred by counsel for the Committee. SubV has eliminated the formal formation of a Committee and the Debtor need not pay these additional legal expenses.

When SubV bankruptcies came into effect—in February 2020—one of the eligibility requirements was that the SubV Debtor could not have more than $2,725,625 in total debt. For a myriad of reasons pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress raised that debt limit to $7.5 million soon after the SubV process came into effect. The increased debt limit was meant to be temporary. However, Congress recently extended the increased debt limit so that the $7.5 million threshold remains intact. More companies, therefore, now have access the SubV process. Unfortunately, however, the extended $7.5 million debt limit is scheduled to expire on June 21, 2024.

Financially distressed small to mid-sized companies with more than $2,725,625 in debt will be precluded from utilizing the SubV process—and forced to use the much more expensive regular chapter 11 process— after June 21, 2024.

Mike Dal Lago is founder and managing partner of Dal Lago Law, a leading Business Law and Business Bankruptcy law firm in Naples with 20 years of experience in insolvency matters. Contact him at (239) 571-6877 or info@

Page 6 Southwest Florida BUSINESS TODAY ® DECEMBER 2022 Tax Preparation • Estate Planning For Individuals & Businesses 239.939.5303 • 239.481.4114 1342 Colonial Blvd., Ste. B-11 • Fort Myers, FL 33907 2016 MERGER 2015 TAKE A BREAK 1021 Cape Coral Pkwy. E., #A Cape Coral, FL 33904 Breakfast - Lunch Espresso Bar - Pastry Monday-Saturday 8:00-2:00 / Sunday 9:00-1:00 (239) 542-6080 perknbrew IN BUSINESS SINCE 2015 2009 We plant seeds & Provide TLC so your business can GROW! www tlcmarketing events com (239) 405 8115 9148 Bonita Beach Road, Suite 201 Bonita Springs, FL 2011 1993 N aples : 239.331.5100 F ort Myers : 239.333.2992 • IRA’s • Roth’s • SEP Plans • 401 k’s • Mutual Funds • Executive Bonus Plans • Key Man Insurance • Life Insurance • Business Planning • Exit Planning Do you offer benefits for your employees? Let us help you, help your employees 3046 Del Prado Blvd. Cape Coral, FL 33904 (239) 848-7390 Lenny Cannova Southwest Regional Manufacturers Association Member Benefits Employee Training Grants • Import / Export Training Cost Reduction and Efficiency • Marketing Assistance Process Improvement • Recruiting and Hiring • Roundtable Discussions Leadership Training • Tax Incentives • Network of Resources Visit or call Bill at (239) 258-1385. 1994 2003 w w w R o s e r I n s u r a n c e c o m Gianni
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M. Vitiello,





Above: Removing storm damaged debris from an area shopping center.

Left: Big John makes it through another storm.

Below: Outside Enterprise Car Rental.

DECEMBER 2022 Southwest Florida BUSINESS TODAY ® Page 7
Photos taken by Mike Summers during and after the flooding and storm surge of Hurricane Ian. Photos taken by Karen P. Moore on Main Street, before the temporary bridge was built, 3 weeks after the flooding and stormsurge of Hurricane Ian. Staff at Annies Restaurant can’t cook inside so they cooked outside. Photos of the storm damage, cleanup and recovery taken by Karen P. Moore 10 days after Hurricane Ian.

FutureMakers Coalition hosts Annual Champions meeting

The 2022 Annual FutureMakers Coalition Champions Meeting was held in person at Col laboratory and virtually on Sept. 15 with more than 100 participants.

The FutureMakers Coalition aims to transform Southwest Florida’s workforce by increasing the proportion of working age adults with college degrees, workforce certificates, industry certifi cations and other high-quality credentials to 55 percent by 2025. The Coalition has grown to over 140 cross-sector partner organizations and 250 community leaders representing business, educa tion, government, nonprofits, philanthropy, resi dents and students across Glades, Hendry, Col lier, Lee and Charlotte counties; 40% percent of the partner organizations have changed policies and practices because of their work with the co alition.

Chaired by Dr. Kamela Patton and Dr. Shedre ka McIntosh, this year’s event included: an over view and highlights of FutureMakers work and successes in the past year; a keynote address by David Gillespie, executive vice president Florida Chamber of Commerce, and Kyle Baltuch, senior vice president Florida Chamber of Commerce Foundation; building rural learning systems in Hendry County; resilience and diversification; presentations by Mike Boose of Arthrex and Eric Leef of Hertz; updates on new Stop Out Program and Career Pathways by Jennifer Thayer of Lee Health; an announcement on the recent good Jobs Challenge $22.9 million EDA Grant by Dr. Mi chael Martin of FGCU; Workforce Now’s SWFL report and an update from Collaboratory CEO/ President Sarah Owen.

“We have shown the impact of what we can do

together but still have a lot of work to do to fill in demand jobs in Southwest Florida,” said Tessa LeSage, FutureMakers director for the Collabo ratory, which is serving as the backbone organi zation for the FutureMakers Coalition. “With the help of our FutureMakers Coalition Navigators, employers and education partners, and an inten tional focus on the pre-K to 12 part of the talent pipeline, we will certainly continue to move the needle toward our goal of creating a robust and sustainable workforce for the region.”

LeSage added that to be sustainable, the Coali tion must change policies and practices that may be preventing attainment to getting jobs, address entangled issues, improve kindergarten readiness, third grade reading proficiency and high school graduation rates and expand opportunities for ca reer exposure and work-based learning in K-12.

Workforce Now, a research initiative that stud ies the regional workforce and education, gave an update to its Outcomes Report, including where the region was before COVID-19 versus now and an overview of the impact, industry and struc tural changes, where the region is in terms of re covery and opportunities ahead. Workforce Now is comprised of researchers from Florida Gulf Coast University, Hodges University and Florida

SouthWestern State College, all FutureMakers Coalition partners. The available outcomes data indicate that Southwest Florida is making posi tive progress towards achieving the goal with an increase in the skilled workforce from 218,586 in 2013 (the baseline year), or 39% of the working age population, to 266,075 in 2020, representing 42.2% of the total working age population. The full study can be downloaded from the Future Makers Coalition site at futuremakerscoalition. com/reports.

The Champions Team plays a pivotal role in the Coalition’s success. Team members include regional leaders who have the ability to create a stronger workforce and vibrant economy by im proving cradle-to-career opportunities for stu dents, offering job training and certifications and employee educational incentives.

FutureMakers Coalition has been designated a Talent Hub by Lumina Foundation in partnership with The Kresge Foundation to support local ef forts to increase educational attainment. Formed in 2015 around existing regional collaborations, the Coalition is committed to creating a cradle-tocareer pathway to ensure success for traditional students and adult learners. FutureMakers Coali tion was one of Lumina Foundation’s 75 national Community Partners in Attainment and is a mem ber of the National Talent Network. Collabora tory provides backbone/administrative support to FutureMakers Coalition.

FutureMakers Coalition encourages busi nesses to join and invest in sustaining this community-changing initiative. Visit or email Tessa LeS age at

Top winners of Painting Annual exhibition honored

Friends of Rookery Bay and the United Arts Council of Collier County announced the top three works in its 2022 Painting Annual Exhibition on view until Jan. 27 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday in the art gallery at the Rookery Bay Envi ronmental Learning Center on Tower Road in Naples. At the opening recep tion held Nov. 3, juror Michael Mun roe selected “View from the Top” by Betsy Barnes at first place, “Hideaway Beach” by Tammy DeCaro as second place and “Kale Seed Naples Botani cal Garden” by Maggie Oland as third place.

Other artists featured in the show are Lisa Batch, Lilliana Cojocariu, Brett Dalziel, Megan Hoolihan Dal ziel, Muffy Clark Gill, Kaitlyn Hand ley, Leigh Herndon, Ellie Hofer, Peggy Keigley, Danell Lytell, Deborah Mar tin, Josey Prior, Patrice Schelkun, Joan Sonnenberg, Carmen Villaranga and Theresa Webb. All of the works are for sale. Admission to the learning center is $8 for ages 13 and up, $5 for chil dren ages 6-12, and free for active and retired military personnel and their families.

In addition, members will re ceive:

• Free access to Connex, a state wide Supply Chain Database for manufacturers, allowing members to enter a capabilities statement, al lowing other manufacturers in need to find them, and for members to search the database for other manu facturers who can assist them in this time of need.

• Resource procurement via a national network of Manufacturing Extension Partners found in all 50 states.

Many statewide RMA members have been asking how they can help the manufacturers in Southwest Florida. No matter what their servic es are, communication is the key ele ment in sharing their resources with you. Joining the SRMA and taking advantage of the above benefits will allow that communication to happen.

Register at: For further information or questions, please contact Rob Harris, executive director of the SRMA, at rob@srma. net.

