Local Leaders Speak at SB2 State of the Economy Luncheon, 2020 Localpreneur Awards Announced

Todays News

BY BRITTANY MATTIE SRQ DAILY FRIDAY WEEKEND EDITION FRIDAY FEB 21, 2020

Budding entrepreneurs, established executives and the business-minded professionals of all stripes convened yesterday afternoon for a collaborative luncheon at the Hyatt Regency-Sarasota for the latest SB2 Symposium Series: “State of the Regional Economy,” hosted by SRQ Media. The annual presentation featured five noteworthy leaders in the community fringing varied industries including education, financial, hospitality and tourism. Among the panel, speakers included Barbara Feldman, Academic Provost of New College of Florida; Chris Laney, Workforce Education Director of CareerSource Suncoast; Rick Konsavage, Managing Director of The Resort at Longboat Key Club; Brian Mariash, Senior Wealth Advisor of Mariash Lowther Wealth Management; and Elliot Falcione, Executive Director of the Bradenton Convention & Visitors Bureau. 

Assembled on stage for a packed ballroom, SRQ’s Executive Publisher and event moderator Wes Roberts, catalyzed a dialogue focused on "Fueling Today's Economic Engines for the Future." The diverse group of panelists touched on relevant topics such as legislative priorities, sustainable employment, tax regulations, bolstering the increased non-stop flights out of Sarasota-Bradenton airport, dealing with the impact of global epidemics, encouraging a young, rising workforce and the fundamental importance of tourism. 

“Embracing visitors is so important to building upon our sustainable economy,” says Falcione, before throwing the audience with an astounding statistic that 94% of first-time visitors who come here, are back within 11 months, and traditionally return year after year thereafter to invest in the economy and real estate. Meanwhile, Konsavage relays the area is becoming much more of a year-round town, than a seasonal one. “So, the demand is there to expand workforce,” he says. “But the challenge is finding good, quality staff and service workers. It’s been a tough season trying to find qualified, quality employees in restaurants and hospitality.” Without dwelling too much on the current scourge of China’s Coronavirus, Mariash shared input on the possible affect it could have on the state. “We should really be watching to see the economic effect the Coronavirus will have here,” says Mariash. “It’s already had a small impact already, but it’s certainly something we have to have global awareness of with a crisis management plan in effect.” 

After the thought-provoking discussion, SRQ CEO and President Lisl Liang, presented the 2020 honorees nominated for the Localpreneur of the Year Competition. Among the 20+ honorees, awards were given to five winners who were chosen for making a tremendous impact and impression in the regional business arena this year. The five entrepreneurs who have achieved success while keeping a local focus on passion and purpose include Jordan Letschert of TTJ Investments and Crunch Fitness, Allison Imre of Grapevine Communications, Michael Zurbrigen of Euro-Wall Systems, Robert Brady of ROBRADY Design+Production+Capital and lastly, Michael Klauber and Phil Mancini of Michael’s on East.

Congratulations to all 2020 Localpreneur of the Year honorees and thank you to our series sponsors: Merrill Lynch, Mariash Lowther Wealth Management, JFCS of the Suncoast, PSAV, Hyatt Regency Sarasota, New College of Florida and CareerSource Suncoast. 

Photo taken by Evan Sigmund.

Stay tuned for more SB2 initiatives and events this year.

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