Tuesday, February 7, 2017

February 2017 Business Briefs / Member News Part 1

Boeing Employees Donate Food to CIC Children
Children In CrisisEmployees of the local Boeing Company of Fort Walton Beach held a food drive and fundraiser for the kids living at Children in Crisis (CIC). Along with the huge donation of food, the membership presented gift cards to help provide a home and care for the more than 100 children that call CIC home. Seen here, Kevin Sparks, Angelika Guenther, Henry Sanders, and D’Artagnan Kilgore present the donation to Allie Noah, CIC development director.

Museum Trustee Receives Preservation & Stewardship Award
Heritage Museum of Northwest FloridaDiane Plank, a member of the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida’s Board of Trustees, was recognized at the general membership meeting on Nov. 17, and received the 2016 Kenneth E. Bailey Preservation & Stewardship Award. This annual award is given to one member of the Board of Trustees, who exemplifies giving of their time, talent, and treasure. Plank, who has served as a trustee since 2010, serves on multiple committees, including events, research, collections, and exhibits. Shel also serves on the executive committee as secretary.  

Northwest Florida Ballet Donates Food to CIC Children
Children In CrisisThe Northwest Florida Ballet worked with the community and local schools to collect a huge truckload of food and other needed items for the children living at the Children In Crisis (CIC) Neighborhood. Members of the Northwest Florida Ballet delivered the donation.

Sacred Heart Foundation Recognized for Excellence in Philanthropy
Foundations have a high calling to get the most out of every dollar donated to ensure that funds raised truly are providing the greatest benefit to those they serve. Sacred Heart Foundation has been so successful at this effort that the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP) has named the organization a “High Performer” for 2016. Sacred Heart Foundation is one of only 51 recognized as “High Performers” based on analysis of a survey AHP conducted related to fiscal year (FY) 2015. Each year, AHP identifies survey participants who have shown high efficiency and effectiveness as they relate to bottom-line returns. 

Introducing ECAR’s 2017 Leadership Development Program Class 
Emerald Coast Association of RealtorsThe Emerald Coast Association of Realtors (ECAR) recently ushered in its next group of future leaders with its newest class of the ECAR Leadership Development Program (LDP). Class members include Melissa Allegretto, Sue Brunette, Doshia Centeno, Jaime Cramer, Paul Domenech, Judy Kish, Sharon McCreary, Jennifer Mims, Yeidy Perez, Jen Schaefer, Nance Wendle, Bryan Whitehead, and Lena Williams. In March, the LDP class will travel to Tallahassee for the annual Great American Realtor Days to meet with Florida lawmakers.                     

Community Leaders Donates Tablets to CIC Kids
Children In CrisisPictured here, Ken Hair, Children In Crisis (CIC) president & CEO, accepts a donation of nine tablets with memory cards for the children living in the CIC Neighborhood from Nicole Harshman of HB Webdudes and Jamil Harris with Corner Stone Financial.  Additional support came from donor Linda Sanders of Carpet City (not pictured) and other businesses.  

The Henderson Announces its Winning Sales Team
The HendersonSalamander Hotels & Resorts, the luxury hotel management company founded by Sheila C. Johnson, has assembled a winning sales team at The Henderson, A Salamander Beach & Spa Resort, in Destin. Gary Griggs (pictured here) is appointed to the role of director of sales & marketing. Greg Whitacre is the director of group sales; and Kelly M. Galloway and Cathy Jones round out the sales team as senior sales managers.

Born and raised in Kansas City, Mo. and a graduate of Benedictine College, Griggs has 31 years of hotel sales and marketing experience, with specific knowledge of marketing independent, destination resorts in Palm Springs, Calif., Lake of the Ozarks, Mo., and the Gulf Coast of Florida. Whitacre brings to his sales role more than 20 years of results-driven sales leadership and a track record of success in both hotel group sales, as well as with third-party agencies. Galloway, a native of Foley, Ala., is a senior sales manager with 29 years of experience in the hospitality industry. With more than 35 years of experience in the hospitality/golf industry leading companies through startup, turnaround, and growth modes, senior sales manager Jones is known for consistently producing results that surpass corporate revenue and profit objectives. 