Contact Amy McQuagge VP/Director of Marketing (239) 274-6273 $500

Contact Ana Maria Senica Regional Retail Manager (239) 213-6775 $500

Contact (239) 643-6527 $250

Page 8 Southwest Florida BUSINESS TODAY ® DECEMBER 2022 Thank you to our Hurricane Ian Survival Story
SWFBT pledges 10% of ad revenues and Hurricane Ian Survival Story Sponsor dollars from the November and December 2022 editions to helping rebuild Southwest Florida’s business community through local nonprofit donations.
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Contact John Talmage Director (239) 533-6800 $500
Above: 1st, Betsy Barnes, “View from the Top” Below left: Juror Michael Munroe and 2nd Tammy DeCaro Below right: 3rd, Maggie Oland, “Kale Seed Naples Botanical Garden”
“We have shown the impact of what we can do together but still have a lot of work to do to fill in demand jobs in Southwest Florida,”
— Tessa LeSage, FutureMakers Director

Google since 2020 has identified and delisted 2 million websites for launching phishing attacks—an army of nefarious websites that Cisco says have hit 86% of all global companies. But it’s the social engineering behind those attacks that’s the scary part, experts say.

“Phishing has come a long way from mysterious foreign princes asking for loans,” said Nicholas McCourt, Chief Information Security Officer at Integris, a national managed IT service provider. “Now they’re using AI and advanced tools to do their research beforehand. They can launch attacks so customized and convincing, your employees won’t see it coming.”

Specifically, Integris warns companies to prepare for these three types of new attacks:

Fake but realistic requests

Hackers can research your company well enough to play the role of a new potential customer or an existing vendor in your system. They’ll ask you to download their RFP or enter their new banking information into your system so that they can pay your latest invoice. With a few clicks,

your employees could download a worm into your system or open your bank account to thieves.

How to fix it: Teach employees to research the person or company before fulfilling the request.

Social Media Extortion

give out their personal or professional emails.

AI-Assisted Spoofing

Are you happy with your CEO’s recent company video? So are hackers. They can sample your CEO’s voice using AI technology, then use that sample to call up your accounts receivable department. “Add this new vendor to the system, and transfer this money,” they may say, sounding precisely like your CEO. When employees realize it wasn’t your CEO making that call, the money will be gone without a trace.

Most people know better than to put their contact information and emails on social media accounts set to “public.” But many of your employees may have emails and phone numbers available to Facebook or LinkedIn friends. That information is all a hacker needs to set up an account in your employee’s name on damaging websites, like child porn sites. Hackers can use that “proof” to extort employees into giving up their corporate passwords.

How to fix it: Teach employees only to use inapp messaging on social media sites and never


Leadership during challenging times

After Hurricane Ian hit Southwest Florida on Sept. 28, initial recovery efforts first centered on injuries, lives and loss. Supplies for relief like generators, food, water and ice were brought in. What could be recovered, repaired and salvaged came next. As business and community leaders navigated the challenges caused by Ian, they were called on not only to lead change, spearhead strategy and make crucial decisions that would affect community members but to also demonstrate awareness of and the ability to manage their own emotions when they too were in shock and grieving by the devastation all around. This ability takes intention.

Emotions create thoughts. Thoughts create behavior. Awareness of our emotions is the first step to intentionally managing behavior. This is how skillful leaders foster belonging and act with resilience, flexibility, patience, empathy and humility. Accept first, then become aware of your feelings. Since it takes six seconds for information to get to the prefrontal cortex (our thinking brain), take a pause or a breath. My daughter says, “I took a beat, Mom.” These actions take our feelings away from the amygdala (a part of the brain designed to protect us) and puts the control in our prefrontal cortex so we can process them. Take a walk or exercise.

Journal or talk it out. Offer thanks, aim for positivity and practice acts of kindness.

How to fix it: Ask for code words, account numbers, or other forms of two-factor verification. No exceptions.

Susan Gosselin is a Solutions writer for Integris. A career communicator and business journalist, she’s written extensively on IT topics and trends for IT service providers like Iconic IT and ProCoders Ukraine, as well as business publications such as,, The Lane Report and many others. Visit the Integris website at


Market shifts after Hurricane Ian

units under construction with another 759 units in the pipeline.

The holidays are upon us, and we are still grappling from the effects of Ian. Reimagine challenge as events to overcome together as a community. We are strong. We are adaptable. We are resilient. Practice gratefulness and joy. Just as we can coach our brain to choose behaviors that serve us better, we can change our brain to instinctively lead with kindness, positivity, and thankfulness. Shine on Southwest Florida. Shine your awareness! Happy holidays!

Over the past quarter Southwest Florida has witnessed a shift in the market. Effects of recent Hurricane Ian and rising interest rates have both delayed transactions and others failed to transact. Overall transaction volume for multifamily has decreased over 60% from prior quarter as cap rates adjust to the new leverage environment.

Elizabeth Dario Bockheim is Certified Nurse Educator and Social Emotional Intelligence Coach. Bockheim is the founder of Shine Awareness, a consulting company that delivers evocative workshops to support the professional and personal success of healthcare professionals, educators and SWFL business owners. Contact (616) 826-5828 or elizabeth.

Noteworthy transactions that did occur include the sale of Aria Landings in Fort Myers for $49,000,000 or $153,125 per unit, The Lexington-Sarasota for $58,400,000 or $218,727 per unit, and lastly Riverwalk Apartments-Fort Myers for $10,100,000 or $194,231 per unit.

Despite the change in market dynamics, the pipeline for new construction continues to grow. Lee County continues to boast the largest development pipeline in the region with 4,247 market rate rental units currently under construction and another 14,565 units proposed. Sarasota County is next in line with 2,208 units currently under construction and another 2,820 being planned. Collier County currently has 1,829

Jan. 6.

However, early submissions are

Vacancy rates continue to be low throughout the region. Collier County’s vacancy stands at 8.5% for existing market rate properties with a rental rate increase of 7.5% to $2,431/ monthly in comparison to Q3 2021. Lee County vacancy rate during the same period increased 0.4% to 7.4% The average rental rate increased to 9.1% or $1,901/ monthly over same period the year prior. Sarasota currently has a 6.9% vacancy rate with a 5.5% average rental rate increase to $2,250/ monthly over the previous year.

Thomas Webb is director of multifamily of Lee & Associates. Contact (239) 230-2198 and

strongly encouraged as presenter spaces are limited.

Presenter applications are available at

DECEMBER 2022 Southwest Florida BUSINESS TODAY ® Page 9
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Decide when to be choosy or frugal replacing furnishings after hurricane

Hurricane Ian is expected to be one of the costliest, if not the costliest, natural disasters in U.S. history. In addition to lives lost and livelihoods changed, it’s estimated insured losses could reach $75 billion.

Our community is resilient, though. Immediately after the storm made landfall, Floridians emerged to begin a cleanup, recovery and rebuilding process that could take years.

Businesses first turned attention to employees, making sure their personal needs were being met. Then, business leaders began assessing damage caused by wind, storm surge, rain and power outages, in addition to damages like lost revenue and momentum.

Much like a homeowner needs a bed, sofa and kitchen table to restore a sense of “normalcy,” office-based businesses also need furniture to feel whole again. Ian flooded businesses from Naples to Sarasota and clear across the state. Those businesses are now in need of new desks, chairs, tables and storage solutions, as well as flooring.

There’s just one challenge. Office furniture was already in short supply because of the pandemic, and Hurricane Ian has accelerated demand across a wide region of Florida.

Businesses should be aware of three factors when looking to replace or upgrade their office furniture in the coming months.


Typically, the furniture-buying timeline starts nine months out by studying furniture styles and trends. At six months out, businesses should schedule a professional consultation. Orders should be placed about three months out to ensure manufacturers can produce, package and ship the custom furniture.

Businesses that lost office furniture or flooring during the hurricane should immediately start looking at their options. Manufacturers maintain inventory in warehouses, and local furniture suppliers have a pulse on what materials are available now.

Product Selection

A nine-month furniture-buying timeline allows businesses to select custom pieces that are manufactured to exact specifications.

Secrets to ensure a positive sales presentation outcome

QUESTION: I spend an inordinate amount of time crafting what I believe is a compelling sales presentation. However, my success ratio leaves much to be desired. What else do I need to do to ensure a more positive outcome?

ANSWER: The successful sales presentation is much more than delivering a lot of information that you believe will be of benefit to the client. The following are five tips that should help ensure a more positive outcome:

There is a way to get furniture quickly: buy it off the rack. Warehouses typically stock a large selection of the most popular styles, colors and finishes for desks, shelves and bookcases. That may mean a mahogany, sitto-stand executive desk suite featuring an attached hutch and rustic hardware might not be available. The same goes for flooring – a unique pattern or color that matches a company’s logo might not be available. However, there could be plenty of comparable choices in stock that can ship in a matter of days.


