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  • 31 May 2018 12:58 PM | Anonymous

    Sarasota based Sutter Roofing Company has received several large contracts on significant projects in our area. The company was awarded the contract on the Atlanta Braves Spring Training Stadium and Clubhouses with Construction Manager Tandem / Barton Malow. Sutter will perform all the low slope roofing and sheet metal on the new $125 million-dollar facility. The firm said their experience on similar projects and the fact that they are a local contractor played a part in their selection. “We have successfully completed Spring Training projects at Ed Smith Stadium (Orioles), George M. Steinbrenner Field (Yankees), McKechnie Field (Pirates) Joker Marchand Stadium (Tigers) and also the Nationals Stadium in Melbourne” said Doug Sutter, company President. “We have proven that we can perform on these demanding, fast-track projects”

    Sutter also received contracts on new construction projects in Manatee County including the East Manatee Middle School with Willis Smith Construction, North River High School with Gilbane Construction, and IMG Academy Hotel / Dormitory with Tandem Construction. “These are all significant new institutional projects with long-term customers that we enjoy working with. These facilites are necessary due to the tremendous growth of our area. They will enhance the already excellent education system in Manatee County and we are proud to be a trade partner on these projects.”

    Sutter is also known for large reroofing projects and the company is current working on the Desoto Square Mall with Madison Properties, Southeast High School with AD Morgan Construction and several large condominium reroofs due to Hurricane Irma in Collier County.

    The projects above are estimated to take almost 60,000 man hours to complete have an aggregate contract value of approximately $10 million. “The market is as robust as I have seen it in my 30-year career” remarked Doug. “These projects will keep a lot of local employees here on the Gulf Coast busy for months to come. There is even more work out there if we could get additional workers into our industry. That is an on-going challenge. However, we have the manpower to meet our clients objectives and schedules for these projects.”

    About Sutter: Sutter Roofing is one of the oldest and largest roofing and sheet metal contractors in the U.S. The company started in 1902 in Clarksburg, WV where it remains active today. The Florida office was started in 1979 and has grown to five offices throughout the State. Sutter Roofing specializes in a broad range of applications including Industrial, Government, Health Care, Educational, Retail, Condominiums, Cold Storage/ Distribution and other commercial roofing projects. The firm also maintains one of the largest commercial roof repair departments in the State utilizing their patented, state of the art SecureRoof service software.

  • 24 May 2018 10:48 PM | Anonymous

    Lakewood Ranch’s Halfacre Construction Company recently added two new partners, Reed Giasson and Tom Rees, who will work alongside Halfacre president Jack Cox. Giasson joined Halfacre 18 years ago as a carpenter and has since worked as a lead estimator, field superintendent, project manager and vice president. Rees, meanwhile, joined Halfacre Construction 14 years ago as an assistant project manager. He will supervise the firm’s educational projects in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, Collier and Hillsborough counties.

  • 24 May 2018 10:27 PM | Anonymous

    – Decide the Date Sarasota, a grassroots, bipartisan petition campaign, has succeeded in collecting the required number of petitions to ask city voters, on a November referendum ballot, whether they desire to change the date of City Commission elections to coincide with federal, state, county, and district elections.

    “City elections currently take place in March and May of odd-numbered years when no other elections are held. A great majority of Sarasota residents don’t know when to vote,” says Decide the Date Sarasota co-chair and former Sarasota Mayor Suzanne Atwell. “The goal of this initiative is simple: Let Sarasota city voters decide in a November election if it makes sense to hold local elections at the same time as county, state, and federal primary and general elections.”

    The Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections has officially validated 4,732 petitions and transmitted the certification of the validation to the Sarasota City Clerk. Decide the Date Sarasota gathered 996 petitions over the 3,736 petitions required for the certification. The petitions were turned in to the Supervisor of Elections in five months, one month prior to the six-month certification deadline provided in the City Charter.

    The City Clerk will present the validation to the City Commission and the matter will be set for a public hearing process to adopt an ordinance setting the election date for the referendum.

