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SRQ DAILY Feb 20, 2016

Saturday Perspectives Edition

Saturday Perspectives Edition

"While it is human nature is to resist change, it is important for Sarasotans to realize how fortunate this move was for our County."

- Christine Robinson, The Argus Foundation

[Gulf Coast]  Our Region's Entrepreneurs Are Better Together
Mark Pritchett, mpritchett@gulfcoastcf.org

When a suit-and-tied 12-year-old says, “It helped keep my dreams alive, and it helped me understand that anything is possible with hard work,” you know that an event about our region’s future delivered on its intended message.

The event was Gulf Coast’s Better Together luncheon last Monday, featuring Shark Tank star Daymond John. And the inspired tween was among dozens of youth in attendance, sitting alongside big-name business leaders and wealthy philanthropists as well as studious college kids and aspiring entrepreneurs.

John—nicknamed “The People’s Shark”—brought his own DJ for the event, and two large video screens projected clips of LL Cool J and other hip-hop stars amid his presentation. Not your typical Sarasota ballroom luncheon in February. And that was part of the point.Gulf Coast’s guest speaker gave our audience of 600-plus a fresh take on the economic possibilities for our region. He started by talking technology—the ultimate disrupter—and how it has transformed the landscape for current and future business builders. Opportunities exist to launch innovative businesses here that simply weren’t possible a few years ago.

John shared snippets of his own inspirational story: a short, dyslexic kid from “the ‘hood” (his words) who turned $40 and a vision into a billion-dollar global fashion brand. He described the heroes he didn’t see growing up (because they were rising at 5am to get their kids ready for school, and working late to provide for their families). He repeatedly stressed the value of mentors. “The number one reason [entrepreneurs] have success is mentors,” he said.

From starting an urban fashion line on a sewing machine in his mom’s basement, John has become a TV star, marketing guru, sought-after investor and best-selling author. But he’s quick to share tips for fellow entrepreneurs, credit the people who took a chance on him and admit to mistakes he made so others can avoid them. John’s formula is pure passion plus nonstop hustle structured by continuous learning, planning and goal-setting. He also keeps it real: As entrepreneurs, “you’ve got to keep trying,” he said. “You’re gonna fail more than you succeed.”

Daymond John showed students like Coy from USF Sarasota-Manatee, Mayada from Booker High, Liam from Booker Middle and 12-year-old dreamer Bryson that they can make money doing what they love, and they can do it here in their hometown. That’s not a vision every student in our region has right now. But it can be; it should be.

He also urged the “overabundance” of successful entrepreneurs in our community who have been there, done that to help shape these future innovators. “One thing successful people love to do is see someone else become successful,” John said.

Daymond John stands on the shoulders of many people who came before him. Let’s follow his lead and lift our community’s young and emerging leaders onto our shoulders, so they can view their own successful future here on the Gulf Coast.

Mark Pritchett is president and CEO of Gulf Coast Community Foundation. 

Ready to start leading now? Consider applying for our Gulf Coast Leadership Institute. Learn more at GulfCoastCF.org.

[Higher Education]  Anywhere From Here
Carol Probstfeld, presidentsoffice@scf.edu

I want to boldly engage you in supporting an important part of your community’s future—the State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota. I have made a commitment to lead SCF to become the region’s higher education investment of choice by demonstrating a strong return on investment for your time and financial support. Whether we are educating your college-age children, continuing the education of your employees or providing professional enrichment for you, SCF is an invaluable resource to the future of your family, your business interests and the growth of our community.

The fourth strategic priority of SCF’s 2015-2020 Strategic Plan is to establish the college’s central role in the educational, cultural and workforce development of our service region. SCF is the community’s college, and our faculty, staff and students are woven into the fabric of Manatee and Sarasota counties.

We are hosting an event on our Bradenton Campus tonight that captures this vision perfectly. The second annual Avenues des Artistes features SCF faculty and staff artists and performers as a catalyst to bring the community together in the center of our campus, laid out to resemble London, Madrid and Florence. The event is an amazing display of what an investment in education can create and the opportunity it can provide to students and our community.