Take photographs and video of existing office furniture and flooring to show current conditions and damage. Visual evidence is helpful when filing an insurance claim.

If renting or purchasing replacement furniture, save every receipt to document all hurricane-related expenses. This includes receipts for furniture, flooring, design services and installation costs. These expenses could be covered under insurance policies or through business assistance programs offered by the federal government.

The impacts of Hurricane Ian will be felt for quite some time, but the quickest way for our region to rebound is to get our business community up and running.

Joe Gammons is president of OFDC Commercial Interiors, which provides office chairs, desks, conference tables, cubicles, bookcases, flooring and design services to businesses across Southwest Florida. Visit OFDC-inc. com or call (239) 347-4876.

Know your customer: To the best extent possible, try to find out everything you can about your client or their company. What do they do, who are their competitors, what are their specific needs, and how can what you offer address those needs and improve their bottom line?

Allow your client to know you as a person: Don’t be in a rush to make your pitch. You must first develop a rapport. Start with a little small talk. If you see a golf trophy on the credenza, inquire about the circumstances and, if you play too, let that be a conversation starter.

Your time is valuable: Always deal with the decision maker. If you are making your presentation to anyone other than the person who makes the final decision, you are wasting your time. If you are unable to arrange a meeting with the decision maker, walk away and put your efforts to work for someone who is willing to consider what you have to offer.

Address objections respectfully: You should expect and encourage

a dialogue with your customer. In fact, if you are doing all the talking, how will you know if your message is getting through to the client? A seasoned salesperson knows how to counter objections and that the customer has a right to receive straightforward answers to their questions.

Ask for the sale: One of the biggest mistakes novices make is they fail to ask for the sale. In most instances, this is caused by the fear of rejection. It is a given that for every sale you make, you will probably receive two or three rejections. Treat rejections as a learning experience, and your success ratio will improve over time.

In closing you should know that sales are a “numbers game.” If it takes three calls to close one sale, and your goal is five sales each month, plan to make at least 15 sales calls.

Gray Poehler is a volunteer with SCORE Naples. Business counseling on this and other business matters is available, without charge, from the Naples Chapter of SCORE. Call (239) 430-0081 or visit The SCORE business office is located at 900 Goodlette Road in Naples.


Grumpy Goat launches SWFL STRONG coffee


with a smooth mouthfeel. SWFL STRONG coffee is available in 16-ounce bags both in person at the roastery and also at where free shipping is available on orders of $35 or more.

Grumpy Goat Coffee roastery is located on Causeway Commerce Park near historic downtown Bonita Springs.

Page 10 Southwest Florida BUSINESS TODAY ® DECEMBER 2022 2011 (239) 574-2028 The Letter Box, Inc. It Pays To Advertise! We appreciate your business SWFL 1999 Helping you protect your Business or Association. Commercial Property Liability • Work Comp Auto • Contractors HOA / COA Call us today to discuss your coverages and options. Celebrating 29 years in business / Family Owned • 239-656-5551 390 Pondella Rd #1, N Ft Myers, FL 33903 1981 2009 IN BUSINESS SINCE 2008 2741 First Street in Fort Myers (239) 245-7341 FREE COFFEE with purchase of pastry An additional 10% off for FIRST RESPONDERS (12/1-12/31) 2022
Goat Coffee roastery in Bonita Springs has launched SWFL STRONG coffee. Profits from sales of SWFL STRONG coffee will be donated to Hurricane Ian recovery efforts. The specialty grade, single origin, high altitude coffee is fully traceable and features tasting notes including chocolate, coffee cherry and cocoa flavors and finishes clean
DECEMBER 2022 Southwest Florida BUSINESS TODAY ® Page 11
Page 12 Southwest Florida BUSINESS TODAY ® DECEMBER 2022
DECEMBER 2022 Southwest Florida BUSINESS TODAY ® Page 13


A look at commercial real estate & construction updates in Southwest Florida

Seagate finalizes EmCyte headquarters

At the conclusion of a six-month-plus addition and expansion of EmCyte Corporation’s headquarters on Veronica S. Shoemaker Boulevard in Fort Myers, Seagate Development Group completed the fifth phase at the ever-evolving facility. Geared toward regenerative technology as a standard of care in modern medicine, the company has requested the renovation of an engineered space in its original building.

The fifth phase of development includes selective demolition and renovation to the existing cleanroom space with the addition of built-in cabinetry, specialty metal doors, acoustical ceilings, new flooring and fresh paint. Significant enhancements were made to the HVAC systems, necessary for a certified cleanroom. This controlled environment minimizes pollutants like dust, airborne microbes and aerosol particles by filtering them out to provide the cleanest area possible. Variables like temperature, air flow, and humidity are also controlled in the cleanroom to facilitate the sterilization and packaging of EmCyte specialty medical instruments prior to shipout.

PBS begins second phase of Holocaust Museum expansion

PBS Contractors and the Holocaust Museum & Janet G. and Harvey D. Cohen Education Center said a demolition Nov. 1 marked the second phase of an expansion.

The project will include a new Auschwitz gallery, a large classroom, a new special exhibit gallery, a gallery focused on other genocides and human rights, a small catering kitchen and additional storage and education staff offices. With construction underway, the project is estimated to be completed in early 2023.


EmCyte Headquarters is located on Veronica S. Shoemaker Boulevard in Fort Myers.

A look at commercial real estate & construction updates in Southwest Florida

For more business news, visit

This announcement comes at the heels of Seagate’s completion of EmCyte’s $2.2-million project, a 13,000-plus-square-foot climate-controlled warehouse addition for medical devices and a nearly 2,000-square-foot office suite and lab in the original building. In late 2021, Seagate also completed the renovation of its approximately 5,000-square-foot manufacturing space.

The leading, full-service development company has partnered with the leading autologous regenerative biologics company for three and a half years on remodels, reconfigurations, tech-

nological advancements and additions to its headquarters. This is all part of an increase in EmCyte’s team members, services, investments, and overall presence across the U.S. and around the globe. A new 1,210-square-foot gymnasium and recreational space for EmCyte employees to enjoy is part of the upcoming sixth phase of enhancements.

“When President and CEO Patrick Pennie described his vision for his company, we knew we were going to be part of something bigger than ourselves, “said Matt Price, CEO and partner at Seagate Development Group. “Our team continues to think a lot about the use of the facility as well as the economic value it’s bringing to Southwest Florida, so EmCyte is a high priority for us. When they are ready for the next steps, we’re ready, regardless of the size and scope.”

“We are proud to be once again a part of the very important work that The Holocaust Museum & Cohen Education Center does in educating our students about the Holocaust and providing a strong voice against all types of discrimination. The addition will serve to expand the museum’s education programs and provide additional space for traveling exhibits,” said Mario Valle, senior relationship manager. “PBS Contractors’ purpose statement is: We Build Better Lives for our Team, our Clients, and our Community. Expanding the museum is our way of continuing to put our promise into action.”

“The museum’s education programs provide a strong, consistent message to students and the public of the importance of standing up against hatred. Learning about the Holocaust teaches the dangers of indifference and where unchecked hatred can lead,” said Susan Suarez, president and CEO of the Holocaust Museum & Cohen Education Center.

“It is fitting that the museum is expanding, adding additional 3,600 square feet with new galleries about Auschwitz and other genocides and a large classroom to serve our growing population.”

In 2019, PBS Contractors completed the rebuild of the Holocaust Museum & Cohen Education Center’s current space into an award-winning museum. It is an honor to once again work with the organization and Suarez.

DECEMBER 2022 Southwest Florida BUSINESS TODAY ® Page 15

Many commercial property owners in Southwest Florida have been hit hard in 2022. From rising building and maintenance costs due to inflation to damages caused by Hurricane Ian, many landlords are juggling a seemingly endless to-do list. But as you triage your tasks, there’s one thing that you can’t afford to save for later.

Refinance options are not what they used to be Sage commercial investors are well-aware of the ‘cash out’ refinance strategy that lets them tap into their built-up equity. In fact, Southwest Florida has been a hotbed for commercial real estate investment in the last seven years, with historically low interest rates and property values increasing at record rates.

But with the recent and significant rising interest rates, building owners may get a rude awakening when the terms of their loan come due and it’s time to refinance. That’s because many properties will not meet current refinance requirements. Instead of financing a new loan or qualifying for a ‘cash-out,’ many owners will be faced with a ‘cash-in’ scenario, whereby owners must bring cash to closing on their refinancing.

