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SRQ DAILY Jan 30, 2018

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"We look at this as an investment not just in higher education, but also in art, design, technology, creativity and community."

- Dr. Joel Morganroth

[Education]  Ringling College Receives Landmark Gift, Endowment for VR Department Head
Philip Lederer, Phil.Lederer@srqme.com

“Transformation and change” marked the day, said Ringling College President Dr. Larry Thompson to the crowd gathered at the Keating Center yesterday morning. “Too often we move from one thing to the next and we don’t take time to appreciate,” he says, and this will be that moment for reflection. Thompson will have been president of Ringling College for 19 years come June 2018, and he’s seen perhaps more than his fair share of changes in that time—to the campus, the curriculum and the community at large—but yesterday marked a milestone all its own with a momentous gift of $15 million from local philanthropists Drs. Joel and Gail Morganroth—the single largest the institution has ever received.

“We look at this as an investment not just in higher education,” says Joel, who has also served on the Ringling Board of Trustees for three years now, “but also in art, design, technology, creativity and community.” An academic cardiologist and academic nephrologist, respectively, this is the Morganroth’s first major gift to the Sarasota community. Speaking to the crowd, Joel described the pair as “careful givers,” but completely sold on Ringling College as a worthwhile investment with an inspiring vision for a quality product, fiscal strength, ethical awareness and an excellent team. “And I don’t know anyone who can top Larry,” he says.

Impact from the sizable donation will be felt throughout the school as it furthers programming, scholarships and projects such as the Sarasota Museum of Art, but most keenly in Ringling’s budding virtual reality department, where the gift will create the first endowed department head at the college. Ringling College is already ahead of the curve with its own virtual reality development department, but Morganroth wants to see even more. “Virtual reality is going to be the way that our children and grandchildren are going to learn in all fields,” he says, and, echoing Thompson’s refrain, will be necessary for any preeminent school of art and design.

But looking back on the great transformations that have rocked the Ringling campus since its inception in 1931, the Morganroths recognize that no single actor, and no single gift, no matter how large, can do it alone. “We hope we’re not the only ones,” they say. 

Pictured: Drs. Gail and Joel Morganroth celebrate at the Ringling College Keating Center. Photo by Wyatt Kostygan.

[Entrepreneur]  Quillen, Gowan Celebrate Community, Hospitality
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a five-part series on winners of SRQ Magazine’s 2018 Localpreneurs of the Year.

Mike Quillen and Mike Gowan met each other in eighth grade, forging a lifelong friendship but also laying the groundwork for a business partnership that would prove bountiful for decades. Last week, the pair were named among the inaugural class of winners for the first-ever SRQ Media Group Localpreneurs of the Year.

“I was born in Sarasota, and it’s a great and satisfying thing to be recognized,” Gowan says. Quillen added, “It’s just great to be a part of a local community of entrepreneurs in the community where my partner and I both grew up.”

The two now run Gecko’s Hospitality Group, the company behind not only the locations for Gecko’s Grill & Pub but also Smacks Burgers & Shakes, Dry Dock Waterfront Grill and Dockside Waterfront Grill. The company’s first location opened at the Landings in 1992, where Quillen and Gowan, both experienced bartenders, served drinks themselves. That locale quickly grew from a 30-seat bat to a 300-seat restaurant on Fruitville and Stickney. Smacks joined the company’s offerings in 2013, while Dry Dock was acquired in 2015 and Dockside in 2016 became part of GHG family. Most recently, the Red Barn Bar became part of the company's offerings.

It’s no coincidence the word “hospitality” is part of the restaurant group’s name. Exceptional hospitality, along with fresh and locally sourced food with a gourmet twist, remains part of the company’s mission. The business partners with Honeyside Farms to supply produce and fruit, with Three Suns Ranch for quality bison and with Dakin Dairy Farm for dairy products at all Gecko’s locations.

Today, Gowan says the company has grown to about 600 people and continues to cultivate ideas from its junior management team. The team boasts of a corporate culture that “invites authentic involvement, encourages participation and is based on genuine care and sharing.”

Beyond the company, Quillen and Gowan see value in improving the affordable housing stock and improving comprehensive planning for the region. “We have a good education system but we need to make better,” Quillen says, “and we need to get the folkswho we educate to stay here in Florida, particularly stay in this community.” 

