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the award goes to...

RECOGNIZING citizens | businesses | individuals



A partnership between the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance and The Observer Group Inc., the Sandies awards seek to recognize outstanding businesses and citizens within the Lakewood Ranch community in four categories.

Business of the Year Award

Award recognizes a business that has an exemplary reputation with its customers, employees and the community. The business displays consistent sales growth and profitability, delivers superior products or services and makes exceptional contributions to the betterment of Lakewood Ranch.

Lakewood Ranch Citizen of the Year Award

Award honors a resident of Lakewood Ranch for his or her individual accomplishments and special contributions to the growth, enrichment and enhancement of the community. Primary consideration is exemplary service to the local/county community in single or multiple initiatives over multiple years, and service is beyond what is recognized in his or her job description.

Entrepreneurial Spirit Award

Award recognizes one individual for best demonstrating the characteristics of entrepreneurs and the spirit of entrepreneurism. Individual must be an owner, partner or top executive of the business; must demonstrate leadership in his or her company; and must demonstrate integrity, a commitment to excellence and a proven record of success.

Corporate Philanthropy Award

Award recognizes an organization or business that demonstrates outstanding commitment through financial and volunteer support, encouraging others to take leadership roles in philanthropy and volunteer service.


The Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance continues to bring vision, voice and visibility in support of our members and the community of Lakewood Ranch. We’re very excited to partner with The Observer Group to host the inaugural Sandies Corporate Awards Dinner. Named for the area’s signature sandhill crane, the Sandies awards recognize those organizations and individuals who represent the best of Lakewood Ranch. Our finalists strive toward the highest levels of professional accomplishment, excel in their chosen field, devote time and energy to their community in a meaningful way and forge paths of leadership for other businesses to follow. Congratulations to all

who were nominated and especially, to our finalists. It is an honor to be recognized by your customers, peers and the community for your great work, outstanding service and leadership. Your success and contributions to the community make Lakewood Ranch an even better place to live, work and play. I am proud to be a member of the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance and feel blessed to have built so many personal and professional relationships through the organization. Lakewood Ranch is a wonderful community with much to celebrate! And we are excited to provide this opportunity for positive visibility for Lakewood Ranch through the Sandies! — Bobbi Larson, Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance president

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Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011 The Polo Grill and Bar’s Fête Ballroom 10670 Boardwalk Loop Lakewood Ranch Main Street

PROGRAM 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.: Cocktail 6:30 p.m.: Seating and Introductions Brian Volner, Incoming Chair, Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance 6:45 p.m.: Dinner 7:30 p.m. Award Presentations. Matt Walsh, president and CEO,

12 3 4

The Observer Group Inc.

Entrepreneurial Spirit

Tommy and Jaymie Klauber, The Polo Grill and Bar Amanda Panico, Tidemark Financial Andy Toller, Waste Pro

Corporate Philanthropy

Anheuser-Busch Gold Coast Eagle Distributing Pittsburgh Pirates/Bradenton Marauders Willis A. Smith Construction

Business of the Year

Kiddie Academy of Lakewood Ranch Lakewood Ranch Medical Center Neal Communities

Citizen of the Year Julie Aranibar Don O’Leary Dick Vitale


8:30 p.m.: Closing remarks Brian Volner


Business of the year

UP CLOSE Year founded: 2008 Full-time employees: 38 Background: The Kiddie Academy franchise was founded in 1981. Local owners Marina WolfShmidt and Bill Schmidt opened the Lakewood Ranch location in 2008.

Kiddie Academ kiddie academy M

arina Wolf-Schmidt can’t stop smiling as she talks about the business she and her husband, Bill Schmidt, opened in 2008. Their Lakewood Ranchbased child-learning center, Kiddie Academy, has grown from serving 51 children when it first opened in 2008 to about 200 full-time and part-time children today. The figures translate into increased annual revenues of $684,000 in its first year to an estimate of about $2 million for 2011. But what Schmidt is most proud of are the facility’s accomplishments. This year, the business earned the Florida Department of Children and Families’ Gold Seal Quality Care accreditation through the Accredited Professional Preschool Learning Environment program, making it one of only about 11 in Manatee County to have the designation that represents lower student-to-teacher ratios, among other requirements. Kiddie Academy also has received numerous accolades from its corporate offices, including recognition for curriculum, best practices, innovation and more. “I’m just honored and shocked,” Wolf-Schmidt says of being named a Sandies finalist for Business of the Year. “I was honored just to be in the same league as (developer) Pat Neal. He’s a visionary.” The Schmidts started their business in March 2008 after being discontent with the care their daughter, Kristina, was receiving at the preschools she attended. Wolf-Schmidt started her career in education, focusing on early childhood development, before detouring into a career of corporate training. “I really thought I could use my degree and make a difference in

ANNUAL REVENUES 2008: $684,000 2009: $1.3 million 2010: $1.5 million 2011: $2 million (estimate)

owning and operating a quality childcare center,” she says. Because both she and Bill also worked for companies with corporate headquarters in other states and spent much time traveling, opening their own business also would give the Schmidts the time with their daughter and flexibility of schedule they desired. The couple launched their business with a specific vision — providing quality care to children while easing burdens on parents as much as possible. “We focus on the detail, and I think that’s huge,” Wolf-Schmidt says. “We have a Ritz- or Publixlike philosophy on customer service. We’re hands-on owners. The customer service aspect is a part of it. “We stay focused on what the parents’ needs are and listening and staying flexible,” she says. “I think those are the key gems.” For example, Kiddie Academy staff members have called parents in the early-morning hours, at their request, to remind them about picture day and regularly deliver children to cars for pick

up on rainy days so parents with infants already in the car don’t have to get out of their vehicles. The school offers on-site afterand during-school enrichment programs, such as martial arts, music and gymnastics, for convenience to parents, as well. The Schmidts say they also are committed to securing an “A” team for their facility and offer various training options for employees. And they also spend time listening to parents. Parents complete surveys — offering insight into what the facility is doing well and what can be improved — each quarter. Two years ago, the couple formed a parent committee team to develop enrichment opportunities for children. The team now selects charities each year for the center to support. This year, for example, children already have decorated bags for families receiving food from the Food Bank of Manatee, and in November, they will be participating in a beach cleanup on Anna Maria Island. — Pam Eubanks

MARINA WOLF-SCHMIDT: We stay focused on what the parents needs are and listening and staying flexible.


