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Fort Myers: City of Palms—A Contemporary Portrait

A full-color, photography book showcasing Fort Myers, Florida, paired with the histories of companies, institutions, and organizations that have made the city great.

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FORT MYERS<br />

CITY OF PALMS—A CONTEMPORARY PORTRAIT<br />

Photography by Ilene Safron<br />

Text by Amy Bennett Williams<br />

A publication <strong>of</strong> the <strong>of</strong>fice <strong>of</strong><br />

Mayor Randall P. Henderson, Jr.


Thank you for your interest in this HPNbooks publication. For more information about other HPNbooks publications, or<br />

information about producing your own book with us, please visit www.hpnbooks.com.


CITY OF PALMS—A CONTEMPORARY PORTRAIT<br />

Photography by Ilene Safron<br />

Text by Amy Bennett Williams<br />

HPNbooks<br />

A division <strong>of</strong> Lammert Incorporated<br />

San Antonio, Texas<br />

A publication <strong>of</strong> the <strong>of</strong>fice <strong>of</strong><br />

Mayor Randall P. Henderson, Jr.


First Edition<br />

Copyright © 2017 HPNbooks<br />

All rights reserved. No part <strong>of</strong> this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, without permission in writing from the publisher.<br />

All inquiries should be addressed to HPNbooks, 11535 Galm Road, Suite 101, San Antonio, Texas, 78254. Phone (800) 749-9790, www.hpnbooks.com.<br />

ISBN: 978-1-944891-28-2<br />

Library <strong>of</strong> Congress: 2017934039<br />

<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>: <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Palms—A</strong> <strong>Contemporary</strong> <strong>Portrait</strong><br />

photographer: Ilene Safron<br />

author: Amy Bennett Williams<br />

designer: Glenda Tarazon Krouse<br />

contributing writer for <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> partners: Scott Williams<br />

FORT MYERS: <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Palms—A</strong> <strong>Contemporary</strong> <strong>Portrait</strong><br />

2<br />

HPNbooks<br />

president: Ron Lammert<br />

project managers: Mary Hanley, Barry Black<br />

administration: Donna M. Mata, Lori K. Smith, Melissa G. Quinn<br />

book sales: Joe Neely<br />

production: Colin Hart, Evelyn Hart, Tim Lippard, Tony Quinn, Christopher D. Sturdevant


Contents<br />

Legacy Sponsors ...........................................................................................4<br />

A Mayor’s‐Eye View by <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Mayor Randall P. Henderson, Jr. ...6<br />

<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> <strong>City</strong> Council.................................................................................8<br />

Introduction.................................................................................................10<br />

Chapter 1<br />

Building Blocks <strong>of</strong> the Past....................................12<br />

Chapter 2 Fueling a Dynamic Economy ...............................20<br />

Chapter 3 Celebrating Fascinating Places..........................36<br />

Chapter 4 Living the Dream in Subtropical Style...........74<br />

Chapter 5 <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> People....................................................106<br />

<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Partners...................................................................................132<br />

About the Photographer..........................................................................190<br />

About the Author.......................................................................................191<br />

Sponsors ....................................................................................................192<br />

CONTENTS<br />

3


LEGACY SPONSORS<br />

Through their generous support, these companies<br />

helped to make this project possible.<br />

Lee Health<br />

P.O. Box 2218<br />

<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>, Florida 33902<br />

239-343-2000<br />

www.LeeHealth.org<br />

Mark Loren Designs, Inc.<br />

13351 McGregor Boulevard<br />

<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>, Florida 33919<br />

239-482-4664<br />

www.marklorendesigns.com<br />

Dean Steel Buildings, Inc.<br />

2929 Industrial Avenue<br />

<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>, Florida 33901<br />

239-334-1051<br />

www.deansteelbuildings.com<br />

FORT MYERS: <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Palms—A</strong> <strong>Contemporary</strong> <strong>Portrait</strong><br />

4


Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, P.A.<br />

1715 Monroe Street<br />

<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>, Florida 33902<br />

239-344-1100<br />

www.henlaw.com<br />

Parker/Mudgett/Smith Architects, Inc.<br />

2136 McGregor Boulevard<br />

<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>, Florida 33901<br />

239-332-1171<br />

www.pmsarch.com<br />

Victory Layne Chevrolet<br />

3980 Fowler Street<br />

<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>, Florida 33901<br />

239-603-7069<br />

www.victorylaynechevrolet.com<br />

Aim Engineering & Surveying, Inc.<br />

5300 Lee Boulevard<br />

Lehigh Acres, Florida 33971<br />

239-332-4569<br />

www.aimengineering.com<br />

T3 Communications, Inc.<br />

2401 First Street, Suite 300<br />

<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>, Florida 33901<br />

239.333.0000<br />

www.t3com.com<br />

Barraco and Associates, Inc.<br />

2271 McGregor Boulevard<br />

<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>, Florida 33901<br />

239-461-3170<br />

www.barraco.net<br />

LEGACY SPONSORS<br />

5


A mayor’s-eye view<br />

It seems fitting that I started falling in love with <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong><br />

at an airport, because now, as mayor, one <strong>of</strong> my great joys<br />

as a pilot is surveying the city from above.<br />

From the air, it all unfolds before me—the place I first saw<br />

in 1976 as a nineteen-year-old undergrad who had awakened<br />

in the frozen grey chill <strong>of</strong> North Carolina, hopped a plane to<br />

visit his girlfriend, then stepped onto the Page Field tarmac<br />

and into <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>’ sunny, seventy-degree embrace.<br />

As fate would have it, I would end up falling in love<br />

with the girl I had come to visit as well as her hometown,<br />

so I made it my business to secure a job in <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>,<br />

then convince Virginia (Ginny) to marry me. I felt like I had<br />

died and gone to heaven when I won both.<br />

How my adopted city has grown and what it has become<br />

in the following four decades, from a place with a small<br />

local airport to a major destination served by the regional<br />

Southwest International Airport (as well as a still-vital Page<br />

Field) is the subject <strong>of</strong> this book.<br />

It is a snapshot <strong>of</strong> the city I commonly refer to as our<br />

paradise. The faces in its pages reveal the beauty <strong>of</strong> the<br />

citizens who share a city connected to the Gulf <strong>of</strong> Mexico by<br />

the magnificent Caloosahatchee River. You can get everywhere<br />

from here!<br />

Thomas Edison knew he had found treasure in <strong>Fort</strong><br />

<strong>Myers</strong>, so he made it his winter home, where his working<br />

vacations added to his list <strong>of</strong> inventions and our collective<br />

body <strong>of</strong> knowledge. The Wizard was one <strong>of</strong> the pioneers<br />

<strong>of</strong> the “live, work, play” concept now prevalent in modern<br />

city visioning and planning. It was Edison who said,<br />

“There is only one <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>, and ninety million people<br />

are going to find out,” yet I am sure by now, even given his<br />

genius, that number is an underestimation.<br />

<strong>Contemporary</strong> <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> features a diverse, rich culture,<br />

growing in the arts, spawned by modern development and<br />

merged with historically significant features in the core <strong>of</strong><br />

the city known as the River District. You will see this in<br />

these pages, and I know you will feel the allure <strong>of</strong> this<br />

great city. As my colleague on city council, resident architect<br />

Mike Flanders likes to say, the River District is everyone’s<br />

living room.<br />

The bustling downtown fronts one <strong>of</strong> the most beautiful<br />

intercoastal waterways in the country: the Caloosahatchee<br />

River. With its endless regional network <strong>of</strong> tributaries,<br />

creeks and canals, <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> is among the most attractive<br />

water communities in the world, boasting some <strong>of</strong> the best<br />

boating, beaches and sport fishing in the world.<br />

Whether you are here to find love, start a family, build<br />

a business or find a new path through life, you will never<br />

regret discovering <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>, Florida. Thank you for<br />

your interest in our city, and I trust you will find this book,<br />

which presents its portrait, extraordinary and inspiring.<br />

I want to express my appreciation to The United States<br />

Conference <strong>of</strong> Mayors, where I learned <strong>of</strong> the opportunity<br />

to highlight my city in this book. I want to thank the<br />

publisher, for their patience and steadfast pursuit <strong>of</strong><br />

the book. I hand-picked two <strong>of</strong> the finest pr<strong>of</strong>essionals<br />

I know for its production, photographer Ilene Safron,<br />

and writer Amy Bennett Williams, who stayed with this<br />

project through thick and thin to assure we had the best<br />

product available.<br />

Finally, the <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> <strong>City</strong> Council: my colleagues.<br />

Teresa Watkins-Brown, Johnny Streets, Terolyn Watson,<br />

Mike Flanders, Forrest Banks, and Gaile Anthony, are<br />

among the finest political pr<strong>of</strong>essionals and leaders I<br />

have ever known. This team has demonstrated their love<br />

<strong>of</strong> our city through hard work and dedication. I respect<br />

them. There is always more to do, and this will be the<br />

case throughout history, as leaders labor to leave the city<br />

a better place than when they arrived.<br />

I must also acknowledge <strong>City</strong> Manager Saeed Kazemi,<br />

and his team <strong>of</strong> pr<strong>of</strong>essionals for implementing the<br />

council’s policy by planning for a livable, walkable city.<br />

Don Paight, a thirty-year-veteran <strong>of</strong> city planning, best<br />

practices implementation (and one <strong>of</strong> the finest minds<br />

in the nation on developing modern, relevant cities),<br />

has left a huge mark on ours. And my heartfelt gratitude<br />

to the countless volunteers who dedicate their time and<br />

resources to make <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> better. That there are too<br />

many to mention here speaks volumes about the quality <strong>of</strong><br />

our citizens.<br />

Please note the legacy and new business participants in<br />

the book’s production. You will see the faces and stories <strong>of</strong><br />

those who not only love <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>, but have contributed,<br />

and continue to contribute, to the ongoing growth and<br />

beauty <strong>of</strong> this city we call home.<br />

Randall P. Henderson, Jr.<br />

Mayor, <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong><br />

FORT MYERS: <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Palms—A</strong> <strong>Contemporary</strong> <strong>Portrait</strong><br />

6


❖<br />

Mayor Randall P. Henderson, Jr.<br />

“When I set out to become a public servant, I had the encouragement, confidence and counsel<br />

<strong>of</strong> two <strong>of</strong> the finest women I have ever known. With their support, I have been able to face this<br />

<strong>of</strong>fice’s daily challenges, and I owe them a debt <strong>of</strong> gratitude and recognition. We lost our beloved<br />

Mrs. Corbin on November 16, 2016; Ginny was her caregiver to the end. Ginny is quite simply<br />

the love <strong>of</strong> my life: partner, co-pilot, flight engineer and much more. There is nothing else I<br />

can say. These two beloved First Ladies have given much to the citizens <strong>of</strong> <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>—quietly,<br />

deliberately, and unconditionally.”<br />

–Mayor Randall P. Henderson, Jr.<br />

Left: Left to right, Mayor Randall P. Henderson, Jr., with two <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> First Ladies,<br />

the late Wilhelmina Mathis Corbin, wife <strong>of</strong> the late <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Mayor Oscar Corbin,<br />

who served 1967-1976 and Virginia “Ginny” Corbin Henderson.<br />

A MAYOR’S—EYE VIEW<br />

7


<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> <strong>City</strong> Council<br />

2014<br />

The faces in this photo reflect the genuine spirit <strong>of</strong> the elected leadership for our city in this snapshot <strong>of</strong> time. It is one<br />

<strong>of</strong> my favorite photos <strong>of</strong> all the time I have served. It is respectful, hopeful and confident. Civility is not a sign <strong>of</strong> weakness;<br />

it is a demonstration <strong>of</strong> leadership, statesmanship and respect for others—including all citizens that reach out to our city.<br />

Left to right: Johnny W. Streets, Jr., Mike Flanders, Mayor Randall P. Henderson, Jr., Teresa Watkins-Brown, Forrest Banks and<br />

Tom Leonardo.<br />

FORT MYERS: <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Palms—A</strong> <strong>Contemporary</strong> <strong>Portrait</strong><br />

8


<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> <strong>City</strong> Council<br />

2017<br />

<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> has benefited from political cohesiveness and collegial governance. While discussions are sometimes spirited<br />

and robust, there is always respect and heartfelt deliberation. Citizens benefit from political stability and predictability.<br />

If you want people to come to your city, this approach will accommodate and encourage growth and interest from all.<br />

Left to right: Mike Flanders, Terolyn Watson, Teresa Watkins-Brown, Mayor Randall P. Henderson, Jr., Johnny W. Streets, Jr.,<br />

Gaile Anthony and Forrest Banks.<br />

FORT MYERS CITY COUNCIL<br />

9


Introduction<br />

<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>: <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Palms—A</strong> <strong>Contemporary</strong> <strong>Portrait</strong><br />

Illuminating the life, times and people <strong>of</strong> the <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> area, the book’s<br />

richly illustrated narrative showcases the region’s dynamic heritage, cultural<br />

<strong>of</strong>ferings, stunning environment and diverse economy.<br />

Perilous as depending on first impressions can sometimes<br />

be, an elevated one-glance sweep <strong>of</strong> <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>’ downtown<br />

is truly telling.<br />

First seen: the Caloosahatchee, a storied river that flows<br />

to the Gulf <strong>of</strong> Mexico and the region’s alluring islands and<br />

beaches. The river defines the city’s heart and its heritage.<br />

The river is what brought people here in the first place,<br />

beginning with the Native Americans who settled its banks<br />

long before soldiers and European explorers staked their<br />

claims as well. And the river’s waters remain key to the city’s<br />

vibrant life and the cultural/commercial district that bears<br />

its name.<br />

Next, tall buildings, shouldering against the sky, filled<br />

with those who have chosen a downtown home. Most <strong>of</strong><br />

them arrivals from other places, their presence speaks to<br />

the city’s powerful appeal to outsiders who come, settle and<br />

make the region theirs.<br />

Buttressing the towers, the sturdy sweep <strong>of</strong> government<br />

buildings, courthouses, commission chambers (<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong><br />

is Lee County’s seat), justice centers, tax collectors, administrative<br />

hubs and city hall. Here is where the people’s <strong>of</strong>ficial<br />

business is done, in handsome, <strong>of</strong>ten historic buildings.<br />

Those historic buildings are another <strong>of</strong> the city’s distinct<br />

assets. Perhaps more than any other city in South Florida,<br />

the physical foundation <strong>of</strong> <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> remains. The presence<br />

<strong>of</strong> the past is everywhere downtown. People lunch in an<br />

airy 1800s courtyard, watch independent films in a restored<br />

Works Progress Administration federal building, worship<br />

in churches built by city fathers and mothers and sign<br />

contracts in <strong>of</strong>fices bordering cobbled streets oxcarts once<br />

rumbled over.<br />

Ribboned throughout the cityscape, the green <strong>of</strong> trees<br />

and subtropical foliage. <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>’ trademark palm trees,<br />

to be sure, but also stately live oaks, sprawling banyans, a<br />

fruit salad <strong>of</strong> mangos, guavas, tamarinds and kaleidoscopic<br />

poincianas, jacarandas and bombax.<br />

And finally, people, the city’s lifeblood and future—some<br />

75,000 in <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>, part <strong>of</strong> the growing county’s 680,000.<br />

Walking their dogs, taking in plays, buying sweet corn<br />

or checking out library books, they enliven and sustain<br />

<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> and Southwest Florida. Midwesterners, descendants<br />

<strong>of</strong> slaves, Florida Crackers and Europeans—laughing,<br />

arguing, worshipping, playing, but inextricably bound<br />

together, all drawn and held by this singular city.<br />

Caloosahatchee River sunset.<br />

—Amy Bennett Williams<br />

FORT MYERS: <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Palms—A</strong> <strong>Contemporary</strong> <strong>Portrait</strong><br />

10


INTRODUCTION<br />

11


Building Blocks<br />

<strong>of</strong> the Past<br />

❖<br />

Financed by <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> matriarch Tootie McGregor and named in honor<br />

<strong>of</strong> her son, the 115-year-old Bradford Hotel was the largest building in<br />

<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> in its day, providing its guests with ground-floor stores,<br />

electric-lit rooms and modern conveniences.<br />

<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> is justly proud <strong>of</strong> its rich heritage and history.<br />

Once a remote outpost where cattle roamed the streets, its subtropical climate made it a haven for well-heeled winter visitors<br />

and new residents who helped it develop into a bustling city that retains its small-town charm. <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>’ past is remarkably<br />

well-preserved in a riverfront downtown rich with historic buildings and treasures like the Edison & Ford Winter Estates.<br />

Though a relatively young city (Europeans began to populate it in earnest in the mid-1800s) <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> continues to reinvent<br />

itself while cherishing the best <strong>of</strong> its history.<br />

chapter<br />

FORT MYERS: <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Palms—A</strong> <strong>Contemporary</strong> <strong>Portrait</strong><br />

12


❖<br />

THEN: The Leon Building back in<br />

the day.<br />

❖<br />

NOW: The first floor <strong>of</strong> the 1905 exotic revival Leon Building<br />

has housed a bank, a clothing store and a pharmacy<br />

in its lifetime, as well as a popular British café.<br />

Once a hotel, the second story now<br />

contains residences.<br />

❖<br />

Left: Framed view <strong>of</strong> the Leon Building from the Bradford Hotel.<br />

CHAPTER 1<br />

13


FORT MYERS: <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Palms—A</strong> <strong>Contemporary</strong> <strong>Portrait</strong><br />

14


❖<br />

Opposite: Wreathed by bougainvillea, the fountain commonly (though mistakenly) known as<br />

Rachel at the Well graces the McGregor Boulevard entrance to Edison Park. Created by sculptor<br />

Helmut von Zengen, its <strong>of</strong>ficial title is The Spirit <strong>of</strong> <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>.<br />

Opposite, bottom: Left is the depot where Atlantic Coastline Railroad’s Gulf Coast Special once stopped;<br />

the <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> still owns the Mediterranean revival building.<br />

Right: <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Senior High: <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> High School, one <strong>of</strong> the oldest in Florida, has been educating<br />

“Greenies” since 1911, while consistently earning high honors in national rankings <strong>of</strong> publications<br />

including Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report.<br />

Bottom, left: For nine decades, the Dunbar High School building has been the educational heart <strong>of</strong><br />

the mostly-black community on the city’s east side. Built during segregation, it was later replaced by a<br />

nearby integrated Dunbar High, but the graceful Mediterranean revival school, which is on the National<br />

Register <strong>of</strong> Historic Places, continues to serve its community as an adult education center.<br />

Bottom, right: In 1926, Thomas Edison, whose winter home is nearby, attended the cornerstone-laying <strong>of</strong><br />

the Edison Park Elementary School, which is on the National Register <strong>of</strong> Historic Places and is still open<br />

today, with an emphasis on the arts.<br />

The city began its life as a series <strong>of</strong> military strongholds<br />

in the Seminole Wars. It was reactivated as a Union fort in<br />

the Civil War, and one <strong>of</strong> the southernmost battles <strong>of</strong> the<br />

conflict was fought on its shores.<br />

That marriage <strong>of</strong> present and past gives it a unique identity,<br />

rooted in tradition but embracing a dynamic future.<br />

Situated on the shore <strong>of</strong> a subtropical river that flows to<br />

the Gulf <strong>of</strong> Mexico, the <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> Palms is an unabashed beauty.<br />

Its appeal is elemental. Water, warmth and sun are the<br />

dependable constants that have drawn people here for<br />

centuries, starting with the Calusa, the ancient tribe that lent<br />

their name to the city’s defining river, the Caloosahatchee.<br />

CHAPTER 1<br />

15


Those who have come since have created a vibrantly<br />

diverse community, with multi-generational families and<br />

a steady stream <strong>of</strong> new arrivals seeking the abundant<br />

pleasures and economic opportunity the region <strong>of</strong>fers.<br />

The seat <strong>of</strong> Lee County, <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> is the region’s<br />

government and cultural center.<br />

With signature palms shading its brick-paved streets,<br />

its handsome downtown, known as The River District,<br />

mixes modern and abundant historic buildings. Law<br />

<strong>of</strong>fices and banks alternate with galleries and theaters.<br />

Coveted apartments atop shops overlook it all. Tourists<br />

mix with locals at open-air cafés. Deals are sealed in <strong>of</strong>fices<br />

with stunning views <strong>of</strong> the river.<br />

Riverfront Centennial Park hosts festivals and farmers<br />

markets alike. Business and commerce happen here, <strong>of</strong><br />

course, but against a unique backdrop.<br />

FORT MYERS: <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Palms—A</strong> <strong>Contemporary</strong> <strong>Portrait</strong><br />

16


❖<br />

Opposite, top: The Lee County Courthouse.<br />

Opposite, bottom: A tropical fountain splashes in front <strong>of</strong> city hall, named for former <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Mayor<br />

Oscar M. Corbin, Jr., as its mirrored front reflects the brickwork <strong>of</strong> the building across the street.<br />

Left: Built <strong>of</strong> now-protected Florida Keys coral-rock limestone, this Depression-era masterpiece was an<br />

open-air post <strong>of</strong>fice, a federal courthouse and now the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center.<br />

Below: Come nightfall, a pair <strong>of</strong> illuminated bronze cylinders, The Caloosahatchee Manuscripts,<br />

by artist Jim Sanborn spangle the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center with native American legend and<br />

plant names.<br />

CHAPTER 1<br />

17


FORT MYERS: <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Palms—A</strong> <strong>Contemporary</strong> <strong>Portrait</strong><br />

18


❖<br />

Left: If those leaves could talk, what tales this nearly century-old banyan tree could tell. It has shaded Lee County’s old courthouse, which now holds its commission chambers, since the 1920s.<br />

Above: Anchored by the Florida Repertory Theatre company, the century-old Arcade building is one <strong>of</strong> the River District’s cultural and shopping mainstays.<br />

CHAPTER 1<br />

19


Fueling a<br />

Dynamic Economy<br />

❖<br />

Left: For more than four decades, the <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Boat Show has brought<br />

the best on the water to the River District.<br />

Opposite, top: Southwest Florida International Airport.<br />

Opposite, bottom: Since World War II, pilots have been flying in and out<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>’ Page Field. Now serving primarily business and private<br />

plane-owning customers, the newly constructed complex <strong>of</strong>fers flight<br />

school, charters, aircraft maintenance and hangar rentals.<br />

The region’s economy is powered by tourism, healthcare, education, retail trade and an educated, productive workforce.<br />

Visitors are the economy’s cornerstone, and the tourism and hospitality industry is the region’s most important, with some three million<br />

people staying in Lee County’s accommodations annually, bringing in some $3 billion to the county and funding at least 40,000 jobs.<br />

FORT MYERS: <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Palms—A</strong> <strong>Contemporary</strong> <strong>Portrait</strong><br />

20


CHAPTER 2<br />

21


❖<br />

Left: Even the littlest players get hands-on attention from Rich Lamb, the longtime <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Country Club Director <strong>of</strong> Golf, who has<br />

trained generations <strong>of</strong> PGA and LPGA pr<strong>of</strong>essionals.<br />

Below: Thomas Edison himself played on the historic 1917 <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Country Club Golf Course, created by legendary designer<br />

Donald Ross. In 2014, after six months and $5.8 million in renovations by Steve Smyers, the course reopened with enhanced turf, six new<br />

water hazards and filter marshes that use environmental best practices to store and clean stormwater before it enters the Caloosahatchee.<br />

Opposite: Would-be Olympians churn through the water at the Open Water National Championship at Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club.<br />

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Southwest Florida produces winter tomatoes that feed the nation,<br />

and for generations, Lipman Family Farms has led the industry.<br />

The largest field tomato grower in the U.S., Limpan scientists work to<br />

improve the flavor, sustainability and yield <strong>of</strong> the company’s produce<br />

<strong>of</strong>ferings, which include cucumbers, peppers, potatoes and watermelon.<br />

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❖<br />

Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Shari Skinner<br />

uses state-<strong>of</strong>-the-art technology to treat a patient.<br />

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Outside <strong>of</strong> the urban centers, agriculture remains a key part <strong>of</strong> the region’s economic picture.<br />

Citrus farming, cattle ranching and row crops all contribute, and Southwest Florida remains the nation’s winter tomato<br />

capital, providing more than ninety percent <strong>of</strong> the nation’s supply during the cold season.<br />

The region <strong>of</strong>fers a number <strong>of</strong> public and private institutions <strong>of</strong> higher learning, including Florida Gulf Coast University,<br />

Florida SouthWestern State College, Barry University, Hodges University and others.<br />

And several international firms have chosen the Southwest Florida region as their corporate home, including Hertz,<br />

Chico’s FAS and U.S. Sugar.<br />

❖<br />

Opposite: A number <strong>of</strong> area high schools hold graduation ceremonies<br />

at downtown’s Harborside Event Center; this is Cypress Lake High School’s<br />

senior class.<br />

Above: True Tours with Florida Gulf Coast University students.<br />

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❖<br />

Right: On Little Hickory Island, FGCU’s Vester Marine and Environmental Science Research Field Station<br />

serves as the waterfront base for the university’s marine science programs.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF FGCU.<br />

BELOW: PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF FGCU.<br />

Bottom, right: The FGCU Eagles keep the crowds gasping as they pull <strong>of</strong>f a one-point win against the<br />

U Mass Minutemen, winning 77-76 at the final buzzer.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF FGCU.<br />

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Florida Gulf Coast<br />

University<br />

❖<br />

Top: Life’s a beach at FGCU’s student housing.<br />

Where else do dorm rooms overlook sunlit sands? Just one advantage <strong>of</strong> studying in paradise.<br />

Bottom: They do not ask FGC-who? anymore. After charging into 2013’s Sweet Sixteen <strong>of</strong> the NCAA Division I men’s<br />

basketball championships, Florida Gulf Coast University earned a new nickname: Dunk <strong>City</strong>. For locals, though, the university has<br />

been a cultural and educational mainstay since 1997. For Florida Gulf Coast University, the state’s tenth, ecological sustainability is a core value.<br />

Some 400 acres <strong>of</strong> its campus, many <strong>of</strong> them wetlands, are environmental preserves functioning as living laboratories <strong>of</strong> natural systems management. Before graduating,<br />

each <strong>of</strong> its more than 15,000 students must complete a multidisciplinary colloquium course: “A Sustainable Future” focusing on sense-<strong>of</strong>-place, the environment and the future.<br />

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Florida SouthWestern<br />

State College<br />

❖<br />

Since 1962, Florida SouthWestern State College has been preparing<br />

students for the future. Originally called Edison Junior College, it now<br />

<strong>of</strong>fers Associate in Arts, Associate in Science, and Baccalaureate degrees,<br />

plus certificate programs at its Thomas Edison Campus in <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>,<br />

as well as others in Charlotte, Collier, and Hendry Counties.<br />

Opposite: Florida SouthWestern student athletes warm up before a<br />

s<strong>of</strong>tball game at <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> Palms Park.<br />

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Every spring, <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> becomes a baseball mecca, as the Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins<br />

and legions <strong>of</strong> their fans move in to warm up for the baseball season. The Red Sox train at JetBlue<br />

Park, affectionately known as Fenway South, and the Twins play at CenturyLink Sports Complex.<br />

❖<br />

<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> becomes Fenway South as the Boston Red Sox move in to warm up for the baseball season at JetBlue Park.<br />

Like its namesake, the field boasts a “Green Monster,” a manual scoreboard and the chance for fans to greet their favorite players.<br />

Opposite: Though it retains many <strong>of</strong> the charms <strong>of</strong> its vintage namesake, JetBlue Park, which can accommodate some 11,000 fans,<br />

is an architecturally striking state-<strong>of</strong>-the-art year-round facility with six outlying training fields.<br />

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Opposite: Anchored by Hammond Stadium, which seats 9,300, the refurbished<br />

CenturyLink Sports Complex, where the Minnesota Twins spend spring training, <strong>of</strong>fers a<br />

360-degree boardwalk, a player development academy and five other fields used by the<br />

team’s minor league affiliates, including the <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Miracle.<br />

When Minnesota is still famously frozen, the Twins and their fans are enjoying the<br />

Southwest Florida sunshine as the team works out in Hammond Stadium.<br />

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Celebrating<br />

Fascinating Places<br />

Stroll scenic, palm-lined streets, enjoy world-class shopping or<br />

take in a game—leisure pursuits in the <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> area abound.<br />

❖<br />

Lee County’s Manatee Park is not just home to the gentle giants<br />

who are attracted to the warm water discharged by the nearby<br />

Florida Power & Light Plant; it is a showcase for many<br />

native plant communities, including rare rosemary scrub.<br />

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❖<br />

With an elegant Victorian-style glass conservatory, complemented by shopping<br />

and dining, the Butterfly Estates have helped power the revitalization <strong>of</strong> the city’s<br />

Gardner’s Park neighborhood. Visitors are treated to an array <strong>of</strong> flowering<br />

plants populated by colorful clouds <strong>of</strong> the attraction’s namesake critters.<br />

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❖<br />

Opposite, top: Concertgoers head to their seats at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall.<br />

Opposite, bottom: Under the baton <strong>of</strong> Maestro Nir Kabaretti, the Southwest Florida Symphony plays to a packed house at the<br />

Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall on the campus <strong>of</strong> Florida SouthWestern State College.<br />

Above: Screenings at the <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Film Festival <strong>of</strong>ten include a lively question-and-answer session with the audience.<br />

Left: <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Mayor Randy Henderson joins <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Film Festival hosts Melissa Tschari DeHaven and Eric Raddatz.<br />

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❖<br />

From Ireland to <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>: The Screaming Orphans wow a crowd<br />

at one <strong>of</strong> the Lee County Alliance for the Arts’ regular outdoor concerts.<br />

Opposite: A string quartet serenades shoppers at the Alliance for the<br />

Arts’ Saturday GreenMarket.<br />

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Fine arts options include symphonies, pr<strong>of</strong>essional<br />

theaters, galleries and museums that cater to kids, history<br />

buffs and science enthusiasts.<br />

❖<br />

Opposite: Art is everywhere downtown—during the city’s annual ArtFest,<br />

which draws artists from around the nation to the River District.<br />

Above and top, right: The River District’s regular Art Walks always hold<br />

surprises—whether the gallery debut <strong>of</strong> a soon-to-be-discovered artist or<br />

performance pieces featuring live “mannequins.”<br />

Right: Art exhibit at the Alliance for the Arts.<br />

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Left: Performers at Music Walk are as diverse stylistically as they are in age.<br />

Above: Law <strong>of</strong>fices by day, the front <strong>of</strong> the historic Edison Theater building transforms into an open-air Latin jazz club come Music Walk.<br />

Opposite: Live music and art blend seamlessly at Music Walk nights in the River District.<br />