Here’s what I mean. Let’s say you acquired an

investment property at a 6% cap rate and financed it with a 75% LTV loan on a 4% interest rate with a 1.25 DSCR. To refinance that same property, you would need to have grown the NOI by 21% to refi at 7.5% interest rate today. Have you grown your property’s NOI by 21%? Many owners have not. Owners who’ve not been minding these details will be faced with difficult decisions.

Avoid a ‘cash in’ refinance

Many landlords haven’t adjusted rents or altered lease structures to keep up with recent market conditions. While this may have been a kindness to tenants, it unfortunately erodes the true value of the property.

If your refinance deadline is six to 18 months away, there’s still time to engage. We suggest landlords adopt a proactive approach and bring rent and lease terms to current market rate.

Another approach would be to restructure gross leases to NNN.

While there may be more than one strategy that will work for you, the important thing is to act. The decisions you make now will be the ones that put you into the best position possible for growth over the next 10 years.

Is it time to sell or trade up?

Many building owners today are assessing their refinance options by looking at both dollars and sense. As maintenance, inflation and risk continue to rise with some properties, it’s harder for landlords to justify the return on their investment and time. Some are choosing to sell and trade up to newer properties that require fewer landlord obligations, less capital expenditures and less time.

With so many variables, it’s difficult to know if now is the time to weather your investment or find something else that will work better for your season of life. The good news is you don’t have to guess about what to do. Talk with a seasoned commercial real estate advisor who can help you create an investment strategy that’s right for you and today’s market.

Phil Fischler is the founder and president of Fischler Property Company. Contact (239) 895-1060 or

LSI Companies brokers lease on professional office space on Immokalee Road in Naples

LSI Companies brokered a 5,634-square-foot lease of a professional office in Naples.

The professional office was leased from Naples 9, LLC.

Don’t forget to post your in-person and virtual events on our B2B events calendar at

The property is located on Immokalee Road. The landlord was represented by Justin Thibaut, CCIM, and Alexis North, CCIM, of LSI Companies. LSI Companies is Southwest Florida’s leading

full-service real estate brokerage and development firm. The Company specializes in all aspects of site development, current market and valuation issues, acquisition and disposition services, due diligence evaluation, zoning and permitting, work-out projects, asset management and appraisals.


Hurricane recovery to create economic boost

Local industry players are saying more than $1 billion will be pumped into the Southwest Florida market in the next years toward post-hurricane recovery, an unanticipated economic boost that is leaving real estate developers clamoring for market share and gobbling properties for new development. While many residents will, unfortunately, be pushed out of the market, real estate opportunities will be bustling for what will be a “new” coastal area.

Centennial Bank Florida Regional President David Druey, who oversees the Southwest coast, sees this opportunity as a silver lining that will provide countless new jobs to the region as it recovers, rebuilds and benefits from investors drawn

to secure value-add opportunities for development. He also noted the bank’s clients are bullish on borrowing for new business endeavors in the market.

For those who want to discuss future development opportunities and plans in the local market, Druey is available.

London Bay Development Group CEO Mark Wilson is developing The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Estero Bay, which will break ground next year. The company’s new construction condos in the area withstood the storm’s wrath without harm, and the company expects the Ritz property to follow suit. Wilson can speak to the contemporary mentality that new construction is likely the gateway to living in coastal communities in the future.

Page 16 Southwest Florida BUSINESS TODAY ® DECEMBER 2022
CRE, CONSTRUCTION & DEVELOPMENT A look at commercial real estate & construction updates in Southwest Florida LOOKING FOR THE RIGHT COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE COMPANY? LOOK NO FURTHER. CRE CONSULTANTS is a full-service commercial real estate company that has been providing client-first services for over 24 years. We uniquely see and help shape the Southwest Florida commercial real estate market as proven by the volume of transactions we complete every year. Our team of highly trained professionals help owners answer their commercial real estate questions and achieve results. Let’s have a conversation about your real estate needs today. EXPERTISE IN:  Sales  Leasing  Property Management  Investment  Valuation  IRS 1031 Exchanges OFFICE | INDUSTRIAL | RETAIL | INVESTMENT | PROPERTY MANAGEMENT WE HAVE YOU COVERED ENN LUTHRINGER, CCIM Partner 239.481.3800 www .CRECONSULTANTS .com Corporate Office: 2503 Del Prado Boulevard S., #101, Cape Coral, FL 33904 Tel: 800.695.1031 | | Private Equity | Asset Management | Property Development uncharted opportunities. We search Them out. Calling all landlords: Don’t get blindsided by your refinancing

Smith Currie named National Construction Law Firm of Year HURRICANE IAN RECOVERY

Condominiums and HOAs, beware of hurricane recovery pitfalls

Part 1 of 2

Hurricane Ian severely damaged several communities with associations. Many are uninhabitable. Homeowner associations shouldering the enormous responsibility of restoration are inundated with proposals, often benefitting contractors over the community. With the surge in demand far surpassing available supply, coupled by owner pressure for fast action and concerns over funding, associations have little leverage to negotiate and are left vulnerable to exploitation. Below are urgent matters to consider in Ian’s aftermath:

1. Assignment of Benefits (AOB): Do not sign contracts assigning benefits or directing payments to contractors. After Irma, AOBs were provided in exchange for immediate work. Contractors collected AOBs and had attorneys submit highly inflated claims, prolonging resolution and refusing work until reaching settlement. Owners in disrepair for extended periods sued for release, often paying for the work out-of-pocket while pursuing the contractor and insurance company. Florida law has since been reformed. If a contractor recommends an attorney, look for a conflict waiver and inquire if they previously represented them.

2. Public Adjusters – Do not rush to engage a Public Adjuster. Typically charging 20% of the claim, fees are limited to 10% for one year when the governor declares a state of emergency. Measure an adjuster’s value by what they will recover above what the association would have recovered, not the value of the entire claim. Florida law prohibits adjusters charging fees for claim payments made before entering into a contract with them.

Adjusters are incentivized to maximize settlements over quick resolutions, exposing associations to claims for failure of timely action. Florida law allows for special assessments, so associations often front restoration costs and seek insurance reimburse-

ment. Only attorneys can represent you in mediation or litigation, not adjusters. Litigation is common given the number of claims combined with the recent failure of many insurance companies. Attorneys’ hourly rates typically cost less than adjusters’ fees, especially for large claims. Have an attorney review adjuster contracts. Florida allows 10 days to cancel.

3. Out of State Contractors: Be wary of out-of-state contractors, no matter the company’s size. Florida building codes are unique. They often do not have the skills and experience to comply and are usually relegated to subcontracting inexperienced workers. It is better to use local, reputable contractors despite longer waits and higher costs. Local companies know code. Workers are employees with proper supervision, not subcontractors. And they are available for warranty work years later. Out-of-state contractor problems are innumerable, leaving associations to replace defective work, mainly entire roofs.

4. Properly Licensed Contractors: Only use Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board licensed contractors. Use well-capitalized companies over shell contractors with no assets or employees. Require the license qualifier to meet in person to help identify rented license situations. If they won’t meet, it is unlikely they will be around to supervise the project as required by Florida law. Also note a company’s physical address. If it’s a UPS Store, investigate further.

5. Large Deposits: Do not make large upfront payments, often justified as lead time for materials. Consider alternatives like direct payment to the supplier (often a larger company more established and capitalized than contractors). Direct payments also allow for order confirmation.

Attorneys Christopher L. Pope, Christopher J. Shields, Alexander J. Menendez, and Vanessa Fernandez work at Pavese Law Firm. Call (239) 334-2195 or visit

Smith, Currie & Hancock, a construction and government contracts law firms, has been named 2023 “Construction Law Firm of the Year” by U.S. News – Best Lawyers as part of the publication’s “Best Law Firms” rankings. The award indicates the highest level of respect and recognition in private legal practice and among leading lawyers. The national status is awarded to only one law firm per legal practice area.

Smith Currie also was ranked nationally as Tier 1 in “Construction Law” and “Litigation – Construction,” and regionally across Tiers 1, 2 and 3 in five metropolitan areas.

A primary reason for Smith Currie obtaining the ranking of 2023 “Construction Law Firm of the Year” is rooted in the legal and law practice performance of the firm in the Construction Industry. The firm was awarded the national title based on a multifaceted submission process and evaluation through Best Lawyers’ peer-review process.

The “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on client feedback, information provided on a detailed Law Firm Survey, the Law Firm Leaders Survey, and Best Lawyers peer-review participation.

Smith Currie’s Metropolitan Tier

1 award rankings include the firm’s offices in Atlanta, Georgia; Charlotte, North Carolina; Fort Lauderdale; and Metro Washington, D.C. for “Construction Law” and “Litigation – Construction.”

Metropolitan Tier 2 recognitions were attributed to Smith Currie’s offices in Columbia, South Carolina and Fort Lauderdale for “Litigation –Construction.” The Columbia, South Carolina office also received a Metropolitan Tier 3 ranking for “Construction Law.”

