Sound Bytes February/March


New Beginnings

Thomas “Chris” Curry is the new director of the City of Tallahassee’s Aviation Department, bringing more than 30 years of experience in aviation to his new post providing administrative oversight at the Tallahassee Regional Airport. He most recently served as executive director of the Collier County Airport Authority, a position he held for the past three years. 

Curry’s experience includes six years in director roles with the Gary Chicago Airport Authority and a 20-year career as an air traffic controller and airfield operations manager with the U.S. Air Force. He has also served as a project manager for airspace design and flight procedures development with Boeing-Jeppesen.

Other key positions recently filled by the city include: Michael DeLeo, the new chief of police for the Tallahassee Police Department, and Ellen Blair, the city’s new human resources manager. 

Jeb Bush Jr., son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, has joined Slater Bayliss to co-chair the Maverick PAC Florida effort, part of a national organization engaging young professional Republicans in the political process. Over 20 attorneys, community and business leaders were also named to the statewide MavPAC Florida organization, including Leon County Regional Chairs Brandi Brown of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, Jose Gonzalez of Anheuser-Busch Companies, Toby Philpot with Health Management Associates and Michael Sevi in the Office of the Governor. 

David Orozco has been named the new MBA program director at Florida State University’s College of Business

Dan McCarthy is the new executive director of the TaxWatch Center for Smart Justice, where he will lead efforts to improve the Florida criminal and juvenile justice systems.

Ivette Faulkner has been promoted to group director, public relations, at The Zimmerman Agency, the largest public relations firm in Florida. 


Local banking executive Emory L. Mayfield Jr. is the new Tallahassee market president for Hancock Bank. With 10 years as a senior banker in Tallahassee’s financial services arena, he will direct Hancock’s business development, client services and community partnerships across the Big Bend region.

Cherie Bryant has been named as the planning manager for the Tallahassee-Leon County Planning Department. She began her professional career in 1996 with the Florida Department of Community Affairs and then worked as a project manager with Summit Professional Services, where she helped prepare federal and state grant applications. In 2001, Bryant joined the Tallahassee-Leon County Planning Department as the land use senior planner. 

Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet have named Bruce Meeks as inspector general of Citizens Property Insurance. At the time of his appointment Meeks, of Tallahassee, was a partner at the law firm of Robert and Meeks. He previously served as inspector general for the State Board of Administration (2002-2010) and  was the deputy executive Attorney General from 1998-2002.


Michael Kalifeh and Justin Edenfield have been promoted to director, Tax Services Department, at Thomas Howell Ferguson P.A., a professional accounting, assurance and tax services firm headquartered in Tallahassee. Chris Howell has joined the firm as a senior manager in the Assurance Services Department. 

Prime Meridian Bank recently added two more seasoned staff to its Tallahassee banking team. Karen Linville, who has 14 years experience in small business banking and retail management, has joined as a personal banker/treasury management representative. Marsha Asbury-Turner, now a lending specialist, was formerly a residential mortgage loan processor in the Consumer Direct Operations Department for EverBank in Jacksonville.   

Ballard Partners, a Tallahassee-based government affairs firm, has added Christopher Hansen to its Tallahassee team as a new partner. Hansen previously served as a governmental consultant for Gray Robinson P.A., where he was a member of the lobbying team, and before that held a similar position at Huey, Guilday, Tucker, Schwartz & Williams P.A. 

Nick Grosso has joined Genesis, a Florida engineering, planning and design firm, as a project manager in Tallahassee in the company’s Florida transportation engineering practice. Grosso was formerly project manager in the Northwest Florida transportation group at Atkins in Tallahassee where he managed a variety of transportation and roadway projects for the Florida Department of Transportation, the City of Tallahassee, Leon County and other clients. 


Legal Affairs

Dean Mead has opened a new office in Tallahassee, located at 215 South Monroe St. With offices already in Orlando, Fort Pierce, Viera and Gainesville, the Tallahassee location expands firm’s footprint to five offices and more than 50 attorneys positioned throughout Florida. The Tallahassee office is home to four attorneys, including Peter Dunbar, Martha Edenfield, John Wharton and Ashley DiNunzio-Gault. Dunbar, Wharton and Edenfield will each serve as Of Counsel and DiNunzio-Gault will join the firm as associate.