    Supporters of the campaign include the Sarasota NAACP, The Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, The Argus Foundation, the Sarasota Chapter of the ACLU, Gulf Coast Builders Exchange, ACLU Florida, The Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee, the Manatee-Sarasota Building Industry Association and many others. Aligning city elections to coincide with state and federal elections in August and November of even-numbered years would dramatically increase voter turnout and save about $100,000 per election.

    “Voter turnout for spring city elections is notoriously abysmal,” says longtime Sarasota resident Larry Eger, elected public defender for the 12th Judicial Circuit and co-chair of the Decide the Date Sarasota initiative. “Having surpassed the required number of signatures by such a large margin in so little time speaks to the popularity of giving Sarasota voters a choice as to when they want to hold their elections. We look forward to voters deciding this issue this November.”

    For more information, including proposed language to amend the Charter of the City of Sarasota, as well as FAQs, visit

  • 24 May 2018 9:58 PM | Anonymous

    Jon F. Swift Construction started building a new 16,000 sf cafeteria/auditorium at Brentwood Elementary School. The project also includes a near 60,000 sf campus-wide HVAC renovation that will be executed in phases to accommodate the school. The new building will feature a unique indoor/outdoor stage, new commercial kitchen, LED lighting, storefront glass, brick and metal cladding. The School will remain occupied during construction and the cafeteria/auditorium portion of the project will be completed in winter of 2019 and the remaining HVAC

    renovation will be completed in early 2020. “To date, 74% of our subcontractors on this project are local to the Sarasota and Bradenton area, said Jason F. Swift, Jon F. Swift Construction president. “Making an

    impact to our local economy and our schools is extremely important to us. This project will provide a state-of-the-art building and a reliable HVAC system that will have a long lasting impact at Brentwood Elementary School.”

    The project’s construction and design team include Jon F. Swift Construction, Sweet Sparkman Architects and Snell Engineering.

  • 10 May 2018 2:04 PM | Anonymous

    NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARINGS REGARDING PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO THE SARASOTA COUNTY COMPREHENSIVE PLAN AND ZONING ORDINANCE AMENDMENT Date: May 22, 2018 Location: Sarasota County Administration Center, Commission Chamber, 1660 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota, Florida Time: 9:00 a.m., or as soon thereafter as possible

    The Sarasota County Commission will hold public hearings to consider a proposed Comprehensive Plan Amendment and a Zoning Ordinance Amendment. Comprehensive Plan Amendment (CPA) No. 2017-G: A privately-initiated amendment to the Primary Components of Chapter 8, 2050 Resource Management Area VOS Policy 2.1 and 2.6 of the Comprehensive Plan relating to Timing/Phasing of Development and Master Development Plan Options. Zoning Ordinance Amendment (ZOA) No. 134: A privately-initiated Amendment, amending Appendix A, Article 11.3 and 11.4 of the Code relating to Application Submittal Requirements and Definitions. The proposed amendments to policies and regulations are to allow for a two-step process for the future development of properties located south of Fruitville Road and north of Clark Road as defined in the Amendment as the "Central Village Planning Area" and generally shown on the map below:

    You are invited to appear, be heard, and submit relevant evidence. A complete draft of the proposed ordinances are available during normal business hours in the Planning and Development Services Department at 1660 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota, Florida. Supporting documents will be available the Thursday prior to the public hearing at, Meetings and Agendas (Meetings on Demand) to view or download. You are invited to comment on the request by attending the public hearings or submitting your written comments to: Planning and Development Services Department 1660 Ringling Blvd, 1st Floor Sarasota FL 34236 Please call 941-861-5000; TTY: 7-1-1 or 1-800-955-8771; or email: or with your questions.

    Planning and Development Services Planning and Development Services provides unincorporated Sarasota County with land use services in collaboration with businesses, residents and neighboring jurisdictions to build a sustainable, prosperous community that distinguishes Sarasota County

  • 10 May 2018 2:00 PM | Anonymous

     The City of North Port is proud to announce that already the positive impact of the Atlanta Braves spring training relocation to North Port is being felt on the local economy. One of North Port’s top manufacturers has been selected by the Tandem Construction + Barton Malow Company team to join in the construction of the upcoming Atlanta Braves Spring Training Complex in North Port.   