Best Lawyers also recognizes 29 attorneys from Smith Currie and lists another four as “Ones to Watch” in 2023 for outstanding professional excellence in private practice.

“Smith Currie’s U.S. News – Best Lawyers rankings are an honor for our firm,” said Eric Nelson, managing partner at Smith Currie. “We congratulate all of our construction law and government contracts attorneys as well as our administrative staff members from coast to coast, as all Smith Currie personnel have contributed to these exciting accolades.”

Smith Currie’s 2023 rankings build upon the firm’s prior rankings. Construction law attorneys with Smith Currie have been recognized by Best Lawyers dating back to 2006.

DECEMBER 2022 Southwest Florida BUSINESS TODAY ® Page 17 Randy Krise, CCIM Commercial Real Estate Broker Cell: 239.633.8672 Email: www .K rise CG. C om Studio, One and Two Bedroom Apartments Located between Central Avenue, Market Street and Fowler Street, ALDEA is one of the first planned communities for Midtown and is expected to transform the landscape of the surrounding area. MIDTOWN FORT MYERS’ INTIMATE URBAN LIFESTYLE EXPERIENCE Introducing ALDEA Groundbreaking: Summer 2023 Occupancy: Spring 2025 300+ units housed within two residential buildings looking inward to multi-functional courtyard spaces. A mix of studios, one and two bedrooms, several of which offer additional dens. A fitness center enables an active lifestyle and a parking garage provides a desired convenience. SWFL CRE, CONSTRUCTION & DEVELOPMENT A look at commercial real estate & construction updates in Southwest Florida SWFL CRE, CONSTRUCTION & DEVELOPMENT A look at commercial real estate & construction updates in Southwest Florida We Care About SWFL 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 Commercial Realtors For more informa�on, call Karen at (239) 770-7527 ®


Businesses need to prepare for disaster and implement restoration plans

It’s common for small business owners and their employees to be so focused on their day-to-day activities that they do not put a disaster plan in place to respond to fl oods, fi res, severe weather and other natural disasters. This can be a major problem for businesses as large losses can cost a lot of money to repair property damage and replace damaged items and equipment.

In 2021, winter weather caused the most weather-related deaths and 254 injuries according to NSC. The most common illnesses and injuries in the winter season are slips, trips and falls, hypothermia and frostbite.

Luckily, ServiceMaster Restore, a global leader in natural disaster response and restoration services, has provided the necessary precautions for small businesses to prepare for

the worst. A fast response in the aftermath of a disaster will help limit the damage and get small businesses on track quickly which will save a company time and money.

TIP #1 Check insurance coverage

Most basic small business insurance policies include coverage for natural disasters, but additional coverage may be required depending on your area and your plan. Check if loss amounts are high enough to reestablish business after a disaster hits. Establishing proper coverage helps rebuild as quickly as possible.

TIP #2 Research natural disasters that may impact your area.

If fl oods, fi res, tropical storms or other disasters are common, exploring additional insurance coverage is recommended.

TIP #3 Create a natural disaster

preparedness plan.

A disaster preparedness plan helps to better mitigate losses, boost confi dence and resume business operations as soon as possible. Gather employees’ emergency contact information and designate a safe space where employees can evacuate and the routes taken to get there.

TIP #4 Establish an emergency preparedness kit for the offi ce.

Distribute copies of the plan and ensure employees are aware of evacuation routes and escape procedures before a disaster strikes. Practice action plans with staff members and local emergency response teams.

TIP #5 Have a plan for restoring documents

Determine how you will access vital business records and information, including whether or not there will be an off -site location where

employees will work until the business reopens. Be sure to know how to protect company data, including how to regularly back up fi les to a cloud-based platform and a reliable hard drive.

For homes and families that have seen damage from winter weather and other natural disasters, I can also suggest checking out ServiceMaster Restore’s full list of tips and warnings for water, fi re or smoke damage.

Darnell Sharperson is a servicemaster and publicist at Servicemaster Restore. ServiceMaster Restore and ServiceMaster Recovery Management franchises serve customers through a global network of franchises available 24/7/365 to provide residential and commercial restoration services resulting from damage caused by water, fi re, smoke or mold. Visit and

Bowman Consulting Group awarded Bonita Springs sidewalk and drainage project

Bowman Consulting Group has been awarded a project for 1.71 miles of sidewalk implementation and drainage infrastructure on the south side of West Terry Street in Bonita Springs through its McMahon subsidiary. Bowman acquired McMahon Associates in May 2022 which now does business as McMahon, a Bowman Company.

McMahon will be responsible for the design and permitting of sidewalks, crosswalks, curb ramps and drainage management that will tie to stormwater management on the north side of West Terry Street. The south side of West Terry

Street currently does not have pedestrian accommodations. Given the limited available space in the mostly residential location, McMahon will focus on developing designs that will lessen the impact to residents as much as possible, while still providing safe and effective facilities.

McMahon has been working consistently with the City of Bonita Springs since 2008 with projects that include citywide annual data collection, master bike/pedestrian plans, which will be updated in 2023, transportation site evaluations for the Imperial Parkway, Shangri-la Road, Old US

41, Bonita Beach Road and Logan Blvd. McMahon has also performed site development reviews for complete streets, site access, land development, right-of-way and property acquisitions.

“We are proud to give a safe place to walk and bicycle to the users of these new facilities on West Terry Street,” said William Grieve, PE, McMahon project manager. “By replacing the current swale with new stormwater management, it will allow for better drainage away from properties and into the existing system on the north side of West Terry Street.”

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A look at commercial real estate & construction updates in Southwest
CEO, Hall of Fame

If you’re a casual user of LinkedIn, you may not be aware of some of the more recent bells and whistles the social networking platform has added. Many of the latest features are designed to help create a more robust professional profile for individuals. Here are a few to check out and test for your own LinkedIn profile:

Expanded Headline: This is the first bit of info most people see about you, so it’s a critical piece of real estate on the LinkedIn profile. Although it’s called a headline, it’s more of a concise description of you and the skills or services you offer. Initially capped at 120 characters, the LinkedIn headline section has been expanded 80% to 220 characters, giving you just a bit more space to add details about your subject matter expertise, top skills or best product offerings. Where to find it: Profile Header on Desktop or Mobile. Click on: The profile Edit icon

New Featured Section: The best way to raise your profile on any social platform is by contributing. Now, LinkedIn is making it easier for others to see your contributions and for you to manage those as well. With the featured section’s introduction, your best posts now have a home. And better yet, you can determine which posts to include in your featured section. Available content types include posts, articles, links, or media you add. Consider curating this area either weekly or monthly, depending on how often you post. Where to find it: Profile Header on Desktop OR Mobile. Click on: Add section button.

Name Pronunciation & Pronouns: Although we still have a long way to go, there’s more diversity in the work-

place than ever before. Those different cultural backgrounds sometimes make it hard to know how to pronounce a connection’s name. LinkedIn cleverly added a new feature that aims to assist. Anyone visiting your profile on desktop or mobile can hear your pronunciation audio snippet by clicking on the sound icon; however, you can record it only via LinkedIn’s mobile app. When recording, you get about 10 seconds to enunciate your name clearly and may have enough time to add a mnemonic device like “rhymes with …” to eliminate confusion. LinkedIn has also added a pronoun section to the profile to eliminate confusion so you can be clear about your preferences in that regard. Where to find it: Mobile App, View Profile function. Click on: Edit Profile icon, then “+add name pronunciation”

new and hope to leverage growth in blockchain technology into gains.

Instant Video or Schedule a Video Meeting via Messenger: Let’s say you get a hold of that super-valuable contact inside your top target company using LinkedIn’s messaging feature. Now, you can take that conversation quickly into a face-to-face chat right from that window or set a future meeting using the links. You can choose to use LinkedIn’s embedded video platform or opt for other integrated platforms, such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom. Where to find it: Messenger Chat Window. Click on: Video icon

Robert Kenney is Director of Business Development for Dragon Horse Agency, which has offices in Naples and in Santa Monica, CA. Contact (239) 325-5088 or rkenney@

Protect your business from all kinds of disasters

Today’s business owners are weathering the effects of inflation, looming recession, and recovery from Ian. There are some things you should be doing right now to help protect your business from disasters, natural or economic. Being prepared is your best defense to mitigate financial setbacks and keep you afloat.

Review of financials. First things first, meet with a trusted financial advisor or banker to determine where you stand and where you will be as inflation continues and in light of a recession, in addition to recovery from Ian. Be sure to put away a rainy-day fund and establish a line of credit. Hopefully you won’t have to use it, but it can be a lifesaver in certain situations. Consider additional resources and options for access to capital. Establish two banking relationships, one with a community bank and one with a regional bank. Many had to live and learn the hard way when single banking relationships did not work out in 2008-2010.