Adams and Reese has added longtime Florida labor and employment attorney Scott Callen as a partner in the firm’s Tallahassee and Tampa offices and as a member of the Special Business Services Practice Group. Callen most recently practiced for Foley & Lardner LLP.


Jennifer Sullivan Davis has become a shareholder of Guilday, Schwartz, Simpson, West, Hatch & Lowe P.A. in Tallahassee. She focuses on general civil litigation and defending claims against many types of professionals and employers, catastrophic injury claims in trucking/transportation accidents and construction defect claims against contractors. 

Andrew D. Manko of The Mills Firm was nominated and approved by the Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors to fill the remainder of a two-year term previously held by another Tallahassee young lawyer. 

Tallahassee lawyer and lobbyist Reggie Garcia was elected to the Economic Club of Florida’s Board of Directors and appointed chairman of its Membership Committee.

Lauren Reynolds, a third-year student at Florida State University’s College of Law, has been awarded the first ever 2013 Gunster Environmental Law Scholarship and Clerkship.

Pennington P.A. has added Jim DeBeaugrine to its state government affairs practice. A longtime veteran of the legislative and executive branches of Florida, DeBeaugrine specializes in appropriations, disability and aging issues, health and long term care, Medicaid and criminal and civil justice. He served on the Florida House of Representatives’ staff for 19 years, including 10 as staff director of the House Justice Appropriations Committee.

Tallahassee attorney Mutaqee Akbar has been appointed vice chair for Florida’s Advertising Grievance Committee, which is responsible for reviewing advertisement misconduct, as well as the investigation of claims submitted to the Florida Bar.

Fred E. Karlinsky, shareholder with the law and governmental consulting firm Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky, Abate & Webb P.A., was named to the advisory council of the Florida State University Florida Catastrophic Storm Risk Management Center.  

Established by the Florida Legislature in 2007, the Center supports the state’s ability to prepare for, respond to and recover from catastrophic storms.

Sarah Butters and Mia McKown have been elected to partnership in Holland & Knight. Butters is a member of the firm’s Business Section, and McKown is in the Litigation Section.

Local Happenings

City Hyundai of Tallahassee in January presented a check for $3,400 to the Florida Cancer Specialists Foundation. The money was raised during Breast Cancer Awareness Month last October, when the car dealership donated $50 for every vehicle sold during the month as a way of building awareness and providing support for breast cancer survivors in the Tallahassee community.

The Florida Cancer Specialists Foundation was created to help needy cancer patients with non-medical living expenses while they are undergoing treatment. The foundation enables those fighting cancer to concentrate on their recovery rather than worrying about how to pay bills such as rent, utilities or transportation costs. Eligible patients must be 18 years of age or older, have current residency in the state of Florida, have an annual income at or below 200% of the national poverty level and be actively receiving cancer treatment in Florida. For more information on the foundation, go to 

Flag Credit Union is one of 20 financial institutions identified by for playing a crucial role in the economic well-being of the communities they serve by donating time and money in the area of education. Flag CU puts most of its efforts in supporting education and the local community through its partnership with local schools, supply donations and drives. 

Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare has added three new members to its volunteer community-based board of directors: Winston Howell, CPA, managing shareholder with Thomas Howell Ferguson P.A., has over 30 years of experience in providing auditing, accounting, tax consulting and general business advice to clients in a number of industries; Andrew M. Wong, MD, orthopedic surgeon with Tallahassee Orthopedic Clinic, has served patients in the Big Bend region for 13 years; and Frederick Carroll III, who will serve in an ex officio role, is chair of the Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare Foundation Board of Trustees and the managing partner of Carroll and Company, Certified Public Accountants. 

A new Aspen Dental office is opening in Tallahassee at 1415 Governors Square Blvd. and will provide dental services that range from dentures and preventive care to general dentistry and restoration. Dr. Shaily Gupta will be lead dentist at the Tallahassee office.

Smoothie King Franchises Inc. has signed eight area development agreements with new and existing franchisees to expand in several markets across the U.S., including Tallahassee. That makes a total of more than 100 locations sold in 2013, including five in Tallahassee.

