Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year Nominations due September 2nd

BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. (August 27, 2014) – The Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce will announce the winner of the Bonita Springs Citizen of the Year at their 2014 Annual Meeting & Awards Luncheon on September 30th at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa in Bonita Springs from 11:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Co-sponsored by The News-Press Media Group and Naples Daily News / The Banner, nominations are now being accepted for Bonita Springs Citizen of the Year through September 2nd. The 39th annual award will be presented to a citizen who has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the betterment of Bonita Springs during 2014. All nominations must include the following:

  • Nominee name and home address (nominee must reside in Lee or Collier for at least 5 years)
  • Nominee phone, business name and contact (nominees can be employed or retired)
  • Brief description of the civic accomplishments and contributions of the nominee in the past year
  • Statement on why the nominee should be the 2014 Bonita Springs Citizen of the Year
  • Contact information for the person submitting the nomination

Nominations must be submitted no later than September 2nd and emailed to  For questions, please call (239) 344-4761.

In addition to awarding the Citizen of the Year, this event will be a celebration of accomplishments from 2013-2014, and the Chamber will honor member businesses, volunteers and board members including the Director of the Year, Pat Lord Award and many other special presentations.

For ticket and sponsorship information, please call the Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce at (239) 992-2943.


August 27, 2014 at 2:28 pm Leave a comment

Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce President & CEO, Christine Ross Earns Certified Chamber Executive Accreditation

BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. (August 21, 2014) – The Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) has designated Christine Ross, President & CEO of the Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce, Certified Chamber Executive (CCE). The CCE is the only national certification for chamber professionals.

“The CCE program assesses and tests the applicant’s knowledge of core chamber management areas—management, planning and development, membership and communication, and operations,” says Ben Haskew, CCE, president and CEO of the Greenville (SC) Chamber and CCE commission chairman. “Chamber professionals who are designated CCEs have rightfully earned this outstanding recognition through hard work, countless hours of dedication to their field, and leadership of their chamber to achieve the chamber’s goals. We are proud to have this year’s class join a long tradition of professional excellence.”

Ross was one of 11 chamber executives in the nation who earned the CCE designation which was awarded August 13 during ACCE’s Centennial Convention in Cincinnati. Since the program was initiated more than 40 years ago, only about 500 individuals have earned this highest designation in the industry.

In addition to serving as President & CEO of the Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce, Ross is also a visionary coalition builder furthering the goals of regional sustainable development for the long-term improvement of Southwest Florida’s economy through her position as Executive Director of the Bonita Springs Estero Economic Development Council.  Prior to relocating to Southwest Florida over five-years ago, Ross was President & CEO of the Falmouth Chamber of Commerce in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  She has extensive management experience with proven success in managing board, foundation, and economic development agency objectives.  Ross not only upholds the Chamber’s Five-Star Accreditation, but has collected an impressive list of accolades herself including The News-Press Media Group’s Person of the Year, 14 Most Powerful Business Women in Southwest Florida, and Florida Weekly’s list of Power Women.  Her certifications include Institute for Organization Management, Ford Fellow, Regional Sustainable Development, Certified Economic Developer Candidate, and International Economic Development Council.


 Christine Ross Headshot




August 25, 2014 at 1:25 pm Leave a comment

Meet Our New Board Members at Annual Meeting & Awards Luncheon

By: Christine Ross, MBA, MS, CCE ,IOM, President & CEO, Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce and Executive Director, Bonita Springs Estero Economic Development Council

It gives me great pleasure to announce the newest members to the Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors! You may know them. You may have even worked with them in some capacity, but I think we can all agree that the individuals I am about to announce have made significant contributions to developing the vibrant and prosperous landscape of our community.

Without further ado, please help me welcome the following dedicated community members: Shelley Anderson of FineMark National Bank & Trust, Alan Gaunt of Private Wealth Consultants, Scott Hennells of Wiebel, Hennells and Carufe, PLLC, Arlene Knox of Florida SouthWestern State College Foundation, Richard Mancini of Henderson, Franklin, Starnes and Holt, P.A., and Claudine Wetzel of Stock Development. We would also like to recognize two board members who will be beginning their second three-year team on October 1, 2014: Scott Duval of Brennan of Manna & Diamond, P.L. who is the incoming Chairman and Lisa Portnoy of Bank United.

Our Board of Directors serve as Chamber diplomats as well as represents the organization at business and networking events.  The strength and talent represented on the Board is significant and assures the members and community leaders that the Chamber will continue to provide a high level of dedication to the betterment of the region.

To make it official, the new board members will be installed on September 30th at our 2014 Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon. Our current Chairman Wendi Fowler of The Client Server, will ceremoniously pass the gavel to incoming Chairman, Scott Duval of Brennan, Manna & Diamond, P.L. We invite you and your team to join us at the 2014 Annual Meeting & Awards Luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.  For information on tickets and sponsorships, call (239) 992-2943 or visit

We look forward to welcoming these fine leaders to our board.  Through their dedication to volunteerism, excellence and regionalism we can continue to elevate our program of work and Southwest Florida’s business environment. BRAVO!