MILESTONES (SINCE 2008) • Earned Apple (Accredited Professional Preschool Learning Environment) accreditation in 2011 • Received Manatee County School District’s certificate of excellence for its VPK program • Earned Kiddie Academy’s Best Practices award in 2009-10 • Named Kiddie Academy Brand Champion in 2010

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Business of the year

Lakewood Ranch Lakewood ranch Medical center N early every day CEO Jim Wilson sets foot in his office at Lakewood Ranch Medical Center; he also makes sure to step out and visit patients throughout the hospital. And so do nine other administrators at the medical center. The effort is just one way Wilson and his team are working to fulfill the hospital’s new tagline: “Your hospital. Your community.” “It’s a privilege for us to be nominated,” Wilson says of the hospital’s Sandies nomination as Business of the Year. “I’m most proud of our physicians and staff, because I truly believe we have the best hospital staff and medical staff in the area and this nomination is a validation of what we do every day.” Wilson says he recognizes that each

business in the community fills a special niche. But the hospital’s forte — making sick people well — is a trait that makes Wilson exceptionally proud of his establishment. In the last few years, in particular, Lakewood Ranch Medical Center has worked to build the hospital’s reputation and offerings for patients by bringing in cardiology, orthopedics, spine surgery and advanced cancer treatment. The facility also was the first in Florida to receive the heart failure accreditation while simultaneously getting its chest pain accreditation. With annual revenues estimated at $67 million for this year, the hospi-

tal also is investing heavily in having cutting-edge technologies and equipment. For example, the facility in August changed to a new computer system that uses safety matrix barcode technology, a system that minimizes the chances of patients receiving wrong medications or improper doses and also helps to identify and gauge federally mandated core standards, Wilson says. It also now offers 3D mammograms to help detect breast cancer earlier. “Our reinvestment to the hospital has averaged $3.5 million per year over the last three years,” Wilson says. “(All this) brings technology closer to home and makes sure we’re offering the most

JIM WILSON: My personal expectation of how we do business is to make sure we’re visible in the community we serve.”

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UP CLOSE Year founded: 2004 Full-time employees: 252 Background: Lakewood Ranch Medical Center was founded by Universal Health Services in 2004. In fall 2009, the third floor opened and was dedicated to orthopedic services. Future plans for the hospital involve the construction of additional wings.

h Medical Center (current) therapies available.” In 2008 and 2009, the hospital was recognized by Modern Healthcare magazine as one of the top 100 places in the country to work. It also rates best in the area for patient satisfaction and was ranked as most consistently having the highest level of patient satisfaction out of more than 20 medical facilities in its Universal Health Services family. “Those help us validate and provide benchmarks for con-

tinued improvements, which are needed to continue to serve the Lakewood Ranch population,” Wilson says. Wilson notes the hospital’s charitable and other contributions to the community are significant as well. The facility is on target this year to post $13 million in uncompensated care — a 62% increase from 2010. Additionally, it will spend about $2.5 million on indigent care — a roughly 90% increase from prior years.

The charitable aspect of the hospital, however, is not one that stops inside the hospital’s walls. The facility makes financial contributions to local charities rather than buying trinkets for physicians on Doctor’s Day and sends its staff and doctors out to community events. “We try to have a significant presence,” Wilson says. “My personal expectation of how we do business is to make sure we’re visible in the community we serve.” Wilson says he wants the center to be known as the small community hospital but also as one with physician training and technologies that rival urban hospitals by using best-practices and creating efficiencies. “It really is (about) keeping care close to home,” Wilson says. — Pam Eubanks

ANNUAL REVENUES 2008: $53 million 2009: $63 million 2010: $65 million 2011: $67 million (estimate)

MILESTONES (SINCE 2008) • Celebrated fifth anniversary in 2009 • 5,000th baby delivered in the Women’s Center • Developed partnership with Bolletieri Sports Therapy Center • Addition of 64 Slice CT scanner

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We are Honored to be Recognized Among Lakewood Ranch’s Finest!


Business of the year

UP CLOSE Year founded: 1970 Full-time employees: 88 Background: J. Paul Neal, Pat Neal’s grandfather, was a developer in the Midwest and West. After he retired to Longboat Key, his son, Paul Neal Jr., and grandson, Pat Neal, began building homes on Whitney Beach in 1968. They founded Neal Communities in 1970.

