Tuesday, January 28, 2014

RE/MAX Welcomes New Agents, BBB Looks for Ethical Businesses, Parrot Heads Make Donation, and More

Hilton Sandestin Team Members Elected to Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association Board
Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa officials announced that two members of the resort’s food and beverage team have been elected to the 2014 board of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association’s Northwest Florida Chapter: Angelina Covington, director of food and beverage, has been appointed president, and Nichole Moen, food and beverage assistant and special events coordinator, has been elected as secretary. For more Hilton Sandestin news, please click here.

RE/MAX Southern Welcomes New Agents
- Blake Shorey and Donna Shorey have joined the Paul Shorey Team. Donna, Paul’s wife, has always been involved in his real estate efforts, having most recently become an agent herself. Blake is Paul’s son and has been passionate about investing and real estate since an early age. 
- Allison Price has joined the Carole Pleasants Team. Allison is a native of Pensacola, graduate of the University of West Florida and wife of a retired Marine Corps pilot.
- Cindy Woo has been selling real estate in Destin since 2002 and throughout the country for the past 23 years. She has received multiple awards throughout her career.

For more about these agents, click here.

Do You know an Exceptional, Ethical Business?
Your Better Business Bureau® Foundation Serving Northwest Florida is looking for businesses and charities to participate in its ninth annual Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics program. Businesses may self-nominate or be nominated by others. The Torch Award publicly recognizes businesses and charities that maintain a solid commitment to conducting their business practices in an ethical manner. BBB Accreditation is not required to enter; however, applicants must be physically located within the 14 county service area of BBB|Northwest Florida. The application deadline for all awards is March 14, 2014. For entry forms and guidelines please visit www.nwfl.bbb.org/TorchAward or call (850) 429-0002 or (800) 729-9226. 

Blue Marlin Realty Group donates hundreds of toys to local Sacred Heart Hospital Emergency Room 
For the third year in a row, Blue Marlin Realty Group turned its front office into a toy donation drop off spot. Over two months, more than 150 toys, such as books, bikes, electronics, and stuffed animals, were donated. On Dec. 21, team members from Blue Marlin Realty Group and the Destin Porsche club arrived at the Sacred Heart Hospital Emergency Room with carloads full of toys. The nurses and staff were overwhelmed with joy and graciously accepted the gifts while placing them under the Christmas tree in the waiting room. Visit www.bluemarlinrealtygroup.com to learn more about the company.

Boyd Named Partner in Broad and Cassel's Destin Office
The statewide law firm of Broad and Cassel is pleased to announce that Ginger Barry Boyd has been named a partner in the firm’s Destin office. She joins six other attorneys in the firm statewide who made partner in 2014. A member of the Commercial Litigation and Labor and Employment Practice Groups, Boyd joined the firm’s Destin office as an associate in 2004. She handles a wide variety of litigation matters, including real estate litigation, securities litigation, bankruptcy litigation, contracts litigation, foreclosures, employment litigation, intellectual property litigation and general business litigation matters. Boyd has represented private and public clients, including the State of Florida, in employment discrimination litigation matters. Visit www.broadandcassel.com/pressreleases.aspx for more news from Broad and Cassel.

Mayor Seevers Appointed to Governor’s Commission on Community Service
Destin Mayor Sam Seevers has been appointed by Governor Rick Scott to the Governor’s Commission on Community Service, also known as Volunteer Florida. The commission’s focus is to develop, promote and implement volunteerism and service throughout the state.Commissioners are chosen because of their active roles in volunteer and service activities in their communities. They are a diverse, bipartisan group of citizens appointed by the governor, who may serve two- to three-year terms and may be appointed for consecutive terms. Click here to learn more.

Emerald Coast Parrot Head Club Announces Officers, Makes Donation
The 2014 officers of the Emerald Coast Parrot Head Club are President Hank Bittman, Vice President John Koser, Treasurer Jim Leffue, Secretary Deb Koser, and Members at Large Jane Bittman, Trish Sawyer, and Mike Whitley. At its January meeting, the club made a $500 donation to the Fort Walton Beach Developmental Center, which operates under the philosophy that the individuals it serves are entitled to programs and services designed to meet their needs in order that they may achieve the most productive and rewarding life style possible. Visit www.ecparrotheads.org for the club event calendar and membership information. 

