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SRQ DAILY Nov 23, 2015

Monday Business Edition

Monday Business Edition

"We are focused on encouraging the next generation of leaders."

- Connie E.W. Smith, Wells Fargo and Company

[Tourism]  Record Visitors to Florida

A record number of visitors came to Florida in the first nine months of 2015, according to statistics just released by Visit Florida. That includes 67.4 million domestic visitors, 3.4 million from Canada and 8.3 million from overseas.  

[SB2]  The Art of Corporate Giving
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

Increasing corporate philanthropy has been increased as executives seek rewards beyond monetary returns. Connie E.W. Smith, senior vice president and Florida Community Affairs manager at Wells Fargo and Company, spoke as the keynote speaker at SRQ Media Group’s most recent event, SB2: The Art of Corporate Philanthropy, held Thursday at The Francis in Sarasota. Smith said at the event that corporate leaders must realize creating a stronger community is “not only good, but good business." 

Wells Fargo provides automatic matches to team member causes and support for projects around the country. The company's philanthropic arm also involves itself in major efforts that benefit the specific areas of education and community development, which has led to a wide array of projects backed by Wells Fargo in some way, including the Florida House Institute locally. “We are focused on encouraging the next generation of leaders at Wells Fargo,” said Smith. 

A panel of local leaders gathered to discuss the matter said corporate givers in Southwest Florida recognize a need for both a philanthropic spirit and a supportive community. “We need to make a commitment to the communities in which we live and work,” said Lisa Krouse, FCCI Insurance Group executive vice president and chief human resources officer.

And that includes not just financial support from executives, but the time and talent of staff members at all levels. Companies like Venice-based PGT Industries work in a number of service drives and initiatives, ensuring people can engage in corporate giving regardless of income. “That’s the risk of being friends with anybody at PGT,” said Rod Hershberger, co-founder of PGT Industries. “You will be contacted. You will be tapped.”

The desires of many behind philanthropic efforts are evolving as well, with people desiring the make an impact for the community rather than simply keeping accumulated wealth within a family lineage. “In succession planning, we are seeing more would like not to give all their wealth to their children,” said Aubrey Lynch, principal at CS&L CPAs. “It feels counterproductive in some way.” So major stakeholders in a company often want a legacy that boosts the charity and nonprofit world.

Kelly Caldwell, CEO and president of Caldwell Trust Company, shared a story of a client he has worked with who was setting up donations to a nonprofit that would last 300 years, and wanted to structure accountability so that the money was being spent as intended for that time. “That’s his major focus,” he said. Local institutions can ensure that philanthropic efforts are executed properly over the long-term, in this case well beyond when anyone alive now can hover over the deal.

The next SB2 event, Investing in the Arts: the Finance of Culture, will be held Jan. 28. 

Photos by Wyatt Kostygan: Panelists answer questions at The Art of Corporate Philanthropy. Left to Right: Kelly Caldwell, Rod Hershberger, moderator Wes Roberts, Lisa Krouse and Aubrey Lynch. Top: Connie E.W. Smith gives keynote address.

[Development]  Ringling College Breaks Ground
Philip Lederer, Phil.Lederer@srqme.com

Gloomy grey skies weren’t enough to cast a pall over the determined group gathered at the corner of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Coconut Avenue this Saturday, where Ringling College of Art and Design President Larry Thompson led the groundbreaking ceremony for the school’s new soundstage and post-production facility complex in what he remarked was an “historic occasion” for Ringling College, the City of Sarasota and Sarasota County. “This is going to be an amazing development and a win-win-win for all,” he said.

Comprising five distinct soundstages, two large and three smaller, the facility will be open to commercial projects but remain “first and foremost” an academic facility, said Thompson, with one soundstage devoted exclusively to student use and the others used to involve students in professional projects from external clients. A post-production facility will provide all manner of technological tools for aspiring filmmakers, including green screen capability. New faculty offices will rise alongside.

The moment was “inevitable,” according to David Shapiro, co-founder of Semkhor, previously partnered with Ringling College in creating the Digital Filmmaking Studio Lab, and one of the key proponents of the new facility, which he said was designed with an emphasis on digital and web production. “The future is the web,” said Shapiro, “and we built from the ground up a facility that would handle that.”

Sarasota Mayor Willie Shaw lauded the effort, particularly as an economic driver, saying, “Sarasota is the place that makes things happen.” He noted its location near Newtown as “most impressive,” with its potential for impact. “We’re making a change,” he said. Sarasota County also granted $1.75 million to the project.