Membership Still Open for Sole Sister Society
It’s not too late to show you have S.O.L.E. Membership is still open for the Sole Sister Society, an honorary committee of Wine Women & Shoes that supports Sinfonia Gulf Coast. For a $500 contribution, Sole Sister Society members will receive one ticket to the Wine Women & Shoes Signature Event (Sunday, Feb. 19) with prime stage seating; your name in the spotlight on the Sole Sister Walk of Fame; your name listed in the event program; recognition at the Signature Event; invitation and recognition at the Thank You Party Spring 2017; and a Sole Sister-only ticket to attend Sinfonia’s LINK UP performance (April 12) for Okaloosa and Walton counties grades three through five. This special concert is not open to the general public. For more information and to purchase tickets for Sinfonia Gulf Coast’s Wine Women & Shoes events, call (850) 460-8800 and visit www.sinfoniagulfcoast.org.

Acentria Insurance Acquires Southwest Florida-Based Agency
Acentria Insurance announced a finalized merger with Huff Insurance Agency of Southwest Florida, LLC, with locations in Fort Myers and Sanibel. Established in 1979, Huff Insurance Agency specializes in personal and business insurance and will continue to operate under its existing corporation name with the same friendly, professional team members. 

“As a leader in an ever-competing industry, Acentria Insurance continues to seek partnerships with like-minded agencies who wish to maintain their local identity and presence in the communities which they serve,” commented Kendall McEachern, chief executive officer of Acentria Insurance. “It is important for our agency to remain close with our clients as we continue to expand in a responsible manner. By partnering with Huff Insurance Agency, and other high quality agencies, we are enhancing our service offerings to our clients, providing our employees with opportunities for growth and building stronger relationships with our carrier partners,” concluded McEachern.

Okaloosa County Tax Collector Receives State Award for Excellence
Benjamin Anderson, Tax Collector for Okaloosa County, has for the fourth straight year earned a special designation for excellence in the field of financial operations. The Tax Collector’s financial records, practices, and use of technology were rigorously reviewed by a 5-person judging panel in consideration for this honor. 

SunQuest Cruises SOLARIS Wins 2017 Knot and WeddingWire Awards
SunQuest Cruises is pleased to announced that its client reviews have earned the Solaris yacht two distinguished wedding venue accolades - the Knot’s Best of Weddings Award for the eighth consecutive year and the 2017 WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Award. Both prestigious awards represent the highest-rated wedding professionals throughout the nation as reviewed by real couples, their families, and wedding guests. 

Turpen Joins Harrison Sale McCloy Attorneys at Law
Harrison Sale McCloy Attorneys at LawHarrison Sale McCloy Attorneys at Law announced the addition of DeAnna Turpen as commercial closing manager and title supervisor to its real estate division. Turpen has had a comprehensive career in all aspects of real estate. She has worked as a title agent, a real estate agent, an escrow and closings officer, and a community association manager, CAM. She started her career in 1984 in Bay County and after extensive experience will now lead a team of six that includes paralegals, closing agents, and other support staff.

Eglin Members Donate Shoes to CIC Kids
Children In CrisisSeen here, members of Eglin Air Force Base donate more than 150 pair of shoes valued at more than $7,500 to Children in Crisis (CIC) for the at-risk children living at the CIC Neighborhood.  The shoe donation collection was called “Soles for Souls” and was coordinated throughout Eglin by MSgt Leveena Pugh (not pictured).  Ken Hair, CIC president & CEO, receives the donation from SrA Angela Streets, TSgt Marv Wildrick, SSgt Ashlyn Williams, and AIC Lola Alcon.  

