Sound Bytes Feb/Mar 2010: Our Ear to the Ground in the 850

Compiled by Daniel Mutter, Linda Kleindienst and Jennifer Ewing Originally published in the Feb/Mar 2010 issue of 850 Business Magazine


CAPITAL Local Honors

BB&T has opened a new downtown Tallahassee financial center, which will offer a range of services including checking and savings accounts, business, personal and mortgage loans and investment services. Coleman Brooks is the financial center manager.

Superior Bank has relocated its Northwest Florida Headquarters building from Bristol to Tallahassee. Superior Bank Tallahassee Market President is Jack Kane.

The Florida Economic Gardening Institute and partners have unveiled GrowFL, an initiative designed to cultivate the growth of statewide businesses. The Economic Development Council of Tallahassee/Leon County, Inc., and the FSU Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship are among several statewide organizations that have been selected to market the GrowFL program and identify candidate businesses throughout Northwest Florida.

Local Honors

Ron Sachs Communications received an Emmy award for a 30-minute “Explore Adoption” television program produced in cooperation with Evolution Media and CoreMessage. Presented by the Suncoast Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, it is the 4th Emmy award Ron Sachs Communications has earned since 2006.

Tallahassee attorney Nathan A. Adams, IV, has been named a partner in Holland & Knight’s Litigation practice group.

Akerman Senterfitt’s Silvia Alderman has been selected by Real Estate Florida magazine as one of Florida’s “Women of Influence.” She is the sole lawyer represented among the 20 honorees and serves as managing shareholder of the firm’s Tallahassee office.

The Florida Society of Association Executives Foundation received a total of $7,350 for professional development awards for 2010. Members selected by the FSAE Foundation will use the awards for educational opportunities that help advance their careers in the non-profit arena.

University Happenings

Florida A&M University has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the Higher Education for Development and United States Agency for International Development. The grant was awarded to U.S. and African partnering institutions to develop plans to address regional and national economic development priorities such as engineering, health, agriculture, environment and natural resources, science and technology, education, business management and economics.


FORGOTTEN COAST Local Happenings

Hexaport Building Systems of Florida, which owns the GreenSteel factory in Carrabelle, has filed a voluntary petition for Chapter 11 reorganization. Papers were filed in the Northern Florida District of the U.S. Bankrupcty Court in November. The company has to present the court with a reorganization plan by March 22.

Appointed by the Governor

Ennis “Leon” Jacobs Jr., 55, of Crawfordville, attorney with Williams and Jacobs, has been appointed to the Florida Elections Commission by Gov. Charllie Crist..


BAY Local Happenings

Southwest Airlines will begin flights into the new Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport on May 23. Two flights a day will service Orlando, Baltimore, Houston and Nashville.

PBS&J announces the appointment of Larry F. Kelley, PE, to the position of project director. He will focus on enhanced client service in North Florida while assisting with marketing opportunities throughout the state.

The Bay County Economic Development Alliance has announced that Coast Water Efficient Technology (Coast WET) has moved its operations from Pomona, Calif., to Bay County, setting up its international headquarters in the Beach Commerce Park in Panama City Beach while awaiting construction of a permanent facility. Within three years Coast WET is projected to create 230 new jobs.

Local Honors

Two Bay County residents have been nominated for Reviewers’ Choice Awards by RT Book Review Magazine. Panama City resident Kathy Holzapfel, who writes as Cate Noble, has been nominated for Best Romantic Intrigue for her novel “Dead Right” (Zebra, Feb. 09). And Panama City Beach resident Stephanie Newton earned a double nomination in the Best Series Romance category for her debut novel, “Perfect Target” (Steeple Hill, Mar. 09).

Appointed by the Governor

Dr. Peter Claussen, 60, of Panama City, a self-employed dentist, has been appointed to the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation by Gov. Charlie Crist.


EMERALD COAST Promotions, Honors, Hirings

Gulf Power President and CEO Susan Story, an Auburn graduate and native Alabamian, is being inducted into the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame honors individuals with outstanding accomplishments in the field of Engineering who have significantly contributed to the betterment of their communities. “Science, technology, engineering and math are so important for future generations,” said Story, who joined Southern Company in 1982 as a nuclear engineer, “and this award helps put the spotlight on this curriculum that needs emphasis now more than ever.”