2014 Destin Desserts Champion Crowned
More than 220 people gathered to sample delectable desserts using Girl Scout cookies as the main ingredient at the 2014 Destin Desserts. Six local chefs vied for the chance to be selected as champion with one-of-a-kind creative confections being judged on presentation and taste. Chef Trey Griffith of The Wine Bar emerged as the 2014 champion for his entry, Samoa Bon Bon incorporating the Samoa cookie, Gelato, chocolate and coconut. The entry Sticky Samoa Seduction from Chef Jack McGuckin of Bistro Bijoux took second place honors, and in third place was Pastry Chef Vanessa Poch of A Cupcakery by the Sea. The event was sponsored by the Girl Scout Council of the Florida Panhandle, Inc. Visit www.gscfp.org.

Quality Imports Toyota Presents The Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge with a Toyota Tundrav
Quality Imports Toyota awarded a new Toyota Tundra to Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge (ECWR) during a key presentation at the dealership on Wednesday, Jan. 15. This celebration is part of the Toyota 100 Cars for Good program, a major philanthropic initiative in which the automaker is giving away 100 cars to 100 nonprofits over the course of 50 days, based on votes from Facebook users. The 100 Cars for Good program benefits organizations impacting the lives of individuals in their communities and is the first Toyota charitable project that engages the public in how corporate philanthropic donations are awarded. To learn more about Quality Imports - Mercedes Benz - BMW - Toyota – Mazda, visit www.qualityimports.com.

Twin Cities Hospital Donates to Sharing & Caring of Niceville
Twin Cities Hospital recently donated $5,000 to Sharing & Caring of Niceville to help replenish the food bank and assist with other needs of the local non-profit organization. Twin Cities Hospital’s 2013 Dr. Frist Humanitarian Award recipients Richard Dunham and Lois Pellnitz presented the check to Susan Magerman, President of Sharing & Caring of Niceville. For details, visit www.tchospital.com

Instructions to Submit Member News ItemsDo you have special business information you would like to share with all Chamber members and our website visitors? Please send your exciting news, which can be about an upcoming event or other timely information, to news@DestinChamber.com. Only Chamber members are allowed to post news, each news item has to be less than 100 words, only one item per member is allowed each week, and Chamber staff reserves the right to reject or edit postings that do not meet the requirements. All news items are due by Friday for posting the following Monday. The link to this page will be sent out in our weekly Tuesday Talking Points email, and the news item will remain on the website until the next Monday's posting. We will not keep an archive of these pages, and no photos, logos or general business descriptions will be posted. Also, member news items will only be published once.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Message from the Chairman - Happy 2014!

Happy 2014!  This is a year I have looked forward to since I found out I would be Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Destin Area Chamber of Commerce.  

I was honored, humbled and if I am being honest, a bit nervous, about this new leadership position. But, as an old trial lawyer told me during law school, if you aren't at least a little bit scared, maybe you have stopped caring.  Well, I certainly care about our Destin area so maybe it's a good thing I was a little nervous last Thursday at our Annual Awards & Installation Banquet.  
OK, enough about me.  

What do we have planned for 2014?  As always your Chamber will continue to represent and advocate for area businesses.  I was so proud that our Board wanted to hear from all business that could be affected by the widening of 98 from Silver Sands Factory Stores to Airport Road instead of passing a quick resolution in favor of such action.  We instead decided to hear from those business that would be affected - both good and bad - before deciding what support the Chamber should give to such an endeavor.  That is what I hope to continue doing this year.  Hearing from YOU, our members.  Let us know how we are doing. As I say at my business, don't just tell me what's wrong, but offer a solution or at least an idea as to what might make the situation better.  