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As one <strong>of</strong> USA TODAY’s Top Ten Must See Holiday Historic Homes, visitors to the<br />

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Holiday Nights events will enjoy lights, decorations, music and food.<br />

Opposite: On winter evenings, when nighttime temperatures hover around sixty degrees, audience<br />

members enjoy <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Film Festival al fresco screenings in front <strong>of</strong> the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center.<br />

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Visitors to Thomas Edison’s winter estate can walk the<br />

floorboards the inventor once did—and even read his mail.<br />

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❖<br />

Built in 1928, Thomas Edison’s newly<br />

refurbished Botanic Research Laboratory<br />

is a National Historic Chemical Landmark<br />

showcasing the work he did in pursuit <strong>of</strong> a<br />

source <strong>of</strong> domestic rubber.<br />

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❖<br />

Do not let the name fool you—the Shell Factory & Nature Park<br />

is all that and more—by a factor <strong>of</strong> ten. This vintage attraction is<br />

part museum, part amusement park, part zoo and part indoor mall<br />

with a handful <strong>of</strong> eateries to round it out.<br />

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❖<br />

Housed in a former water plant, the Imaginarium Science Center <strong>of</strong>fers<br />

hands-on discovery for all ages, with permanent and rotating exhibits featuring<br />

technology, meteorology, physics, touchable sea creatures and baby alligators.<br />

Visitors include such notables as Florida Governor Rick Scott.<br />

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Opposite: Once home to a 1930s hardware emporium, this Art Deco-style building (one <strong>of</strong> only a few downtown) is now a one-<strong>of</strong>-a-kind<br />

potpourri <strong>of</strong> shops, micro-galleries and teeny boutiques that also regularly hosts live music and other cultural events.<br />

Below: Held at the foot <strong>of</strong> the Caloosahatchee bridge, the popular downtown Thursday Farmer’s Market<br />

is as much a friendly gathering place as it is a showcase for the freshest local produce.<br />

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Opposite: Just a short stroll from the River District,<br />

vintage bungalows and cozy cottages line the palm-shaded<br />

streets <strong>of</strong> the historic Dean Park neighborhood.<br />

In season, the popular River District Trollies carry<br />

shoppers, revelers and sightseers to stops downtown.<br />

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❖<br />

The historic Post Office Arcade,<br />

built in 1925, also serves as the<br />

main entrance for the Hotel Indigo.<br />

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❖<br />

Firmly embracing the library-as-cultural-center concept, Cornog Plaza is<br />

the outdoor extension <strong>of</strong> the downtown library’s mission, and regularly hosts<br />

traveling art exhibits (this giant horse sculpture is part <strong>of</strong> one such show),<br />

poetry readings and gourmet food trucks.<br />

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Opposite and below: Thousands convene at Centennial Park for fun, fellowship and a healthy<br />

cardio workout as part <strong>of</strong> the American Heart Association’s annual Lee County Heart Walk.<br />

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The great outdoors beckons with beaches, waterways and plenty<br />

<strong>of</strong> watchable wildlife. Lee County’s Conservation 20/20 program<br />

<strong>of</strong>fers a variety <strong>of</strong> parks and preserves, including some for kayakers<br />

and equestrians.<br />

❖<br />

Opposite: On the banks <strong>of</strong> the Caloosahatchee, the nonpr<strong>of</strong>it Edison Sailing Center<br />

has been teaching people to ply the water safely for more than three decades.<br />

Below: Aerial view <strong>of</strong> Whiskey Creek.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF MIKE SHAPIRO.<br />

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❖<br />

Bridges slice across the Caloosahatchee from<br />

downtown <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> to North <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>.<br />

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❖<br />

Four-stories <strong>of</strong> historic brick house The Firestone, a cosmopolitan blend <strong>of</strong><br />

cocktails and fine dining topped by its Sky Bar’s incomparable river view.<br />

Opposite: With its expansive view <strong>of</strong> the Caloosahatchee and its fountained<br />

inlet along Edwards Drive, The Firestone’s Sky Bar is a favorite place to<br />

gather and watch the river.<br />

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❖<br />

The 1929 Castianos are not the only things smokin’<br />

at the World Famous Cigar Bar, the comfortably elegant<br />

Hendry Street venue also regularly hosts live bands.<br />

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❖<br />

Not only has he helped power the River District’s live music renaissance,<br />

Raimond Aulen, who has owned the popular Indigo Room since 1995,<br />

plays a mean guitar.<br />

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❖<br />

Opposite: Fronting historic First Street, The Lodge is a dazzling blend<br />

<strong>of</strong> up-North woodlands aesthetics with locally sourced meat and<br />

produce and a wide array <strong>of</strong> craft beer.<br />

Clockwise, starting from the top:<br />

Downtown’s Hotel Indigo hosts a number <strong>of</strong> up-and-coming acts during<br />

the annual Island Hopper Songwriter Fest.<br />

Performers include local favorite Sheena Brook, playing here at the<br />

Twisted Vine Bistro.<br />

Participants in the annual Island Hopper Songwriter Fest mingle at the<br />

Twisted Vine Bistro, one <strong>of</strong> the free event’s venues.<br />

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❖<br />

New Year’s Eve is a family- and flip-flop-friendly event in downtown <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>.<br />

Opposite: Painted-on fireworks are just the start <strong>of</strong> fun during the<br />

River District’s Independence Day celebration.<br />

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❖<br />

The historic courtyard’s live alligators<br />

are gone, but the Patio de Leon remains<br />

a favorite space to shop, sip and dine.<br />

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Downtown’s Caloosahatchee inlet is not just a lovely place for a stroll; the almost<br />

two-acre water basin helps clean the streets’ rainfall run<strong>of</strong>f before it reaches the river.<br />

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Living the Dream<br />

in Subtropical Style<br />

❖<br />

Evening settles over homes lining the Caloosahatchee.<br />

Opposite, top: Scenic McGregor Boulevard figures into the favorite route <strong>of</strong><br />

many joggers.<br />

Opposite, bottom: Events throughout Thomas Edison’s birthday month<br />

<strong>of</strong> February include a 5K race through downtown that attracts<br />

runners from around the world, as well as a kids’ version.<br />

chapter<br />

Lifestyle choices run the gamut in Southwest Florida—sports, boating, fishing, water and beach recreation,<br />

festivals, arts, culture, and faith.<br />

And they always have.<br />

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Opposite: Bikers pass the holiday-lit Burroughs Home as they head downtown. Motorcycle-friendly <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> regularly hosts bike nights.<br />

Above: The <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Track Club sponsors a kids’ race as part <strong>of</strong> the Edison Festival events.<br />

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Groups <strong>of</strong> bicyclists, most notably Critical Mass, work to make the city’s<br />

streets more bike-friendly and regularly meet for group rides.<br />

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More than just brightly lit outings, the nighttime rides sponsored by Critical Mass create<br />

solidarity in the biking community and emphasize the need for safe streets.<br />

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Food lovers flock to the city’s diverse range <strong>of</strong> restaurants and farmers’ markets. They can enjoy<br />

fried green tomatoes or tableside Caesar salads in the historic Veranda, sample fresh-caught “pink gold”<br />

(wild Gulf shrimp) on <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Beach or eat tacos al pastor on Palm Beach Boulevard.<br />

❖<br />

Once the grand Morgan Hotel, the historic Dean building is now home to the popular Ford’s Garage<br />

as well as residences and executive and commercial suites.<br />

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More than a century ago, this is how the <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Press (precursor to its contemporary News-Press) described the region’s<br />

charms in a 1913 front-page story headlined “Mecca for lovers <strong>of</strong> outdoor life, fishing and hunting—yachts dot harbor.”<br />

The article began: “America has no duplicate <strong>of</strong> the <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> section.... Here in <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>, a man is alive every moment<br />

<strong>of</strong> his time and he plans for enjoyment with a zest equal to that he feels in his winter sports in the North.”<br />

Those words ring true today, where the region is graced with whole communities focused on golf, tennis or boating.<br />

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❖<br />

Before integration, <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>’ white people had their parade and pageant honoring Thomas<br />

Edison every February. And while African-Americans were not barred per se, if they wanted to<br />

march, they had to do it at the very back <strong>of</strong> the parade—behind the horses, even, says historian<br />

Nina Denson-Rogers. So Evelyn Sams Canady took it upon herself to give the Dunbar community<br />

its own springtime tradition. A well-loved third-grade teacher and dedicated churchwoman,<br />

Sams was married to Walter Canady, a Negro League baseball player. Though she never had<br />

children <strong>of</strong> her own, Sams regularly took in kids who needed a home. And it was that love <strong>of</strong><br />

children that led her to found the Dunbar Easter Parade in 1945. It remains a celebration <strong>of</strong><br />

faith and <strong>of</strong> <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>’ African-American residents.<br />

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❖<br />

Opposite: Every year, a junior set <strong>of</strong> royalty is chosen to preside<br />

over the Edison Pageant <strong>of</strong> Light.<br />

Though it is certainly the highlight, February’s annual Edison<br />

Festival <strong>of</strong> Light is much more than a nighttime parade.<br />

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❖<br />

Opposite: Kids also get their own parade,<br />

presided over by the junior King and Queen<br />

<strong>of</strong> Edisonia and their royal court.<br />

The King and Queen <strong>of</strong> Light reign over the<br />

mythical kingdom <strong>of</strong> Edisonia, waving to<br />

their subjects from an illuminated float in<br />

the Festival <strong>of</strong> Light’s Grand Parade.<br />

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Young singers from one <strong>of</strong> the city’s youth groups lift their voices.<br />

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<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Mayor Randy Henderson helps judge the popular Mutt Strutt.<br />

This Edison Festival event is a chance for dog owners to parade their pets.<br />

It also includes wiener dog races and obedience trials.<br />

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Beach volleyball downtown? Absolutely.<br />

It is just one <strong>of</strong> Centennial Park’s many surprises.<br />

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Hundreds gather along Centennial Park’s riverfront for Yoga on the Steps,<br />

a morning <strong>of</strong> fundraising for breast cancer sponsored by Chico’s,<br />

which is headquartered in <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>.<br />

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❖<br />

Opposite: A repurposed fish house makes the perfect setting for a boys’ angling adventure in Pine Island Sound.<br />

Above: Once upon a time, Pine Island Sound’s historic fish houses were the outposts to which fishermen brought<br />

their catch, which was then dumped on ice and boated to the mainland. Pine Island Sound’s fish houses are now<br />

mostly weekend retreats.<br />

Right: With its abundant sea grass beds and low-tide shallows, Pine Island Sound is a favorite with anglers <strong>of</strong><br />

all ages.<br />

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❖<br />

Opposite: Kayakers gear up to paddle out <strong>of</strong> Cayo Costa—a kiss for luck, then they are on their way.<br />

Above: Cayo Costa is a favorite getaway. Its wide beaches <strong>of</strong>fer superlative shelling and its interior hides a quiet lagoon.<br />

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❖<br />

With its gentle surf and silver sand, <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Beach<br />

brings out the happy kid inside most visitors.<br />

Opposite: Cayo Costa sand.<br />

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❖<br />

Above: Beachgoers enjoy another splendid day on <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Beach both in and out <strong>of</strong> the water.<br />

Right: Whether zipping around on a Jet Ski or strolling in search <strong>of</strong> shells, visitors to <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong><br />

Beach have myriad ways to get around.<br />

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❖<br />

Opposite: Inspired by jazz music sculptor David Black heard<br />

while in Centennial Park, Fire Dance has graced the park’s<br />

Edison Circle since 2012.<br />

Below: Not only does the city’s Caloosahatchee riverfront inspire<br />

romance, it makes a perfect backdrop for a wedding celebration.<br />

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❖<br />

Left: Roseate spoonbills rest on a rookery island in the Caloosahatchee,<br />

just minutes from the River District.<br />

Below: Wood storks and an anhinga gather in the mangroves <strong>of</strong> a Caloosahatchee Island<br />

close to downtown <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>.<br />

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For the last twenty-five years, <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> has been recognized by the<br />

National Arbor Day Foundation as part <strong>of</strong> its Tree <strong>City</strong> USA program, and<br />

no wonder. Beyond its “<strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> Palms” nickname, <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> is graced by a<br />

myriad <strong>of</strong> trees: venerable live oaks that create green tunnels, stately avenues <strong>of</strong><br />

mahoganies and trees that flower in a rainbow <strong>of</strong> shades throughout the year.<br />

❖<br />

Top, left: This tropical tree’s many common names speak to its clarion brightness, but whether you call it<br />

golden rain or silver trumpet, Tabebuia aurea is a streetside highlight.<br />

Top, right: The city’s royal poincianas blaze with color, making another <strong>of</strong> their common names quite<br />

understandable: flamboyant tree.<br />

Right: The brilliant bougainvillea hedge at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates that spreads over the<br />

eastern garden entrance was installed by the late renowned landscape architect and Edison Ford Trustee,<br />

Helen Johnson Hendry.<br />

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People Who<br />

Made <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong><br />

What it is Today<br />

<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> is shaped by its people—they create the character <strong>of</strong> the<br />

area through their diversity and shared values. Here are portraits <strong>of</strong><br />

some <strong>of</strong> the region’s residents, though it is only the briefest sampling<br />

<strong>of</strong> Southwest Florida’s most precious resource: its residents.<br />

❖<br />

chapter<br />

<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Mayor Randy Henderson presenting<br />

Olivia Williams with the key to the city.<br />

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O LIVIA<br />

W ILLIAMS<br />

For more than three decades, Olivia Williams has been<br />

the sweet soul <strong>of</strong> the Farmer’s Market, another venerable<br />

<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> institution. Famous for her sweet potato pies<br />

and rock‐solid culinary skills, cooking has been central to her<br />

life since she was twelve and learning at her mother’s side.<br />

In recognition <strong>of</strong> how many stomachs and hearts she has<br />

filled over the years, <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Mayor Randy Henderson<br />

recently presented her with the key to the city, and she<br />

presented him with a radiant smile for the ages.<br />

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S AEED<br />

K AZEMI<br />

RIVER DISTRICT VISIONARIES<br />

He is the calm in the center <strong>of</strong> occasional chaos, the one who keeps his focus<br />

on the city’s goals while moving deliberately forward. That methodical progression<br />

mirrors the arc <strong>of</strong> his own career. From city engineer to director <strong>of</strong> public works to<br />

interim city manager to the unanimously selected permanent holder <strong>of</strong> that <strong>of</strong>fice,<br />

Kazemi has worked his way up the administrative ladder, learning from each step.<br />

The challenges he faces include strengthening the citizenry’s sometimes‐troubled<br />

relationships with law enforcement and continuing redevelopment momentum.<br />

But his work is powered by the greatest force <strong>of</strong> all. “I love this city,” he says.<br />

“And I want to give back.”<br />

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D ON<br />

P AIGHT<br />

Like downtown <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>? Thank Don Paight, who has spent the last three<br />

decades making it work. As founding director <strong>of</strong> the <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Community<br />

Redevelopment Agency, the steady, s<strong>of</strong>t‐spoken Paight has shouldered<br />

plenty <strong>of</strong> blame for slow progress, conflicting visions and cumbersome<br />

construction. Now, finally, he can bask in some on the credit for the River<br />

District’s renewed vibrancy. Scout, matchmaker, referee, cheerleader and<br />

always its champion. Paight’s genial service under five different mayors speaks<br />

to his diplomatic acumen, and the crowds that now fill the city’s once‐echoey<br />

streets, restaurants, <strong>of</strong>fices and condos testify to the power <strong>of</strong> his vision.<br />

J ARED<br />

B ECK<br />

Jared Beck can do a lot <strong>of</strong> things: guide development, create consensus, and engineer alliances. But there is one thing<br />

he cannot do, and that is walk down First Street without smiling. Seriously. The man is so taken with its historic‐yet‐vibrant<br />

mix <strong>of</strong> cafes, shops, homes and landscape that no matter what else is going on, he has to grin. For Beck, a pr<strong>of</strong>essional<br />

planner who also runs the River District Alliance, the city’s ongoing success is as gratifying pr<strong>of</strong>essionally as it is personally.<br />

“My friends couldn’t understand it when I moved here from Naples,” he says, “but I can’t imagine being anywhere else.”<br />

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RIVER DISTRICT DIVAS<br />

S TEPHANIE D AVIS<br />

DOWNTOWN DIVA<br />

To anyone who has consumed media in Southwest Florida for any<br />

length <strong>of</strong> time, the voice is unmistakable. Not just because it is heard<br />

on local radio waves and ringing from area theater stages, Stephanie<br />

Davis’ clever lilt <strong>of</strong> a voice is perhaps clearest on the printed page,<br />

where she (right) is best‐known as the Downtown Diva. The Diva is<br />

that hilariously incisive friend we all wish we had—brilliant, always<br />

ready for fun, yet kindhearted to a fault. Her wildly popular society<br />

columns, accompanied by her own expert photography, radiate her<br />

singular wit and charm. But Davis photographs more than people.<br />

She frequently turns her iPhone lens on downtown <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>—<br />

“my beautiful neighborhood”—then shares the images on her equally<br />

popular Facebook and Instagram accounts.<br />

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S HARON M C A LLISTER<br />

ART DIVA<br />

One <strong>of</strong> the tricks up arts whirlwind Sharon McAllister’s<br />

colorful sleeve is an uncanny ability to avoid the word<br />

“no.” That ability, skillfully deployed, has helped her<br />

make ArtFest <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> the city’s signature annual<br />

celebration <strong>of</strong> fine art. But the multi‐day event, which<br />

she directs, is more than a collection <strong>of</strong> two‐ and threedimensional<br />

pieces from artists around the country—it<br />

is music, fine food, educational kids’ activities and a<br />

colorful street party. Thanks to McAllister’s philanthropic<br />

vision, the festival, which draws some 85,000 visitors<br />

downtown each year, has become a powerful engine for<br />

philanthropy, providing arts education to young people<br />

with competitions, grants and classes.<br />

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RIVER DISTRICT DIVA<br />

G INA T AYLOR<br />

HISTORY DIVA<br />

Maybe it has happened to you: You pass an old building hundreds<br />

<strong>of</strong> times without ever really seeing it, let alone knowing<br />

its history. Gina Taylor’s mission is to change that—at least in<br />

downtown <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>. With True Tours, Taylor and her corps <strong>of</strong><br />

guides lead guests through the city’s past. But make no mistake:<br />

This history is far from dry or dusty; it is infused with the richness<br />

<strong>of</strong> the characters that created it. Taylor’s business fits into a<br />

key downtown niche—heritage tourism, a growing sector <strong>of</strong><br />

the visitor economy. Taylor, who led the nonpr<strong>of</strong>it Lee Trust for<br />

Historic Preservation before striking out on her own, points out<br />

the city has the largest concentration <strong>of</strong> historic buildings in<br />

Southwest Florida. “This gives us a secondary revenue source<br />

instead <strong>of</strong> just the beaches.”<br />

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L YDIA<br />

B LACK<br />

As the poised ringmaster <strong>of</strong> a swirling cultural hub,<br />

Lydia Black keeps the Alliance for the Arts spinning. The<br />

ten acre campus includes galleries, classes and theater<br />

space, sure, but her vision also encompasses a thriving<br />

green market, poetry slams and rockin’ food festivals.<br />

Black takes the arts’ place in society very seriously.<br />

In 2011, she helped spearhead a county‐wide economic<br />

impact study and is working to enrich the alliance<br />

even further by adding more theater, classroom and<br />

administrative space. Bottom line, she says: “(The) arts<br />

are essential to the health and vitality <strong>of</strong> our Southwest<br />

Florida communities.”<br />

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E ARNEST<br />

G RAHAM<br />

Once a hometown hero, always a hometown hero. After a sterling football<br />

career with the University <strong>of</strong> Florida and the Tampa Bay Bucs as a running back,<br />

Earnest Graham is now shaping the next generation <strong>of</strong> greats as head coach at<br />

North <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> High School. He is also now president <strong>of</strong> Pro Player Insurance<br />

Group in downtown <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>. That seems a perfect fit for a player one <strong>of</strong><br />

his own coaches once nicknamed “Insurance” because he could always<br />

be counted on. A dedicated philanthropist, Graham also started the nonpr<strong>of</strong>it<br />

Giving in Earnest, which aims to support and mentor at‐risk girls.<br />

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S AM G ALLOWAY, JR .<br />

Since 1927, the Galloway family has been a linchpin<br />

in the <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> economy. They owned the city’s<br />

first Ford dealership, providing cars via Henry Ford to<br />

Thomas Edison. Now helmed by the third‐generation<br />

<strong>of</strong> Galloways, Sam, Jr., a <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> native and <strong>Fort</strong><br />

<strong>Myers</strong> High School graduate, is the president <strong>of</strong> the<br />

Galloway Family <strong>of</strong> Dealerships. But his influence extends<br />

far beyond the business community. A dedicated<br />

philanthropist, he is a senior advisor <strong>of</strong> the Southwest<br />

Florida Community Foundation and has served as president<br />

<strong>of</strong> the Edison & Ford Winter Estates Foundation,<br />

the Edison Festival <strong>of</strong> Light, Community Cooperative,<br />

the Salvation Army and many others. So it is hardly a<br />

surprise that when Lee Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers<br />

named their inaugural Altruist <strong>of</strong> the Year Award in<br />

2000, they honored Sam Galloway, Jr.<br />

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R OBERT<br />

C ACIOPPO<br />

In a trade notorious for its volatility, Robert Cacioppo<br />

has managed the nearly impossible: stability. Powered by<br />

a passion as intense as his gaze, he and his wife, Carrie<br />

Lund Cacioppo run the Florida Repertory Theatre in the<br />

River District. Sure, there have been good and bad years,<br />

but for more than two decades, Cacioppo and crew have<br />

been a dependably high‐pr<strong>of</strong>ile force in Southwest Florida<br />

theater. His top‐flight company (the Wall Street Journal<br />

called it “one <strong>of</strong> America’s top repertory companies”)<br />

makes its home in the historic Arcade building, where<br />

Thomas Edison once caught shows, and has become a<br />

mainstay <strong>of</strong> downtown culture, proving that yes, the arts<br />

can make very good business sense in <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>.<br />

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W ILLIAM<br />

G LOVER<br />

His strength radiates from his faith and his servant’s heart—a heart he says God has fashioned into the shape <strong>of</strong> Africa, mother<br />

continent to humanity. As senior pastor <strong>of</strong> Mount Hermon Ministries, Inc., Dr. William L. Glover ministers to one <strong>of</strong> the Dunbar<br />

neighborhood’s oldest and best‐attended churches, but he also tends the wider community. As co‐president <strong>of</strong> Lee Interfaith<br />

for Empowerment, he works with other congregations and nonpr<strong>of</strong>its to improve the justice system. And as a board member<br />

<strong>of</strong> Lee Community Healthcare, he works to keep bodies thriving as well. That mission recently got decidedly (and amusingly)<br />

personal, as a series <strong>of</strong> videos his wife, Cheryl, shot <strong>of</strong> him singing during their exercise walks went viral on Facebook. CHAPTER 5<br />

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A BDUL’HAQ<br />

M UHAMMED<br />

Since stepping foot in <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> some thirty years ago,<br />

Abdul’Haq Muhammed has worked to make strides for the<br />

city’s black community. After a successful business and real<br />

estate career in the Bronx, he turned his attention south, to a<br />

city once called the region’s most segregated. He founded the<br />

Quality Life Center—fondly referred to as “The Q” twenty‐five<br />

years ago as an incubator for at‐risk kids. It is a place where they<br />

can get a big hug or a talking‐to, depending in what they need,<br />

from a corps <strong>of</strong> dedicated grown‐ups who also teach them<br />

everything from dance to personal finance. Says Muhammed:<br />

“It’s all about erasing the victim mentality and replacing it with<br />

self‐respect and dignity.”<br />

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J IM<br />

G RIFFITH<br />

It is hard to imagine the River District without Jim Griffith’s<br />

contributions and connections. The thriving cultural hub that is<br />

the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center would not have happened<br />

without his dogged pursuit <strong>of</strong> a vision marrying cultural progressiveness<br />

to historic preservation. Griffith marshalled the team<br />

and the money to convert an elegant‐but‐moldering post‐<strong>of</strong>ficeturned‐federal‐courthouse<br />

into a downtown jewel. A Juilliardtrained<br />

violist who happened onto his instrument (and his<br />

future) in a Cape Coral Middle School band class, Griffith spent<br />

college summers working construction, which helped as he<br />

piloted the building’s transformation. And in the process,<br />

Jim Griffith’s unwavering determination helped put <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong><br />

firmly on the cultural map.<br />

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C HRIS<br />

P ENDLETON<br />

As president and CEO since 2001, Chris Pendleton has been<br />

the keeper <strong>of</strong> one <strong>of</strong> <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> most precious treasures:<br />

the Edison & Ford Winter Estates. Bringing several decades<br />

<strong>of</strong> museum administration in science, history and art history,<br />

she quickly reformed the mission to encompass the legacy<br />

<strong>of</strong> the inventors. Think children’s science camps, garden<br />

workshops, art and history coming to life and other creative<br />

uses. As one <strong>of</strong> the nation’s top ten most visited historic<br />

home sites; it is visited annually by upwards <strong>of</strong> 275,000<br />

people. Today, the site has won top awards from the<br />

National Trust, National Garden Club <strong>of</strong> America and achieved<br />

landmark status for lab restoration and stewardship. Boil<br />

it down and her mission has been to illuminate, invent<br />

and sustain the site. The estates’ original owners would<br />

be justly proud as the site looks forward to a great future.<br />

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D ANIEL<br />

K EARNS<br />

Daniel Kearns and his team at Kearns Restaurant Group<br />

are a <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> success story writ large—very large. After<br />

a strong track record <strong>of</strong> owning/operating restaurants and<br />

nightclubs in Connecticut, Kearns seized the opportunity<br />

to remake the venerable <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Country Club’s eatery<br />

into The Edison, before turning his attention to the<br />

historic downtown, where he opened the popular Ford’s<br />

Garage (now with multiple locations) followed by The<br />

Firestone Wood Fired Grille, Martini Bar & SkyBar, The<br />

Lodge, Los Cabos Cantina, and Capone’s Coal Fired Pizza<br />

(and creating upwards <strong>of</strong> 500 jobs in the process). Not<br />

surprisingly the Kearns’ destination dining concept has<br />

caught fire and is expanding nationwide.<br />

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T ERRY<br />

T INCHER<br />

He is the other mayor <strong>of</strong> <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>—the informal<br />

one—working for his beloved city not in budget workshops<br />

or council chambers, but at gallery openings and<br />

café tables. With his arty spectacles and megawatt grin,<br />

Tincher is one <strong>of</strong> the most recognizable <strong>of</strong> River District<br />

characters, and also one <strong>of</strong> its most authentic. As art<br />

dealer, businessman and boulevardier, Tincher has made<br />

it his mission to create and sustain cultural conversations.<br />

Not only did he help create the city’s well‐loved ArtWalk,<br />

he was in the vanguard <strong>of</strong> urban re‐settlers, taking up<br />

residence in a historic downtown building.<br />

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J ARRETT<br />

E ADY<br />

Jarrett Eady did not have to come back. Florida State<br />

University’s one‐time student government president and<br />

Senior Hall <strong>of</strong> Famer could have rocketed to a bright future<br />

somewhere in a big city, but instead, the fourth‐generation<br />

<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> resident returned to teach middle schoolers, before<br />

getting kicked upstairs to the district, where he is now a<br />

pr<strong>of</strong>essional development and leadership specialist—and that<br />

is just his 9‐to‐5. In his spare time, Eady (among other things)<br />

chairs the Lee County Black History Society, serves on the<br />

<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Community Redevelopment Agency Advisory<br />

Board and the Dunbar Festival Committee and attends historic<br />

Friendship Baptist Church.<br />

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M ADELINE<br />

B OHANNON<br />

Want to know something—anything—about tropical<br />

fruit? <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> grower Madeline Bohannon can<br />

tell you. And she will probably <strong>of</strong>fer you a bite <strong>of</strong> it to<br />

go with your newfound knowledge. On her jungly<br />

acreage that wraps around Billy’s Creek, Bohannon<br />

cultivates a dazzling array <strong>of</strong> exotica ranging from<br />

the expected mango and guava to the decidedly<br />

uncommon: monstera, cecropia and gak. Though she<br />

does sell much <strong>of</strong> what she grows (“Those macadamia<br />

trees are my retirement fund,” she jokes) Bohannon<br />

also shares generously with friends and neighbors,<br />

and less willingly, with appreciative squirrels.<br />

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J OE<br />

P LEDGER<br />

The tradition <strong>of</strong> riverboat captaining may be rooted in history, but Joe Pledger adds<br />

twenty‐first‐century expertise to create singular experiences for passengers aboard the<br />

three‐level, 130‐foot‐long Capt. JP.<br />

Pledger calls his paddlewheeler a banquet hall with ever‐changing scenery, but it is<br />

also transport to another time, when the Caloosahatchee was an engine <strong>of</strong> commerce.<br />

Going on half a century, Pledger’s family has launched from the <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Yacht Basin, and<br />

before that, they operated the popular Jungle Cruise boat on the Orange River. Pledger’s<br />

wife, sister, and sons work at the family business as well. He is grateful for that, as well as<br />

a career that has given him unparalleled knowledge <strong>of</strong> the river. Perhaps best <strong>of</strong> all, he says,<br />

is the satisfaction <strong>of</strong> having “given a lot <strong>of</strong> people enjoyment and cherished memories.”<br />

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W OODY<br />

H ANSON<br />

Native son? Where Woody Hanson is concerned, it is more like native great‐great‐grandson. Few can claim the bilateral<br />

family ties to <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> that Hanson can. His maternal great‐great grandfather, Captain Manuel A. Gonzalez, was one<br />

