Thursday, June 29, 2017

June 2017 Business Briefs / Member News Part 1

Concealed Weapon License Renewal
As of April 4, Florida Residents are able to renew and receive their statewide Concealed Weapon License at the Crestview and Niceville Branches of the Okaloosa County Tax Collector’s Office. Applicants will need to make an appointment for this service. Appointments can be scheduled by calling (850) 651-7300 or visiting

CBA & Partner to Conduct Sediment Study on Dune Lakes 
The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA), Mattie Kelly Environmental Institute of Northwest Florida State College, Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, and the University of Florida (UF) will be supporting UF Water and Soil Science graduate student Brandy Foley’s thesis research project focused on three coastal dune lakes in Walton County. There are 15 recognized coastal dune lake formations along the Northwest Florida in Walton and Bay counties. The Florida Natural Areas Inventory lists the coastal dune lakes as imperiled globally and vulnerable to extinction. For more information on this and other projects supporting the coastal dune lakes, visit

Keller Williams Realty Emerald Coast Wins Dominate Regional Awards
Keller Williams Realty Emerald CoastKeller Williams recently held a regional awards gathering in Mandeville, La., covering its Gulf States Region, spanning Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Northwest Florida. The event represented 24 KW Market Centers with the local Keller Williams Realty Emerald Coast (KWEC) franchise operation winning 12 out of 19 categories for 2016 transactions. This was, by far, more than any other KW franchise in this region. Seventy-three KWEC agents took home honors with varying levels of total transactions and gross commission incomes that went as high as just over $1 million. 

John Moran’s At The Beach Team earned the highest level with a Double Platinum win. Amongst approximately 4,000 agents in the KW Gulf States region, Cindy Cole of Cindy Cole Fine Homes was named the #1 top individual producing agent. Also, taking home top honors in the Platinum category were Tosha Corrigan, Dean Ladick, Dawn Burt, and Megan Hall. 

Seen here, the highest humanitarian Red Shoe honor in the KW Gulf States Region went to KWEC’s managing broker Jeff Adamson. He is seen here with #1 top producing agent Cindy Cole. 

Boy Scout Attempts Eagle Scout Honor with Help of Destin Water Users
Destin Water UsersOn Saturday, April 29, Boy Scout Nick Bowyer installed 15 Bluebird houses at the Destin Water Users (DWU) George F. French Reclamation Facility. Through this project, Bowyer has completed the final component of his Eagle Scout application. Bowyer, a member of Boy Scout Association (BSA) Troop 504 in Destin, is a junior at Collegiate High School. Now 17, Bowyer has been a member of the BSA for nine years, having earned numerous badges of merit. 

“We believe that Nick’s Eagle Scout project aligns with our mission statement that we live and work in a little piece of paradise, and DWU is intent on doing our part to keep it that way,” said Wernet, Destin Water Users General Manager.  “The bluebird trail provides habitat to rebuild the bluebird population in our community and it promotes biodiversity in and around our facilities.”

Stubbs Orthodontics Fundraiser for EC Theatre Company
Stubbs OrthodonticsStubbs Orthodontics raised $915 for Emerald Coast Theatre Company (ECTC) in a prize raffle throughout the month of March. Clients, friends, and supporters of ECTC were able to purchase raffle tickets for a chance to win a Yeti cooler, filled with t-shirts and other fun outdoor gear. Dr. Casi Stubbs and her staff raffle off a prize bi-monthly, donating 100% of the funds to various local charities. To buy a ticket online in the current raffle for Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center, find Stubbs Orthodontics on Facebook and Instagram. Tickets can also be purchased at Stubbs Orthodontics’ office on Highway 20 in Niceville.

Okaloosa Arts Alliance School Poster Contest Winners 
Okaloosa Arts AllianceThe Okaloosa Arts Alliance (OAA) received 241 entries from Okaloosa County students for the 8th Annual OAA Okaloosa County School Poster Contest. Entries were divided into three categories, including elementary, middle, and high. Each 1st place winner received a $75 gift card, generously donated by Eglin Federal Credit Union; each 2nd place winner received a $50 gift card, generously donated by the Destin Target; and each 3rd place winner received a $25 gift card, generously donated by the Niceville Wal-mart.  The winning entry for the middle category is seen here. It was created by 7th grader Abi Copeland of Rocky Bayou Christian School.