Neal Communi Neal Communities A

fter more than 41 years in the real estate development business, Pat Neal isn’t one to shy away from a slump in the economy or any other business challenge, for that matter. So while most homebuilders stayed dormant over the last few years, Neal rolled up his sleeves and did some things considered unthinkable — like selling homes below cost to jumpstart sales and “working for free” in 2009 to retain employees. “We saw it coming,” Neal says of the economic downturn. “We streamlined our operations, and we’ll sell more homes this year, by far, than we sold in 2005.” Indeed, this year, his company, Neal Communities, is poised to reach annual revenues of $98.7 million — up about $24 million from 2010 alone. As of Sept. 22, the company had sold 283 homes year-to-date, 81 of which were in its new Central Park community in Lakewood Ranch. And in May, the company launched a joint venture to First Continental Mortgage to help homebuyers with financing, provide consistency throughout the home buying process and improve customer service. Neal Communities, founded in 1970, currently employs more than 80 full-time employees and also provides work to more than 900 individuals who are trade partners or otherwise affiliated with the company. Neal says he takes pride in those long-term partnerships, as well as those with his team members at Neal Communities — many of whom have worked for the company for decades. He attributes much of the company’s success and foresight to their experience in the industry


and ability to make appropriate adjustments to the market. “We buy and sell well, because we work at it hard,” he says. Additionally, Neal says he takes care to ensure new hires to the company will be a good fit for Neal Communities’ unique environment. Prospective employees are required to take psychological and other tests for that reason. “We hire for fit,” Neal says. “The culture here is fun — but serious and professional. It’s different than the national builders and some of the local builders. Neal says he’s constantly looking for creative ways to reduce costs, adjust to the market and improve customer service. And because the company has no debt, it has been able to use its resources to improve and expand the business despite the sluggish economy. In 2010, for example, Neal opened four new divisions — Neal Signature Homes, John Neal Homes, Charlene Neal PureStyle and Waterscapes Pools & Spas. “Our business environment

has changed,” Neal says, noting he’s now building smaller, less expensive homes. “We’re a wellintegrated family firm. This year, what we’ve done is add companies (and) 27 new employees.” Neal Communities also contributes about $100,000 to local causes annually. This year, for example, Neal Communities sponsored a technology walkathon for Imagine School at Lakewood Ranch, sponsored the Nolan Night On Main Street event for Nolan Middle School and donated rowing equipment and funds to the Palmetto High School Rowing Team. Neal, who has earned a reputation for his attention to detail and his emphasis on preserving trees and other natural landscape features in communities, moved his company’s headquarters to Lakewood Ranch — an area he fondly dubs as the “center of the universe” — in 2003. The company has built more than 8,000 homes and completed 53 developments in Southwest Florida since its inception. — Pam Eubanks

PAT NEAL: The culture here is fun — but serious and professional. It’s different than the national builders ...


2008: $82.9 million 2009: $62.5 million 2010: $74.7 million 2011: $98.7 million (estimate)

MILESTONES (SINCE 2008) • Opened River Sound community in 2009 • Opened Central Park community in Lakewood Ranch in 2010 • In 2010, launched four new divisions: Neal Signature Homes, John Neal Homes, Charlene Neal PureStyle and Waterscapes Pools & Spas • Opened Belleisle in Country Club East in February 2011 • Sold its 8,000th home in March 2011

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citizen of the year

Julie Aranibar Julie Aranibar Everything changed for Julie Aranibar after she gave birth to her twins 17 years ago. Once career-focused and driven to become a leader in her field, the Lakewood Ranch resident quickly found herself equally as committed to her children. “I spent 20 years (getting to) the top of my profession, which I no longer do,” Aranibar says. “I made a decision (when I had children), they would either have our values or they would have somebody else’s. I decided to stay home.”

And for more than a decade, Aranibar has been a local advocate for education in Lakewood Ranch and the East County, most recently being elected to the Manatee County School Board. Aranibar’s education advocacy efforts started soon after moving to Lakewood Ranch in 1998. She worked with local officials to address overcrowding at Braden River Elementary School, which had more than 1,000 students on campus, even after Kinnan Elementary opened and took about

300 students. With no money in the district budget, Aranibar started organizing parents. She lobbied the public for the adoption of a halfcent sales tax, which was adopted in 2002, to fund school construction and improvements. The tax has funded the

construction of most of the East County’s schools — those such as Gullett, McNeal and Willis elementary schools — since then. Aranibar also worked as a school volunteer, has volunteered on the school district’s budget review committee,

and the district’s tax accountability committee, among others. Aranibar’s path advocating for Manatee County’s youth is not a direction she expected her life to take but is one Aranibar remains committed to — even as her own children this school year finish their own studies in the Manatee school system. Outside of her work with the School Board, Aranibar is a member of Lakewood Ranch Kiwanis Club and also supports the American Cancer Society, the Manatee Medical Society Alliance and other organizations. — Pam Eubanks

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citizen of the year

Don O’Leary Don O’leary Since moving to Lakewood Ranch about 13 years ago, Edgewater resident Don O’Leary has been a driving force of change within his developing community. The retired New York City firefighter has played an instrumental role in securing new fire stations for Lakewood Ranch, led efforts to improve public safety, raised support for local charities, been active in his homeowners association and helped guide decisions as a supervisor on the Lakewood Ranch’s Community Development District 2. Although O’Leary’s

efforts have made significant impacts on the Ranch, he shies away from the attention. Helping people, he says, is just what he likes to do. “I was in the civil service for 30 years,” he says. “It comes with the job. At the fire department, you give, give, give, or you don’t fit in.” Although O’Leary has been retired since moving to Florida, at 77, he’s not one to sit still. “Thirty, 40, 50 hours a week of work,” O’Leary says of how much time he devotes to community matters. “This is retirement. There’s no

sitting and relaxing. By the time I’m 80, maybe I might settle down.” He laughs. O’Leary in September tendered his resignation as a CDD 2 supervisor to accept a position as a fire commissioner for East Manatee Fire Rescue. In the past decade, he already has worked to bring three

fire houses — as well as an ambulance on one of those — to Lakewood and is looking forward to bringing a seventh station online — likely near the Panther Ridge community — to help complete the district’s coverage area. “He likes things to be done right and he likes to get involved,”

WHAT MAKES A GOOD CITIZEN? A good citizen is one who gives ... for the benefit of those who cannot help themselves.

