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  • 20 Jul 2017 10:25 AM | Anonymous

    Three-day operation was designed to protect consumers, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office says.

    Herald Tribune - link to article

    SARASOTA COUNTY – Nine unlicensed contractors were arrested last week in a sting operation designed specifically to protect consumers, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office says.

    Operation Freelancer IV is an investigation by the police department into individuals who “advertise home repair services that require a license to complete,” the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office said. The three-day sting operation resulted in 11 felony and seven misdemeanor charges.

    Working closely with the Sarasota County Building Department, the Florida Department of Financial Services Division of Insurance Fraud and the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, detectives contacted contractors to complete an assignment that legally required a license.

    The DBPR database was checked to verify their status as licensed contractors upon their arrival at a “predetermined residence,” according to a news release.

    Many of those taken into custody have had previous run-ins with the law. Between the nine of them, there are 40 prior felony or misdemeanor charges, including eight convictions.

    The apprehension of misleading repairmen has been a concern for the Sheriff’s Office for the past five years. Detectives are assigned to investigate tips received from people who encounter contractors who lack the required licenses, permits or certification.

    Sheriff Tom Knight said that the risk of unlicensed contracting work is extremely high and that his police department is doing its best to crack down on offenders.

    “Consumers are exposing themselves to financial and physical risk by allowing these people to enter their home, unlicensed, and in some cases, with criminal histories,” he said. “Let this be a warning to criminals who come into our community and illegally solicit services, that their behavior will not be tolerated.”

    The nine people arrested were:

    ■ Charles Cochran, 55, Port Charlotte

    ■ Richard Hayez, 67, North Port

    ■ Joseph Hopp Jr., 56, Bradenton

    ■ Timothy Jewell, 56, Sarasota

    ■ Jonathan King, 41, Englewood

    ■ Mark Lamoureux, 69, North Port

    ■ Terence Miller, 56, North Port

    ■ Raul Morey-Arenas, 58, Sarasota

    ■ David Pond, 43 Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

    To check a Sarasota County license, call the Customer Service and Permit Center at 941-861-6678 or 941-861-3029. To report someone you suspect is acting as an unlicensed contractor or performing work without a permit, call 941-861-5000. For more information visit www.scgov.net/DevelopmentServices/Pages/ContractorLicensing.aspx.



  • 13 Jul 2017 4:24 PM | Anonymous

    David Weekly Homes Closes on School Ave. Site

    JACOB OGLES, JACOB.OGLES@SRQME.COM

    Land near Payne Park that long served as the site of controversy surrounding the appropriate density of development could finally see a project break ground. A site plan and development agreement for David Weekly Homes to develop 135 residential units on a site on School Avenue won approval from Sarasota City Commissioners to move ahead.

    Michael Saunders & Company Commercial announced last Thursday that the homebuilder had closed on a purchase of the site, days after the city commission voted unanimously in favor of the project. “People will be very pleased to see this project finally come to fruition,” said Lee DeLieto, Sr., MSC broker/associate.

    Martin Frame, land acquisition manager in the Tampa and Sarasota markets for David Weekly Homes, told Sarasota city commissioners at a hearing in May that the project, titled Payne Park Village, will include a mix of townhouses, cottages and villas. Four-story units will overlook Payne Park, with single-family cottages and villas inside the project.

    The site has been grounds for historic struggles between neighbors and developers about the proposed densities on the site, and neighbors in May said this site plan represents the end of a 10-year endeavor to find a plan that can be embraced by neighbors and property owners.

    David Weekly Homes purchased a little more than eight acres out of a nine-acre site owned by developer Ron Burks, who initially planned a much more dense development that incited political upheaval. Burks then worked with neighbors on a plan with less intensity, but that project ultimately never moved forward. Less than an acre of the original property remains in Burks' hands and still can be used for commercial development.

    DeLieto says the major difference between this project and past development proposals is that the tallest buildings on site will only be four stories. “The construction costs for a townhouse, especially in a subdivision, are substantially less than building tower buildings,” he says. He credited Frame and consultant Joel Freedman with planning a project embraced by neighbors.