Century 21 Blue Marlin Grows Team by Four Agents
Century 21 Fine Homes & Estates Blue MarlinCentury 21 Fine Homes & Estates Blue MarlinCentury 21 Fine Homes & Estates Blue MarlinCentury 21 Fine Homes & Estates Blue Marlin

Century 21 Fine Homes & Estates Blue Marlin is pleased to announce that four new agents have joined its firm. Shawnesty Geike (left) hails from the Blue Ridge Mountains of rural Virginia. Prior to her real estate career, Geike worked in a myriad of industries including culinary, pharmaceutical, and hospitality. It was not until she and her husband began to relocate that she considered real estate.

Originally from Bixby, Okla., Stefanie Greenwood (second from left) brings her experience with one of the United States’ top home builders, Rausch Coleman, with her. A graduate of Southern Nazarene University, Greenwood received her Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.). 

Aaron Holpp (second from right), a two-time Ironman Triathlon medal finisher and three-time Leadville 100 medal finisher, spent 14 years as a Corporate Pilot and FAA Flight Instructor. Holpp’s real estate experience includes investment properties that he rehabbed, rented, and sold, as well as vacation and long term residential rental management for his own properties. 

Born in Fort Walton Beach and having spent almost 20 years as a professional musician, Zach Rosicka’s (right) passion has led up to taking the step into the professional world of real estate with Century 21 Blue Marlin. While brief, Rosicka has lived in several other cities across the country, but continues to return to his beloved home.  

A Superior Air Conditioning & Beachy Beach Real Estate Hold Jingle Contest
A Superior Air Conditioning Company / Beachy Beach Real EstateA Superior Air Conditioning recently announced that it is again teaming up with Beachy Beach Real Estate to offer a one of a kind opportunity, a “Jingle Contest” for elementary school children to show off their creative talents and win a $1,000 donation towards their school’s music department. Children enrolled in Bay, Walton, and Okaloosa schools, from kindergarten through 5th grade, are eligible to enter in groups of five or less, and submit their own rendition of the A Superior Air Conditioning’s company radio jingle, “Keeping Me Cool.” For details, visit http://woobox.com/ony2te

Baca Named To Century 21 Commercial Advisory Board
Century 21 Fine Homes & Estates Blue MarlinCentury 21 Fine Homes & Estates Blue Marlin Commercial Realtor Doreen Baca was nominated and has accepted a position on the Century 21 Commercial Advisory Board (CAB). The advisory board is made up of 12 experienced commercial brokers, managers, and agents from various regions around the country in order to give the Commercial Advisory Board a broader diversity of various levels of commercial real estate experience. Baca is the founder of PURE CRE, Inc., which merged with Century 21 Blue Marlin Commercial in April 2016. She and her husband Jerry have had an unfailing drive to measure success by client satisfaction. 

Moniz Selected to Serve on the Destin Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors
Harrison Sale McCloy Attorneys at LawHarrison Sale McCloy Attorneys at Law is pleased to announce that senior partner Dion Moniz has been selected to be a member of the Destin Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors. In this role, Moniz will work to engage other businesses in the greater Destin area to join in partnership with the chamber to develop a strong network of growth-oriented businesses.

First Florida Bank hires Parrish as Vice President
First Florida BankFirst Florida Bank has announced that Amy Parrish has joined its ranks as a vice president of First Florida Wealth Group. For more than seven years, Parrish has served as a private wealth advisor to clients throughout the Emerald Coast and Alabama. A graduate of Troy University, Parrish earned her Series 7 securities license in 2009 and her Series 63 and Series 65 in 2010.  

Emerald Coast Exchange Club Helps Children in Crisis
Children In CrisisSeen here, Ken Hair, Children In Crisis (CIC) president & CEO, receives a $500 donation from the Emerald Coast Exchange Club of Fort Walton Beach President Robin Garriga to help give a home to the victims of child abuse and help sustain operations of the CIC Neighborhood.

