Tuesday, October 6, 2015

October 2015 Business Briefs / Member News Part 1

Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast Staffing Update
Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast is pleased to announce the addition of new managers in a few key patient care areas. Steve Hardin, registered nurse with 25 years of healthcare experience, is the new patient care manager of the Family Birth Place. Melissa Day, registered nurse with 13 years of healthcare experience, is the new patient care manager of the Medical/Surgical Department. Tina Withrow, registered nurse with 21 years of healthcare experience, is the new patient care manager of the Emergency Department. Bryan Pruess, registered nurse with 25 years of healthcare experience, recently accepted a full-time position on the House Supervisor team. 

Okaloosa County Hires New Transit Operator
Okaloosa County representatives welcomed Maruti Fleet & Management as the local transit system’s new operator on Oct. 1, 2015. Okaloosa County has awarded Maruti with a five year contract as the system operator. The Maruti team manages both public and private transportation agencies, providing an array of services, including fixed route transit, paratransit, and shuttle services to local communities. 

Local Public Relations Practitioners Earn Professional Accreditation
Leslie Moland and Stephanie Pettis of the Northwest Florida Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) recently earned the professional accreditation in public relations and received the designation of Accredited in Public Relations (APR). Moland and Pettis now join the more than 5,000 professionals nationally that represents an elite group of highly skilled public relations professionals committed to practicing with exemplary ethical standards. Moland has served as the public relations specialist at White-Wilson Medical Center for almost two years. Pettis is the director of marketing and public relations for Northwest Florida State College and has 16 years of experience in the public relations field. 

Taylor Haugen Foundation Featured in National News
The Taylor Haugen FoundationLocal non-profit organization The Taylor Haugen Foundation was recently featured on ABC News Nightline and on the USA Today High School Sports website. It also had a recent fitting for abdominal safety equipment at John’s Creek High School in Georgia and has an upcoming fitting on Oct. 13 at Harrison High School in Farmington, Mich., with Drew Stanton, backup quarterback for the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals. For more information on the foundation and its upcoming Nov. 4 Savor the Season event, visit www.TaylorHaugen.org.

Best of the Emerald Coast Benefits Junior League of the Emerald Coast
Emerald Coast Magazine is hosting its 16th annual Best of the Emerald Coast event at Grand Boulevard Sandestin on Saturday, Oct. 24, from 6-9 p.m. Benefitting the Junior League of the Emerald Coast, this charitable celebration honors top restaurants, services and businesses. Tickets may be purchased in advance at EmeraldCoastmagazine.com/Best-of-the-Emerald-Coast-Tickets for $30. General admission will be $40 at the door.  For just $75, guests may upgrade to a true VIP experience with a private lounge, additional food and drink, and a gift bag filled with deals from around the region.

Emerald Coast Association of REALTORS® Announces New CEO 
Emerald Coast Association of RealtorsAfter an extensive national search, the Emerald Coast Association of REALTORS® Board of Directors has selected A. Keith Dean as its new leader. Dean has 15 years of solid experience in association management, most recently serving as executive director of the Florida Deputy Sheriffs Association, based in Tallahassee. Dean earned a Bachelor of Science and a Post-graduate degree in Accounting from Florida State University. Dean will take the CEO post effective Oct. 19, 2015. 

Grasses in Classes Celebrates its 5th Year of Implementation
The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA) of Northwest Florida State College in partnership with AmeriCorps is celebrating the start of its fifth year with the kick off of the 2015-2016 Grasses in Classes Program. This year, CBA will be implementing 21 Grasses in Classes Programs throughout Okaloosa and Walton counties. Throughout the month of October, CBA and AmeriCorps members will be establishing 63 saltmarsh nurseries with 3rd and 5th graders. For more information about the Grasses in Classes program, or to schedule an interview, please contact Brittany Tate at (850) 217-5382 or tateb@nwfsc.edu.