MEGAS LLC, a Tallahassee-based software firm, has achieved full accreditation with the Healthcare Network Accreditation Program for Electronic Health Networks, from the Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission. Accreditation recognizes excellence in health data processing and transactions and ensures compliance with industry-established standards and HIPAA regulations.


Local Honors


Daniel Parisi, director of new business development at Rowland Publishing, was presented with three awards during the company’s annual sales meeting. He was named the companywide Top Producer for advertising sales as well as Top Producer for 850 and Tallahassee magazines.

Sean Pittman, founder and chairman of the Big Bend Minority Chamber of Commerce, was honored during the first year anniversary reception with the Chairman’s Award. In its first year, BBMC’s accomplishments include securing membership from several corporate sponsors, launching the Hispanic, Young Entrepreneurs, Women’s Business and two other business-driven councils, and sponsoring several signature events, including the Legislative Welcome Back Reception, Tally Fiesta and the monthly community engaging mixer, The President’s Coffee.

The United Way of the Big Bend was honored with a coveted Emmy® Award for the Elect United television public service announcement series from the 2012 campaign. Sachs Media Group worked to conceptualize, script and produce three PSAs featuring on-camera talent, Troy Kinsey, capitol reporter for Bay News 9. The spots centered around the theme “Elect Apathy, the alternative to the United Way,” employing reverse psychology in the style of political spots.


Carrie Zimmerman, co-founder of The Zimmerman Agency, recently received the lifetime achievement “Legend” award at the World Acrobatic Society. She was a 1976 USA Olympic gymnast and the first American woman to score a perfect “10.” As an inductee into the “Gallery of Legends,” Zimmerman joined Olympic greats Nadia Comaneci, Dominque Dawes and Russian eight-time Olympic gold medalist Valeri Liukin.

Debbie Crow, chief financial officer of the Florida Retail Federation, was honored with the nonprofit trade association’s 2013 Chairman’s Award. The award is presented annually to a person or company who has gone “above and beyond the call of duty” to the FRF and the retail community. The group has received an unbroken string of clean audits since 1990.

Carlton Dean, CCIM, of Sperry Van Ness Commercial Real Estate Advisors, has been awarded the prestigious SIOR® designation from the Society of Industrial and Office REALTORS®. SIOR® is a global professional association that recognizes commercial real estate professionals with the highest level of achievement, knowledge, accountability and ethical standards in today’s real estate industry.   

Aegis Business Technologies has been named to the Ingram Micro 2013 SMB 500, celebrating the top 500 fastest-growing Ingram Micro U.S. channel partners focused on small and mid-size businesses. Ranked at number 365, Aegis grew its business with Ingram Micro Inc., the world’s largest technology distributor, by more than 80 percent. 

Tallahassee-based advertising agency The Pod brought home a golden Emmy from the The Suncoast Chapter of National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for its brand video produced for Community South Credit Union. 

Partners in Association Management (PIAM) of Tallahassee was selected by Marriott Hotels of Florida as a Partner of the Year. The selection committee based its decision on criteria that included culture, industry impact and community involvement. Marriott Hotels of Florida awarded PIAM with a contribution of $500 to a local charity of its choice, which was Big Bend Hospice. PIAM matched the donation to provide a total of $1,000.

Appointed by Gov. Scott    

James Davis, 61, of Tallahassee, the owner of James Davis CPA, to the Board of Funeral, Cemetery and Consumer Services.

Brandon L. Harris, 29, of Tallahassee, a certified athletic trainer with Titus Sports Academy, to the Board of Athletic Training.

James Johnson, 63, of Tallahassee, owner of J. Emory Johnson Interior Design Consultants Inc., to the Board of Architecture and Interior Design.

Lisa Miller, 53, of Tallahassee, CEO of Lisa Miller and Associates, to the Apalachee Regional Planning Council, Region Two Community Association Living Study Council.

Dr. Robert P. Morris, 81, of Tallahassee, retired, to the Board of Podiatric Medicine.

Rosa N. McNaughton, 65, of Tallahassee, a workforce services policy and compliance coordinator for the Department of Economic Opportunity, to the Board of Optometry.

Jonathan Peet, 59, of Tallahassee, owner of Jonathan Peet CPA LLC, to the Community Association Living Study.