LuLu’s Hosts Tropical Re-Union Wedding Vow Renewal 
LuLu'sCelebrate your love and commitment by officially renewing your wedding vows at LuLu’s 2nd Tropical Re-Union on Sunday, Feb. 12.  Registration begins at 11 a.m., with the complimentary wedding vow renewal ceremony performed by officiant Jane Carver at 2 p.m., out on the sandy beach overlooking the scenic Choctawhatchee Bay. There will be complimentary champagne toasts, wedding cake, and flowers for the “brides,” as well as Certificates of Reunion for each couple. Come spend a romantic and memorable day with family and friends.  For more information, visit www.lulubuffett.com/destin or call (850) 710-5858.

2017 Girl Scouts’ Destin Desserts Grand Champion is The Black Pearl 
Girl Scouts of the Florida PanhandleThe Girl Scouts of the Florida Panhandle held its 6th Annual Destin Desserts competition at The Palms of Destin with area chefs showcasing their talents by creating their own original desserts using legendary Girl Scout cookies as the main ingredient. Guests got to sample the creative and delectable desserts and cast their vote for the Grand Champion. The winning 2017 Grand Champion was Chef Kevin Wynn (seen here) of The Black Pearl on Okaloosa Island. Second place honors went to Chef Daniel Soto, owner of CafĂ© Rico in Niceville, and third place honors went to Chef Mat Von Eberstein, the pastry chef from LuLu’s.  

Warren Averett Announces New Members
Warren AverettWarren Averett, LLC, announced that 10 individuals have been promoted to members of the firm, including Ross LeBlanc, CPA, of the Fort Walton Beach office. LeBlanc serves businesses and individuals in tax planning and compliance. He is also proficient in compilation and review services and specializes in construction and manufacturing industries.

The Premier Property Group Announces Richard Jabbour as New 30A Agent
Premier Property GroupThe Premier Property Group is pleased to announce Richard Jabbour has joined the team as a real estate agent. After purchasing a home in Gulf Place in 2011, Jabbour made the move from Memphis, Tenn., to Florida’s Emerald Coast. Working as a business consultant, Jabbour’s previous profession allowed him flexibility, much like he now has with real estate. A graduate of the University of Memphis, Jabbour holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration with a focus on finance, insurance, and real estate and the designation of Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).

Newman-Dailey Resort Properties Real Estate Division Announces Top Agents for Fourth Quarter 2016 
Newman-Dailey Resort Properties, Inc.Newman-Dailey Resort Properties, Inc.Mark DeSalvo (left) was recognized as top sales agent and Shannyn Stevenson was named top listing agent for the fourth quarter at Newman-Dailey Resort Properties. As the top sales agent for the fourth quarter, Real Estate Broker Associate DeSalvo’s attention to detail and one-on-one attention has created many satisfied clients. A longstanding member of the Newman-Dailey Real Estate team for the past 15 years, DeSalvo continues to be a mainstay for excellence and professionalism on the Emerald Coast. With his knowledge, extensive experience in the Destin real estate market, and unyielding commitment to prompt and exceptional service, DeSalvo ends the year earning this top honor. As the top listing agent, Stevenson knows the Gulf Coast. After moving to the Emerald Coast in 1980, she has been an active member of the real estate community since 1999. She has provided leading services and investment advice to both buyers and sellers through a variety of market conditions. 

Newman-Dailey Real Estate Sales Division Awards Top Producer for 2016 
Newman-Dailey Resort Properties, Inc.With an encore performance, Diane Green has been named Newman-Dailey Resort Properties Real Estate Division’s Top Producer for 2016. Green earned both the top listing agent and top sales agent in 2015, and again, has achieved top listing and top sales agent for 2016, making her one of the elite few Newman-Dailey sales agents to achieve “Top Producer of the Year” two consecutive years. Green’s success is directly attributed to her 35 years of experience coupled with her industry certifications, including Graduate of the Realtor Institute (GRI), Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), and Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES), as well as short sale and REO (bank-owned properties) certification. She also holds Broker’s licenses in both Florida and Georgia. 

