• July 2018 Business Briefs / Member News Part 1

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    July 05, 2018
    Frances Roy Agency Names Niceville Local as Art Director 
    Frances Roy AgencyNewly hired Art Director Janae Erickson brings more than six years of design experience and a plethora of new opportunities to the Frances Roy Agency. Erickson will launch Frances Roy's full-time art department and oversee all visual design projects. A Niceville High graduate, Erickson began her creative journey at the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a focus in animation. In May 2011, she began working as the Photoshop graphic artist at Rooms Alive, where she retouched images of furniture and collaborated with interior designers. From August 2011 to March 2018, she was the graphic artist at Marc-Michaels Interior Design, where she produced high quality design work, such as digitally designed floor plans, elevations and 3D sketches ranging from realistic to watercolor, and helped design Marc-Michael's new website. Erickson's web design work includes custom tile designer Barbie Kennedy and local photographer Nicole Bielenin. Along the way, she helped with local Girl Scout graphics and opened her very own Etsy shop (janaeEdesigns) in July 2015. Erickson has worked as a freelancer for Frances Roy Agency since July 2017, where she edited websites, created logos, assisted in branding, created event flyers and developed marketing collateral. 

    Grayton Beer Company Expands with Addition of Brewpub
    Grayton Beer CompanyGrayton Beer Company is pleased to announce the opening of the Grayton Beer Brewpub.  The fully operational brewery, restaurant and bar is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. Conveniently located in Grayton Beach, the brewery’s namesake, the Brewpub occupies the space formerly known as Craft Bar 30A. This is the company’s second location that offers consumers the experience to sit and sip where the beer is made. The Grayton Beer Taproom, a 30,000 square-foot production facility located in the South Walton Commerce Park, is open to the public six days a week. Located at 170 E County Highway 30A, Grayton Beach, Florida 32459, the Grayton Beer Brewpub will offer live music, communal space for socializing, special events and much more.

    ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals Launches its Pet Foster Program
    ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation RentalsResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals has literally “gone to the dogs.”  The Fort Walton Beach-based company has been “itching” to launch a pet fostering program for some time and after “scratching” their heads to be sure everything was in properly in place, the inaugural ‘ResortQuest to the Rescue’ Adoption Program in partnership with Panhandle Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) in Okaloosa County is now underway. The first four-legged addition to the ResortQuest family is Malachi, a handsome, well-mannered doe-eyed mixed breed young male, who joined the team in late March. Malachi has settled into his spacious, fully-furnished ResortQuest “condo” located in the reception area. Employees eagerly pitch in with Malachi’s care. He has a walking schedule and a waiting list for weekend “sleepovers.” He has been put to work and is already providing welcome “therapy” and plenty of “kisses” to those in need. 
    Anyone interested in providing Malachi a forever home can come to ResortQuest’s office to meet and greet him. Dog adoption applications are available online at PAWS (www.paws-shelter.org). The adoption fee is $50. For more information, contact PAWS at (850) 243-1525.

    Local Hospitals Receive ‘A’ Ratings for Patient Safety 
    The Leapfrog Group, a Washington D.C-based organization aiming to improve health care quality and safety for consumers and purchasers, today released the new Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades. Fort Walton Beach Medical Center and Twin Cities Hospital were two of 750 awarded ‘A’ ratings for their efforts in protecting patients from harm and meeting the highest safety standards in the U.S. The Safety Grade assigns an A, B, C, D or F grade to hospitals across the country based on their performance in preventing medical errors, infections and other harms among patients in their care.  

    Kids Tag Art Program Delivers $1K to Each Participating School
    Okaloosa County Tax Collector Ben AndersonSome Okaloosa County 5th grade art students were all smiles as they waited to hear their names announced in front of the packed School Board room. The recognition came from Okaloosa County Tax Collector Ben Anderson as he presented the Kids Tag Art Award of Distinction winners, two each from eleven participating schools. Principals of the participating schools were also all smiles when they heard that each of them would be receiving an additional $1000 from Kids Tag Art program sponsors. The Kids Tag Art program is a partnership with the Tax Collector’s Office and the School District. The program has distributed $46,743 to participating schools since 2013.  The Tax Collector’s Choice award is from Shalimar 5th grader Sara Kapp. Anderson and Kapp are pictured placing her winning tag on his vehicle. 

    Newman-Dailey Real Estate Sales Division Recognizes 2018 First Quarter Top Producers  
    Newman-Dailey Resort Properties, Inc.Newman-Dailey Resort Properties, Inc.Newman-Dailey Resort Properties, Inc.

