LAKEWOOD RANCH — The Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance and the East County Observer are one step closer to honoring Lakewood Ranch’s top businesses for 2012.
Finalists for this year’s “The Sandies” Awards were released Oct. 19.
Top-three finishers were: Bob Kirscher, of the Broken Egg; Paul Hoffman, of SouthTech, and Andy Toller, of Waste Pro, for the Entrepreneurial Spirit category; Grapevine Communications, MGA Insurance Group and Mauldin & Jenkins for the Corporate Philanthropy category; Blue Skye Lending, Lakewood Ranch Medical Center and Willis A. Smith Construction for the Business of the Year category; and Bob Delaney, Allan Shaivitz and Brittany Wenger for Lakewood Ranch Citizen of the Year.
“All finalists should be proud of their accomplishments,” said event co-organizer Lori Ruth, of the East County Observer.
Winners will be announced at this year’s “Sandies” Awards dinner Nov. 16, at the Polo Grill and Bar’s Fête Ballroom. Tickets cost $65.
When: 6 p.m. Nov. 16
Where: Polo Grill and Bar Fete Ballroom, 10670 Boardwalk Loop, Lakewood Ranch
What: The East County Observer and Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance will recognize Lakewood Ranch’s top businesses and a Citizen of the Year. Doors open at 5 p.m. Dinner and awards ceremony starts at 6 p.m. After-party follows at 8 p.m.
Business of the Year finalists
Blue Skye Lending
Founded in 2006 by a group of top-producing mortgage consultants, Blue Sky Lending currently has 17 full-time employees. Company revenues have climbed from $301,945 in 2009 to $909,965 in 2011. Blue Skye expects annual revenues to come in at $1.4 million for 2012.
“We have been fortunate enough to grow our company during a difficult financial cycle by bringing in additional top-producing mortgage consultants, processors and admin who believe in our same vision,” wrote company co-owner Leslie Swart in her application.
Lakewood Ranch Medical Center
Founded in 2004, Lakewood Ranch Medical Center has 368 full-time employees and 400 medical staff members. It is a member of the Manatee Healthcare System and a subsidiary of Universal Health Services.
In 2012, the hospital opened its new Spine and Joint Center and transformed the south wing of the third floor to the area’s only in-patient hospice unit. This fall, it will open a pediatric unit, as well.
Revenues have climbed from $53 million in 2008 to $72 million in 2012. The hospital averages $20 million in bad debt/charity contributions annually.
Willis A. Smith Construction
Founded in 1972, Willis A. Smith Construction has 55 employees. The company, over the last few years, has shifted its revenue goals and has targeted new markets for business to retain its employees during the economic decline.
Annual revenues have climbed from $50.9 million in 2009 to an estimated $70 million in 2012.
Grapevine Communications is a full-service advertising, marketing and public-relations firm. The company donates more than $100,000 annually in services to local non-profit organizations, for a total contribution exceeding $1.32 million since the company started. Involvement with nonprofits ranges from event sponsorships to pro-bono services. For example, Grapevine is developing a theme, marketing materials and more for the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund’s fundraising gala.
Mauldin & Jenkins
Maulding & Jenkins is a full-service accounting firm. This year, the company has supported more than 30 local entities, including the Coastal Conservation Association of Florida, Manasota ARC, the Manatee Community Foundation and the Manatee River Fair Association.
More than 15 employees from the Bradenton office hold an officer position on boards for local nonprofits, and the company itself has contributed thousands of dollars to sponsor local events and fundraise for groups.
MGA Insurance Group
Insurance provider MGA Insurance and its leadership promote events and charities that are important to them through active community involvement.
The company places a special focus on charities that involve “innocents,” — children or animals or others who cannot care for themselves or who have no say in their situation.
For example, for the last three years, the company has donated to Honor Animal Rescue an amount equal to 100% of its insurance premiums. Similar contributions have been made to the Boys & Girls Club, The First Tee Sarasota/Manatee and more.
Andy Toller with Waste Pro
Andy Toller, district manager for Waste Pro, said his management philosophy is to do things right the first time, stand behind what he says and to provide great customer service.
He joined Waste Pro in 2008 and has helped lead the company from $2.5 million in annual revenue for three months in 2008 to $11.75 million for 2012. As a company leader, he believes in recognizing employees’ good work and applying situational leadership.
Bob Kirscher with the Broken Egg restaurant
Bob Kirscher, managing partner for the Broke Egg, said his management philosophy is to create an inspiring environment through promoting personal responsibility for work and overall success and to lead by example.
The Broken Egg opened a third location in 2010. All three locations are exceeding $1 million in gross sales.
Paul Hoffman with SouthTech
Paul Hoffman, president of SouthTech, has a management philosophy of hiring the best people possible and letting them do their jobs. He said he creates a clear business vision, goals and strategies so everyone can be part of the grown and accomplishments.
He said he joined SouthTech because he wanted to focus on the local market, after building a national start-up company.
Lakewood Ranch Citizen of the Year:
A member of the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance, Allan Shaivitz is active in the business and local community. He serves on committees for the Alliance, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County, the American Society of Interior Designers, the International Interior Design Association and on multiple boards for his homeowners association.
He currently is working with his homeowners association and other entities to help improve security within Lakewood Ranch.
Bob Delaney has provided personal and financial support to numerous organizations over the years, including Easter Seals, the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund, the Wounded Warriors Project and more.
Delaney travels nationally and internationally to share with soldiers and others about post traumatic stress disorder, which he suffered following work infiltrating the Mob, as an undercover law enforcement officer.
A student at The Out-of-Door Academy, Brittany Wenger recently won the Google Science Fair for developing a program that detects breast cancer. She has spent more than two years, totaling more than 600 hours, on the project. She now is working with breastcancer.org to education people about breast cancer, as well.
She also this year worked with fellow high school students to offer job preparedness classes at Southeast High School.
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Knights of Columbus Councils are helping children in need by providing coats to children in their communities through the order’s Coats for Kids program.
Santa and his elf made a surprise stop Dec. 13, at WineStyles, in San Marco Plaza, by Harley-Davidson motorcycle, during the store’s weekly Friday night wine-tasting event.
Members and guests of the Lakewood Ranch Women’s Club ventured Dec. 4 to Orlando, to view holiday decorations at the Grand Floridian and to have lunch at Downtown Disney.