Emerald Coast

New Beginnings

Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa has appointed Jason Smith as the new executive chef for Sandcastles Restaurant and Lounge. Smith’s professional background includes a variety of techniques and styles, including pastry and confectionery, wine pairing, butchery and international cuisine. Sandcastles is being upgraded as part of a $12.5 million dollar capital improvement project currently underway at the resort. The resort has also appointed Elyse Graver as the newest regional sales manager. Based in Plano, Texas, she will direct the resort’s sales efforts into Texas and the West Coast territories.


Amy Miller has become the first female port director for the City of Pensacola since its inception in the mid-1700s. She is also the only currently serving female port director in the state of Florida and in the U.S. Gulf Coast region. Miller became Port of Pensacola’s manager of Business & Trade Development in 2002. In 2006, her duties were expanded to include oversight of the port’s budgeting, finance and human resources activities.

CPA Jeff Armstrong has joined the Santa Rosa-based firm of McCullar & Company, Certified Public Accountants & Advisors. Prior to joining McCullar & Company, Armstrong had been involved in the real estate, resort and construction industries, including experience as the CFO of Alys Beach, a resort town on Florida’s Scenic Highway 30A.

Levin Bracken has opened his private practice, Bracken Law P.A., in Miramar Beach. A native of Memphis, Tenn., Bracken moved to Destin in 2006 and currently serves as an active member and treasurer of the Okaloosa Bar Association. For the past six years he worked as an attorney at Conerly, Bowman & Dykes and as the closing attorney for Attorneys’ Title of Northwest Florida.

First Florida Bank has added Andy Marshall as executive vice-president and Don Collins as vice-president/commercial lender. 

Previously the commercial banking group manager for Arvest Bank in Tulsa, Okla., Marshall has also held commercial and consumer banking management positions for regional, super-regional and community banks in Arkansas and Mississippi.  

An active duty veteran of the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force, he earned a Bachelor of Science in Business/Management from the University of Maryland and his MBA from the University of Mississippi. 

Collins has served at area banks since 1988, including positions as president and senior vice president/retail banking.  Now based in First Florida Bank’s Niceville branch, he will provide service to Walton and Okaloosa counties. Collins began his career in retail banking, adding expertise in mortgages, and consumer and business loans. 


Michael T. Rehwinkel, executive chairman of EVRAZ North America, has been elected to the Gulf Power Company board of directors. EVRAZ North America is a leading steel manufacturer that annually produces more than 5 million tons of flat, long and tubular products. Rehwinkel, who held the position of CEO and president of EVRAZ from 2010 to 2013, was responsible for transforming EVRAZ from a collection of companies to one commercially driven firm. He is currently chairman of the American Iron and Steel Institute.

Destiny Strategic Advisors has opened a new Destin office at 4481 Legendary Drive. The firm specializes in maximizing the financial performance and operations of small to mid-sized business.

Those looking to buy or sell a business in Northwest Florida can now call on Emerald Coast Business Brokers, which has opened an office in Destin on Legendary Drive. 


Local Happenings

Gulf Power has finished an unprecedented project to install nearly 1,000 LED streetlights from the eastern edge of Gulf Islands National Seashore to the Okaloosa County line —  a 19-mile ribbon of lights along U.S. 98 — as part of a partnership with the Florida Department of Transportation and Santa Rosa County. This is the largest LED streetlight project in Gulf Power history and the largest for its parent, Southern Company. 

After a Florida Department of Transportation audit determined the need to brighten U.S. 98 to improve traveler safety, state and county officials approached Gulf Power to assist with the challenge. The long ribbon of federal highway serves as the main artery connecting commuters, vacationers and commercial transportation — about 43,000 vehicles per day. Construction on the project began earlier in 2013.

During the project, a total of 992 280-watt LED streetlights were installed, one every 200 to 250 feet. Approximately 250 new poles and numerous transformers were installed to complete the project. The FDOT paid for the installation while the county will cover the operation and maintenance costs. 

Attorney General Pam Bondi has appointed Pamela J. Dana to the Triumph Gulf Coast Inc. Board of Directors for a four-year term. Triumph Gulf Coast Inc. must create and administer the Recovery Fund for counties disproportionately affected by the 2010 oil spill. The principal of the fund will derive from 75 percent of all funds recovered by the Attorney General for economic damage to the state resulting from the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Dana is senior strategic advisor for the Institute for Human & Machine Cognition. She was executive director of the Governor’s Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development during Gov. Jeb Bush’s administration.