LuLu’s Donates to Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center
LuLu's - Emerald Coast Children's Advocacy CenterLuLu’s generously donated a portion of its restaurant sales to the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center’s Eating For Advocacy program. Seen here, General Manager Mike Butler presents a check for $500 to Kim Henderson, ECCAC’s director of development. If you are a restaurant that would like to participate in Eating For Advocacy, email, or call (850) 833-9237 x283. 

Coastal Bank & Trust Donates Easter to CIC Kids
Children In Crisis - Coastal Bank and TrustSeen here, Ken Hair, Children In Crisis (CIC) president and CEO, and Allie Noah, CIC development director, receive a donation of more than $2,000 from Coastal Bank and Trust Branch Managers Shanel Paulus, Debbie Elliott, and Jill Kendall.  The donation helped give the at-risk children living at the CIC Neighborhood a wonderful Easter.

HarborWalk Village Raises Funds To Help Local Air Commando Association
HarborWalk VillageMore than 600 guests joined HarborWalk Village this Cinco De Mayo, as they marched along the harbor, enjoyed drink specials at the festive stops, and partied through the village for Cinco De Drinko for a Cause, during the 2017 Cinco De Mayo Pub Crawl. HarborWalk Village marketing staff presented the Air Commando Association - Emerald Coast Chapter with a check for $4,261.68, from funds raised during the event. All proceeds will be used directly to help provide support and financial assistance for wounded Air Force Special Operators and their families stationed at Hurlburt Field AFB.

New Website Unveiled
For the past six months, Proffitt PR has worked diligently with Red8 Creative and Alissa Aryn Photography to curate the perfect website. It wanted to showcase its clients, accolades, events, and memories. Having been in business six years, Proffitt PR had a lot of content to gather. The finished product - - is an interactive website that will continue to grow as the company does.

Fudpoker 2017 Jet Ski Classic Poker Run Charity Event 
The 4th Annual Fudpoker Run Jet Ski Classic will be held July 22, and it benefits Children in Crisis and OCSO Star Charity. Destin community partners are needed in the form of sponsorships. For details, click here. For event details, click here.

Destin Commons named For-Profit Communicator of the Year by FPRA
Destin CommonsDestin Commons recently received the honor of being named the 2017 For-Profit Communicator of the year by the Northwest Florida Coast Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA). The prestigious award that recognizes outstanding communications leaders was accepted by Heather Ruiz, director of marketing for Destin Commons. She received an original Justin Gaffrey painting. 

Dr. April Goes the Extra Mile for Children in Crisis
Children In CrisisSeen here, Ken Hair, Children In Crisis (CIC) president and CEO, and Allie Noah, CIC development director, present volunteer Dr. April Lee, Bluewater Chiropractic and Wellness Center, with a CIC “Extra Mile Club” award for almost five years and hundreds of hours of dedicated volunteer service to CIC. Lee volunteered her time to the children and organized fundraising events.

Century 21 Blue Marlin Awarded Nearly 300 Acre Commercial Listing
Century 21 Fine Homes & Estates Blue MarlinCentury 21 Fine Homes & Estates Blue Marlin’s Commercial Division PURE Commercial Team has been awarded the exclusive listing of 297.62 +/- acres of prime commercial and urban mixed-use land in Bonifay, Fla. Located south of the intersection of Interstate 10 and State Highway 79, the prime real estate is located along a path well-known as the “Gateway to the Beaches.” The listing, near Bonifay’s Doctors Memorial Hospital, is $11,790,000. For details, visit

Premier Property Group Announces New Agent
Premier Property GroupThe Premier Property Group is pleased to announce Rob Youngblood has joined the locally owned and independent real estate sales firm. Youngblood will be operating out of the group’s Seacrest office. Most of his career has been spent in the public eye. He has worked as a TV, film, and stage actor; an Emmy Award winning television host; a network news anchor; a television producer; a keynote speaker; a business consultant; and a media/communication coach. Youngblood’s passion for real estate began in Los Angeles, when an acquaintance convinced him to flip a house. Two months later, Youngblood had renovated that first house and sold it for a $30,000 profit. Today, 20 years later, the number of “flips” and houses is now well into double digits, and his passion and expertise for all things real estate, business, and lifestyle has never been stronger. For details, visit

Another Street Mural Completed at Destin Commons
Destin CommonsLocal artists Andrew Wargo and Keith Jette just completed their original street mural art at Destin Commons on the side wall of Build-A-Bear. This is the third mural in a series of seven murals that will line various walls at the outdoor lifestyle center. Wargo and Jette’s work is entitled ‘Tropical Vibes,’ in a vibrantly colored theme of large flamingo birds wading in water using a mix of air brush and traditional brush painting. The murals have been well-received at Destin Commons, making perfect photo backdrops for both locals and Destin’s many tourist visitors. 

