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  • 01 Sep 2017 9:25 AM | Anonymous

     The Gulf Coast’s much-bemoaned shortage of qualified construction workers has gotten the attention of the Tampa Builders Workforce Alliance, which plans to host a free event Sept. 13 designed to link contractors, subcontractors and suppliers with organizations that help train and place employees.

    Taking place from 2-4 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn, 4328 Garden Vista Drive, Riverview, the first Construction Connection follows on the heels of a similar event held in May by the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange in the Sarasota-Manatee market. Dubbed the Construction Rodeo, that event drew representatives from 50 area companies looking to give their workforce a boost. Some 350 prospective potential employees — mostly students — also attended.

    Construction Connection isn’t a job fair, per se, but if it’s anything like the Construction Rodeo, more than a few offers of employment will be made and accepted. Organizers say Construction Connection is a prime chance for hiring staff, supervisors and other management personnel to build up a pool of talent from which to draw. Career development agencies from Polk to Manatee counties will be represented, making it a way for construction companies to find talented workers who hail from outside their immediate vicinity.

    More than 15 organizations are scheduled to attend the Construction Connection. The list includes Future Builders of America; Manatee Technical College; Marchman Technical College in Pasco County; the Tampa Housing Authority YouthBuild Program; The Pinellas Ex-Offender Reentry Coalition; and three different CareerSource organizations.

  • 29 Aug 2017 9:41 AM | Anonymous

     GATES Construction is pleased to announce the addition of Casie Porter as Project Manager/Permit Expeditor. Porter will be responsible for preparing, organizing, maintaining and monitoring project documentation. She will work closely with Superintendents and Project Managers, assisting them in jobsite set-up, subcontractor meeting management, safety meetings and project close-out. Porter has 7 years of experience in the Sarasota area with expertise in permitting, submittals, drawings, contracts, purchase order processes and direct material purchase procedures. Porter received an Associate’s degree from the University of South Florida. Porter will be based out of GATES Construction’s Sarasota office.

  • 26 Aug 2017 9:27 AM | Anonymous

     Patricia Staebler may be a conventionally trained appraiser. But her career and company is anything but conventional — thanks to her ability to adapt and seize opportunities. “It’s been a wild ride,” she says. “And a lot of fun.”

    Since the mid-2000s, Staebler’s been running her own Bradenton-based firm, Staebler Appraisal and Consulting Inc. It specializes in the valuation of construction in four disciplines: insurance appraisals for condominiums, reserve studies, cost segregation analysis and 50% FEMA rule appraisals. A lot of other appraisers concentrate on commercial market valuation, so Staebler’s focus has been a differentiator, and a business driver.

    “My mentor always said make yourself an expert and you will excel, and it’s true,” she says. “The combination that we do, there is nothing else out there. There’s not a single appraiser who does what I do.”

    Sales are up significantly since she established that focus, including doubling revenue every year since 2012. Her daughter, Anne-Sophie Staebler, joined the firm in 2016. The elder Staebler says additional staff would be helpful to assist them with the workload, which stretches from Lake County to Lee County and sometimes outside of Florida. (Staebler declines to provide specific revenue figures.)

    “We’ve come to terms with six-and-a-half-day work weeks,” says Staebler. “I have a six-week backlog right now. It’s budget season, and everyone wants to have a reserve study or an insurance appraisal to get ready for the snowbirds coming back.”

    Finding someone to join their team, though, isn’t easy, due to the unconventional approach Staebler took to building her career. She started out as a cost estimator in her family’s engineering business back in her native Germany. After moving to Anna Maria Island in 2000, Staebler wanted a green card. An acquaintance who was an appraiser said he’d sponsor her if she went to appraisal school.

    Staebler first went into commercial appraisal. She shifted in 2004 after Hurricane Charley threw an opportunity her way. An adjuster company approached her for help reviewing information coming in from the field, and in doing that work she became familiar with the Florida Condominium Act from an insurance standpoint.

    “When I returned to my usual appraisal business, I said there is merit in this, because Florida statute requires an insurance appraisal every three years,” she says.

    Staebler invested in a single mail marketing campaign targeting about 1,500 condo associations in Manatee County, advertising her insurance appraisal services. She got a single response. But that job connected her with an insurance agent on Anna Maria Island, who helped send more work her way.

