Tue, November 13, 2018
Patricia L Gleason
Wed, October 24, 2018
For some, the Thanksgiving Dinner is a luxury they can’t afford. The West Orange Chamber membership in conjunction with three of the local Community Centers enables us to serve 100+ local families this Thanksgiving.
Your cash donations and/or gift cards from Walmart or Publix are needed. Please make checks out to “West Orange Foundation” and in the memo line, please add “Thanksgiving” for proper allocation.
Your credit card donations can be made below using the PayPal link. Please click ‘Write a message’ and add ‘Thanksgiving Basket’ to ensure proper allocation.
Donations can be made at committee meetings, networking meetings, and other Chamber events. We thank you for your continued generosity – it is GREATLY appreciated!
Contribute to the 2018 Thanksgiving Drive:
West Orange Foundation, Inc. is a public charity registered with the IRS as a “501(c)3” non-profit organization with Employer ID Number 81-4529999.
A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE 1-800-HELP-FLA OR ONLINE AT http://www.FloridaConsumerHelp.com, REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE. REGISTRATION #: CH50578
Tue, October 23, 2018
Here in Orange County, workforce development is an increasingly important topic. The economy is thriving and businesses continue to flock to the Orlando area, but are we as a community doing enough to provide qualified employees to fill these jobs?
On November 14, business leaders have the opportunity to reach students directly via the annual OCPS Teach-In program. Participants can take advantage of this unique opportunity to become a teacher for the hour, showcasing some of the qualities they are looking for in their next great employee, while inspiring students and getting them to start thinking about their next steps after school.
Take advantage of this opportunity to share enriching stories about your career or your organization, and provide information on the many exciting career paths available to our area students. Whatever your skills, no matter your topic, there is a classroom of students waiting to hear from you! Learn more about this valuable program at www.foundationforocps.org.
Wed, October 17, 2018
In response to Hurricane Michael and the overwhelming generosity of people who want to help, the Florida Goodwill organizations have established a response plan to directly bring much needed support and aide to the communities that have been directly and critically affected by Hurricane Michael.
Throughout the State of Florida, Goodwill is positioned to accept, sort, store and distribute donations of clothing and household goods. People who would like to donate items can visit any Goodwill Industries Donation Center location throughout Florida and designate their donation to Hurricane Michael. While Goodwill can accept almost anything, for this effort we are focusing on clothing, shoes, towels, linens and other household goods. For local listings visit www.goodwill.org/donate-and-shop/donate-stuff.
Local Goodwill locations will process the donations earmarked for Hurricane Michael and provide material goods and/or funding to those affected by Hurricane Michael in the affected areas. In some cases, vouchers will be allocated based on need and can be redeemed for selected items in Goodwill locations throughout Florida.
If people would like to make monetary donations to Hurricane Michael relief efforts, please visit Goodwill’s disaster relief partners, the American Red Cross at www.redcross.org.
“Goodwill is grateful for the generosity of our donors and shoppers. With their support, we can provide necessary items to those affected by the hurricane,” said Nima Hodaei, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Central Florida. “This partnership shows the strength and magnitude of what collaboration can do.”
Donors are encouraged to check with their local Goodwill management for specific instructions on how to donate items for Hurricane Michael relief.
For a list of Goodwill locations in Central Florida, please visit www.goodwillcfl.org.
Tue, October 09, 2018
Page One Marketing
Mrs. K Speech, LLC
Healy Hands Massage
Tue, September 25, 2018
The Florida Association of Chamber Professionals (FACP) recognized Florida’s top chambers of commerce throughout the state for their outstanding achievement and dedication to the industry. The awards were presented at the organization’s Annual Conference, held September 18-20, 2018, at the beautiful Sundial Beach Resort & Spa on Sanibel Island.
This year, the West Orange Chamber of Commerce received the Certified Plus Chamber status. In, 2003, FACP implemented the distinction of Florida Certified Chamber to recognize standards of professional excellence in Florida. In 2012, the association enhanced its certification program to include a Certified Plus designation, for chambers of commerce that score an 86 or above during the judging process or are an Accredited Chamber through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Both the Certified and Certified Plus designations recognize chambers that have met high standards and strengthened free enterprise by protecting the business environment.
The WOCC joins an elite list of Certified and Certified Plus Chambers in Florida, representing the pinnacle standards of excellence in Organization Management, Service Intent and Capacity, Professional Administration, Financial Management, and Marketing/Public Relations.