SCF is accessible. SCF is affordable. SCF has a proven track record of providing high quality education, all demonstrative of extraordinary return on investment, but what SCF brings to bear is greater yet. It has been said that innovation consists of looking at what everyone else is looking at but seeing what no one else sees.  Our faculty will help your student see the talent they may not yet have seen in themselves.

By starting at SCF, you can get anywhere from here. Whether your goal is to earn an associate of arts degree to transfer to a university, graduate from a workforce program that leads directly to employment or promotion, or to enrich yourself and your skills, we have the program that can get you there. And not only can we get you there, we can do it affordably.

The secret to our success is not just our history or rich traditions. Our success is due to the faculty and staff who are not only committed to students and higher education – but also uniquely committed to our students, our college and our community. Recruitment, training and retention of the highest quality faculty, staff and administrative leaders are a personal priority to me and a centerpiece of this strategic plan. During the next five years we will increase public demand for our faculty and staff as subject matter experts. We will showcase and highlight the expertise we collectively possess so when our community needs expert advice, SCF will be the first call.

You can get anywhere from here, and at SCF, we are here to get you there.

Dr. Carol Probstfeld is president of State College of Florida Sarasota-Manatee. 

[Argus]  Embrace Change, Welcome Rooney
Christine Robinson, Christine@argusfoundation.org

Most of us can easily rattle off a litany of lists on which Sarasota County tops, including best beaches, best place for well-being, best place to retire, etc. Now we also boast the best of both worlds regarding our Congressional representation.

While political districts and boundaries have been a hotly debated topic over the past year, it is time to embrace the new changes. Last month, Argus members and guests got to know Sarasota’s newest Congressman, U.S. Representative Tom Rooney, at the January Meet the Minds luncheon. It was the first time the Congressman had visited Sarasota since redistricting assigned him to represent southern Sarasota County last December.

Our county is now divided between two lawmakers, Rooney and U.S. Representative Vern Buchanan. While it is human nature to resist change, it is important for Sarasotans to realize how fortunate this move was for our County.

Yes, Sarasota is now split into two congressional districts; however, we also now have two representatives who sit on two of the most influential committees in Congress. Buchanan serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, and Rooney on the Appropriations committee; this is notable.

While the redistricting plan continues to be criticized, the time has come for us to acknowledge the benefits of this opportunity and take advantage of what it means for our County.

Quite familiar with representing coastal communities in the past, Rooney, who grew up in Palm Beach County, represented 15 counties during his congressional tenure.

Remarkable accomplishments last year included securing $7.5 million in funding to fight citrus greening disease in the 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Bill, a cause he championed for the citrus industry since he was elected in 2008. Rooney is the sole Florida member on the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee.

Additionally, the Army veteran introduced two bipartisan bills in 2015 to protect veterans from fraud, identity theft and other criminal activity by increasing penalties against financial predators and other criminals who target veterans. We have a large population of veterans who live here and can be affected directly by these bills.

Together with U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, this duo represents a powerful allegiance for our region. Buchanan has been a proven leader on national security, jobs and the economy, and we have grown accustomed to frequent town hall meetings, continued communication and honest feedback from his team. We look forward to what Congressman Rooney’s input and vision can promise for the future and know that together these two leaders make a formidable team.

We thank him for making his first Congressional visit to Sarasota at The Argus Foundation Annual Meeting and look forward to his continued representation in the future for a County that will no doubt continue to top the charts.

Christine Robinson the executive director of The Argus Foundation. 

[Finance]  Oil Crisis Expanding to Banks
Raul Elizalde

Oil has plummeted, and it is unlikely to climb back anytime soon. There is simply too much supply going around, and demand has shrunk along with global economic activity and, to a lesser extent, due to a world-wide push for clean-energy sources. Oil dropped so fast that the world has found it difficult to adjust to the lower prices, creating dislocations that threaten to burst beyond the energy world and spill over the broader economy. While oil prices could recover quickly in the event of a major negative geopolitical event, long-term trends are not favorable for a sustained recovery.