[Good Bite]  Louies on the Brain
Brittany Mattie, brittany.mattie@srqme.com

Louies Modern is revisiting the famed Crab Louies Salad with a Sriracha-induced twist. Juicy Florida Gulf shrimp steal centerstage and oust the traditional crab meat in a plated pyramid stacked with goodness.  No doubt, the housemade dressing alone is something worth bragging about. The Louie crab sauce is mixed and folded in fresh lemon vinaigrette, egg yolks, chopped parsley, ketchup and yes, you guessed it, Sriracha. Laying atop this creamy spread are thick wedges of Iceberg and Romaine lettuce that happily play the role of a crisp underlayer upon which is heaped generous portions of large poached shrimp. Perched on top are perfectly ripened avocados, sliced hard-boiled eggs, chopped cherry tomatoes and finely-cut chives tousled in an organized chaos of deliciousness.  Want more? Well the Crab Louies Salad is only one of the many new creations off of their recently redesigned menu. The rest awaits! 

Image provided by Louies Modern

Tableside Restaurant Group

[Community]  GCCF Selects Next Gulf Coast Board Institute Class

Gulf Coast Community Foundation has selected 27 nonprofit board members from across the region to participate in the next class of its Gulf Coast Board Institute. These volunteers will take part in four half-day interactive training sessions over a five-week period beginning February 2. Topics covered in the course include the basics of nonprofit board governance, financial and legal oversight responsibilities, and organizational planning. The Winter 2018 class of Gulf Coast Board Institute will be the third group of nonprofit board members to take part in this comprehensive training. Gulf Coast Community Foundation will offer additional classes of its Board Institute in the summer and fall. 

Gulf Coast Board Institute

[Exec Moves]  Morton's Announces Wolforth as Executive Catering Chef

Morton’s Gourmet Market has announced Michelle Wolforth as its new executive catering chef. A culinary arts graduate of Johnson & Wales University with a bachelor’s degree in hospitality, Wolforth will oversee the company’s award-winning catering department featuring an extensive menu of party favorites and custom event planning. She most recently served as chef consultant at Cooked Chicago, a chef-prepared fresh meal delivery service. Her professional background includes culinary positions at such prestigious restaurants as the Waldorf Astoria and The Peninsula in Chicago, The Soho House in New York City, and the Mandarin Oriental in Boston. She also worked as a banquet chef at Gillette Stadium for the New England Patriots where she prepared food for luxury box suites and up to 15,000 guests. 

Morton's Gourmet Market

[Synergy]  Florida Center for Early Childhood Receives $7K Grant

The Florida Center for Early Childhood, a local nonprofit serving at-risk children and their families in Sarasota, Charlotte, Manatee and DeSoto/Hardee counties, was awarded a $7,000 grant from the J. Milton and Nellie E. Hoffa Memorial Foundation. The grant will be used to train seven licensed mental health therapists as Circle of Security facilitators. The Circle of Security curriculum is aimed at helping at-risk parents with a history of trauma learn healthy ways of relating and forming attachments to their new baby. The Circle of Security program has been implemented at the agency for many years, but has recently expanded with the Early Childhood Court program serving Sarasota and Manatee counties. The Early Childhood Court follows the lead of the national Zero to Three Safe Baby Court Team and requires participation in The Circle of Security program, increasing the demand for trained professionals in the community. 

Florida Center for Early Childhood

[Recognition]  SRQ Airport Successfully Completes FAA Airport Safety Certification

The Sarasota Bradenton International Airport (SRQ) successfully completed its annual Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airport Safety Certification. The inspection revealed that SRQ is in compliance with Federal Aviation Regulation 14 CFR Part 139, a key component in maintaining the FAA Airport Operating Certificate and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Airport License. The FAA inspector reviewed airfield signage, lights, and markings; runway pavement and safety area conditions; Airport Rescue Fire Fighter (ARFF) response time; fueling agent facilities/vehicles; wildlife management; and miscellaneous training records. In a letter dated January 11, 2018, FAA commended the Sarasota Manatee Airport Authority (SMAA) for its effective procedures in day-to-day airport operations. 