“The Florida Association of Chamber Professionals congratulates the recipients of this prestigious distinction,” said Tammy C. Bracewell, President of FACP. “We are proud of each Chamber’s dedication and commitment to excellence within the business community. The Certified Chamber of Commerce program sets standards within the industry and recognizes chambers that have met those standards while offering guidelines for those to improve their effectiveness. In many ways, it is like the good housekeeping seal of approval for a chamber of commerce.”
The Certified Chamber of Commerce program is designed to promote the public awareness of the intent of the Chamber of Commerce brand as a not for profit community development based business membership organization.
Tue, September 25, 2018
At the West Orange Chamber, we are always aiming to help our members make meaningful business connections. In many cases this means providing opportunities to connect with your fellow members to collaborate on mutually beneficial business partnerships. We also strive to bring great business leaders to you for entertaining and educational presentations. A pair of these valuable events is coming up in October.
Next Wednesday, October 3, Dillon Knight Kalkhurst joins us for Lunch and Learn – Intergenerational Engagement: Understanding the Five Generations in Today’s Economy. Knight Kalkhurst is an Intergenerational Engagement expert, with over 25 years’ experience helping Fortune 500 companies, national nonprofit organizations, school districts, and their families navigate internal and external generational communications challenges. Attendees will enjoy an engaging presentation and discussion that will offer ideas on how to bridge the gaps between each generation.
On Tuesday, October 16, seize the opportunity to meet one of the most accomplished women in sports, as Donna Orender joins us for the next Celebrating Extraordinary Women event. Orender is known for leadership roles with the WNBA and PGA Tour, as well as her 2016 TEDx Talks appearance. Mark your calendar to be at Oakland Meeting Hall for this highly anticipated, women's-only event!
We hope you’ll join us and take advantage of these opportunities to take your business to new heights. Visit our Events Calendar to keep up with all of the business-building opportunities available to you as a WOCC member!
Mon, September 24, 2018
The West Orange Chamber of Commerce (WOCC) announced today that Stratus Roofing has taken the step to become the newest Community Trustee, the WOCC’s highest level of membership.
Stratus Construction & Roofing is the combination of three families who share a passion for all aspects of real estate development and construction. While each of these families enjoyed individual success, they decided to join together in the late 90’s to become the team they are today. Together with their faith, integrity and their commitment to excellence, they have evolved as a leading residential and commercial roofing contractor in the area. The corporate office is currently located in Oakland, Florida but soon will be moving to their new location in Winter Garden.
This investment will further support the integration and presence of Stratus Roofing within Central Florida and West Orange County. The Chamber’s Community Trustees benefit from the highest levels of exposure, while providing the Chamber with additional financial stability. Learn more about Trustee level membership and all the ways that the WOCC, the 2015 Florida Chamber of the Year, can facilitate opportunities for your business at wochamber.com.
Wed, September 19, 2018
The S&ME leadership team is pleased to announce the appointment of Matt Ryan as the new President.
Matt joins the firm having served the engineering and construction industry for 30 years. His previous experience has afforded him vast industry knowledge and he will serve S&ME well as it continues to deliver quality work to clients. In addition to providing leadership, direction, and management for all aspects of the firm, Matt will bring new capabilities and fresh perspectives to the award-winning S&ME team.
Tue, September 18, 2018
Axiom Bank, N.A., a Florida-based national bank, and FCTI, Inc. recently launched a multi-year agreement to provide Axiom customers with no-charge unlimited access to cash at 7,934 ATMs located inside 7-Eleven stores. This partnership also includes branded marketing messages to be shared on the machine’s screens and toppers.
“Expanding ATM access outside our branches and existing network allows our customers to take greater control over their money without paying fees,” said Daniel Davis, President and CEO of Axiom Bank. “Our partnership with FCTI also provides another platform to promote the Axiom Bank brand nationwide and introduce more customers to our banking model.”
“FCTI’s MBA program affords a unique opportunity for banks and credit unions to generate greater awareness of brand, products, and services – utilizing technologies not available at other ATMs,” said Robel Gugsa, CEO for FCTI, Inc. “We are very excited to be working with Axiom Bank to help provide their cardholders with surcharge-free ATM access nationwide at 7-Eleven, as well as extending their marketing toolbox with a package of flexible and dynamic options to better reach their ATM users.”