    Networking has played a big part in the growth of Staebler’s business. Joining the Community Associations Institute helped connect her with clients. Involvement in the Appraisal Institute helps her tell others about the company she has created. And being a member of Gulf Coast Builders Exchange introduced her to contractors and others in the construction industry she can turn to for advice and insight.

    “People get to know you and trust you,” she says. “You have people to fall back on but can also be there for them. And with that you can run a successful business.”

    But because of her combination of services and focus areas, there’s no clear-cut path a new employee could take to join the firm with the needed skills. “You are neither an appraiser nor a cost estimator,” she says. “You are something in between. I hope that at one point in time when construction is slowing down a little bit — and we will reach that point at some time —that we will find someone from the construction industry. Maybe a construction management graduate who is willing to learn the ropes of what we do.”

    Until then, Staebler’s dedication and “German engineering” will help her keep plugging away, no matter the time or cost. “If it takes me $2,000 to finish a $500 job, I do it because I would never deliver substandard work,” says Staebler. “We don’t cut corners.”

    - Business Observer

  • 25 Aug 2017 9:31 AM | Anonymous

     Three attorneys from the Sarasota office of the law firm Adams and Reese LLP were recently named to the 2018 edition of The Best Lawyers in America: David Boyette, Thomas Dart and Jason Gaskill. Boyette works in the field of trusts and estates, Dart works in construction and real estate and Gaskill works in intellectual property. Dart was also named one of the 2018 “Lawyers of the Year” by Best Lawyers.

  • 22 Aug 2017 9:44 AM | Anonymous

    GATES Construction is pleased to announce the addition of David Erb as Senior Superintendent. Erb will be responsible for daily onsite supervision of GATES’ projects, including quality control, safety, security, project close out, and transition planning. Erb has over 20 years of construction experience with a wide variety of project types and particular expertise in religious, commercial, office, and multi-family construction. Erb is currently based out of GATES Construction’s Headquarters in Bonita Springs, but later will be working out of both the Bonita Springs and Sarasota offices.

  • 18 Aug 2017 9:45 AM | Anonymous

    Sarasota, Florida - Kellogg & Kimsey, Inc. has expanded their construction management firm to open a second office location in Dallas, Texas to support their growing southeast clients. Kellogg & Kimsey, Inc. is dedicated to maintaining their partnerships in hospitality and retail construction and have been following the continued growth of the Texas market. The company has been in business for 31 years and have worked in 36 states across the United States.

    Kellogg & Kimsey, Inc. began working in Texas with their first project for Barnes & Noble in 1997 in College Station. Working with numerous retailers over many years, our team has continued to grow with projects in San Antonia, Round Rock, Cedar Hill, Houston, McAllen and Pasadena, in addition to surrounding other western states Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Utah.

    “Opening this office is a large step in Kellogg & Kimsey, Inc.’s commitment to growth.” Commented Charles Kimsey, Executive Vice President. “Our company has earned an excellent reputation and longevity in the retail market with national retailers such as Wal-Mart, Barnes & Noble, Best Buy and JC Penney over many years. We hope to implement these same partnerships with our extensive hospitality portfolio with clients such as Hilton, Marriott, Starwood and IHG as a mid-size go-to construction firm throughout the state of Texas.

  • 18 Aug 2017 9:42 AM | Anonymous

     GATES Construction is pleased to announce the addition of Lloyd Smith as Senior Project Manager. Smith is responsible for the overall project coordination from the pre-construction and permitting stage through to owner occupancy. Smith has 25 years of construction experience, including 4 years in the Sarasota area. With a wide variety of project types, Smith has particular expertise in retail, commercial, religious, office, and multi-family construction. He completed the Project Management Program at Community College of Baltimore County. Smith will be based out of GATES Construction’s Sarasota office.

  • 17 Aug 2017 9:35 AM | Anonymous

     What is social selling? It’s one of those terms you probably hear a lot but may not be able to define. At Sandler Training, we define social selling as: “Using online networks and resources to add more prospects, opportunities, and information to your sales pipeline.”

    Many confuse social selling with social media marketing. They think it's about getting thousands of online followers, LinkedIn connections, and Twitter followers, blasting out messages, and getting people to buy based on the call-to-action in those messages. While it’s possible, it’s an aspect of social media marketing -- which isn’t very scalable if you happen to be in a company with 500 salespeople. It's unlikely that 500 individual salespeople will each be industry experts with thousands of followers. Expecting them to generate business from total strangers by leveraging the power of a compelling tweet? Not very realistic.