<strong>of</strong> the original pioneers who repurposed the Union Civil War fort for his first home near the Caloosahatchee. On his<br />

father’s side, the real estate broker and appraiser traces his lineage to Dr. William Hanson, his great‐grandfather,<br />

who helped forge the family’s deep ties to the Seminole and Miccosukee Tribes (great‐great grandpa Manuel traded<br />

with them also). Woody, who recently earned a master’s degree in Florida studies, is now the keeper <strong>of</strong> his family’s rich<br />

and massive archive—which is the region’s good fortune.<br />

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M ARCUS<br />

J ANSEN<br />

As a Gulf War veteran who once sold his wares on<br />

the street, Marcus Jansen may seem an unlikely fine art<br />

ambassador, but then again, that gritty pedigree makes<br />

him the perfect champion <strong>of</strong> Urban Expressionism, an<br />

art movement he pioneered. His work, hailed by critics<br />

around the globe, is vividly disturbing and achingly<br />

thought‐provoking. Calling his downtown <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong><br />

studio, UNIT A, his world headquarters is no hyperbole<br />

either. In recent years, Jansen’s shows and exhibits<br />

have taken him to New York, Italy and Germany, and<br />

he was recently the subject <strong>of</strong> a documentary film:<br />

Examine and Report.<br />

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E MAD<br />

S ALMAN<br />

To the children who count on him to save their<br />

lives, the state‐<strong>of</strong>‐the‐art medicine and therapies<br />

Dr. Emad Salman deploys are almost as important<br />

as his loving heart. Almost. Always quick with a<br />

hug or a gentle smile, Salman’s trademark hightech/high‐touch<br />

philosophy has helped make the<br />

Hematology/Oncology department he directs at the<br />

Golisano Children’s Hospital <strong>of</strong> Southwest Florida<br />

the premiere treatment destination in the region<br />

for children with cancer and blood disorders. And<br />

Dr. Salman’s plainspoken kindliness is a pr<strong>of</strong>ound<br />

comfort for his patients’ <strong>of</strong>ten anxious parents.<br />

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I SRAEL<br />

S UAREZ<br />

Social service dynamo and ordained minister Israel Suarez founded his nonpr<strong>of</strong>it<br />

Nations Association in 1978, and has been doing a world <strong>of</strong> good ever<br />

since. Though it has changed focus over the decades, one thing has remained<br />

consistent: Suarez’ relentless energy and enormous heart. Over the years,<br />

Nations has run a soup kitchen and a thrift store, housed the homeless, found<br />

jobs for teens, taught English, counseled runaways, taken kids on field trips<br />

and readied them for college. Not bad for a Puerto Rican shoeshine boy who<br />

came to New York as a teenager and ran a laundromat as a young man.<br />

CHAPTER 5<br />

129


W ANDA<br />

L UNGER<br />

She is the plainspoken queen <strong>of</strong> a <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> classic: <strong>City</strong> Fish. Yet Wanda<br />

Lunger’s homespun market <strong>of</strong>fers fare fit for royalty: the freshest gifts <strong>of</strong> the sea,<br />

served up with sweet tea and boiled peanuts. Need blue crabs or a mess <strong>of</strong> mullet?<br />

Fresh‐fried shrimp? Tender hushpuppies? Lunger’s got you covered. <strong>City</strong> Fish has<br />

been feeding <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> since 1944, when it was on a sliver <strong>of</strong> what was then<br />

called Anderson Avenue—now Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Located just<br />

over the railroad tracks in a storefront in the gritty State Farmer’s Market, the<br />

fare is not fancy, but what it may lack in elegance, it more than makes up with<br />

authenticity. Lunger’s food, her kitchen and her customers are all the real deal.<br />

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D AVE<br />

M OODY<br />

In a place where fifth‐generation businesses are rare as snowfall, Futral’s Feed Store has pulled it <strong>of</strong>f, with more than seven<br />

decades <strong>of</strong> provisioning critters and their humans. While a downtown feed store might seem a tad incongruous, Futral’s fits<br />

as comfortably as a pair <strong>of</strong> old boots, mixing cow feed with vegan dog kibble. Never mind that traditional farming in Lee County<br />

has all but disappeared, Futral’s remains the informal headquarters <strong>of</strong> the region’s country community, where transplants are<br />

greeted as warmly as old‐timers by David Moody, Jr., who is following in his grandfather’s and father’s footsteps.<br />

CHAPTER 5<br />

131


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FORT MYERS PARTNERS<br />

Pr<strong>of</strong>iles <strong>of</strong> businesses, organizations, and families that have<br />

contributed to the development and economic base <strong>of</strong> <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong><br />

Lee Memorial Health System..................................................................................134<br />

LeeSar, Inc. ........................................................................................................140<br />

Parker/Mudgett/Smith Architects, Inc. .....................................................................144<br />

Dean Steel Buildings, Inc. .....................................................................................146<br />

Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, P.A. ...............................................................148<br />

Southwest Florida International Airport ..................................................................150<br />

Page Field ..........................................................................................................151<br />

Galloway Auto.....................................................................................................152<br />

Mark Loren Designs, Inc. ......................................................................................154<br />

Florida SouthWestern State College.........................................................................156<br />

Alliance for the Arts ............................................................................................158<br />

AIM Engineering & Surveying, Inc..........................................................................160<br />

Victory Layne Chevrolet........................................................................................162<br />

Barraco and Associates, Inc. ..................................................................................164<br />

T3 Communications, Inc........................................................................................166<br />

Hope Healthcare ..................................................................................................168<br />

<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> .........................................................................................................170<br />

Johnson Engineering, Inc. ......................................................................................172<br />

Ad-Ler Ro<strong>of</strong>ing, Inc..............................................................................................173<br />

Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre ..............................................................................174<br />

Chico’s FAS, Inc. .................................................................................................175<br />

Canterbury School ...............................................................................................176<br />

Boylan Environmental Consultants, Inc....................................................................177<br />

The Salvation Army <strong>of</strong> Lee, Hendry and Glades Counties............................................178<br />

Fischler Property Company....................................................................................179<br />

Hotel Indigo, <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Downtown River District ....................................................180<br />

Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall....................................................................181<br />

WCI Communities, Inc. .........................................................................................182<br />

Delta Sigma Theta ...............................................................................................183<br />

Markham Norton Mosteller Wright & Co., P.A. .........................................................184<br />

Gulfcoast Coin & Jewelry, . ...................................................................................185<br />

Edison & Ford Winter Estates ................................................................................186<br />

Corbin Henderson Company...................................................................................187<br />

Allure and ONE...................................................................................................188<br />

Main Sail Video Productions, Inc............................................................................189<br />

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❖<br />

Right: Early 1900s, First Street.<br />

Below: The original Lee Memorial Hospital, c. 1916.<br />

LEE MEMORIAL<br />

HEALTH SYSTEM<br />

PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF THE SOUTHWEST FLORIDA HISTORICAL SOCIETY<br />

AND LEE MEMORIAL HEALTH SYSTEM.<br />

From humble beginnings, Lee Memorial Health System<br />

grew with and evolved to meet the healthcare needs <strong>of</strong> our<br />

community. As we celebrate 100 years <strong>of</strong> caring, we are<br />

proud to share a brief history that showcases our evolution<br />

and our unwavering commitment to leading-edge, high<br />

quality, patient-centered care.<br />

The Lee Memorial Health System origins in the early<br />

twentieth century include a bonfire, a shotgun toting county<br />

commissioner, a gang <strong>of</strong> 150 men, numerous meetings<br />

and more.<br />

Much <strong>of</strong> the history happened before the hospital’s doors<br />

first opened on October 3, 1916, in a wood frame, two story<br />

building at the corner <strong>of</strong> Grand and Victoria Avenues in<br />

what is now downtown <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>.<br />

What twenty-first century Lee County residents know as<br />

a state-<strong>of</strong>-the art health system with gleaming buildings,<br />

high-tech medical wizardry and thousands <strong>of</strong> highly-trained<br />

and skilled employees began in a much different world.<br />

Before the hospital opened, it took four years <strong>of</strong> meetings,<br />

planning, fundraising and other activity to make Lee<br />

Memorial a reality.<br />

The town <strong>of</strong> <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> was growing in the 1910s and<br />

so was the need for medical care. The U.S. census counted<br />

2,463 people in <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> in 1910 and all <strong>of</strong> Lee County,<br />

which then included land that is now Collier and Hendry<br />

Counties, contained 6,294 people.<br />

To put that in perspective, in 2015 the Lee Memorial<br />

Health System employed 11,800 people, another 4,089<br />

people volunteered and Lee County’s population was<br />

more than 600,000. That does not include Collier and<br />

Hendry Counties, which were carved out <strong>of</strong> Lee County in<br />

the 1920s.<br />

By 1912, when a hospital organizing committee first met,<br />

the town was on its way to becoming a city and needed a<br />

suitable hospital.<br />

Not everybody, though, thought a hospital was needed,<br />

according to a 1984 history <strong>of</strong> Lee Memorial that appeared<br />

in a publication called Tampa Bay History. Writer Alberta C.<br />

Rawchuck noted, “That some citizens clung to the belief<br />

that a hospital was only a place to go and die.”<br />

Many other citizens, though, thought otherwise. The Lee<br />

County Hospital Association held its first meeting in 1912.<br />

The <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Press celebrated the group in an editorial<br />

on January 11, 1912, nine days after the first meeting.<br />

“It certainly is gratifying to see a public movement<br />

command such enthusiastic support as is being accorded<br />

the proposition to establish in <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> an emergency<br />

hospital,” the paper wrote in that editorial. “At the meeting<br />

in the council chamber Tuesday night, the greatest interest<br />

was displayed and there was unanimity <strong>of</strong> opinion in<br />

favor <strong>of</strong> pushing the project to as speedy a consummation<br />

as possible.”<br />

It took more than four years from that meeting<br />

to consummation.<br />

As the hospital committee inched closer to building a<br />

hospital, one <strong>of</strong> the most dramatic incidents in Lee County<br />

history occurred.<br />

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The minutes <strong>of</strong> the April 3, 1915, hospital board meeting<br />

provide a clue. From those minutes: “The material <strong>of</strong> the<br />

old courthouse was donated by the county. The laborers<br />

donated part <strong>of</strong> their wages. The merchants and material<br />

men furnished everything at wholesale prices.”<br />

On October 24, 1914, the Lee County Commission<br />

voted 3:2 to build a new courthouse, replacing one built<br />

in 1894. Although the commission voted in favor <strong>of</strong> the<br />

new courthouse, a faction <strong>of</strong> businessmen in town, led by<br />

Harvie Heitman, were opposed to the new courthouse. So,<br />

his supporters boarded a 4 p.m. train for Arcadia where<br />

they hoped to get a court injunction to stop the project.<br />

While Heitman’s faction traveled to Arcadia, Commission<br />

Chairman William Towles gathered 150 men. Their mission<br />

was to dismantle the old courthouse overnight, working by<br />

the light <strong>of</strong> a bonfire.<br />

In a 1949 book, The Story <strong>of</strong> <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>, author Karl<br />

Grismer detailed the event.<br />

“A huge crowd gathered,” Grismer wrote. “Men, women<br />

and children cheered the workmen on. It was great sport.<br />

Never before had anything like this happened in Florida.<br />

Old-timers’ say Towles sat on steps nearby with a shotgun<br />

in his hands.”<br />

The lumber from the old courthouse was set aside and<br />

used to build a hospital. By the fall <strong>of</strong> 1916, the four years<br />

<strong>of</strong> work, planning and fundraising had paid <strong>of</strong>f. Lee County<br />

had a hospital.<br />

Here’s a headline in the <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Press from October 3,<br />

1916: “Large Donation Is Received.” The paper reported<br />

that Walter G. Langford, president <strong>of</strong> First National Bank,<br />

donated the “equivalent” <strong>of</strong> several hundred dollars.<br />

From the newspaper: “The donation, which consists <strong>of</strong><br />

a complete and up-to-date surgical equipment for the<br />

operating room <strong>of</strong> the new hospital, recently completed by<br />

the association and which it is understood will shortly be<br />

opened for active service, is held as an endorsement <strong>of</strong> the<br />

work accomplished by the association, and those who have<br />

been identified with the work <strong>of</strong> completing.”<br />

The paper reported that the gift was the largest the<br />

association had by then received. The paper added: “It is<br />

understood that Mr. Langford at first refused to allow the<br />

mention <strong>of</strong> his name in connection with the gift.”<br />

The paper closed its report with this: “It is stated that<br />

cases will be taken up to the capacity <strong>of</strong> the building, which<br />

at present is limited to fifteen, including accommodations<br />

available in the wards. Private rooms will also be available to<br />

those desiring such accommodations the charges for which<br />

will be placed at a minimum.”<br />

What Sam Thompson needed to do and how the hospital<br />

responded set a pattern <strong>of</strong> care and commitment that has not<br />

wavered in 100 years and counting. Thompson, then thirtynine,<br />

was on horseback in the woods near LaBelle on a fall<br />

day in 1916 when he was gripped with pain. He rode his horse<br />

to a new <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> hospital, which was not yet finished.<br />

The only available surgeon was Dr. Daniel McSwain <strong>of</strong><br />

Arcadia. Dr. McSwain boarded a train in Arcadia around<br />

❖<br />

Above: Lee Memorial Hospital’s first nursing staff.<br />

Left: Dr. Daniel McSwain, Lee Memorial Hospital’s first surgeon, c. 1916.<br />

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❖<br />

Above: Mattie and Sam Thompson (first patient).<br />

Right: Groundbreaking for Lee Memorial Hospital on<br />

Cleveland Avenue, 1939.<br />

10 p.m. He arrived at the hospital about an hour later and<br />

using kerosene lamps for light, he operated on Thompson.<br />

Then at 7 a.m., Dr. McSwain boarded a train for the return<br />

trip to Arcadia.<br />

The appendix operation was a success and Thompson<br />

lived into his eighties. He was a hearty man and successful<br />

in many ways. He started a grocery store, served as guide<br />

on hunting trips, worked as a game warden by oxen and<br />

horseback and helped lay the first telephone lines from<br />

<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> to Buckingham.<br />

Like Thompson, the other patients who entered what<br />

evolved into the Lee Memorial Health System, knew they<br />

could rely on the men and women, the doctors, nurses,<br />

administrators and volunteers who make the system run.<br />

Whether appendicitis or childbirth or heart surgery or<br />

broken bones, they have trooped through the hospital’s<br />

doors, either at its first location or one <strong>of</strong> its current<br />

locations throughout Lee County, from HealthPark Medical<br />

Center to Cape Coral Hospital to Gulf Coast Medical Center<br />

in south <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> and the new Golisano Children’s<br />

Hospital <strong>of</strong> Southwest Florida and more.<br />

The wooden structure at Victoria and Grand was all<br />

there was <strong>of</strong> Lee Memorial Hospital until 1943 when<br />

a new building opened on<br />

Cleveland Avenue.<br />

This was a huge news story<br />

in <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> and The News-<br />

Press lavishly covered it in<br />

the days leading up to and<br />

following its April 18, 1943,<br />

opening. The new hospital<br />

was described in the paper as<br />

a “handsome structure <strong>of</strong> buff<br />

brick on Cleveland Avenue<br />

near Katherine Street.”<br />

A grand opening celebration was held on a Sunday<br />

and the public was invited to the new $200,000 facility.<br />

News-Press reporter Rufe Daughtrey was given a tour a<br />

couple days earlier and his account was published the day<br />

before the opening ceremony.<br />

“That new hospital out on Cleveland Avenue is just about<br />

the nicest place imaginable to be sick in,” Daughtrey wrote.<br />

“It’s got just about everything from magnificent sun decks<br />

to a cozy parlor where you can play cards in front <strong>of</strong> a log<br />

fire on a chilly evening.”<br />

He provided a description.<br />

“Here is how the plant looked on a rehearsal tour yesterday,”<br />

Daughtrey wrote. “To begin with, the front is in back<br />

and the back is in front. In other words, that side facing<br />

Cleveland Avenue is in the back. To get to the front you<br />

follow a winding road around under the pines to the <strong>of</strong>fside<br />

<strong>of</strong> the building.<br />

“From your car you step onto a narrow porch and into<br />

the big reception room. That’s the room that has the oldfashioned<br />

fireplace and would make a good place for gettogethers<br />

on chill evenings. Joining the reception room is<br />

the bookkeeper’s <strong>of</strong>fice and the <strong>of</strong>fice <strong>of</strong> the superintendent<br />

<strong>of</strong> nurses.<br />

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“The <strong>of</strong>fice opens into a wide corridor. To the right is a<br />

long wing. This wing fronts on Cleveland Avenue—in fact<br />

they all do, the two wings downstairs and the two upstairs.<br />

They are faced with solid windows <strong>of</strong> glass from floor to<br />

ceiling, a perfect sun deck.”<br />

The reporter described numerous details <strong>of</strong> the hospital’s<br />

appearance concluding with the operating room.<br />

“And last but not least is the operating room,” Daughtrey<br />

wrote. “This is the pride and joy <strong>of</strong> the new hospital. It really<br />

is an eye-full. Walls and floors to the ceiling are a restful<br />

green. In the center is the latest in operating tables where<br />

doctors can cut you open and with special lights so they can<br />

see what makes you tick.<br />

“This operating table is something like a glorified barber<br />

chair. With it, doctors can stand you on your head, double<br />

you into a ball or turn you sideways. After seeing this you<br />

may be glad you can walk out under your own power.”<br />

The community’s growth, though, soon outpaced the<br />

building so in 1968 a bigger Lee Memorial Hospital building<br />

opened. It was a $5.5 million project.<br />

The building alone cost $4.2 million and the rest <strong>of</strong> the<br />

cost went to the architect ($267,000), land purchase<br />

($140,000), equipment ($800,000) and another $51,300 for<br />

what was listed as “miscellaneous.”<br />

“The opening <strong>of</strong> the new Lee Memorial Hospital represents<br />

another milestone in the development <strong>of</strong> Lee County,<br />

signaling the assumption <strong>of</strong> public responsibility for the<br />

provision <strong>of</strong> healthcare facilities for the first time,” the<br />

News-Press reported on October 16, 1968.<br />

Then, the paper put the building in perspective.<br />

“The new hospital, a gleaming white $4.5 million<br />

structure—is not yet the hospital that many people would<br />

have it be, but it is far better than Lee County ever had<br />

before,” the paper reported.<br />

But it was not done growing.<br />

In 1991, HealthPark Medical Center opened several<br />

miles away with 220 beds. Of those 220 beds, seventy-five<br />

were dedicated to pediatrics and named the Children’s<br />

Hospital <strong>of</strong> Southwest Florida.<br />

The contrast between the two-story wood building that<br />

opened in 1916 and HealthPark Medical Center was striking.<br />

The facility included a tiled courtyard, trees, glass elevators<br />

and plush furniture. The original hospital did not even have<br />

an elevator. HealthPark’s corridors and patient rooms were<br />

festooned with artworks.<br />

❖<br />

Above: Lee Memorial Hospital, 1955.<br />

Left: Future site <strong>of</strong> HealthPark Medical Center, 1985.<br />

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❖<br />

Right: Cape Coral Hospital.<br />

Below: Gulf Coast Medical Center.<br />

HealthPark’s four-story atrium was taller than the original<br />

hospital. It looked more like a hotel than a hospital.<br />

“The idea is that you won’t feel like you’re coming to<br />

a hospital, but to a multiservice facility that happens to<br />

have a hospital buried inside it,” Lee Memorial Hospital<br />

President Jim Nathan told the News-Press before HealthPark<br />

opened. “The traditional hospital is confining in its nature.<br />

You see patients on gurneys and doctors and nurses hustling<br />

down the hallways. All that adds to the emotion <strong>of</strong> going to<br />

the hospital.”<br />

HealthPark’s grand opening was a big deal. The News-Press<br />

covered the event with a story carrying this headline:<br />

“HealthPark leaves visitors in awe.”<br />

In 1996, with the acquisition <strong>of</strong> Cape Coral Hospital,<br />

all the hospitals became part <strong>of</strong> what is now known as Lee<br />

Memorial Health System.<br />

In 2006, Gulf Coast Hospital and Southwest Florida<br />

Regional Medical Center were merged into the Lee Memorial<br />

Health System and in 2009 they were consolidated into one<br />

hospital. That one hospital is Gulf Coast Medical Center,<br />

which is located on Daniels Parkway in south <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>.<br />

In 2014, Lee Memorial announced plans for a $140<br />

million health campus in south Lee County. It would<br />

include a freestanding emergency room, outpatient surgical<br />

center, doctors’ <strong>of</strong>fices, imaging, and rehabilitation services.<br />

Plans called for the facility to be built on a thirty-acre site<br />

just south <strong>of</strong> the upscale Coconut Point Mall.<br />

The expansions and acquisitions were needed to keep<br />

pace with Lee County’s growth. The county was growing by<br />

more people per year than lived in it when Lee Memorial<br />

opened in 1916.<br />

From 2002 to 2003, for example, Lee County’s population<br />

grew from 475,073 to 497,022. That is an increase <strong>of</strong> 21,949,<br />

a 4.6 percent rise.<br />

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To put the growth in perspective, the addition <strong>of</strong> 21,949<br />

new residents in that year was nearly the equal <strong>of</strong> the county’s<br />

population in 1950, 23,404.<br />

Hospitals do not appear by waving magic wands. That<br />

was true in the years from 1912 to 1916 when Lee County<br />

residents met, planned, worked and raised money to build<br />

the county’s first hospital.<br />

That has been the case since the 1990s as work has<br />

progressed on building the $244 million, 128-bed Golisano<br />

Children’s Hospital <strong>of</strong> Southwest Florida. By the summer <strong>of</strong><br />

2015 the Golisano Children’s Hospital was halfway finished.<br />

“Miracles happen here,” Jim Nathan said in September <strong>of</strong><br />

2015 as hospital construction reached its halfway point.<br />

“People said you couldn’t do this. But we said, ‘We have to.’”<br />

It was done in many ways. One was raising more than<br />

$100 million in private donations. The biggest individual<br />

chunk came from Naples billionaire B. Thomas Golisano,<br />

who donated $20 million to the project. Golisano made<br />

the <strong>of</strong>fer contingent on if other private donors could match<br />

that total.<br />

“When I announced my commitment in 2012 I hoped<br />

that it would leverage support from everyone in the<br />

community, that it would motivate everyone to contribute<br />

in a meaningful way to this important endeavor,” Golisano<br />

said at the groundbreaking ceremony for the hospital.<br />

Although Golisano’s gift was the largest; huge sums<br />

came from others. The Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest<br />

donated $10 million up to that point. Lee HealthCare<br />

Resources had chipped in $5 million and another $10<br />

million came from Sanibel Captiva Cares.<br />

The Anderson Family Foundation gave a sum identified<br />

by the system as greater than $1 million. Chico’s FAS donated<br />

$1 million. Local businessman Jim Doyle gave $1 million<br />

in 2013.<br />

It is not mere good luck that all those people and organizations<br />

donated to Lee Memorial Health System.<br />

“Donors give to winners,” Nathan said.<br />

“Donors don’t usually give to losers. They<br />

give because they trust the people that they’re<br />

donating to and they trust the mission <strong>of</strong><br />

what they’re doing. And when you look<br />

through the entire history <strong>of</strong> Lee Memorial,<br />

we have been blessed even in those small<br />

dollar amounts by today’s terms, but they were<br />

large dollar amounts by yesterday’s terms.”<br />

Although the world is vastly different than<br />

it was when the hospital first opened in 1916,<br />

some things remain the same.<br />

“The commitment to the community<br />

doesn’t change,” said Dr. Larry Antonucci,<br />

Lee Memorial’s chief operating <strong>of</strong>ficer. “The<br />

numbers are bigger and the scale is bigger.<br />

But the people wanting to do the right thing for their community<br />

and raising the money and the gathering the wood<br />

and building the facility is not unlike what happens today.”<br />

❖<br />

Left: Pediatric patient, early 1980s.<br />

Below: Epilepsy Monitoring Unit, Golisano Children’s Hospital <strong>of</strong><br />

Southwest Florida, 2014.<br />

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LEESAR, INC.<br />

In 1998, with healthcare costs continuing to climb,<br />

Jim Nathan, president <strong>of</strong> Lee Memorial Healthcare System,<br />

and Dr. Duncan Finlay, then-president <strong>of</strong> Sarasota Memorial<br />

Healthcare System, met to discuss an innovative idea they<br />

believed would save the hospitals millions <strong>of</strong> dollars every<br />

year. The idea was to create two separate organizations<br />

owned by the two hospital systems that would negotiate<br />

with and buy directly from suppliers and resell to the two<br />

hospital systems.<br />

In other words: Eliminate the middle man.<br />

Eliminating the middle man is a time-honored business<br />

strategy that sounds like a no-lose proposition. Buy directly<br />

from the supplier, eliminate the pr<strong>of</strong>it charged by the<br />

middle man, and save. The problem with this strategy is<br />

executing it is <strong>of</strong>ten more difficult than one might imagine,<br />

and that is exactly what happened in the first two years<br />

after LeeSar (named for the two hospitals) and Cooperative<br />

Services <strong>of</strong> Florida, which handles negotiations and<br />

contracting, went into business.<br />

LeeSar’s troubles stemmed from the fact that they initially<br />

outsourced the management <strong>of</strong> the two corporations. In<br />

the beginning, LeeSar’s fill rate (a measure <strong>of</strong> the percentage<br />

<strong>of</strong> orders correctly filled) was around sixty-four percent,<br />

and because its performance was so low the company<br />

grew slowly or not at all, operating only two departments<br />

and employing no more than thirty people.<br />

Today, LeeSar/Cooperative Services <strong>of</strong> Florida, which<br />

operates twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week,<br />

boasts more than twenty departments, employs more<br />

than 400 people, opened a 205,000 square foot regional<br />

service center in <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> in 2012, and has plans to<br />

add another 100,000 square feet to accommodate its<br />

growing business. LeeSar provides hospitals, physicians<br />

<strong>of</strong>fices, and ambulatory and outpatient surgical centers<br />

with a variety <strong>of</strong> healthcare supply chain services including<br />

the acquisition and distribution <strong>of</strong> medical supplies;<br />

packaging <strong>of</strong> pharmaceuticals; surgical instrument<br />

sterilization; surgical pack manufacturing; repair and<br />

express delivery <strong>of</strong> surgical instruments; food preparation;<br />

centralized purchasing; and contract management<br />

and negotiations.<br />

What happened to spark such a turnaround? Much <strong>of</strong><br />

the credit goes to President and CEO Bob Simpson,<br />

whom LeeSar hired to run its operations in 2002. Unlike<br />

his predecessors, Simpson, a true visionary, quickly<br />

applied business principles to operations. Within three<br />

months, fill rates improved to the ninety-eight percent<br />

level and today remain consistently above ninetynine<br />

percent.<br />

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Since Simpson joined the company, LeeSar/CSF has<br />

grown at an annual rate <strong>of</strong> eighteen to twenty percent.<br />

Original members Lee Memorial Healthcare System and<br />

Sarasota Memorial Healthcare System have been joined<br />

by Central Florida Health Alliance and Huntsville Hospital<br />

in Huntsville, Alabama. Each <strong>of</strong> the four members has<br />

representatives on LeeSar’s and/or CSFs board <strong>of</strong> directors.<br />

Both members and non-members (referred to as participants)<br />

receive requested services and are then billed at a<br />

lower overall cost than if the members and participants<br />

attempted to acquire them from other providers. Members<br />

and participants benefit from LeeSar’s straightforward<br />

mission to: “provide the right product and service at the<br />

right time to the right patient at the lowest possible cost.”<br />

LeeSar’s approach is more efficient, accessible, and affordable.<br />

It also allows hospitals and other providers to free up<br />

space so they can perform their most important task: taking<br />

care <strong>of</strong> patients.<br />

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The process <strong>of</strong> saving money for its members and<br />

customers begins with Cooperative Services <strong>of</strong> Florida<br />

(CSF), which is housed inside LeeSar Regional Service<br />

Center. CSF exists to contract directly between members<br />

and manufacturers <strong>of</strong> supplies, equipment, and services.<br />

It believes in driving value at both ends <strong>of</strong> the healthcare<br />

supply chain, meaning that both clinicians and suppliers<br />

benefit. Clinicians benefit from getting supplies they want<br />

at lower costs, and suppliers benefit from lower costs<br />

and an easily-forecasted sales stream and market share.<br />

Audited results show CSF has been so successful in<br />

direct negotiations with manufacturers that their costs to<br />

clients are among the lowest three percent in the nation<br />

when compared to similar-sized operations.<br />

The next step is building an inventory <strong>of</strong> supplies, equipment,<br />

and service providers who can respond to member and<br />

customer needs quickly and accurately. Much <strong>of</strong> that takes<br />

place at the LeeSar Regional Service Center, which manages<br />

and houses mission-critical healthcare operational services<br />

for healthcare organizations. The benefits <strong>of</strong> such a system are<br />

numerous. Many hospitals have a large, central supply room<br />

where nurses or nurses’ aides go to get supplies. Sometimes<br />

the supplies are out <strong>of</strong> date or someone has already taken<br />

the last item and no one has had time to reorder. Removing<br />

this process from the healthcare provider reduces waste and<br />

the hospital’s liability and increases space for patient care.<br />

Reducing waste is one <strong>of</strong> the factors behind a recently<br />

added service known as reposable reprocessing. One reason<br />

healthcare costs have been so high in the past is that items<br />

were used once and discarded even when it was safe to reuse<br />

them. Studies by the Food and Drug Administration have<br />

found that many items can be reused under the right conditions.<br />

At LeeSar, approved items at Lee Memorial Hospital<br />

and Sarasota Memorial Hospital are collected, cleaned,<br />

tested, sterilized, repackaged, and resold at a highly reduced<br />

cost, resulting in savings and less waste in area landfills.<br />

That sort <strong>of</strong> innovative thinking is what sets LeeSar apart.<br />

Creativity and innovation are encouraged at LeeSar and<br />

senior management is allowed to be creative, try new<br />

things, and even to make mistakes. In recent years, LeeSar<br />

began carrying mothers’ milk for premature babies and<br />

for babies whose mothers are unable to nurse. They also do<br />

IV compounding using robots and provide pharmaceutical<br />

repackaging to free up hospital pharmacists to focus on<br />

more important work. Pharmaceutical repackaging involves<br />

taking a large amount <strong>of</strong> medicine—such as pills—and<br />

breaking them down into the smaller numbers needed<br />

for individual patients. This leads to less waste and fewer<br />

bedside medical errors.<br />

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LeeSar provides record retention for<br />

members and customers, archiving patient<br />

records, X-rays, and other items and<br />

retrieving them when needed.<br />

LeeSar’s Culinary Solutions Department<br />

provides cook-and-chill services in which<br />

they cook foods, freeze them, and ship<br />

them to hospitals and other customers,<br />

which then finish preparing the food,<br />

place the food on a plate, and deliver it<br />

to patients. The department also provides<br />

catering for hospital events and fundraisers<br />

and some private outside events.<br />

Although most <strong>of</strong> its operations are<br />

based at the LeeSar Regional Service<br />

Center, the company also operates a<br />

nuclear pharmacy facility and custom<br />

surgical pack operation at other sites.<br />

Surgical pack operations involve assembling<br />

sterile packs that physicians open in<br />

the operating room to perform a surgical<br />

procedure. These packs are customized to<br />

meet each physician’s specifications.<br />

Since its inception in 1998, the company<br />

has been recognized for its innovation<br />

and progressive business practices with numerous awards<br />

and accolades. LeeSar received the Senator’s Choice Award,<br />

presented by Senator Michael Bennett, recognizing LeeSar<br />

as “The 2011 Most Innovative Company” in the State <strong>of</strong><br />

Florida. In January 2016 it received the Pride <strong>of</strong> Florida<br />

Award from State Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto.<br />

Although LeeSar is not a business-to-consumer entity,<br />

it believes in doing the right thing to support the communities<br />

in which it conducts business. LeeSar’s staff has<br />

been very active in a wide range <strong>of</strong> charities including the<br />