For more information and to find the nearest Axiom Bank location, visit www.axiombanking.com.
Tue, September 18, 2018
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women. Each year, more than 250,000 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed; an average of one woman every two minutes. Unfortunately, many women in Central Florida will forgo this important annual screening because they lack health insurance.
Shepherd’s Hope and Sand Lake Imaging are partnering to provide free mammograms to women in need. For each new patient who gets a mammogram at Sand Lake Imaging during the month of October, the facility will donate a free mammogram screening to an uninsured Shepherd’s Hope patient. It is the sixth consecutive year for the “Get a Mammogram, Give a Mammogram” initiative held in conjunction with national Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
“One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, but for those who are uninsured, this life-saving procedure is far from reach,” said Marni Stahlman, president and CEO of Shepherd’s Hope. “We are grateful for our longstanding partnership with Sand Lake Imaging that allows Shepherd’s Hope to provide local uninsured women with this essential medical exam at no charge.” Shepherd’s Hope provides free primary and secondary medical services to the one in four Central Floridians who are uninsured or underinsured at five health center locations in Central Florida.
Annual mammogram screenings can detect breast cancer early and help reduce breast cancer mortality. “Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among American women of all ages, with 21 percent of all cases occurring before the age of 50,” said Dr. Robert Posniak, women’s specialty radiologist and president of Sand Lake Imaging. “Routine annual screening mammography for an average risk woman beginning at the age of 40 has been proven to save lives and gives more treatment options, if diagnosed early. Our mammography provides better, earlier breast cancer detection for patients with results that are significantly more accurate that 2D exams alone, detecting 20-60% more invasive breast cancers than its 2D counterparts. We also reduce callbacks by up to 40%, compared to 2D alone.”
To schedule a screening mammogram appointment at any of Sand Lake Imaging’s three facilities, located in Orlando, Maitland and Lady Lake, call 407-363-2772.
Mon, September 10, 2018
Garden Colors Painting and Drywall
Blue Cord DevGroup, LLC
Mary Anderson CPA
Tue, August 28, 2018
The charms of living in an older home can be many – history, style, craftsmanship, quirks. But there’s no denying that living in such a home has its challenges. Maintenance can be tricky and expensive, especially if things have been neglected over time. Let’s take a look at some common situations found in many older homes:
Energy inefficiency is probably the number one issue with older homes. Most older homes were constructed with single-pane windows; if still in use, they likely don’t fit very well. Replacement windows can be very expensive, but will contribute immensely to reduced energy use and lower heating/cooling costs. Most replacement windows are available in several styles and price points, so finding one that suits the look of an older home is rather easy.
Like single-pane windows, poor insulation will also waste energy and money – and make living in the home uncomfortable. The most important and easiest area of the home to insulate is the attic, but walls and floors above ventilated crawlspaces should be insulated as well if possible. The attic may already have insulation but it may be inadequate by current standards.
If the home has older water pipes, they should be checked to identify the material and determine if they should be replaced. Older materials such as galvanized steel, iron, and even lead are still in use today. Replacement options include copper and CPVC piping.
Outdated electrical systems can still be found in older homes and may not only be dangerous, they can make the house uninsurable in some situations. Even if no danger is present, we use much more electricity in our homes today and the capacity of older systems may be inadequate.
With careful maintenance, older homes can be comfortable, stylish, and even energy efficient.
Tue, August 28, 2018
As you’ve surely noticed, we are in the full swing of election season right now. Today is Florida Primary Election Day. Have you voted yet? If not, there’s still time! Find your voting precinct location here, and view the West Orange Political Alliance’s endorsed candidates and issues here.
With the focus shifting to the general election after today, there will be plenty of important decisions for voters to contemplate. The Chamber is here to help you make an informed decision in a pair of significant local races. Join us Wednesday, September 26 for the Debate Luncheon, featuring candidates for Orange County Sheriff and Orange County Commissioner, District 2. Learn where each candidate stands on the important issues impacting you, your business, and your community.
The West Orange Political Alliance will be active over the next several weeks as well, helping inform local voters on the candidates that will best serve our business community. Like the WOPA Facebook page for all the latest news and endorsements leading up to Election Day, November 6.