So, what's coming up that I am looking forward to?  This Saturday we have our 4th annual Bayou, Bay and Back 1-Mile Fun Run, 5K, 10K & Half Marathon sponsored by Shoreline Church.  I only wish I could tell you I was running in this awesome race, but I would be lying.  Instead, I, along with our Most Immediate Past Chairman Ex-Officio Bill Lindsley, will be selling Bloody Marys and Greyhounds at the race.  Personally,  I believe I make a much better Greyhound than Bill, but why don’t you come out and determine for yourself - maybe we could have a little contest . . .

Amy Perry
2014 Destin Area Chamber Chairman of the Board
Pleat, Perry & Ritchie, P.A.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Chamber Highlights Member Achievements on Latest Member News Post

In our latest Member News post, we feature recent news highlights from Destin Area Chamber of Commerce members, including the following:

Fort Walton Beach Medical Center and Twin Cities Hospital Install New Imaging Technology to Maximize Patient Comfort and to Improve Image Quality 

ResortQuest Real Estate Congratulates Top Producers

Win Complimentary Meeting Space, AV Equipment, & Continental Breakfast

Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa Hires New Executive Chef for Sandcastles Restaurant and Lounge

RE/MAX Southern Welcomes Agents & Congratulates Top Agents

Experience the Newly Refreshed Residence Inn Sandestin hotel at Grand Boulevard

Blue Marlin Realty Group's Raises More than $12,000 for the Mary Lynne Burnett Foundation

Children In Crisis Receives Community Support

Compass Solar Energy to Join Governor Scott on a Trade Mission 

Destin Receives Recommendation from FDEP to Fund Norriego Point Stabilization

Destin Rotarians Champion Education & Eradicating Hunger

Parrot Heads Award Volunteer of the Year

Harbor Docks raises $20,565 at 19th Annual Free Thanksgiving Day Dinner 

Museum Trustee Receives Preservation & Stewardship Award

Okaloosa County Commission Chair, Vice-Chair Named for 2014

RE/MAX Coastal Agents Receive Recognition

Results for 3rd Annual Shelter House Luminaria Run Released

National Endowment for the Arts Announces Grant Award to Sinfonia Gulf Coast

World Impact Real Estate Welcomes Chris Cope

For read more about these headlines, visit http://www.destinchamber.com/news_media/member_news.aspx.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Chamber Installs Officers and Presents Awards

Last night, more than 200 members of the Destin Area Chamber of Commerce gathered at the Emerald Coast Convention Center to celebrate 2013 successes and install the 2014 Officers and Board of Directors.  

One event highlight included the presentation of the Six Pillars Community Designation to the Crestview Area, Destin Area, Greater Fort Walton Beach, and Niceville Valparaiso Chambers of Commerce and the EDC of Okaloosa County.

Following the Six Pillars Community Designation, outgoing Chamber Chairman Mary Anne Windes of Real Estate Professionals of Destin, Inc., presented the 2013 annual awards.

The James D. Neilson, Sr., Chairman’s Award for Volunteer Service was given to Capt. Mike and Kathy Eller in recognition of their service to the community and to the Destin Seafood Festival.

The Business Person of the Year Award was given to Charles Morgan of Harbor Docks Restaurant.

“Not only is he one of the most successful restaurateurs in Destin, he uses his success to help others in need through many charitable events every year,” explained Windes.  “He is one of the strongest supporters of buying and consuming local seafood, running one of the most aggressive and creative advertising campaigns ever seen.”

The Ann Gibson Community Service Award was given to Audrey Jacobs of Coastal Bank and Trust for her service to countless local non-profit organizations.  Her nomination form stated, “the long-term effects of her active service to our community will be seen by many generations.”

The winner of the Paul Woolman Ambassador of the Year Award was Bill Head, for his untiring service to the Chamber and its Ambassador Program.  He is typically the first to volunteer, the first to arrive, and the last to leave Chamber events.

Retired Gen. Joe Oder presented the Retired Military Person of the Year Award to Destin City Councilor Jim Wood.