March <strong>of</strong> Dimes, Make A Wish Foundation, and efforts to<br />

support children’s hospitals.<br />

As for the future, LeeSar plans to continue growing while<br />

maintaining its ability to turn on a dime. The company will<br />

keep its finger on the healthcare industry’s pulse by keeping<br />

track <strong>of</strong> what the market and customers need and then<br />

moving to fill those needs. As reimbursement becomes more<br />

difficult for hospitals and other providers, LeeSar’s role will<br />

become even more critical in helping to ensure that the<br />

healthcare system is sustainable, affordable, and successful.<br />

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❖<br />

PARKER/MUDGETT/SMITH<br />

ARCHITECTS, INC.<br />

Edison Junior College, Lee County Campus.<br />

Since 1966, Parker/Mudgett/Smith Architects, Inc., has<br />

provided pr<strong>of</strong>essional planning and architectural services for<br />

clients throughout Southwest Florida. Beginning its fiftieth<br />

year in 2016, the firm now has four registered architects and<br />

nine employees.<br />

The roots <strong>of</strong> Parker/Mudgett/Smith Architects were sown<br />

in 1952 when former principal Bolton McBryde moved<br />

from Tennessee to Florida and opened an <strong>of</strong>fice in downtown<br />

<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>, where it remains to this day. During<br />

the 1950s, the firm established itself as a practice dedicated<br />

to educational, medical, commercial, and governmental<br />

clients. These early projects included the <strong>of</strong>fices <strong>of</strong> the<br />

Naples Post Office and a major remodel <strong>of</strong> the Lee County<br />

Sheriff’s Station/Jail Complex at a cost <strong>of</strong> $50,000.<br />

Wiley M. Parker was raised in South Carolina and was<br />

working for an architectural firm in Atlanta when he<br />

connected with McBryde. The firm, at that time known as<br />

McBryde & Frizzell Architects, was embarking on the master<br />

plan for the newly established Edison Junior College. This<br />

project was the first <strong>of</strong> the firm’s strategic alliances with<br />

nationally esteemed architectural design firms. In 1962,<br />

Parker joined the firm as project manager and design<br />

architect for the Edison Junior College campus project.<br />

Upon the breakup <strong>of</strong> McBryde & Frizzell, Parker became<br />

a principal in 1966 and the business reflected the change<br />

as McBryde & Parker Architects, Inc., creating the present<br />

corporation. Parker, an avid sailor and conservationist,<br />

set the tone for the firm’s respect for nature and its vigilance<br />

for environmental concerns.<br />

The firm continued to thrive, producing a variety <strong>of</strong> public<br />

and private projects. Educational projects throughout<br />

Southwest Florida became a core competency, along with<br />

medical clinical facilities, and commercial <strong>of</strong>fice buildings.<br />

Many projects for the region’s school districts were products<br />

<strong>of</strong> the firm. As the area’s population and commerce expanded,<br />

<strong>of</strong>fice buildings were designed and constructed to meet<br />

growing demands. Many <strong>of</strong> the religious facilities designed<br />

by the firm, such as St. Michael’s Lutheran Church and<br />

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, remain fully functional landmarks.<br />

William A. Mudgett, an Illinois native, joined the firm<br />

in 1968, and he and Parker enjoyed a synergy few firms<br />

ever have. Residential work proliferated. Additionally, the<br />

partners’ shared passion for educational projects enabled<br />

the firm to grow into educational master planning, design,<br />

and construction experts.<br />

Mudgett became a principal in 1973 and for six years the<br />

group operated as McBryde/Parker/Mudgett Architects. When<br />

McBryde retired in 1979, the firm became Parker/Mudgett<br />

Architects. During the ensuing fifteen years, the firm’s portfolio<br />

<strong>of</strong> major educational projects grew to include additions to<br />

the Edison Junior College campus, five new high schools,<br />

and master planning <strong>of</strong> new middle and elementary schools<br />

throughout Southwest Florida. A serendipitous spin<strong>of</strong>f evolved<br />

into addressing athletic facilities, ushering in the era <strong>of</strong> modern<br />

sports facilities in and around Lee County.<br />

Roger L. Smith, a Lee County native, began his career as<br />

a general contractor. After gaining invaluable knowledge in<br />

the field, he joined the firm in 1972. Collaborations expanded<br />

in the size, scope and complexity <strong>of</strong> its projects. The firm’s<br />

portfolio <strong>of</strong> medical clinical projects grew. It established<br />

repeat clients specializing in oncology, radiology, family<br />

practice, and the dental arts. Smith became a principal in<br />

1987, which established the current name <strong>of</strong> the firm.<br />

W. Jeffrey Mudgett joined the firm in 1992. His passion<br />

increased the firm’s efforts related to the environment and<br />

historic preservation. The firm continues to be a leader in<br />

sustainability, providing highly efficient, cost-effective,<br />

award-winning facilities. These include the Archbold<br />

Biological Station Lodge & Learning Center, which received<br />

LEED Platinum, and Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve<br />

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Interpretative Center, the first LEED-certified building in<br />

Lee County. Parker/Mudgett/Smith Architects includes two<br />

staff members who have held the LEED AP BD+C credential<br />

since its inception by the U.S. Green Building Council.<br />

Mudgett became a principal in 2001, and a focus on<br />

historic preservation grew that year when the firm began<br />

its relationship with the Edison & Ford Winter Estates. The<br />

firm provided the master site plan and architectural services<br />

for the $10 million project that restored every portion <strong>of</strong><br />

the estates. The buildings were painstakingly dismantled,<br />

restored or repaired, and reassembled to their original 1929<br />

configuration with close considerations <strong>of</strong> sustainability and<br />

conservation. Through the multiyear project, along with many<br />

awards, the firm won the respect and confidence <strong>of</strong> the estates<br />

staff and preservation organizations.<br />

The firm’s transition to a second generation <strong>of</strong> ownership<br />

truly began when Mudgett became president. The transition<br />

included an increase in the number and size <strong>of</strong> strategic<br />

alliances with internationally acclaimed architectural design<br />

firms. These collaborations have enabled Parker/Mudgett/Smith<br />

Architects to be completely immersed in large-scale projects,<br />

such as the redevelopment <strong>of</strong> downtown <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>; JetBlue<br />

Park, spring training home for the Boston Red Sox; and<br />

Hammond Stadium at CenturyLink Park, spring training<br />

home <strong>of</strong> the Minnesota Twins.<br />

The core beliefs and philosophies <strong>of</strong> Parker/Mudgett/Smith<br />

Architects thrive today. Sean P. Gilmore and Tyler F. Patak<br />

became principals in 2016. Gilmore, who grew up in Lee<br />

County, holds the LEED AP BD+C credential. Patak, a<br />

Lee County resident since 1977, also is LEED AP BD+C<br />

credentialed. This expansion has enabled the firm to address<br />

security and safety realities <strong>of</strong> today’s world. Patak was<br />

one <strong>of</strong> the first twenty pr<strong>of</strong>essionals nationwide to receive<br />

the pr<strong>of</strong>essional Crime Prevention Through Environmental<br />

Design designation.<br />

Parker’s service on the Lee County Planning Commission<br />

in the 1970s and the Conservation 20/20 environmental<br />

movement established a corporate attitude <strong>of</strong> embracing<br />

the community. This legacy is sustained through service on<br />

a variety <strong>of</strong> committees, boards, and organizations.<br />

The firm’s business model ensures principal involvement<br />

at every stage <strong>of</strong> each project. Bill Mudgett, Roger Smith,<br />

Jeff Mudgett, Tyler Patak, and Sean Gilmore <strong>of</strong>fer 150<br />

years <strong>of</strong> combined experience in Southwest Florida. This<br />

special combination <strong>of</strong> experience has served clients well<br />

in every aspect <strong>of</strong> individual projects, from the original<br />

conceptual design, through construction to completion.<br />

The company’s longevity and success are the result <strong>of</strong><br />

its traditional architectural expertise combined with a<br />

committed respect for the environment and in-depth<br />

knowledge <strong>of</strong> the region’s construction industry.<br />

Parker/Mudgett/Smith Architects, Inc., is located at<br />

2136 McGregor Boulevard, Ft. <strong>Myers</strong>, Florida 33901.<br />

Contact: (239) 332-1171 or PMSArch.com.<br />

❖<br />

Top, left: The Archbold Biological Station Lodge & Learning Center.<br />

Top, right: Edison & Ford Winter Estates.<br />

Below: JetBlue Park.<br />

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DEAN STEEL BUILDINGS,INC.<br />

❖<br />

Left to right, the Metallic Building Company representative,<br />

Charles and Robert Dean sign the dealership contract in 1968.<br />

Dean Steel Buildings, Inc., is the largest manufacturer <strong>of</strong><br />

metal building systems in Florida and continually works to<br />

increase its market share by providing outstanding customer<br />

service and experience in high-wind building designs.<br />

With annual sales <strong>of</strong> $15 million and climbing, Dean<br />

Steel Buildings, Inc., employs ninety to 100 people at<br />

facilities in <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>; Cedartown and Thomasville,<br />

Georgia; and San José, Costa Rica. Principal customers are<br />

contractors and metal building installers throughout the<br />

Southeast United States and the Americas as well as direct<br />

sales to government agencies and end-use customers.<br />

The genesis for all this success goes back to Robert “Bob”<br />

Dean, a welder and son <strong>of</strong> a welder, who owned and operated<br />

a welding shop on Anderson Avenue in <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>. In the<br />

early 1950s, Bob began selling and erecting pre-engineered<br />

metal buildings throughout the southern half <strong>of</strong> Florida,<br />

including the Florida Keys. Originally called Bob Dean Steel<br />

Buildings, Inc., the company purchased and installed metal<br />

buildings manufactured by Stran-Steel Buildings.<br />

His youngest son, Charles, a mechanical engineer, joined<br />

his father in the business in 1967, earned a contractor’s<br />

license, and with his father continued the practice <strong>of</strong> selling<br />

and erecting pre-engineered metal buildings. The company’s<br />

growth was not without obstacles. In the late 1960s, the<br />

<strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> refused to issue permits for metal ro<strong>of</strong>s<br />

to be used on commercial buildings. Charles had to<br />

convince the head city building <strong>of</strong>ficials that if metal<br />

ro<strong>of</strong>s were good enough for the early settlers—such as<br />

Thomas Edison and Henry Ford—they should be good<br />

enough for commercial buildings <strong>of</strong> that time.<br />

By 1971, operating under the name Dean Steel Buildings,<br />

Inc., the company purchased and installed metal buildings<br />

made primarily by Metallic Building Company. The company<br />

did so well that between 1970 and 1972, Dean Steel<br />

Buildings, Inc., was the largest volume builder in the<br />

country for Metallic Building Company. In 1973, Charles<br />

purchased the business from his father and was immediately<br />

confronted with a problem: A steel shortage forced Metallic<br />

Building Company to cancel orders placed by the company<br />

and other builders it worked with.<br />

To his credit, Charles saw an opportunity rather than<br />

just a problem and began traveling the state to meet<br />

with builders and ask them if they would buy from him<br />

if he started producing his own building line. The<br />

overwhelmingly positive response he received put Dean<br />

Steel Buildings in the manufacturing business for good.<br />

In 1985 the State <strong>of</strong> Florida mandated that all Florida<br />

counties develop a land-use plan that eventually required<br />

every commercial building in the state to go through a long<br />

permitting process. This occurred at the same time the economy<br />

began slipping into a recession. To remain competitive,<br />

a major modernization <strong>of</strong> equipment and processes began in<br />

1988, including the use <strong>of</strong> computer-aided drafting and the<br />

ability to electronically move information from drafting<br />

directly to the manufacturing machines. All work was done<br />

in-house, a process that continues to this day, allowing the<br />

company to be self-sufficient and highly efficient in its<br />

industry sector.<br />

It was about this time that Charles’ wife, Karen Dean,<br />

daughters, Nanette Dean, Julie Dean Fisher, Jeanie Dean<br />

Richards, Charlotte Dean Edwards, and sons-in-law Ken<br />

Fisher and Jeff Richards joined the organization in various<br />

roles. They joined Charles and Bob, who continued to work<br />

in a support role until Bob’s death in 2006.<br />

In 1992, while the rest <strong>of</strong> the industry went to China or<br />

India, the company started an engineering and drafting<br />

<strong>of</strong>fice in San José, Costa Rica. In a time when the Internet<br />

was still in its fledgling stage, Dean Steel Buildings was<br />

transmitting digital drawings and material lists through<br />

commercial servers in California.<br />

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Today, Dean Steel Buildings, Inc., is a member <strong>of</strong> the Metal<br />

Building Manufacturers Association, is certified ISO 9001,<br />

and accredited to AC-472. Achieving ISO 9001 certification<br />

has allowed the company to focus its operations on:<br />

• Customer satisfaction, providing products with the highest<br />

quality standards possible.<br />

• Problem-solving techniques and continuous improvement<br />

<strong>of</strong> systems, procedures, products, and people.<br />

• Teamwork, continual training, and employee support.<br />

With the company’s innovative systems, advanced<br />

computer-aided design and manufacturing technology,<br />

there is no limit to its creativity. Dean Steel Buildings, Inc.,<br />

has become the modern, economical form <strong>of</strong> construction<br />

for practically every building application. From large<br />

commercial and industrial facilities to neighborhood<br />

shopping centers, <strong>of</strong>fice buildings, commercial banks, and<br />

even private homes.<br />

The company has four decades <strong>of</strong> hands-on experience in<br />

every component and every system it produces. Its tradition<br />

<strong>of</strong> quality and reliability, combined with design flexibility<br />

and personalized service, allows Dean Steel<br />

Buildings to enjoy an outstanding reputation<br />

among architects and contractors.<br />

The company believes competence can only<br />

be achieved if the organization is capable<br />

<strong>of</strong> managing the training needs <strong>of</strong> its<br />

staff. The company makes every employee<br />

directly involved in each step <strong>of</strong> the<br />

process because it depends on its people,<br />

their experience, abilities, and knowledge.<br />

As for the future, Dean Steel Buildings,<br />

Inc., plans to welcome the next generation<br />

into this family owned business as Charles<br />

and Karen’s grandchildren join the company. Dean Steel<br />

Buildings, Inc., will continue providing the quality service<br />

and products its customers have come to expect while<br />

evolving into a more customer-centered business using social<br />

media and Internet advertising. As a result <strong>of</strong> these efforts<br />

and more, Dean Steel Buildings, Inc., is positioned to grow<br />

its business as the communities in which it operates grow.<br />

❖<br />

Top, left: McArthur Farms.<br />

Top, right: Roi’s Bar-B-Que Restaurant.<br />

Above: Dollar General Store.<br />

FORT MYERS PARTNERS<br />

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❖<br />

HENDERSON, FRANKLIN,<br />

STARNES & HOLT, P.A.<br />

Top, left: James A. Franklin, Sr.<br />

Top, right: Robert A. Henderson, Jr.<br />

Law firms do not usually come to mind when one<br />

recounts the history and growth <strong>of</strong> a city, county, or state,<br />

but without good legal advice growth takes place slowly,<br />

erratically, or not at all. Southwest Florida would not<br />

have grown as it has in the past century had it not been<br />

for Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, P.A., and the<br />

efforts <strong>of</strong> its two founders and the many talented attorneys<br />

who followed.<br />

The partnership that began in 1924 when James A.<br />

Franklin, Sr., moved to <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> to join Robert A.<br />

Henderson, Jr., to practice general law has grown into<br />

Below: The Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt Building.<br />

one <strong>of</strong> the largest law firms between Tampa and Miami<br />

with more than fifty attorneys practicing in a wide range<br />

<strong>of</strong> legal specialties. The main <strong>of</strong>fice is set in a five-story<br />

building in the heart <strong>of</strong> downtown <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>, across<br />

the street from the Lee County Justice Center and two<br />

blocks from the federal courthouse. Two additional <strong>of</strong>fices<br />

are located on Sanibel Island and Bonita Springs.<br />

The firm’s original site was located on First Street<br />

where the two founders played important roles in shaping<br />

<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>. Henderson helped organize the Caloosahatchee<br />

River Bridge Company, started the <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Building &<br />

Loan Company (later becoming First Federal Savings &<br />

Loan), and helped bring in the Atlantic Coastline Railroad.<br />

Franklin, Sr., served in both World Wars, in the state<br />

senate for three terms, and as president <strong>of</strong> the Florida<br />

Bar Association. He finished World War II as a lieutenant<br />

colonel after helping establish the military government in<br />

Frankfurt, Germany, and accepting the surrender <strong>of</strong> the<br />

Nazis. For his wartime efforts, Franklin, Sr., received a<br />

Bronze Star and four campaign ribbons.<br />

In 1942, F. E. Starnes and Parker Holt joined as partners<br />

and the firm took on the name it has maintained to<br />

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this day. James A. Franklin, Jr., followed in his father’s<br />

footsteps by joining the firm in 1949, becoming its<br />

sixth lawyer. Holt later became city attorney for<br />

<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>, which forced Franklin, Jr., into the role<br />

<strong>of</strong> trial lawyer, where he earned the moniker <strong>of</strong> the<br />

“Silver Fox.”<br />

In 1951 the firm moved to the second floor <strong>of</strong> the Lee<br />

County Bank Building at the corner <strong>of</strong> Main and Hendry<br />

Streets. Ten years later, a one-story <strong>of</strong>fice on Second Street<br />

was built to house its nine attorneys and support staff.<br />

A second story was added in 1964. During the 1970s,<br />

the <strong>of</strong>fice expanded more than once, and as the decade<br />

came to a close the firm boasted twenty attorneys.<br />

By 1988 the firm had broken ground on a five-story<br />

<strong>of</strong>fice building at 1715 Monroe Street adjacent to the<br />

Second Street building. The firm had become full service<br />

with sixteen legal practices and eventually grew to over<br />

sixty attorneys. In 2014, Henderson, Franklin, Starnes, &<br />

Holt celebrated its ninetieth anniversary.<br />

Such longevity does not come easily or by accident.<br />

It is the result <strong>of</strong> hard work, talented people, and a guiding<br />

philosophy that serves clients and enhances the legal<br />

pr<strong>of</strong>essional. Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, P.A.,<br />

holds itself to the highest standards <strong>of</strong> the pr<strong>of</strong>ession.<br />

Its goal is to continually demonstrate the firm’s capabilities<br />

and experience and to build and maintain trust with<br />

its clients.<br />

The firm continues to uphold the principles <strong>of</strong> its<br />

founders and its commitment to the communities <strong>of</strong><br />

Southwest Florida. Franklin, Sr., understood the importance<br />

<strong>of</strong> giving back to the community and worked to hire<br />

associates who were “imbued with high ideals and filled with<br />

the desire to be <strong>of</strong> service to the community.”<br />

Henderson Franklin follows that example to this day.<br />

It believes that to be real leaders its commitment must<br />

extend beyond work. Its attorneys have contributed to<br />

the communities <strong>of</strong> Southwest Florida by serving as city<br />

attorney, school board attorney, and as members <strong>of</strong> the<br />

Florida Legislature. Many <strong>of</strong> its attorneys have provided<br />

leadership to the Lee County Bar Association and the<br />

Florida Bar, serving as presidents, committee and section<br />

chairpersons, or both. Several <strong>of</strong> its attorneys have moved<br />

on to become judges in various courts.<br />

The firm takes pride in supporting charitable organizations<br />

throughout the region and helping others achieve<br />

success. Through the years, the firm and its staff have<br />

served on the boards <strong>of</strong> many community and philanthropic<br />

organizations, including the American Cancer Society,<br />

American Heart Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters,<br />

Children’s Home Society, Community Cooperative, Foster<br />

Care Council <strong>of</strong> Southwest Florida, Habitat for Humanity,<br />

Harry Chapin Food Bank, Hope Hospice, Junior<br />

Achievement, March <strong>of</strong> Dimes, PACE Center for Girls <strong>of</strong><br />

Lee County, Southwest Florida Community Foundation,<br />

United Way, and many others. The firm also provides<br />

scholarships to students at Florida Gulf Coast University,<br />

Florida SouthWestern State College, and for the <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong><br />

Cape Coral Mayor’s Scholarship Fund.<br />

Henderson Franklin was named as an Industry<br />

Appreciation Honoree as part <strong>of</strong> an annual statewide celebration<br />

<strong>of</strong> business to raise public awareness <strong>of</strong> the positive<br />

contributions that industry makes to local communities.<br />

Its strict adherence to excellence, high ethical standards,<br />

and serving the interests <strong>of</strong> clients is the cornerstone<br />

<strong>of</strong> the firm’s practice and will serve it well in the<br />

future. Whether in the courtroom or the boardroom,<br />

the depth <strong>of</strong> Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt<br />

sets it apart so clients can enjoy the peace <strong>of</strong> mind that<br />

comes with experienced representation and exceptional<br />

client service.<br />

FORT MYERS PARTNERS<br />

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SOUTHWEST FLORIDA<br />

INTERNATIONAL<br />

AIRPORT<br />

Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW), operated<br />

by the Lee County Port Authority under the supervision <strong>of</strong><br />

the Lee County Board <strong>of</strong> Port Commissioners, was certified<br />

for operation in May 1983 and is one <strong>of</strong> the newest airports<br />

in the nation. Located in <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>, RSW is the front door<br />

to some <strong>of</strong> the most beautiful and unique destinations in<br />

the world along Florida’s Gulf Coast, including Sanibel,<br />

Captiva, Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades.<br />

After decades <strong>of</strong> record-breaking growth, a<br />

new state-<strong>of</strong>-the-art terminal complex opened<br />

in 2005, <strong>of</strong>fering travelers a spacious, bright,<br />

open terminal with 3 concourses and 28 gates,<br />

with future expansion to 65 gates. RSW has<br />

local and nationally branded food, beverage<br />

and retail establishments, ample charging<br />

stations, free Wi-Fi throughout the terminal<br />

and an on-site rental car service center.<br />

Recent projects completed to handle future<br />

growth and enhance the customer experience<br />

at RSW included the opening <strong>of</strong> the I-75<br />

Airport Direct Connect roadway and the addition<br />

<strong>of</strong> Airport Plaza, with a large cell phone<br />

lot adjacent to a gas station and convenience<br />

store. Long-term projects include widening<br />

the airport’s entrance road, as well as design and construction<br />

<strong>of</strong> a new Air Traffic Control Tower and second runway.<br />

RSW is a Class A Port <strong>of</strong> Entry with full-service customs<br />

and immigration services and an international transit lounge.<br />

The entire airport is designated as a Foreign Trade Zone, which<br />

provides special customs procedures advantageous to U.S.<br />

companies engaged in international trade-related activities.<br />

RSW also has significant land opportunities at Skyplex,<br />

which encompasses approximately 1,100 acres for commercial<br />

development including non-aviation and aviation businesses.<br />

Southwest Florida International Airport serves millions <strong>of</strong><br />

travelers annually and is in the top fifty U.S. airports for<br />

passenger traffic. Major airlines serve RSW with nonstop<br />

service throughout the U.S. and multiple international<br />

flights to Canada and Germany, as well as convenient<br />

connections worldwide.<br />

Southwest Florida International Airport is a six-time<br />

recipient <strong>of</strong> the Florida Department <strong>of</strong> Transportation’s<br />

(FDOT) Commercial Service Airport <strong>of</strong> the Year Award.<br />

RSW also ranked highest in medium-sized airports for<br />

traveler satisfaction in the 2015 J.D. Power North American<br />

Airport Satisfaction Study. In addition, the airport has<br />

been recognized by regional, state and national industry<br />

organizations for its construction, environmental, safety and<br />

communications projects.<br />

A 2014 FDOT Economic Impact<br />

Study shows RSW’s total contribution<br />

to the region’s economy, through<br />

direct and indirect sources, is $4.3<br />

billion annually and 45,000 jobs.<br />

Southwest Florida International<br />

Airport is committed to providing<br />

the finest amenities and best travel<br />

experience to the millions <strong>of</strong> visitors<br />

who use the airport each year.<br />

FORT MYERS: <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Palms—A</strong> <strong>Contemporary</strong> <strong>Portrait</strong><br />

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Located in the heart <strong>of</strong> <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>, Page Field (FMY) is<br />

Southwest Florida’s premier business and general aviation<br />

airport. The Lee County Port Authority, under the supervision<br />

<strong>of</strong> the Lee County Board <strong>of</strong> Port Commissioners, operates<br />

Page Field and provides services to corporate, commercial<br />

and private aviators through their business arm and<br />

fixed-base operator, Base Operations. As the reliever airport<br />

for the region’s commercial airport, Southwest Florida<br />

International Airport (RSW), Page Field is vital to the<br />

air transportation system in Southwest Florida. With an<br />

average <strong>of</strong> more than 87,000 annual operations, Page Field<br />

is a thriving community airport that is home to more than<br />

320 privately operated aircraft, 189 T-hangars, 3 bulk<br />

hangars and 16 on-field businesses. The total contribution<br />

from airport operations to the region’s economy is $109.3<br />

million annually and more than 1,000 jobs, according to<br />

the Florida Department <strong>of</strong> Transportation (FDOT) 2014<br />

Economic Impact Study.<br />

Page Field was certified for operation in 1927 and has a<br />

rich military history. The airport was named after Captain<br />

Channing Page, a local World War I fighter pilot and<br />

the first Floridian to receive commission into the Army<br />

Air Corps. During World War II, the airport was an<br />

important bomber and advanced fighter training base. After<br />

World War II, FMY served as Southwest Florida’s primary<br />

commercial service airport until RSW opened in 1983.<br />

The new 22,613-square-foot Base Operations at Page<br />

Field terminal opened in 2011. The facility was designed to<br />

honor the past, while providing modern, state-<strong>of</strong>-the-art<br />

amenities to support the future <strong>of</strong> business and general<br />

aviation. The project also included easy access from<br />

runways with a new parallel taxiway, a new 24,000-squarefoot<br />

itinerant aircraft hangar and 600,000 square feet<br />

<strong>of</strong> adjacent ramp space for business aircraft parking.<br />

The terminal building has a spacious lobby featuring<br />

World War II memorabilia, a weather briefing and flight<br />

planning room, pilot lounge, recreation room, snack room,<br />

pilot and gift shop, executive conference<br />

room and seminar facilities. The awardwinning<br />

team <strong>of</strong> experienced line service<br />

agents and helpful customer service<br />

representatives at Base Operations take<br />

pride in providing expert care for pilots,<br />

passengers and crews.<br />

Page Field has been awarded the FDOT<br />

General Aviation Airport <strong>of</strong> the Year three<br />

times. In addition, Base Operations at<br />

Page Field has been ranked among the top<br />

twenty percent <strong>of</strong> all fixed-base operators<br />

in the Americas by Aviation International<br />

News for four consecutive years.<br />

Page Field is proud <strong>of</strong> its storied past<br />

and today continues an impressive legacy<br />

<strong>of</strong> aviation services in world-class facilities.<br />

PAGE FIELD<br />

FORT MYERS PARTNERS<br />

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❖<br />

GALLOWAY AUTO<br />

Above: Lee Motors, c. 1927.<br />

Below: Sam Galloway Ford located on Colonial Boulevard.<br />

In 1927, <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>, Florida, was recovering from a<br />

devastating hurricane that had destroyed much <strong>of</strong> the<br />

city the previous year. It was a time <strong>of</strong> great growth and<br />

population boom. Gladiolus fields were abundant, farming<br />

was the primary industry, Model T’s ruled the road, and<br />

<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>’ most famous residents were American icons<br />

Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Harvey Firestone. With<br />

the much-anticipated opening <strong>of</strong> Tamiami Trail connecting<br />

Miami to <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>, Miami residents and business owners,<br />

Theresa and David Shackelford, purchased Tropical Motors<br />

in downtown <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>.<br />

The business, which was<br />

located on Main Street<br />

where the Lee County<br />

Justice Center now sits, was<br />

renamed Lee Motors and<br />

became the first Ford dealership<br />

in Southwest Florida.<br />

Lee Motors prospered<br />

throughout much <strong>of</strong> its<br />

history. Having survived the<br />

Great Depression, the 1940s<br />

brought growth and change when Sam Galloway, Sr.,<br />

married Theresa and David Shackelford’s daughter, Mary<br />

Ann, in 1943. Sam and Mary Ann married in Miami and<br />

immediately moved to <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> where Sam accepted<br />

operating control <strong>of</strong> the dealership.<br />

In 1963, at the urging <strong>of</strong> the Ford Motor Company<br />

Lee Motors changed its name to Sam Galloway Ford and<br />

relocated from downtown <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> to the corner <strong>of</strong><br />

U.S. 41 and Colonial Boulevard. Sam, Sr., and Mary Ann<br />

remained owners <strong>of</strong> the dealership until 1970 when their<br />

eldest child, Sam Galloway, Jr., purchased the dealership<br />

at the age <strong>of</strong> twenty-six, becoming the youngest Ford<br />

dealer in America. Although young, Sam, Jr., did not lack<br />

experience. He grew up in the dealership and began<br />

working immediately upon graduating from <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong><br />

Senior High School. He did everything from repairs to sales<br />

and everything in between working hard and gaining<br />

knowledge <strong>of</strong> the business as he went. Under Sam, Jr.’s<br />

leadership, Sam Galloway Ford grew from a small motor<br />

company to one the largest Ford dealerships in the United<br />

States and one <strong>of</strong> the largest employers in Lee County.<br />

By the mid-1990s, Lee County was in a major growth<br />

phase. Sam, Jr., saw the growth moving south and took a<br />

chance by purchasing a large parcel <strong>of</strong> land on the newly<br />

constructed Boy Scout Drive. In 1996, just shy <strong>of</strong> the<br />

organization’s seventieth anniversary, Sam Galloway Ford<br />

relocated from their iconic corner on U.S. 41 and Colonial<br />

Boulevard to their current location at 1800 Boy Scout Drive.<br />

There, the family tradition continues. Today, the fourth<br />

generation, made up <strong>of</strong> Sam, Jr., and Kathy Galloway’s<br />

three children, Sam Galloway III, Katherine Galloway<br />

Dougherty, and Robert Galloway are all partners in the<br />

family <strong>of</strong> dealerships known as Galloway Auto.<br />

Galloway Auto (as <strong>of</strong> 2016) is made up <strong>of</strong> Sam Galloway<br />