Because of their close proximity to the Airbus assembly line under construction in Mobile, Ala., five Northwest Florida counties have formed the Gulf Coast Aerospace Coalition, which is aimed at attracting European-based aerospace supplier companies to the region. The coalition is led by the economic development leaders of Bay, Escambia, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton counties, with the Greater Pensacola Chamber representing Greater Pensacola.

Realty Marts International Inc./RMI Vacations, a Pensacola company, celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013.

Russell & Russell has formed Russell Vacation Rentals, which began operating Nov. 1, 2013. The parent company, Russell & Russell Consulting, is a hospitality management company founded in March 2012. It is owned and operated by two industry veterans with 60 years collective experience. John Russell, former president of Sandestin Investments LLC, has served as general manager for Hyatt Hotels and Ritz-Carlton during his three-decade career. He primarily handles property management operation and financials. Scott Russell, former vice-president of Sales and Marketing for Sandestin Investments LLC and vice president of Global Sales for Ritz-Carlton, focuses on building integrated sales and marketing strategies.

Matt Stone MS, CCC-SLP, has been selected as facility manager for the inpatient physical therapy department at the Andrews Institute Rehabilitation Gulf Breeze Hospital location. Stone previously served at the same facility as a speech-language pathologist with clinical interests in disorders of language, speech, voice, oral motor and swallowing in adult patients.

Shannon Ogletree, director of the Santa Rosa County Economic Development Office, has earned the designation of Certified Economic Developer, a national recognition that denotes a mastery of principal skills in economic development, from the International Economic Development Council. The CEcD recognizes qualified and dedicated practitioners in the economic development field and sets the standard of excellence within the profession. Candidates must have at least five years of experience, complete extensive economic development training requirements and pass a rigorous and comprehensive three-part, two-day examination administered by the International Economic Development Council. 

Season two of “Emeril’s Florida” premiered in January on the Cooking Channel and is featuring South Walton County in nine different segments. Two episodes are focusing solely on the destination, the first of which aired in late January and the second airing Sunday, March 2, at 1:30 p.m. CST.

“South Walton took part in a very unique opportunity to showcase what makes the destination so special,” said Jon Ervin, director of marketing and communications for Walton County Tourist Development Council. “Our area offers a complete vacation experience in part thanks to some of the most passionate restaurateurs, which of course beachgoers have come to love.”

Nine locations in South Walton welcomed Lagasse to their establishments, including: Havana Beach Bar & Grill at The Pearl in Rosemary Beach, V Seagrove, 723 Whiskey Bravo in Seagrove, Seaside’s Airstream row of fun and funky food trucks, Crust Artisan Bakery in Santa Rosa Beach, Sandestin’s Seagar’s Prime Steaks and Seafood, Marlin Grill and The Wine Bar at Grand Boulevard. The Marina at Baytowne Wharf, where Chef Lagasse prepared a fresh catch with Florida Gov. Rick Scott during the first season, will once again feature fresh-on-the-dock seafood in South Walton.

The Cooking Channel’s first season of “Emeril’s Florida” was viewed by an estimated 1 million U.S. households and was then was picked up by Food Network and re-aired last summer to more than 2.5 million more homes.

Local Honors

Express Employment Professionals of Pensacola is one of seven Florida businesses honored by Gov. Rick Scott at the eighth annual Exceptional Employers Awards because of its commitment to employing people with disabilities. 

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. Legendary is the Gulf Coast’s largest boat dealership, with sales and service locations in Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Panama City and Gulf Shores, Ala.

James “Ed” Tate of Pensacola, lead pharmacist for NW Florida’s Federal Disaster Medical Assistance Team, was honored this past fall for his 15 years of steadfast service on deployments and at the team’s Ft. Walton Beach base of operations and for the quality of pharmacy management procedures that have been implemented during his tenure.

CFRE International has named Erin Kelley Sammis, executive director for the Pensacola Opera, as a Certified Fund Raising Executive.  

The Greater Pensacola Chamber was ranked No. 31 among the nation’s Top 100 social media-savvy chambers of commerce by, which evaluated more than 500 chambers throughout the country.