Travis McDonald, a long-time Pensacola resident and graduate of the International Baccalaureate (IB) program at Pensacola High School, has joined The Island Empress team as the director of development. Olga Dancaescu, project coordinator for The Island Empress, recently received the Associate Resort Professional (ARP) designation from the American Resort Development Association.

Arthur Taylor has been appointed executive vice president and chief financial officer of GulfSouth Private Bank, bringing more than 25 years of accounting, financial and regulatory reporting expertise to the position.

Denise T. McLeod, vice president and chief operating officer of Landrum Staffing Services, has been appointed to the newly formed Labor, Education and Health Council of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

The Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International has recognized Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa with a Bronze Adrian Award for Web marketing excellence.

Frommer’s, the market leader in travel guides, has named “Florida Panhandle Beaches” as one of its top destinations to visit in 2010. The region stretches for more than 200 miles along Northwest Florida’s Gulf Coast and is the only U.S. mainland destination on the list of 12 must-see places.

The Walton County Chamber of Commerce awarded Robert Kamm, president and CEO of Sandcastle Resorts & Hotels, with the 2009 Excellence in Leadership Award. Mike Chouri, general manager of the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa, was recently named as incoming chairman of the Chamber’s Board of Directors for 2009–2010.

Local Happenings

Innisfree Hotels has been selected to develop and operate a hotel and multi-use development on property owned by Eglin Air Force Base. The proposed $24 million project is expected to have a nearly $50 million economic impact on Okaloosa County.

The Walton County Tourist Development Council (TDC) has formed a new partnership with the popular local Web site, The partnership with will help develop and expand Beaches of South Walton’s social media presence in 2010.

Pensacola Junior College plans to move ahead with long-range plans for a multi-million dollar expansion, hiring architectural firm Bullock Tice Associates Inc. The college is building its South Santa Rosa Center on 110 acres in the south end of Santa Rosa County off U.S. 98.

Pen Air Federal Credit Union recently celebrated reaching $1 billion in assets with its “Thanks a Billion” campaign.

Beach Properties of Florida, a boutique real estate agency with offices in Grayton Beach and WaterColor, now lets prospective and current clients have the option to chat online with sales executives directly from the company’s Web site at

The St. Joe Company and Hall of Fame golfer Annika Sorenstam have combined to present the ANNIKA Experience at WaterSound — a celebration of active lifestyles and wellness education, to be held Feb. 19–20 at WaterSound’s Origins Golf Club, Camp Creek Golf Club (a half-mile south) and the WaterColor Inn and Resort.

Appointments by the Governor

Steve Uhlfelder of Santa Rosa Beach and Tallahassee, lawyer and former chair of the Florida Board of Regents, was appointed to the Governor’s Children and Youth Cabinet.

Cheryl Jackson, 51, payroll and retirement manager, City of Pensacola, has been appointed to the state Retirement Commission.

Medical News

A group of Pensacola physicians have announced plans to open a new specialty medical center with a patient-centered approach to healthcare. The physicians from established local private practices — Hope Medical Group, Pensacola Urology and Radiation Oncology — have joined forces to create Woodlands Medical Specialists.

Patrick J. Madden, president and CEO of Sacred Heart Health System, retired on Jan. 1 and was replaced by Laura Kaiser, who joined Sacred Heart as its chief operating officer in 2008. Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast has been named a 2009 Summit Award Winner by Press Ganey Associate, one of 32 hospitals nationwide to receive the award for customer satisfaction.

Michelle McFail, R.N., has been promoted to manager of labor and delivery at Baptist Hospital. Jeffrey G. Ellington, M.D., has joined Baptist Medical Group – a multi-specialty physician group. Venus Jones has been promoted to human resources manager for Baptist Manor — a 170-bed nursing and rehabilitative care center. Urologists Charles W. Yowell, M.D., and Brian R. Evans, M.D. have joined Baptist Medical Group. Sherry Hartnett has been promoted to vice president and chief marketing and development officer for Baptist Health Care. Kent Skolrood has been named senior vice president for Baptist Health Care and president of Baptist Medical Group. Baptist Health Care has acquired Cardiology Consultants.