• September 2018 Business Briefs / Member News Part 1

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    September 22, 2018
    Sacred Heart Health System Names New CEO As Ascension Unites Florida Sites of Care 
    Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald CoastAscension has appointed Tom VanOsdol to serve as the chief executive officer of Sacred Heart Health System, as well as St. Vincent’s HealthCare in Jacksonville. In his new role, VanOsdol will serve as chief executive for all of Ascension’s sites of care in Florida, which include seven hospitals and regional physician networks operated by St. Vincent’s and Sacred Heart. Sacred Heart’s regional services include the 566-bed Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola; the Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart; Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast, a 76-bed hospital near Destin; and Sacred Heart Hospital on the Gulf, a 19-bed hospital in Port St. Joe. Other key services are provided by Sacred Heart Medical Group, the region’s largest network of physicians with offices in seven counties between Pensacola to Apalachicola, Fla.

    BBB Study: Sweepstakes, Lottery, Prize Schemes Devastate Older Victims with Evolving Tactics 
    A new report by Better Business Bureau (BBB) says sweepstakes, lottery, and prize schemes are devastating victims financially and emotionally with ever-evolving methods. These frauds concentrate on seniors, targeting them by direct mail, cold calling, social media, text messages, and smartphone pop-ups. BBB warns consumers to be on guard against these serious and pervasive frauds and their perpetrators. The report – “Sweepstakes, Lottery and Prize Scams: A Better Business Bureau Study of How ‘Winners’ Lose Millions Through an Evolving Fraud” – notes these scams bilked $117 million out of half a million Americans and Canadians in 2017 alone, with actual victims and losses likely numbering much higher. Read more here…

    Fort Walton Beach Medical Center Receives Highest Category of Quality for Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery
    Fort Walton Beach Medical Center has again achieved a 3-star rating for Coronary Artery Bypass surgery. This is the highest category of quality awarded by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons for this procedure. In 2017, only 10-15 percent of hospitals in the nation received the “3-star” rating. The Society of Thoracic Surgeons developed a comprehensive rating system for the quality of Coronary Artery Bypass surgery among hospitals across the country. In the current analysis of national data covering the period from January 2017 through December 2017, the Coronary Artery Bypass surgery performance at Fort Walton Beach Medical Center occupies a position in this highest quality tier, thereby receiving a STS 3 - star rating. 

    OB/GYN Joins Sacred Heart Medical Group in Miramar Beach
    Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald CoastObstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Yolanda Jones has joined Sacred Heart Medical Group’s regional network of doctors. Jones will practice at Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast. She will perform inpatient and outpatient gynecologic surgery, including minimally invasive, robotic hysterectomies; vaginal reconstruction; and pelvic floor surgery. She will also provide prenatal care and deliver babies at Sacred Heart’s Family Birth Place. Jones is board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology. She graduated with her bachelor’s degree in biology from Kennesaw (Ga.) State University and received her medical degree from St. Matthew’s University School of Medicine in the Grand Caymans. She completed the OB/GYN residency program, including training in obstetrical trauma and high risk pregnancies, through St. Joseph's Hospital and Maricopa Medical Center in Phoenix, Ariz. Jones is a fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and she is a member of the Florida Medical Association, the American Medical Association, and the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists.

    Scenic Sotheby’s International Realty Expands
    Scenic Sotheby's International RealtyScenic Sotheby's International RealtyScenic Sotheby's International Realty
    Scenic Sotheby's International RealtyScenic Sotheby's International RealtyScenic Sotheby's International RealtyScenic Sotheby's International Realty
    Scenic Sotheby’s International Realty welcomed new real estate professionals Jeff Warda (top left), Allison Schmitz (top center), Karen Bartik (top right), Kadi Higginbotham (bottom left), Marsha Burke (bottom second from left), Dana Ford (bottom second from right), and Shannon Albee (bottom right). 

    Warda is now the financial controller. He was born and raised in the suburbs of Milwaukee, Wis., and earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Wisconsin. Immediately following graduation, he began his career as a staff accountant for a local corporation. In the early 1990s, he made the move to Los Angeles to pursue a degree in Biblical studies and remained in Southern California for the next 15 years. After some time in southwest Florida, he returned to the Florida Panhandle in 2013. 

    Schmitz, a Panama City native, is now the executive assistant for The J Howard Team. She has led quite an adventurous life as part of a family that was highly involved in performance arts and music associations. Much of her formative years were spent in theater learning dance and acting. She even earned a scholarship to Julliard School, until an injury kept her from attending. She lived in Sicily, Italy, and traveled to 13 different countries from 2006 to 2009. After touring the world, she decided to move to Carlsbad, Calif., and started her own company called Ali’s Personal Touch, a private personal chef business that catered to special needs children and families. During the past 20 years, she has worked with secondary lending and title companies and various real estate brokerages. She moved back to the area in 2015.