    City commissioners did express a strong concern about the price of homes, but officials from David Weekly Homes told them that every effort would be made to keep the price of the units toward the center of the project closer to $300,000, while many homes in that part of the city sell for $400,000 and up. Freedman said at the May hearing that the company would like to break ground by the end of this year if possible.


  • 13 Jul 2017 3:55 PM | Anonymous

    Grapevine Communications Announces Multiple Leadership Promotions

    Britney Guertin, Heidi Cook and Tammy Dumer Named to Director Positions

    Sarasota, Florida – July 13, 2017 – Grapevine Communications, the area’s leading fullservice advertising, marketing and public relations agency, proudly announces the promotion of three key staff members.

    Britney Guertin, who has served as the company’s Public Relations & Social Media Associate since March 2016, was named Director of Public Relations & Social Media.

    Heidi Cook, formerly the agency’s Special Projects and Events Manager, was named the Director of Operations. Tammy Dumer, who joined the company in 2008 as Bookkeeper, was named the Director of Finance.

    “At Grapevine, we believe in positioning our team to best anticipate and serve the needs of our clients,” said Grapevine President Allison Imre Perkowski. “Britney, Heidi and Tammy are proven experts in their respective fields and have been vital to the growth of our company. We are thrilled to recognize their contributions with promotions to leadership roles.”

    A graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations, Guertin has extensive marketing, PR and social media experience with a range of industries, from retail and dining to real estate. In her new role, Guertin serves as the media point of contact and leads the public relations and social media team in developing, implementing, and monitoring content on behalf of Grapevine and its clients.

    Cook brings over three decades of agency experience in production management, media planning/buying, client relations, project management and office management. As Director of Operations, she manages the implementation of the company’s new automated systems, evaluates procedures for efficiency and accuracy, and ensures Grapevine’s team upholds its top-performing business processes.

    Dumer has an accomplished career in finance and accounting that spans more than two decades. As Grapevine’s Director of Finance, she manages the agency’s accounting processes, financial-related activities and reporting systems.


  • 13 Jul 2017 10:18 AM | Anonymous

    Gulf Coast Builders Exchange connects subcontractors and the construction community at Reverse Trade Show

    Over 250 attendees connected with the area’s largest general contractors and development firms with subcontractors at the 8th annual Reverse Trade Show, an event hosted by the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange, a not-for-profit trade organization.

    On June 22, over 20 general contractors showcased information on the construction industry. Those involved in the building community discovered how to bid on projects and build relationships with the finest design and construction firms in the region.

    “This event always attracts a crowd within the construction community, and we were really pleased with the number of the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange members and the area’s general contractors that came out to connect with subcontractors, building departments, government officials and attendees,” said Mary Dougherty, executive director of the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange.

    Participants browsed 35 vendor booths at the Polo Grill and Bar. Government officials and the building departments from Sarasota and Manatee Counties were also in attendance.

    http://www.threesixohpr.com/gulf-coast-builders-exchange-connects-subcontractors-and-the-construction-community-at-reverse-trade-show/?utm_source=News+from+ThreeSixOh_7-12-2017&utm_campaign=July+12%2C+2017+E-Newsletter&utm_medium=email

  • 12 Jul 2017 10:33 AM | Anonymous

    Construction Rodeo ropes jobs for several students

    By Candice McElyea (Patch.com) - Updated July 12, 2017

    Several students have been hired within the construction community after the recent Construction Rodeo, an inaugural event that showcased information on careers in construction hosted by the Gulf Coast Builder’s Exchange, a not-for-profit trade organization.

    Steve Panagiotakis, the vice president of operations for Bright Future Electric, hired an impressive 18 students as interns from the event. Once the students finish their various programs, the four-office company plans to hire them all as full-time employees.

    Chuck Jacobson, chair of the subcontractor’s council for Gulf Coast Builders Exchange and a board member, has a number of applicants for Sarasota-based Aqua Plumbing, and Mike Corbett from Piper Fire Protection, with offices in Sarasota, Clearwater and Tampa, also confirmed their company is in the hiring process.