CBA Volunteer Opportunity: Invasive Plant Removal
The Longleaf Alliance is partnering with Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance of Northwest Florida State College to cut down invasive Chinese tallow and mimosa trees, and volunteers are needed to haul the tree debris (limbs and cut up trunks) from participating properties to a collection point. Dates needed are Oct. 12, 13, 15, 16, 19, and 23, from 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. each day. Wear clothes and close-toed shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty. Bring sunscreen, snacks, a water bottle, and a hat. Water, snacks, and gloves will be provided. Meet at the South Walton NWFSC Center at 109 Greenway Trail in Santa Rosa Beach. Please RSVP to Rachel Gwin at gwinr@nwfsc.edu.

Toes in the Sand Benefitting The Arc of the Emerald Coast 
The Arc of the Emerald Coast wishes to thank the Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation for its annual Toes in the Sand event held at The Sandbar, on Saturday Sept. 26. The event benefited The Arc of the Emerald Coast and its children services. The sunset event was attended by 40 guests, who enjoyed an evening of delectable cuisine and exquisite wines.  Guests were served by volunteer supporters of The Arc of the Emerald Coast and enjoyed live music provided by local musician Jason Findley.  

Celebrity Server Luncheon $12,000 Raised for "All Kinds of Art"
Local celebrity servers rallied together in late September at Bonefish Grill to bring awareness for arts education and raised $12,000 to fund Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation's "All Kinds of Art", an educational outreach program serving students and children with special needs in Okaloosa and Walton counties. Congratulations to top celebrity server Jennifer Lovell (Wonder Woman), who raised more than $1,200 and to Gail Pelto (Wicked Witch of the West) for best costume.

Coastal Bank and Trust helps “Keep History Alive!”
Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida - Coastal Bank and TrustCoastal Bank and Trust managers Ellen Herzack and Debbie Elliot present a check for $2,000 to Crystal Brown and Gina Marini, both with the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida.  The donation is in support of three annual events - Saturday in the Park, Night at the Museum, and Yule of Yesteryear.

Emerald Coast Foundation Donates $35,000 to CIC Kids
Children In Crisis - Emerald Coast FoundationThe Emerald Coast Foundation selected Children in Crisis again this year to be one of the benefiting charities of the ECF Boat Week and Poker Run and donated a check for $35,000.  The funds raised by the events help feed the at-risk children and sustain operations of the CIC Neighborhood. Seen here, Lynn Dominique, president of the Emerald Coast Foundation Board, and other Board members present the donation to Ken Hair, CIC president and CEO; Lauren Walls, CIC volunteer and events director; and Allie Noah, CIC development director.

United Way Announces 2015 Coast for Kids at Christmas
United Way of Okaloosa & Walton CountiesIt’s that time of the year for the United Way of Okaloosa-Walton Counties and its partners, A & A Transfer & Storage, The French Laundry, and Destin Cleaners, to collect coats for the Annual Coat Drive…Coats for Kids at Christmas. Last year, more than 2,200 coats were distributed. Now through Dec. 1, drop off your gently used coats at any of the following locations: The Arc of Walton County, BBVA Compass Bank, Beach Community Bank, Boeing Company, all CHELCO locations, Coastal Bank and Trust, Destin Cleaners, Eglin Chapel, Eglin Federal Credit Union , First City Bank, Fort Walton Beach Medical Center, French Laundry, Habitat for Humanity’s ReStores, Northwest Florida State College, Okaloosa School District Offices, Okaloosa Sheriff’s Chaplains, Publix Super Markets, Regions Bank, Rehabilitation Institute of Northwest Florida, Trustmark National Bank, and Twin Cities Hospital. 

