SARASOTA, FL- SRQ MEDIA presented the first SB2 symposium of 2019 ‘State of the Regional Economy’ and an awards ceremony to recognize the 2019 Localpreneurs of the Year on Thursday, January 24, 2019 at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota. The Localpreneur of the Year program acknowledges entrepreneurs who are driving successful, locally-owned businesses with purpose and passion and who have earned the respect of their peers in the following areas: corporate acumen, innovation, philanthropy, leadership and community impact.
SRQ MEDIA is pleased to announce the 2019 Localpreneurs of the Year: Kelly Ison, Einstein Pets; Candice McElyea, One Eight Oh PR; Paul Mattison, Mattison’s Restaurant and Catering; Pete Peterson, Dealers United and Brett Wallin, Walt’s Fish Market and Restaurant.
“SRQ is proud to recognize the entrepreneurs who forge the incredibly impactful community of locally-owned and invested businesses in Sarasota and the Bradenton Area,” remarked Lisl Liang, CEO/President and Editor-In Chief of SRQ MEDIA.
The 2019 Localpreneurs of the Year award winners were announced after SRQ MEDIA’s annual ‘State of the Regional Economy’ program. The symposium began with opening presentations by Steve Altier, Seaside Bank; Eric Collin, Firmo Construction and Jeffrey Mayers, The Resort at Longboat Key Club. An insightful panel discussion followed by community influencers Kevin Cooper, Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce; Jacki Dezelski, Manatee Chamber of Commerce; Sharon Hillstrom, Bradenton Area Economic Development Corporation; Mark Huey, Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County; Jeffrey Mayers, The Resort at Longboat Key Club; Phillip Rich, Seaside Bank and Drayton Saunders, Michael Saunders & Company.
The panelists engaged in conversation about the impact of red tide, marketplace resiliency, and the overall economic health of the region. The group also discussed challenges that young professionals face in the region, which welcomed dialogue about affordable housing and workforce development.
The panel spoke at length about how the red tide algae bloom has affected the area's economy over the past year. In response to the discussion, Kevin Cooper, President and CEO of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, urged that we cannot have “short term memory” about red tide. Cooper noted, “Two years from now, if we don't have a red tide outbreak, no one's focused on it. No one is thinking about it.”
Growing a viable, investable market was also a topic of conversation. As the panel discussed how Florida’s economy may be perceived by others, Jacki Dezelski, President and CEO of the Manatee Chamber of Commerce, said, “People think of Disney World, retirement, and Miami. We have to work that much harder to communicate the message that this is an excellent business destination.” The importance of maintaining strong support for regional businesses was emphasized by the panelists as well. “As our top priority, we're all about seeing local businesses grow,” remarked Mark Huey, President and CEO of the EDC of Sarasota County.
Thank you to the sponsors who make SB2 possible: SB2 host sponsor, the Hyatt Regency Sarasota and audio visual sponsor, PSAV. Thank you to the 2018-2019 SB2 series sponsors Mariash Lowther Wealth Management and JFCS of the Suncoast as well as to the SB2 ‘State of the Regional Economy’ event sponsors The Resort at Longboat Key Club, Waterworks Sarasota, Seaside National Bank & Trust, and Firmo Construction.
The next SB2 symposium ‘Transformative Philanthropy’ will take place on Thursday, July 25, 2019. Tickets can be purchased in advance at https://www.srqsb2.com.
About SB2: SB2 is a regional community and business initiative produced by SRQ Magazine featuring a series of collaborative luncheons and SB2 Rumbles, modified oxford style debates on key regional issues and topics. SB2 focuses on the collaboration between Sarasota and Bradenton and catalyzes relevant and future-focused regional dialogue on topics impacting our regional economy with a focus on philanthropy, the independent sector and economic development.
To become an SB2 series sponsor or a specific symposium sponsor, contact Ashley Grant at 941-365-7702 x205.