With Fall right around the corner, the Chamber will be presenting several educational and business-building events in the coming months. In addition to the Debate Luncheon, we also have Lunch and Learn, Celebrating Extraordinary Women (rescheduled for October 16), the WOCC Golf Classic at Topgolf, and our Member Appreciation Brunch all coming up before the end of the year. With each event comes a wealth of possibilities to showcase your business and build awareness in your products and/or services. Click here to learn more about partnership opportunities available at each event, and visit our Chamber calendar to see all of our upcoming events throughout the West Orange community.
Tue, August 21, 2018
Due to a scheduling conflict, the Celebrating Extraordinary Women event originally scheduled for August 21 has been rescheduled to October 16 at Oakland Meeting Hall, and will still feature guest speaker Donna Orender of the WNBA, PGA Tour, and TEDx Talks. Click here for more information and to RSVP.
Mon, August 20, 2018
Right now there is life-changing work happening throughout the community, and United Way wants to celebrate all the Change Makers who call Central Florida home. Heart of Florida United Way announced the honorees of Change Maker Impact Awards and will be hosting an event on Monday, Sept. 24 to recognize those who set an example of going above and beyond to improve lives.
The honorees for the inaugural event include:
The Legacy Honorees to be inducted for their long-term contributions to the Central Florida community include:
“We feel privileged to present these awards that identify and recognize those who have lent creativity, initiative, and consistent professional leadership on behalf of the people of Central Florida,” said Jeff Hayward, President & CEO of Heart of Florida United Way. “These honorees have demonstrated their capacity to find creative answers to challenges, are led by an extraordinary sense of vision and wisdom and have demonstrated their compassion and love of helping others.”
The event will be held on Monday, September 24, 2018 at The Ballroom at Church Street. It begins with a Community Connection Speed Networking Reception at 5:30 P.M. to connect individuals looking for meaningful volunteer opportunities with nonprofits in need of skilled volunteerism. The networking reception will be followed by dinner and award show to honor this distinguished group who are essential to our community.
This event is possible through the generosity of sponsors, including Florida Hospital, Publix Super Markets Inc. and Dr. Phillips Charities.
Fri, August 17, 2018
For the third consecutive year, Community Health Centers, Inc., a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) with locations throughout Central Florida, was selected as an Orlando Sentinel Top 100 Company for Working Families. The Orlando Sentinel’s “Top 100 Companies” program is a celebration of elite employers who have proven that they know what it takes to create an environment where people love to come to work. The goal of “The Top 100 Companies” is to raise the bar among our region’s employers, creating excellence and employee engagement in the workplace that will attract talented people for years to come.
For the more than 20 years, the Orlando Sentinel has recognized organizations that are committed to making their company a great place to work. Community Health Centers ranked 15th in the 100-499 employees category. The award is based on 75% employee (confidential) satisfaction feedback and 25% is based on employer benefits. Qualities measured include; communication, workplace flexibility, leadership/management, career opportunities, community service, compensation and benefits.
“Each year, Community Health Centers looks for ways to improve the workplace environment for team members and employee benefits to create a successful and prosperous place where people love to come to work. Meeting the needs of our employees and engaging them is critical to ensuring that we provide the best care possible to the patients we serve. We feel that our great benefits package including zero or low medical co-payments and prescriptions, vision, subsidized dental coverage, short and long-term disability, bi-weekly retirement contributions and a generous PTO & holiday program contributed towards us being selected, again.,” states Margaret Brennan, President/CEO of Community Health Centers.
Fri, August 17, 2018
The 2018 Florida primary election is rapidly approaching and there are many issues for voters to research. One of the most important issues this year concerns our local schools and students. I encourage Orange County voters to vote YES on the Orange County schools one-mill property tax renewal.
The renewal of the one-mill property tax supports our school system by allowing OCPS to retain highly qualified teachers, protect arts and athletic programs, and support strong academic programs and student activities. As a past PTA, PTSA President and SAC Chair, I know how important community support for our schools is and will always be. With workforce development taking on ever-increasing importance, a successful school system is just one of the many assets we have that makes Orange County stand out in the region and state as a great place for business.
OCPS has shown that it is using these funds efficiently to improve the future for our local students. Since 2011, graduation rates have risen from 82.9% to 93.8%. OCPS is consistently recognized for its fiscal responsibility, receiving the Governor's Sterling award three times since 2014 for organizational efficiency.
Our community support for this tax has been invaluable and I hope we will support its renewal. I am proud that the West Orange Chamber Board of directors is supporting this initiative, so vote yes for the School Board Question on the August 28 primary ballot.
