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Business Briefs

May 9, 2012
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Priority Marketing wins two Image Awards

The Florida Public Relations Association Southwest Chapter honored Priority Marketing with two Image Awards during its 2012 Image Awards competition. The highest award in its category, the Image Awards were awarded to Priority Marketing for the media coverage of VIP Realty's launch, and for the public relations campaign for Safe Kids Lee and Collier Counties.

Priority Marketing generated extensive media coverage for VIP Realty during the launch of, an online resource for independent real estate companies. The public relations initiative exceeded its strategic goals, garnering media coverage in nearly 300 national media outlets, reaching more than 78 million readers. As a result the client generated new business and increased revenue.

In addition, the public awareness campaign for Safe Kids Lee and Collier Counties achieved significant results and raised awareness for the prevailing issues of child drowning and injuries related to improper installation of car seats. The integrated communications program included the production and dissemination of multiple print materials, public relations initiatives and the launch of a new website.

Established in 1992, Priority Marketing is a full-service marketing, advertising and public relations firm. The company is located at 8200 College Parkway, Suite 201 in Fort Myers. For more information call 239-267-2638 or visit

LCEC returns $7.2 million in final equity

LCEC recently distributed $7.2 million to memberships that have been closed since 2004. LCEC has returned more than $191 million to customers over the years, which is among the best for the 800 cooperatives in the United States. Next month, LCEC will distribute another $5.7 million to current and inactive customers in the form of checks and credits to their account.

Equity is the value of the investment customers/members make in LCEC. Customers provide a portion of the capital necessary to operate the business through the payments they make each month. Without this investment, LCEC would be required to borrow additional funds from outside sources to provide electric service, resulting in higher base rates. LCEC has been able to return equity and has not raised rates over the past four years. Each year, once operating expenses are paid, the amount that remains is the net margin. The Board of Trustees review the LCEC financial position annually to determine if a portion of the net margins can be distributed to members.

Visit for more information about equity.

Established in 1940, LCEC is a not-for-profit electric distribution cooperative serving Cape Coral, North Fort Myers, Marco Island, Sanibel and Captiva Islands, Pine Island, Everglades City, Immokalee, Ave Maria, and parts of Lehigh Acres.

Benson joins the National Association of Senior Move Managers

Karen L. Benson, owner of Karen L. Benson & Associates Interior Design and Inspire Transitions, has been invited to join the National Association of Senior Move Managers, according to Mary Kay Buysse, NASMM's Executive Director.

As a certified transition specialist, Benson provides a spectrum of turnkey packing and moving services for senior clients, their families and caregivers. Services include help with locating the right new residence, staging an existing home for sale, planning what to take and where to place it, sorting through, packing, moving, and unpacking belongings, installing equipment, and selecting, arranging, and installing furnishings.

The National Association of Senior Move Managers is a not-for-profit, professional association of organizations dedicated to assisting seniors and their families with the physical and emotional challenges of downsizing, relocating, or modifying their homes.

Karen L. Benson & Associates Interior Design has been designing residential and commercial spaces throughout south Florida and the east coast since 1996. Inspire Transitions is a new service of the firm that was born of the need to help vulnerable seniors transition to smaller living situations, such as retirement communities and assisted living with less stress. To learn more, call 239-334-4111 or visit

Stevens Construction adds Don Jones

Don Jones has joined Stevens Construction as superintendent, announced Mark Stevens, company president.

Jones will manage the onsite field supervision of commercial projects, specifically handling inspections, safety meetings, daily job reports, cost reports and all tasks that are instrumental to the success of the project.

Jones brings 35 years of construction experience, previously serving as superintendent for a global construction company, completing over $100 million in civil projects. Jones has a strong background in the construction of public, transportation and educational facility projects throughout the country.

With offices in Fort Myers and Orlando, Stevens Construction specializes in providing construction management, general contracting, and consulting services to clients and design professionals. Other services include site and design team selection, budgeting, project scheduling, permitting, cost and quality control, and warranty service. For information, visit or call 239-936-9006.

Breakthrough Awards Luncheon celebrates local businesses, individuals

Two businesses and three individuals will be honored Thursday, May 10, at Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida's Annual Breakthrough Awards Luncheon. The annual event is a celebration of the nonprofit agency's top achievers, and supporters in the community. This year's event will be held at Harborside Event Center, 1375 Monroe St., in Fort Myers.