    “This is an extremely encouraging success, and our plan is to make this an annual event, alternating between the Manatee Technical College and the Suncoast Technical College,” said Mary Dougherty, the executive director of the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange. “I would highly encourage the construction community, trades and business leaders to attend, volunteer, purchase a booth and recruit these students, who we can hopefully keep in the Sarasota and Manatee region. We look to leaders like those at Bright Futures Electric to ensure bright futures for career-ready students right here in Sarasota.”

    More than 350 high school students attended the Construction Rodeo, an event that showcased information on careers in construction. Students from Sarasota and Manatee Counties interested in jobs in the various trade industries were bused to the event at the Manatee Technical College. They learned from more than 35 local businesses, with speakers and hands-on activities to help unveil the different construction-related career opportunities.


    “The industry needs more participants, and the amount of students that showed up to the Construction Rodeo truly demonstrates the need for young people – in need of direction and choices – to find gainful employment,” said Panagiotakis.

    Over 50 Gulf Coast Builders Exchange members participated, volunteering their time and showcasing their businesses and giving students an opportunity to interact directly with employers.

    Corbett was also pleasantly surprised by the number that attended and the interest of the students, many of whom didn’t even know there were other industries besides air conditioning, plumbing and electric.

    “Over the years, this event will really open up the student’s eyes to all of the trades available, including fire sprinklers,” said Corbett.

    About The Gulf Coast Builders Exchange

    The Gulf Coast Builders Exchange was established in 1952 and is a not-for-profit corporation operating as a trade organization under the guidance of a volunteer board of directors as representatives of the industry. The not-for-profit organization represents a broad cross section of the building industry, including contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and others from affiliated industries.

    The GCBX membership is comprised of close to 400 companies in Manatee, Sarasota and Charlotte counties. It includes some of the most respected contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, service providers and businesses in construction‑affiliated industries. GCBX’s advocacy efforts on behalf of the building industry are conducted in Manatee, Sarasota and Charlotte Counties. For more information, visit www.GCBX.org.


  • 07 Jul 2017 3:25 PM | Anonymous

    Four Best Practices that can help you keep your commercial auto insurance expenses under control.

    1. Focus on Fleet Safety

    The drivers and the fleet you put on the road are key considerations when an insurer assesses your commercial auto risk. Implementing a proactive Fleet Safety Program will create a strong foundation for controlling your risks and exposures from potential fleet auto accidents. A Fleet Safety Program will help establish standard safe driving procedures and expectations, thereby reducing your risk of liability, and will also communicate management’s commitment to the safety of your drivers and other motorists.

    Combating distracted driving by implementing a Distracted Driving Policy as part of your overall Fleet Safety Program should also be a top priority for all companies. Organizations that fail to create and enforce policies prohibiting employees from using their phones while driving put workers in jeopardy and increase employer liability, according to the National Safety Council. Policies should be practical, enforceable, and designed to protect employees and employers in all possible scenarios. A best-practice cellphone policy should cover all employees, both handheld and hands-free devices, company vehicles, company cellphones, and all work-related communications. The National Safety Council offers a free policy kit with information you can use to establish or strengthen your company’s policy.

    In addition to a Fleet Safety Program and a Distracted Driving Policy, companies should utilize Vehicle Usage Agreements for both company-owned vehicles as well as personal autos. Vehicle Usage Agreements outline the conditions and expectations a company imposes upon its drivers while operating a company-owned or personal vehicle. These policies should clearly define which uses of the vehicle are appropriate and which are not, as well as other requirements of the vehicle custodian, and the expectations of drivers while operating their own vehicle for business purposes.

    Remember, both the drivers and the fleet you put on the road are key considerations when an insurer assesses your commercial auto risk. That’s why you must also have stringent Driver Selection criteria. Here are 10 tips on how to best execute the driver selection process. It is critical to run Motor Vehicle Records for all company drivers. This should be done annually at a minimum, but quarterly checks are recommended. We recommend continuing to monitor driver records after hire, and implementing a continuous driver training program.