Price adjustments. Necessities like labor, materials, and utilities are costing more for everyone thanks to inflation, and supply chain delays are contributing to the issue. Explain to customers politely how businesses can only absorb so much and that you are doing everything within your power to avoid passing on costs. Many of them will understand as they are facing the same challenges and know that increases can only be put off for so long before the business is at risk.

Evaluate labor costs. A lot of businesses started giving incentives like higher wages because of the effects of the pandemic, but with inflation and a looming recession it’s a good time to re-evaluate wage offerings and incentives. Tighter budgets are causing everyone to make difficult decisions to reduce costs, in part by in-

creasing efficiency through automation and software options to optimize your business model.

He stresses that use of blockchain technology extends far beyond investment and speculation around widely recognized forms of cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. What Cogent wants to do right now is help its clientele securely hold custody of any digital assets. That’s a largely unregulated field right now, and many want the reliability of FDIC-insured banks to protect digital holdings.

“There’s a need in the marketplace,” he said. “If you look at the folks out there who are providing custody, the majority of them are not regulated. They are not regulatorily supervised. We do see a huge opportunity to provide a custody solution that has an association with a properly regulated, fivestar, Bauer-rated, well-regulated bank like Cogent.”

A crash in Bitcoin this year and a slew of other controversies about the long-term protection of digital investments has created what Hindley characterizes as a “cypto winter.” But he noted venture capital is still flowing in the market, a sign that long-term investors see a future on the blockchain. Cogent, he said, is focused on the longterm. Many in the market now see an advantage of being “first movers,” and Cogent in many ways has joined a first wave of financial institutions providing banking service to those early investors.

“We’re going to continue to invest and deploy technologies and resources, regardless of the current price action you’re seeing on crypto assets,” he said.

While the field remains unregulated, Hindley said it won’t stay that way forever. Indeed, Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Naples, is part of a newly formed Blockchain caucus in Congress.

Streamlining, automating and optimizing operations. With the dollar doing less coupled by ongoing labor shortages, it might make sense to focus on efficiency rather than growth right now. Also, if your current labor costs are pushing the limits of your budget, business software and automation for tasks like data collection and task management may be the solution. Putting growth on hold in the interim will also provide extra time to strategize and optimize expansion opportunities for the future.

Use multiple suppliers. Supply still hasn’t completely caught up since the pandemic, and with the impact of Ian and the economic downturn, it likely won’t return to normal any time soon. More than one supplier is needed to protect your business from disruptions in the supply chain and the economy. The pandemic taught this lesson, and the effects of inflation and recession are driving it home. Reduce your risks by exploring all options and networking with other businesses navigating similar challenges for support.

Bill Blevins is President and CEO of Gulf Coast Business Bank. Locally owned and operated by some of Southwest Florida’s most experienced bankers, GCBB is personally invested in the success of the community and its businesses. Visit for more information or call (239) 345-BANK (2265).

Hindley said some regulation would be welcome in the marketplace, and would be viewed as a catalyst for more capital.

“But I don’t think anyone knows what that (regulation) is going to look like,” Hindley said. “We’re going to have to stay tuned for awhile.”

Notably, Cogent launched its latest blockchain efforts at the same time the bank announced more cannabis industry services. That’s another area where business notoriously for some time had to occur outside the bounds of traditional banking. Hindley said the two areas in fact can work in concert.

“We are actively exploring internally and with our partners how to begin to integrate blockchain and payment rails in cannabis because there are certainly enormous synergies,” Hindley said. “We want to be able to stay on the cutting edge.”

DECEMBER 2022 Southwest Florida BUSINESS TODAY ® Page 19 Thank you to our Hurricane Ian Survival Story Sponsors SWFBT pledges 10% of ad revenues and Hurricane Ian Survival Story Sponsor dollars from the November and December 2022 editions to helping rebuild Southwest Florida’s business community through local nonprofit donations. Call (239) 770-7527 to become a Hurricane Ian Survival Story Sponsor today. Contact Gail LaMarche Business Development Director (239) 344-1100 $150 Contact Danny Aguirre Manager (239) 695-1031 $250 Contact Phil Fischler President (239) 895-1060 $500 Follow us on: For more local business news and a calendar of local business events, please visit our website
CURRENCY PAGE 1 Part 1 of 2
New features for improving your LinkedIn profile


Scammers resurface after Hurricane Nicole

Better Business Bureau warns consumers that in the aftermath of Hurricane Nicole, watch out for storm chasers and/or impostors looking to take advantage of people.

Scammers use phone, text, email, mail and will even go door-to-door targeting Floridians affected by the storm. No government agencies will call unsolicited or text you asking for financial account information and there will never be a fee required to apply for aid through government disaster assistance agencies. If a government agency contacts you and asks for money or your personal information, hang up and report it to BBB Scam Tracker; it’s an Imposter.

Hurricane victims should never feel pressured to make a hasty decision or choose an unknown contractor. Make temporary repairs if necessary so you can take the time to choose a trustworthy contractor.

BBB’s Florida Hurricane Guide is a onestop resource page to provide Hurricane help for Floridians. Within this hurricane guide, you will find guidance on disaster preparedness, recovery and repair and how to avoid scams posthurricane.


Get references. Get referrals from friends and relatives and check for ratings and reviews on contractors in the area.

Do your research. Local and national companies may both do a fine job with your storm damage repair needs, but if you choose to do business with someone who is not local, be sure to understand who will be taking care of any service needs that may arise after the completion of the project.

Learn about storm chasers. Storm chasers are businesses that follow storms in hope of a quick buck. Research anyone who offers you unsolicited assistance carefully.

Look for the BBB Accredited Business Seal and hire a licensed professional. Any repair work performed on a home or a business should be completed by a licensed professional, always verify a contractor’s license by visiting www. or calling (850) 487-1395 and look for the BBB Accredited Business Seal to know those contractors are licensed, vetted and approved by BBB Standards of Trust.

Report scams to BBB Scam Tracker. BBB. org/ScamTracker is a free Interactive tool for consumers to report scams and fraud while warning others of malicious or suspicious activity.

BBB is an unbiased non-profit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Profiles and BBB Wise Giving Reports and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, BBB also offers complaint and dispute resolution support for consumers and businesses when there is a difference in viewpoints. For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping consumers find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. Better Business Bureau Serving West Florida is one of many local, independent BBBs across North America that provide business profiles on companies within its 11-county service area. These counties include: Charlotte, Lee, Collier, Desoto, Hardee, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas and Sarasota.

To contact BBB Serving West Florida about this release please call Bryan Oglesby (727) 530-4651 or

Moving business forward after Ian

As we look back and reflect on 2022, have you been discouraged? Ready to give up?

For over two and a half years we’ve been dealing with pandemic shutdowns and supply chain issues. We’ve had to navigate through inflationary price increases, labor shortages, and a shifting economic climate. And then, in the past month, many businesses were devastated by Hurricane Ian.

Any one of these issues could bring a small business to its knees.

It can be challenging to stay positive and look toward the future when it seems as if everything is crumbling around us.

However, in every situation and change in an economic cycle, there are opportunities. It is the leaders among us who seek them out and pivot who will benefit, profit, and forge the pathway forward for many to follow. Many of the most successful business owners and companies today made adjustments or decisions that ultimately helped them capitalize on opportunities when others only saw obstacles.

As we move into 2023, we need to celebrate the challenges and failures, focus on what we’ve learned and keep moving forward!

That is our goal at Top Notch University School of Entrepreneurship - to keep businesses focused on moving forward! And to help you start the new year off with the right mindset and motivation, we’re hosting the SWFL Business Summit on Thursday, January 12.

Come hear from local successful business owners such as Richard Johnson of Rick Johnson’s Auto & Tire, Bill Daubmann of MyShowerDoor, and Joe Nugent of Joe the Home Pro. They will speak about their journeys and how failures led them to their successes. Also, you’ll have the opportunity to hear from and meet the woman that started the FGCU School of Entrepreneurship, Dr. Sandra K. Kauanui. For more information and tickets, visit

J.D. Ribali, local small business owner and founder of Top Notch University and the Biz Kidz Expo, may be reached at (239) 6751235 or .

DAY Adjusting an ally for owners, non-profits during hurricane recovery HURRICANE IAN RECOVERY

The aftermath of Hurricane Ian brought out the best and the worst in people in Southwest Florida. The best has been seen through the many non-profit organizations that stepped in to help those in need, and the worst is the scammers taking advantage of those in desperate situations.

DAY Adjusting & Consulting is locally owned and operated by Blake Day. He is all too familiar with the horror sto-

ries that follow a hurricane. Scammers prey on people in turmoil and many of his friends have even fallen for people posing as legitimate roofers or repairman. Day says it’s confusing to homeowners and he has been speaking to this problem at various townhall meetings throughout the area. He’s trying to bring awareness of this issue along with encouraging those in need of services to consult with local professionals before making hasty decisions.