Sarasota Bradenton International Airport

[TODAY]  PERFORMANCE: Northside Hollow , January 26 – March 11

Trapped underground after a deadly collapse, a coal miner finds his salvation in the arrival of a young and inexperienced first responder. While they wait for additional rescue assistance, they discover they have a curious amount in common. As the men confront mortality, their connection may unearth a deeper revelation about acceptance and spiritual refuge. For more information please visit www.urbanitetheatre.com for show times and tickets.

Urbanite Theatre , 1487 Second Street, Sarasota

[TODAY]  GALLERY: Shine the Light , January 10 – February 2

This three-tier, multi-media exhibition focuses on the current and historical aspects of refugee displacement, persecution and the struggles of finding home. The show features a glass installation by Laura Donefer, photo essay exhibition by Charlotte Schmitz and a short film preview by director Dave Marshall and Deborah Haber. The exhibition is curated under the direction of Deborah Haber, executive artistic director of DEEP Arts, a nonprofit arts organization whose mission focuses on the promotion of new works.

Alfstad& Contemporary, 1419 5th St., Sarasota.

[TODAY]  THEATER: Singin' in the Rain , January 18 – February 4, 2pm or

Don Lockwood, with humble roots as a musician, dancer and stuntman, must navigate his movie studio’s transition into “talkie” production. Lockwood falls in love with Kathy Selden, the lovely back-up singer dubbing over the tone-deaf Lina Lamont. A classic love-battle ensues and will determine who shall have their happy ending, as if audiences don’t already know.

The Players Centre for Performing Arts, 838 North Tamiami Trl., Sarasota

[SOON]  GALLERY: My Sarasota , February 1 – March 9

An illustrator, graphic designer and former student of the great Paul Rand, John Pirman unites influences from modern architecture and Swiss design to pop culture and old posters of the WPA for his own distinct, minimalist and symbolic style. See vibrant illustrations of Florida life, as well as Pirman’s own renderings of various pieces of modern architecture.

ArtCenter Sarasota, 707 North Tamiami Trl., Sarasota

[SOON]  BUSINESS: Bradenton Area River Regatta , February 3

The 2018 Bradenton Area River Regatta has it all, including speed, stars, and showmanship, in a free family spectacle that will have you holding your breath through every heart pounding moment. As Manatee County’s largest spectator event, the action is riveting and the thrills nonstop as world-class performers on and off the river showcase their awe-gasping athleticism and see-it-to-believe-it championship skills.

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: The Theatre Odyssey 6th Annual Student Ten-Minute Playwriting Festival , February 3 – May 5

View eight ten-minute plays selected for full production from the many submitted each year to this annual contest. Adjudicated by theater professionals, cash prizes will be awarded for the first place winner and runner-up.

Cook Theater, 5555 N Tamiami Tr., Sarasota

[SOON]  SEMINAR: SWAC Speaker Series , February 6, 6:30PM

Join the Sarasota World Affairs Council for a series of high–profile foreign affairs lectures covering current international issues ranging from foreign intelligence to peace negotiations to immigration and trade. This month, President and CEO of the Rachel Carson Foundation, Doctor Robert Musil will discuss the social responsibility of sustaining the planet for future generations and global climate change. Each lecture is followed by a wine and cheese reception for members. 

Mildred Sainer Pavillion, 5313 Bay Shore Rd Sarasota, FL 34243

[SOON]  THEATER: Rhinoceros , February 7 – April 14

A biting absurdist satire from Eugene Ionesco, a seemingly normal man wakes up, goes to work, drinks too much and flirts with his coworker, when normalcy is shattered by the thundering arrival of a full-grown rhinoceros. As the townsfolk transform into horned beasts around him, this man must contemplate the temptation and tragedy of following the herd. Directed by the Tony Award-winning Frank Galati.

Asolo Repertory Theatre, 5555 North Tamiami Trl., Sarasota

[SOON]  THEATER: Shakespeare's Greatest Hits , February 7 – June 10, Varies by day

"Brush Up Your Shakespeare" with the best of the Bard. This tongue-in-cheek musical revue is a collection of songs inspired by the world's greatest playwright. From relevant to irreverent, from soulful to sinful, from "Get Thee To A Nunnery" and "Othello's Rap" to "What A Pieve of Work is Man" and "Tonight." 