O’Leary’s wife, Audrey, says. “He’s just that kind of person. He doesn’t like to sit still.” Among O’Leary’s other accomplishments, he is an active chairperson for Edgewater Sound, serves on Lakewood Ranch developer SchroederManatee Ranch’s advisory board, an active board member for Florida Blood Services and a volunteer for Meals on Wheels. Over the years, he also has been involved with organizations such as Lakewood Ranch Community Activities Corp., the Lakewood Ranch Civic Action Forum, the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund, the Manatee Community Fund and more. — Pam Eubanks

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Dick Vitale DICK VITALE As legendary ESPN Hall-of-Fame basketball commentator and former coach Dick Vitale sits at an outside table at The Broken Egg in Lakewood Ranch, he grabs the waiter to take a picture with a fan and posts the image to his Twitter account. Vitale, a Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club resident, admits he’s becoming a Twitter “fanatic,” although he’s still learning the tool. “I have a lot of fun with it,” he says, noting he has more than 270,000 followers. “It’s a great tool for me to

raise money for cancer research.” For Vitale, nearly everything points back to his life’s passions — his family, basketball and raising money for cancer research. Through his efforts, Vitale has raised more than $1 million for his cause of curing cancer — particularly in children — for the last five years in a row. “No child should suffer,” Vitale says. “I want to give doctors every chance they can (to cure cancer).” In addition to his Sandies nomination

for Citizen of the Year, Vitale has been named ESPN Volunteer of the Year and a recipient of the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund’s C. John A. Clarke Humanitarian of the Year Award, among numerous other awards. He regularly donates

auction items for charity and has donated scholarship monies for the Boys & Girls Clubs for the last 14 years. “I love giving back,” he says. “I only wish there was more time. You still have to balance your life with your job.” Vitale is quick to

point out his accomplishments are a team effort. “No one gets to that stature without a team, and I have a great team, starting with my wife, Lorraine,” Vitale says. In addition to his work supporting cancer research, Vitale also is an advocate for education. A former teacher, Vitale says education gives power and creates opportunity. In February, Vitale launched his first in a series of children’s books, “Dickie V.’s ABCs and 1-2-3s: A Great Start for Young Superstars.” Proceeds from the book benefit cancer research. — Pam Eubanks

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Tommy & Jaym Tommy & Jaymie klauber The Polo Grill and Bar


rom the moment they opened their doors four years ago, Tommy and Jaymie Klauber have worked tirelessly to make The Polo Grill and Bar the place for every occasion and person. And their hard work has paid off. On any given day, The Polo Grill and Bar and the Fête Ballroom are the sites of family dinners, corporate luncheons and banquets and charity fundraisers. So it’s not at all surprising that the Klaubers thrive on

the details. Every Tuesday, the management team meets and reviews every event, comment card, reservation, banquet and catering event — both on and off-site. In addition, the Klaubers hold a pre-shift meeting before the start of every shift during which they review the day’s specials and any parties or special occasions that might be planned. “Communication flow is big,” Tommy Klauber says. “We generate a lot of information every week. “There’s a lot of moving parts. Our

operating mode is that we never say ‘no’ to a guest.” But, although business may seem like a massive operation, the Klaubers are quick to point out that the Lakewood Ranch restaurant is still a small family-owned business. “We’re a small business in a large facility,” Jaymie Klauber says of the 24,000-square-foot restaurant. “We’re very hands-on. Client appreciation is very important to us, and we still want to give it a personal touch.” Since opening their doors in 2007, the Klaubers have been committed to mak-

ing their presence known throughout the community. During a time when the majority of businesses were tightening their budgets and some were even closing their doors, the Klaubers dived headfirst into their new venture. Building on Tommy Klauber’s family history at The Colony Beach & Tennis Resort on Longboat Key, The Polo Grill and Bar has experienced success in Lakewood Ranch and is on pace to generate roughly $3.2 million in 2011. As a result, The Polo Grill and Bar and Fête Catering is a finalist for the Sandies

TOMMY KLAUBER: When small businesses work together to make things happen, there’s a great deal of pride and sense of community.

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mie Klauber Entrepreneurial Spirit award. “From the day we took over, we’ve been involved,” Jaymie Klauber says. “This is particularly special for us because this is our community. It means a lot that the work we are doing is being recognized in the community.” Tommy Klauber agreed. “The Sandies are a great way to showcase Lakewood Ranch businesses and the community’s (commitment) to embracing small businesses,” he says. “When

small businesses work together to make things happen, there’s a great deal of pride and sense of community.” As part of its commitment to the community, The Polo Grill and Bar has created a number of unique events as a way to bring the community together, including the Main Street Barbecue Cook-Off, the Shrimp Boil and the Back-to-School Party for Grownups, among others. The company also hosts

monthly Charity Bartending Nights, which have raised more than $40,000 for nonprofit and charitable organizations since their inception in June 2009. “It’s our nature,” Jaymie Klauber says. “We’re really hospitable people. It’s a great way to show how a business can help the community and at the same time benefit us. The two go hand-in-hand.” Tommy Klauber agreed. “We feel like we’re just getting started here,” he says. “We’re a young business and in the early stages of getting involved here in Lakewood Ranch. We have ideas, hopes and aspirations for The Polo Grill and Bar and Fête Catering. “We want to be here for a long time,” Tommy Klauber says. “It’s nice to be recognized now, but hopefully five years from now, we’ll see energy built not just for (our) business, but we’ll (continue to) see Lakewood Ranch as a growing community.” — Jen Blanco

Year founded: 2007 Full-time employees: 35 Funding: The Klaubers used their own funds to establish the business.

ANNUAL REVENUES 2008: $2.1 million 2009: $2.3 million 2010: $2.9 million 2011: $3.2 million (estimate)

Neal Communities is proud to be chosen as one of the finalists for Business of the Year by the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance!







