Skip to main content
Finalists and Sandies winners gather for a quick picture after the ceremony's conclusion. Photos by Pam Eubanks and Josh Siegel
East County Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012 5 years ago

Sandies Awards honor best of Lakewood Ranch

by: Josh Siegel Staff Writer

LAKEWOOD RANCH — The second annual Sandies Awards may have recognized individual success, but the people and companies honored all prefer to share their success with the Lakewood Ranch community.

Matt Walsh, CEO of Observer Media Group and emcee of the event held Friday, Nov. 16, at the Polo Grill ballroom, sought what makes the nominees tick and asked each one to share stories of their success. All of the responses seemed to circle back to community and people.

The Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance partnered with Observer Media Group to present awards for Entrepreneurial Spirit, Corporate Philanthropy, Business of the Year and Citizen of the Year.

Lou Marinaccio, who, along with his wife, Ann Marie, took home the Corporate Philanthropy award for his work with the MGA Insurance Group, may have said it best.

“It’s was just exciting to see the Lakewood Ranch community come together and share in each other’s success,” Marinaccio said. “It shows you the type of community we are. We are a community that gives and cares and that’s what is really important to all of us.”

MGA Insurance Group beat Mauldin & Jenkins and Grapevine Communications for the Corporate Philanthropy award.

Paul Hoffman, president of SouthTech, earned the Entrepreneurial Spirit Sandie for his risky decision to break off from a successful partner, the Kerkering Barberio Group, in the heart of the recession and establish an IT management company in Sarasota.

Hoffman, who credited his co-workers, topped Bob Kirscher of the Broken Egg and Andy Toller of Waste Pro.
“Winning this award is a compilation of so many people who have influenced me,” Hoffman said. “It’s an award for the people I work with and something I will cherish and bring back to them.”

David Sessions, president of Willis A. Smith Construction, accepted the Business of the Year award for Willis’ ability to stay restrained during the construction boom in 2004 and enjoy success since then.
The commercial contracting business won over Blue Skye Lending and the Lakewood Ranch Medical Center.

“This just shows that moving to Lakewood Ranch was one of best strategic decisions we could (have made) as a company,” Sessions said. “But this is totally not expected at all. It’s a wonderful surprise.”

Finally, Bob Delaney, an author, leader and international speaker, who worked as a New Jersey state trooper to help convict the Genovese crime family and who is best known as a retired NBA referee, won the Citizen of the Year Sandie.

Delaney, who topped Allan Shaivitz and Brittany Wenger for the award, gladly calls Lakewood Ranch home.

“This community has so many good people who are givers in the game of life,” Delaney said. “Billie (his wife) and I are proud to be a part of Lakewood Ranch.”

Contact Josh Siegel at [email protected]

Related Stories