• April 2019 Business Briefs / Member News

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    April 09, 2019
    NWF State College Announces Walton Works Partnership with Walton County Board of County Commissioners
    Northwest Florida State College is excited to announce its partnership with the Walton County Board of County Commissioners in support of a Triumph Gulf Coast application for Walton Works. On Feb. 26, 2019, the Walton County Board of County Commissioners committed $1.5 million to the $5.25 million Walton Works project, directing staff to research the ability to use funding from the RESTORE Act Pot 1 funds to fund the County’s portion of the project, affirming its support of expanding career education within Walton County.
    The Walton Works project will establish a Center of Excellence for workforce training through the awarding of industry-recognized certificates at NWF State College’s Chautauqua Center in DeFuniak Springs. The project will expand career education programs in public safety (law enforcement, fire, emergency medical technician (EMT)), cybersecurity, drone technology, and building trades (plumbing, electrical, welding, and construction). The Walton Works project will provide industrial lab space, an indoor drone facility, and a fire tower to meet area training needs.
    David Seering Concert Benefits CIC Kids
    Children In CrisisAccomplished musician David Seering  (right) presents a check for more than $19,000 to Ken Hair (center), Children In Crisis (CIC) president and CEO, and Allie Noah, CIC development director, from the recent David Seering and Friends Concert held at the Destin Village Baptist Church.  The funds will help give a home to more than 100 at-risk children that will live at the CIC Neighborhood this year.  This concert pushed the eight-year total to more than $150,000.

    ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals Celebrates Big Wins in the 2019 Perfect in South Walton Awards
    ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation RentalsResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals recently garnered four wins in the 2019 Perfect in South Walton Awards, presented by Visit South Walton Tourist Development Council. The awards were announced on Jan. 28, 2019, at a reception at the Grayton Beer Company taproom. The Perfect in South Walton Awards are nominated and voted on by locals and visitors in South Walton County. They are presented in approximately 30 categories in three levels in order of diamond, platinum and gold. 
    Celebrating the honor of the highest award, TOPS’L Beach & Racquet Resort earned Diamond level Perfect Tennis Facility. The Pointe earned two Perfect in South Walton awards for the 2019 season, including Platinum level Perfect Event Venue and Gold level Perfect Wedding Venue. ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals was voted Platinum level for Perfect Rental Management Company. 
    Hyatt Place Sandestin at Grand Boulevard Grand Opening Celebration Raises $15,000 for Gulf County Schools Impacted by Hurricane Michael 
    Hyatt Place Sandestin Grand BoulevardThe recently opened Hyatt Place Sandestin at Grand Boulevard hosted a “Gallery Night” grand opening celebration and fundraiser on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019.  Hotel management company Howard Hospitality announces the new hotel, along with a multitude of community partners, raised $15,000 during the event to benefit the fine arts programs at Port St. Joe High School and Wewahitchka High School. Hyatt Place Sandestin at Grand Boulevard was designed with local art and artists of South Walton in mind. The artwork in the hotel highlights the talent and diversity of some of Walton County’s greatest artists, including Chandler Williams, Mary Hong, Velia Lala, Linda Kernick, Raul Pardo, Amy Laurae, Alejandra Vega, and Kathleen Schumacher, who all donated original works to the event’s silent auction to raise money for the two schools. Local artist Justin Gaffrey created a unique live painting during the event which was raffled off during the fundraiser. 
    Walton Snowbirds Donate to Children in Crisis
    Children In CrisisBoard members of the Walton County Snowbirds Donna Reed, Sharon Pinylo and President Karen Moosekian, along with President Elect Gary Pinylo, present a check for $2,000 to Ken Hair, Children in Crisis (CIC) president and CEO, on behalf of the Snowbird membership.  The funds will be used by CIC to help feed, clothe and care for more than 100 children that will call the CIC Neighborhood home this year.

    Kada’s Promise Donates Teddy’s to CIC Kids
    Children In CrisisKadance Fredericksen with Kada’s Promise donates teddy bears to Ken Hair, Children In Crisis (CIC) president and CEO, and Laura Moore, CIC volunteer and events director, for all the children living at the CIC Neighborhood.  Kada’s Promise partners with other advocates to encourage community involvement in preventing child abuse and neglect.