This year, Goodwill will be honoring members of the community in several different categories. Breakthrough Award recipients Justin Winings of Cape Coral and Matt Davis of Naples will both be recognized for their personal achievements overcoming their disabilities through Goodwill's career services. An award will also be presented to Goodwill's Breakthrough Volunteer, Janet Wilson, who has been involved in the agency's annual Festival of Trees for several years and has also assisted Goodwill with numerous events.

Two area businesses will also receive Breakthrough Awards: The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples, and the Collier County Solid Waste Management Department. Both will be honored for their support of Goodwill's mission.

Special recognition will also be paid to the Florida Sled Hockey Association and Florida Eels sled hockey coach Ron Robichaud. Sled hockey is an adaptive sport designed to allow participants with a physical disability to play ice hockey.

Tickets to the Goodwill Breakthrough Awards Luncheon are just $50 per person or $750 for a table sponsorship. To RSVP call Madison Mitchell at (239) 995-2106 extension 2213 or email The luncheon begins at 11:30 a.m.

For more information visit

Summer reading days

coming back to

Bennett's Fresh Roast

For the fifth year in a row, the owners of Bennett's Fresh Roast in downtown Fort Myers are encouraging children to read while out of school this summer.

From June 1 through Sept. 1, Bennett's will offer school-aged children from kindergarten through fifth grade a complimentary fresh donut each time they read a book at the downtown Fort Myers coffee shop.

Each day during normal business hours and while daily supplies last, children can receive one free donut per day when they read a book and are accompanied by a parent. A selection of books appropriate for children are available for reading on-site.

Located off West First Street at 2011 Bayside Parkway, Bennett's is housed in a bright and colorful 2,000-square-foot shop inside a restored 1943 former home.

Bennett's is open Monday through Sunday from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Bennett's also features packaged whole bean or ground coffees, breakfast muffins, strata, oatmeal and sandwiches, a large variety of retail ware and Bodum glassware. Tea lovers can choose from a large variety of Harney & Sons Fine Teas.

For more information, call Bennett's Fresh Roast at 239-332-0077 or visit

Hope Clubhouse,

Bennett earn public

relations honors

Debra Webb of Hope Clubhouse of Southwest Florida and Susan Bennett of Susan Bennett Marketing & Media earned the Image Award for the best institutional public relations program in the region last year.

The award was presented by the Southwest Florida Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association for excellence in public relations at the Annual Image Awards ceremony April 17 at the Art of the Olympians in downtown Fort Myers.

It marks the 19th consecutive year that Susan Bennett Marketing & Media, L.C., has been recognized for outstanding communications campaigns, making it the most honored marketing firm in Southwest Florida with 187 awards from FPRA for campaigns on behalf of its clients.

Hope Clubhouse of Southwest Florida is a model of rehabilitation for people living with severe mental illness such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and clinical depression. Hope Clubhouse, the only one of its kind in Southwest Florida, fills a significant gap in the mental health system by offering opportunities for meaningful work, education, friendships and access to housing in a supportive, caring and dignified community setting.

Susan Bennett Marketing & Media, L.C., is a full-service public relations and marketing firm offering media relations, fund-raising, results-driven marketing analyses and plans, website and video production integrated with social media platforms.

Based in Fort Myers, the firm represents clients in health care, non-profit, government and higher education in addition to commercial enterprises. The firm was founded in 1991 by Susan Bennett, an accredited public relations professional (APR) and certified public relations counselor (CPRC), who is a former Gannett Co. executive and member of the launch team of USA TODAY.

For more information, call 239-277-5255 or email

Three finalists named

for Business Ethics Award

Three Southwest Florida businesses have been named as finalists for the 2012 Business Ethics Award presented by the Uncommon Friends Foundation. They are Colliers International Southwest Florida, Hope HealthCare Service and Ted Todd Insurance Agency. The winner will be announced during the foundation's Uncommon Evening on Thursday, June 7, at Harborside Convention Center, Fort Myers.

The finalists for this 7th annual award were selected from an original pool of 23 nominees from all over Southwest Florida. The award is presented in recognition of the critical importance of ethical leadership in today's businesses and will be presented to the business that exemplifies the highest standards of ethical behavior. The nominations were reviewed by an independent panel of ethics experts from across the country.

Colliers International Southwest Florida is a full service commercial real estate brokerage and property management entity, located in Fort Myers. Ryan Kratz is the Executive Managing Director.

Hope HealthCare Service cares for those who are frail, seriously ill, at the end of life, or grieving a loss. Samira K. Beckwith is President and CEO; Hope HealthCare Services is located in Fort Myers.