Ford Lincoln, Coconut Point Ford, and Galloway Direct.<br />

FORT MYERS: <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Palms—A</strong> <strong>Contemporary</strong> <strong>Portrait</strong><br />

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❖<br />

Left: Galloway Ford located at 1800 Boy Scout Drive in <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>.<br />

Below: Coconut Point Ford located at 22400 South Tamiami Trail in Estero.<br />

The Galloway Auto Group prides itself on the longstanding<br />

tradition <strong>of</strong> excellence that began with Lee Motors in 1927.<br />

Sam Galloway Ford has been a member <strong>of</strong> the Ford Motor<br />

Company’s One Hundred Club since the award’s inception.<br />

The One Hundred Club recognizes the Top 100 dealers<br />

in the country for distinguished sales performance each<br />

year. Coconut Point Ford in Estero (as <strong>of</strong> 2016) has<br />

won three consecutive President’s Awards, Ford Motor<br />

Company’s highest honor for customer satisfaction. The<br />

award that has the most meaning to the entire family<br />

and organization, however, is Sam Galloway Ford’s Salute<br />

To Dealers Award. Ford Motor Company recognizes<br />

select dealers with this award for their compassion and<br />

dedication to causes that make a significant difference in<br />

the lives <strong>of</strong> people in need. This recognition is especially<br />

meaningful to the family because it recognizes their efforts<br />

in philanthropy and community support, which has been<br />

a hallmark <strong>of</strong> both the Galloway family and businesses<br />

for four generations. Whether it is supporting the men and<br />

women <strong>of</strong> law enforcement, feeding the homeless and<br />

hungry, or providing shelter to abandoned and abused<br />

animals, the Galloway family feels compelled to support<br />

the community that they have belonged to for the better<br />

part <strong>of</strong> a century. Often times, they are asked why they serve<br />

their community so vigorously and their answer is simple:<br />

“It’s the right thing to do.”<br />

FORT MYERS PARTNERS<br />

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MARK LOREN DESIGNS, INC.<br />

Mark Loren Designs, Inc., is not the type <strong>of</strong> place people<br />

peruse for a few minutes on their way to some other place.<br />

It is a destination in and <strong>of</strong> itself. It is a place where people<br />

who enjoy jewelry, design, and art converge to revel in an<br />

environment that combines the quirky with the elegant.<br />

This award-winning jewelry and design gallery attracts<br />

people with curious minds and an appreciation for the<br />

aesthetic, whether it is at the 13351 McGregor Boulevard<br />

goldsmithing studio/gallery or the Mercato store that opened<br />

in Naples at 9118 Strada Place, Suite 8120, in 2012. At<br />

Mark Loren Designs, a talented team <strong>of</strong> expert artisans works<br />

to create treasured pieces that have earned them celebrity<br />

status with both industry critics and jewelry mavens.<br />

While other jewelers purchase parts and assemble them,<br />

Loren and his staff combine traditional jewelry with antique<br />

items they either find themselves or receive from customers.<br />

What <strong>of</strong>ten follows is a dialogue between customer and<br />

craftsman that results in a one-<strong>of</strong>-a-kind creation that <strong>of</strong>ten<br />

become beloved heirlooms. Commitment to creativity and<br />

design rather than an assembly-line attitude has led<br />

Southwest Floridians to designate Mark Loren Designs as the<br />

region’s favorite custom jewelry designer. It also has earned<br />

him and his staff a national reputation for <strong>of</strong>fering unique<br />

and rare gemstones, innovative diamond rings, exceptional<br />

engagement and wedding bands, and items you will not find<br />

in traditional jewelry stores.<br />

Items such as fossils and minerals, antiquities, and Toe<br />

Touches–Mark Loren Designs’ exclusive custom-fit locking<br />

gold and diamond toe rings. A visit to either <strong>of</strong> their stores<br />

or their website at www.marklorendesigns.com will reveal a<br />

menagerie <strong>of</strong> necklaces, bracelets, rings, and earrings, along<br />

with pieces designed to appeal to men. Cufflinks, money<br />

clips, and knives are among the items popular with men<br />

along with less traditional pieces such as a pair <strong>of</strong> black jade<br />

dice with opal inlay.<br />

Words and phrases like “unique,” “one-<strong>of</strong>-a-kind,” and<br />

“works <strong>of</strong> art” do not do justice to the riches you will find<br />

here. A sampling <strong>of</strong> treasures reveals the following:<br />

• Viking bronze fibula (900 A.D.) paired with a glittering,<br />

pear-shaped rainbow titania agate druzy accented by<br />

diamonds and a brilliant trillion-cut peridot.<br />

• National award-winning 14-karat white-gold pendant set<br />

with Bernd Munsteiner-cut bi-color tourmaline accented<br />

with blue and white diamonds.<br />

• 14-karat rose gold hammered cuff bracelet with an<br />

ancient cross affixed with baguette diamonds.<br />

• hand-fabricated 14-karat gold ring created with an English<br />

gold sovereign minted in 1903 accenting a tension-set,<br />

lab-grown oval purple sapphire.<br />

• ancient Roman glass and pearl reverse wire earrings in<br />

14-karat white gold set with ancient Roman glass segments<br />

and black pearls, accented by Marquis-cut diamonds.<br />

FORT MYERS: <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Palms—A</strong> <strong>Contemporary</strong> <strong>Portrait</strong><br />

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Words cannot do justice to what you will see at Mark<br />

Loren Designs, and space does not permit a full sampling <strong>of</strong><br />

the creations you will find there. A visit to one <strong>of</strong> his stores<br />

or to his website is mandatory to completely appreciate the<br />

variety, although it takes more than one visit to take it all in<br />

and new additions guarantee that each visit will be unique.<br />

Repeat customers make a pilgrimage to this mecca <strong>of</strong><br />

creativity on a regular basis. Through the years, this<br />

Chicago native and his equally talented staff have won<br />

an array <strong>of</strong> awards, including several Spectrum Awards<br />

presented by the American Gem Trade Association. People<br />

in the industry equate winning a Spectrum Award to<br />

winning an Academy Award, and Loren’s skills continue<br />

to receive recognition. His work was included in<br />

Masters: Gemstones—Major Works by Leading Jewelers by<br />

Lark Books/Sterling Publishing Company, a publication<br />

featuring major works by thirty-nine master artists.<br />

Many <strong>of</strong> those who have discovered Mark Loren Designs<br />

are affiliated with local nonpr<strong>of</strong>it organizations, and thus<br />

began a symbiotic relationship that endures decades after<br />

it began. Loren began donating items to charity auctions,<br />

and many <strong>of</strong> the people who attended these functions took<br />

note and began turning to him for their jewelry needs.<br />

He met many <strong>of</strong> his top clients through philanthropic<br />

work. The benefit to donating to worthy causes comes<br />

in helping nonpr<strong>of</strong>its raise money to help people and<br />

improve the quality <strong>of</strong> life in Southwest Florida while<br />

sparking relationships with people with whom he already<br />

has something in common.<br />

Relationships are what keeps Mark Loren Designs<br />

thriving. Personal relationships. Business relationships.<br />

Relationships between like-minded craftsmen. Loren<br />

estimates he knows sixty percent <strong>of</strong> the customers who<br />

walk through his McGregor Boulevard doors, and he is<br />

getting to know a growing percentage <strong>of</strong> the clientele who<br />

regularly visit the Mercato in Naples. Open and friendly is<br />

the atmosphere Loren promotes, giving customers another<br />

reason to head to his stores excited and expectant.<br />

You never know what you will find at Mark Loren Designs,<br />

and this sense <strong>of</strong> discovery makes the journey all the<br />

more exciting.<br />

FORT MYERS PARTNERS<br />

155


FLORIDA SOUTHWESTERN<br />

STATE COLLEGE<br />

❖<br />

The Florida SouthWestern State Buccaneers at the <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> Palms Park<br />

playing a night baseball game.<br />

Over fifty years ago, the region’s first college was launched<br />

in <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>. The original buildings, constructed in the 1960s,<br />

were surrounded by fields in an area that was considered<br />

the outskirts <strong>of</strong> a bustling and growing city. Today, Florida<br />

SouthWestern State College’s (FSW) campus, called the<br />

Thomas Edison Campus, continues to grow, not only in the<br />

number <strong>of</strong> students, but also in the variety <strong>of</strong> <strong>of</strong>ferings.<br />

Florida SouthWestern State College is part <strong>of</strong> the economic<br />

engine that not only provides employment for 1,400 full and<br />

part-time pr<strong>of</strong>essionals, but also impacts the lives <strong>of</strong> thousands<br />

<strong>of</strong> students and their families. FSW has nearly 22,000 students<br />

enrolled annually on campuses in Naples, <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>, and<br />

Punta Gorda, and a regional center in LaBelle. The college’s<br />

region covers 5,448 square miles, and in Lee County alone,<br />

the overall economic impact is over $410.6M.<br />

Students can earn pr<strong>of</strong>essional certifications, associate<br />

and bachelor degrees that are focused on workforce careers.<br />

At FSW, learning has no boundaries. The college launched its<br />

Center for International Education to enhance study abroad<br />

opportunities, in addition to actively recruiting students<br />

from this area and beyond. FSW also launched an <strong>of</strong>fice <strong>of</strong><br />

sponsored programs to encourage faculty and student research<br />

opportunities. The college has faculty and students researching<br />

subjects from AIDS and its interference with human DNA to<br />

comparative politics that include trips to Managua, Nicaragua;<br />

students also have experienced French immersion in Annecy,<br />

France. Not only are students learning abroad, but also coming<br />

to FSW from other countries.<br />

FSW’s degrees and certifications are focused on workforce<br />

careers, from health pr<strong>of</strong>essionals and teachers to business<br />

specialists, technology experts, and public safety administrators.<br />

The college has five schools: School <strong>of</strong> Health Pr<strong>of</strong>essions;<br />

School <strong>of</strong> Business & Technology; School <strong>of</strong> Education; School<br />

<strong>of</strong> Pure & Applied Sciences; and School <strong>of</strong> Arts, Humanities and<br />

Social Sciences. Many <strong>of</strong> the college’s programs are nationally<br />

ranked. Graduates <strong>of</strong> FSW’s nationally accredited Associate<br />

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<strong>of</strong> Science in Dental Hygiene program have had 100 percent<br />

passing rates on the National Board Dental Hygiene<br />

Examination for seventeen years. Graduates <strong>of</strong> FSW’s<br />

nationally accredited Associate <strong>of</strong> Science in Radiology<br />

Technology have had 100 percent passing rates on the<br />

certification examination for the past eight years. This passing<br />

rate ranks the program in the top fifteen percent nationally.<br />

FSW is the state leader in fiscal management for<br />

CareerSource’s FloridaFlex Grants. These grants are designed<br />

to support customized training for new hires and new<br />

businesses. In the past six years, FSW has managed $6.1M<br />

to train 3,500 new hires.<br />

The college is also known for its dedication to the arts. In<br />

2016, FSW celebrated the thirtieth anniversary <strong>of</strong> the Barbara<br />

B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, which is an integral part <strong>of</strong> the<br />

college. It is here where residents and visitors alike can enjoy<br />

a wide variety <strong>of</strong> world-class performances, from Broadway<br />

Series shows ranging from Phantom <strong>of</strong> the Opera, Jersey Boys,<br />

Dirty Dancing and 42nd Street, to The Sound <strong>of</strong> Music and<br />

Camelot. Concerts and performances range from Jay Leno,<br />

Jerry Seinfeld and Steve Martin to Harry Connick, Jr., Trisha<br />

Yearwood, Diana Ross and Tony Bennett to Styx and<br />

IL VOLVO. The Hall is also home to FSW’s Jazz Ensemble,<br />

Orchestra and Symphony.<br />

The Bob Rauschenberg Gallery at FSW includes numerous<br />

exhibits open to the public featuring artists <strong>of</strong> modern and<br />

contemporary art in all mediums, including the works <strong>of</strong> the<br />

late Rauschenberg and international names like Yoko Ono.<br />

Within the Richard H. Rush Library, we also have the Rush<br />

Collections Gallery on the ground floor. The Black Box<br />

Theatre is home to FSW’s stage productions.<br />

FSW has long <strong>of</strong>fered students an exceptional academic<br />

experience and a vibrant student life with almost thirty clubs<br />

plus intramural sports. To give students the complete college<br />

experience, FSW has added intercollegiate athletics to its<br />

<strong>of</strong>ferings. The Buccaneers baseball and s<strong>of</strong>tball teams played<br />

their first home games in recent times at <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> Palms Park,<br />

which is the former spring training site for the Boston Red<br />

Sox. More recently, the Suncoast Credit Union Arena on the<br />

<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> campus opened to serve as home to the men’s and<br />

women’s basketball teams and the women’s volleyball team.<br />

In addition to athletic events, the arena is home to community<br />

events, concerts, and graduation ceremonies.<br />

FSW has earned a Gold Tier ranking and scored perfectly<br />

in the areas <strong>of</strong> job placement and completer entry-level wages<br />

based on a recent state initiative to reward student outcomes<br />

instead <strong>of</strong> enrollment. FSW <strong>of</strong>ficials believe the rating<br />

validates what people in Southwest Florida have long known:<br />

Florida SouthWest State College is a leader in public higher<br />

education. The results highlight the talents <strong>of</strong> FSW’s faculty<br />

and staff, who encourage, inspire, and lead students to<br />

achieve greatness in the classroom today and in the<br />

community tomorrow.<br />

❖<br />

Left: The Florida SouthWestern State Jazz Ensemble on stage at the<br />

Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall.<br />

Below: A Florida SouthWestern State student from the School <strong>of</strong><br />

Health Pr<strong>of</strong>essions.<br />

FORT MYERS PARTNERS<br />

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ALLIANCE FOR THE ARTS<br />

Nestled on a ten-acre campus on historic McGregor<br />

Boulevard on the western edge <strong>of</strong> <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> is an organization<br />

that has had a major impact on the culture <strong>of</strong><br />

Lee County for more than forty years. Its mission is to<br />

connect people to the arts, and to each other. Its members,<br />

volunteers and staff believe those kinds <strong>of</strong> connections<br />

make people, and their community as a whole, stronger.<br />

They believe there is a direct correlation between the<br />

strength <strong>of</strong> the arts community and the overall quality <strong>of</strong><br />

life <strong>of</strong> everyone who lives in Southwest Florida.<br />

<strong>Fort</strong>y years ago, there was no unified arts community<br />

or venue where it all came together. So in 1975, a group <strong>of</strong><br />

visionary leaders: <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Attorney Charles B. Edwards,<br />

Architect William R. Frizzell, Edison State College President<br />

David G. Robinson, Barbara B. Mann, Tom Walters and dance<br />

instructor Jeanne Bochette, donated land, raised funds for<br />

construction and organized an Alliance for the Arts, which<br />

opened <strong>of</strong>ficially in a small farmhouse in December <strong>of</strong> 1978.<br />

The farmhouse has been replaced by facilities that include<br />

three art galleries; which account for sixteen exhibits and a<br />

total <strong>of</strong> 325 exhibition days a year; a 150-seat theater which<br />

presents more than 100 theatrical performances annually, and<br />

an open-air amphitheater for concerts, plays and festivals.<br />

From its eight classrooms, the Alliance <strong>of</strong>fers classes, camps,<br />

and other youth education programs that serve more than<br />

2,500 kids annually. Studio courses, workshops and adult<br />

education art classes that attract more than 1,000 students<br />

annually. Classroom, conference, and studio space for area<br />

artists, businesses, and other local organizations is available.<br />

On the grounds outside, even folks not inclined toward the<br />

arts enjoy fresh produce, gardening workshops, yoga, drum<br />

circles, and musical performances at the Alliance’s popular<br />

GreenMarket, as well as outdoor family movie nights,<br />

bluegrass concerts, and other large community festivals.<br />

Not only is the Alliance a venue where amateur and pr<strong>of</strong>essional<br />

artists can obtain the instruction they need to hone<br />

and develop their skills and talent, it is a place where new<br />

generations <strong>of</strong> visual and performing artists, dancers, singers<br />

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and musicians are inspired to pursue art-based careers. Since<br />

1989, Open Doors program has provided students referred<br />

by educational and social service organizations who demonstrate<br />

artistic talent or interest the ability to take art classes<br />

at no charge. The program gives students a venue to create<br />

and learn about art, express themselves freely, develop<br />

their creative potential, and exhibit their work all under the<br />

creative eyes <strong>of</strong> artist mentors. Since 2002 the Alliance has<br />

partnered with area art teachers to provide elementary, middle<br />

and high school students the chance to show their work<br />

in a month-long exhibit, giving them a chance to feel what it<br />

is like to have their artwork displayed in a formal gallery.<br />

The Alliance for the Arts entertains through concerts,<br />

plays, festivals and more. It educates through year-round<br />

classes for all ages and summer, winter and spring camps<br />

for kids. It provides opportunities for artists to display their<br />

work in three galleries, sell their work in its gift shop,<br />

and teach classes and workshops. It provides a space for<br />

organizations and clubs to get together for meetings and<br />

events. It is a community center where people from all walks<br />

<strong>of</strong> life come together to celebrate the arts.<br />

The Alliance is not just a host and presenter. It is also a vocal<br />

advocate for the importance <strong>of</strong> the arts beyond its campus. The<br />

Alliance for the Arts is the county’s state-designated Local Arts<br />

Agency. Together with its more than 1,200 members and fifty<br />

plus nonpr<strong>of</strong>it arts partner organizations, the Alliance works to<br />

make the region’s economy broader and even stronger through<br />

the arts, benefitting tourists, residents, and local businesses.<br />

Thanks to data collected by a team <strong>of</strong> volunteers coordinated<br />

by the Alliance, we know that in 2010—at the height<br />

<strong>of</strong> the Great Recession—Lee County’s nonpr<strong>of</strong>it arts and<br />

culture industry generated $68.3 million in economic activity,<br />

supported 2,038 full-time equivalent jobs and produced $9.4<br />

million in revenue for the <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>, Lee County and<br />

the State <strong>of</strong> Florida. The Americans for the Arts & Economic<br />

Prosperity IV study found that Lee County’s nonpr<strong>of</strong>it arts<br />

and culture organizations spent $23.2 million during fiscal<br />

year 2010, which included wages and salaries, supplies,<br />

contract services and related expenditures. Those dollars, in<br />

turn, generated $21.3 million in household income for local<br />

residents and $3.1 million in local and state government<br />

revenues. In other words, the arts mean business!<br />

The Alliance for the Arts is many things to many people.<br />

It works daily through its energetic and dedicated staff,<br />

volunteers and members to facilitate and nurture the<br />

creation, development, promotion and education <strong>of</strong> arts and<br />

culture in Lee County. They do it because it is their passion.<br />

They love the arts. They love Lee County. They love helping<br />

to create a community in which the arts and culture flourish.<br />

And it shows.<br />

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❖<br />

AIM ENGINEERING &<br />

SURVEYING, INC.<br />

Right: AIM surveying the original I-75 bridges over the Peace River in<br />

Charlotte County.<br />

Below: Larry Bennett and James D. Hull, founders <strong>of</strong> AIM Engineering<br />

& Surveying, c. 1980.<br />

AIM Engineering & Surveying, Inc., is synonymous with<br />

Florida’s growth, having started in 1980 as a partnership<br />

between two pr<strong>of</strong>essional engineers and land surveyors<br />

licensed in the State <strong>of</strong> Florida. During the next threeplus<br />

decades, AIM played a major role in everything from<br />

surveying to flood control to construction management on<br />

a wide range <strong>of</strong> projects integral to the state’s growth.<br />

AIM is now a full-service planning, engineering, surveying<br />

and construction management company with multiple<br />

locations throughout Florida. The company <strong>of</strong>fers a wide<br />

range <strong>of</strong> services to assist clients during all phases <strong>of</strong> project<br />

delivery from planning through construction and backs<br />

every project with experience, talented staff, and superior<br />

service. AIM, which backs its work with a corporate commitment<br />

to total quality management, has extensive experience<br />

working with federal, state, and local agencies. It has a<br />

successful history <strong>of</strong> providing innovative, cost-effective<br />

projects and is committed to providing economical, highquality<br />

services on every project.<br />

AIM’s mission is: “to cultivate a corporate culture and<br />

entrepreneurial spirt to maximize the capabilities and opportunities<br />

<strong>of</strong> our staff. Through this culture, AIM will develop<br />

the premier pr<strong>of</strong>essional staff to provide our clients with<br />

the best value in the industry through innovation, superior<br />

quality, and personalized customer service.”<br />

Some <strong>of</strong> AIM’s specialties include:<br />

• Planning<br />

• Project Development & Environment<br />

• Surveying and Mapping<br />

• Transportation Design<br />

• General Site Civil<br />

• Water Resources (stormwater, water management, hydraulic<br />

analysis and modeling)<br />

• Marine and Coastal Engineering<br />

• Environmental and Permitting<br />

• Utility Design (potable water, sanitary sewer, reclaimed<br />

water systems, pumping/lift stations)<br />

• Subsurface Utility Engineering<br />

• Construction Management and Inspection<br />

• Public Outreach/Information<br />

AIM did not begin with such a wide-ranging repertoire <strong>of</strong><br />

expertise. It began when Larry Bennet and James D. Hull,<br />

who were both engineers and surveyors, founded the<br />

company in 1980. Hull had retired after twenty years with<br />

the Florida Department <strong>of</strong> Transportation (FDOT) after<br />

helping build Interstate 75 in Southwest Florida in the<br />

late 1970s. He retired as assistant resident engineer for<br />

FDOT’s <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Construction Office.<br />

When AIM was founded, <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> was not nearly as<br />

developed as it is now, so the company started out doing a<br />

lot <strong>of</strong> survey work. In 1986, AIM began doing construction<br />

engineering and inspection (CEI) for FDOT—some <strong>of</strong> the<br />

first consulting CEI work FDOT had ever done.<br />

AIM soon worked on the construction <strong>of</strong> I-595 in <strong>Fort</strong><br />

Lauderdale—at the time, one <strong>of</strong> the largest infrastructure<br />

projects in the country—for many years then expanded<br />

around Florida doing FDOT work in CEI, surveying and<br />

design. As water resource work increased in importance,<br />

AIM expanded into that area, participating in projects<br />

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designed to control water in the Everglades. Several flood<br />

control projects such as canals, water levies, and water control<br />

structures followed as flood control became increasingly<br />

important with projects in the 1980s and 1990s. In recent<br />

years, the purpose behind such work has been more about<br />

maintaining the correct water levels and environmental<br />

aspects <strong>of</strong> water control. AIM also worked for owners <strong>of</strong><br />

many citrus groves after the freeze in the 1980s.<br />

Beginning in the late 1980s and into the 1990s, AIM experienced<br />

rapid growth because <strong>of</strong> all the FDOT work triggered<br />

by Florida’s rapid growth. AIM participated in work on water<br />

resources projects, such as flood control in the Caloosahatchee<br />

Basin. It also was involved in the design and construction<br />

<strong>of</strong> many major local roads and diversified to include more<br />

services such as environmental consulting, planning, project<br />

development and environment, subsurface utility engineering,<br />

hydrographic marine geomatics, and aerial photogrammetric<br />

capabilities. In an effort to further diversify, AIM also expanded<br />

into construction management at risk.<br />

AIM Construction Contracting, LLC, a sister company<br />

to AIM Engineering & Surveying, Inc., is a relatively new<br />

venture that brings AIM’s expertise in civil engineering to<br />

the construction management field, especially infrastructure<br />

projects such as streets, street scraping, utility, roads,<br />

bridges, and transportation. The company started as<br />

the engineer/owner representatives due to its expertise in<br />

roads, civil projects, and water resource projects. AIM later<br />

expanded into working with traditional general contractors<br />

that build vertical buildings.<br />

AIM, originally headquartered in Lehigh Acres, moved to<br />

downtown <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> in 2017. It has technical <strong>of</strong>fices in<br />

Tampa and Bartow, a construction <strong>of</strong>fice in <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>,<br />

and project <strong>of</strong>fices throughout Florida. Today, the company<br />

is incorporated and is managed by President and Chief<br />

Executive Officer Jerron K. Hull, PE, and one <strong>of</strong> the company’s<br />

two founders, Chairman <strong>of</strong> the Board James D. Hull, PE,<br />

PLS, CGC. AIM employs more than 120 people and strives<br />

to maintain a family atmosphere and a place that provides<br />

great career opportunities.<br />

As for the future, AIM will continue playing an important<br />

role in Florida’s growth by providing clients with the best<br />

value in the industry while always striving to innovate,<br />

enhance quality, and provide unsurpassed personalized<br />

customer service.<br />

❖<br />

Top: One <strong>of</strong> AIM’s early bridge surveying projects, c. 1980s.<br />

Above: AIM founder James D. Hull (left) inspecting the Sunshine Skyway<br />

Bridge in the early 1980s.<br />

FORT MYERS PARTNERS<br />

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VICTORY LAYNE CHEVROLET<br />

Victory Layne Chevrolet is more than just a clever<br />

name. The Layne family, now in its second generation <strong>of</strong><br />

ownership, is committed to making the Chevrolet brand<br />

and the <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> dealership that bears its name the<br />

number one car brand and dealership in the country.<br />

A commitment to its product and the people and community<br />

it serves permeates this Southwest Florida institution,<br />

bringing “victory” to everyone involved.<br />

President Jaime Layne and Manager Stacie Layne inherited<br />

their love <strong>of</strong> Chevrolets and the car business in general from<br />

their father, who worked at and later owned the dealership<br />

for thirty-eight years. Ronnie Layne, a Tennessee native<br />

who grew up in Flint, Michigan, was raised in a family that<br />

had very little from a financial standpoint, and although<br />

he never finished high school, he was a hard worker and<br />

ambitious so when he stopped into what was then known<br />

as Bill Branch Chevrolet in 1971 looking for a job, they<br />

hired him.<br />

He may not have had much education, but Ronnie<br />

was smart and wise and that wisdom combined with hard<br />

work allowed him to rise through the<br />

ranks and eventually purchase the<br />

dealership from Branch in 2004.<br />

<strong>Fort</strong>unately for him, his youngest<br />

daughter, Jaime, had fallen in love<br />

with the car business from the first<br />

time she went to work with him at<br />

age six, and his oldest daughter, Stacie<br />

followed suit.<br />

It was a Saturday morning when<br />

Jaime pleaded with her father, who at<br />

that time worked as manager, to go<br />

to work with him for the first time,<br />

and what she saw left her awestruck.<br />

Maybe it was the new car smell or<br />

the gleaming paint on the brand new<br />

cars, but regardless <strong>of</strong> the cause, Jaime<br />

found herself enamored with the<br />

business as well as the Chevy brand.<br />

She likes to tell people she “grew up<br />

Chevy” and that Chevy put food on her<br />

table and clothes on her son, Austin’s,<br />

back. She is proud to be affiliated with<br />

an iconic American car brand that has<br />

shaped the American culture.<br />

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The Chevrolet Motor Company, formed in 1911 in a<br />

Flint, Michigan, garage, was a cooperative venture between<br />

Belgian-born racecar driver Louis Chevrolet and William<br />

Durant, an entrepreneur and founder <strong>of</strong> General Motors.<br />

Despite early struggles with the first Chevrolet, Durant<br />

instinctively knew that a high style yet affordable car could<br />

challenge the domination <strong>of</strong> the utilitarian Ford Model T.<br />

Within ten years <strong>of</strong> joining the General Motors family<br />

in 1917, Chevy became the top-selling car brand in the<br />

United States.<br />

The Layne family’s love for Chevy has not been<br />

without its challenges. One <strong>of</strong> the greatest occurred in<br />

2009 when General Motors filed for reorganization under<br />

Chapter 11 <strong>of</strong> the United States Bankruptcy Code. As<br />

part <strong>of</strong> that plan, approximately 1,100 <strong>of</strong> the company’s<br />

6,000 dealerships would have to be closed, and no<br />

one knew for certain whether Victory Layne Chevrolet<br />

would survive.<br />

By that time, Jaime had taken over as president from<br />

her father, who passed away that year, and with the<br />

economy on the skids, General Motors on the verge<br />

<strong>of</strong> collapse, and the American automobile industry in<br />

peril, Jaime found herself in a tough predicament.<br />

Employees fretted over whether they would have a<br />

job after the closings were announced. Jaime felt as<br />

powerless as anyone in regard to the future, but she<br />

knew that she and her co-workers had done everything<br />

Chevrolet had ever asked them to do and that their sales<br />

were good.<br />

Employees spent the fateful day <strong>of</strong> the announcements<br />

by keeping an eye out for the Fed-Ex man, whom everyone<br />

thought would deliver the bad news. The day ticked<br />

past like a watch running in slow motion, and by the time<br />

the day ended the Fed-Ex man had not appeared and<br />

Victory Layne Chevrolet had survived.<br />

Today, Victory Layne Chevrolet is as strong as it has ever<br />

been, and the products Chevrolet produces keeps getting<br />

better and better. The dealership’s passion for the Chevy line<br />

is renewed whenever the new cars are introduced. Camaros,<br />

Corvettes, and Silverados, just to name a few, bring as much<br />

awe to the people who sell them as they do the people who<br />

buy them.<br />

Keeping the customer experience as friendly and comfortable<br />

as possible is one <strong>of</strong> the main reasons Victory Layne<br />

Chevrolet remodeled its dealership at 3980 Fowler Street in<br />

2013. The $1.8 million renovation, which allows customers<br />

to browse the selection <strong>of</strong> new and used cars and trucks<br />

in comfort, is part <strong>of</strong> a nationwide General Motors plan<br />

for its dealerships called Essential Brand Elements.<br />

Customers have no<br />

problem finding Victory<br />

Layne Chevrolet. They<br />

just look for the 1,800<br />

square foot U.S. flag<br />

that flies atop a 130-<br />

foot pole, a beacon that<br />

has guided customers<br />

to this family-owned<br />

dealership since 1984.<br />

The Layne family wants<br />

people to feel like part<br />

<strong>of</strong> the Victory Layne<br />

Chevrolet family when<br />

they walk in the door, and by investing in an upgraded<br />

facility they are sending the message that they not only<br />

value their customers but are here to stay. They love the<br />

<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>, Lee County, and Southwest Florida communities<br />

and hope to continue their successful relationship for<br />

many years to come. Victory Layne Chevrolet will continue<br />

to be the region’s GM award-winning Chevrolet dealer.<br />

❖<br />

Above: Customers look for the 1,800 square foot U.S. flag that waves above<br />

the Victory Layne Chevrolet dealership.<br />

Left: The Layne family.<br />

FORT MYERS PARTNERS<br />

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❖<br />

BARRACO AND<br />

ASSOCIATES, INC.<br />

Above: Left to right, Tom Holmlund and Carl Barraco, P.E. on their first<br />

business day.<br />

Barraco and Associates, Inc. (BAI), was established in<br />

1998 when three <strong>of</strong> the firm’s principals, who had worked<br />

together at the time for eleven years in Southwest Florida,<br />

decided to combine their expertise to start their own<br />

engineering firm featuring a controlled and cohesive work<br />

team built on trust and loyalty.<br />

This history <strong>of</strong> shared work experience <strong>of</strong> Carl Barraco,<br />