Day recently told a townhall audience his goal was to educate as many people as he could, whether his company was hired or not. His message was that a Public Adjuster is the resource no insurance company will tell you about because they work for the homeowner or nonprofit to get the best outcome, not the insurance company.

“Microbial growth has a life of its own In Florida and needs to be dealt with quickly,” said Day. “If that didn’t happen,

the entire structure is toxic and unsafe and insurance company adjustors don’t do the extensive inspections that a public adjuster will do. That’s just how it works. The insurance company adjuster works for the insurance company only – a public adjuster works for the homeowner or business property owner. There’s a big difference in priorities.”

He stated Public Adjusters are highly

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ADJUSTER See page 21

Know your WHY to operate your business with purpose

Direct consumer involvement with businesses and brands has been a game-changer, especially in this vastly growing digital world. If you’re still operating your business as you did five or even 10 years ago, it’s time to hit reset. Defining your why and operating your business with purpose is the cornerstone of modern business. Understanding why your company exists, the role it plays, the void it fills, and the impact it makes, the closer you will get to operating your business with purpose and reaching your goals.

To better connect with your clients or customers (your audience), you must first help them understand and believe in what you do and why you do it. It should be part of your messaging in advertising, public relations, marketing and even conveyed during staff training. Fully understanding and being able to articulate your company purpose will help you better understand who you are trying to reach and how to reach them.

Consumers today are holding businesses accountable, especially Gen Z and Millennials. These generations feel businesses play an important role in society and should prioritize purpose over profit, only making a profit if they are having a positive impact. Today, most consumer interaction and transactions are


regulated by the state in which they practice and mandated to operate according to state standards and statutes. In Florida, Public Adjusters must go through a lengthy process in order to receive licensing and credentials. They complete a rigorous insurance course and pass a state-proctored exam, must comply with fingerprinting and background checks, be bonded for $50,000, and then apprentice under another licensed Public Adjuster for one year. DAY Adjusting and Consulting works on a large range of project types and offer a wide variety of claims services to both commercial and residential clients.

Homeowners were hit by the hurricane but so were local churches, libraries, public buildings and other nonprofit organizations. FEMA has funds available to help organizations through the Stafford Act, but it seems to be a well-kept secret, according to Day.

“In my opinion, if the State of Florida Chief Financial Officer would spend as much time in press conferences talking about the Stafford Act as he does in discouraging Florida homeowners from seeking assistance on their insurance

conducted online. People turn to reviews, websites and apps before deciding to engage with a business or brand, and having a meaningful and impactful purpose can sway the consumer decision.

Most consumers will pay more for products and services from companies with a credible reputation and an authentic purpose that makes a positive impact. From employee relations to environmental and social concerns, consumers feel companies have a responsibility to make the world better in some way.

Studies repeatedly show consumers will switch from a product they regularly buy to a different one sold by a company with purpose, trusting the brand, buying from it and recommending it — even standing up for a brand if spoken badly of. They will also take action when they are in disagreement with a company or brand, from leaving bad reviews to switching to competitors.

A strong shared sense of purpose drives a com-

claims, then maybe churches, religious organizations and many other qualifying non-profits could save millions of out-ofpocket dollars,” said Day. “The Stafford Act is there to help these organizations, and no one is talking about these funds.”

Several points Day wanted to stress to those in hurricane recovery:

• There are a few key differences between the insurance company’s adjuster and a Public Adjuster. Insurance companies have their own adjusters they send out to assess the legitimacy of an insurance claim called staff adjusters or independent adjusters.

• Public Adjusters work exclusively for the public and are paid by the public, not the insurance company.

• It is a more extensive process to become a state licensed Public Adjuster than a standard staff adjuster or independent adjuster. One major difference is the apprenticeship. Staff and independent adjusters are not required to apprentice for any set amount of time as a trainee. The motive is different, the program is different, the testing is different, and the state license and regulation is different.

• A staff or independent adjuster can become a Public Adjuster, but have to concede to all of the requirements and


pany’s employees and customers and delivers higher business performance. A company’s purpose cannot simply be stated, it must be lived personally and professionally and encouraged by leadership. The purpose serves as a guide for the company, filtering decisions and behaviors based on the purpose, knowing what issues to stand behind and how to engage with internal and external stakeholders.

We live in a digital world, one that has changed the way we do business. Consumers have placed new responsibilities on business owners with pressure to embody and drive a brand’s purpose. Stand out among competitors. Let the team of professionals at CONRIC pr + marketing help you define your why and navigate the complexities of the digital consumer experience.

Connie Ramos-Williams is the president and chief marketing officer at CONRIC pr + marketing, a leading creative agency with offices in Fort Myers and Naples that specializes in branding, digital marketing, public relations, graphic design and website development. For more information, visit, email or call (239) 690-9840.

relinquish their current license as a staff or independent adjuster.

• A staff or independent adjuster cannot represent both the insurance company and the policyholder because that would be a major conflict of interest.

• Staff and independent adjusters can often be one-sided, biased, and nit-picky, scrutinizing the damages to avoid awarding proper payment or denying legitimate claims all together. The insurance company they work for keeps record of how much they’re paying out, and if it reaches a certain number, their job could be in jeopardy. They are essentially pressured to keep their claim payouts as low as possible to save insurance companies’ money.

• Public Adjusters are there to tip the balance scale back the other way, to look out for the interest of the policyholder. No longer are you left at the mercy of a jobscared biased party.

• A Public Adjuster can be hired by the policyholder to assess the claim, negotiate with the insurance company and some-

times go to court as an expert witness to resolve your claim and get the compensation deserved for restoration of damages.

“When hiring a Public Adjuster, check their credentials,” added Day. “It’s important that the person or firm who you choose is indeed carrying a license and bond from the state in which your loss occurred. You can find out if your public adjuster is licensed and bonded by calling your state department of insurance, or by visiting your state’s website for licensee searches. It’s a must do before signing anything.”

According to a government report produced by the Office of Program Policy Analysis & Government Accountability, using a Public Adjuster increases insurance claim payout by 747%. Day reminded his audiences there is no need to fight corporate insurance alone and it is the policyholders’ right to have a professional public adjuster represent them in order to receive every penny entitled to under the terms of your insurance policy.

DECEMBER 2022 Southwest Florida BUSINESS TODAY ® Page 21 Listen to Moore About Business during Morning Edition and All Things Considered on 90.1 FM | 91.7 FM | We’re All Business Follow us: To stay current throughout the day with Hurricane Ian business news & resources, go to hurricane - ian -business -bulletin / ®
Blake Day, president of Day Adjusting, has over a decade of experience in the insurance industry. With local offices, contact him at (855) 729-0838 or PAGE 20

Watch out for hurricane scams

With millions of homes and busi nesses impacted, plenty of people are in major need of housing, vehicles and financial aid. Sadly, criminals can’t turn down an opportunity to take advantage of vulnerable people as we’ve already started to see an increase in scams. From faking insurance claims, to pos ing as charities, there’s no limit to how far bad guys will go to exploit victims of a natural disaster. This isn’t the first time these types of scams have popped up and certainly won’t be the last, but we’ll provide you with the tips you need to avoid these fraudsters.

Let’s start with some basic tips that can apply to most phone calls/email scams you may receive.

• NEVER give anyone your informa tion unless you can verify the legitimacy of the agency. If someone is claiming to work for your insurance company and is asking for information, politely hang up, then try to contact the company directly by visiting their website and looking for a phone number.

• Government agencies/insurance companies/charities will never call de manding money There is no fee for di saster relief, regardless of if it’s for an individual or for a business.

• Caller ID and location DO NOT MEAN ANYTHING. Criminals can easily fake the names of businesses/ agencies as well as location and area code by spoofing.

• Never click on any links or down load any files you receive from un known email senders

• Unlicensed contractors. Confirm licensing before hiring a contractor by visiting at

tractor/. Confirm the business is reg istered to conduct business in Florida by visiting sunbiz. org

Moving on to some specific cases

Foundation champions education needs after storm

Nearly one month ago, Hurri cane Ian wreaked havoc on South west Florida. Ian tied with several other storms as the 5th strongest hurricane to make landfall in the contiguous United States. The de struction Ian left behind is nothing short of catastrophic.

• Criminals can pose as third-party contractors/repair companies claim ing to work with insurance compa nies. Never provide with any informa tion without verifying with your agency first.

• Only donate to reputable charities, and never over the phone unless you can verify their integrity. Criminals can fake lesser-known charities’ or non-profits’ websites, so that’s why it’s important to stick to well-established, trusted sources to donate to. (Red Cross, etc.)

