Sound Bytes: Our ear to the ground in the 850

Erin VanSickle, former communications director for the Republican Party of Florida, has joined Jerry Paul and Rob Wilson to form Capital Energy Communications LLC. The company will provide strategic communications services combined with energy policy and legislative expertise.

Sound Bytes: Our ear to the ground in the 850 Compiled by Daniel Mutter and Linda Kleindienst


Erin VanSickle, former communications director for the Republican Party of Florida, has joined Jerry Paul and Rob Wilson to form Capital Energy Communications LLC. The company will provide strategic communications services combined with energy policy and legislative expertise.

Steve Evans has been selected to serve as the Florida State University Foundation’s interim president. Evans, who retired from IBM as a vice president in 2003, is the immediate past chairman of Florida TaxWatch and serves on the advisory board of the Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship.

Embarq and CenturyTel. Inc have merged to become CenturyLink, the fourth largest local exchange carrier in the nation. Eric Miller, formerly EMBARQ’s staff operations manager for the Mid-Atlantic and West Coast, has been named the company’s vice president and general manager for North Florida. Miller will have regional responsibility for the direction and performance of the company, as well as managing local customer support and growth opportunities.

Amy Schrader, attorney in the Tallahassee office of GrayRobinson P.A., has been elected to the executive council of the Administrative Law section of The Florida Bar.

Jeffrey Bond has been promoted to vice president/chief information officer of Florida Commerce Credit Union. Bond brings more than 35 years of experience in the financial services industry.

Philip Pomeroy Jr. has joined Prime Meridian Bank as vice president of Commercial and Real Estate Lending.

John Powell, a Pensacola native and veteran law enforcement officer, has been named director of the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco for the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

SouthWood Golf Club named culinary veteran Bill Mann executive chef at its neighborhood-oriented restaurant and grill.



Tallahassee Community College has announced the establishment of an Advanced Manufacturing Training Center. A joint effort between TCC and the Economic Development Council of Tallahassee and Leon County, the center will provide technologically advanced training for workers in the region’s manufacturing sector.

Florida State University Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Lawrence G. Abele has received the Pacesetter Award from the National Academic Advising Association. Abele received the reward in recognition of his support of academic advising initiatives that have improved retention and graduation rates at FSU.



Jason S. Lichtstein, an environmental partner at Akerman Senterfitt in Tallahassee, was recently named as one of the Top "40 Under 40" professionals in the Florida real estate industry by Real Estate Florida. Lichtstein is the president-elect of the Florida Brownfields Association.

T-Formation, Tallahassee’s largest screen printer, has been ranked as the eighth largest volume screen printer in the nation by Impressions magazine. The company moved up from 10th in 2008.

The Florida Society of Association Executives has chosen Wanda Taylor, deputy executive director of member services at the Florida Association of Postsecondary Schools and Colleges, for the Rising Star Award.



Former state Insurance Commissioner Bill Gunter has been elected chairman of the Florida Association of Insurance Agents. Gunter is chairman of Rogers, Gunter, Vaughn Insurance

Thirteen attorneys from the Tallahassee office of Holland & Knight have been named by their peers to the 2010 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Those honored are: Martha Barnett, Elizabeth Bevington, Lawrence N. Curtin, Frederick R. Dudley, James M. Ervin Jr., Stephen H. Grimes, Jerome Hoffman, Thomas J. Jones, David Bruce May Jr., Morris H. Miller, Shannon Hartsfield Salimone, Lawrence E. Sellers, Karen D. Walker.

Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, D-Tallahassee, has announced the launch of the Florida Film and Entertainment Caucus. This bipartisan group of legislators from the state House and Senate will work to create incentives for the film and entertainment industry with the hope of bringing millions into Florida’s economy.

Partners in Association Management has recently been awarded accreditation by AMC Institute, the global trade association representing the Association Management industry.



Alia S. Faraj-Johnson, vice president of Ron Sachs Communications, has been appointed by Gov. Charlie Crist to the Florida Elections Commission.




Crescent Park Village, an assisted living facility, announces the addition of 14 more beds. The addition was expected to open by late summer to meet the growing needs in the Crestview area.

Monya McDonald, R.N., has been promoted to director of quality improvement at Jay Hospital. McDonald will work closely with physicians, employees and administration to facilitate compliance of state requirements for infection control, employee health, risk management, utilization review and quality improvement





Panama City’s Summit Bank, which opened in April of 2008, reported a net operating profit in its fifth quarter of operations. There were 177 banks newly chartered from Jan. 1, 2007, through March 31, 2008. Of those, less than 23% had achieved profitability by June 30, 2008, and less than 5% did so earlier than their fifth quarter of operations. Summit grew to more than $65 million in assets in 15 months.

The U.S. Air Force has ordered a MERLIN Aircraft Birdstrike Avoidance Radar System for Bagram Field in Afghanistan from DeTect, Inc., in Panama City. This is the first use of bird radar technology in a war zone.

CareSouth Health Systems, Inc., the largest privately held home health services provider in Georgia, has acquired Total Home Health Care, LLC, a Medicare certified home health care agency in Panama City. The acquisition provides CareSouth a footprint in the Florida home health market.