    8th Annual Gumbo Throwdown Raises $6,752.43 for Fresh Start
    First City BankOn Thursday, March 7, 2019, LPL Financial located at First City Bank hosted the 8th Annual Gumbo Throwdown at the bank’s Fort Walton Beach location, raising $6,752.43 for Fresh Start for Children and Families, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families achieve long-term self-sufficiency through a nine-month residential educational program. The event drew a crowd of more than 400 attendees to sample endless tastes of gumbo from various local restaurants. The following businesses won the coveted People’s Choice Awards for Best Gumbo Along the Emerald Coast:
    1st Place People’s Choice Award – AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar
    2nd Place People’s Choice Award – Fort Walton Yacht Club
    3rd Place People’s Choice Award – SunQuest Cruises
    A panel of select food critics and local celebrities judged each gumbo and selected the following winner for the most delicious and most creative:
    Judge's Award – Signature Catering of 30A
    Pictured during the check presentation are (left to right) Mark Dutram, vice president of LPL Financial at First City Bank; Mary Wilson, executive director of Fresh Start for Children and Families; and Jonathan Slater, wealth advisor of LPL Financial at First City Bank
    Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast Receives Highest Five-Star Rating from CMS
    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released Overall Hospital Quality Star Ratings for the nation's hospitals to make it easier for people to compare hospital quality. Hospitals received ratings from one to five stars – with five stars being the highest score – based on how well they perform on a range of inpatient and outpatient quality measures. Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast was one out of only two hospitals in the region to receive the five-star rating. The newly updated Star Ratings methodology takes 59 quality measures reported on CMS’ Hospital Compare website and condenses all the data into a single rating on a scale of one to five stars. The 59 measures tracked by CMS include death rates, safety, readmissions, infection rates, patient experience ratings, and timeliness of care, among others. Only nine hospitals in Florida, including Sacred Heart Hospital on the Gulf in Port St. Joe received five-star ratings. 
    New Dune Walk at Gulfarium
    Gulfarium Marine Adventure ParkGulfarium Marine Adventure Park has opened a new Dune Walk to the public. The new 551-foot feature wraps around the west side of the property and provides breathtaking views of the Gulf of Mexico, while giving guests the opportunity to learn about the importance of dunes in the coastal ecosystem. The Dune Walk offers an exciting new perspective of multiple exhibits at the Gulfarium, including Dune Lagoon, Fort Gator and The Bayou. Not only can guests now view some of their favorite exhibits from a new angle, there is also a new box turtle exhibit to enjoy.  

    Newest Stealth Technology in Robotic Spine Surgery Embodies Live Navigation and 3D Virtual Reality
    Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald CoastThe synergy between robotics and navigation represents the future of computerized planning and execution in spine surgery. The Spine Center of Excellence at Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast (SHHEC) recently upgraded to the most advanced Mazor X Stealth Edition technology for robotic spine surgery, featuring computerized surgical planning, 3-D assessment of spine anatomy, robotic guidance and live navigation feedback designed to provide a higher degree of accuracy throughout the surgical procedure. This revolutionizes both the operation and the patient’s post-op experience.
    Orthopedic and neurological spine surgeon, Kornelis Poelstra, MD, PhD, is the founder of The Spine Center of Excellence at SHHEC and is a world-renowned expert in robotic-assisted, spinal surgery. This month Poelstra reached a surgical milestone of 700 robotic-assisted spine surgery cases performed at SHHEC utilizing various state-of-the-art robotic surgical platforms - more than any other surgeon in the world. Since 2014, Poelstra has placed more than 6,000 pedicle screws using robotics, with greater than 99.8% accuracy and without a single misplacement or screw revision. 
    CIC Development Director Young Professional of the Quarter
    Children In CrisisAllie Noah, Children In Crisis (CIC) development director, was recently recognized as the Young Professional of the Quarter by the Niceville Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce.  Judy Wiseman nominated Noah for the recognition for her outstanding professional and community accomplishments. Seen here, Mike Guidry presents the award to Noah, along with the nominating member Wiseman; Ken Hair, CIC president and CEO; and award sponsor Brooke Zannis, Destin Commons.
    Noah is a graduate of Valdosta State University with a Masters of Public Administration and a Bachelor of Fine Arts-Speech Communication with an Emphasis in Public Relations. Prior to her current position with CIC, Noah was the director of public relations with SETCO Services of Destin.
    FWB Medical Center Performing New Anterior Approach Hip Replacement Surgery
    Fort Walton Beach Medical Center now offers the anterior approach as an option for patients needing a total hip replacement. Total hip replacement with anterior approach refers to surgeries done from in front of the hip. These surgeries may also be called mini, modified, minimally invasive, or muscle-sparing surgeries. Using the anterior approach allows the surgeon to do the surgery through a smaller surgical cut (incision). The cut is in the front of the hip rather than in the side or back, like in traditional hip replacements. Dr. Thomas Seales and Dr. Leo Chen, orthopedic surgeons at FWB Medical Center, are the only two physicians currently using the anterior approach at FWB Medical Center.
    HCA Awards of Distinction Winners Focus on Patient-Centered Philosophy and Peer Collaboration at Fort Walton Beach Medical Center
    Fort Walton Beach Medical Center recently announced the recipients of its 2018 HCA Awards of Distinction. The Frist Humanitarian Awards recognize one physician, one employee and one volunteer who each demonstrate extraordinary concern for the welfare and happiness of patients and their community. The Excellence in Nursing Awards celebrate the extraordinary clinical and compassionate care delivered by nurses every day. The HCA Awards of Distinction are the highest honor a physician, employee, volunteer, and nurse can receive. 
    Winners: The First Humanitarian Awards are given annually in recognition of the humanitarian spirit and philanthropic work of the late Dr. Thomas Fr. Frist, Sr., a founder of HCA.
    Luke Yuhico, MD - 2018 Physician Frist Humanitarian Award Winner 
    Kelly Jordan, RN - 2018 Employee Frist Humanitarian Award Winner
    Sandi Sears - 2018 Volunteer Frist Humanitarian Award Winner
    Winners: The HCA Excellence in Nursing Award recognizes the intrinsic value of nursing practice in accomplishing the mission of providing the highest quality of care to patients and the community, and is being given in two categories: Mentoring and Compassionate.
    Darla Radcliff, RN - 2018 HCA Excellence in Nursing Award/Compassionate Winner
    Kelly Webster, RN 2018 HCA Excellence in Nursing Award/Mentoring Winner
    Golf Tourney Raises Funds for CIC Kids
    Children In CrisisThe 13th Annual Children in Crisis (CIC) Charity Golf Tournament held at the Fort Walton Beach Golf Course raised $25,000 for the abused, neglected and abandoned children of our community. This year’s winning team was John Roper, Andy Roper, Justin McClain and Shirley Woosey with a winning score of 56.
    Seen here, Ken Hair, CIC President and CEO presents a 1st place trophy to the winning team.