Amanda Panico Amanda panico tidemark financial


manda Panico isn’t the least bit impressed by money. She doesn’t drive a Mercedes or walk into work every day in a black designer suit. In fact, Panico is the exact opposite of the stereotypical financial planner, and that’s exactly the way she likes it. “I call myself the antibroker,” Panico says. “I don’t want to conform. I pay attention to what’s going on around me, and I try to stay current.” Since opening Tidemark Financial in October 2007,

Panico has built a small clientele with the goal of providing financial and planning services in a boutique like setting. From the moment a client walks through the door of the Lakewood Ranch office, Panico and her four employees do their best to make the client feel right at home. “We’re really there for the people, and we just try and be down to earth,” Panico says. Panico’s unconventional approach appears to be working. Not only has the

company’s revenues steadily increased over the past four years, but Panico also was named one of the top advisers in Tampa Bay under age 40. Now Panico’s accomplishments are being recognized locally. Tidemark Financial is one of the finalists for the Sandies Awards’ Entrepreneurial Spirit award. “It’s nice to see that people in the community recognize my effort,” Panico says. “I put a lot into making the right decisions for people and putting their needs before my own.” After turning down a job offer with a starting salary of

$45,000 right out of college, Panico spent two years working as a junior broker for SunTrust Securities. In 2004, Panico started her practice with Prudential as a financial professional before deciding to branch out on her own three years later at age 27. “The day I moved into this building was the last high close in the stock market,” Panico says. “This was my first year managing a (business), and we’re in the (worst) recession in history. It was definitely characterbuilding. “I love it here,” she says. “This is my community. I just love the feel of the town, and

AMANDA PANICO: The day I moved into this building was the last high close in the stock market. ... It was definitely character-building.

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I like the attitude. There’s a lot of good energy. I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. I just go with my gut, and my gut says I’m pretty happy here doing what I’m doing. I live for Mondays.” Since then, Panico has been focused on doing what’s best for her clients. Tidemark Financial caters not only to personal planning clients but also to families who have children with special needs and disabilities, as well as

high net-worth business owners who have sophisticated estate and tax planning needs. Although Panico covers a variety of financial and planning needs, her clientele list is small by design. “Simple and less is so much more,” Panico says. “I don’t always do what tradition says. I (try) to be smart and logical and do what the clients are comfortable with.”

DONOR CENTERS: 1731 Lakewood Ranch Blvd. 1760 Mound St. Sarasota

ANNUAL REVENUES 2008: $345,000 2009: $360,000 2010: $401,000 2011: $550,000 (estimate)

6026 14th St. W. Bradenton 1097 N. Tamiami Tr. Nokomis | 1-866-97-BLOOD



In addition to providing financial and planning services, Tidemark Financial also is actively involved in the community and helping those in need. Every year, the company sponsors the Shoebox Party at The Polo Grill and Bar and collects backpacks for the Safe Children’s Coalition. Tidemark also adopts a family at Christmas, donates to Meals on Wheels and more. “We like to help people,” Panico says. “A lot of people aren’t putting people first. Any time one of my employees supports something and it’s important to them — it’s important to me. The more people we can help the better.” — Jen Blanco

Year founded: 2007 Full-time employees: Four Funding: Panico used savings from bonuses she received at Prudential, an SBA loan and another small loan. She also used some lowinterest credit card cash advances. “I called it investing in myself — my single best investment,” she says.



Andy Toller Andy Toller A

Toller, who had two employees and his pregnant wife working along with him, was tasked with making sure every detail in place, including hiring 85 employees, for the company’s Manatee County municipal contract, which was scheduled to start Oct. 1 —the day his new baby was due. And if adjusting to his new role as district manager wasn’t enough, Toller also was trying to find his family a place to live before the new baby’s arrival. A tall order, for sure. Many told him it was insurmountable.

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Jay R. Lockaby, President & CEO John S. Kleinbaum, Program Director Nancy Lee Hendricks, Operations Director Constance Anglin, Development Associate Dianne Whitten, Outreach Coordinator Laurel Healy, Clinical Specialist

The Wellness Community Staff

The mission of The Wellness Community is to help people affected by cancer enhance their health and well-being through participation in a professional program of support, education and hope.

Mission Statement

Carol Ann Kalish, Chairman Alfred Rose, Vice Chair Marshall Pepe, Treasurer Catherine Goshorn, Secretary Michael Wolverton, Chair Emeritus Sue Bassett-Klauber Jim Braun Ron Ciaravella Laurence DeLynn Vernon DeSear Dwight Fitch, M.D. Angela Freeman Susan Gilmore-Clarke Katherine Harris Julia McClung Eleanor Merritt-Darlington Alyssa M. Nohren Robert Schauer David Shaver John Swart Charlie Ann Syprett, Esq. Sally Wright

Board of Trustees


Toller is focused on making sure his employees follow Not for Toller. a similar mantra when it “Just about every person comes to taking care of the that I came in contact with people they serve. thought I would fail,” Toller “We’re the distinguishsays. “I kept my head up, able difference,” Toller says. worked as hard as possible, “We get all the work that we surrounded myself with get by giving good quality the best people and never service. Our main focus is let the negative comments quality service.” affect me. This just shows Now, Toller is one of the how working hard and stayfinalists for the Sandies’ ing positive can make anyEntrepreneurial Spirit thing possible.” award. EDUCATiON FOUNDATiON OF sARAsOTA COUNTY 2009 - 2010 ANNUAL REPORT & HONOR ROLL The Toller family moved “It’s very gratifying knowinto their new home Sept. ing the effort you put into 1, welcomed their second the community — that busison Sept. 17 and started the ness people recognize that,” – 2010 HiGHLiGHTs company’s new2009 Manatee Toller says. County contract Oct. 1 raised over $250,000Toller’s road to Waste Pro The 15th annual Evening of Excellence: IMAGINE and broke an all-time record the sale of a single student piece: $25,000 for Sarah Nowicki’s onforschedule. — right is unusual. In 2007, he was painting, Regress into a Dream. Honorary chairman Allan H. Weis of Advanced Nowandthree years later, Network Services made the winning bid. The Bank of America Best of Show working for a different waste 3900 Clark Rd., Bldg. P-3 • Sarasota, Florida 34233 • 941.921.5539

ndy Toller always has been firm believer that if the details are taken care of first, then everything else ultimately will fall into place. But it wasn’t until shortly after Toller accepted a position with Waste Pro in May 2008 that he was forced to put his personal mantra to the test. At the time, Toller, his wife and their 2-year-old son relocated to a hotel in Manatee County, so Toller could become the district manager for Waste Pro, covering Manatee, Sarasota, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.

