FEDC Inside Track for Legislative Affairs: Governor Crist to Convene Statewide Small Business Summit

Oct 19, 2009


Above:  State Representative Jimmy Patronis (left) and Senator Thad Altman will be among the small business owners to participate in Governor Crist’s Small Business Summit next month.


State Representative Jimmy Patronis and Senator Thad Altman will be among more than 20 Florida small business owners who will participate in a small business summit to be convened next month by Florida Governor Charlie Crist.  On a day and time to be announced, the participants will explore ideas to promote free enterprise in the State.

An October 16 press release on the summit from the Office of Governor Crist is reprinted below. 


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Governor Crist to Convene Statewide Small Business Summit

Crist: We must tap into the practical wisdom of those in the trenches of Florida’s economic turnaround

TALLAHASSEE – Governor Charlie Crist today invited more than 20 small business owners from across Florida to participate in a statewide small business summit next month in Tallahassee. Governor Crist, Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp, the Governor’s Director of the Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development Dale Brill, and leadership from across the administration and the private sector will convene a daylong series of discussions and workshops (date and time to be released in the coming weeks) aimed at establishing ideas that can foster and promote free competitive enterprise for Florida’s small business owners.

“Florida small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and they will be the spring board for sustainable economic growth,” said Governor Crist. “This summit will tap into the practical wisdom of those in the trenches of our state’s economic recovery each and every day.”

Statewide Small Business Summit Discussions and Workshops:

  • Florida Small Business Regulatory Advisory Council: Recognizing the Unique Challenges of Florida’s Small Businesses
  • Governor’s Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development and the University of Central Florida: Accessing Florida’s Economic Gardening Program
  • Department of Business and Professional Regulation: Cutting Red Tape for Florida’s Small Businesses
  • Workforce Florida: Connecting Small Business Owners with Florida’s Workforce
  • Florida’s small business membership organizations: Finding Strength in Numbers


Statewide Small Business Summit Participants:

The invited participants represent a diverse cross-section of the kinds of small businesses throughout the Sunshine State that play a vital role toward strengthening our state’s economic engine, including publishing, transportation, health care, hospitality, environmental services, contractors and financial services.

“Small business owners are on the frontlines of Florida’s economic turnaround and I look forward to hearing from this diverse group during the course of this summit,” Governor Crist said. “Tapping into their entrepreneurial spirit is an ideal source for identifying opportunities to get government out of the way and allow Florida’s small businesses to thrive in the ever changing global economy.”

Statewide Small Business Summit Participants include:

  • Senator Thad Altman, 52, of Indian Harbor, is part owner of Pine Resort, a family business with 15 employees that specializes in long and short-term rentals.
  • James Bailey Jr., 55, of Jacksonville, has been the president of Bailey Publishing & Communications Inc. since 1975. His small business employs 32 professionals and publishes the Financial News and Daily Record, Realty Builder Connection and Golf News. Bailey is the father of six daughters and continues to look for innovative ways to strengthen the publishing industry in Florida.
  • Monte Bradwell, 53, of Quincy, is the CEO and owner of Bradwell Enterprises Inc., a small business which provides funeral planning and limousine services. As CEO, Bradwell manages 32 employees.
  • Cindy Cockburn, 56, of Safety Harbor, is the president of C.C. Communications, a small business she founded in 2001. C.C. Communications is a public relations agency that has promoted hotels and resorts, film festivals, restaurants and grand openings in Florida.
  • Dulce Cuetara, RN, 55, of Miami, has been the president/CEO of First Quality Home Care Inc. since 1996. Her small business is a home health agency for Medicare and Medicaid, which also does case management for Medicaid. Cuetara employs 25 office personnel and 105 field personnel.
  • John Falconetti, 41, of Jacksonville, is president of Drummond Press, a 73-year-old communications company specializing in printing, direct mail, publications and CD/DVD development. Falconetti is a third-generation president of his family-owned business which employs 75 people.
  • Adela Fernandez Lubkowitz, 52, of Gulf Breeze, is the vice president of finance and business development for Separation Systems Inc. She is one of 15 employees for the small business which provides specialty gas chromatography systems in the petrochemical and environmental industry. Lubkowitz is also the director of Workforce Escarosa, the workforce development board for Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.
  • Sandie Foland, 67, of Palm Beach Gardens, is the CEO and owner of Baron Sign Manufacturing, a small business she founded with her husband in 1983. Baron Sign Manufacturing employs 45 people and provides custom sign design, manufacturing and installation.
  • Reggie Gaffney, 51, of Jacksonville, is the CEO of Community Rehabilitation Center, a small business Gaffney and two associates established 15 years ago. Community Rehabilitation Center provides mental health, drug and substance counseling services in addition to vocational and job training and career counseling. Today, Gaffney oversees more than 80 employees at Community Rehabilitation Center.
  • Gypsy Gallardo, 38, of St. Petersburg, is the CEO of The Gypsy Gallardo Group LLC, the publisher of Power Broker Magazine, a magazine dedicated to people and organizations breaking new ground for the African American community. As CEO, Gallardo manages four employees.
  • Ellen Hunt, 51, of Pensacola, is the owner of Head Hunters Hairstyling, a small business she founded in 1978 which provides hair, nails, tanning, and massage services. Hunt continues to work as an electrologist and oversees the employment of nine people.
  • Bill James, 57, of Davie, is the president and CEO of C&C International Computers and Consultants Inc., one of the largest Dell Education and Apple business partners in Florida. James founded the small business which offers technology services and consulting for business and educational needs. Through his small business, James employees 55 people.
  • John Justak, 48, of Stuart, is the president of Advanced Technologies Group, a small business which develops disruptive technologies for the aerospace industry. Justak founded Advanced Technologies Group in 1998 and currently employs ten people.
  • Larry Newsome, 61, of Gulfport, is the president of Urban Development Solutions Inc., a non-profit development company that owns commercial real estate projects. As president, Newsome oversees three employees.
  • Paresh Patel, 46, of Clearwater, is the executive chairman of Homeowners Choice Inc., a small business which provides property and casualty insurance to Florida property owners. Homeowners Choice Inc. currently employs 55 people.
  • State Representative Jimmy Patronis, 37, of Panama City, is the vice president of Captain Anderson’s Restaurant in Panama City. The small business employs 225 people.
  • Richard Paul-Hus, 39, of Fort Lauderdale, is the senior vice president of Hypower Inc. Paul-Hus founded Hypower Inc. in 1991 with only eight employees including his father and brothers. The business has since grown to become one of Florida’s largest specialty contractors, employing 250 people.
  • Scott Peelan, 51, of Winter Park, is a managing partner for Moreno Peelen & Company. The small business, which employs 25 people, provides investment management in addition to retirement, business, benefit, estate and philanthropic planning.
  • John Smith, 68, of Palm Beach Gardens, is the president of International Consultants & Investors Inc., a financial services company that provides witness and consulting services in the securities and investment advisory areas.
  • Dwight Stephenson, 51, of Delray Beach, is the president and CEO of D. Stephenson Construction Inc., a commercial general construction firm. Founded by Stephenson 17 years ago, the small business employs 52 people. Prior to his success in the construction industry, Stephenson was a Hall of Fame football player for the Miami Dolphins.
  • Brian Walsh, 59, of Coral Springs, is the owner of two Wings Plus locations. The restaurants employ 88 people.
  • Garrett Walton, 60, of Pensacola, is the president of Heron’s Forrest Development Company, a residential land development firm with three employees.


According to the Small Business Administration:

  • Florida’s 1.9 million small businesses provide economic opportunities to diverse groups of people and bring innovative products and services to the market place; and
  • Small business accounts for nearly 60 percent of new jobs created in Florida; and
  • Small businesses represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms in the United States; and
  • Research indicates that small businesses have the highest potential for growth and new job creation, which will help build a stronger Florida both now and in the future; and
  • Partnerships between higher education communities, chambers of commerce and economic development organizations assist in the development and education of Florida’s small businesses.


Florida Small Business Month:

Florida Small Business Month is designed to help raise public awareness on the small business owners, employees, and entrepreneurial spirit of the people of the great State of Florida and their role in economic success of the Sunshine State. Throughout October, Governor Crist is highlighting the impact Florida’s small businesses have on the economy and examining opportunities to help small business grow.


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