    Newman-Dailey Resort Properties honors its top producers for the first quarter of 2018 on the real estate sales team. Sales Associate Shannyn Stevenson (left) was honored as the top sales agent, and Real Estate Agents Colin Kirkwood (center) and Keli O’Neal (right) tied for Top Listing Agent for January – March 2018.  
    After achieving top sales agent for 2017, Stevenson is continuing her momentum in real estate sales, earning her top sales agent for the first quarter of 2018. From Destin to Rosemary Beach, Stevenson knows the Gulf Coast and understands the market well. Licensed for more than 18 years, she specializes in selling and buying rental investments and second homes within the beachside communities. Providing her clients valuable advice, she leads them from looking to closing on a real estate investment that is best for their lifestyle and budget.  
    Kirkwood is no stranger to the top producers circle and has garnered top sales agent on numerous occasions and was Newman-Dailey’s top listing agent for 2013. As top listing agent for the first quarter of 2018, Kirkwood is energized by the current market conditions. As an investor himself, Kirkwood has the knowledge and experience to guide clients through sales process and the ever changing market conditions. 
    Joining Kirkwood in the winner’s circle is O’Neal who tied with Kirkwood for the most listings in the first quarter of the year. O’Neal grew up visiting the Emerald Coast, and it is only fitting that she now calls Destin home. Her background in education and working with at-risk students gave her a great foundation for working in real estate. She is adept at problem solving and bridging the gap between buyers and sellers, which has led to many successful closings. 

    George Clinton, Loggerhead Sea Turtle Released at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park
    Gulf World Marine ParkLoggerhead sea turtle George Clinton returned to Gulf World Marine Institute for a second rehabilitation on April 17.  The animal previously stranded on May 30, 2017. Both strandings were the result of being accidentally hooked by a fisherman at the M.B. Miller County Pier. In 2017, George was accidentally caught by a fisherman and brought back to Gulf World Marine Institute for hook removal and a full medical work up. Radiographs revealed several additional internal hooks that were successfully removed. The animal was released into the Gulf of Mexico after being medically cleared. Nearly a year later, several new hooks were found in George’s esophagus after being accidentally caught on the pier again. These hooks were successfully removed and two days later George Clinton was medically cleared and released into the Gulf of Mexico at Topsail Hill Preserve. It is critical to call the proper authorities when accidentally hooking a sea turtle so that they can get proper medical attention.

    Capstone Collegiate Communities Announces Condominium Conversion of The Lofts at Seacrest Beach
    The Premier Property GroupCapstone Collegiate Communities (C3) has tapped The Premier Property Group to represent its latest condominium conversion project, The Lofts at Seacrest Beach. Capstone acquired the 120-unit luxury apartment complex, located between WaterSound Origins and 30Avenue, in October 2017, a few months after construction was complete, and filed a formal condominium conversion prospectus with The Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares and Mobile Homes earlier this year. Approval was received in April for Premier to release the one-, two-, and three-bedroom residences for sale as fee-simple condominiums from the mid-$200,000s. It is the third condominium conversion project for the Birmingham, Ala.-based company, which specializes in high-end, off-campus student housing across the country. For sales information, contact Karen Doyle or Keith Flippo with The Premier Property Group at (850) 312-8870 or Lofts@ThePPG.net or visit the website at TheLoftsatSeacrest.com. 

    New Cardiovascular Outpatient Clinic Opens at 30A
    Sacred Heart Medical Group is pleased to announce the opening of a new healthcare office in Inlet Beach and a new name. The new practice, located at 12805 US Hwy 98 East, Suite G201, opens May 7 as Ascension Medical Group 30A. The new office is the most recent addition to the growing group of medical clinics and will offer a full line of cardiovascular care services with primary care/internal medicine services being added soon. Cardiologist Dr. Amna Ahmed has been on staff with the Sacred Heart Medical Group in Panama City Beach since August of last year. Due to the high request for cardiology services, she will now see patients at the new 30A location. Ahmed is a board-certified cardiologist with special medical interests in the cardiovascular health of women, cardiovascular imaging, and preventive medicine. She earned her medical degree from Aga Khan University Medical School in Karachi, Pakistan, and completed her residency in internal medicine and fellowship training in cardiovascular medicine at the Medical College of Georgia.