BluePoint Financial Hosts Grand Opening Celebration 
BluePoint FinancialBluePoint Financial, a locally owned accounting firm specializing in tax preparation and financial advisory, will host a ribbon cutting ceremony commemorating its grand opening on Feb. 8, from 4:30 - 6:30 p.m. BluePoint owners Warren Sims (right) and Luke Smith have more than 35 combined years of accounting experience and are very active in their local communities.

Keller Williams Realty Emerald Coast Ranks #1 in ECAR and NABOR 2016 Volume and Units
The 2016 numbers are in from the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors® (ECAR) and Navarre Area Board of Realtors (NABOR) for performance by real estate companies in Okaloosa, Walton, and Santa Rosa counties. Keller Williams Realty Emerald Coast (KWEC) topped several categories. It was a #1 ranking sweep for KWEC in both ECAR and NABOR for sales volume and the number of units sold. The real estate company serves five communities in seven offices throughout Northwest Florida in Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, South Walton 30-A, and Navarre. With an agent count of almost 300, they are the largest Keller Williams franchise in the Gulf States Region that spans from Lafayette, La., to Panama City Beach, Fla.

Destin Commons’ Smoke on the Coast Event Identifies 16 Charities for 2017
Destin CommonsDestin Commons recently announced it will be partnering with 16 area charities for its upcoming 7th Annual Smoke on the Coast BBQ & Fireworks event on July 3. These charities will be teaming up with various restaurants and BBQ aficionados to fire up their grills, with each team preparing their BBQ inspired specialty. The 16 non-profit organizations, along with their BBQ teams, will be Air Force Enlisted Village/The Gulf Seafood RestaurantArc of the Emerald Coast/Highway 98 BBQ, Boys & Girls Club of the Emerald Coast/Big Red TruckChildren In Crisis/B&C Fire Safety, Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance/Whole Foods, Destin Rotary Foundation/Destin Rotary ClubEmerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center/BrightView Landscaping ServiceFood For Thought/Waste Management CompanyHabitat for Humanity/Hub City Smokehouse & Grill, Harvest House of Destin/Tailfins Seafood House & Oyster Bar, Heritage Museum of NW FL/Okaloosa GasMattie Kelly Arts Foundation/BC’s Southern Paradise BBQ & Catering, Opportunity Place/Classic Catering, Panhandle Warrior Partnership/Making their own BBQ, Ronald McDonald House Charities/Voodoo BBQ & Grill, and Toys for Tots/Bass Pro Shops.

Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation Installs 2017 Board & Bestows Awards
Mattie Kelly Arts FoundationThe Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation (MKAF) recently kicked off its 22nd season with an Awards and Induction Ceremony. MKAF applauded the following retiring board members for their dedicated service: Allison Tringas, Jeff Rink, Rebecca Job, Anita Skipper, and Melissa Matern. Job will continue to serve as chair of the 2017 Friendraiser Committee. The foundation’s most prestigious award, the Chairman’s Sterling Award, honors that special board member who exemplifies commitment, spirit, and vision to the Foundation’s mission. Kathy Whidden of Emerald Coast Chiropractic was this year’s recipient to recognize her countless hours and fundraising efforts as a testimony of her passion for the arts. During the event, 2016 Chairman Eric Navarre passed the gavel to the 2017 Chairman Matt Dalhman. Other executive committee members include Jackie Ely, vice chairman; Kevin Bowyer, treasurer; Heather Ruiz, secretary; Brian Beauchamp; Stacey Brady; Wayne Paul; and Kathy Whidden. Also installed were the 2017 elected board of directors Keri Atchley, Melinda Bowers, Jimmy Campbell, Lorraine Christian, Shantelle Dedicke, Donna Fox, Teresa Halverson, Kim Holley, Meloney Howell, Bill Lindsley, Pat Madden, Bill McQuillan, Dion Moniz, Stephen Smith, Elizabeth Spies, and Alexis Tibbetts.