    The Complex is currently under construction in the 9,600‐acre master‐planned community of the West Villages area of North Port and is projected to open in time to host the Brave’s final game of the 2019 spring training season. This $125 million public‐private project will include the main stadium, a clubhouse for major and minor league players, offices, multiple training fields and, of course, all necessary parking spaces and site beautification.  

    Ethan Adams, the CEO of Adams Group, is excited to share this very recent development. “At Adams Group our mission is to build beautiful environments and thriving relationships. Over the years, we’ve been fortunate enough to build environments for other major league clubs such as the Tampa Bay Rays, Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. These experiences, along with continued relationship cultivation, helped open the door for us at this new facility.  Being selected to help build the North Port complex is a great reminder that our efforts do continue to produce fruitful results.”  

    Adams went on to say that, “It signals to me that the local economy is definitely a lot bigger than it was when we moved to North Port and Sarasota County in 2010.  Moving to our 6‐acre site has proved to be a very good decision for the company.  Not only are we able to better tap into the workforce in North Port and Sarasota County, but our convenient location also allows us to easily reach our clientele base throughout the southeast U.S.” With this new project at the North Port’s spring training facility, the company is expected to create more jobs at their North Port headquarters, which is located at the North Port Park of Commerce.  

    North Port’s Economic Development Program Manager, Ruth Buchanan, reflects on this major accomplishment for Adams Group. “One of my very first business recruitment projects in North Port was Adams Group. Together with Sarasota County and the Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota, the City of North Port worked diligently and we were able to provide a meaningful incentive to the company which then relocated their corporate headquarters, brought in 62 jobs, and added 100 jobs over the course of 5 years,” says Buchanan. “This is what I call a win‐win‐win scenario, some people may call it a true public‐private partnership. Whichever term you would use, the combined effort to facilitate Adams Group coming to North Port was a fortuitous decision on the part of the three entities. Jobs, investments, and revenues are the gold standard by which we measure successin our field.”  


    Founded by two brothers back in 1978, Adams Group is celebrating 40 years of experience as a manufacturer and installer of commercial architectural casework and solid surface solutions.  While the original goal for the brothers was simply to put food on the table for their families, the operation now employs nearly 100 team members and services customers throughout the southeast United States.    In addition to sporting facilities, Adams Group has a proven track record of building beautiful environments in the healthcare, education, assisted living and corporate office sectors.  

    Billed as “the City Where You Can Achieve Anything,” North Port is home to more than 67,000 residents and spans more than 104 square miles. Undeveloped natural land and a population with a youthful mindset are hallmarks of North Port, which is one of Florida’s fastest‐growing cities. North Port is ranked by MoneyRates as the No. 1 U.S. city for young entrepreneurs, by Milken Institute as the nation’s sixth‐best‐performing large city and by Southern Business and Development as best in manufacturing in Tampa Bay.

  • 10 May 2018 1:49 PM | Anonymous

    HALL ARCHITECTS was named to the University of Florida’s 2018 Gator100 for the second consecutive year. 

    Sponsored by the UF Alumni Association, in partnership with the UF Entrepreneurship & Innovation Center, the Gator100 recognizes the 100 fastest-growing businesses owned or led by UF alumni. 

    “The Gator100 honors UF alumni from across the university who are founding and growing amazing companies around the country,” said Kent Fuchs, president of the University of Florida. “It’s an incredible affirmation of the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of the Gator Nation.” 

    HALL ARCHITECTS is an award-winning full-service firm specializing in architecture, interior design, planning, and historic preservation. Its public and private sector projects have been recognized with awards at the local, state and national levels. The firm was founded in 2004 by UF alumnus Gregory Hall, AIA. Greg received both his Bachelor of Architecture and Master of Architecture from the UF College of Architecture. 

  • 04 May 2018 10:31 AM | Anonymous

    Like most other American high school students, Garret Morgan had it drummed into him constantly: Go to college. Get a bachelor's degree.

    "All through my life it was, 'if you don't go to college you're going to end up on the streets,' " Morgan said. "Everybody's so gung-ho about going to college."