August 20, 2014 at 2:34 pm Leave a comment

Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce Hosts Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Builders Glass/The Glass Shoppe

BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. (August 14, 2014) – The Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday, August 13th to celebrate Builder’s Glass’ 25 year anniversary and the grand opening of The Glass Shoppe, the offspring of Builders Glass. Both stores are conveniently located in the same building at 24181 South Tamiami Trail, Suite 4, Bonita Springs, FL 34134.

The Pabst family purchased Builders Glass in 1989.  In 2007, Leslie Pabst, daughter of the owners, took over as President and purchased the company from her parents.  In March of 2014, Pabst opened The Glass Shoppe, a full service glass company providing everything from hurricane windows to frameless shower enclosures, and custom framing for vanity mirrors.  In addition, they have over 70 choices of decorative frames which can easily be applied to existing bathroom vanities or wall mirrors.  Recently, The Glass Shoppe was voted “Bonita’s Best” for shower doors.

Pabst said, “After 25 years in the same location, we are very excited about our decision to move Builders Glass of Bonita to a more visible location, right on US 41. In addition to relocating, we are proud to celebrate the grand opening of The Glass Shoppe. The Glass Shoppe is a showroom with over 2000 square feet of displays to show our clients all the possibilities we can provide using glass and mirror in their homes. We are thrilled to provide the first ‘Glass Design Center’ in the area.”

Builders Glass - The Glass Shoppe Ribbon Cutting

August 18, 2014 at 1:20 pm Leave a comment

Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce Hosts Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for The Woodruff Institute for Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery in Bonita Springs

The Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting ceremony for The Woodruff Institute for Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery on Wednesday, August 6th to celebrate the opening of their new office in Bonita Springs.

The Woodruff Institute for Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery opened its new 5,000-square-foot Bonita Springs/ Estero facility on July 15th. The office is located at 23471 Walden Center Drive, Suite 300, just south of the Coconut Pointe shopping center. This new office offers full service medical, cosmetic and surgical dermatology and facial plastic surgery services under one roof. Office hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Founding physicians, Rebecca W. Lambert M.D. and Jonathan E. Sonne M.D., along with Kathryn J. Russell M.D. and Debbie Wallace PA-C, will treat patients of all ages throughout the week.

Rachel Coughlin, Practice Manager, said “We are excited to provide our high-quality standard of care to residents in the Bonita Springs/ Estero areas. We want our patients to feel comfortable here, and we strive to provide the best experience possible.”

The Woodruff Insititute Ribbon Cutting

August 13, 2014 at 4:04 pm Leave a comment

Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce Welcomes Envoy Mortgage Branch to Bonita Springs with Ribbon Cutting

The Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting ceremony for Envoy Mortgage on Wednesday, July 23rd to celebrate the opening of their new branch in Bonita Springs located at 25243 Elementary Way, Suite #102 Bonita Springs, FL 34135.

Envoy Mortgage opened its doors in Bonita Springs in April 2014. The company was founded in 1997 in Houston, Texas where they are also headquartered. A full-service mortgage banking firm, Envoy Mortgage operates a network of retail branches across the U.S. These branches offer a variety of loan options and pride themselves on knowledgeable associates who will guide customers through the loan process. Their team includes experienced mortgage banking veterans, top sales producers and highly certified mortgage bankers.

Fran Bliss, Southwest Florida Area Manager, said,“Envoy Mortgage is where we believe the most effective way to compete in today’s market is through a passionate commitment to delivering exemplary service at every step of the loan transaction.”

For more information on Envoy Mortgage, visit their website or call (239) 204-5206. ­­­­

Envoy Mortgage Ribbon Cutting

July 24, 2014 at 4:52 pm Leave a comment

Pinball Wizard, a Leadership Bonita Success Story

It’s hard to believe that one day can be a turning point in your life, and everything can change in that moment.  It did for Chris Griffith, a graduate of our Leadership Bonita Program.  For those who do not know, Leadership Bonita is a 9 month program which provides quality leadership training and introduces participants to how the interconnected engine of our community runs.    

Four years ago, during a tour of the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida with her Leadership Bonita Class, Griffith sighted an out-of-order Spider Man pinball machine in the corner of a small room in the Chrissy Brown Inpatient Hematology/Oncology Unit.  For months the hospital had been searching for someone who could repair the machine, and Griffith happened to have a contact. 

When looking at the count of total plays, it was determined that the machine had literally been played until it could run no more, a total of 21,332 times.  Three weeks later, after hours of repair and $1,000 worth of parts, the machine was returned to its home at the hospital.  The machine motivates young patients to get back on their feet and have some fun, and is also a light-hearted encouraging way to give the support staff and family of patients a recreational activity to participate in.

What is now a successful charity, Project Pinball, was spawned from the influx of stories shared by others after the pinball machine was returned to the hospital that day four years ago.  The charity maintains and repairs the pinball machines at the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.  While, Griffith never saw her life taking this turn, she is now listing off dates of upcoming pinball tournaments by heart and even has a machine in her office! 

So, after hearing Griffith’s story, the challenge is on and we pass the torch to YOU!  What will you do or what have you done as a graduate of the Leadership Bonita Program?  We encourage you to share your success stories with us.


July 22, 2014 at 3:52 pm Leave a comment

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