Timber Creek Distillery Earns Prestigious B+ Rating by The Whiskey Reviewer Publication
Timber Creek DistilleryAfter tasting Timber Creek Distillery’s bourbon, writer, and whiskey aficionado Elizabeth Emmons of well-known publication The Whiskey Reviewer, gave the spirit a B+ “Very Good Stuff” rating, describing it as having a “smooth middle and finish.” The Whiskey Reviewer, the go-to source for all things whiskey, has over 24,000 followers on Facebook and has been re-published or quoted in national publications, including The Washington Post, The Atlantic, and The New York Daily News. A B+ “Very Good Stuff” rating is difficult to come by as The Whiskey Review adheres to a strict grading system. To read the full review, click here: http://whiskeyreviewer.com/2017/01/timber-creek-florida-bourbon-review-011017/.

Gulfarium Welcomes New African Penguin Chick
The GulfariumGulfarium Marine Adventure Park is excited to announce a new addition to its penguin colony.  An African penguin chick hatched in early December and is currently being reared behind the scenes to ensure successful development. The Gulfarium anticipates the chick will begin to integrate with the rest of the colony in just a little over a month and, shortly thereafter, be ready to make its debut. The public is invited to follow the chick's progress on Gulfarium's Facebook page.  All updates including milestones, a naming contest, and more will be made available via Facebook.

Moore Earns NAR’s Military Relocation Professional Certification
Century 21 Fine Homes & Estates Blue MarlinRick Moore, with Century 21 Fine Homes & Estates Blue Marlin, has been awarded the nationally recognized Military Relocation Professional (MRP) Certification.  The National Association of Realtors® awards the MRP certification to realtors who help military personnel, veterans, and their families find housing that lets them make the best use of their benefits and serves the unique needs of military life.  Moore, being a veteran himself, can provide both knowledge and experience along with an added insight to veterans searching for a home.

Spring Break Scholarships to Rish Park
The Arc of the Emerald Coast's annual trip to Rish Park is something its clients enjoy.  Rish Park breaks down barriers that are encountered when going to the beach by having a fully accessible pool, beach wheelchairs, boardwalks, and cabins. This year, many of our clients lack the financial means and family support to cover the cost. Help put a BIG smile on faces and by giving a spring break scholarship. For ways in which you can help, please call (850) 863-1530 or email info@arcemeraldcoast.org.

Landrum HR President Elected to APEC Board
Landrum Human ResourcesLandrum HR announced that President Britt Landrum III has been elected as vice chairman and industry director of the APEC Board. APEC (Alliance for PEO Electronic Compliance) is a non-profit organization set up by the Employer Services Assurance Corporation to develop automated solutions for the PEO industry. Landrum's initial two-year term began on Dec. 30, 2016. In addition to being elected as vice chairman for the APEC Board, Landrum is also an active board member in the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations, serving as chair for the Operations and Technology Planning Committee. 

OAA Thanks Twisted Grape for Wine Tasting & Grants Awarded
Okaloosa Arts AllianceThe Okaloosa Arts Alliance (OAA) thanks the Twisted Grape for hosting the Wine Tasting on Jan. 22, 2017. The OAA would also like to thank Sinfonia Gulf Coast, Mattie Kelly Arts Center, German Club, and the OAA Board for donating items to the drawings.  Live entertainment was performed by Emerald Coast Chorus, Pyramid Players, and the Fort Walton Beach High school Drama Club, and Jean Dutton photographed the event. OAA awarded a $1,000 grant to Emerald Coast Theatre Company for after school theater classes and a $1,000 grant to Children in Crisis (CIC) for a special arts day for the children living in the CIC Neighborhood.