    So he tried it for a while. Then he quit and started training as an ironworker, which is what he is doing on a weekday morning in a nondescript high-ceilinged building with a concrete floor in an industrial park near the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

    Morgan and several other men and women are dressed in work boots, hard hats and Carhartt's, clipped to safety harnesses with heavy wrenches hanging from their belts. They're being timed as they wrestle 600-pound I-beams into place.

    Seattle is a forest of construction cranes, and employers are clamoring for skilled ironworkers. Morgan, who is 20, is already working on a job site when he isn't at the Pacific Northwest Ironworkers shop. He gets benefits, including a pension, from employers at the job sites where he is training. And he is earning $28.36 an hour, or more than $50,000 a year, which is almost certain to steadily increase.

    As for his friends from high school, "they're still in college," he said with a wry grin. "Someday maybe they'll make as much as me."

    Some 30 million jobs in the United States that pay an average of $55,000 per year don't require bachelor's degrees.

    Raising alarms

    While a shortage of workers is pushing wages higher in the skilled trades, the financial return from a bachelor's degree is softening, even as the price — and the average debt into which it plunges students — keeps going up.

    But high school graduates have been so effectively encouraged to get a bachelor's that high-paid jobs requiring shorter and less expensive training are going unfilled. This affects those students and also poses a real threat to the economy.

    "Parents want success for their kids," said Mike Clifton, who teaches machining at the Lake Washington Institute of Technology, about 20 miles from Seattle. "They get stuck on [four-year bachelor's degrees], and they're not seeing the shortage there is in tradespeople until they hire a plumber and have to write a check."


    Ironworkers practice tying rebar at the Iron Workers Local Union #86 Administrative Offices in Tukwila, Wash.

    Sy Bean/The Hechinger Report

    In a new report, the Washington State Auditor found that good jobs in the skilled trades are going begging because students are being almost universally steered to bachelor's degrees.

    Among other things, the Washington auditor recommended that career guidance — including choices that require less than four years in college — start as early as the seventh grade.

    "There is an emphasis on the four-year university track" in high schools, said Chris Cortines, who co-authored the report. Yet, nationwide, three out of 10 high school grads who go to four-year public universities haven't earned degrees within six years, according to the National Student Clearinghouse. At four-year private colleges, that number is more than 1 in 5.

    "Being more aware of other types of options may be exactly what they need," Cortines said. In spite of a perception "that college is the sole path for everybody," he said, "when you look at the types of wages that apprenticeships and other career areas pay and the fact that you do not pay four years of tuition and you're paid while you learn, these other paths really need some additional consideration."

    And it's not just in Washington state.

    "Parents want success for their kids. They get stuck on [four-year bachelor's degrees], and they're not seeing the shortage there is in tradespeople until they hire a plumber and have to write a check.

    Mike Clifton, Lake Washington Institute of Technology

    Seventy-percent of construction companies nationwide are having trouble finding qualified workers, according to the Associated General Contractors of America; in Washington, the proportion is 80 percent.

    There are already more trade jobs like carpentry, electrical, plumbing, sheet-metal work and pipe-fitting than Washingtonians to fill them, the state auditor reports. Many pay more than the state's average annual wage of $54,000.

    Construction, along with health care and personal care, will account for one-third of all new jobs through 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There will also be a need for new plumbers and new electricians. And, as politicians debate a massive overhaul of the nation's roads, bridges and airports, the U.S. Department of Education reports that there will be 68 percent more job openings in infrastructure-related fields in the next five years than there are people training to fill them.

    "The economy is definitely pushing this issue to the forefront," said Amy Morrison Goings, president of the Lake Washington Institute of Technology, which educates students in these fields. "There isn't a day that goes by that a business doesn't contact the college and ask the faculty who's ready to go to work."

    In all, some 30 million jobs in the United States that pay an average of $55,000 per year don't require bachelor's degrees, according to the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce.

    Yet the march to bachelor's degrees continues. And while people who get them are more likely to be employed and make more money than those who don't, that premium appears to be softening; their median earnings were lower in 2015, when adjusted for inflation, than in 2010.