New Hotel Coming to Destin Commons
Turnberry Associates announced plans to build a 150-room select service hotel connected to Destin Commons, Northwest Florida’s premier open-air lifestyle center. The hotel will be developed and managed by Turnberry Associates Hospitality Division. Turnberry also owns and manages Destin Commons. The hotel will be located adjacent to SR 293/Danny Wuerffel Way and feature approximately 5,000 square feet of meeting space for corporate meetings and social functions. Turnberry Associates expects to break ground on the hotel in spring 2016, with construction scheduled to be completed in about 18 months. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Chairman’s Message: A Time of Reflection and Recognition

The busy season has passed, and now it is time to evaluate all business practices to ensure for a strong future.  This is also the time of year for businesses to address some much needed deep cleaning and capital renovations/improvement projects.  This is not only true for businesses, but also true for the Destin Area Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber Ambassadors have had just a few ribbon cutting ceremonies recently, Dermatology Specialists of Florida and Workout Anytime, but both had great turnouts.  During the month of October, we hope to see you at some of the following ribbon cuttings and events:  Westwinds Conference Center Ribbon Cutting, Emerald Coast in a Box Ribbon Cutting, Destin Custom Home Builders Ribbon Cutting, Studio Blue Pilates Ribbon Cutting, Leaders In Business Lunch Sponsored by White-Wilson Medical Center, and Business After Hours at Emerald Bay Golf Club, just to name a few.  Please check the Destin Area Chamber website for more details on the events.  The larger events include the Destin Seafood Festival, on Oct. 2-4, and the 3rd Annual Bourbon at the Bay, on Nov. 19, at Regatta Bay Golf and Yacht Club, both are projected to be great events for the area.  The first person to send me an email after reading this article will receive two tickets to attend Bourbon at the Bay.

Membership continues to increase with each passing week, and through August we have 971 active members, as compared to 881 through August of 2014, a 10.2% increase.  If you are looking for a quick way to gain exposure to your business, contact the staff to find out how you can take advantage of this great resource.  If you have a change in personnel or with any of your contact information, please contact the Chamber so we can update your membership file.

The City of Destin will be rolling out the next step of the “Envision Destin” plan, so we hope that everyone will attend these critical meetings.  The results of the first two workshops can be found at www.EnvisionDestin.com/?page_id=68. Be on the lookout for the next set of meetings.  On a related note, the utility work for Highway 98 widening plans will begin shortly, so please be considerate of the workers along the road ways.

During the August Leaders in Business Lunch, Trustmark National Bank sponsored and awarded four lucky winners with accommodation stays with four of our local vacation rental management companies.  We were fortunate enough to have the honorable Sen. Don Gaetz as our speaker. He encouraged all residents to be actively involved in the local and state government.  Please do not sit by idly, get out and involved.

Finally, I want to thank everyone who assisted with the Chamber’s 4th Annual Paddle at the Porch on Saturday, on Aug. 15. It was a great event. There were more than 100 participants, and a $6,000 purse was distributed to the top performers in the six mile elite event.  We hope to see everyone at next year’s event.

If there is ever anything we may do for you, please do not hesitate to call the Chamber at (850) 837-6241. We look forward to serving you throughout 2015 and together building this world-class community one business at a time.  I hope everyone is “Living the Dream” in this place we call home, the Destin area.

Ken Wampler
2015 Chairman of the Board of Directors
Newman-Dailey Resort Properties, Inc.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

September 2015 Business Briefs / Member News Part 5

LuLu’s Shares Summers Stats, Shifts Gears to Fall
Since opening its doors in mid-June, LuLu’s has served the following:
•    16,670 pounds of Wild Gulf Shrimp
•    17,474 cups of Gumbo (my grandmother's recipe btw)
•    21,616 Kids' Meals
•    49,246 Signature Burgers sporting Pimento Cheese & Fried Green Tomatoes
•    930 Orders from our Allergy Menu
•    6,653 glasses of Un-Sweet Tea
•    15,316 glasses of Sweet tea
•    22,570 bottles of beer 
Now, it is time to shift gears to the off-season. Stay tuned for the following celebrations: BooLu's, Billy Claus, and Noon Year's Eve.Click here for details. Also, the LuLu's Loves Locals program will begin in October.