Ted Todd Insurance Agency, located in Bonita Springs, has 50 employees. Ted A. Todd is the Agency Principal.

Past recipients of the Business Ethics Award are HomeBanc Mortgage Corp., WilsonMiller, Inc., Bonita Bay Group, Shell Point Retirement Community, Markham Norton Mosteller Wright & Co., and Conditioned Air.

Information and reservations may be obtained by contacting the foundation at 239-337-9503 or

The Uncommon Friends Foundation is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization established in 1993 dedicated to lifelong character-building among today's youth and business leaders. The foundation teaches and recognizes the same positive values author James D. Newton discovered in five unique men and their wives-Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, Dr. Alexis Carrel, and Charles Lindbergh-intellectual giants who helped shape the 20th Century.

For more information, call 239-337-9505 or visit www.uncommonfriends,org.

BJ'S presents check to Harry Chapin Food Bank

BJs Charitable Foundation recently presented a check for $10,000 to the Harry Chapin Food Bank. The foundation grants funds quarterly to organizations where BJ's clubs are located. The grant, which will translate into approximately $60,000 in value, will pay for food transportation costs, including gas, to acquire food from major manufacturers, as well as printing informational flyers for SNAP Outreach (formerly food stamps).

BJ's Charitable Foundation selects organizations to support who provide critical services and programs that focus on hunger prevention, self-sufficiency, healthcare, and education.

The Harry Chapin Food Bank solicits, collects and stores quality food for distribution to families in need through a network of nonprofit agencies in Lee, Collier, Hendry, Charlotte and Glades counties, who provide food to more than 30,000 people monthly.

Additional information about or to contribute financially to the Harry Chapin Food Bank, contact 239-334-7007 or go to

English appointed vice president of University

of Florida Leadership and Education Foundation

Pavese Law Firm partner Katherine R. English will assume the role as the next vice president of the University of Florida Leadership and Education Foundation Inc. English was appointed to the organization's board of directors in 2011 by Bernard Machen, president of the University of Florida, to serve a three-year term.

A nonprofit corporation, the University of Florida Leadership and Education Foundation, Inc. is tasked with furthering the teaching, research and service missions of the University of Florida as they pertain to agriculture, natural resources and related activities.

A graduate of the University of Florida, English focuses her practice on environmental and agricultural law and has extensive agricultural experience. English joined Pavese Law Firm in 1994 and became a partner in the firm in 2000.

In addition to serving on the SHARE Council for the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences, English serves on the United Way Board for Lee, Hendry and Glades Counties, as the Allocations Chair for Hendry County.

Pavese Law Firm is a full-service law firm with offices in Fort Myers, Cape Coral and West Palm Beach. The firm provides a broad range of legal services for individuals, families, small businesses and large corporations.

For additional information, visit or call 239-334-2195.

FGCU Small Business Development Center

celebrates National

Small Business Week

The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Florida Gulf Coast University and Southwest Florida Small Business Resource Network (SBRN) team up to kick-off National Small Business Week with a free networking and mini tradeshow event 5-7 p.m., Thursday, May 17, at the Hilton Garden Inn Airport, 16410 Corporate Commerce Way, Fort Myers.

Every year since 1963, the President of the United States has proclaimed National Small Business Week to recognize the contributions of small businesses to the economic well-being of America.

The theme for the evening's festivities is "Summer Fun," and includes refreshments provided by Hilton Garden Inn-Airport, door prizes and cash bar. Guests are encouraged to network and exchange ideas, and visit vendors.

There is no cost to attend, but reservations are required as space is limited. To register, go online to or by calling (239) 745-3700. Deadline for registration is Wednesday, May 16.

For additional information, contact Lorna Kibbey, coordinator at the Small Business Development Center at (239) 851-8773.

Pushing the Envelope hires interactive

web developers

Pushing the Envelope Inc. has hired Matt Mernin as an interactive web developer. He will be responsible for all web development, coding, design and email campaigns, therefore expanding the company's services.

A lifelong resident of Lee County, Mernin has been doing graphic and web design for nearly 10 years. He will soon graduate from Full Sail University with a bachelor's degree in web design and development, with a focus on Web development usability and standards.

Pushing the Envelope, Inc. is an award-winning mixed marketing communications firm based in Southwest Florida. The firm services clients both regionally and nationally.

For more information, call (239) 221-2858, visit or email



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