Fri, August 17, 2018
As one of the convenient ways to vote, the Florida Legislature allows voters to cast a ballot prior to Election Day at any designated Early Voting Center. Unlike Election Day when a voter must vote in his or her designated polling place, a voter can vote at any Early Voting Center. In Orange County, early voting will take place from Friday, August 17 to Sunday, August 26 from 10am to 6pm.
Tue, August 14, 2018
For five years, the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council has been partnering with our local jurisdictions to conduct health impact assessments and food systems initiatives. It is through these partnerships that we have begun to explore the relationship between the built environment, health outcomes, and economic development in our region’s communities. With these analyses, the Council can harness what we learn and begin to integrate the data into other programs and identify opportunities to advance and grow our local food sector by expanding opportunities for a more broadly shared prosperity.
At the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council Board meeting in July, Luis Nieves-Ruiz detailed the progression of the aforementioned partnerships in health and wellbeing. As the only appointed ULI Health Leader from Florida, a founding member of Good Food Central Florida (a food policy council), and now one of eight nationally recognized regional fellows for food economies, Luis has brought to light a discussion about the ways in which we can strengthen regional food systems and how they can be harnessed to create economic development opportunities. By utilizing a whole-systems approach and working to inventory our eight county food production assets including agricultural lands, processor and packaging warehouses, distribution centers, and commercial kitchens, as well as policy barriers to system development, we can identify areas where investments can increase quality of life. Land use professionals can further discuss identified investments or modifications to the built environment as an opportunity to create land use policies and regulations that promote connectivity, walkability, and access that will improve community health outcomes. As a champion of urban agriculture, Commissioner Sheehan offered support by stating, “As someone who believes in local food systems, it is good to have the support of the Planning Council to offer a regional perspective that illustrates the impact of these new emerging ideas.” By providing this support in the form of best practices or direct technical assistance, the regional planning council can help to build capacity of local governments and facilitate policy alignment across jurisdictions.
The cities and counties in this region are on the frontlines of nearly every global challenge and the planning council continues to bring together communities to develop strategies to collectively solve them. Bouncing Forward, resilience, requires intention to unite our systemic strengths.
Mon, August 13, 2018
Crown Property Holdings, Inc
Vision Construction Company
Jodi Knapp - Suzi Karr Realty
Wed, August 08, 2018
We realize there is an important election between now and next year’s legislative session, but our full time business advocacy team is already building the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 legislative and competitiveness agenda and we are seeking your important input.
Each year, the Florida Chamber presents the legislature and executive branches of government with a policy roadmap for how to grow Florida’s economy. The Florida Chamber’s Business Agenda is a member-driven, pro-jobs agenda based on sound policy and built by thousands of chamber members, local chambers, and partnering associations.
During his eight years in office, Governor Rick Scott signed all 138 Florida Chamber-backed bills you helped us encourage the legislature to send him. With your guidance, we’ll keep fighting for policies that lower your costs and help you grow our economy.
Please take a few minutes to tell us what your business needs from your elected officials to help your company and employees prosper. Please complete our short survey and help us set Florida’s 2019 Business Agenda today.
Click HERE or the button below and help shape Florida's future.
Thu, August 02, 2018
The West Orange Chamber of Commerce (WOCC) hosted its 2018 Hob Nob & Straw Poll on August 2, 2018, providing candidates with a platform to state their case to potential voters. Over 250 attendees cast their votes in the Straw Poll that utilized voting machines provided by the Orange County Supervisor of Elections office. This event was the final Straw Poll held in the area before the August 28 Florida primary election. As in years past, the results of this Straw Poll are viewed as a gauge for the primary. The results of the Straw Poll were as follows:
Thu, August 02, 2018
We hope you enjoy the first edition of #StinaSays! This month, Stina encourages you to vote YES on the renewal of a one-mill property tax to support Orange County Public Schools, get ready for our next Celebrating Extraordinary Women event, featuring Donna Orender, and more!
Tue, July 31, 2018
Colleen Monday has been named Florida Hospital Marketing Manager for the West Orlando community. In her new position, Colleen will strive to build lasting and impactful relationships with the residents of West Orange through meaningful interactions and sponsored community events. Her mission is to educate and inform community members that live, work or play in the area about the services Florida Hospital offers and its extensive network of care.
Colleen worked with consumer marketing at Florida Hospital for six years. Prior to her work with Florida Hospital, she spent fifteen years at Orlando Health serving in marketing and public relations.