Realtors Honor Wounded Warriors with Day of Fishing 
Emerald Coast Association of RealtorsMore than 80 veterans spent Saturday, Sept. 26, fishing and feasting as part of the Third Annual Soldiers on the Water. The Emerald Coast Association of Realtors invited military men and women injured in the line of duty to enjoy a day of deep-sea fishing on the Gulf. The soldiers boarded volunteer charter boats in the morning and returned victorious in the mid-afternoon with new friends and, of course, heaps of fish. Once the veterans returned with their bounties, they were brought up to the Brotula’s Seafood House and Steamer patio for a well-deserved fish fry.

Hilton Spirit of Blue Energy Award Winners
Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & SpaTiffany Howell and Alex Rowe of the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa Recreation Department were recently awarded the Hilton Spirit of Blue Energy Award – the highest honor for Hilton Hotels and Resorts Team Members in the Hilton brand – for going above and beyond the expectations of their roles. Advocare, a marketing company that sells nutrition, weight-loss, energy, and sports performance products, held its 2015 annual conference at Hilton Sandestin Beach. As part of the conference, the meeting planner requested the recreation team to coordinate a Tie-Dye Day, where the meeting participants would tie-dye shirts and have the property launder, fold, and deliver the completed shirts to the guest’s rooms before the following morning. Service was pre-coordinated with a local dry cleaning service who agreed to complete 650 shirts in 10 hours. On the day of the event, a water line broke, which delayed the start of the services, and the dry cleaning company did not have enough staff on hand to finish the project in the allotted time. Howell and Rowe dropped their other on-property responsibilities and worked side-by-side with the dry cleaning personnel – at one point even offering to take the shirts and launder them at their own homes – so they could get the task accomplished. Seen here from left to right are Howell, Kristina Mackenzie, and Rowe.

Volunteers Needed for South Walton Fashion Week
Do you love fashion, modeling, the latest trends, or just want to help support your favorite local non profit? Join in the excitement by volunteering for South Walton Fashion Week, from Oct. 8-10. Enthusiastic volunteers are needed for a wide range of duties.  All volunteers will receive a free ticket for a day they are not volunteering! Sign up to volunteer HERE!.  If you have any questions, please email renee@culturalartsalliance.com or call the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County office at (850) 622-5970. For details on the event, visit www.SWFW.org.

Rehabilitated Leatherback Sea Turtle Released by Gulfarium
Staff members from the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park were astonished to see the numbers on the scale on which a recently stranded leatherback sea turtle was settled. Originally estimated at 500 pounds, the female turtle actually turned out to weigh 608 pounds just prior to her recent release back into the Gulf of Mexico. First noticed by beachgoer Dianne Masterson on Friday in Pensacola Beach, the turtle appeared to struggle in the shallow surf about a mile east of the Portofino Towers. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) quickly determined that rescue and treatment was necessary for the large leatherback. During a 4-day treatment period under Gulfarium's Sea Turtle CARE (Conserve, Act, Rehabilite, Educate) Program, the team completed an exhaustive series of diagnostic tests, which enabled them to develop a treatment plan that included antibiotic, fluid, and laser therapies. On Tuesday, Sept. 22, the turtle was loaded onto the team's 41-foot research vessel at the U.S. Coast Guard Station in Destin and was released 20 miles off the coast of Pensacola in an area where other leatherbacks had recently been seen foraging on jellyfish.

Children in Crisis Gets Keys to New Foster Home
Children In CrisisRecently, Damian Curtis, owner of D. L. Curtis Construction, and Jamey Mattern, architect with DAG Architects, presented the keys for the Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation – Travis Tringas Cottage to Ken Hair, Children In Crisis (CIC) president and CEO, and Kitty Johnson, Chair of the CIC Board of Directors. This is the fourth Family Foster Home to be built at the CIC Children’s Neighborhood located in Fort Walton Beach. CIC will cut the ribbon on the new foster home on Oct. 20, at 4 p.m.  

Fort Walton Beach Medical Center and Twin Cities Hospital Introduce Mobile Health Clinic
Fort Walton Beach Medical Center and Twin Cities Hospital are introducing a new service designed to help employers and their employees gain easy access to primary care.  The service will not be located in a hospital or in an office, but will be provided at the workplace in a new mobile health clinic.  The mobile on-site service will be offered first to teachers and staff of the Okaloosa County School District.  The first day of service is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 30, from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., at Northwood Elementary School in Crestview.

