Sound Bytes: Our Ear to the Ground in the 850

News and notes from around the 850 region.


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CAPITAL CORRIDOR | Compiled by Chelsey Germani

FSU Happenings

The FSU College of Business’ undergraduate, graduate and doctoral accounting programs are all among the nation’s best, according to the recently released 27th Annual Public Accounting Report Professor’s Survey.

The College of Business has announced the creation of a new distinguished award for faculty, the Waters Fellow in Risk Management and Insurance Award, created in honor of the many donations made to the program by the late William A. “Bill” Waters.

Cassandra Cole, an associate professor in the Risk Management/Insurance (RMI) program, has been named the Waters Fellow for her work in furthering the RMI undergraduate program while serving as the RMI program director.

Legal Affairs

Charles T. Wells, a former justice of the Florida Supreme Court, has joined the GrayRobinson law firm in an “of counsel” capacity. He will maintain offices in Orlando and Tallahassee. Wells served on the high court from 1994 – 2009 and was Chief Justice from 2000 – 2002.

The law firm of Keefe, Anchors, Gordon & Moyle has recently opened a Tallahassee office with Jon Moyle as the director. The firm specializes in business disputes and counseling, governmental relations, condominium and homeowner associations and hurricane insurance.

Carlton Fields, which has an office in Tallahassee, has had 62 of its attorneys selected for inclusion in the 2009 edition of The Best Lawyers in America, up from 54 attorneys in 2008. Sixty-two of the firm’s attorneys were also selected for Florida Super Lawyers 2008.

Nelson Mullins Riles & Scarborough is opening its first Florida office in Tallahassee by joining forces with a group of local attorneys who have gained national prominence in a practice dedicated to representation of automobile manufacturers in dealer, distribution and business matters.

New members of the Southeastern-based Nelson Mullins are Dean Bunch, Andy Bertron, Melissa Allaman, Everett Boyd and Virginia L. Gulde.

New Beginnings

George LeMieux, Gov. Charlie Crist’s former chief of staff, has unveiled a new Web portal called the “Boardroom Brief,” a one-stop shop for Florida’s CEOs and top executives looking for political and business news that impacts Florida. The site features an interactive blog called “Watercooler,” which allows users to weigh in on important issues and receive feedback and opinions from their colleagues.

Florida Commerce Credit Union announced the appointment of Cecilia D. Homison as the new chief executive officer, succeeding long-time CEO, Ron Fye, who is retiring.

Windell Paige is the new president of the Capital City Chamber of Commerce, succeeding Terence Hinson. Paige is CEO of W.P. and Associates, a business consulting firm.

Cody Langston has been appointed to Flightline Group’s board of directors. He has been with the company for 12 years and is currently general manager of the Tallahassee fixed-base operation.

Onyx Group has established a new consulting division to show clients how smart planning and strong creativity work hand-in-hand.

‘Or-ge-niz,’ will offer strategic planning, meeting facilitations, seminars and promote an integrated marketing communication approach to businesses, says Onyx Co-Principal Nadia Kamal.

Award Winners

Ron Sachs Communications, Onyx Group, Kidd Group and 3W Studios were recently honored with ADDY awards handed out by the American Advertising Federation of Tallahassee for their creative talent. Sachs received the prestigious Silver Medal Award for his contributions to the field of advertising.

Bonnie Fowler of Armor Realty of Tallahassee Inc. has been recognized as one of the top 25 agents in the Tallahassee Board of Realtors for 2008. Realtor and Certified Residential Specialist, Fowler was also awarded the Presidential Spirit Award for 2008 for being the “Most Enthusiastic Realtor.”

VISIT FLORIDA’s newly launched interactive Web site,, received gold, silver and bronze awards at 2008’s Adrian Awards.

Anne Kelly, director of administration and member services for the National Association of Social Workers – Florida Chapter, and Adrienne Segundo, chief of staff executive with Partners in Association Management, recently received a $1,000 award from the Florida Society of Association Executives Foundation.

Monroe P. Lee, president and owner of Florida Auto Sport Inc., Tallahassee’s Kia Autosport dealership, was one of only 49 dealers nationwide nominated for the 2009 Time Magazine Dealer of the Year.

Appointed by Gov. Charlie Crist

  • John Bailey, 49, of Tallahassee, and Alma Littles, 49, of Quincy, to the Florida Correctional Medical Authority.
  • Kenneth W. Sukhia, 55, of Tallahassee, to the Second Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission.


Bay Corridor | Compiled by Linda Kleindienst


The Hilton Garden Inn Panama City was presented with the Hotel of the Year award at the Hilton Garden Inn General Managers/Directors of Sales Conference.  

The Bay Point Marriott Golf Resort and Spa hotel in Panama City Beach has been selected as a Gold List recipient of Conde Naste Traveler. The Reader’s Choice Survey is sent out to the magazine’s database of opt-in subscribers. In 2008, a total of 38,000 surveys were completed.