"This year's winner has done so much for the community that we can't begin to describe it all," said Oder. "Seldom do you attend something in this community and not see him."

Outgoing Board members recognized with a plaque for their service included Mike Freeman, Acentria Insurance; Cyndy Thomas, Wyndham Vacation Rentals; and Charles Morgan, Harbor Docks Restaurant.  Those not present included Andi Mahoney, White-Wilson Medical Center; Carey Trotter, Trotter’s General Contractors, Inc.; and Jim Breitenfeld, Breitenfeld Development Services.

Past Chairmen helped Windes pass the gavel onto 2014 Chairman Amy Perry, Pleat, Perry & Ritchie, P.A.  

The rest of the 2014 Executive Committee includes Chairman Elect Ken Wampler, Newman-Dailey Resort Properties, Inc.; Immediate Past Chairman Mary Anne Windes, Real Estate Professionals of Destin, Inc.; Treasurer Jonathan Ochs, Trustmark National Bank; Vice Chairman – Communications & Marketing Julie Cotton, Northwest Florida State College;  Vice Chairman – Community & Economic Development Hayward Dykes, Conerly, Bowman & Dykes, LLP; Vice Chairman – Membership Development Rebecca Jones, Fort Walton Beach Medical Center; and Vice Chairman – Harbor Advisory Board Jami Jones, Destin Charter Service.

Other members of the 2014 Board of Directors include Jeramie Bates, Wyndham Vacation Rentals; Shaun Eubanks, Barton, Fenstermaker, Tondello & Associates, LLC; Steve Jay, Warren Averett; Pam Martin, Gulf Power; Dave Morrow, Allstate Insurance – Ryland/Morrow Agency; Bob Perry, Destin Commons; Paul Schreiner, Carrabba’s Italian Grill; Lockwood Wernet, Destin Water Users, Inc.; Most Recent Immediate Past Chairman Ex-Officio Bill Lindsley, SimpleHR/SimplerHIRE; Chairman’s Appointee Fred Fenn, Fenn Properties, LLC; Chairman’s Appointee Michelle Terry, Dale E. Peterson Vacations; Special Appointee Karen McCarthy, Army Aviation Center Federal Credit Union; and Special Appointee Kim Wintner, Alliance Association Management Co., Inc.

Event attendees also enjoyed comedian Marty Simpson and a silent auction.  For more photos, like us on Facebook.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Brad Swanson Provides 2014 Legislative Outlook at Jan. 14 Lunch

Thanks to Destin Area Chamber Trustee member Warren Averett for hosting our first Leaders of Business Lunch of 2014.  It was held Jan. 14, at Destin United Methodist Church with just over 100 in attendance.

Brad Swanson, VP of Corporate and Strategic Partnerships with the Florida Chamber of Commerce, discussed legislative issues, such as the expansion of gambling, education, and public-sector pension and benefits reform, expected to come before the Florida Legislature in 2014.

Check out photos from the event on Facebook, Flickr, and Google+.

Thank you to businesses contributing door prizes, including the Costa Leadership Institute at Northwest Florida State College, Emerald Coast Chiropractic, Emerald Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau, Inc., Ethan Allan, Gulf Power, Miller's Ale House of Destin, Professional Records Imaging Mgmt., Inc., SimpleHR/SimpleHIRE, Sunrise Charters, and Warren Averett.

Are there any topics you would like for us to cover at a lunch?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Bayou, Bay & Back Run Adds Superhero Theme and 1-Mile Kids Fun Run

Destin's fourth Bayou, Bay & Back 1 Mile Kids Fun Run, 5K Run/Walk, 10K & Half Marathon Sponsored by Shoreline Church is set for Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014. This year's theme is Superheroes, and everyone is encouraged to come in costume.  New to the event is a 1-Mile Kids Fun Run Sponsored by Whataburger.

The 10K and Half Marathon courses are USA Track & Field-certified, and a portion of the proceeds with benefit the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance.  The Jeff Galloway Method is welcome.