Mitch Mongell, Fort Walton Beach Medical Center chief executive officer, says the mobile health clinic is the result of meetings with area employers and health insurance agents to determine how the hospitals can be partners in finding innovative ways to help employees stay healthy and for employers to slow down the rising costs of healthcare.

Local Dentist Offers Free Care
Bluewater Bay DentalDr. Olivier Broutin of Bluewater Bay Dental in Niceville and Destin, along with Dr. Anish Patel and Dr. Trae Pappas, both of Panama City Smiles, and Dr. Jason Manchester of Manchester Dental in Key West, recently came together to provide free dental care at Dr. Patel’s Panama City practice. The doctors’ and their team of assistants and hygienists completed 185 dental procedures for 112 patients in just one day. More than $35,000 in free dental care was provided.  The procedures provided included extractions, fillings, and cleanings.  Each year the doctors participate in this day of giving back though their involvement in Dentistry from the Heart.

South Walton Fashion Week 2015 Announces Celebrity Judges and Special Guests
On Oct. 5-10, emerging designers from around the country will arrive to South Walton Fashion Week to debut their latest collections with the hope of being selected as the Emerging Designer of 2015.  Nearly 100 models from around the Southeast will walk the Vivo Runway in Grand Boulevard at Sandestin, showcasing original designs and their own talent, but only two will walk away with the Sheila Goode Model of the Year Awards. For a full list of special guest judges, emerging designers, and models, as well as tickets and details, visit www.SWFW.org. This event benefits the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County.

World Impact Realtor Shannon Henley’s “Fast Start to Success”
World Impact Real EstateWant to know what a successful Realtor looks like?  It would be Shannon Henley.  Shannon began part time in real estate in August 2014.  Since that time Henley has closed 20 transactions totaling approximately three million dollars.  Because of his hard work and commitment Henley has now given up his full time job with the Northwest Florida Daily News and is now a full time realtor.

If you are thinking about starting a real estate career or if you want to buy or sell property and only want “the best” realtor, call Henley, now with World Impact Real Estate, at (850) 217-4530 or visit www.850Homesforsale.com

The Premier Development Group Announces New Development
The Premier Development Group announces a new development, Dune Side at Blue Mountain Beach. Nestled in the heart of Blue Mountain Beach on Scenic Highway 30A, Dune Side is a quaint neighborhood consisting of just 22 home sites. In partnership with Chi-Mar Construction, a full-service builder specializing in single-family homes in the Destin and 30A area, Premier recently began construction on nine new homes in the neighborhood, all of which are located within walking distance of the beach. With three of the new homes already sold, early demand for the neighborhood has been strong. For additional information, contact The Premier Property Group at www.ThePremierPropertyGroup.com or call (850) 687-0399. 

Local Scout Completes Eagle Project By Providing Benches to Local Persons with Disabilities
The Arc of the Emerald Coast, formerly known as Horizons of Okaloosa County, would like to sincerely thank local Boy Scout Max Tuel for selecting it as the focus for his Eagle Scout project. Max Tuel is a Scout in Troop 544 and the son of Dr. Tim and Stacey Tuel. Scout Tuel completed his Eagle Scout Project by making five benches for use at The Arc’s Group Homes and Adult Day Treatment center in Fort Walton Beach. These benches exhibit pride in his work and provide sturdy seating to clients with disabilities. The benches are proof that Scout Tuel is fulfilling the Eagle Scout Pledge section that states "helps him find a worthy use for his talents."  

Holiday Party Planning Tips from SOLARIS Event Planners
According to Kristi Adkinson, SunQuest Cruises director of events, the golden rule for holiday party planning is to set your budget first to easily determine limitations and what discretionary funds will be left for the fun stuff. Many venues, such as the SOLARIS yacht, offer all-inclusive pricing, which offers a flat price per guest, including food, drinks, event planning, live entertainment, venue rental, linens, décor, taxes, and service fees. This truly eliminates stress, unexpected costs, or sticker shock at the end of an event. The SOLARIS is also docked at the all-inclusive Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, offering guests a variety of on-property accommodations and transportation options to ensure a safe and worry-free night. For additional holiday party planning tips and SOLARIS holiday party packages, visit www.SunQuestCruises.com or call their event planners at (850) 650-2519.