Jerry L. Maygarden and Shigeko Honda were recently recognized by the University of West Florida for the significant impact they have made on the university and the region.

Maygarden, the fall commencement keynote speaker, was named an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. A UWF alumnus, Maygarden is a business leader with a long and distinguished career in public service, including leadership positions in state and local government and health care. He currently serves as president and CEO of the Greater Pensacola Chamber. He also serves as chair of the UWF Historic Trust Board of Directors. Maygarden, a former city councilman and mayor of Pensacola, served as a state legislator and was Majority Leader in the Florida House of Representatives from 1994–2002. He was the founding president of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Florida and he currently chairs the Ronald McDonald House Development Council. 

Honda was awarded the Founder’s Medallion in recognition of her 25 years of service to the university, during which she established and nurtured its Japanese language program and the U.S.-Japan educational and cultural programs. She previously served as the director of the Japan Center, Japan House and Jikei-American Center, and as co-director of the Florida-Japan Linkage Institute. One of her most significant contributions to the university was the building of the Japan House in 2006 as a center for Japanese culture for the Pensacola area and southeast U.S. region. She was also responsible for establishing UWF as the third host institution of the Florida-Japan Linkage Institute in 1994, and for relocating the head office from the University of South Florida to UWF in 2006.

Pen Air Federal Credit Union has been awarded the 5-Star Superior Rating for strength and security for its 92nd consecutive quarter by BauerFinancial Inc., the nation’s bank rating firm. 

Fort Walton Beach Medical Center and Twin Cities Hospital in Niceville have been named Top Performer on Key Quality Measures™ by The Joint Commission, the leading accreditor of health care organizations in America, for the third year in a row. Both were recognized for exemplary performance in using evidence-based clinical processes that are shown to improve care for certain conditions, including heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, surgical care, children’s asthma, stroke and venous thromboembolism, as well as inpatient psychiatric services. 

Pensacola State College Dean Debbie Douma recently received the national Campus Impact Award for Outstanding Grants Professional at the 47th annual conference of the Council for Resource Development in Washington, D.C. Douma heads the PSC Institutional Effectiveness and Grants Department and especially recognized for her role in securing and managing an $8.5 million Health Profession Opportunity Grant to provide low-income individuals with education, training and support services needed to prepare them for employment or advancement in nursing and other health care fields.

Twin Cities was also 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.

Susan Kiley, co-owner of Bay Breeze Patio in Miramar Beach, was recently appointed to the 2014 Board of Directors of the International Casual Furnishings Association, the preeminent association for the casual furniture industry. She will serve along with representatives from leading furnishings manufacturers, including Lane Venture, Tropitone and Brown Jordan.

Two members of the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa 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. 


Appointed by Gov. Scott    

Elizabeth Brant, 49, of Baker, an environmental engineer with Polyengineering Inc., to the Early Learning Coalition of Okaloosa and Walton counties. 

Stan Connally Jr., Gulf Power president and CEO, to Triumph Gulf Coast Inc. Board of Directors.

Rachel Connell, Balenda Hetzel and Martha Odom to the Early Learning Coalition of Santa Rosa County. Connell, 36, of Milton, is a self employed accountant. Hetzel, 43, of Navarre, is vice president of Beach Community Mortgage. Odom, 58, of Gulf Breeze, is the special projects coordinator for J.O. Services Group. 

Clint E. Lohr, 41, of Cantonment, corporate director of rehabilitation for Baptist Health Care, to the Board of Physical Therapy Practice. 

Dr. Jonathan D. Miller, 43, of Pensacola Beach, a psychologist with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, to the Board of Psychology.

Andrew Raines, 38, of Pensacola, a support services coordinator at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, to the Florida Building Code Administrators and Inspectors Board.


Local Happenings


Panama City-based Summit Bank has promoted Terri Hester to vice president and loan compliance officer. Terri, who has been in banking in Bay County since 1994, is one of Summit Bank’s original employees (2008) and has been responsible for all loan operations, document preparation and storage.   