    2. Invest in Safety Technology

    Insurers like to see fleet management and safety technology such as telematics systems, dash cams, cell blockers, systems that track real-time data and driver behavior, and rear-view cameras and sensing equipment. Studies show that telematics and other new technologies reduce the frequency and severity of losses. Monitoring drivers improves driver behavior when it comes to complying with speed limits and reducing rapid acceleration and hard-braking events, saving fuel. Other benefits include tracking routes, charting more efficient routes, and lowering miles driven across the fleet, which reduces fuel and maintenance costs and contributes to lower claims.

    Remember, feedback from technology must be acted upon. Disregarding the data received from technological fleet monitoring systems can lead to a form of liability called a “negligent entrustment.” The feedback from fleet technology must be consistently reviewed, and action must be taken should any driver violations be discovered.

    3. Know Your Loss Experience

    Implement standards for after-crash procedures, accident reporting, and accident investigation. The information garnered from having these procedures in place can be critical in identifying potential poor driver behaviors.

    Review your auto losses on a quarterly or semiannual basis. Look to see whether there are trends in the types of accidents (rear-end, side-swipe, backing, etc.), times and days of the week the accidents took place, the routes in which the accidents occurred, types of vehicles involved in the accidents, and the employees involved in the accidents. If trends are identified in any of these areas, implement safety training to specifically address the trends and recalibrate routes and drivers, if necessary.

    In addition to negatively impacting your Commercial Auto premium, any auto losses that result in injuries to your employees affect your premium further by increasing your Workers’ Compensation Experience Modification Factor, which could affect your ability to procure competitive coverage at all. Work with your broker and claims adjuster to stay on top of your losses, and make sure all claims stay on track and do not languish.

    4. Partner with Your Insurance Advisor

    Organizations who partner closely with their insurance and risk management professionals to understand these risks – and the consultative support and tools available to manage them – will be better positioned to protect their employees, fleets, and businesses. With rates at an all-time high, commercial auto policyholders should consider utilizing a consultative approach and tools to better manage their transportation exposures.

    If you missed out on the recent Auto & Fleet Solutions Seminar, please contact Dave Wissel or Joe Thompson with Gulfshore Insurance for more information on how you can become a better risk.

  • 07 Jul 2017 3:08 PM | Anonymous

    The other day I received a call that I couldn’t have been happier to get. Steve Panagiotakis, the vice president of operations for Bright Future Electric, hired an impressive 18 students as interns from the recent Construction Rodeo. What a way to illustrate the return on investment from this one event. Once the students finish their various programs, the four-office company plans to hire them all as full-time employees. Aqua Plumbing’s Chuck Jacobson, chair of the subcontractor’s council for Gulf Coast Builders Exchange and a board member, has a number of applicants, and Mike Corbett from Piper Fire Protection also confirmed they are in the hiring process. So something is working.

    More than 350 high school students attended the Construction Rodeo, a Gulf Coast Builders Exchange event that showcased information on careers in construction. Students from Sarasota and Manatee Counties interested in jobs in the various trade industries were bused to the event at the Manatee Technical College. They learned from more than 35 local businesses, with speakers and hands-on activities to help unveil the different construction-related career opportunities.

    Huge congratulations are owed to the construction and business leaders who helped us spearhead this fantastic event. Over 50 Gulf Coast Builders Exchange members participated, volunteering their time and showcasing their businesses and giving our students an opportunity to interact directly with employers. There is so much opportunity in construction right now and so much talent in our schools. This is a perfect way to make sure our students know the career path to get into those vacancies that are right here in Sarasota and Manatee counties. Kudos the Sarasota and Manatee County Schools, too, for recognizing this as a worthy initiative and much-needed event for our students.

    This event is important because there’s a workforce crisis in the region. Jobs are being held up, and prices are rising because we don’t have an abundance of skilled workers in the region. After the economic downturn many skilled workers left the region for good. We looked at opportunities for young people in regards to internships or apprenticeships in construction. We want to start opening these prospects up for them to help solve this workforce crisis.