After the Awards Ceremony, which will take place at the race site, we are moving the Superhero Party over to Fudpucker's on Okaloosa Island, to enjoy big food and drink discounts for those in costume, and arcade tokens for the 1-Mile Fun Run participants.

Registration is now open on Active.com or visit www.DestinChamber.com for details.  Please call (850) 837-6241 for more information.

Thank you to our sponsors, including Title Sponsor Shoreline Church; 1-Mile Kids Fun Run Sponsor Whataburger; Accommodations Sponsor Wyndham Vacation Rentals; Silver Sponsors 99Rock, Advanced Dermatology & Skin Care Centre, The Beachcomber, Buffalo Rock Pepsi, Carter & Company CPA, LLC, City of Destin, Coast 93.3, Fudpucker's Beachside Bar and Grill, and Z96; and Bronze Sponsors Coastal Skin Surgery & Dermatology, Destin Commons, Ecco Motors, Eglin Federal Credit Union, Emerald Coast Chiropractic, Gulf Power, Go Southern, Tetra Tech, Inc., and White-Wilson Medical Center.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Thank You to our December 2013 Renewals

Thank you to all our members who renewed in December 2013! When choosing where to spend your dollars in the Destin area, remember to shop local.  Keep these businesses and those listed in our online Business Directory in mind.

Chairman's Club Level
Sandestin Golf And Beach Resort

Platinum Level
Real Estate Professionals of Destin, Inc.
Bud and Alley's Waterfront Restaurant
Compass Association Management

Business Gold Level
A 2 Z Specialty Advertising
Compass Resorts
Northwest Florida Regional Airport

Business Level
Bubba Gump Shrimp Company
Build-A-Bear Workshop
Chicken Salad Chick Destin
Clearview Rentals
Compass Solar Energy
CRC Data Technologies
CYber SYtes, Inc.
Destin Snowbirds Inc.
Destin Woman's Club
Dex One - Publisher Century Link Yellow Pages
Ear Care Associates, Inc.
Emerald Coast Magazine
Emerald Coast Wealth Advisors of Raymond James
Fantasea Scooter Rentals
Five Star Beach Properties
Friends of Emerald Coast State Parks
Galati Yacht Sales
Goldring Gulf Distributing
Good Time Tours
Gulf Coast Immediate Care Center, Inc.
Gulf Coast Insulation
Gulf Coast Shutter
Harry and David
Holiday Isle Improvement Association
IndyShark Consulting
Jean Dutton
Landrum Human Resources
Legacy On The Bay
Longhorn Steakhouse, Inc.
Morgan Stanley
Ocean Reef Resorts
Office Depot #2328
Risa's Interiors
Sea Oats Motel & Management Co.
Shrimp Basket Destin, Inc.
St. Andrews By The Sea Episcopal Church
Sundestin Condominiums
Terminix International
The Cone Company
Today's Fashion Boutiques
Tommy Bahama’s Restaurant, Bar & Store
UPS Store #1229
Wendy's/Wendco Corp.
William (Bill) Head

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Innovative Firm of Year Named, Refuge Receives Grant, Beer Dinner Scheduled, and More News from Members

Check out the latest news and events from Destin Area Chamber of Commerce members. Follow the link at the bottom for instructions on how to submit your own news items.

Warren Averett Named Innovative Firm of the Year
Warren Averett, LLC, Certified Public Accountants and Advisors, has been named LEA Global’s 2013 Innovative Firm of the Year. This award was announced at the annual conference of LEA Global in San Francisco. For details, visit http://warrenaverett.com/2013/11/22/innovative_firm/.

“Give a Birthday” Campaign Benefits Children in Crisis
The daughter of Mandy Muncy, general manager for RE/MAX Southern Realty, recently participated in “Give a Birthday,” a local campaign that supports Children in Crisis, The Children’s Neighborhood. By asking for donations in lieu of presents for her birthday this year, Alyssa raised $320 to support children in need right here in Okaloosa and Walton Counties. For more information on this program, please visit http://giveabirthday.weebly.com/index.html.