These tips don’t apply specifically to Hurricane Ian scams, but all types of disasters as well. As long as there are innocent people to take advantage of, criminals will find the most effective and elaborate ways to do it.

If you’d like to report suspected fraud, you can call the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline toll free at (866) 7205721. If you need to report other fraud ulent activities during or following a natural disaster, notify FEMA at (866) 720-5721 or

Carrie and Kyle Kerskie own the Kerskie Group. Contact Carrie at (239)325-5155 or .

As the Education Foundation of Collier County – Champions For Learning, we are positioned to ar ticulate the needs of our students and our educators. Through our as sessment process, we learned that our educators are facing serious challenges with housing and trans portation. We joined voices with the Consortium of Florida Educa tion Foundations and have secured a $350,000 gift to assist Collier County educators. This gift is part of the $2 million gift that was made to six education foundations that are facing similar staffing chal lenges.

We learned many students lost their school supplies during Ian. We quickly shared this need with our generous community and with in a week, Champions For Learning delivered nearly 600 backpacks full of school supplies to Collier Coun ty schools.

The Champions For Learning office is a Category 5-rated build ing equipped with a generator. In the days following Ian, we opened our fully functional office to our nonprofit partners to use as a com munication center. They were able to use our power, internet, copy machine and simply sit in air con ditioning. Many of our students and mentors have enjoyed and continue to enjoy our space as well. Many students have shared that it is nice for them to have a space where they can work on their college applica tions.

We remain committed to ensur ing that our students’ basic needs are met while being ever so cogni zant of their educational needs. We have played the roll of connector for our students whose families have sustained loss. We have helped our students and their families navigate various channels of assistance and quickly saw that each family’s cir cumstances were very different.

Our next step has been to fo

cus on our stu dents’ educa tional needs. We are keenly aware of the fact that Collier County schools are bur dened with the basic needs man agement caused by the storm, and we are do ing our best to be very supportive of those efforts. Our programs re sumed the week after the storm. Our students are meeting with their mentors, they are meeting with their coaches, they are attending FASFA completion sessions, they are submitting col lege and scholarship applications. We need to do everything possible to ensure they are on a path to col lege or career and not derailed due to the chaos caused by the storm.

Champions For Learning can not achieve our mission without our changemakers. They serve as mentors, coaches, ambassadors and committee members. We have dozens of committees that help us with classroom grant selections, student program selections, orga nizing our events and helping us select our Golden Apple teach ers. Our changemakers are key in our sound financial management. We have heard from many of our changemakers that they can’t return to Naples due to damages sustained from the storm. We are still in need of changemakers willing to serve as mentors, coaches and ambassa dors. If you are willing to give your time, please contact Kristin Peras, vice president of Community En gagement and Collective Impact, at (239) 643-4755 or KPeras@Cham

Together, we will make a differ ence to our educators and students. Thank you for being a Champion For Learning! Thank you for be lieving that education is everything.

Barbara Evans is president and CEO of Champions For Learning. Contact (239) 643-4755 or Bev ans@

Page 22 Southwest Florida BUSINESS TODAY ® DECEMBER 2022 “It Pays to Advertise!” ✔ Direct Mail Advertising ✔ All Types of Mailing Lists ✔ Postage as Low as 14.2 cents ✔ Fast, Friendly Service 239-574-2028 Call today for a quote! The Letter Box, Inc. 936 Country Club Blvd. Cape Coral, FL 33990 Mention this ad and receive 20%OFF labor charges on your first mailing.

Beware trademark solicitations designed to confuse

Unsuspecting business owners in Southwest Florida and elsewhere are paying unnecessary patent or trademark “renewal fees” that are not what they seem to be when first viewed.

We are seeing continued efforts by companies attempting to confuse unsuspecting intellectual property owners into paying thousands of dollars in false renewal fees. These individuals prey on business owners by sending “invoices” appearing at first to request payment of fees to maintain patents or trademark registrations, perhaps counting on the invoice not being read closely. These statements appear to be from a governmental agency and often are sent years in advance with an erroneously early renewal date so the trademark owner pays the invoice before the owner is contacted by its trademark attorney about a valid renewal.

Business owners generally know continuation of trademark or patent rights requires renewal or maintenance fee payments. They should also know the United States Patent and Trademark Office may send owners reminders of renewal fee deadlines but will not issue actual invoices for renewal fees. If you receive such an invoice, you should not

pay it. If you have questions about an invoice of this kind, it should be sent to your legal counsel for review. Please do not be a victim of these solicitations.

These pseudo-invoices often use letterhead with names that suggest the source is some type of governmental or international organization or are confusingly similar to the USPTO. For example, our clients have seen solicitations from organizations calling themselves names such as “World Organization for Trademarks,” “Global Patents and Trademarks” and even “Patent and Trademark Office” (but not United States Patent

and Trademark Office).

These companies often claim that they are merely soliciting you to hire them to renew your trademark; however, the invoices create confusion as to the issuer and it is our experience that if you “hire” these companies, the work may never be completed.

Another variation of the solicitation is an invoice asking you to pay publication fees, which are actually unnecessary for renewal. Again, these companies cause patent and trademark owners to initially believe they must pay these fees to keep their intellectual property active. The details of the “offer” can be found in the fine print, often buried in the middle of other text or in a light grey type.

One example states in less-than-perfect English and in light grey type: “Dear Customer, Please notice, that this form is not an invoice. This is an offer for the annual registration of your Trademark in our internet database ... The registration on our database has not any connection with an official government organization. There is no obligation for you to pay this amount and we have not any business relationship yet...”


While Florida passed the Government Imposter and Deceptive Advertisement Act, which prohibits sending any advertisement that “implies or otherwise reasonably causes confusion” that the source is a governmental entity (such as the USPTO), the difficulty with enforcement of that law against these notices is that they most often originate outside of Florida, sometimes even outside the United States. The United States Patent and Trademark Office has identified suspicious solicitations originating from 57 different sources within the U.S. and 25 originating outside of it. Undoubtably, more have not been reported. Any invoices received independently of your intellectual property attorney should be automatically viewed skeptically. With careful review, many can be identified as fraudulent or at least of questionable value. Any suspicious invoices or renewal notices should be reviewed carefully and sent to legal counsel for review.

Jeanne L. Seewald and John J Cunniff are counsel with Hahn Loeser and Parks in Naples. Contact (239) 254-2915 or email or

Naples Design District recovering, rebuilding and reopening after floods

We are truly devastated and heartbroken by the wrath Hurricane Ian unleashed on our beloved Naples Design District neighborhood and the entire Southwest Florida Community. We had a storm surge of more than three feet damage members’ businesses and storefronts. As we regroup and recover, we wanted to thank all the wonderful people who have volunteered, helped our district businesses.

It is now time to rebuild. With your support, we will return stronger than ever. The businesses listed below already re-opened. Stay tuned on our Social Media channels as we will continue to update you with store re-openings and essential information.

Open businesses: Abbie Joan Fine Living, Allikriste Cabinetry, Anchor Real Estate Brokers, Bodega Ole, Daltile, Fuse Appliances, Naples Coastal

Flowing Flowing with possibilities with possibilities charm charm

Animal Hospital, Riptide Brewery, Realty One Group Paradise, The Rusy Spur, The Luxury Bed Collection, United Arts Council and Vespa Naples.

Lake Park Diner, located at 944 7th Avenue N., is collecting donations of food and clothes..

Visit or contact (941) 777-2755 or

DECEMBER 2022 Southwest Florida BUSINESS TODAY ® Page 23 Office of Economic and Business Development nwhaley@capecoral gov | 239 574 0443 | www capecoral gov
Ideally situated on the sunny Southwest Florida coast, Cape Coral is a beautiful place to live, vacation, and locate a business With our low cost of living and no state income tax, the 8th largest city in Florida still has abundant open land to develop Whether it’s tech, logistics, back office operations, light industry, or a significant corporation, Cape Coral is home to the largest workforce residing in one city between Miami and Tampa
SITES AVAILABLE for industrial and commercial development INCENTIVES available for economic development 22% INCREASE in Cape Coral's population from 2010 2018 FULL SERVICE emergency services included in tax rate
small town

Standing Strong with Our Community.

When Edison National Bank opened its doors in 1997, we commemorated the occasion by planting a Royal Palm. Today, that tree is a testament to 25 years of service. We’re standing strong and continue to plant the seeds of trust and loyalty. As the oldest locally owned and chartered community bank in Lee County, our roots go deep in the community, and we remain unwavering in our commitment to your banking needs.

Page 24 Southwest Florida BUSINESS TODAY ® DECEMBER 2022
Equal Housing Lender | Member FDIC | Bank of the Islands is an office of Edison National Bank. To learn more about our customer services and convenient locations, please visit or call 239.466.1800.
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