    A 2016 labor market analysis put out by CareerEdge Funders Collaborative showed that average annual pay for the construction field in Sarasota County grew between 10 percent and 15 percent between 2012 and 2015.

    Panagiotakis agrees, too. He feels that the industry needs more participants and help with its high school students, and they are definitely doing their part. The amount of students that showed up to the Construction Rodeo truly demonstrates the need for young people—in need of direction and choices—to find gainful employment.

    Corbett was pleasantly surprised by the interest and number of the students that attended, many of who didn’t even know there were other industries besides air conditioning, plumbing and electronic. Over the years, this event will really open up the student’s eyes to all of the trades available, including fire sprinklers.

    This is extremely encouraging success, and our plan is to make this an annual event, alternating between the Manatee Technical College and the Suncoast Technical College. I would highly encourage the construction community, trades and business leaders to attend, volunteer, purchase a booth and recruit these students, who we can hopefully keep in the Sarasota and Manatee region. Look to leaders like those at Bright Futures Electric to ensure bright futures for career- ready students right here in Sarasota.

    Mary Dougherty is executive director of the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange.


  • 29 Jun 2017 11:10 AM | Anonymous

    J.E. Charlotte Construction Celebrates its 10-year Anniversary

    Venice-based J.E. Charlotte Construction Corp., a commercial construction company that offers a full range of construction management services, recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary on June 5, 2017. Since opening its door, J.E. Charlotte Construction has grown from six employees to the 12 it currently employs. The commercial construction company has completed over 200 projects, totaling more than $150 million worth of work. J.E. Charlotte Construction’s first project was to construct the Galleria on Venice Avenue office building, which is where the company has been headquartered since 2009. The company has completed projects, such as renovations to the Plantation Golf & Country Club in December 2013, the Players Club Longboat Key, Residents Club at Country Club East, two locations for Bayside Pet Resort & Spa and the Siesta Key Daquiri Deck. Backed by more than 30 years of experience in the commercial building industry, J.E. Charlotte Construction Co rp.’s provides a full range of construction management services. J.E Charlotte’s specialties span a range of commercial applications, including the healthcare, retail and country club and recreational industries.


  • 22 Jun 2017 11:47 AM | Anonymous

    How Veterans Florida Helps Employers

    Every business has a need for a talented workforce and today’s veterans are a great fit for any company looking for hard-working, intelligent men and women with a unique mission-focused attitude.

    Veterans Florida is here to help your business recruit, hire and train America’s best talent resource, our veterans.

    Whether you are hiring your first veteran or you are a seasoned veteran-friendly employer, we can help you:

    • Understand why veterans make great employees
    • Tailor your job descriptions to attract veterans
    • Learn about the financial incentives and benefits available to businesses who hire veterans
    • Post your job announcements to our veteran-only audience
    • Create targeted advertising campaigns to highlight your company
    • Reach veterans through career fairs and hiring events


  • 22 Jun 2017 11:44 AM | Anonymous

    BGE, Inc. announced the opening of our first office in Florida, located in Sarasota. This expansion allows BGE to better serve existing clients with a national presence and offers new clients the opportunity to experience our service-centered approach to solving engineering challenges in the Florida region. Mike Bell, PE, who recently joined BGE as Vice President, will lead our Florida operations from Sarasota.

    Bell has been an active member of the GCBX for almost 25 years including his various positions with various Committees, the Board of Directors, and the 1999 GCBX Chairman.

    BGE’s office is located at 551 N. Cattlemen Road in Sarasota. Wherever BGE has offices, we focus on good corporate citizenship by making a difference not only through our professional services but also by our community service and involvement. BGE is excited to be involved with the Sarasota-Manatee community while supporting the exceptional vision and mission of the GCBX and the construction industry.

    Established in 1975, BGE, Inc. provides civil engineering and environmental services in Texas, Arkansas, and Florida. BGE is currently ranked # 142 in ENR’s top 500 engineering firms.


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