13th Best of the Emerald Coast was a Recordbreaking Event
The 13th Annual Best of the Emerald Coast event, hosted by Emerald Coast magazine and held at Grand Boulevard at Sandestin, sold more than 1,140 tickets and raised more than $55,000 for the Junior League of the Emerald Coast. For details, visithttp://www.emeraldcoast.com/dining/best-of-the-emerald-coast-breaks-records-1.239921.

Emerald Coast Parrot Heads Makes Charitable Donations
In October, the Emerald Coast Parrot Head Club made a donation of $1,000 to the Emerald Coast Rescue Mission in October. The mission has served the homeless and hungry since 1985, and the donation will be used to purchase food for the holidays. On Nov. 11, the club presented two $1,000 scholarships to students at Northwest Florida State College. The two recipients are Dana Wright and Caleb King. Wright is an animal lover and volunteers at Alaqua Animal Refuge and the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge. King is working toward an AA degree with a major in Environmental Science. 

Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge Receives IMPACT 100 of Northwest Florida Grant 
Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge received a 2013 IMPACT 100 of Northwest Florida grant for $110,000. IMPACT 100 is a group of women who work to improve the quality of life in five areas – Family; Health and Wellness; Education; Arts and Culture; and Environment, Recreation, and Preservation. The money is to construct a wildlife rehabilitation and medical center on the refuge’s Okaloosa Island property, which would provide improved medical care to the thousands of injured and/or orphaned wildlife it treats every year. Specific medical equipment, such as ultrasound, IV infusion pumps, and incubators, are needed for the new facility.

ERA American Realty Welcomes Allan Burkes
Realtor Allan Burkes recently joined ERA American Realty and will be serving the Destin / 30A / Walton County market. For more information about Burkes, please visit http://www.era-american.com/allan-burkes-realtor/.

2nd Year in a Row - Legendary Marine Awarded "#1 Ranked Boat Dealer of the Year"
Legendary Marine was named "Dealer of the Year" for the second consecutive year by Boating Industry Magazine, as part of its annual TOP 100 awards program. The "Dealer of the Year" award is the single most prestigious and most highly coveted recognition in North America for marine retailers and is presented annually to only one dealer at an exclusive gathering of the marine industry elite. 

McGuire’s Annual Beer Dinner
McGuire’s Irish Pub of Destin is now taking reservations for its Annual Beer Dinner! Chef Tim Chyrek will prepare a special menu paired with several of McGuire’s award-winning craft microbrews. Enjoy the dinner on Wednesday, Jan. 29, at 7 p.m., and celebrate the joys of fine beer and fine food, with plenty of Feasting, Imbibery, and Debauchery! Seating for this event is limited, and reservations are required. To make a reservation, please call (850) 654-7002.

Twin Cities Hospital Receives “A” Hospital Safety Score
Twin Cities Hospital was recently recognized with an “A” Hospital Safety Score by The Leapfrog Group, an independent national non-profit run by employers and other large purchasers of health benefits. To read the full release, please visit http://tchospital.com/about/newsroom/detail.dot?id=15f19c60-7990-4e78-9bc4-6dc370e5154d

For information on how to submit your news item, please visit http://www.destinchamber.com/news_media/member_news.aspx#instructions.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Reflecting on Accomplishments of 2013

The mission of the Destin Area Chamber of Commerce is to create a dynamic alliance of the business community and government through member-driven initiatives and services that enable responsible growth and economic prosperity. We also provide businesses with networking, marketing, and educational opportunities.  Through your efforts and dedication, we have met and continue to meet our mission.  I’d like to highlight just some of the programs, projects and activities that the Destin Area Chamber, through its Board of Directors and its members, have been involved in during the last 12 months.

During the Board of Directors' Strategic Planning Retreat for 2013, we set the following goals: 
  • to continue to support enhanced code and zoning enforcement within the City of Destin, 
  • to define and implement economic development initiatives, 
  • to be an advocate for tax incentives for job development, 
  • to be a voice for Norriego Point
  • to encourage expansion along the Harbor Boardwalk, 
  • to improve our community by picking our causes and taking a stance, 
  • to implement a citywide milestone marker program, 
  • to educate new and non-members, and 
  • to enhance our Ambassador program.  
Those were our goals, and with a lot of help from our members and wise direction from our Board of Directors, we exceeded our own expectations. 