    Okaloosa Arts Alliance School Poster Contest Winners 
    Okaloosa Arts AllianceThe Okaloosa Arts Alliance would also like to thank all of the Okaloosa County School students that participated in the 9th annual OAA Okaloosa County School Poster Contest.  Although we were not able to make everyone a 1st place winner, all 229 entries were on display at the OAA Poster Reception on Sat, April 28, at the Young Philosophers Society.  Participating schools include Rocky Bayou Christian School in Niceville & Destin, Crestview High School, Liza Jackson Preparatory School, Edge Elementary, Destin Elementary School, NWFL Ballet Academie, Lewis Elementary, Lotus Learning & Arts Center, Shalimar Elementary, Youth Village, Infinite Grace Autism Academy, homeschool, Florosa Elementary, and Plew Elementary School. For a full list of winners, please visit https://www.okaloosaarts.org/news---events.html.

    Owners of Henderson Park Inn Announce New General Manager 
    Henderson Park InnDunavant Enterprises, Inc., recently announced the hiring of Ed Evans as the new general manager for the Henderson Park Inn, a luxury boutique gulf front hotel in Destin. Evans’ extensive experience in the hospitality industry includes his time as director of member services at Choice Hotels International, executive general manager at Wyndham Vacation Rentals, general manager at ResortQuest, area director for Accor Hotels, and general manager at Sterling Resorts.  During his time with each company, Evans made major contributions and dedicated himself to creating a customer-focused working environment. He has held numerous civic positions, including chairman of the board for the Walton Area Chamber of Commerce, a board he served on for seven years. He was also awarded the Walton Area Chamber Person of the Year in 2015.  Evans has previously been a board member of the Alabama Gulf Coast Area Chamber of Commerce and a prior board member and vice president of finance for the Alabama Gulf Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau.
    Fort Walton Beach Medical Center Receives Quality Achievement Award
    Fort Walton Beach Medical Center received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence. Fort Walton Beach Medical Center earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for a designated period. These measures include evaluation of the proper use of medications and other stroke treatments aligned with the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients. Before discharge, patients should also receive education on managing their health, get a follow-up visit scheduled, as well as other care transition interventions.

    Tree House Episcopal Montessori School Makes Donation to ECCAC
    Emerald Coast Children's Advocacy CenterStudents in Theresa Joyce’s classroom, at Tree House Episcopal Montessori School in Santa Rosa Beach held a fundraiser for the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center (ECCAC) in honor of April’s Child Abuse Prevention Month. Their donation of $224.25 will support ECCAC’s therapy dog program. Pictured from left to right are Principal Summer Stough, ECCAC CEO Julie Porterfield, and teacher Theresa Joyce.

    Synovus Bank Plays Easter Bunny to Children in Crisis
    Children In Crisis - Synovus BankSynovus Bank presented a $1,000 check to help purchase Easter outfits for the at-risk children living at the Children In Crisis (CIC) Neighborhood. Debbie Elliott of the Niceville Branch encouraged other Synovus Branches to help with the cause. She also reached out to her friends and asked them to purchase gift cards and then donated them to CIC.  Pictured left to right are CIC President and CEO Ken Hair, Tracy Poe and Debbie Elliott of Synovus, Allie Noah, CIC Development Director, and Vicki Dutton also of Synovus.

    Artie Rodriguez Joins ECCAC Board
    Emerald Coast Children's Advocacy CenterArtie Rodriguez, a native of Northwest Florida his whole life, recently joined the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center (ECCAC) board of directors. Rodriguez has over 18 years of Walton County government experience. He is currently the director of administration with the Walton County Tax Collector’s Office. Previously, he served the citizens as a law enforcement officer with the Walton County Sheriff’s Department. He is a certified police applicant background investigator and a 2014 graduate of the certified public manager’s course offered through the Center for Public Management at Florida State University. Rodriguez is also a certified forensic polygraphist through the Academy of Polygraph Science, which he studied under Dr. Richard R. Poe. He is a recipient of the Law Enforcement Purple Heart from the American Police Hall of Fame. He was injured in the line of duty after being struck by a drunk driver back in 2002. Since then, Rodriguez has presented numerous speaking engagements at several Walton County schools to students and staff regarding the effects of driving under the influence and how it can affect someone’s life. Rodriguez is also a mentor for I Take Stock in Children and on the Board of Directors for the United Way of Walton and Okaloosa counties. 

