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  • | 5:00 a.m. January 11, 2012
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+ Ranch’s Neal receives BUILDER magazine honors
Neal Communities earned top honors from BUILDER magazine by being named the 2012 America’s Best Builder in the 100-500 closings category.

Neal was only one of four builders selected across the country for the honor. The company was recognized for its attention to detail and quality commitment to finance/operations, design/construction, customer service, community/industry service and marketing.

With a total of 403 sales and 376 closings last year, 2011 proved to be one of the best years in company history.

“To say we’re honored is an understatement,” said Pat Neal, president of Neal Communities. “The combined efforts of our outstanding team of builders, sales and marketing staff, design team, and contractors have helped Neal Communities expand its leading, regional position beyond Southwest Florida. We are proud to be among the most respected home builders in the nation.”

+ West Florida Taylor Morrison adds to staff
Taylor Morrison welcomes new staff members to its team. Valerie McChesney joins as controller in finance and accounting; Derek Andruss has accepted the position of vice president of purchasing; Janet Molthcan as sales associate at Verona Reserve in Venice; and Greg “Beach” Beauchamp as sales associate at Palma Sola Trace in Bradenton.

McChesney has more than 17 years experience in finance and accounting in the homebuilding industry and most recently was employed with a private homebuilder.

Andruss joins the team with more than 14 years experience in purchasing and supply chain management and previously worked for a national homebuilding company as the director of purchasing.

Molthcan has been selling new construction for the past 30 years, working for national and local custom home builders in Manatee and Sarasota counties. Janet most recently represented a homebuilder in the waterfront communities.

Beauchamp, a certified sales professional, has been involved in both new home sales and the general market of real estate since 1993. Most recently, Beach worked at The Inlets as both a real estate agent and Coast Guard captain, giving boat tours of the neighboring waterways.

+ Manatee Chamber, EDC reorganize as new entity
The Manatee Chamber of Commerce and its Economic Development Council division have completed a reorganization announced last year to form a new non-profit named the Manatee Economic Development Corporation.

Effective Jan. 1, 2012, the MEDC assumed the responsibilities previously undertaken by the chamber division.

“I am pleased to announce the completion of this structural change, which will enhance the role of the MEDC as the countywide driver of business retention and recruitment while opening up new avenues of private and public investment,” said Jerry Marlar, MEDC chair.

The change began as part of the chamber division’s strategic plan in 2009.

Officers for the MEDC for 2012 are:
Chair: Jerry Marlar, Mauldin & Jenkins LLC
Chair-elect: John Rice, Rice’s Appliance & TV
Organizational Development Vice Chair: Brian Kennelly, Lakewood Ranch Commercial Realty LLC
Business Recruitment Vice Chair: James Holmes, Herald-Tribune Media Group;
Business Retention/Expansion Vice Chair: Jack Cox, Halfacre Construction Co.
Workforce Vice Chair: Dayton Amey, Tropicana Products
International Trade Vice Chair: Steve Tyndal, Port Manatee
Entrepreneurial Development Vice Chair: Mark Barnebey, Kirk-Pinkerton P.A.
Marketing Vice Chair: Chris Ciaccio, IMG Academies
Immediate Past Chair: Beth Green, Morgan Stanley

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