D. L. Curtis Construction Presents CIC Sugar Sands Golf
Children In CrisisSeen here, Ken Hair, Children In Crisis (CIC) president and CEO, receives a donation for $10,000 from Damian Curtis of D. L. Curtis Construction as a presenting sponsor for the CIC Sugar Sands Charity Golf Classic to be held Oct. 12, at Kelly Plantation. Additionally, J. C. Oakes and Howard Oakes are presenting and major sponsors for this wonderful event for the children in need of a home. Golf Participants will enjoy a registration party at Tommy Bahama's Restaurant, Bar & Storeon Sunday evening, Oct. 11, and on Oct. 12, golf at Kelly Plantation with lunch prior to play, refreshments and snacks on the course, and a full Italian family-style meal at Tuscan Italian Café after golf.  There will also be hole-in-one prizes, golf prizes for the top 3 foursomes, a Tommy Bahama shirt voucher, door prizes, and much more!  Please call the CIC office at (850) 864-4242 for information or to enter a team.

Museum Celebrates Tenth Anniversary
The Destin History and Fishing Museum is marking its 10th anniversary on Thursday, Oct. 1, with free admission to the Museum. Take this opportunity to visit. There is nearly 5,500 sq. ft. of exhibits, which feature the history of the early families from the 1830s, the fishing industry from net boats called seine boats to what you see in the Destin Harbor today, more than 75 fish mounts of locally caught fish, The Rodeo Gallery, and many other aspects of Destin’s unique history. While at the museum, visit the last seine boat built in Destin in 1926 and the original post office building with additional exhibits of Destin’s history. Each visitor receives a raffle ticket for door prizes and a limited edition 10th Anniversary sticker. For details, call (850) 837-6611.

Sinfonia Gulf Coast Receives $10,000 Donation from Destin Commons’ Coins For A Cause 
Destin Commons - Sinfonia Gulf CoastIn its continuing support of Sinfonia Gulf CoastDestin Commons’ Coins For A Cause program donated $10,000 to the professional symphony that serves Northwest Florida. As an original Founding Partner of Sinfonia, Destin Commons has contributed more than $125,000 over the past ten years. The Coins For A Cause program was created by Destin Commons to help local charities with the monies collected from the center’s parking meters. Local charities benefit from donations made to their respective causes related to issues such as health, disabilities, education, the arts, and children’s well-being. Coins For A Cause has donated more than $1 million to area charities since its inception 10 years ago. Seen here left to right are Don Roberts, Jeff Landreth, Michelle Sanchez, Heather Pike, Bob Perry, Demetrius Fuller, Liz Aylor, Elaine Tucker, Hense Ellis, and Denise Stegner.

Bud & Alley’s Wins Big at Bloody Mary Festival
Bud & Alley's Waterfront RestaurantThe popular Bloody Mary cocktail poured by the mixologist team at Bud & Alley’s Waterfront Restaurant won two awards at the first Bloody Mary Festival, held on Sept. 19, at The Market Shops. Bud & Alley’s competed against 14 Northwest Florida-based restaurants and bars who all were asked to concoct a Bloody Mary with Cathead Vodka. Bud & Alley’s rendition included the restaurant’s house made signature Bloody Mary mix garnished with Cherrywood smoked bacon, spicy gulf shrimp, spicy pickled bean, and a pickled okra. This spirited, savory cocktail earned the First Place Judge’s Award and Second Place for the People’s Choice Award. This inaugural charity event was attended by 500 people and proceeds benefited Sinfonia Gulf Coast. Seen here, bartender Mo Moseley (right) accepts the First Place Judges Award. Photo Credit: Pure 7 Studios