Waste Pro

Award went to Nowicki’s classmate at Sarasota High School, Josh Parenti, for his digital photograph, New Orleans III.

ANDY TOLLER: I kept my head up, worked as hard as possible, surrounded Celebration myself with the best people and never let the negative comments affect me. An all-time high of 310 outstanding student entries representing every public high school competed in Join us for a January’s Juried Art Show, held at Ringling College of Art & Design. A panel of arts professionals o f H o p e selected the top 25 Best ofM the Best ana t e estudent county artworks, which were auctioned off at the February gala. The winning students were honored for their talent and philanthropy at the event, and each received gifts and prizes of $500 to $2,000. An energetic volunteer committee led by Meg Mahoney produced the event with the help of generous sponsors, patrons and contributors.


Save Date


S a v e T h e D aT e

Over The rainbOW

with us is an


The Schoenbaum Humanitarian Award Luncheon

“A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others.” 6 th Annual Caring Hearts Committee - The Greatand& 266 Powerful elementary middle and high school students from public and Chair - Carol B. 484 Green OzRegional Science, Engineering & Technology private schools Wizard competed of in the

Congratulations in Kind SPOnSORS

Crystal Society Esther M. Mertz Lee Peterson Ulla R. Searing


Gerri Aaron Isabel NortonThe Women’s Leadership Council provides many ways FIRST EVER Lou JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT produced the Education forFair, you to get involved, by get connected, and pursueFoundation, the School JoanThe Breiner Ann Palmer Save DaTe your passion.and You can: Board the Sarasota County Agricultural Fair Association. Francine Brown Brenda Parker Over 110 volunteer judges helped determine the winners nautilus Computing LPL Financial • Serve as a B & G Club Ambassador. Share news of the Mollie Cardamone Lee Peterson Club’s mission and impact with others in the community. Secure Reliable Solutions Advice for Life ´ ´ ´ and recipients of numerous special honors and awards, Sheryl Corgan Kelly Pickering Susan Chapman Patricia Quartermaine • Attend Quarterly Networking Luncheons. Join others which were presented at the annual awardsConcept ceremony in of: & Design courtesy at a luncheon series with inspirational and experienced Lee-En Chung Flori Roberts female community leaders sharing their personal and April. Two top-scoring high school students represented Join us in celebrating our stories. Lynne Ross professionalSarasota Judy Cuppy County at the prestigious Intel International Volunteer at B & G Club events. We need big hearts, Kelly French Marcella ThE Schuyler MOST• open OUTragEOUS minds Fair and a lotin of kindness to share California with Club San Jose, in May, all expenses paid members. Volunteer opportunities range from special Benefiting Marsha Goldsby Eileen Scudder by the mentoring Education events to a one-on-one program. Foundation. Carolyn Johnson Mary Anne Servian American is the nationwide community-based voluntary health organization • Nominate your favorite Unsung Hero. TheThe WLC honors Cancer Society thanks to dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives and Women of the Year – from among the outstanding and often Bobbi Lorry BiancasStrauss diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy and service. a r a s o t aunseen cou n t ywho power our families, workplaces our sponsors women 2801 Fruitville Road, Suite 250 ´ Sarasota, Florida 34237   Ruthie Maass Ann-Marie Tardif and community. 1.800.ACS.2345 ´ Women’s Leadership Council Lydia McIntire Pepper Wakeland• Join the WLC Team on our “Walk for the Kids” Fundraiser. New in 2010 – Day for Kids will include a 3K walk that will Monday ~ February 21, 2011 of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County Helene Myers help children participate in the programs of the B & G Clubs. Join the Dream Makers The Ritz-Carlton Members Club Because, because, because...

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Major Season Presenters

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Florida State University Joan Mendell Virginia B. Toulmin

PRo-aM “SHaMBLE INVITED ” EVENt! CrysTal sOCIETy Esther M. Mertz lee Peterson Ulla r. searing

MajOr sEasON PrEsENTErs Florida state University joan Mendell Virginia B. Toulmin

Season Presenters

PrEsENTErs Women Boutique Margot &Designing Warren Coville Christine Elaine & john Keating Currie leslie Glass Presenters janet & stanley Kane Margot & &Warren Wanda rayle-libby Harold Coville libby & John Currie jeanne & Christine Bob Zabelle

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Revison 2 - Home Page


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7:30 p.m. Lobby pre-show Small Business Council - Website 8:00 p.m. Opening Night performance SBC9-011 - Round 3 - 5/7/09 10:00 p.m. Opening Grapevine Communications Int’l Inc. - Advertising AgencyAfter Party

2010 Dream Maker For 50 years First Federal Bank has been committed to building vibrant communities through our support of education, sports, to our the arts and improving the quality of life Because of the wonderful Anyone can join. Lakewood Ranch things he does! for all.

Grapevine Communications Int’l Inc. maintains copyright on all designs, artwork and materials specified herein until full payment of all services and costs is received. 6:00 p.m.