    What is possible, however, is using social media to add people, opportunities, and information to your network. If you look around, you’ll see that’s what the most accomplished sales professionals are doing today.

    Tap into the Limitless Potential of Social Selling

    What I love about the three elements we include in the Sandler definition of social selling --prospects, opportunities, and information -- is they're virtually unlimited. There is always somebody else whom you can meet. There is always another selling opportunity. There is always more information that can help you qualify or progress in those sales opportunities. This definition reminds us there are endless resources that we can tap into via social media to help us sell more and sell more easily.

    Your knowledge, relationships, and attention are the infinite resources that you can trade to get those other infinite opportunities back, the ones that help you sell more and sell more easily. And here’s the good news. This part is scalable. Every salesperson, no matter how skilled they are with technology or how long they’ve been in the business, has relationships, attention, and specialized knowledge they can use to secure more people to talk to, more sales opportunities, and more information. This concept is the theory behind social selling success.

    To put it into practice, start giving your attention to your prospects by liking and sharing their posts. Start giving your knowledge by writing interesting and helpful posts or curating and sharing industry articles. If you want more referrals and introductions, start making them for other people and leverage your relationships and network to meet more people.

    Keeping a One-to-One Focus

    We believe the key to social selling success lies in recognizing that even though you can blast a message to a lot of people on social media, ultimately, you are trying to develop a one-on-one relationship with a prospect. Salespeople need to generate more one-on-one conversations that result in sales opportunities. Whether it's LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, what you’re doing is using a one-to-many medium to support a one-to-one sales approach.

    Your company can build an audience, brand awareness, and lead generation funnels. That’s Marketing’s function, not yours. It’s going to take a long time to build an audience and a personal platform large enough to generate weekly opportunities, and if you’re like most salespeople, you don't have that time. Most likely, you need a sale this week. Your goal shouldn’t be to write a blog post that gets more “likes” than anyone else in your space. Your goal is simply to add prospects, opportunities, and information to your existing sales pipeline, and then leverage those to start a single conversation about a legitimate, qualified sales opportunity.

    Social selling has blurred the line between marketing and sales, but as a salesperson, you need to redefine it for yourself. Are you getting paid to build an audience, or you getting paid to open and close sales opportunities?

    If your answer is the latter, start thinking about how you can take leads and suspects from social media marketing and turn them into sales prospects. To help you, we created a free guide for how to write social selling emails that land you an appointment.


    Written by Mike Montague @mikedmontague

  • 16 Aug 2017 9:37 AM | Anonymous

     Sweet Sparkman Architects is pleased to announce that Kimberly
    Eastman has recently earned the credential of Certified Design Firm Administrator (“CDFA”) after successfully completing the CDFA exam developed and administered by the Society for Design Administrators.

    Firm Principal, Jerry Sparkman said, “We encourage all of our staff to seek certification and/or licenses in their respective fields. Mrs. Eastman’s recent achievement as a Certified Design Firm Administrator attests to her professionalism and caliber of work within our practice.” “Earning theCDFA designation clearly demonstrates a commitment to the A/E/C industry and to the personal and professional excellence,” reiterated Natalie Newman, SDA National President.

    Established in 1959, the Society for Design Administration is the largest organization directed to Architecture/Engineering/Construction Administration. SDA’s mission is to promote the exchange of ideas and to educate its members in the related disciplines of design firm administration and management. To become certified, an applicant must have experienced in A/E/C firm management and administration, pass a thorough examination of competencies, and adhere to a professional code of ethics.

    For more information about SDA or the CDFA certification process, visit For

    more information on Sweet Spakman Architects, contact Michele Demperio at 941.952.0084 or visit

  • 11 Aug 2017 9:46 AM | Anonymous

     GATES Construction is pleased to announce the addition of Mark Boenker as Senior Superintendent. Boenker will be responsible for daily onsite supervision of GATES’ projects, including quality control, safety, security, project close out, and transition planning. Boenker has over 30 years of construction experience with a wide variety of project types and particular expertise in retail, commercial, office, and multi-family construction. Boenker received a Bachelor of Science degree in Construction Technology from Bowling Green State University. Boenker is currently based out of GATES Construction’s Headquarters in Bonita Springs, but in the future will be based out of the Sarasota office. 

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