Florida Studio Theatre, 1241 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: Shivoo Havana Fashion Show , February 9, 11am-2:30pm

Get your SHIVOO on and come enjoy a boisterous celebration at the Shivoo Havana Fashion Show hosted by the Sarasota Garden Club at the Hyatt Regency Ballroom. This energetic occasion features a raffle silent auction, live Cuban music and a photo flower wall. The raffle prize includes a gardening tour for two in sunny Cuba.

Hyatt Regency Sarasota , 1000 Boulevard of the Arts, Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  SEMINAR: SRQ ProjecTHINK Conference , February 10, 8:45am-12:00pm

PROJECTHINK is the ultimate exploration into the world of innovation and creativity in learning. Designed for educators, professionals and anyone interested in thinking outside of the box, PROJECTHINK will challenge perceptions and jumpstart creative sparks, from early education to lifetime learning. How is learning adaptive? What are the new perspectives on engaging minds creatively at every age? How can organizations cultivate innovation and creativity to solve challenges? These questions and more will be explored along with cutting edge concepts and research at this year's PROJECTHINK Conference.  

Ringling College's Alfred R. Goldstein Library, 2700 Bradenton Rd, Sarasota, FL 34234

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: SRQ KidsFest , February 10, 12:00pm- 4:00pm

Launched as the brainchild of SRQ MEDIA President and CEO Lisl Liang as an experiential mosh-up of learning pathways, SRQ KidsFest deconstructs the whole mind ecosystem of creativity by curating an afternoon where curiosity, open-ended play, arts and design reign supreme. SRQ KidsFest is an experience designed to connect parents and kids with hands-on learning experiences, local engagement resources and opportunities in our region with a day teeming with exploration designed to deliver fun “a-ha” moments for the whole family.

In one afternoon program, SRQKidsFest will capture the power of imagination with interactive experiences with workshop such as letterpress, musical instruments, glass blowing, storytelling, architecture, arts and crafts and a variety of magical experiences designed to stir creativity.

Parents will be able to peruse booths showcasing the thoughtful programming, education and  family services available in our area from educational organizations to parenting resources, camps to sports and creative theatre to engineering.

Alfred R. Goldstein Library at Ringling College of Art and Design, 2700 Bradenton Rd, Sarasota, FL 34234

[SOON]  MUSIC: From Dallas with Love , February 11, 3pm

Audrey Lander’s accolades are numerous enough to fill an anthology, with prominent roles in “Dallas,” “Love Boat,” “Fantasy Island,” “The Dukes of Hazard,” “MacGyver,” “Hollywood Squares,” “$100,000 Pyramid” and “Password.” Lander will be joining The Pops Orchestra to perform her favorite songs from the Great American Songbook. Witness a bonafide star and Lifetime Achievement Award winner in her element.

Riverview Performing Arts Center, 1 Ram Way, Sarasota

[SOON]  FOOD: Eight Over Eighty , February 11, 10:30 AM

Eight Over 80 brings another highly anticipated and sold-out audience to Michael’s On East. Guests will enjoy a delightful brunch (not to mention mimosas), while hearing inspiring stories from this year’s eight worthy nominees. Join the Jewish Housing Council Foundation for a positive and emotionally charged event to begin the New Year with a fresh perspective. 

The Westin Sarasota, 1175 N Gulfstream Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236.

[SOON]  BUSINESS: 2018 Best of SRQ Local Competition , February 12

The 10th annual “Best of SRQ Local” Readers’ Competition is officially open! It is time to sound the alarm, rally the troops, take to social media and VOTE for your favorite Sarasota establishments and causes to be recognized in one of our most popular editions of the year.

Readers can vote on local eats, shopping, arts, luminaries and hotspots culminating in the compendium published in the April 2018 edition of SRQ Magazine. We hope you’ll share your favorite local experiences—from stellar sushi, most memorable on-stage productions to best happy hour.

SRQ Magazine

[SOON]  GALLERY: American Watercolor Society Traveling Exhibition , February 13 – March 23

The American Watercolor Society celebrates 150 years of fine art with a traveling exhibit making a stop right in Bradenton. Featuring the work of near 150 artists, including Sarasota’s own Judy Saltzman, the show hangs in the Kellogg Gallery. In the Searle and Reid Hodges Galleries, the Florida Suncoast Watercolor Society Exhibit brings even more watercolor to a day at ArtCenter Manatee.

ArtCenter Manatee, 209 9th St. W., Bradenton

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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