Cocktails in the Mertz Theatre lobby

6:30 p.m.

Dinner on the mezzanine

8:00 p.m.

Opening Night performance

10:00 p.m. Opening Night festivities

L e e T hac k e r

Be sure c And, sti Networ

Ball Facebook page.

Chair Person ~ Mr. Craig Campbell

Holland Construction

Simply call Tamara Davis Chapman at 941-366-3911, ext. 121 or email added to our Women’s Leadership Council mailing and evite list.

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• Registration ............................................ 11:00 am and ask to be Executive “brown bag” lunches & all beverages * included

Congratulations to the Sandies Winners!

u So te ll t

fellow Business Alliance Saturday, November 20, 2010 colleagues and nominees for

15150 70 th Terrace East (off Lorraine Road) ~ Lakewood Ranch


• Shotgun Start.......................................... 1970 Main Street ~ 5th Floor ~ Sarasota, FL 34236 12:00 pm Hyatt Regency Sarasota, 6:00 Featuring a professional golfer on everyone’s team 941-366-5333 ~ 800-266-6866 • Event Celebration ........................... 5:30 pm


The Sandies

Heavy hors d’oeuvres, cash bar & silent auction

Craig Campbell at


PO Box 4068 Sarasota, Florida 34230

Entertainment by the B&GC Kids Choir

Presented by

FSP9-003, 12/08, 2 M

Cocktails • Gourmet Dinner • sponsorship Silent Auctioncontact For moreSpecial information or opportunities thanks to

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Dancing to the BoneShakers til 11:00 pm

Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance 2011 ticket Pricing

“When I grow up I want Paper contains 30% post-consumer fiber • Ja Bucks Package (per package) $ 50.00 Click here toMarine reserve your seats or............................... call 941.366.3911 to be in the United States includes: 2 mulligans, 20 JA Bucks, Corps. My goal is to get to one participation of the in putting green contest, 2 chances to beat the pros, 1 door prize entry highest ranks. I want to protect ourticket (per additional)......................................... $ 100.00 • dinner tickets are for guests of golfers who resources. I want to help bring these world would likeSponsors to attend the post event celebration & auction only. Thankwars.” You to Our peace by preventing accepted by: Check, Visa and MC Sean Norman J. Shea, Payment III & A. Sperling, Trustees ~ Matt *Beverages: Beer, wine, soft drinks and water. The Annette J. Hagens Memorial Foundation

Sarasota: 3451 Cattlemen Rd. • 126 S. Osprey Ave. 8307 Lockwood Ridge Rd. Bradenton: 6004 26th St. W


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Saturday, November 20, 2010


W ho : W ha t W he W he Ti m RS V


Toller chose to stay loyal to his company and relocated to Orlando. But six months later, Toller approached Jennings about his previous offer; and three days later, he began working for Waste Pro. In addition to making sure his employees provide the best possible customer service, Toller

ANNUAL REVENUES 2008: $2.5 million (last quarter of 2008) 2009: $8.6 million 2010: $9.7 million 2011: $10.5 million (estimate)

How Can Manatee County Government How Can Manatee County Government How Can Manatee County Government How Can Manatee County Government help your business grow? help your business grow help your business grow? help your business grow?

“Manatee County Government hashas awarded “Manatee County Government has awarded “Manatee County Government awarded “Manatee County Government has awarded $6.4 million in Economic Development Incentives over $6.4inmillion in Economic Development Incentives million in Economic Development Incentives $6.4$6.4 million Economic Development Incentives overover ove the next years industries locating or the next five years to targeted industries locating five years totargeted targeted industries locating or o thethe nextnext fivefive years toto targeted industries locating or expanding panding here since 2009.” exhere panding here since 2009.” ex here since 2009.” expanding since 2009.” -Karen Stewart, Economic Development Program Manager -Karen Stewart, Economic Development Program Manager -Karen Stewart, Economic Development Program Manager -Karen Stewart, Economic Development Program Manager 941-749-3029 x6832 941-749-3029 941-749-3029 x6832 x6832 941-749-3029 x6832


company that was competing for a contract with the city of Daytona Beach. Waste Pro won the contract, which essentially left Toller without a job in Daytona. However, the same day Waste Pro won the contract, owner John Jennings offered Toller a position. He interviewed with Jennings but declined the offer.

also encourages them to get involved in the community through volunteer efforts. Aside from adopting a roadway, Waste Pro also has been a sponsor for the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance’s East Meets West networking social and regularly attends the Economic Development Council’s annual Hob Nob Bar-B-Que at the Sarasota Polo Club and more. “If there’s an event going on — we’re there,” Toller says. “Our overall goal is to be recognized as a good community business. Of course we’re always interested in growth, but it’s about maintaining a very good reputation and image in the community.” — Jen Blanco

Year founded: 2008 Full-time employees: 90 Funding: Toller received $8.8 million from Waste Pro corporate to purchase equipment.


Corporate philanthropy

Gold Coast Anheuser-Busch

Gold Coast Eagle Distributing John Saputo was in high school the first time he learned the value in taking care of others. The Anheuser-Busch Gold Coast Eagle Distributing owner was assigned to work in an orphanage run by Catholic nuns and helped organize the boys in Little League teams. The teams ended up playing more affluent teams out of Detroit, Mich.; but the experience proved to be eye-opening for both sides, because the orphanage’s funding came from the teams they faced. “I learned, ‘You have to be a man for others,’” Saputo said.