The fact that the equity market has fallen in tandem with oil is puzzling to some observers, who generally assume lower energy costs are good for consumers. Many analysts, in fact, predicted lower gasoline prices would be great for the world, as they could be thought of a kind of “tax cut” that would be especially beneficial to the middle class.

To some extent, it is true that lower gas bills resulted in additional spending in other goods. According to the Census Bureau, total 2015 spending in gasoline stations was $100bn lower than in 2014. This was mostly spent, reasonably, in automobiles ($83bn increase). But apart from a shift in spending, the positive impact of the implosion in oil prices now appears insufficient to offset its negative consequences. For starters, energy companies have been hit hard: stocks have plummeted, credit ratings have been slashed, and some are on the brink of bankruptcy. Other companies like Caterpillar, Cummins or Dover that do not belong in the “energy” category but provide goods and services to the sector have suffered just as much.

In addition, some countries have staked their entire fortunes on the price of fossil fuels, like Venezuela, Ecuador, Azerbaijan and Nigeria. Still others, while less exposed, are nevertheless highly dependent on oil: Russia derives half its budget revenues and three-quarters of its exports from it. Norway’s oil and gas sector accounts for a quarter of its GDP and two-thirds of exports. And while Saudi Arabia has large foreign exchange reserves and a low break-even production price, the IMF estimates that it needs a price of $86 to balance its budget in 2016 – a far cry from the current $30.

In addition to the pressure on energy and industrial companies and the fiscal concerns surrounding commodity-dependent countries, the issue that could prove most dangerous is the explosion of private debt that is related to oil. Severe crises are almost always preceded by a large build-up of private debt that, like a house of cards, comes tumbling down after a threshold is crossed. The usual outcome is that the unmanageable private debt stock is then taken over by the public sector. Oil-related debt woes may well prove to be the trigger that sets off this mechanism of contagion.

While U.S. banks have made large progress towards cleaning up their balance sheets, European banks continue to suffer under the weight of their liabilities. Although the extent of their loan exposures to the energy sector is unknown, the magnitude of the problem became apparent this week when Deutsche Bank’s CEO was forced to declare, in response to fears the bank was not solvent and might default on some of its obligations, that the firm was “rock-solid,” which of course was widely interpreted as a suggestion to the opposite. Indeed, European financial stocks have fallen at a much faster clip than its US counterparts.

Banks are also being pummeled because of the rapid decline in interest rates. Right after the rate hike of last December, the Federal Reserve made clear that it was prepared to raise rates a few more times during 2016. This was controversial to many.  While higher rates are necessary to dampen accelerating economic conditions that threaten to push inflation higher, neither condition is present: U.S. economic activity is steady but muted, and inflation is well below the Fed’s target. The Fed went ahead anyway and hiked rates, raising widespread concerns this could push inflation even lower or, worse, reviving fears of deflation. Long-term rates plummeted as a result, which is exactly the opposite of what banks need in order to be profitable.

So the question is whether the U.S. stock market swoon is a temporary sell-off that presents investors with a buying opportunity, or rather the beginning of something more ominous.

This cannot be answered categorically, but the combination of factors that affect the market today suggest the outlook may well worsen before it improves. Oil is unlikely to recover anytime soon, rates may well remain low as long as the global economy remains weak, and banks look exposed and vulnerable to a double front of deteriorating loan books and an unfavorable interest-rate picture.

Raul Elizalde is president and chief investment officer of Path Financial. 

[City Government]  Self-Serving Officials Disappoint
Olaf Maly

So, if I get this right, this Mr. [Doug] Logan, in connection with his friend Mr. [Tom] Barwin, used his time at the office to establish a nonprofit, in which he would be the managing director. Well paid by the city. Now we know why he was, besides unqualified in every respect, hired in the first place, although everybody and his brother didn’t understand it. And now he says: ‘It’s time to return to the private sector.’ Does he pay the money back to the city that he made so far? He didn’t seem to work for the city, but for himself, so it would only be fair. Does he get a severance package, like so many managers do? The City of Sarasota, a never-ending story of disappointments. Homeless studies which cost a ton of money and don’t solve anything. Well-paid managers who don’t have a clue what they are doing and work for their own good. Is there one politician, I want to see only one out there, who doesn’t have only his own well-being in mind? I want to see only one who works for the people, like they promise until they are elected. Only one!