P.E., Tom Holmlund, and Chris Van Buskirk provided a<br />

solid foundation on which to build the firm and quickly<br />

established BAI as a regional leader <strong>of</strong> pr<strong>of</strong>essional consulting<br />

firms in Southwest Florida. The three original founders<br />

had worked together on the design and construction <strong>of</strong><br />

the six-lanes <strong>of</strong> Daniels Parkway from U.S. 41 to I-75 in<br />

the early 1990s, while Barraco, Van Buskirk, and Amy<br />

Fontaine, one <strong>of</strong> the firm’s three original employees, had<br />

worked together on construction <strong>of</strong> the Midpoint Bridge<br />

Corridor, connecting the <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> Cape Coral to the <strong>City</strong><br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>. Both projects became—at the time <strong>of</strong> their<br />

completion—the largest capital improvement project in<br />

Lee County history.<br />

The three founders <strong>of</strong><br />

the firm credit several<br />

factors to the success<br />

<strong>of</strong> the firm but with an<br />

emphasis on a few key<br />

people including their<br />

wives, Sandy Barraco,<br />

Doreen VanBuskirk and<br />

Toni Holmlund and<br />

Amy Fontaine (<strong>of</strong>fice<br />

administrator) and Scott<br />

Wheeler (vice-president<br />

surveying), who all<br />

played a key role in the<br />

company’s success.<br />

The BAI team consists <strong>of</strong> pr<strong>of</strong>essional engineers, an<br />

AICP planner, pr<strong>of</strong>essional surveyors, and LEED-accredited<br />

pr<strong>of</strong>essionals. Pr<strong>of</strong>essional services include civil engineering,<br />

land surveying, land planning, construction engineering<br />

inspection, and sustainable design for public and<br />

private clients.<br />

Barraco and Associates, Inc., is a pr<strong>of</strong>essional and innovative<br />

team that continually strives to exceed expectations<br />

in service, quality, and integrity. Since its inception, BAI has<br />

been involved in the planning, design and surveying <strong>of</strong><br />

some <strong>of</strong> the finest projects in Southwest Florida. BAI staff<br />

works in partnership with public and private sector clients<br />

locally and regionally to help plan and design new developments<br />

and infrastructure for the ever-growing Southwest<br />

Florida community.<br />

BAI <strong>of</strong>fers clients an integrated service approach with a<br />

commitment to value and performance. Policy frameworks,<br />

regulatory requirements, public improvements, and the<br />

face <strong>of</strong> urban and suburban development are constantly<br />

changing. BAI helps their clients manage change in ways<br />

that transform communities and create opportunity.<br />

BAI’s mission is to assist clients achieving their project<br />

objectives by providing highly responsive, technically<br />

sound, cost-effective services. Barraco and Associates’<br />

sincere commitment to consistently providing clients<br />

outstanding customer service is tied directly to its attention<br />

to detail and dedication to projects and clients.<br />

In the company’s first eighteen years, BAI won<br />

several prestigious awards for its work, including: 2014<br />

Lee Building Industry Association Summit Award for<br />

“Best Project for The Isles <strong>of</strong> Collier Preserve;” 2013<br />

Lee Building Industry Association Summit Award for “Civil<br />

Engineering Firm <strong>of</strong> the Year;” 2013 Lee Building Industry<br />

Association Summit Award for “Project Infrastructure<br />

for Bonita Isles;” First Place from the Citizens Panel for<br />

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“Lee County Smart Growth Transit-Oriented Design;”<br />

and Second Place from the committee for “Lee County<br />

Smart Growth Transit-Oriented Design.” In recognition <strong>of</strong><br />

their service and contributions to the Southwest Florida<br />

community, BAI has received Platinum and/or Gold<br />

Awards from the United Way <strong>of</strong> Lee County repeatedly<br />

since 2000, as well as a Community Service Award from<br />

the <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> for participation in the city’s<br />

Adopt-A-Canal program.<br />

The first BAI <strong>of</strong>fice at 2121 West First Street in <strong>Fort</strong><br />

<strong>Myers</strong> measured less than 900 square feet. In January<br />

2002 construction on the current site at 2271 McGregor<br />

Boulevard was completed. Due to its success, the firm<br />

initiated a significant expansion that included a second<br />

floor and additional first-floor <strong>of</strong>fice space. The expansion<br />

was completed in December 2007 and is now the working<br />

home <strong>of</strong> thirty-nine Southwest Florida residents. This is<br />

BAI’s only <strong>of</strong>fice and is conveniently located in the heart<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>, blocks from the <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> <strong>City</strong><br />

Hall and Lee County Public Works building, as well as<br />

other federal, state and local review agencies.<br />

Members <strong>of</strong> the BAI management team and staff<br />

members alike have served on numerous community<br />

and foundation boards <strong>of</strong> directors including the boards<br />

<strong>of</strong> Lee Health Resources, HealthPark Cypress Cove,<br />

Habitat for Humanity, Tiger Bay Club, United Way,<br />

Lee County’s Conservation 20/20 Advisory Committee,<br />

Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU), Whitaker College <strong>of</strong><br />

Engineering Advisory Committee, and Florida Engineering<br />

Society (FES) president; Fontaine serves on the board <strong>of</strong><br />

directors <strong>of</strong> the United Way; Jennifer Sapen, AICP,<br />

was appointed to the Lee County Land Development<br />

Code Advisory Committee and is a member <strong>of</strong> the Urban<br />

Land Institute and the Women’s Leadership Initiative;<br />

Wes Kayne, P.E., served as an <strong>of</strong>ficer <strong>of</strong> FES, rising through<br />

the ranks to become president at the age <strong>of</strong> twenty-nine,<br />

as well as holding a position on the FGCU Department <strong>of</strong><br />

Environmental and Civil Engineering Advisory Committee;<br />

and Carl Barraco, Jr., P.E., served on the <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>’<br />

Historical Preservation Committee, the board <strong>of</strong> directors<br />

<strong>of</strong> the Lee Building Industry Association (BIA) and FGCU’s<br />

Lutgert College <strong>of</strong> Business Advisory Committee.<br />

BAI’s philosophy <strong>of</strong> giving back to the community in<br />

which its employees live and work is evidenced by its<br />

involvement in various charitable organizations and<br />

community projects. Among other things, BAI has<br />

volunteered to clean Billy’s Creek on a periodic basis<br />

through the <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Adopt-A-Canal program,<br />

donated to the United Way via employee payroll contributions<br />

and corporate contributions since the firm’s inception<br />

in 1998, employees volunteered their time and manpower<br />

building Habitat for Humanity homes, dispatched a team<br />

<strong>of</strong> volunteers to Charlotte County to help residents clear<br />

debris from Hurricane Charley in August 2004, as well as<br />

donated to food drives to stock food pantries and participated<br />

in food packaging events sponsored by the United Way.<br />

These events provide healthy pre-packaged meals to<br />

families in need.<br />

BAI employees also have participated in meal preparation<br />

events at the Ronald McDonald House at HealthPark<br />

Florida so families staying in the facility would have<br />

prepared meals when they return to the house after<br />

visiting their children in the hospital, provided Christmas<br />

stockings to less fortunate children in the community, and<br />

sponsored and coached numerous school and community<br />

athletic teams.<br />

BAI’s community commitment is an extension <strong>of</strong> the company’s<br />

values. Its success and reputation will continue to be<br />

maintained through exceptional client and employee relationships<br />

in an enjoyable, hard-working, family atmosphere.<br />

❖<br />

Barraco and Associates, Inc., Habitat for Humanity crew, 2005.<br />

FORT MYERS PARTNERS<br />

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T3 COMMUNICATIONS, INC.<br />

T3 Communications, Inc., was founded to meet the<br />

needs <strong>of</strong> a growing business community, enabling them to<br />

communicate and compete in the global market from the<br />

local level. In 2002, a group <strong>of</strong> local business people came<br />

together and discussed what their telecommunications<br />

companies were providing them compared with what they,<br />

as business people, wanted and needed.<br />

The founders <strong>of</strong> T3 and a group <strong>of</strong> local investors committed<br />

themselves to the project <strong>of</strong> creating a successful<br />

telecommunications company and they soon succeeded in<br />

their endeavor. T3 is built on the principles <strong>of</strong> providing<br />

the best communications service and customer service,<br />

all the while bringing the newest advancements in telecommunication<br />

technologies to Southwest Florida. Over<br />

the years, the company has successfully weathered the<br />

economic storms to become the go-to telecommunications<br />

company for local businesses. T3 has established itself as<br />

a leader by employing people who understand their client’s<br />

needs for personal attention while also providing them<br />

world-class global communications services.<br />

T3’s current Board <strong>of</strong> Directors is made up <strong>of</strong> Chairman <strong>of</strong><br />

the Board Steven C. Jones; the current <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong><br />

Mayor is Vice Chairman Randall P. Henderson, Jr.; Director<br />

Stuart P. Conrad; Director Tad M. Yeatter; and President and<br />

CEO Josh P. Reel. Josh, who has over twenty-five years <strong>of</strong><br />

telecommunications industry experience and has led several<br />

telecom companies to market leadership in the communities<br />

that they serve, joined the company in 2011.<br />

T3’s focus since its inception has been to meet the needs<br />

<strong>of</strong> Southwest Florida businesses and exceed the expectations<br />

<strong>of</strong> our clients with a robust selection <strong>of</strong> communications and<br />

IT solutions. Backed by cutting-edge technology, superior<br />

reliability, and unrivaled support, T3 Communications is the<br />

answer for voice and data solutions. Some <strong>of</strong> the current<br />

<strong>of</strong>ferings from T3 Communications are:<br />

Cloud-Based Hosted PBX—Hosted Voice is a cloud-based<br />

phone system that makes your employees more productive<br />

and your business run smoother.<br />

Integrated Voice and Data—Business Class integrated voice<br />

and data solutions are flexible and affordable for any business.<br />

Broadband and Metro Ethernet—T3 employs multiple data<br />

technology options including Fiber, Fixed Wireless, T1, and<br />

DSL depending on specific speed and capacity needs and goals.<br />

Colocation and Disaster Recovery—T3’s data centers are<br />

specifically constructed as mission critical facilities with a<br />

combined 85,000 square feet <strong>of</strong> flexible colocation space at<br />

either <strong>of</strong> our <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> or Orlando locations. With the<br />

annual threat <strong>of</strong> hurricanes, <strong>of</strong>fsite backup facilities are a<br />

necessity for local businesses to keep their information safe<br />

from destruction.<br />

Secureboost—Secureboost equipment brings speed, reliability,<br />

and a feeling <strong>of</strong> security to your business Internet<br />

because it combines multiple Internet connections to<br />

failover to if one becomes unreliable.<br />

Accession Communicator Application—Allows you to<br />

receive calls from an app on your smartphone that will<br />

seamlessly connect customers calling your desk phone.<br />

Since its start in 2002, it has always been the core value<br />

<strong>of</strong> T3 to give back to the local community. They provide<br />

for nonpr<strong>of</strong>it organizations in Southwest Florida in many<br />

diverse ways that range from donating funds and/or<br />

volunteering, to sponsoring local events, to providing communications<br />

services to them as a customer. T3 recognizes<br />

the only way to ensure growth in your local economy is to<br />

actively support each other. We would like to mention some<br />

<strong>of</strong> the organizations T3 has supported over the years and<br />

tell a few <strong>of</strong> their stories:<br />

2016: 239-333-GIVE has found a new home—Southwest<br />

Florida Community Foundation reached out to T3<br />

Communications to see if they could provide them a local<br />

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166


number that spelled out “GIVE.” The only number they<br />

had fitting the criteria was being used by another T3 customer,<br />

Healthcare Coding and Consulting Services. T3<br />

contacted HCCS and they quickly and graciously agreed<br />

to give “GIVE” the number to Southwest Florida Community<br />

Foundation. T3 then assigned 239-333-GIVE (4483)<br />

to them and they use this easily remembered number<br />

when reaching out to the community and <strong>of</strong>fering their<br />

support. This was a great example <strong>of</strong> local businesses<br />

working together to achieve a greater good!<br />

2016: 2-1-1 is the story that needs to be told—The United<br />

Way 2-1-1 service exists to help people navigate their way<br />

through the maze <strong>of</strong> human and social service agencies by<br />

providing the most adequate resources for the client’s situation.<br />

This process promotes prevention and self-sufficiency<br />

by giving the clients easy access to services they normally<br />

would not be aware <strong>of</strong>. T3 Communications recently provided<br />

a new communications system to help United Way <strong>of</strong> Lee,<br />

Hendry, and Glades Counties run their 2-1-1 service more<br />

efficiently. Through this process, T3 learned a lot about<br />

United Way’s 2-1-1 and the good that it provides in their<br />

community. It is not meant to be a secret, so please spread<br />

the word! Everyone knows someone who needs help.<br />

2015: When there is a need, you help—Last year T3<br />

made the decision to forgo sending holiday gifts <strong>of</strong> appreciation<br />

to their customers. T3 instead decided to dedicate that<br />

money and give it to a local charity. It was not easy selecting<br />

which charity to give to because there are many quality local<br />

charites that need community support. The one that came<br />

to the forefront was Children’s Advocacy <strong>of</strong> SWFL and their<br />

facility in <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>. T3 was incredibly impressed with the<br />

services they provide and the dedication <strong>of</strong> the staff who<br />

work there, because <strong>of</strong> this they decided to help them reach<br />

their goal in 2015 <strong>of</strong> purchasing a van that was desperately<br />

needed. T3 also donated childrens’ clothing in various sizes<br />

for their clothes closet, which gets used when children<br />

are displaced.<br />

Other notable T3 contributions to the local economy:<br />

hosting blood drives through Lee Memorial Health System;<br />

volunteering to serve food to families at the Ronald<br />

McDonald House; hosting a Toys-for-Tots donation center,<br />

hosting a supply drive for the military; volunteering to sort<br />

donated food for the Harry Chapin Food Drive; hosting<br />

water stations at the Hooters Half-Marathon; volunteering<br />

assistance in building a Habitat for Humanity home;<br />

participating in the Susan G. Komen Stiletto Sprint to benefit<br />

Garden <strong>of</strong> Hope and Courage; and several sponsorship<br />

and/or monetary donations provided to other nonpr<strong>of</strong>its.<br />

Growth does not occur by chance, it is usually the result<br />

<strong>of</strong> a vision and the efforts <strong>of</strong> diverse entities working together<br />

to join forces and bring their unique abilities and skills to<br />

succeed at a common goal. As T3 Communications continues<br />

to grow and progress, they intend to continue supporting<br />

their local community to help it grow and progress. They<br />

know it is their role to lend support to the local economy,<br />

businesses, and people that reside in their own backyard.<br />

❖<br />

Above: Vice Chairman <strong>of</strong> T3 Communications, <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>’ Mayor<br />

Randall P. Henderson, Jr., at his desk, c. 2003.<br />

FORT MYERS PARTNERS<br />

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❖<br />

HOPE HEALTHCARE<br />

Right: Samira honors military veteran Joseph Pre-Genzer for his service to<br />

our country.<br />

Below: Lush landscaping surrounds the Hope Hospice Houses, located in<br />

Bonita Springs, Cape Coral, <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>, and Lehigh Acres.<br />

Through the passion and commitment <strong>of</strong> <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong><br />

volunteers, H.O.P.E. Hospice—Hospice Oriented Program<br />

for Everyone—began providing care in 1979. Their goal was<br />

to help people remain at home during their last chapter <strong>of</strong><br />

life. In these early years, community donations ensured the<br />

volunteer nurse had the gasoline needed to visit patients<br />

throughout the city.<br />

In 1984 the State <strong>of</strong> Florida provided licensure to Hope<br />

Hospice, and the organization’s twenty-nine volunteers<br />

welcomed nurses, aides, social workers, clergy and a physician.<br />

By 1989, Hope had grown to care for more than 100 individuals<br />

each day throughout <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>. In 1991 the organization<br />

welcomed Samira K. Beckwith as president and CEO.<br />

“People asked me, ‘Why don’t you change the name?<br />

Don’t you provide care when it’s time to give up hope?’” said<br />

Beckwith. “But I always liked the name because no matter<br />

what phase <strong>of</strong> life we are in, there is always hope. It’s just<br />

what we hope for that changes.”<br />

She added, “For those who need our care, what they hope<br />

for most is relief. They hope for respite from pain or to breathe<br />

with ease. They hope to enjoy a meal again or have the energy<br />

to laugh with family and friends. What people want most when<br />

they come to Hope is an improved quality <strong>of</strong> life for the duration<br />

<strong>of</strong> the time they have left—however long that may be.”<br />

In addition to providing exceptional end-<strong>of</strong>-life care,<br />

dignity, and quality <strong>of</strong> life, Beckwith’s vision for Hope<br />

included the expansion <strong>of</strong> services for the elderly and for<br />

children. With the creation <strong>of</strong> these new services, Hope<br />

Hospice became Hope Healthcare.<br />

Today, Hope Healthcare serves more than 2,000 individuals<br />

and their families every day. The organization provides<br />

programs and services throughout seven counties in<br />

Southwest Florida. This comprehensive model <strong>of</strong> care has<br />

garnered the attention <strong>of</strong> healthcare agencies, policy makers,<br />

and associations around the country.<br />

The expansion <strong>of</strong> Hope’s services created a continuum <strong>of</strong><br />

person-centered care, enabling adults to live comfortably<br />

through their later years and into their final chapter <strong>of</strong> life. The<br />

organization has given hope to children coping with complex<br />

medical issues, serious illness, and grief. With Hope’s support,<br />

isolated seniors can look forward to warm meals delivered to<br />

their home, caregivers who deliver medicine and monitor<br />

their health, and aides who provide housekeeping too.<br />

“We can still give people things to hope for. If not a cure,<br />

then quality days, quality experiences, quality conversations<br />

with their loved ones,’ said Beckwith.<br />

As healthcare continues to evolve in the future, the people<br />

<strong>of</strong> Southwest Florida can rest assured that Beckwith and the<br />

entire Hope Healthcare team will continue providing their<br />

unique brand <strong>of</strong> comforting, compassionate care. With the<br />

full support <strong>of</strong> this generous community, Hope can fulfill<br />

their mission <strong>of</strong> helping everyone with serious illness for<br />

decades to come.<br />

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168


Programs and Services <strong>of</strong> Hope Healthcare include:<br />

• Hope Hospice—allows everyone to live the last phase <strong>of</strong><br />

their life with dignity and in comfort, regardless <strong>of</strong> their<br />

financial circumstances.<br />

• Hope Palliative Care—provides help for those with<br />

serious illness as they navigate the complexities <strong>of</strong> care<br />

and treatment. Support is available from the time <strong>of</strong><br />

diagnosis through the entire course <strong>of</strong> illness.<br />

• Hope Kids Care—<strong>of</strong>fers comforting care for children<br />

with complex medical conditions and their families.<br />

We also provide Rainbow Trails Camp to help children<br />

cope with grief and loss.<br />

• Hope at Home—extends personalized services and<br />

assistance with daily activities for those who require<br />

home healthcare or private duty nursing.<br />

• Hope PACE ® —a Program <strong>of</strong> All-Inclusive Care for the<br />

Elderly, includes medical and dental care, therapies, personal<br />

care, medications, medical supplies, and essential<br />

transportation. With our help, participants can live safely<br />

in their own homes.<br />

• Hope Connections—provides practical support to the<br />

seniors <strong>of</strong> Hendry and Glades Counties through home<br />

delivered meals, social centers, transportation, housekeeping,<br />

and personal care.<br />

• Hope Parkinson Program—coordinates events, classes,<br />

and social opportunities for individuals with Parkinson’s<br />

disease and their care partners. We help people experience<br />

the best possible quality <strong>of</strong> life while coping with the<br />

effects <strong>of</strong> this chronic illness.<br />

• Hope Healing Hearts—supports individuals with grief<br />

issues or emotions related to experiences <strong>of</strong> change or<br />

loss. Pr<strong>of</strong>essional bereavement counselors provide the<br />

tools needed to address difficult feelings and to continue<br />

along the path <strong>of</strong> healing.<br />

• Hope VALOR—honors veterans for their service to our<br />

country with a personalized recognition ceremony. By<br />

recognizing the unique needs <strong>of</strong> America’s veterans, Hope<br />

can guide them toward a more peaceful ending.<br />

• Hope Pet Program—allows furry friends to provide<br />

unconditional love, companionship, and comfort.<br />

• Hopeful Wishes—make life extra special at a unique<br />

moment. By granting heartfelt wishes, we can do<br />

more than provide medications and therapies—we can<br />

fulfill dreams.<br />

• Hope Expressive Therapies—provide an outlet for relaxation<br />

and stress relief. Through art, music, or massage<br />

therapy, individuals may gain insight into emotions,<br />

establish new pathways for healing, and experience peace<br />

<strong>of</strong> mind.<br />

Additional information is available at www.hopehcs.org.<br />

❖<br />

Above: Hope volunteers Pam Hoctel and Truffles visit with Louise Cottrell to<br />

share stories and smiles.<br />

Left: Gavin Lowrey benefits from the Hope Kids Care program, designed to<br />

improve quality <strong>of</strong> life for children facing serious illness.<br />

FORT MYERS PARTNERS<br />

169


FORT MYERS<br />

Recently, <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> ranked No. 1, out <strong>of</strong> the top 20<br />

places people are moving to in the United States. Most<br />

likely, the reason is because it <strong>of</strong>fers all the amenities<br />

<strong>of</strong> a twenty-first century urban city, combined with the<br />

quaintness and charm that comes from preserving its<br />

historic architecture.<br />

This city <strong>of</strong> more than 75,000 is nestled alongside the<br />

Caloosahatchee River in Southwest Florida. It has become<br />

a must-see Florida destination, with a variety <strong>of</strong> places<br />

to shop, dine, have cocktails, and be entertained.<br />

Known as the “<strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> Palms” for the tropical palm trees<br />

lining its main streets, <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> features an attractive,<br />

lively downtown, with highly-rated accommodations, one<strong>of</strong>-a-kind<br />

boutiques, outdoor cafes and themed restaurants.<br />

Throughout the city, there are museums, parades, festivals,<br />

theaters, music, parks, historical sites, and art galleries,<br />

providing an array <strong>of</strong> activities to enjoy throughout the<br />

year. Its major waterways wind their way to the Gulf <strong>of</strong><br />

Mexico, <strong>of</strong>fering plenty <strong>of</strong> recreational opportunities for<br />

boaters, kayakers, sailors and anglers.<br />

<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> is the government center <strong>of</strong> Lee County.<br />

It owes much <strong>of</strong> its notoriety to two American legends,<br />

Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, who were attracted to the<br />

warm climate and natural beauty. Both resided in winter<br />

homes, side-by-side, in <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> where Edison worked<br />

on many <strong>of</strong> his important inventions.<br />

<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> is now the home <strong>of</strong> the Edison & Ford Winter<br />

Estates, one <strong>of</strong> the top ten most visited historical homes<br />

in the United States. The grounds feature award-winning<br />

exhibits, including Edison’s original inventions and Ford’s<br />

antique cars, like the Model T.<br />

Prior to Edison and Ford’s arrival, <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> enjoyed a<br />

long, storied history, beginning with Ponce de León, who<br />

explored the area during the 1500s. He preceded Spanish<br />

and Cuban settlers who were responsible for creating<br />

temporary fishing and farming camps along the coast.<br />

<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> was constructed on the site <strong>of</strong> the Seminole War<br />

post <strong>Fort</strong> Harvie, which was built after Florida became a<br />

U.S. territory in 1821. In the mid 1800s, the site was<br />

renamed <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>, after Colonel Abraham <strong>Myers</strong>.<br />

Following the Civil War, the fort was deactivated, and its<br />

<strong>of</strong>ficer’s quarters became some <strong>of</strong> the first houses <strong>of</strong> the<br />

<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> settlement. By 1885, <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> had grown<br />

into one <strong>of</strong> the largest Florida towns on the Gulf Coast, with<br />

cattle ranching and logging as the area’s primary industries.<br />

In 1886, it became incorporated as a city.<br />

<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> continued to prosper until the Great<br />

Depression. It was later revived when U.S. military air<br />

bases were opened in the 1940s, bringing in thousands <strong>of</strong><br />

military personnel, many who took up permanent residence<br />

after completing their service.<br />

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Today, tourism is a significant economic engine for<br />

<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>, thanks to its year-round tropical climate,<br />

well-maintained historical landmarks and easily navigable<br />

rivers that serve as a gateway to the world-renowned beaches<br />

on <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Beach and Sanibel and Captiva islands.<br />

Southwest Florida International Airport has fourteen airline<br />

partners with non-stop service to forty-five cities throughout<br />

the United States, Canada and Germany.<br />

<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> has the youngest population in Lee County<br />

with a median age <strong>of</strong> thirty-two. Married couples slightly<br />

outnumber singles, and more than twenty percent <strong>of</strong><br />

its residents have incomes <strong>of</strong> $75,000 a year or greater.<br />

Thanks to the city’s commitment to making <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong><br />

a great place to live and visit, the <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> Palms boasts<br />

one <strong>of</strong> the most vibrant, cultural atmospheres on the<br />

Gulf Coast. The Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts<br />

Hall, Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, and the Florida<br />

Repertory Theatre are world-class venues for plays,<br />

musicals and concerts.<br />

With plenty <strong>of</strong> sunshine, warm temperatures and natural<br />

beauty, <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> has attracted the attention <strong>of</strong> residents<br />

and visitors interested in active outdoor activities. <strong>City</strong><br />

parks and attractions, like nature centers and butterfly<br />

gardens, along with ample public boat ramps and marinas,<br />

provide residents and visitors ways to enjoy quality<br />

family time. Historic downtown tours, museums for<br />

children and history buffs, cultural events, dining and<br />

shopping are among the top reasons people explore the<br />

<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> downtown River District. Annual events like<br />

the Edison Festival <strong>of</strong> Light, honoring Thomas Edison, and<br />

major sports tournaments, bring people to <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> from<br />

all over the country.<br />

Millions <strong>of</strong> visitors come to <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> every year.<br />

Like so many, some decide to stay and make <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong><br />

their home. That is because it is a great place to play, live,<br />

work, go to school, raise a family, or retire.<br />

If you would like more information about <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>,<br />

go to www.cityftmyers.com.<br />

❖<br />

Opposite, top: Historic photograph <strong>of</strong> Thomas Edison (left) and Henry Ford.<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE EDISON & FORD WINTER ESTATES.<br />

Opposite, bottom: <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Water Basin.<br />

Left: <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Golf Course at <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Country Club.<br />

Right: Downtown <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> high rises.<br />

FORT MYERS PARTNERS<br />

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JOHNSON ENGINEERING, INC.<br />

❖<br />

Right: Carl E. Johnson at the Carl E. Johnson Recreational Area in Lovers<br />

Key State Park.<br />

Below: Johnson Engineering Presidents, from left to right, Archie Grant,<br />

Forrest Banks, Steven Morrison and Lonnie Howard.<br />

The success that Johnson Engineering, Inc., has enjoyed in<br />

recent decades did not come easily or quickly. Like most<br />

prosperous businesses, it developed over time, the product <strong>of</strong><br />

hard work, good people, and a dedication to excellence. Today,<br />

this civil engineering firm is a cohesive team <strong>of</strong> pr<strong>of</strong>essionals<br />

helping guide city, county, and state government as well as private<br />

companies through the challenges that accompany growth.<br />

Johnson Engineering has participated in an extensive list<br />

<strong>of</strong> well-known Florida roads, shopping centers, schools,<br />

hospitals, residential communities, resorts, and commercial<br />

developments. Well-known projects such as the <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Fort</strong><br />

<strong>Myers</strong> Downtown Basin, <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Country Club, Southwest<br />

Florida International Airport (RSW), Hammond Stadium,<br />

Jet Blue Park, Gulf Coast Town Center, and Lee Memorial<br />

HealthPark are a few products <strong>of</strong> Johnson Engineering’s local<br />

expertise in Lee County.<br />

No one could have predicted such success when Clewiston<br />

surveyor, Carl E. Johnson, purchased the assets <strong>of</strong> a local<br />

surveying company in 1946 and began working out <strong>of</strong> a small<br />

<strong>of</strong>fice on Main Street in <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>. Johnson spent the next two<br />

decades surveying Florida lands and in the late 1960s came up<br />

with the idea <strong>of</strong> connecting the barrier islands with a causeway<br />

from the south end <strong>of</strong> <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Beach to Bonita Beach.<br />

Johnson helped convince several large landowners to donate<br />

land for the project and surveyed and designed the road, and<br />

today his legacy lives on through Lovers Key Carl E. Johnson<br />

State Park, a popular tourist attraction that each year attracts<br />

thousands <strong>of</strong> nature lovers and recreational enthusiasts. Each<br />

year since 2003, Johnson Engineering employees volunteer to<br />

help the state park with a variety <strong>of</strong> needed park repairs.<br />

Throughout its history, Johnson Engineering has benefitted<br />

from great leadership from the president’s position on down,<br />

and the company’s success combined with an enjoyable<br />

work environment has resulted in impressive longevity<br />

among its employees. The company employs second- and<br />

third-generation employees. The average employee tenure has<br />

remained consistently above 10 years, and many have been<br />

with the company for 20 years, 30 years, or more.<br />

The company has known only five presidents, Carl E.<br />

Johnson (1946-1968), Archie T. Grant (1968-1979), Forrest<br />

H. Banks (1979-1997), Steven K. Morrison (1997-2012), and<br />

Lonnie V. Howard, who became president in 2012. Each<br />

contributed significantly to the company’s development, but<br />

much credit for Johnson Engineering’s success goes to Grant,<br />

who put the company on sound financial footing and<br />

established it as the “go-to” firm for surface-water management.<br />

Through the years, the company has added new areas to<br />

its expertise and today is home to pr<strong>of</strong>essional engineers,<br />

ecologists, scientists, geologists, surveyors and mappers,<br />

certified land planners and landscape architects, who<br />

continue to contribute to Florida’s growth and stability.<br />

Johnson Engineering’s present and future generations <strong>of</strong><br />

pr<strong>of</strong>essionals will continue to honor the company’s legacy<br />

while expanding into new specialties and fields <strong>of</strong> study as<br />

it continues to shape Florida’s communities.<br />

FORT MYERS: <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Palms—A</strong> <strong>Contemporary</strong> <strong>Portrait</strong><br />