Courtyard and Residence Inn by Marriott Sandestin at Grand Boulevard Earns Awards of Excellence
Courtyard and Residence Inn by Marriott Sandestin at Grand BoulvedardHoward Hospitality, a Miramar Beach-based hotel management company, today announced that its hotels received three awards for excellence in operations from Marriott International for the Courtyardand Residence Inn by Marriott Sandestin at Grand Boulevard.  At the April 2017 Marriott Select Service Conference in New Orleans, the Residence Inn by Marriott Sandestin won a Silver Hotel Award, and the Courtyard by Marriott Sandestin earned a Platinum Hotel Award and the Quality of Food Satisfaction Award. Both hotels were also awarded the 2016 TripAdvisor “Certificate of Excellence” - an achievement solely based on guest reviews. 

Twin Cities Hospital Receives Healthgrades 2017 Patient Safety Excellence Award
Twin Cities Hospital received the Healthgrades 2017 Patient Safety Excellence Award™, a designation that recognizes superior performance in hospitals that have prevented the occurrence of serious, potentially avoidable complications for patients during hospital stays.  The distinction places Twin Cities Hospital among the top 10% of all short-term acute care hospitals reporting patient safety data for its excellent performance as evaluated by Healthgrades, the leading online resource for comprehensive information about physicians and  hospitals. 

Kiwanis of Niceville-Valparaiso Helps Children in Crisis
Children In CrisisThe Kiwanis Club of Niceville-Valparaiso recently presented Children in Crisis (CIC) a donation of $1,000 to help purchase a new TV and games for the children living at the CIC Children’s Neighborhood. Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time.  

2017 Leadership Okaloosa Graduates 42 Community Leaders
Leadership OkaloosaThe Costa Leadership Institute at Northwest Florida State College, in partnership with the Crestview, Destin, Niceville Valparaiso, and the Fort Walton Beach chambers of commerce, honored 42 Okaloosa County business professionals during a graduation celebration on May 11, at Emerald Grande at HarborWalk Village to celebrate their completion of the 2016-2017 Leadership Okaloosa program.  

The 2017 Leadership Okaloosa graduates include:
John Anderson - Okaloosa Clerk of Courts 
Matt Baltz - The Manor at Blue Water Bay
Nicholas Berry - United States Air Force 
Renea Black - Early Learning Coalition of Okaloosa and Walton Counties
Ashley Breihan - Northwest Florida State College 
William Cartier - Okaloosa Gas District 
Susan Cassady - Okaloosa Clerk of Courts & Comptroller
Elizabeth Chestnut - Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce
Doris Coffee - Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office
LeAnn Collins - Best Western Fort Walton Beachfront Hotel
Kyle Cox - Okaloosa Gas District 
Robin Donlon - BBVA Compass 
Carrie Ely - Gulf Power Company
Bernita Everett - First City Bank
Gemini Fisher - CCB Community Bank 
Effie Hannis - Carr, Riggs, and Ingram, LLC
Nicole Hanson - Okaloosa Gas District 
Grace Hartness - Carr, Riggs, and Ingram, LLC
Stefan Hoffer - Matthews and Jones, LLP 
Gregory Hotaling - 7th Special Forces - US Army Retired
Kerrianne Jensen - Baskerville-Donovan, Inc.
Jay Jones - Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office
Denise Kendust - Fort Walton Beach Medical Center
Glenn Langan - Gulf Power Company
Denise McKinion - CHELO
Jamie Moncure - Northwest Florida State College
Amanda Negron - Total Parts Plus 
Nikki  Owen - The Arc of the Emerald Coast
Mark Pzinski - Emerald Grande at HarborWalk Village 
Joseph Quilit - Rocky Bayou Christian School
Ramsey Ross - Northwest Florida State College 
Michelle Sanchez - Destin Commons 
Karen Sterett - Chick-fil-A at Niceville
Paul Stinebiser - New York Life 
Bryce Trafford - The Henderson
Gary Venuti - Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office
Tracey Williams - Fresh Start for Children & Families
Lena Williams - World Impact Real Estate 
Abner Williams - World Impact Real Estate 
Sandra Wilson - Crestview Area Chamber of Commerce
Nathan Wolbert - Warren Averett 
Crystal Yeabower - Niceville Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce

The Costa Leadership Institute is currently accepting applications for the 2017-2018 Leadership Okaloosa program. Tuition for the Leadership Okaloosa program is $950 and applications are due by August 15. Applications are available online at or by calling (850) 729-6880 or emailing

Lucy Buffett in Destin for Cookbook Signing
LuLu'sLucy Buffett was at her LuLu’s restaurant in Destin to do a meet and greet book signing event for her newest cookbook, GUMBO LOVE…Recipes for Gulf Coast Cooking, Entertaining and Savoring the Good Life. Hundreds of locals and tourists stopped by to meet the “Crazy Sista” herself this past weekend. Just back from New York City and Los Angeles, Buffett is embarking on a major book signing tour throughout the Southeast over the next several weeks. For more information and book signing tour schedule, visit   

Legendary LLC. Erects 150’ Flagpole Waving 40-by-70-foot American Flag
On Tuesday, March 7, 2017, US Flag and Flagpole Supply, LP, along with Legendary Marine staff installed a 150’ flagpole near Legendary Yacht Club. The towering flagpole flies a 40’ by 70’ American flag as a symbol of appreciation and unwavering patriotism. The pole and flag were manufactured in Beaumont, Texas, and traveled to Florida’s Emerald Coast on several 53’ tractor trailers. The flagpole weighs in at around 12,500 pounds and flies a 40’ by 70’ flag, weighing an estimated 150 pounds. The flag will fly most days when wind permits. Smaller flags will replace the large flag during inclement weather conditions or when circumstances call for the flag to be flown at half-staff.

Destin Custom Home Builders Continues Development of Regatta Bay Preserve
Destin Custom Home BuildersDestin Custom Home Builders, an extension of The Legendary Company, continues development of Regatta Bay Preserve, a major development within Regatta Bay Golf and Yacht Club. Regatta Bay Preserve’s 21 homes, situated on a 16-acre parcel within the 60-acre nature preserve, not only reflects the neighborhoods natural surroundings, but it also aims to protect them. A landscaped entrance to an “island in the woods” welcomes owners and guests, while the community’s large common green space is ideal for outdoor activities and relaxing. The walkways woven amongst the surrounding neighborhood preserve introduce homeowner to Mother Nature. Listing prices for Regatta Bay Preserve start in the high $900s. Those interested in learning more about the development or setting up a viewing during construction, please contact Lindsey Lynch at (850) 974-7070.

Coastal Bank and Trust – Keeping History Alive - Makes Donation to Museum

Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida - Coastal Bank and TrustCoastal Bank and Trust Managers Vicki Dutton, Ellen Hruzek, and Debra Elliott present a check for $800 to Gina Marini with the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida to sponsor a new museum brochure. The Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida is a private non-profit 501C3 institution dedicated to historic preservation and education.  Contributions are tax deductible. For information how you can help keep history alive, visit

Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast Volunteer Guild Awards $73,000 in Funding
Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald CoastThe Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast Volunteer Guild awarded approximately $73,000 for four projects to enhance the quality of care at the hospital. The Volunteer Guild raises funds through the hospital gift shop and the annual Emerald Coast Duck Regatta, see photo, where thousands of plastic ducks are adopted by the public and “race” across the pond at the Village of Baytowne Wharfin the month of October. The 250 volunteers who staff the gift shop, welcome desk, patient areas, and Duck Regatta give of their time and talents and have helped the Volunteer Guild generate about $750,000 to benefit the hospital and patients since its opening.