Olaf Maly, Sarasota. 

[KUDOS]  Powerboat P1 USA Selects Suncoast Charities for Children as "Charity of the Year"

Powerboat P1 USA, sanctioning this year's 32nd Annual Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Race, has selected Suncoast Charities for Children as their "Charity of the Year" for their entire 2016 race season held within the United States.  Lucy Nicandri, Executive Director of Suncoast Charities for Children, said “Suncoast Charities for Children has been the driving force behind the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival for many years now, and this partnership with Powerboat P1 USA can only garner increased support, enabling us to expand, grow, and continue as one of the best racing venues in the United States.” 

Suncoast Charities for Children

[KUDOS]  Circus Sarasota's Annaliese Nock Attains Guinness World Records Title

Annaliese Nock, an 8th generation circus performer, female daredevil and Sarasota native attained a Guinness World Records Title on the Opening Night of the 2016 Circus Sarasota. Annaliese, age 19, is the only female in the world to do a front somersault in the Wheel of Death. At the Opening night of Circus Sarasota’s winter Production, Red, White & BELLO! Annaliese completed the most somersaults in one minute in the Wheel of Death. An adjudicator from Guinness World Records attended the performance to verify Annaliese met the record breaking criteria. Photo credit: Cliff Roles 

Circus Arts Conservatory

[SCOOP]  SCOPE Unveils Goodwill Manasota's State of Employment Infographic

In support of the State of Employment study released by Goodwill Manasota in October 2015, SCOPE (Sarasota County Openly Plans for Excellence) used the information from the study to create an infographic showcasing the results. The State of Employment study focused on hiring opportunities and challenges faced by veterans and individuals with disabilities and addressed issues including difficulty of recruiting and retaining veterans and individuals with disabilities, and unemployment rates within the region and across the country. The infographic created by SCOPE displays the study results in a way that is easy to understand and share. Recently, SCOPE began creating infographics for local organizations in order to streamline information, help facilitate conversations, and improve communication. 


[SOON]  Concerts, Conference, and Celebration To Close Sarasota Opera Verdi Cycle

Sarasota Opera’s 2016 Winter Opera Festival season, a landmark in the company’s 57 year history, will mark the final year of the Verdi Cycle, a 28-season initiative to perform the complete works of Giuseppe Verdi. The season will culminate in a Verdi Festival Week March 15–20 which will include performances of Verdi’s Aidaand The Battle of Legnano, two concerts of Verdi’s music, a retrospective exhibit on the Verdi Cycle, an International Verdi Conference, and many more commemorative events. At the conclusion of the Verdi Cycle, Sarasota Opera will be the only company in the world to have performed every work of Giuseppe Verdi.  

Sarasota Opera

[SOON]  Wine Walk to Ca' d'Zan

Don't miss the fourth annual Wine Walk to Ca’ d’Zan on April 1 from 6-10pm, a self-guided wine tasting tour along the drive to John and Mable Ringling’s historic mansion overlooking Sarasota Bay.  Guests will receive a signature "Wine Walk" wine glass before they stroll The Ringling estate, taste fine wine and delight in delicious food pairings and entertainment inspired by the four seasons. The evening will conclude on the bayfront with live music and entertainment. Net proceeds will be directed to the Ca' d'Zan Preservation Fund. 

The Ringling

[KUDOS]  Chamber Awards Kobernick-Anchin-Benderson for Excellence in Customer Service
The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce presented Kobernick-Anchin-Benderson with the Insignia Award for the month of January 2016. This award recognizes the achievement of quality customer service and commitment to the community. Kobernick-Anchin-Benderson is Sarasota’s only rental senior community offering all levels of living including independent living, assisted living, secure memory care, skilled nursing and rehabilitation care. The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce presents the Insignia Award to a company or organization each month in recognition of its quality service and commitment to the community under The Chamber’s Code of Ethics.


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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