172


Ad-Ler Ro<strong>of</strong>ing, Inc., was built on generations <strong>of</strong> ro<strong>of</strong>ing<br />

experience in Southwest Florida. Family owned and operated,<br />

the company is a leader in the ro<strong>of</strong>ing industry. Ad-Ler<br />

Ro<strong>of</strong>ing not only follows industry best practices, but in many<br />

cases, created them. The Curriers represent the history <strong>of</strong> the<br />

making <strong>of</strong> concrete ro<strong>of</strong> tile in <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> since the 1960s!<br />

Eddie Currier III, president <strong>of</strong> Ad-Ler Ro<strong>of</strong>ing, learned the<br />

business from the bottom up. He worked in his family’s<br />

business throughout his teen years and earned his state<br />

certified ro<strong>of</strong>ing license in 1982. He then went on to serve<br />

as a director on the board <strong>of</strong> the ro<strong>of</strong>ing association. He has<br />

also assisted with writing some <strong>of</strong> the ro<strong>of</strong>ing codes that<br />

govern the way ro<strong>of</strong>s are now installed.<br />

In 1980, Eddie married his sweetheart, Ann, and they<br />

had two sons. Eddie and Ann started Ad-Ler Ro<strong>of</strong>ing, Inc., in<br />

October 1988, naming the company after their sons—Adam<br />

and Tyler. They began the business in a bedroom in their<br />

home, with Ann handling the administrative side <strong>of</strong> the<br />

business and Eddie doing the actual repairs. In 2001, Adam<br />

continued the family tradition by joining the business. Their<br />

youngest son, Tyler, followed in 2008. Adam, and his wife,<br />

Krista, have started the fourth generation <strong>of</strong> ro<strong>of</strong>ers—Bailey<br />

and Dace. What started as a mom and pop company has<br />

grown into one <strong>of</strong> the largest residential ro<strong>of</strong>ing companies<br />

on the West Coast <strong>of</strong> Florida. It goes to show that the<br />

American Dream <strong>of</strong> building a successful business is still<br />

alive and well.<br />

Eddie and Adam have made it a priority to surround<br />

themselves with an incredibly competent staff. Many former<br />

employees learned the trade with Ad-Ler and have gone on<br />

to open their own businesses.<br />

Ad-Ler also has several employees who have been with<br />

them since they began their careers. Eddie has been the only<br />

boss they have ever known.<br />

Eddie, Ann, Adam and Tyler believe family is important.<br />

They believe in taking care <strong>of</strong> their employees and giving back<br />

to the community. Several years ago they started purchasing<br />

school supplies for their employees’ children, and now this<br />

is a yearly tradition. Ad-Ler also recently partnered with the<br />

Affordable Homeownership Foundation to donate materials<br />

and labor to rero<strong>of</strong> the houses <strong>of</strong> two veterans who were in<br />

danger <strong>of</strong> losing their homes.<br />

Ad-Ler Ro<strong>of</strong>ing was initially focused on repairs,<br />

maintenance, and rero<strong>of</strong>s. The company continues to<br />

grow and prosper and has now expanded into custom and<br />

tract new construction homes with tile or metal ro<strong>of</strong>s.<br />

Geographically, the company has grown from one location<br />

in <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> to three locations servicing from Tampa to<br />

Marco Island and east to Orlando. The future plans are to<br />

add a Tampa location and create a specialty design center.<br />

The focus now is “Building the future, restoring the past.”<br />

We want to thank SWFL for all <strong>of</strong> the business then and<br />

now that has made Ad-Ler a success in the ro<strong>of</strong>ing industry!<br />

AD-LER ROOFING, INC.<br />

FORT MYERS PARTNERS<br />

173


BROADWAY PALM<br />

DINNER THEATRE<br />

Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre is Southwest Florida’s<br />

most entertaining destination with two performance venues,<br />

an art gallery, a gift shop, and a bar. Since opening its doors<br />

in October 1993, this 36,000 square foot facility—renovated<br />

from a former Publix Supermarket—has hosted performances<br />

that entertained more than 3.3 million people.<br />

An estimated 1,000 motor coaches visit Broadway Palm<br />

each year with half originating from outside Lee County.<br />

More than one-third <strong>of</strong> these visitors include an overnight<br />

stay, making Broadway Palm one <strong>of</strong> <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>’ top tourist<br />

attractions and an economic engine that drives the economy.<br />

The facility includes:<br />

• Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre: A 448-seat main stage<br />

venue featuring full-scale pr<strong>of</strong>essional Broadway musicals<br />

and specialty concerts. Each year this venue hosts eight<br />

main stage shows, four children’s theatre productions, and<br />

numerous concerts, functions, meetings, and special events.<br />

• The Off Broadway Palm Theatre: A 100-seat black box<br />

theatre, which showcases five smaller-scale musical<br />

revues and comedies each season.<br />

• Café Cabaret: Opened in late 1994, <strong>of</strong>fering Off Broadway<br />

and main stage overflow dining. It is available for rental<br />

for parties and events for as many as 125 people. It<br />

features a small stage with lighting and a sound system.<br />

• Broadway Palm Art Gallery: A display space for works<br />

by Southwest Florida artists. The exhibits change with<br />

each main stage show and may feature paintings,<br />

sculpture, basketry, wood working, weaving, collage,<br />

and other art forms.<br />

• Broadway Palm Gift Shop: A unique shop with a theatrical<br />

flair, which features one-<strong>of</strong>-a-kind gifts, including jewelry,<br />

collectibles, theatre memorabilia, and more.<br />

• Busty’s Bar: Named after long-time bartender, Sebastian<br />

“Busty” Lanza, the lobby’s full-service cocktail bar is<br />

open in the evenings, before the show, at intermission,<br />

and after the show. The bar features a selection <strong>of</strong> fine<br />

wines and specialty drinks.<br />

Broadway Palm has grown since it opened from twentyfive<br />

employees to approximately 125 today. Each musical<br />

production features a live orchestra and pr<strong>of</strong>essional actors<br />

are hired from national auditions. Costume creation, set<br />

construction, and rehearsals take place on site.<br />

More than 250 private functions are held each year at<br />

Broadway Palm, including business meetings, training<br />

seminars, fundraisers, and social functions. Broadway Palm<br />

is a long-standing member <strong>of</strong> area chambers as well as a<br />

sanctioned Florida Attraction. Broadway Palm has helped<br />

many local charities by donating money, goods and services,<br />

and/or volunteer hours.<br />

More than two decades after its first opening curtain,<br />

Broadway Palm remains a top entertainment destination in<br />

Southwest Florida and is positioned to remain as such for<br />

many years to come.<br />

For more information on Broadway Palm, please visit<br />

www.broadwaypalm.com.<br />

FORT MYERS: <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Palms—A</strong> <strong>Contemporary</strong> <strong>Portrait</strong><br />

174


Chico’s FAS, Inc., is a leading specialty retailer <strong>of</strong><br />

women’s apparel and accessories. It’s three iconic and<br />

powerful brands, Chico’s, White House Black Market and<br />

Soma, are known for high quality, exclusively designed<br />

styles and exceptional customer service.<br />

Chico’s was founded by Marvin and Helene Gralnick.<br />

The couple met in 1972 while living in Guadalajara,<br />

Mexico. In 1983, after moving to Southwest Florida, they<br />

opened a tiny Mexican folk art gift shop in Periwinkle Place<br />

on Sanibel Island. They named the boutique “Chico’s Folk<br />

Art Specialties,” after Helene’s best friend’s parrot, Chico.<br />

At first, the store sold art and a few clothing items, including<br />

cotton sweaters, which soon outsold everything else.<br />

Chico’s quickly became a specialty fashion boutique, <strong>of</strong>fering<br />

unique styles and a friendly atmosphere that connected with<br />

customers in a personal way. In 1985, Chico’s opened a second<br />

boutique on Captiva Island. Many more soon followed.<br />

Since its inception, Chico’s has been known for its<br />

original styles, flattering fits, and exclusive travel and<br />

active wear collections. Every piece is designed to help<br />

women look and feel fabulous. Chico’s is passionate about<br />

customer service, welcoming customers as friends and<br />

empowering them to create their own signature style.<br />

In 2003, White House Black Market was acquired by<br />

Chico’s FAS, Inc. Although named for the simplicity <strong>of</strong> its<br />

iconic black and white fashions, White House Black Market’s<br />

curated collections feature the latest colors, prints, and<br />

styles. White House Black Market’s style experts are dedicated<br />

to <strong>of</strong>fering exceptional personal service and inspiring<br />

women to be stylishly successful in all that they do.<br />

In 2004, Soma became the third brand to join the<br />

Chico’s FAS family. Soma <strong>of</strong>fers beautiful and sensual<br />

lingerie, loungewear and beauty. Home to the warmest<br />

personal service, Soma embraces women with luxuriously<br />

s<strong>of</strong>t fabrics, innovative fashion and an always perfect fit.<br />

Chico’s FAS is built on a core set <strong>of</strong> values and guiding<br />

principles that support its commitment to women’s and<br />

children’s health, well-being, and education. Its charitable<br />

efforts focus on positively affecting the lives <strong>of</strong> its associates,<br />

customers, and communities. Through volunteer hours and<br />

monetary donations, Chico’s FAS directly supports many<br />

local organizations in Southwest Florida. On a national<br />

level, Chico’s FAS contributes and partners with several<br />

women’s and children’s philanthropic organizations.<br />

Even as Chico’s FAS has grown, its values remain at the<br />

heart <strong>of</strong> the company today; beautiful apparel, exceptional<br />

service and a deep appreciation for its customers.<br />

CHICO’S FAS, INC.<br />

FORT MYERS PARTNERS<br />

175


❖<br />

CANTERBURY SCHOOL<br />

Below: The school mascot, the Canterbury Cougars.<br />

Canterbury School, founded in 1964, is a Pre-K3 through<br />

grade 12 nonsectarian, independent, coeducational school<br />

that prepares students for academic and pr<strong>of</strong>essional excellence<br />

within a caring and supportive community with a strong<br />

emphasis on character, leadership, and service. Canterbury<br />

School stresses individual growth, skill development, highcaliber<br />

instruction, collaboration, and standards <strong>of</strong> excellence.<br />

Canterbury School provides all <strong>of</strong> its students with an<br />

opportunity to challenge themselves and take risks in<br />

an atmosphere <strong>of</strong> mutual respect and partnership among<br />

students, parents, and teachers. The school’s talented and<br />

dedicated faculty work to build a close-knit community <strong>of</strong><br />

learners where the whole child is nurtured and developed,<br />

and where the model <strong>of</strong> a liberal arts education thrives.<br />

Currently located at 8141 College Parkway, this thirtytwo-acre<br />

campus is a place where a strong athletic program<br />

and commitment to the arts combine with academic<br />

excellence in a secure and modern facility. The school’s vision<br />

is to prepare students <strong>of</strong> ability, promise, and diverse backgrounds<br />

for success in the art <strong>of</strong> leading a meaningful life.<br />

Canterbury school’s population <strong>of</strong> more than 630<br />

students is divided into three levels: Lower, Middle, and<br />

Upper School. With a student-to-faculty ratio <strong>of</strong> 10:1 and an<br />

average class size <strong>of</strong> sixteen, students receive the individual<br />

attention they need to prepare them for the next step in<br />

their academic careers and to achieve success in the most<br />

demanding post-secondary institutions and pr<strong>of</strong>essions.<br />

A wide range <strong>of</strong> honor societies are available to students,<br />

and the school is accredited by or a member <strong>of</strong> several<br />

prestigious academic associations.<br />

Athletics, clubs, and organizations play key roles in student<br />

life. Canterbury School <strong>of</strong>fers football, soccer, baseball,<br />

basketball, volleyball, swimming, tennis, golf, cross-country,<br />

track and field, cheerleading, and lacrosse. Need-based financial<br />

aid is available and, on average, approximately one-fourth<br />

<strong>of</strong> Canterbury School students receive aid. Fifty percent <strong>of</strong><br />

faculty hold advanced degrees with ten percent holding a<br />

doctorate. More than twenty percent <strong>of</strong> faculty have international<br />

teaching experience, and the average teacher has<br />

worked as a teacher for more than eighteen years.<br />

Students pursue a rigorous schedule <strong>of</strong> college preparatory<br />

classes for all four years in the Upper School. All classes are<br />

taught on the honors level with Advanced Placement (AP)<br />

and Independent Studies providing extra challenges. Students<br />

consistently test above Lee County, Florida, and national averages<br />

in both the SAT and ACT, and students are encouraged to<br />

participate in a school-wide community service program.<br />

College and university <strong>of</strong>ficials say Canterbury School<br />

students are prepared for college and academic success,<br />

representing a value to the college at the time <strong>of</strong> admission.<br />

The school stresses personal integrity and service and expects<br />

graduates to be lifelong learners and responsible citizens<br />

who are well-prepared to help shape a changing world.<br />

FORT MYERS: <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Palms—A</strong> <strong>Contemporary</strong> <strong>Portrait</strong><br />

176


BOYLAN ENVIRONMENTAL<br />

CONSULTANTS, INC.<br />

Boylan Environmental Consultants, Inc., is an environmental<br />

consulting firm providing technical and economically feasible<br />

solutions to today’s environmental issues. The company <strong>of</strong>fers<br />

a selection <strong>of</strong> services including due diligence environmental<br />

assessments, wetland and wildlife surveys, environmental planning<br />

services for zoning and development, environmental<br />

resource permitting applications, wetland impact assessments,<br />

habitat management plans, and design <strong>of</strong> mitigation and<br />

restoration projects. Located in <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>, the company<br />

has provided a wide range <strong>of</strong> services on numerous projects<br />

throughout the state, including residential, commercial, industrial,<br />

agricultural, and governmental activities.<br />

Boylan Environmental Consultants, Inc., was founded by<br />

Rae Ann Boylan in 1989 and has been providing environmental<br />

consulting services to both private and governmental<br />

entities in South Florida ever since. Rae Ann continued to<br />

grow and operate the business until 2011, when she sold<br />

her interest in the company to her longstanding employee<br />

Kimberly (Kim) Schlachta. A native <strong>of</strong> <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>, Kim<br />

began her career at Boylan in 1998 and now serves as<br />

president where she manages the company and continues<br />

to maintain the reputation and quality <strong>of</strong> work established<br />

over the years. The experienced gained as an employee is<br />

also reflected in the commitment and attention to the quality<br />

<strong>of</strong> the working environment for team members.<br />

Boylan remains committed to employ qualified environmental<br />

pr<strong>of</strong>essionals with the experience needed to provide<br />

the specified ecological services required by today’s regulations.<br />

The staff has the necessary academic backgrounds<br />

for this field and participates in a range <strong>of</strong> continuing<br />

educational programs to remain current on the continuing<br />

changes in the scientific methodologies employed in the<br />

field and the regulatory rule changes.<br />

The team’s local knowledge and experience with South<br />

Florida have given Boylan Environmental Consultants, Inc.,<br />

added expertise in this area. The advantages <strong>of</strong> this expertise<br />

ranges from specific knowledge <strong>of</strong> the flora and fauna <strong>of</strong><br />

the area to a familiarity with the needs and requirements <strong>of</strong><br />

the regulatory agencies. The staff provides all clients the<br />

required services in a timely and economic fashion. The<br />

quality <strong>of</strong> work is reflected by the many long term and repeat<br />

clients established and maintained over the years.<br />

The company also has a broad range <strong>of</strong> technical field<br />

equipment and programs to support its environmental programs.<br />

Its extensive computer capabilities include AutoCAD,<br />

ArcMap, a large database <strong>of</strong> GIS information, historical and<br />

current aerial photography, a large array <strong>of</strong> graphic programs<br />

along with complete Windows support s<strong>of</strong>tware.<br />

The company has been certified as a Florida Minority/<br />

Women Business Enterprise (MBE)/(WBE) and a Disadvantaged<br />

Business Enterprise (DBE) by the U.S. Department <strong>of</strong><br />

Transportation (DOT). Boylan is also a member <strong>of</strong> the Greater<br />

<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Chamber <strong>of</strong> Commerce and supports the Florida<br />

Sherriff’s Association. Boylan also supports the America<br />

Cancer Society and other worthy causes.<br />

Moving forward, and as environmental issues continue to<br />

play a critical role in the future balance <strong>of</strong> responsible growth<br />

and conservation, Boylan is committed to continue its focus<br />

on expertise and quality <strong>of</strong> work and services in contributing to<br />

the environmentally sustainable future <strong>of</strong> Southwest Florida.<br />

FORT MYERS PARTNERS<br />

177


THE SALVATION ARMY<br />

OF LEE, HENDRY AND<br />

GLADES COUNTIES<br />

The Salvation Army expanded to <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> in 1951<br />

when Captains Arthur and Viola Sanders began leading<br />

efforts to minister to the poor from what was initially a small<br />

<strong>of</strong>fice and church. In the more than six decades since they<br />

arrived, The Salvation Army has grown into an extremely<br />

large organization that today serves more than 30,000 people<br />

annually in Lee, Hendry, and Glades Counties.<br />

The Salvation Army, an international movement founded<br />

in 1865 by a young British minister named William Booth,<br />

preaches the gospel <strong>of</strong> Jesus Christ, meeting human needs in<br />

His name without discrimination. Working with his wife,<br />

Booth “reached for the worst” rather than ministering to the<br />

more comfortable, and the movement spread throughout<br />

the British Isles and, in 1880, arrived in the United States.<br />

Booth’s ministry recognized the interdependence <strong>of</strong><br />

material, emotional, and spiritual needs. In addition to<br />

preaching the Gospel, Booth began providing food for the<br />

hungry, shelter for the homeless, and alcohol rehabilitation<br />

for the addicted.<br />

This same focus is present in The Salvation Army<br />

<strong>of</strong> Lee, Hendry, and Glades Counties. In one year,<br />

The Salvation Army impacted 38,303 lives through a variety<br />

<strong>of</strong> outreach services ranging from help with utility<br />

bills to residential substance abuse programs for men.<br />

Utilizing a staff <strong>of</strong> approximately 175 employees and<br />

6,000 volunteers, The Salvation Army each year provides<br />

more than 250,000 meals and more than 12,000 bed<br />

nights. It also runs a thirty-five bed substance abuse<br />

treatment facility for men and a residential program<br />

for women and children. It also provides more than<br />

2,500 bed nights through its Medical Respite Unit and<br />

assistance to more than 150 clients in federal and state<br />

correctional facilities.<br />

The Salvation Army helps people attain their goals<br />

<strong>of</strong> housing and stable employment while fostering a sense<br />

<strong>of</strong> greater self-determination. They do this by providing<br />

vital services and programs and by connecting clients<br />

to local service providers. Approximately 350 <strong>of</strong> its<br />

volunteers are physicians who provide care to The Salvation<br />

Army’s clients through more than 6,000 hours at no cost.<br />

In all, The Salvation Army operates out <strong>of</strong> seventeen<br />

buildings in the three counties it serves, including three<br />

thrift stores and mission stations in Bonita Springs, Cape<br />

Coral, Clewiston, LaBelle, and Lehigh Acres. It also operates<br />

The Salvation Army Church, formerly home to McGregor<br />

Baptist Church, where a diverse population from the homeless<br />

to successful physicians worship together.<br />

The Salvation Army’s work would not be possible without<br />

the continued support from a generous Southwest Florida<br />

community. Its work is and always will be motivated by<br />

the love <strong>of</strong> God. It is that love that motivates the staff and<br />

volunteers to soldier on despite the obstacles, providing<br />

basic human necessities without discrimination in the name<br />

<strong>of</strong> Jesus Christ.<br />

FORT MYERS: <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Palms—A</strong> <strong>Contemporary</strong> <strong>Portrait</strong><br />

178


Fischler Property Company is doing more than developing<br />

mixed-use, multifamily and commercial properties across<br />

the country. It is building a legacy in its community, among<br />

its clients and within the firm’s culture.<br />

Founded in 2009 by Phil Fischler, this <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>-based<br />

company is a unique commercial real estate advisory firm<br />

known for taking on the most challenging projects,<br />

preserving the region’s history, and playing an instrumental<br />

role in the area’s growth. The company, its principals and<br />

its employees believe in projects that matter and enhance<br />

their communities.<br />

Fischler Property Company delivers services, buildings<br />

and outcomes it points to with pride. Its people strive<br />

to be innovative producers, impresarios, developers,<br />

instigators and creators. They identify opportunities,<br />

develop a vision for the future, and are driven to be<br />

resourceful, entrepreneurial and collaborative.<br />

The company’s experiences range from civil engineering<br />

to development to brokerage. Its people move confidently<br />

between several industry elements, including finance and<br />

investment, marketing and brokerage, construction and<br />

design, planning and entitlements, legal and technical,<br />

and leadership and client relations. The company celebrates<br />

opportunities to solve problems in an effective manner.<br />

To do so, it partners with superb industry leaders who<br />

<strong>of</strong>fer unmatched talent and contribute enormously to the<br />

firm’s successes.<br />

Fischler Property Company is a privately held firm<br />

focused on three main areas:<br />

• Development: The company develops commercial<br />

properties for its own portfolio. It also provides fee<br />

development services to property owners and tenants.<br />

• Brokerage: The company provides brokerage services<br />

to a select group <strong>of</strong> clients looking for opportunities<br />

that leverage its approach: focused, strategic and<br />

relationship-driven.<br />

• Advisory services: The company brings a fresh perspective<br />

to its clients and is constantly seeking ways to assess,<br />

protect and multiply the value <strong>of</strong> its clients’ assets.<br />

Since its inception, the company has been involved in<br />

millions <strong>of</strong> square feet <strong>of</strong> mixed-use, multifamily and<br />

commercial properties. Much <strong>of</strong> its focus has been in<br />

Southwest Florida between Marco Island and North Tampa,<br />

west <strong>of</strong> I-75. The company has guided the acquisition and<br />

disposition <strong>of</strong> several high-pr<strong>of</strong>ile waterfront and urban<br />

investment deals in downtown districts between <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong><br />

and Bradenton. It has also guided several regional banks<br />

on commercial OREO portfolios and partnered with bank<br />

executives on their asset disposition approach.<br />

Fischler Property Company is passionate about urban<br />

revitalization. Its strategy focuses heavily on downtown<br />

redevelopment opportunities to best serve its clients,<br />

improve its communities and build a legacy.<br />

For additional information on Fischler Property Company,<br />

please visit www.fischlerco.com.<br />

FISCHLER<br />

PROPERTY COMPANY<br />

FORT MYERS PARTNERS<br />

179


HOTEL INDIGO<br />

FORT MYERS DOWNTOWN<br />

RIVER DISTRICT<br />

Hotel Indigo, located in the <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Downtown<br />

River District, puts its guests in the heart <strong>of</strong> this historic<br />

neighborhood, near great shopping, attractions, and local<br />

businesses. Like other Hotel Indigo properties across<br />

the country, this <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> hotel is inspired by the area’s<br />

creative community and serves as the only boutique hotel in<br />

the neighborhood. The adjoining Post Office Arcade, which<br />

serves as the entryway into the hotel’s main reception area,<br />

is a historic building housing restaurants and commercial<br />

<strong>of</strong>fice space.<br />

No two neighborhoods are alike, so neither are any two<br />

Hotel Indigo properties. When guests stay at a Hotel Indigo<br />

property, they are not just staying anywhere, they are staying<br />

somewhere—within a vibrant community, in a unique<br />

boutique hotel that combines authentic local experiences,<br />

modern design and intimate service, and yet with the<br />

peace <strong>of</strong> mind and consistency that comes from staying with<br />

one <strong>of</strong> the world’s largest hotel groups. The Hotel Indigo in<br />

<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> is included as a stop on downtown’s monthly<br />

Music and Art Walks featuring local musicians and artists,<br />

and the colorful mural by our ro<strong>of</strong>top pool was created<br />

by a local artist.<br />

Back Bay Resorts SWF, LLC, is the company behind<br />

the Hotel Indigo <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Downtown River District. This<br />

Boston-based firm was founded in Massachusetts more than<br />

forty years ago, investing in apartment buildings, hotels,<br />

research and development space, land, and commercial<br />

buildings in and around Boston. In 2004 the first Hotel<br />

Indigo property opened its doors in Atlanta. Today,<br />

culturally rich communities all over the world are home<br />

to a Hotel Indigo, from New York to Paris, London to<br />

Shanghai, Hong Kong to Singapore—all the places people<br />

want to visit and do business in.<br />

Back Bay Resorts began searching for business opportunities<br />

in Florida in 2010-2011 and identified the Hotel<br />

Indigo property as a potential investment. It also recognized<br />

that <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> <strong>of</strong>fered visitors music, culture, and art<br />

events that attracted thousands <strong>of</strong> visitors and residents to<br />

downtown every month. It seemed only natural for Hotel<br />

Indigo to be a part <strong>of</strong> that experience.<br />

Each Hotel Indigo is as individual as its surroundings<br />

and is also a reflection <strong>of</strong> them. Guests can taste the local<br />

flavor on their menus and see it in the art and photography<br />

displayed on the walls. Guests get great advice from our<br />

team members on what to see and do in the neighborhood,<br />

meet locals in our hotel bars, and experience the relaxed and<br />

inviting feeling the makes Hotel Indigo a great place to stay.<br />

Team members go out <strong>of</strong> their way to make each stay<br />

memorable and neighborhoods easy to discover and<br />

appreciate. From must-see, hear, and eat experiences to<br />

hidden gems <strong>of</strong>f the beaten path, guests can trust team<br />

members to provide great local recommendations.<br />

Hotel Indigo properties feature unique design at every<br />

turn without compromising guest comfort. A vibrant<br />

modern color palette, complemented by natural light and<br />

locally influenced design and decor, make for an inviting,<br />

stylish, and refreshing atmosphere.<br />

FORT MYERS: <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Palms—A</strong> <strong>Contemporary</strong> <strong>Portrait</strong><br />

180


BARBARA B. MANN<br />

PERFORMING ARTS HALL<br />

The Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall at Florida<br />

SouthWestern State College, which celebrated its thirtieth<br />

anniversary in 2016, serves as the entertainment showcase<br />

for <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> and the rest <strong>of</strong> Southwest Florida, attracting<br />

National Touring, Tony ® Award-winning Broadway productions<br />

and providing a venue for world-class entertainers<br />

such as Jay Leno, Diana Ross, Ringo Starr and more.<br />

This 1,873-seat facility, located on the campus <strong>of</strong> Florida<br />

SouthWestern State College, is named for a remarkable<br />

woman who was involved in the creation <strong>of</strong> almost every<br />

arts organization in Southwest Florida, including the <strong>Fort</strong><br />

<strong>Myers</strong> Symphony Orchestra and Lee County Alliance for<br />

the Arts, serving as the alliance’s charter president. In 1949,<br />

Barbara Mann founded <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Community Concert<br />

Association and served as its president for fifty-seven years.<br />

Each year, the association hosts five performances: a ballet,<br />

opera, symphony performance, and two recital pieces.<br />

The series began at area elementary schools before<br />

moving up to high schools and, beginning in 1986, to the<br />

Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall.<br />

Her son, Frank Mann, was instrumental in convincing the<br />

Florida Department <strong>of</strong> Education to appropriate the funds<br />

to build the hall on the campus <strong>of</strong> what was then known<br />

as Edison State College. Having played an important role in<br />

promoting the arts in the region, it seemed only fitting that<br />

the new facility should be named after Mann, who passed<br />

away in 2013 at the age <strong>of</strong> 100.<br />

The Hall is home to an average <strong>of</strong> 190 performances<br />

per year and annually attracts more than 200,000 visitors. It<br />

features the largest proscenium stage between Tampa and<br />

Miami, measuring twenty-nine feet high and fifty-six feet<br />

wide. The stage is forty-seven feet deep by 106 feet wide. In<br />

addition to serving as a performance venue for nationally and<br />

internationally renowned performers, the Hall is home to the<br />

Southwest Florida Symphony and the Gulf Coast Symphony.<br />

Major milestones for the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts<br />

Hall include launching the second national tour <strong>of</strong> Wicked<br />

and the national tour <strong>of</strong> Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. In 1998<br />

the Hall was expanded to accommodate larger shows such<br />

as The Phantom <strong>of</strong> the Opera and renovating the backstage<br />

dressing rooms to provide more space. In 2014, the Hall’s<br />

original seats were replaced at a cost <strong>of</strong> $1.1 million.<br />

Through the years, almost every legendary entertainer has<br />

performed at the Hall such as: Tony Bennett, Liza Minnelli,<br />

Smokey Robinson, James Taylor, and the Moody Blues. The<br />

Hall plans to continue to provide Southwest Florida with the<br />

best in live entertainment. The Barbara B. Mann Performing<br />

Arts Hall at FSW—Where Broadway Comes to You!<br />

FORT MYERS PARTNERS<br />

181


❖<br />

WCI COMMUNITIES, INC.<br />

Below: Hampton Park.<br />

Bottom: The Pelican Preserve Plaza del Sol.<br />

WCI Communities has a long-standing tradition <strong>of</strong><br />

excellence in <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> and throughout Southwest Florida.<br />

With an established reputation and strong brand recognition<br />

for developing amenity-rich, lifestyle oriented masterplanned<br />

communities, WCI and its predecessor companies<br />

have a legacy that spans seventy years.<br />

A lifestyle community developer and luxury homebuilder<br />

<strong>of</strong> single and multifamily homes in coastal Florida,<br />

WCI has nearly 700 full-time employees,<br />

as well as relationships with approximately<br />

1,800 independent licensed real estate agents<br />

through their brokerage business.<br />

WCI prides itself on delivering exhilarating<br />

communities filled with championship golf,<br />

active clubhouses and sporting clubs, tennis,<br />

boating, beaches, health and wellness facilities,<br />

nature trails and more. WCI provides the highest<br />

quality construction and service for their<br />

valued customers. Today, more than 150,000<br />

residents call a WCI Community home.<br />

Recently earning the 49th spot on Builder<br />

Magazine’s annual Top 100 list, WCI <strong>of</strong>fers<br />

a vast selection <strong>of</strong> primary, vacation and<br />

retirement homes—from the beachfront to the<br />

lakeside to the fairways—which encompass<br />

a broad spectrum <strong>of</strong> styles ranging from the<br />

mid-$100,000s to over $1 million.<br />

Arborwood Preserve, WCI’s newest 332-acre<br />

master-planned community in <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>,<br />