Shark’s Tooth Golf Club — the award-winning Greg Norman design set along the shores of scenic Lake Powell near Panama City Beach and part of the WaterColor Resort Golf Collection — has been recertified “Silver Signature” by Audubon International.


Emerald Coast Corridor | Compiled by Chelsey Germani

Local Honors

Galati Yacht Sales at The Wharf has earned the No. 1 ranking in Boating Industry magazine’s Top 100 marine dealers nationwide for the second straight year. Based in Anna Maria, Galati has 11 sales locations. The marine dealer ranking recognizes the best-of-the-best of the more than 5,000 marine dealers in North America.

Image Printing & Digital Services Inc. was honored by the Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce as Small Business of the Year. Kathy Houchins, chamber board president, recognized Image and its General Manager, John McLane, as having “always been willing to work with us no matter how small the job or how big the rush.”

Members of the Florida Association of the American Institute of Architects looked to Florida’s Emerald Coast to select their new president, Steven Jernigan, AIA LEED AP, who took over the 3,700-member association in January. He is a partner with Bay Design Associates Architects in Pensacola.

O’Sullivan Creel, LLP, one of the region’s largest CPA and consulting firms, congratulates Kelley Chamblin, CPA, and Joseph W. Henderson, CPA, on acquiring the Certified Construction Industry Financial Professional certification.

Coastal Vision 3000 won two Gold ADDY Awards for advertising excellence for their “THE Beach” Web site. The awards were presented by the Gulf Coast Marketing & Media Association, a local chapter of the American Advertising Federation.

Pensacola’s CatCountry 98.7 (WYCT-FM) received awards in two categories— Radio Station of the Year and Radio On-Air Personality of the Year (Brent Lane and Dana Cervantes) —from The Academy of Country Music Association.

Moving Up

Trenton S. Sommerville of Destin has been appointed chief executive officer and chairman of the board by Puritan Financial Group, Inc. He succeeds Jerry Gruenbaum, who will remain director of the company.

Darin L. Grigg has been named the senior vice president of operations and business development for Specialty Building Maintenance, headquartered in Destin and voted “Best of the Best” on the Emerald Coast in 2008 for professional housekeeping, commercial cleaning and facilities maintenance services. Grigg was with Turnberry Associates at Destin Commons for the past six years.

Stacey Brady has been named the new director of communications for Grand Boulevard at Sandestin. She will oversee marketing, public relations and tenant relations for the Town Center, located in South Walton County.

Robert Perry has been named the new general manager of Destin Commons by Turnberry Associates. Most recently, Perry was managing director of Yacht Haven Grande, located in St. Thomas, U.S Virgin Islands.

Stephen C. Riggs of Destin has been appointed to the Board of Accountancy by Gov. Charlie Crist. Riggs is a certified public accountant with Carr Riggs & Ingram, and succeeds Frank D. Puissegur.

Anniversary Celebrations

Christina Timmons is celebrating the 10th anniversary of her physician-recruiting website, O.I.S. Media, Inc., or The site gives physician recruiters the ability to post up to 500 positions at once, search, view and print physician information, set up e-mail alerts, view real-time activity statistics and utilize featured listings for higher visibility.

The West Florida Regional Planning Council is celebrating its 45th anniversary. The council provides support for Bay, Escambia, Holmes, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Walton and Washington counties in Northwest Florida.

Local Goings-On

Frank Flautt of the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa was recently named Hotelier of the Year by The Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association as a part of its 2008 Hospitality Hall of Fame inductions.  

Joann Hargrove, regional sales manager of the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa, received the 2008 Jim Root Distinguished Service Award from the Alabama Council of Association Executives. The Hilton recently teamed up with WITS Marketing and Public Relations.

The Hank Johnson School of Golf recently relocated to Santa Rosa Golf and Beach Club. Hank Johnson is rated by Golf Digest as one of the top 50 instructors in the U.S. and was named 2004 PGA Teacher of the Year. Tony Ruggiero is the head instructor and Rob Shaffer is instructor and master club fitter.

John Russell is the new resort chief and vice president of operations for Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. With more than 20 years experience in luxury hotels, Russell also serves as regional vice president of Intrawest Hospitality Management for the Marriott Courtyard and Marirott Residence Inn, both located at Sandestin, as well as Cottage Rental Agency in Seaside.

“Golf Odyssey: The Insider’s Guide to Sophisticated Golf” travel newsletter has named Camp Creek as the “Best Private Course You Can Play in Florida,” and WaterColor Inn & Resort as one of Florida’s “Best Golf Resorts” in its “2008: The Year in Review” issue.


I-10 Corridor | Compiled by Chelsey Germani


Two Liberty County companies are under new management and planning to reopen for business: Sunshine State Cypress Mill in Hosford and Telogia Power Plant.

Doug Brock has been named general manager of Sunshine State. Cindi Reeves is office manager and Hayes Morris is procurement manager.

The power plant, which converts waste wood to energy, is expected to reopen in June and more than double the number of employees, from 10 to 24.