    Shelter House Hosts Most Successful Purses with a Purpose To Date 
    Shelter HouseShelter House’s signature event, Purses with a Purpose, returned to Grand Boulevard March 22-24, 2018. This year’s event was the most lucrative year since the event’s inception in 2010, raising more than $20,000 for Shelter House. Hundreds of women gathered Thursday night at Grand Boulevard to peruse the expansive silent auction of hundreds of new and gently designer handbags and accessories, while enjoying craft beer donated by Grayton Beer Company, cocktails from Timber Creek Distillery, and hors d’oeuvres from Grimaldi’s Pizzeria and Another Broken Egg in Sandestin. Sponsors included Silver Sands Premium Outlets, Appleseed Expeditions, Insurance Zone, Allstate Insurance, ERA Agent Marsha Babe, Spa 98, Wesley, McGrail & Wesley and Kilwin’s. Purses with a Purpose reopened on Friday, March 23, for “Handbags and Happy Hour” for guest to enjoy cocktails while shopping through the handbag selection that remained after the auction. Saturday, March 24, Purses with a Purpose opened early, where attendees enjoyed muffins, donated by Panera Bread, mimosas and deep discounts on all remaining bags and accessories! Since its inception, Purses with a Purpose has raised more than $110,000 to support Shelter House’s critical services for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors in Okaloosa and Walton counties. 

    Green Sea Turtle Released at Cape Palms Park at Cape San Blas  
    Gulf WorldGulf World Marine Institute released Michael, a green sea turtle, into the Gulf of Mexico at Cape Palms Park at Cape San Blas at 9:30 am central/ 10:30 am eastern on Friday, May 4. Part of a much larger event, the sea turtle stranded early in January 2018, during the second largest cold-stun event in the Florida Panhandle. During two cold snaps in early January, approximately 1,200 sea turtles were cold stunned in Saint Joe Bay and surrounding bays and estuaries. Most of the sea turtles that stranded during this event were otherwise fit and were released into the Gulf of Mexico as soon as their body temperatures were stabilized. However, Michael and approximately 30 others were kept behind for various reasons. In addition to being cold stunned, Michael was malnourished and had small wounds on his body. The animal was tube fed at first and given antibiotics. Michael has gained weight and is now foraging and diving well and has been medically cleared for release.  

    ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals Hosts Annual Gulf Region Employee Awards Celebration
    ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation RentalsThe red carpet rolled out to welcome Wyndham Vacation Rentals employees to the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa dressed in their finest on March 5. From gourmet movie popcorn to glamorous décor, the glittering ballroom was transformed into an old Hollywood soiree complete with a surprise live performance by “Frank Sinatra” (a.k.a. Pat Sallarulo of The Rat Pack.) The purpose? To congratulate and honor dozens of deserving employees who gave Wyndham Vacation Rentals “Oscar”-worthy performances in 2017 throughout each location within the Gulf Region. The Gulf Region of Wyndham Vacation Rentals, headquartered in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, includes employees who work for ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals and ResortQuest Real Estate (Northwest Florida area), Orlando by Wyndham Vacation Rentals (Orlando area), and Kaiser Realty by Wyndham Vacation Rentals (Gulf Shores & Orange Beach, Alabama).