<strong>of</strong>fers a resort lifestyle for today’s active<br />

resident. Intimate neighborhoods present<br />

a selection <strong>of</strong> WCI’s popular home designs<br />

nestled among seventy-three acres <strong>of</strong> lakes<br />

and more than twenty acres <strong>of</strong> preserves—plus<br />

the convenience <strong>of</strong> a full-service town center.<br />

Residents <strong>of</strong> WCI’s Hampton Park enjoy the intimacy <strong>of</strong><br />

their gated neighborhood, along with the added amenities<br />

<strong>of</strong> the surrounding 3,000-acre Gateway community—a<br />

combination that provides the ultimate live, work and play<br />

lifestyle. Hampton Park is convenient to major employers,<br />

neighborhood schools, parks and recreational attractions,<br />

including JetBlue Park, the wintertime home <strong>of</strong> the Boston<br />

Red Sox. Hampton Park residents quickly discover they<br />

never have to go far to have it all.<br />

Nearby, the intimate Timberwood Preserve combines the<br />

convenience <strong>of</strong> a Gateway location with the sought-after<br />

flexibility <strong>of</strong> WCI’s home designs.<br />

Pelican Preserve, WCI’s fifty-five and-better lifestyle<br />

community in <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>, enjoy twenty-seven holes <strong>of</strong><br />

Chip Powell-designed championship golf and a 24,500<br />

square foot Golf Club featuring fine and casual dining, a full<br />

calendar <strong>of</strong> events, and a fitness center with spa treatment<br />

rooms. The community’s town center <strong>of</strong>fers nearly every<br />

imaginable activity—from indoor fitness and swimming, to<br />

arts and crafts studios and a ninety-nine seat theater.<br />

Cypress Bend at Shadow Wood Preserve where residents<br />

enjoy the outdoors close to home with an eighteen hole Arthur<br />

Hills-designed championship golf course and access to clubhouse,<br />

tennis courts, two miles <strong>of</strong> walking paths and fitness<br />

trails, a tot lot, and a canoe and kayak park. After a day <strong>of</strong> play,<br />

Cypress Bend is also minutes away from exciting shopping,<br />

entertainment and restaurant destinations at Coconut Point.<br />

For decades, WCI has set the standard in <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong><br />

and beyond for building exceptional communities and<br />

developing amenities that challenge and exhilarate, while<br />

upholding an unwavering commitment to the places they<br />

call home. The company’s mission to “Think Boldly, Build<br />

Quality, Deliver Excellence, Enrich Lives and Create<br />

Value”—permeates every community they create.<br />

WCI Communities: Your Best Address.<br />

FORT MYERS: <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Palms—A</strong> <strong>Contemporary</strong> <strong>Portrait</strong><br />

182


Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., founded 1913 by<br />

twenty-two women students at Howard University in<br />

Washington, D.C., has distinguished itself as a publicservice<br />

organization that boldly confronts the challenges<br />

<strong>of</strong> African-Americans, and, hence, all Americans. The<br />

founders sought to use their collective strength to help<br />

society’s less fortunate.<br />

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., is a private, nonpr<strong>of</strong>it<br />

organization whose purpose is to provide services and<br />

programs to promote human welfare. As a sisterhood <strong>of</strong><br />

more than 300,000 predominately Black, college-educated<br />

women, the sorority has more than 940 chapters nationwide<br />

and internationally in Germany, Haiti, England, Japan,<br />

Liberia, Virgin Islands, Bermuda, the Republic <strong>of</strong> Korea,<br />

Jamaica and Nassau, Bahamas. The sorority’s focus is<br />

centered on the organization’s Five-Point Program:<br />

• Economic Development<br />

• Educational Development<br />

• International Awareness and Involvement<br />

• Physical and Mental Health<br />

• Political Awareness and Involvement/Social Action<br />

More than fifty years ago, thirteen dynamic women established<br />

a Delta Sigma Theta chapter in Lee County, Florida.<br />

The <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Alumnae Chapter (FMAC) was the first<br />

Greek letter organization in Southwest Florida, established<br />

on December 18, 1965. Charter members were: President<br />

Marie Mallory Ackord, Theora Hamilton Austin, Ida Speed<br />

Baker, Annette Johnson Booker, Alma Livington Cambridge,<br />

Mary Gillings Leon, Richardeen Ellis Jones, Ann Murphy<br />

Knight, Melvin Smallwood Morgan, Gwendolyn Primus<br />

Mosley, Geraldine Simpkins Ware, Constance White-Davis,<br />

and Celestene Johnson Williams.<br />

Many programs have been implemented in the <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong><br />

communities, such as scholarship awards, breast cancer<br />

screening, Adopt-a-Black Business, Super Seniors Thanksgiving<br />

Luncheon, College and Career Conference, Adopt-a-Sister,<br />

Purple Soir`ee (domestic-violence education), Habitat For<br />

Humanity, Red Tea Awareness <strong>of</strong> heart disease; The Legal<br />

Clinic; Political Candidates Forums, Saving our Sons Forum;<br />

Public Forum, Featuring Senator Carrie Meek, E.M.B.O.D.I.;<br />

Dr. Ella Piper Christmas Toy Chest; Total Woman-Mind, Body<br />

& Spirit; Community Action Promoting Success Using Law<br />

Enforcement (C.A.P.S.U.L.E.); the Dr. Betty Shabazz Delta<br />

Academy; Dr. Jeanie Noble Delta G.E.M.S., International Day<br />

<strong>of</strong> Service (HIV Awareness); Omega Psi Phi Achievement<br />

Week 2014; and Walk2Connect Audit Program 2015.<br />

The FMAC has made financial contributions to groups<br />

such as United Negro College Fund, American Cancer Society,<br />

Love a Child Ministry, United Way and American Heart<br />

Association. The chapter has received several<br />

awards from local and regional organizations<br />

including the Quality Life Gulfshore; Life<br />

Award; Junior League <strong>of</strong> <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>; Project<br />

Play; Zeta Phi Beta Organization <strong>of</strong> the Year<br />

Award; Alpha Kappa Alpha Accolades Service<br />

Award; Phi Delta Kappa Outstanding Service<br />

to Education Award; Lee County Community<br />

School Service Award; and Dr. Martin Luther<br />

King, Jr. Birthday Celebration Committee<br />

Service Award. On December 7, 2015, FMAC<br />

received a proclamation from Mayor Randall P.<br />

Henderson, Jr., declaring December 18th as<br />

the <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Alumnae Chapter <strong>of</strong> Delta<br />

Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Day.<br />

The FMAC is known for its annual<br />

fundraisers to support scholarships and<br />

organizations that improve human welfare:<br />

Sepia Fashion Revue, Miss Jabberwock, Delta<br />

Sweetheart/Esquire and Steppin Towards<br />

Greatness Step Show.<br />

DELTA SIGMA THETA<br />

FORT MYERS PARTNERS<br />

183


MARKHAM NORTON<br />

MOSTELLER WRIGHT &<br />

CO., P.A.<br />

Since 1979 the partners and team members <strong>of</strong> Markham<br />

Norton Mosteller Wright & Co., P.A. (MNMW) have demonstrated<br />

a passion for serving their community and helping<br />

their clients realize financial success by providing personalized<br />

guidance and exceptional client service to individuals and<br />

businesses. MNMW is among the most respected CPA firms<br />

in Southwest Florida with <strong>of</strong>fices in <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> and Naples.<br />

With her perseverance and a vision for the future, L. Gail<br />

Markham, the firm’s founder, now works alongside three<br />

partners, Joni Norton, Karen Mosteller, and Randy Wright.<br />

Together, they have established a team <strong>of</strong> skilled pr<strong>of</strong>essionals<br />

and have expanded their services to include tax planning,<br />

bookkeeping, general accounting, medical and dental<br />

practice consulting, and mediation services and forensic<br />

accounting services. The partners have always envisioned a<br />

unique client service-oriented culture for the firm and have<br />

worked diligently over the years to establish exactly that.<br />

MNMW is diverse in its active approach to community<br />

involvement, charities and special events. One <strong>of</strong> many<br />

examples is being an avid supporter <strong>of</strong> the United Way; the<br />

firm has been recognized as a pacesetter company for many<br />

years. As a testament to its team member’s commitment and<br />

values, the firm has also been recognized for numerous<br />

awards such as Florida Trend magazine’s “Best Places to<br />

Work” for the past several years, as well as “Best Accounting<br />

Firm” by Gulfshore Business magazine. The firm has also<br />

received the Uncommon Friends Foundation’s Business<br />

Ethics Award and the State <strong>of</strong> Florida Blue Chip Award.<br />

As trusted advisors, the team at MNMW maintains<br />

steadfast dedication to integrity, excellence, and responsibility.<br />

The team takes pride in their work, exhibited by their<br />

unwavering enthusiasm and uncompromising values.<br />

MNMW looks forward to many more successful years by<br />

exceeding their client’s expectations and making a positive<br />

impact by supporting the community.<br />

FORT MYERS: <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Palms—A</strong> <strong>Contemporary</strong> <strong>Portrait</strong><br />

184


In the early 1970s, Mike Joyce and his partner, both college<br />

students at the time, began buying and selling rare coins in<br />

Tampa, Florida. From humble beginnings in a single-wide<br />

trailer, Gulfcoast Coin Brokers was born. In 1975, Gulfcoast<br />

Coin Brokers opened its doors in <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>, Florida, dealing<br />

in rare coins, paper money, silver dollars, and gold coins.<br />

Gulfcoast also became dealers in all U.S. Mint products<br />

including pro<strong>of</strong> sets, mint sets, stamps, and paper money.<br />

As the precious metals boomed, Gulfcoast Coin Brokers<br />

became, and still continues to be, a major bullion dealer in<br />

South African Krugerrands, Gold American Eagles, Canadian<br />

Maple Leafs, Austrian 100 Coronas, Mexican Fifty Pesos,<br />

Chinese Pandas, Platinum Nobles, as well as gold and<br />

platinum bars. Gulfcoast makes a market in silver bullion,<br />

U.S. 90 percent silver coins, 100-ounce bars, 10-ounce bars,<br />

one-ounce bars, war nickels, Franklin Mint silver, and all<br />

types <strong>of</strong> sterling silver flatware and hollowware. Gulfcoast<br />

now <strong>of</strong>fers security—insured private depository for our<br />

clients to store their purchased valuables. The Gulfcoast<br />

private depository allows our clients to buy and sell all rare<br />

coins and precious metals without any security risks.<br />

After skyrocketing growth in the early 1980s, with gold<br />

and silver hitting $800 and $50 respectively, Gulfcoast had a<br />

name change and hired Denise Taylor (now Denise Joyce,<br />

managing partner) to manage the fine jewelry department.<br />

Denise dramatically expanded the jewelry and diamond<br />

department and turned Gulfcoast into Southwest Florida’s<br />

premier jewelry exchange. Denise is one <strong>of</strong> the foremost<br />

diamond and high-end watch dealers in the area. Her<br />

product knowledge and expert appraisal services are called<br />

upon frequently by attorneys, banks, and clients.<br />

In the 1990s, Gulfcoast Coin & Jewelry, LLC, started<br />

conducting local and international auctions. The auction<br />

business model was to bring intelligent buyers and sellers<br />

together to auction all types <strong>of</strong> high-end personal property.<br />

Being the first company to conduct international online<br />

monthly auctions gave clients the opportunity to <strong>of</strong>fer<br />

valuable family heirlooms on the international stage and<br />

always receive top dollar. Auction items include rare coins,<br />

diamonds, paper money, estate jewelry, new jewelry, bridal,<br />

sterling, fine art, luxury apparel, firearms, antiques and<br />

furniture, and all types <strong>of</strong> high-end collectibles.<br />

Gulf Coast Coin & Jewelry, LLC, is one <strong>of</strong> the oldest and<br />

most respected precious metals dealers and numismatic firms<br />

in the country. Mike is one <strong>of</strong> the few numismatists to be<br />

inducted into the prestigious Pr<strong>of</strong>essional Numismatic Guild,<br />

Accredited Precious Metals Dealers, International Society <strong>of</strong><br />

Appraisers, Life Member American Numismatic Association,<br />

and Life Member Florida Auctioneers Association.<br />

With more than four decades <strong>of</strong> experience in the business<br />

<strong>of</strong> buying, selling, appraising, and auctioneering, Gulfcoast<br />

Coin & Jewelry, LLC, is where the educated consumer<br />

conducts business.<br />

❖<br />

Left: Mike and Denise Joyce.<br />

GULFCOAST COIN &<br />

JEWELRY, LLC<br />

FORT MYERS PARTNERS<br />

185


❖<br />

Above: Chris Pendleton.<br />

EDISON & FORD<br />

WINTER ESTATES<br />

Over a century ago, Thomas Edison said “There is<br />

only one <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> in the United States, and there<br />

are 90,000,000 people who are going to find it out.” There<br />

are a lot more people in the nation these days and<br />

they continue to discover the Edison & Ford Winter<br />

Estates, along with many more residents who regularly<br />

enjoy the site, plus an ever-growing worldwide tourist<br />

audience. Edison’s prediction has proven true as the latest<br />

visitation numbers show an annual visitation and usage<br />

<strong>of</strong> almost 270,000.<br />

Edison arrived in <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> in 1885, and fell in love<br />

with the tiny town <strong>of</strong> less than 350. He immediately<br />

purchased thirteen and a half acres which spanned a cattle<br />

trail (now McGregor Boulevard) and fronted on the river.<br />

In 1916, his colleague, Henry Ford, also became enamored<br />

with <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> and purchased the neighboring property.<br />

Together, the Edison and Ford families would create<br />

a residential and research site <strong>of</strong> more than twenty acres,<br />

with more than a dozen original buildings, beautiful and<br />

useful plants, and dazzling river frontage.<br />

Edison’s interest in bamboo as a filament for his light<br />

bulb, dynamos and self-sufficiency for his beloved property<br />

created a model and brought modern technology to<br />

<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>. In 1885, <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> incorporated as a city<br />

and more than a decade later, electricity, street lights and<br />

modern devices <strong>of</strong> the day were introduced.<br />

In 1916, Ford was already an automotive magnate and the<br />

Ford Motor Company was an international phenomenon.<br />

Ford helped to introduce automobiles and new roads<br />

to Southwest Florida. By 1929, the new Tamiami Trail<br />

(now U.S. Highway 41) connected Tampa to Miami,<br />

making <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> and Naples increasingly accessible to<br />

the world.<br />

Edison received an astounding 1,093 patents, which were<br />

mind-boggling in their diversity, ushering in the new era <strong>of</strong><br />

household conveniences and industrial technology to the<br />

world. Ford held 161 patents, which helped to introduce<br />

the world to an age <strong>of</strong> automobiles and airplanes. Together<br />

with their families, Edison and Ford were very influential<br />

on a global scale, and <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> was one <strong>of</strong> the beneficiaries<br />

<strong>of</strong> that influence.<br />

The population <strong>of</strong> <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> has grown from 350<br />

residents in 1885 to a bustling and growing population <strong>of</strong><br />

75,000 today. The properties <strong>of</strong> Edison and Ford are<br />

now joined as the Edison & Ford Winter Estates, Inc.<br />

Owned by <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> and governed by a nonpr<strong>of</strong>it board<br />

<strong>of</strong> trustees who manage the site and govern its preservation<br />

and expansion. The team includes a board <strong>of</strong> trustees,<br />

a paid staff <strong>of</strong> 70, over 250 volunteers, and more than<br />

7,000 members. The historic site is open daily and adds<br />

an economic impact to the community <strong>of</strong> more than<br />

$90 million. The Edison & Ford Winter Estates is listed<br />

on the National Historic Register, has been designated as<br />

a National Historic Chemical Landmark, and has received<br />

the top award for excellence from the National Trust for<br />

Historic Preservation and the National Garden Clubs. It is<br />

truly a treasure for the <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> and the world<br />

and is to be visited, experienced and cherished.<br />

We know that Thomas and Mina Edison and Henry and<br />

Clara Ford would be very proud <strong>of</strong> the preservation <strong>of</strong> their<br />

homes and legacy here in <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>. We also know that<br />

they would be very proud <strong>of</strong> the new developments and education<br />

programs that continue to add so much to the lives <strong>of</strong> our citizens<br />

and visitors and to the economy <strong>of</strong> the region. Over the past<br />

130 years, the Edison and Ford legacy in <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> has<br />

meant a great deal to the development <strong>of</strong> this great little city<br />

and to Florida. There’s a very exciting future ahead for this<br />

property and for the <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>. We are a unique<br />

public private partnership.<br />

–Chris Pendleton, president/CEO<br />

FORT MYERS: <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Palms—A</strong> <strong>Contemporary</strong> <strong>Portrait</strong><br />

186


Corbin Henderson Company is a real estate brokerage,<br />

property management, and consulting firm in <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong><br />

that combines a strong local knowledge <strong>of</strong> the real estate<br />

market with an equally strong understanding <strong>of</strong> its clients’<br />

business. The company’s extensive entrepreneurial history<br />

in developing its own commercial projects enables the<br />

leadership group to look at its clients’ projects through the<br />

eyes <strong>of</strong> an owner.<br />

Local knowledge allows the firm to better serve its clients<br />

by finding the best real estate decision given their unique<br />

organizational requirements. Chartered as a Florida corporation<br />

in 1976 by Oscar M. Corbin, Jr., Corbin Henderson<br />

Company’s expertise also includes development <strong>of</strong> new<br />

projects as well as condominium and apartment projects <strong>of</strong><br />

more than 200 units, <strong>of</strong>fice buildings, pr<strong>of</strong>essional centers,<br />

warehouses, and other real estate-oriented activities.<br />

The leadership team at Corbin Henderson Company<br />

consists <strong>of</strong> Brokers Randall P. Henderson, Jr. and<br />

Virginia C. Henderson; Sales Associates John Carrington,<br />

Justin Stockman and Randall P. Henderson, Sr.; and Office<br />

Manager Ann LeFever. The experienced and knowledgeable<br />

team at Corbin Henderson helps developer and investor<br />

clients to identify market opportunities and to coordinate<br />

project designs that ensure a proposed project meets<br />

market demands.<br />

Broker Randall Henderson, Jr., left the banking industry<br />

in 1986 to become CEO <strong>of</strong> Corbin Henderson Company.<br />

As CEO for more than three decades, he has primarily<br />

been engaged in pr<strong>of</strong>essional <strong>of</strong>fice facilities, multifamily<br />

housing, warehouse and light industrial real estate.<br />

Broker Virginia Henderson has been a company <strong>of</strong>ficer<br />

since 1983, serving in numerous capacities including pr<strong>of</strong>essional<br />

<strong>of</strong>fice management, leasing, business administration<br />

and sales. She has been involved in <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> community<br />

activities for many years, serving as past president <strong>of</strong><br />

Edison Park Elementary PTA, Dunbar Middle School PTA,<br />

and <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Woman’s Community Club.<br />

Carrington joined Corbin Henderson Company in 2006,<br />

gaining local knowledge and prospective for <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong><br />

area real estate investing. A commercial real estate agent<br />

in <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> since 2004, Carrington became a certified<br />

commercial investment manager and is involved in the<br />

local community.<br />

Stockman joined the company in 2009. In<br />

addition to practicing real estate, Stockman<br />

practices law and is a partner at Geraghty,<br />

Dougherty, Edwards & Stockman, P.A.<br />

in downtown <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>. He is actively<br />

involved in the community, including<br />

serving on the board <strong>of</strong> the Boys and Girls<br />

Clubs <strong>of</strong> Lee County as well as the <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Planning Board and as an alternate<br />

on the <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Abatement Board.<br />

Henderson, Sr. joined the team in 2014.<br />

He retired to <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> from North Carolina<br />

after an extensive history in business development.<br />

He contributes to the leadership<br />

team’s high quality competitive services.<br />

LeFever brings a background <strong>of</strong> accounting<br />

and systems design to the firm. Her<br />

commercial management experience includes<br />

Class A <strong>of</strong>fice buildings, retail centers, and industrial<br />

parks. With Corbin Henderson Company since 2006, she is<br />

responsible for budget preparation, financial record-keeping<br />

and reporting, collections, and hiring and supervising<br />

contractors for both maintenance and construction.<br />

Corbin Henderson Company is excited to be a part <strong>of</strong><br />

the history <strong>of</strong> <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>. The team is committed to quality<br />

real estate services and making their contribution to the<br />

vibrant beautiful city <strong>of</strong> <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>, Florida.<br />

❖<br />

The Corbin Henderson Team.<br />

CORBIN HENDERSON<br />

COMPANY<br />

FORT MYERS PARTNERS<br />

187


ALLURE AND ONE<br />

The luxury condominium projects known as Allure<br />

and ONE are the latest manifestation <strong>of</strong> a commitment to<br />

the <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> area made by developer JAXI following<br />

the real estate bust in 2008. Headed by Abel Ramirez<br />

and Eduardo Caballero, the firm is an accomplished real<br />

estate developer with a wide range <strong>of</strong> experience in<br />

Southern Florida.<br />

JAXI was the first real estate development company to<br />

take a chance on the <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> market after the economy<br />

hit bottom at the end <strong>of</strong> the millennium’s first decade.<br />

They saw opportunity where others saw risk and made a<br />

commitment to the area that is ongoing. In addition to Allure<br />

and ONE, JAXI is building two forty-unit condominium<br />

buildings in the Royal Pointe neighborhood <strong>of</strong> Majestic<br />

Palms, an existing gated community <strong>of</strong>f Majestic Palms<br />

Boulevard in south <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>.<br />

Prime locations on the banks <strong>of</strong> the Caloosahatchee River<br />

in the historic <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> River District combined with<br />

stellar amenities make these properties the premier choice<br />

for condominium buyers in Southwest Florida. Residents<br />

will enjoy living in the midst <strong>of</strong> the charm the Gulf Coast’s<br />

treasured downtown <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> has to <strong>of</strong>fer. An array <strong>of</strong><br />

shops and boutiques, popular restaurants, theaters, galleries,<br />

and nightspots line its brick streets.<br />

Allure, 2601 First Street, and ONE, 2583 First Street,<br />

<strong>of</strong>fer residents choices in condominium ownership and the<br />

lifestyle that goes with it. Allure is more than a name. It is an<br />

acronym that makes a statement about the lifestyle <strong>of</strong>fered<br />

there. Allure stands for Amazing, Luxury, Living, Unique,<br />

Relaxing, Experience. Allure features two thirty-two story<br />

towers with 292 for sale condominium residences with<br />

sweeping views <strong>of</strong> the river, while the boutique tower <strong>of</strong><br />

ONE located next door features one fifteen story tower with<br />

twenty-four exclusive for sale condominium residences.<br />

Both projects boast cutting-edge designs and amenities inside<br />

residences and the buildings that hold them—all within<br />

a short walk or trolley ride <strong>of</strong> the <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> River District.<br />

JAXI’s managing partners are committed to the long-term<br />

success <strong>of</strong> the <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> River District. The company believes<br />

very strongly in the continued growth and popularity <strong>of</strong> this<br />

tropical urban paradise and plans to remain in the market<br />

for years to come.<br />

FORT MYERS: <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Palms—A</strong> <strong>Contemporary</strong> <strong>Portrait</strong><br />

188


❖<br />

MAIN SAIL VIDEO<br />

PRODUCTIONS, INC.<br />

LEFT: PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF AVA ROEDER.<br />

Below: Owner and videographer Ilene Safron up close at spring training.<br />

Bottom: Videotaping the triathalon event at the 2012 Summer Olympics<br />

in London.<br />

Main Sail Video Productions, Inc., is a full-service Emmy<br />

Award-winning pr<strong>of</strong>essional video production, photography<br />

and design company, that can take a vision from concept<br />

through delivery. Based in Southwest Florida since 1989,<br />

Main Sail uses only the highest quality, cutting-edge technology,<br />

combined with personal service.<br />

Main Sail Video Productions, Inc., has created thousands<br />

<strong>of</strong> award winning video presentations, in Florida, nationally<br />

and around the world. The company has always been<br />

a leader in the video production industry, whether it is<br />

designing digital art and motion graphics, producing<br />

news and documentaries, or “going live” on social media.<br />

Services include promotional videos, video news segments,<br />

television commercials and documentaries.<br />

National clients include NBC Nightly News, CBS Sunday<br />

Morning, New England Sports Network/FOX Sports, PBS,<br />

E! Entertainment Television and VH1/MTV, the United<br />

States Olympic Committee NGBs, and many <strong>Fort</strong>une 500<br />

companies. Florida-based organizations and government<br />

agencies include the <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>, the Lee County<br />

Visitor & Convention Bureau, the Town <strong>of</strong> <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Beach<br />

and Southwest Florida International Airport.<br />

Main Sail Video Productions, Inc. specializes in capturing<br />

compelling images and meticulously editing them<br />

together to bring about positive results.<br />

For more information on Main Sail Video Productions,<br />

Inc., call 239-337-5888 or visit www.mainsailvideo.com.<br />

FORT MYERS PARTNERS<br />

189


About the Photographer<br />

I LENE<br />

S AFRON<br />

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF MIKE SHAPIRO.<br />

With an eye for capturing the moment and the creative talent to add the flair, Videographer/Photographer Ilene Safron<br />

relies on her vivid pictures to tell the story.<br />

A thirty-five year television veteran, Ilene began her career at ABC Network News in New York. Her first assignment was<br />

carrying Barbara Walters’ mink coat. She worked her way up through ABC World News Tonight as a researcher, collaborating<br />

with Science Correspondent Jules Bergman and Environmental Correspondent Roger Caras. She went on to be a production<br />

associate, special assignments researcher and assistant field producer.<br />

After relocating to Southwest Florida, she joined the CBS affiliate (WINK-TV) in <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>, Florida, and then was hired<br />

by the NBC affiliate (WFLA-TV) in Tampa, where she was a sports and news videographer. She later joined the team at<br />

Tampa Bay PM magazine (WTSP-TV), as a segment producer and videographer. This was the first <strong>of</strong> many jobs that led her to<br />

travel and take pictures all over the world.<br />

Since 1989, Ilene has been the president and owner <strong>of</strong> Main Sail Video Productions, Inc. She has worked with thousands<br />

<strong>of</strong> clients over the years and has won many prestigious regional, national and international awards. The list includes several<br />

“Communicator Awards”, Florida’s “Henry Flagler Governor’s” Award, Florida Public Relations “Golden Image” Awards,<br />

a Suncoast “Emmy” Award for Videography, an International “Louis Wolfson II Media History Center for Film and Video”<br />

Award, “The American Association <strong>of</strong> Museums” Award, as well as several “UPI” and “AP” Broadcast Awards.<br />

Ilene earned her Bachelor <strong>of</strong> Science degree in environmental biology with a focus on bio-photography from the University<br />

<strong>of</strong> Connecticut. That led to her success in creating award-winning videos on The Everglades and other natural locations<br />

across Florida.<br />

She and her husband, business attorney Guy Whitesman, and her children, Joey and Jena have enjoyed living in <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong><br />

for over twenty years.<br />

FORT MYERS: <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Palms—A</strong> <strong>Contemporary</strong> <strong>Portrait</strong><br />

190


About the Author<br />

A MY B ENNETT W ILLIAMS<br />

With a decidedly non-journalistic background in anthropology and Spanish, Amy Bennett Williams came to The News-Press<br />

in 1988 as an ashtray-emptying, obituary-writing clerk/reporter, then moved through a series <strong>of</strong> assignments at the paper,<br />

covering everything from cake contests to tuberculosis outbreaks.<br />

She left The News-Press to edit the regional magazine Gulfshore Life for four years. During that time, she was named Editor<br />

<strong>of</strong> the Year by the Florida magazine association. She returned to The News-Press as its Lifestyles editor in 1998.<br />

In 2001, Williams conceived the paper’s award-winning weekly Tropicalia magazine, where her column, Field Notes appears.<br />

Her current job title is the coolest she can imagine: watchdog and storyteller.<br />

Over the years, her work has won top honors from Gannett, the Florida Society <strong>of</strong> News Editors, the Florida Magazine<br />

Association and Public Radio News Directors, Inc. Her reporting ranges from sense-<strong>of</strong>-place essays to investigative reporting<br />

on child welfare, water quality issues and monkey farms.<br />

Along the Caloosahatchee River, Williams’ pictorial history book, was released by Arcadia publishing in 2011, and she is<br />

at work on a second.<br />

Her sense-<strong>of</strong>-place essays air weekly on local NPR affiliate WGCU. Williams lives in rural Alva with her husband,<br />

Roger (also a writer), two sons and an ever-changing menagerie.<br />

ABOUT THE AUTHOR<br />

191


Sponsors<br />

Ad-Ler Ro<strong>of</strong>ing, Inc. ...........................................................173<br />

AIM Engineering & Surveying, Inc. .......................................160<br />

Alliance for the Arts...........................................................158<br />

Allure and ONE .................................................................188<br />

Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall ..................................181<br />

Barraco and Associates, Inc. ................................................164<br />

Boylan Environmental Consultants, Inc. .................................177<br />

Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre ............................................174<br />

Canterbury School..............................................................176<br />

Chico’s FAS, Inc. ................................................................175<br />

Corbin Henderson Company .................................................187<br />

Dean Steel Buildings, Inc.....................................................146<br />

Delta Sigma Theta..............................................................183<br />

Edison & Ford Winter Estates ..............................................186<br />

Fischler Property Company ..................................................179<br />

Florida SouthWestern State College .......................................156<br />

<strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong>........................................................................170<br />

Galloway Auto ...................................................................152<br />

Gulfcoast Coin & Jewelry, LLC .............................................185<br />

Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, P.A. .............................148<br />

Hotel Indigo, <strong>Fort</strong> <strong>Myers</strong> Downtown River District...................180<br />

Hope Healthcare ................................................................168<br />

Johnson Engineering, Inc. ....................................................172<br />

Lee Memorial Health System ................................................134<br />

LeeSar, Inc........................................................................140<br />

Main Sail Video Productions, Inc. .........................................189<br />

Mark Loren Designs, Inc......................................................154<br />

Markham Norton Mosteller Wright & Co., P.A.........................184<br />

Page Field.........................................................................151<br />

Parker/Mudgett/Smith Architects, Inc. ...................................144<br />

Southwest Florida International Airport.................................150<br />

T3 Communications, Inc. .....................................................166<br />

The Salvation Army <strong>of</strong> Lee, Hendry and Glades Counties ..........178<br />

Victory Layne Chevrolet ......................................................162<br />

WCI Communities, Inc. .......................................................182<br />

FORT MYERS: <strong>City</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Palms—A</strong> <strong>Contemporary</strong> <strong>Portrait</strong><br />

192


LEADERSHIP SPONSORS<br />

ISBN: 978-1-944891-28-2

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