Twin Cities Hospital Receives PSC’s Triple E Award
Hit by rising costs and increased energy use, Niceville’s Twin Cities Hospital filled a prescription to be more energy efficient, earning them the Florida Public Service Commission’s (PSC) May Triple E Award for Energy Efficiency Efforts. Gulf Power Company advised the hospital’s engineers to install a Heat Recovery Chiller (HRC), which was completed last month.  The HRC preheats the water going to the natural gas boiler, reducing or even eliminating the boiler’s work because it can heat water more efficiently.  HRCs are ideal for use in buildings with simultaneous cooling and heating loads, such as hospitals, hotels, and higher education buildings. 

Home Dedication #58 for Habitat for Humanity in Okaloosa County
Habitat for Humanity held another home dedication ceremony in Okaloosa County. On Friday, June 2, it welcomed the Cruz family into a new home located in Crestview. After performing more than the required 300 of sweat equity, Ms. Cruz is ready to realize the dream of home ownership. Gulf Power was the main sponsor for this home. More than 450 volunteers worked more than 2,100 hours to build this home with Ms. Cruz and her family, creating the opportunity for her to gain strength, stability, and self-reliance, as she purchases her safe and affordable home with a no interest loan. A special presentation was given to State Rep. Mel Ponder for his efforts in helping continue the Community Contribution Tax Credit Program, which allows local companies to help end poverty by partnering with Habitat for Humanity in Okaloosa County to build affordable homes. 

Four Postcard Street Murals Now at Destin Commons 
Destin CommonsOriginally from Australia, but now based in Los Angeles, the husband and wife team of DABSMYLA just finished four Destin vacation themed postcard street murals along the paseo wall at the South entrance to Destin Commons between Guess and Foot Locker. This completes the outdoor lifestyle center’s new cultural art initiative with five well-known invited artists creating their original mural art on walls, making for a total of seven works of art located throughout the center. The latest series of postcards entitled “Good Vibes,” “Wish You Were Here,” “The Friendship,” and “Greetings from the Land of Sunshine” are a colorful panorama with the charm of a technicolor world that typifies DABSMYLA’s unique look.

Okaloosa County Transit is Now EC Rider
Representatives of Emerald Coast Rider Transit System (EC Rider) recently announced the launch of their new brand in conjunction with an upgraded, user-friendly website at The new logo was designed to represent the diverse natural features of Okaloosa County, the forests, and Gulf. Along with the new name and new logo, the system has updated its website. These updates include ensuring the site integrates fully with mobile devices. 

Sacred Heart Charity Golf Classic Supports E.R. Expansion 
The 16th Annual Sacred Heart Charity Golf Classic raised $236,928 for Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast’s Emergency Department expansion. The golf tournament on May 8 at Emerald Bay Golf and Beach Club had 100 participating golfers, plus 25 area club professionals. The Sacred Heart Charity Golf Classic has become the signature fundraising event for Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast. Its success is a direct result of the time, talent, and resources of many leaders in our community. Since its inception in 2002, the annual golf classic has risen more than $3 million for Sacred Heart Hospital, ensuring access to high-quality, compassionate healthcare close to home.

Destin Commons Receives National ICSC Foundation Community Support Award
Destin CommonsAt the premier retail real estate conference in Las Vegas last month, Destin Commons was the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) Foundation recipient of the Southern Region and Overall U.S. Community Support Award for its Coins For A Cause initiative. Shopping centers play an integral role to the social, civic, and economic vibrancy of the communities they serve. The ICSC Foundation’s Community Support Awards highlight the social aspect of the industry, showcasing the country’s premier examples of corporate social responsibility and community outreach conducted by shopping centers, their management companies, and developers. In addition to Coins For A Cause, the center’s management staff plays an integral role in the community by serving on a number of boards.

LandrumHR Appoints Mandy R. Sacco as Vice President of Staffing
LandrumHRRecently, Britt Landrum III, president of LandrumHR in Pensacola, announced that Mandy R. Sacco will assume the role of vice president of staffing. She will also become a member of the LandrumHR Senior Leadership Team. Sacco joined LandrumHR from Manpower in 2007, as an HR specialist. She earned her PHR and was promoted to staffing & recruitment manager in 2012. In 2015, she was promoted to regional director of staffing. More recently, in 2016, she earned the Landrum “Steve Durko Customer Service Award” for her outstanding service work with one of the Staffing Division's largest clients.  The Steve Durko Customer Service award is an internal recognition th

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