    "There's that perception of the bachelor's degree being the American dream, the best bang for your buck," said Kate Blosveren Kreamer, deputy executive director of Advance CTE, an association of state officials who work in career and technical education. "The challenge is that in many cases it's become the fallback. People are going to college without a plan, without a career in mind, because the mindset in high school is just, 'Go to college.' "


    Matthew Dickinson, 21, asks a classmate for help as they rebuild an automatic transmission in an auto repair technician program classes at the Lake Washington Institute of Technology.

    Sy Bean/The Hechinger Report

    It's not that finding a job in the trades, or even manufacturing, means needing no education after high school. Most regulators and employers require certificates, certifications or associate degrees. But those cost less and take less time than earning a bachelor's degree. Tuition and fees for in-state students to attend a community or technical college in Washington State, for example, come to less than half the cost of a four-year public university, the state auditor points out, and less than a tenth of the price of attending a private four-year college.

    People with career and technical educations are also more likely to be employed than their counterparts with academic credentials, the U.S. Department of Education reports, and significantly more likely to be working in their fields of study.

    Young people don't seem to be getting that message. The proportion of high school students who earned three or more credits in occupational education — typically an indication that they're interested in careers in the skilled trades — has fallen from 1 in 4 in 1990 to 1 in 5 now, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

    Washington is not the only state devoting attention to this. California is spending $200 million to improve the delivery of career and technical education. Iowa community colleges and businesses are collaborating to increase the number of "work-related learning opportunities," including apprenticeships, job shadowing and internships. Tennessee has made its technical colleges free.

    So severe are looming shortages of workers in the skilled trades in Michigan that Gov. Rick Snyder in February announced a $100 million proposal he likens to the Marshall Plan that rebuilt Europe after World War II.

    At the federal level, there is bipartisan support for making Pell grants available for short-term job-training courses and not just university tuition. The Trump administration supports the idea.

    For all the promises to improve vocational education, however, a principal federal source of money for it, called Tech-Prep, hasn't been funded since 2011. A quarter of states last year reduced their own funding for postsecondary career and technical education, according to the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education.

    The branding issue

    Money isn't the only issue, advocates for career and technical education say. An even bigger challenge is convincing parents that it leads to good jobs.


    Darren Redford, 20, looks to his instructor after completing a connector mockup drill at the Iron Workers Local Union #86 Administrative Offices in Tukwila, Wash.

    Sy Bean/The Hechinger Report

    "They remember 'voc-ed' from when they were in high school, which is not necessarily what they aspire to for their own kids," Kreamer said.

    The parents "are definitely harder to convince because there is that stigma of the six-pack-totin' ironworker," said Greg Christiansen, who runs the ironworkers training program. Added Kairie Pierce, apprenticeship and college director for the Washington State Labor Council of the AFL-CIO: "It sort of has this connotation of being a dirty job. 'It's hard work — I want something better for my son or daughter.' "

    Of the $200 million that California is spending on vocational education, $6 million is going into a campaign to improve the way people regard it. The Lake Washington Institute of Technology changed its name from Lake Washington Technical College, said Goings, its president, to avoid being stereotyped as a vocational school.

    These perceptions fuel the worry that, if students are urged as early as the seventh grade to consider the trades, then low-income, first-generation and ethnic and racial minority high school students will be channeled into blue-collar jobs while wealthier and white classmates are pushed by their parents to get bachelor's degrees.

    "When CTE was vocational education, part of the reason we had a real disinvestment from the system was because we were tracking low-income and minority kids into these pathways," Kreamer said. "There is this tension between, do you want to focus on the people who would get the most benefit from these programs, and — is that tracking?"


    Amy Morrison Goings, president of the Lake Washington Institute of Technology, says, "There isn't a day that goes by that a business doesn't contact the college and ask the faculty who's ready to go to work."

    Sy Bean/The Hechinger Report

    In a quest for prestige and rankings, and to bolster real-estate values, high schools also like to emphasize the number of their graduates who go on to four-year colleges and universities.

    Jessica Bruce followed that path, enrolling in community college after high school for one main reason: because she was recruited to play fast-pitch softball. "I was still trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life," she said.