Saputo took the lessons he learned in school and those he acquired while serving as an officer in the U.S. Marines and has instilled them into his company’s corporate culture. Every year, Saputo meets with his philanthropic committee to discuss the budget. Every employee who walks into the meeting knows there’s a chance their profits may be reduced and their potential bonuses cut. “I’m ingraining in the organization the (notion) that if your community thrives then your company thrives,” Saputo said. “Everyone on the committee

knows the money spent sacrifices some of the money (in their pockets), but they still believe in it.” As a company, Gold Coast Eagle annually supports nearly 400 community non-profit and charitable organizations. Beneficiaries have included the Cattle Barron’s Ball, the Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix, the Junior League, the Knights of Columbus and the Kiwanis, among others. In addition, Gold Coast Eagle allows non-profit groups and charitable organizations the opportunity to use its Budweiser Hospitality Center to hold meetings, events

and fundraisers. In 2010, non-profit and charitable groups raised more than $200,000 through the use of the Hospitality Center. “The demand seems to be greater and greater,” Saputo said. “With government funding going away, I believe corporations and individuals need to step up and pick up the slack. Many of these organizations still are keeping

their heads above water, because corporations in the community, and individuals are stepping up to the plate.” Gold Coast Eagle also is committed to its Alcohol Awareness and Community Outreach Programs. It also sponsors Tow to Go, which provides a free tow service for cars and rides for adults who may be under the influence. — Jen Blanco

Proud Member of the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance

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Corporate philanthropy

Pittsburgh Pirates/ Bradenton Marauders

Pirates/Marauders For the past 44 years, the Pittsburgh Pirates have called the city of Bradenton and the surrounding area their home away from home. The team travels to Bradenton every year for spring training, and two years ago, the city also became the home of the Pirates minor league baseball team, the Bradenton Marauders. So it’s not all that surprising that after traveling to the Gulf Coast for the past four decades, the Pirates have captured the genuine affections of the community they serve. And what better way

to recognize the community for its support than to give back? Through its Pirates Community Commitment Program, which began in 2008, every player within the Pirates organiza-

tion is required to do a minimum of 10 hours of community service in the city they play in every season. It is the only major league team with such a requirement. Players can choose to

participate in a variety of activities from volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club, mentoring an elementary school student or attending a Little League function, among other opportunities. “It gives our players an opportunity to interact,” Pirates Senior Director Trevor Gooby says. “They’re fortunate enough to play baseball every day, and it’s their responsibility to give back to the community that supports them.” In addition to the player program, the team also is involved with several schools and organizations, including Rogers Garden and Wakeland elementary schools, the United Way, the Boys and Girls Club and the Manatee Education Foundation.

At Wakeland Elementary, located across the street from Pirate City, the players and staff who choose to participate are each assigned a student with whom they meet once a week during lunch to mentor, work on homework or just talk. “It’s just a neat opportunity to really be able to influence someone in the right direction,” Gooby says. With so many hours to give, the Pirates’ goal is to help as many people as possible. “The residents of Bradenton and Manatee County have been very supportive of Pittsburgh,” Gooby says. “We’ve got great fans, and we love to give back to those who have been so supportive of us.” — Jen Blanco

Lakewood Ranch Medical Center & Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance: partners in serving our community

For everything from emergency care and advanced imaging, to surgeries and childbirth …

Lakewood Ranch is your hospital in your community.


8330 Lakewood Ranch Boulevard Bradenton, FL 34202 Physicians are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of Lakewood Ranch Medical Center. The hospital shall not be liable for actions or treatments provided by physicians.


Corporate philanthropy

Willis A. Smith Construction

ic efforts. The company also connects with a wide variety of organizations, including the Manatee Chamber of Commerce, the Lakewood Ranch Rotary Club, the Elks Club, the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange and the Easter Seals, among numerous others. In addition to volunteering its time, Willis Smith also contributed more than $85,000 to a variety of non-profit organizations in the last year. “We’re part of this community,” he says. “This is where we live. We take pride in what we do for the community, and to our customers, we want to provide good value and good quality service.” — Jen Blanco

Willis A. Smith Willis A. Smith Construction has left its mark on practically every major East County roadway. From SchroederManatee Ranch’s headquarters and the Lakewood Ranch Tennis Center to Mote Marine’s administration building and the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, Willis Smith’s 40-year history can be found throughout the area. But it’s not just the schools, office buildings, churches, athletic facilities and other countless projects that garners recognition. It’s also the company’s desire to give back that has captured the com-

munity’s attention. In 2010, Willis Smith was awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Award at the Gold Level for contributing more than 2,000 hours of community service in one year. As a company, Willis Smith spends an average of nearly 90 hours each month and 20 to 25 hours each week volunteering in some capacity. “Any successful business in this area has an obligation to give back to this community and to support some of the non-profits and some of the cultural and artistic institutions that make this such a wonderful community,” Sessions says.

All of the business’ nearly 50 employees are encouraged to get involved in the community in some way. “We strongly encourage our employees to get involved in something they believe in,” President David Sessions says. “We want our employees to

do something they are passionate about.” Educational initiatives — such as the Sarasota and Manatee education foundations, Ringling College of Art and Design and Florida State University — and the arts are two of areas on which Willis Smith focuses its philanthrop-

+ = A Winning Combination ✓ State College of Florida Lakewood Ranch Business Community

SCF offers credit and noncredit classes at its lakeside campus on 10 acres in Lakewood Ranch Corporate Park. The Center for Innovation & Technology is a popular training and seminar site and the new Medical Technology & Simulation Center houses nursing and early childhood education classes and the Educator Preparation Institute. Through SCF Corporate and Community Development, Workforce Solutions provides quality training on campus, at businesses and online, and the Small Business Development Center offers consulting and support for businesses and entrepreneurs.

A Legacy of Excellence, A Future of Innovation. • Lakewood Ranch • Bradenton • Venice • eCampus


Go to for noncredit classes and hundreds of online courses for continuing education, career change or skills upgrade. For more information and to register 941-363-7000.

State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate and baccalaureate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota. An equal/access equal opportunity institution.


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