    A roster of Wyndham Vacation Rentals Annual Gulf Region Award Recipients follows: 
    Dehlinger-McKnight Team – Linda and Patrick Dehlinger and Linda McKnight
    Mary Stephens Team – Cali Wilson, Mary Stephens, Greg Bahr
    Wyndham Vacation Rentals Real Estate 
    TJ Martin, Rookie of the Year
    Donna Fox, Highest Production Increase, Single Associate
    Dennis & Michael Fassnacht, Top Team Players
    Denise Stegner, Top Closed Production Runner-Up, Single Associate
    Dehlinger-McKnight Team (Linda Dehlinger, Patrick Dehlinger and Linda McKnight), 
    Top Closed Listings Runner-Up
    Mary Fletcher, Top Closed Production, Single Associate 
    Mary Stephens Team (Cali Wilson, Mary Stephens, Greg Bahr), Top Closed Sales Runner-Up
    Janette Klein Team (Taryn Williams, John Milan, Janette Klein, David Klein), Total Top Production Runner-Up
    Nathan Abbott Team, Top Total Production, Top Total Sales, Top Closed Listings
    Wyndham Vacation Rentals Reservations Million Dollar Club
    Jennifer Boyette, Kaiser Realty by Wyndham Vacation Rentals
    Rodney Merrell, Kaiser Realty by Wyndham Vacation Rentals
    Alexis Session, Kaiser Realty by Wyndham Vacation Rentals
    Kimberly Templeton, Kaiser Realty by Wyndham Vacation Rentals
    Tina Bearfield, Kaiser Realty by Wyndham Vacation Rentals
    Malaysi’a Davis, Northwest Florida Region
    Constance Taylor, Northwest Florida Region
    Christi Rich, Northwest Florida Region
    Rebecca Gautreaux, Northwest Florida Region
    Teri Moore, Northwest Florida Region
    Wendy Hollandsworth, Northwest Florida Region
    Shawnequa Musgrove, Northwest Florida Region
    Keisha Floyd, Northwest Florida Region
    Jillian Beaver, Northwest Florida Region
    Charmaine Craven, Northwest Florida Region
    Chris Gatz, Northwest Florida Region
    Karen Biondo, Offensive Player of the Year, Northwest Florida Region Reservations
    Tara Whittlesay, Defensive Player of the Year, Northwest Florida Region Reservations
    Brittany Sternberg, Rookie of the Year, Northwest Florida Region Reservations
    Dana Birlingmair, Coach of the Year, Northwest Florida Region Reservations
    Chris Gatz, League MVP Northwest Florida Region Reservations
    Wyndham Vacation Rentals Gulf Region Annual Associate Awards
    Prasad Jeyapalan, Supervisor, Laundry/Call Center Support Associate of the Year
    Chris Gatz, Reservation Agent, Call Center, Reservations Associate of the Year
    Tom Birk, Guest Services Supervisor, Kaiser Realty by Wyndham Vacation Rentals, Customer Service Associate of the Year
    Denise Friedline, Housekeeping Manager, Okaloosa Island, Housekeeping Associate of the Year
    Taylor Heibertshausen, Maintenance Coordinator, Central/Destin, Maintenance Associate of the Year
    Melissa Matern, Senior Marketing Manager, Call Center, Management Associate of the Year
    Jeramie Bates, Business Development Rep, East Area, Owner Services Associate of the Year
    Alaina Robbins, Operations Manager Trainee, Destin Pointe, Greatest Impact Associate of the Year
    Sarah Ralph, Business Development Director, Call Center, Innovative Associate of the Year 
    Pete Sensenbaugh, IT Technician, Call Center, Count on Me! Associate of the Year
    Guy Bracco, Maintenance Supervisor, Navarre, Associate of the Year 
    Wyndham Vacation Rentals Associations
    High Pointe, Large Property of the Year
    Emerald Towers, Small Property of the Year
    Palacio, Innovative Property of the Year
    High Pointe, Most Improved Property of the Year 

    Dale E. Peterson Vacations Announces Company Name Change to Salt Water Vacations
    Salt Water VacationsDale E. Peterson Vacations, a company known for its best in class vacation rental and property management services, is changing its name to Salt Water Vacations to better focus on the natural beauty that makes the Northwest area of Florida unique and appealing to its guests. "The name "Salt Water Vacations" communicates the essence of our destination, while demonstrating our commitment to the absolute best services and products in our industry," explains Bart Begley, owner of Salt Water Vacations. In conjunction with the name change, Salt Water Vacations launched a new website, www.saltwatervacay.com, created a custom application for easy guest check-in and vacation planning, and elevated customer service standards. Long-time customers and owners continue to benefit from the vacation company's all local staff, 24 hour customer service, and over 30 years of industry expertise and knowledge. 

    Fairfield Inn & Suites in Destin Wins Marriott’s Bruce Reed Rally to Serve Award
    Fairfield Inn & SuitesThe Fairfield Inn & Suites in Destin  has been officially recognized by Marriott, earning the Bruce Reed Rally to Serve Award for the McNeill Hotel Company property. Marriott’s Bruce Reed Rally to Serve Award is a singular honor, given to only one Fairfield Inn & Suites property each year in recognition of its community contributions. Among criteria for the award, a hotel’s team members must be engaged with the local Habitat chapter in honor of Rally to Serve; make effective use of available resources; and reinforce a positive reputation of a hotel in the community. Community service activities for the Fairfield Inn & Suites Destin staff, which were supported by McNeill Hotel Company corporate offices, included teaming up with the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate to build a home for a wonderful and deserving family in the community; raising money for the American Cancer Society; working with Sharing and Caring; and multiple projects that contributed to the Children’s Miracle Network.

    Health Source Chiropractic Donates to CIC Kids
    Children In CrisisDr. Scott Smith and the staff of Health Source Chiropractic donated toys, dolls, games, flip-flops and towels to Children in Crisis (CIC) to help the kids living at the CIC Neighborhood.  Thanks to the generous donations from the attendees at the Fort Walton Beach Chamber Business After Hours hosted by Health Source, the children will have a little extra to get ready for the summer vacation. Seen here, Ken Hair, CIC president and CEO, receives a huge donation of toys, dolls, games, flip-flops, and towels from Health Source Chiropractic staff Erica White, Ashia Lynn, and Kristen Sexton.
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