    Now, she's an apprentice ironworker, making $32.42 an hour, or more than $60,000 a year, while continuing her training. At 5-foot-2, "I can run with the big boys," she said, laughing.

    As for whether anyone looks down on her for not having a bachelor's degree, Bruce doesn't particularly care.

    "The misconception," she said, "is that we don't make as much money."

    And then she laughed again.

  • 26 Apr 2018 5:44 PM | Anonymous

    Church of the Palms celebrated the completion of the new Palms Center, a 14,000 square foot new multiuse building. The building features a café, a lounge, classrooms, multipurpose stage area with a media projector and a basketball/volleyball court. The Palms Center was designed by Carlson Studio Architecture and built by Jon F. Swift Construction.

    “It is in the DNA of Church of the Palms to minister to the needs of the larger Sarasota community whether it’s through our food pantry, child-care center, tutoring program or the Samaritan Counseling Center,” said Senior Pastor Dr. Stephen McConnell. “Our mission is to Love God and Love Neighbor. Our new Palms Center will allow us to swing open another door to welcome our Sarasota neighbors into our life. We imagine people of all ages using this great facility to improve their health and to grow in new and old friendships. We envision this to be a hub for youth and families from our community wherein they can experience healthy relationships and life-giving activity,” McConnell added.

    “We are excited to bring this dream to life for the Church of the Palms,” said Jason Swift, Jon F. Swift Construction president. “We can see how much the Palms Center means to the Church of the Palms and we are proud to build this long-awaited project.”

    About Jon F. Swift Construction, Inc.

    Jon F. Swift Construction, Inc. is recognized as one of the area’s leading commercial contractors, serving Sarasota and Manatee County public and private sector clients for nearly 40 years. The company has a proven history of providing high quality construction services for commercial, institutional and municipal projects and offers a wide array of services to meet their client’s needs including general contracting, construction management, design/build and estimating. For more information, visit

    About Church of the Palms

    Church of the Palms mission and deep commitment is to Love God and Love Neighbor. Established as a mission church in 1957 with 168 Charter Members, the church has gone on to see steady growth. The current membership is over 1800, with average church attendance over 1000, and 160 children and youth in Sunday and weekly programs. As part of their commitment to love neighbor, Church of the Palms has a food pantry that distributed over 20,000 bags of food in 2017 as well as an affordable community-tutoring program for nearly 150 children. The Palms Center is a powerful extension of this commitment, with its primary intended use to minister to the mind, body and soul of people in the Sarasota community.

    Church of the Palms is governed under the constitution of the Presbyterian Church USA and is a member of the Peace River Presbytery. For more information, visit,

  • 22 Mar 2018 7:23 PM | Anonymous

    Robinson Preserve Trail Extension Complete In Time For Upcoming Robinson Preserve 5K/10K

    Jon F. Swift Construction recently completed the 1.73 mile extension to the Robinson Preserve Trail. The new area of the Trail has a rubber coating that is easier onthe joints of walkers and runners. The extension comes just in time for the Robinson Preserve 5K/10K on March 23, 2018. “We wanted to use the Trail as a testing ground for the new material,” said Michael DiPinto, Project Manager for Manatee County. “The race is a great time to test it for athletes of all levels.”

    The public can still register for the race and the opportunity to be the first to try out the new Trail. The Trail will then open for a soft opening later that week, though the area may experience periodic closures as the County continues to restore the property.

    “We’re excited to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Robinson Preserve Twilight Run with the debut of this new trail,” said Melissa Nell, Manatee County Parks & Natural Resources Volunteer and Education Manager. “The Trail is a great addition to our existing routes in the Preserve.”

    The completion of the Trail extension followed the recent opening of the Mosaic NEST and is the continuation of future expansion at Robinson Preserve. Other anticipated projects include kayak storage, picnic shelters, restroom and shade structures along the Trail, and Florida Power and Light has discussed the opportunity of a few solar panels.

    “We are glad to have been a part of this project for Manatee County,” said Ross Russo, Jon F. Swift

    Construction vice president. “This is a great addition to Robinson Preserve as the material is great for runners and walkers alike.”

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