Dana Dunnigan, owner of Prudential Shimmering Sands Realty of Bay County, acquired Prudential Resort Realty of Apalachicola and St. George Island and in doing so expanded to a six-county reach from the company’s Panama City Beach base. The company was renamed Prudential Shimmering Sands Realty.



Nanisa Anderson recently joined Covenant Hospice as the development manager for the Panama City and Tallahassee area. Anderson will be responsible for market development as well as donor and media relationship building.

PBS&J has appointed William C. "Bill" Lynn as project director for aviation-related environmental services. Lynn has served as environmental project manager of the new Panama City-Bay County International Airport, overseeing the planning, site selection, conceptual and final engineering design, and permitting of the new airport.



Ledman Construction & Development Inc. recently received an Energy Efficient Home Aurora Award.

Textured Coatings of America (TEX•COTE), a leading manufacturer of specialty coatings for residential and commercial buildings headquartered in Panama City, has been named the "Top Green Coating Project" by the Journal of Architectural Coatings.





Santa Rosa Beach architecture firm Atelier 259 received a Florida/Caribbean Design Award from the Florida Association of American Institute of Architects. It is the only firm from Northwest Florida to win a Design Award in the past four years.

The Florida Credit Union League recently honored Pen Air Federal Credit Union, Pensacola, with the 2009 Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Award, which honors credit unions that demonstrate the "people helping people" philosophy.

Landrum Human Resource Companies Inc., Pensacola, has been honored nationally as one of the 50 best places to work by the Great Place to Work Institute Inc. and the Society for Human Resource Management.

Pensacola’s Susan Story, president & CEO of Gulf Power, has been re-elected as an at-large member of the Enterprise Florida Board of Directors.

David Wildebrandt, chief operating officer at Baptist Hospital, Pensacola, was recently selected for the Outstanding Recent Alumni Award by the University of St. Francis.

Jake Meyer, of I Will Design For Food graphic design company, Santa Rosa Beach, has been awarded a National Silver ADDY for his company’s logo design. The ADDY is the highest award bestowed by the American Design Federation.

Troy Alan Rafferty, of Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Echsner & Proctor P.A., Pensacola, has earned Florida Bar Board Certification in civil trial.

O’Sullivan Creel, LLP, with offices in Pensacola, Destin and Fort Walton, has been named one of the "Top 100 Best Companies To Work For in Florida" by Florida Trend magazine.

Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa has been honored with a "Best in the South" award by the readers of Meetings South magazine for the 10th consecutive year.



Ryan O. Garrity, of Freeport, has joined the full-service Destin law firm of Pleat and Perry, P.A., as an associate attorney.

Beach Properties of Florida, Santa Rosa Beach, recently announced the addition of two new real estate agents to its roster, Will Palmer and Hannah Martin. Palmer has several years of experience in the 30A market as a licensed broker, and Martin is a newly licensed broker.

William "Bill" Arnett has been chosen as the new executive director of the Walton County Economic Development Council.

Intrawest ULC, Destin, a leader in the development and management of destination resorts, has announced the appointment of Scott Russell to the position of vice president of sales and marketing at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. Russell will oversee all sales and marketing activities.

Nemours Children’s Clinic, Pensacola, one of the nation’s leading pediatric health systems, announces the addition of Karen Bellapianta, M.D., to its Division of Otolaryngology.

After serving the state of Florida for more than 30 years, acting commissioner of the Florida Office of Financial Regulation Alex Hager has accepted a shareholder position with Pensacola -based CPA firm Saltmarsh Cleveland & Gund.

At Pensacola’s Baptist Hospital: Doug Lurton has been promoted to director of Clinical and Support Services; Amanda Davis Hardy, R.N., has been named bariatric clinical coordinator; Jackie Livingston is the new GoldenCare marketing director; Julie Cardwell has been promoted to administrator of Baptist Medical Park-Nine Mile; Chris Massey has been named environmental-services operations manager for Gulf Breeze Hospital; and Tim Folk has been promoted to chief of perfusion and autotransfusion services.



The Destin Area Chamber of Commerce and the City of Destin have announced plans for a joint Sports Commission. The new commission is an initiative to attract tournaments and traveling leagues, particularly during slower seasons.

Through a ground-breaking partnership featuring a bank and two credit unions, Innisfree Hotels Inc. has acquired $38 million to construct a 206-room Holiday Inn on Pensacola Beach.



Enterprise Florida expands global economic outlook seminar to Pensacola

Launched July 8 in Orlando, seminar offers business growth tips, networking and exporting updates.

An early summer call for participation in the first Global Economic Forecast and Trade Resources Expo, held July 8 in Orlando, elicited 110 registrants from Central Florida, well more than expected. So, Enterprise Florida is taking its show on the road. A stop in Pensacola is scheduled for November 10 from 8 – 11:30 a.m. at the Gulf Power Auditorium, located at One Energy Plaza in Pensacola. The Florida District Export Council is a cosponsor. This seminar/business forum overviews the current business climate amid the economic downturn and offers projections for a recovery time frame — or a return to "normal" for Florida. The discussion also includes trends, exporting opportunities and strategic business positioning for successful results.