Promising to create 300 new jobs, iSirona, an information technology company that provides solutions for medical device integration, will expand its operations in Panama City with a capital investment of $2.25 million. Since the beginning of 2012, iSirona has grown from 31 employees to more than 180 — and this expansion will triple its workforce to more than 400. Established in 2008 and headquartered in Panama City, iSirona helps clinicians make more informed decisions about patients by providing an easy-to-use approach for medical device integration. iSirona was ranked “One of America’s Most Promising Companies” in 2013 by Forbes magazine and as the fifth fastest-growing private company in U.S. health care in 2012 by Inc. Magazine.

The Bay Economic Development Alliance was awarded a $500,000 grant from the Florida Defense Task Force in November to connect the military installation at Naval Support Activity Panama City to LambdaRail. The 12,000-mile nationwide fiber optic network is used by NASA, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and more than 280 universities for advanced research projects. The new technology is expected to improve NSA PC’s military value.

Richard Dodd and partners formed a construction management firm — ReliantSouth Construction Group — in June 2013 and recently added two new project members: Aaron McPhail, a 2013 graduate from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering; and Jason Phillips, project manager, who earned a Bachelor of Science in construction management from the University of West Florida and has more than 15 years of experience working with various regional construction firms helping to build projects ranging in size from $100,000 to $80 million from Mississippi to Central Florida. 

Dodd, who brought 30 years of experience to the firm, is partners with long-term co-workers John Meyer and Dalton Parker, who joined as vice presidents. Recent projects include renovations at Bay High School and Mowat Middle School and construction of the $16 million North Bay Haven Charter Academy.

Appointed by Gov. Scott    

Dr. William F. Cavitt, 73, Panama City, a self-employed licensed mental health counselor, to the Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy, and Mental Health Counseling.

Dr. Merle P. Stringer, 71, a neurosurgeon with the Brain and Spine Center LLC, to the Board of Medicine.

Forgotten Coast

Local Happenings

Gov. Rick Scott and Volunteer Florida CEO Chester Spellman have presented Shawn Shattuck with the Volunteer Florida Champion of Service Award in honor of his community work.

After losing his job as an oysterman due to challenges faced by Franklin County’s commercial seafood industry, Shattuck volunteered with Franklin’s Promise Coalition’s “A Hand Up: Volunteer Emergency Assistance Program,” an emergency assistance fund established to provide unemployed residents assistance with utilities and basic needs. While volunteering at the coalition, Shattuck helped with a variety of projects, including Toys for Tots, Running for the Bay and local food pantries. On March 1, 2013, he started his own business, Shawn’s Honey-Do Services LLC, where he offers services in tiling, moving, lawn care, carpentry and painting. 

Brett Gormely and Keri Hall with Up the Creek Raw Bar were chosen by Emeril Lagasse as one of the Florida restaurants to be featured on his Jan. 19th show on the Cooking Channel. 

The city of Port St. Joe is one of the first four communities selected by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity to participate in the pilot program for the Competitive Florida Partnership, a new rural community development initiative. (The other communities are the cities of Newberry and White Springs and Desoto County.) The Competitive Florida Partnership focuses on improving local economic development activities, helping rural communities value and market local assets and challenging them to set realistic goals for advancing their economic development vision.

850 Region 

The Gulf Coast Trade Alliance’s 2014 World Trade Conference will be held May 1 and 2 at the Hilton on Pensacola Beach and will highlight transportation and infrastructure. This year’s theme is Gateway Gulf Coast: Leveraging Infrastructure to Boost International Commerce.

The two-day event will highlight trade trends, market developments and international business opportunities for Gulf Coast companies, and attendees will have opportunities with trade practitioners, international business professionals and state and federal resource providers. For updates and more information, check

The 2014 elected officers and directors of Florida’s Great Northwest, the regional economic development organization for the 16-county Florida Panhandle region, are: Chair Ed Gardner, PowerSouth; Vice Chair Angela Strickland, Gulf Power; Secretary/Treasurer
Kim Bodine, Gulf Coast Workforce Board; Past Chair
John Hutchinson, Gulf Power Company.

Other directors include: Lewis Bear, The Lewis Bear Company, sustaining member; Denise Barton, Sacred Heart Health Systems, sustaining member; Shannon Ogletree, Santa Rosa County ED, economic development representative;
Jeff Stevenson, Gulf Coast State College, higher education representative; Rick Bitner, Farm Credit of Northwest Florida, general member representative; and Bruce Vredenburg, Hancock Bank, general member representative.

Categories: Happenings