Here's a list of the fun things we did that increased the networking opportunities for our members:   
  • 4th annual Bayou, Bay & Back 1 Mile, 5K Run/Walk,10K & 1/2 Marathon
  • Blessing of the Marketplace; Golf & Dine golf tournament at Indian Bayou, 
  • Paddle at the Porch paddleboard race at the Back Porch; 
  • Puttoberfest miniature golf tournament at Golf Garden; 
  • reception at Indian Bayou to honor our past chairmen;
  • 12 Business & Networking Luncheons with programs, including a non-profit appreciation expo, BusinessPalooza!, Football Tailgate & Celebrity Board Waiter Luncheon, and Bowling for Business at Hurricane Lanes; 
  • 11 Business After-Hours; and 
  • approximately a bazillion ribbon cuttings to welcome our new members.  
We played hard, but we worked hard, too.

On a more powerful side, our Board of Directors took action on the following items: 
  • prioritized RESTORE ACT funds recommendations, 
  • sent a letter of support for medical trauma centers,
  • sent a letter of support for Mid-Bay Bridge Authority to remain local and independent, 
  • met with Director Bill Wilson and Executive Director Jesse Panuccio of Florida's Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) to bring their attention to our area,  
  • had multiple meetings with the Tourist Development Council and the Economic Development Council of Okaloosa County, 
  • supported six-laning Emerald Coast Parkway (Highway 98) from Tang-O-Mar Drive in Walton County to Airport Road in Okaloosa County (support has most recently been suspended until some issues are clarified),  
  • met with the City of Destin multiple times working towards implementation of the Mile Marker Program,  
  • encouraged our members to landscape, landscape, landscape  to improve our community, 
  • encouraged our members to decorate for the TDC's advertising campaign Very Emerald Christmas, 
  • had meetings with the City of Destin about a possible Adopt-A-Median with City for Christmas decorations, 
  • wrote a letter of support for the Marler Street traffic signal, 
  • gave support to the city's proposed cross-town connector, 
  • voted to support a pedestrian/community friendly Harbor Blvd., 
  • voted to support the opportunity to reroute or disallow through trucks in Destin, 
  • advocated to add additional parking in the Harbor District (i.e. one way N/S connectors & use excess for parking), 
  • made a soft request for City to get a legal opinion to annex the unincorporated areas of Destin,  
  • supported the Destin City Council’s motion for staff to write a date specific ordinance for the extension of development orders, 
  • recreated the Citizens for Good Leadership political action committee to educate and endorse candidates and promote other community issues, 
  • requested the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office and the City of Destin run some public service announcements regarding safety in the pedestrian crosswalks on Harbor Blvd.,
  • supported encouraging the city to explore creating public parking solutions to the open air seating requirements, 
  • supported regulating helicopter and other vending over the water, 
  • met with the Sheriff's Office regarding petty crimes along the Boardwalk, and 
  • met with the City advocating the Chamber's stance against gambling being allowed in our area when/if it becomes legalized. 
A Chamber Chairman doesn’t do this alone.  I would like to specifically thank our Past-Chairman Bill Lindsley, Chairman-Elect Amy Perry, Treasurer Shaun Eubanks, our Board of Directors, my special appointees to the board Charles Morgan and Jami Jones, and certainly our CEO Shane Moody and his marvelous staff - Elizabeth Spies, Suzy Nicholson Hunt, Jen Skillman, and Dena Critch. 

What a wonderful honor to have been allowed to serve as the 2013 Chairman of the Destin Area Chamber of Commerce.  It is a gift I will treasure forever.

Mary Anne Windes
2013 Destin Area Chamber Chairman
Real Estate Professionals of Destin, Inc.
Destin Fishing Fleet Marina