“To really make it happen takes a lot of gumption,” said Hollywood screenwriter and producer Roman Coppola, who served as consultant throughout the facility’s design process and attended the event Saturday. “This is evidently a community that values the arts, so I want to toast the people who thought this had value.”

With the project underway, Ringling officials said they are aiming for construction to be complete by this time next year. 

Pictured: Rendering of proposed soundstage and post-production facility.

[PINC]  Breaking The Surface

The study of numbers has served scientists for as long as they have been able to count on their fingers. But could fluid dynamist John Bush unlock new knowledge about even the simplest of scientific principles? Bush, who will be among the speakers for PINC Sarasota on Dec. 10, spoke with SRQ Daily about his work.

What is there about surface tension that we can still learn today that hasn’t been studied by scientific minds already?  A decade ago, it was discovered that millimetric droplets may levitate and self-propel on the surface of a vibrating fluid bath, supported by the surface tension. These walking droplets exhibit many features of quantum particles, and their dynamics are strongly reminiscent of an early, discarded model of quantum dynamics, Louis de Broglie’s pilot-wave theory. This surface-tension-dominated fluid system may thus yield insight into the supposedly inscrutable microscopic quantum realm.

In what way does a mathematical approach to physical science enhance the discovery process? Mathematics is the most precise language, and has thus intruded into virtually every human enterprise that seeks quantitative understanding and predictive power. In providing a common language that spans all of science and engineering, it allows us to discover connections between seemingly disparate physical systems by way of mathematical analogy. 

Learn more about PINC here

[TV]  Putting the 'Cool' Back in Sarasota
Philip Lederer, Phil.Lederer@srqme.com

Launching this past October on Sarasota News Network, Home and Castle TV takes viewers on a weekly luxury tour of the region’s latest in real estate, style and high-end escape. Created, hosted, produced and written by Tia Castle, SRQ took a moment to speak with the driving force behind Home and Castle.

A weekly show is a lot of time and effort. What about this project inspired that kind of commitment? I’ve always wanted to have a business that I have a passion for and that I absolutely love doing 24-7, a business that felt like it wasn’t a job. That's’ what this is. Having grown up in this area, then having moved away and moved back, I realized how special this area is and I wanted to create a show that would show off what our community is about and to leave people feeling proud of their community.

How has reception been from the community? It’s been amazing. We do a new show every week and we just did the ninth episode, and I have people writing to me saying, “Thanks for putting the cool back into Sarasota.” But I didn’t put the cool back into Sarasota; it was already there.

What is the most challenging aspect to putting together a weekly show? Not having myself cloned. It’s time. Building something new, there isn’t really a format to follow, where somebody’s been there, done that and can help you out. You have to figure out a lot of things as you go along. Up to this point, having to do everything myself – writing, hosting, handling staff, booking shows, deciding on content—has been the biggest challenge. And that’s every single week, with a deadline.

What is it that’s different about the show? There are two businesses in the show. One part is run on advertorials, but it’s creating entertaining stories. The other aspect is the actual production side. It’s two in one. Being at The Hub has been very helpful, and having that shared space where creative people can get together and share a studio. That has helped me to get the show off the ground.

Where do you hope to take Home and Castle TV in the future? I would like to duplicate this format around the country. Do it first in Florida, going to the St. Pete market, then to the Miami market and Naples. 

[Exec Moves]  Weigman Joins May Aston Team

Helen Wiegman, a broker-associate with RE/MAX Alliance Group, has moved from the University Park office to the Bradenton office, to become a member of May Aston's team. Originally from Long Island, New York, Wiegman moved to the Tampa Bay area in 1988. She received her real estate license in 1989 and broker's license in 2001. Along with her husband, she owned and managed several real estate companies, including a RE/MAX franchise. 

RE/MAX Alliance Group

[Opening]  Toys For Tots Leases Venice Warehouse

Toys for Tots leased 4,636 square feet of warehouse space from HR Sarasota on Commerce Drive in Venice. The two-month lease, for November and December, will help the organization through its busy season. 

Toys for Tots

SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine. Note: The views and opinions expressed in the Saturday Perspectives Edition and in the Letters department of SRQ DAILY are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by SRQ Media. Senior Editor Jacob Ogles edits the Saturday Perspective Edition, Letters and Guest Contributor columns.In the CocoTele department, SRQ DAILY is providing excerpts from news releases as a public service. Reference to any specific product or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by SRQ DAILY. The views expressed by individuals are their own and their appearance in this section does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising and sponsored content opportunities, please contact Ashley Ryan Cannon at 941-365-7702 x211 or via email

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