    Bookman Featured in Florida Bar Presidential Perspectives
    As part of a project to document the history of The Florida Bar, the former presidents were asked to comment on the same three questions. Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon Senior Attorney Alan Bookman participated in the project. Click here to read his feature.
    Scammers Impersonating Social Security Administration 
    With tax season in full swing, you’d think that the IRS may call you and they still might – even though it would be a scam. But your BBB, along with the Federal Trade Commission, is warning people to be on the lookout for suspicious calls that claim to be from the Social Security Administration. Scammers are ramping up their efforts to steal Social Security numbers to use in filing fraudulent tax returns. Learn more about the scam here.
    NWF State College Welding Earns Accredited Test Facility Designation
    Northwest Florida State College Welding recently earned the designation of an Accredited Test Facility (ATF) by the American Welding Society (AWS). NWF State College is the only ATF between Tallahassee and Mobile, making it the exclusive welding testing location on Florida’s Emerald Coast.
    “NWF State College has a very well organized welding training facility that is staffed by extremely well-qualified personnel and management,” said Lyndsey Deckard, American Welding Society Auditor & Senior Certified Welding Inspector. “This will be a fine addition to the ATF program and one of which AWS can be exceptionally proud.”
    Inaugural Blue & White Gala Exceeds Expectations
    Rocky Bayou Christian School announced today that the inaugural Blue & White Gala raised $55,000 for The RBCS Fund. The sold out event on Feb. 21, at The Henderson Beach Resort, featured speaker Governor Mike Huckabee. The RBCS Fund is an annual fund designed to allow for major school improvement projects. Tuition dollars are designated specifically to meet daily, operational costs. The annual fund is utilized for projects designated by Rocky’s Board of Directors. The most notable projects completed for the 2017-2018 fund are paving the perimeter road and additional security measures added to building entrances. One of the primary goals of this year’s fund is to continue to improve campus safety.
    Northwest Florida State College Earns Awards from the National Council for Marketing & Public Relations
    Northwest Florida State CollegeNorthwest Florida State College recently won a silver and a bronze award from the National Council for Marketing & Public Relations (NCMPR). NWF State College won a silver award in the “original photography – manipulated” category. The winning photo was used on the College’s social media accounts to promote the College’s basketball teams’ blackout games, which debuted the teams’ all black uniforms. The photo was manipulated by adding backlight, accentuating the player’s muscles and enhancing contrast.
    The College was awarded a bronze designation for its Twitter profile’s design, content, engagement, strategy, effectiveness and frequency of posts. The College’s Twitter entry included the use of the hashtags #TheBestIsOurStandard and #IMPACT that are commonly used in tweets to drive cultural change.
    Pictured here is the Northwest Florida State College Strategic Communications Team.
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