    Bartik, a transplant from Chicago who arrived in Northwest Florida by way of Michigan, has also joined the J. Howard Group. She is a graduate of Western Illinois University and earned a master’s degree in student personnel administration. After college she started her career in media and worked as a producer for sports and entertainment shows in radio and television. Her family used to vacation in the area, instilling in her a love and knowledge for the beaches of the Emerald Coast. She has nearly 30 years of combined experience in public relations and real estate. Prior to joining the J. Howard Group, she was a real estate agent in Grosse Pointe, Mich., for almost 10 years. She has also worked as a property manager for 360 Blue Properties and St. Joe Club & Resorts.

    Higginbotham is the operations assistant to the Spears Group at the company’s Destin office. She is originally from Tifton, Ga., and moved to the Emerald Coast in 2009. She graduated from Northwestern State University in 2014 with a degree in business administration. In 2015, she received her real estate license and has spent the last several years at Tops’l Real Estate Sales, learning the industry and falling in love with the beautiful properties along the Emerald Coast. 

    Agents MaryAlice Johnson and LuAnn Brown have recently welcomed Panama City native Burke to their team. After obtaining her master’s degree in accounting from Florida State University and becoming a certified public accountant, she began her career with a national accounting firm. She later joined a large health system in Atlanta, where she served as chief financial officer. While living in Atlanta for 25 years, she and her husband purchased, built, and rented homes on 30-A. They now reside in the WaterSound community. 

    Ford was born and raised in southern Mississippi and attended school in Mobile, Ala. At the age of nine, she began working for her parents’ business Strickler Apiaries, Mississippi’s largest commercial beekeeping operation, and spent summers in Inlet Beach. During her early twenties, she began working in the Jackson County School District as a Title 1 teacher and then became the administrative assistant to the superintendent of transportation. In 2004, she moved to Inlet Beach and worked as an assistant at Pelican Real Estate. She earned her Florida real estate license and has been diligently working the Santa Rosa Beach and Bay County areas ever since. In 2008, Ford started a rental management company, Vacation Home Manager, to help her clients with their property rentals, but sold it in 2017 to focus on real estate sales.

    Last but certainly not least, Albee has joined the Scenic Sotheby’s International Realty team as the company’s new listing coordinator. She is originally from “Derby City”—Louisville, Ky.—and grew up in southern Indiana. After high school, she enlisted with the United States Air Force and is now a seven-year active duty veteran. While enlisted she was fortunate enough to be stationed at Eglin Air Force Base for almost five years. She is also a professional makeup artist and has an esthetician degree.

    Kiwanis Club of South Walton Donates to Children in Crisis
    Children In CrisisWanda Pitts of the Kiwanis Club of South Walton presents a donation of $1,000 to Ken Hair, president and CEO, and Allie Noah, development director, both of Children In Crisis (CIC).  The donation will be used to help feed, clothe, and provide a home to the children living at the CIC Neighborhood.

    Local Businesses Illuminate Museum and Keep History “Cool” 
    Heritage Museum of Northwest FloridaThe Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida hosted a VIP reception to thank local businesses who made generous contributions to the Museum.  Walker’s Ace Hardware donated new lighting throughout the museum and all the supplies needed for its installation. Tempacure Heating and Cooling, along with distributors, Aprilaire and Johnstone Supply, donated and installed two new air conditioning/heating units, a commercial dehumidifier, an air purification system, a duckless unit for the gift shop, and other supplies needed for efficient cooling, heating and de-humidification of museum collections. Seen here are Don Bohler, museum trustee; Melinda Sousa, guest; and Brad Wilcox, Johnstone Supply.

    Howard Hospitality Properties and Remote Employee Recognized with Tremendous Awards 
    With an endless list of accommodation choices in an area driven by a tourist economy, it speaks volumes when an organization continues to receive recognition for guest satisfaction. In addition, when the organization continues to expand and grow, it’s evident that those involved display a true commitment and dedication to their jobs. Howard Hospitality’s Marriott properties were recently commended for ongoing guest approval all while expanding their work remote program to stay on the cutting edge of the ever-increasing competitive workforce.  

    Courtyard by Marriott Sandestin at Grand Boulevard was awarded with a Platinum Circle Award for placement in the top 5 percent of all Courtyard Marriott hotels in North America for guest satisfaction. Its sister hotel Residence Inn by Marriott Sandestin at Grand Boulevard took a Gold Circle Award for placement in the top 10 percent in guest satisfaction of all Residence Inn Marriott hotels in North America. This is the 4th year in a row that Courtyard by Marriott Sandestin at Grand Boulevard has won a Platinum Circle Award, and with more than 1,000 Courtyard Marriott hotels and more than 750 Residence Inn Marriott hotels in North America, these accolades were painstakingly earned and much appreciated.

    Howard Hospitality’s Revenue Manager Jeff League received recognition of his own in the form of the Marriott International Revenue Management Property Leader of the Year Award for his work in 2017. He is a shining example of the strong work ethic within the Howard Hospitality team. League moved to Florida in 2006 and took a position as a breakfast attendant at the Courtyard by Marriott Sandestin at Grand Boulevard. Shortly after the opening, he found himself assisting at the front desk with all shifts, including the night audit. He was then promoted to the front office supervisor and then front desk manager. A couple of years later, he transitioned to the Residence Inn by Marriott Sandestin at Grand Boulevard as the assistant general manager and then the director of operations before moving into his current role in 2015. 

    Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast Extends Programming Hours
    Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast, a leader in youth development, is excited to share that they will be extending program service hours to create a bigger impact on members.  The organization, which is celebrating 50 years of service this year, continues to inspire kids to build great futures. Starting the 2018-2019 school year, all clubs in Okaloosa, Escambia, and Walton counties will extend after-school hours until 7 p.m. daily.  Fort Walton Beach and Pensacola Teen Clubs will have additional extended hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays until 8 p.m.  Teen Clubs will also provide current members with Day Passes so they can share with their friends and invite them to see what is happening in the Club and get involved. Clubs will also host family-style dinners two nights a month that will be open to members and their family.  Dinners will create another opportunity for parents to become more engaged in Club activities and better acquainted with the staff.  

    Hidden Dunes Beach & Tennis Resort Ranked Among the Top 50 Tennis Resorts
    Hidden Dunes Beach & Tennis ResortHidden Dunes Beach & Tennis Resort was named a “Silver Medal Resort,” by Tennis Resorts Online for the seventh consecutive year. The ranking places Hidden Dunes among the top 50 tennis resorts. Located in Miramar Beach, Hidden Dunes Beach & Tennis Resort features six championship clay courts. The Tennis Center consistently receives high marks for overall tennis experience, tennis staff, and instruction. Additionally, the staff’s like-level game matching receives positive reviews with resort players. 

    Director of Tennis Renee Broxson is an active member of the USPTA and attends world and sectional conferences for continuing education. Broxson is also a doubles national champion and designs clinics and lessons to suit individual and group needs. Tennis Pro George Cobia is also an integral part of the team, designing and implementing the instructional clinics and lessons. Cobia has been a Level 1 United States Tennis Professional for more than 25 years. In the Tennis Center, Quy Tran oversees the pro shop and scheduling like-level matches for players.  

    BBB® Announces “Torch Award for Ethics” Winners 
    Better Business Bureau of Northwest Florida - Transaction One LLCYour Better Business Bureau Foundation serving Northwest Florida is proud to announce the recipients of the 13th annual Torch Award for Ethics program from its District II area: Okaloosa and Walton counties. 

    1-10 employees category winner- Traditions Workshop, Valparaiso
    1-10 employees Honorable Mention - Transaction One, LLC - Destin (pictured here)

    The Torch Award for Ethics program was created to publicly recognize business and charities that insist on exceptionally high standards of behavior. Read more here…

    Girl Scout Troop 700 Donates Summer Supplies to CIC Children
    Children In Crisis - Girl ScoutsGirl Scout Troop 700 showed its spirit of giving to the kids living at Children in Crisis (CIC) by donating summer supplies and gratitude journals.  The Girl Scouts and Girl Scout Leaders worked with their church and the community to collect the items for the CIC children. Seen here are Ken Hair, CIC president and CEO, and Troop 700 leaders Sarah Lucas and Kristie Moeller, along with troop members.

    Sacred Heart Offers Online Scheduling for Physician Visits
    The primary care doctors of Sacred Heart Medical Group are now offering convenient, online scheduling for consumers across seven counties of Northwest Florida. Patients can go online to view available appointments with 95 healthcare providers at 35 locations and select a time that fits their busy schedules. Appointments can be scheduled for regular check-ups, physicals, or sick visits. Patients can visit www.getsacredheartcare.com to get started.

    Gulf Coast Friends Donate to CIC Kids
    Children In CrisisThe Gulf Coast Friends helped the kids living at Children in Crisis (CIC) by having a Back-To-School drive and donated a huge assortment of needed items.  Thanks to the generous donations, the kids living at the CIC Neighborhood were better prepared to head back to school. Seen here, Ken Hair, CIC president and CEO, receives the donation from Gulf Coast Friends, represented by Linda Bozorgnia and Sheree Northrup.

    United Way Helps Children in Crisis
    Children In CrisisBoard Chair Alan Wood, United Way of Okaloosa and Walton Counties, continued critical support to the at-risk children living at the Children In Crisis (CIC) Neighborhood by presenting a $50,000 check at the Annual Community Impact Check Presentation event. United Way’s mission is to serve donors, advocates, and volunteers with the organization and leadership they require to provide financial stability, education opportunities, and healthy lives to their community. Seen here, Wood presents the donation to Allie Noah, CIC development director, and Ken Hair, CIC president and CEO. 

    Beach Community Bank Announces Completion of Successful $100 Million Capital Raise  
    Beach Community Bank recently announced the completion of a private placement transaction pursuant to which the bank issued an aggregate of 14,702,382 shares of its common stock and 5,405,604 shares of its non-voting preferred stock at $5.00 per share for aggregate gross proceeds of approximately $100 million.  In connection with the private placement, the bank’s former holding company sold its shares of the bank to an investor pursuant to a bankruptcy proceeding.  The bank will use substantially all of the proceeds from the private placement to recapitalize the bank, to support its operations, to increase its capital ratios, to grow market share, and for general corporate purposes. 
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