In her spare time, Colleen enjoys being with her time with family, traveling to enjoy Florida's beaches and running.
Mon, July 30, 2018
After a nationwide search, Goodwill Industries of Central Florida has appointed a new president and CEO. Nima Hodaei took the helm of the nonprofit organization in mid-July, replacing Bill Oakley, who retired June 30 after a 44-year career with Goodwill, including eight years as CEO of Goodwill Industries of Central Florida.
Bringing more than two decades of retail and nonprofit leadership experience, Hodaei previously served as vice president of donated goods retail for Goodwill of Delaware and Delaware County. Prior to that, he held leadership roles with discount chains National Stores, Inc. and Forman Mills, as well as Burlington Stores and Macy’s. Hodaei earned a bachelor’s degree in communication and journalism from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
“In addition to his significant experience, Nima wholeheartedly champions Goodwill’s mission and vision,” said Michael Hsu, chair of the Goodwill board and CFO/COO of Central Florida Kidney Centers. “Bill Oakley has positioned Goodwill to sustain its mission into the future, and under Nima’s leadership we will carry on this legacy of providing people with the tools to transform their lives through meaningful work.”
Hodaei plans to continue furthering Goodwill’s mission of assisting job-seekers with barriers to employment across the organization’s service area, which comprises Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Lake, Brevard and Volusia counties.
“What I love most about Goodwill is the chance to impact the community in a tangible way and to know that our team is changing lives,” Hodaei said. “The scope and breadth of Goodwill’s work in Central Florida, including efforts to help train and open doors for individuals with barriers to employment, made this an appealing opportunity. I am eager to lead our team in broadening our impact and reaching even more individuals in need.”
Bill Oakley added, “It was the highlight of my career to serve the Central Florida market, and I’m pleased to pass the torch to Nima. I believe he will provide sterling leadership to take the organization to new heights.”
Tue, July 24, 2018
The 2018 Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday was passed by the Florida Legislature and signed into law by Governor Rick Scott. This sales tax holiday begins Friday, August 3, 2018, and runs through Sunday, August 5, 2018.
During this sales tax holiday period, qualifying items will be exempt from tax including: certain school supplies selling for $15 or less per item; and clothing, footwear, and certain accessories selling for $60 or less per item.
For more information and a list of qualifying items, please click here.
Tue, July 24, 2018
As you know, the West Orange Chamber’s motto is “Facilitating Opportunity,” and right now, the Chamber is offering a pair of terrific opportunities for you to take the next step as a leader in the West Orange Community.
Would you like to be at the forefront of change and progress in West Orange County? If you are a Chamber member interested in taking an active role leading our local business community, please consider applying for the West Orange Chamber of Commerce (WOCC) 2019 Board of Directors. This is your opportunity to make a difference in West Orange County and contribute to an organization that works for you every day.
Looking to build leadership experience and take a leap forward in your career? The West Orange Foundation’s Leadership West Orange program, facilitated by the West Orange Chamber, could be the perfect opportunity for you. Leadership West Orange is an annual program that brings a group of Chamber members together for a variety of sessions. These sessions are held monthly and the primary mission is to raise the awareness of the key segments of the total West Orange community. Days are a combination of lectures, tours, hands-on experience and behind-the-scenes activities.
This program began in 1994 and has been experienced by more than 400 local leaders. The mission of the Leadership West Orange program is, “To educate business leaders to better serve the West Orange community; To develop leaders and build a quality community.” Each month the class focuses on a certain aspect of West Orange County, examining the environment, economic development, government, media, healthcare and education by participating in a monthly field trip.
Wed, July 18, 2018
On Monday, July 16, the Orange County Supervisor of Elections office began mailing new voter information cards to Orange County voters whose polling places have changed for the 2018 elections.
“We encourage everyone to check their registration information and update their voter record before election day, if needed,” said Bill Cowles, Orange County Supervisor of Elections. “This will save the voter time on election day and will ensure they receive important election mailings.”
All voters affected by the below polling place changes will receive a new voter information card and official sample ballot reflecting this new information. Voters can also find their sample ballot at orangcountyvotes.com. Voters can review and update their information at any time on the Orange County Supervisor of Elections website – orangecountyvotes.com – or call the office at (407) 836-VOTE (8683).
Polling place changes affect the following West Orange precincts:
Fri, July 13, 2018
Axiom Bank, N.A., a leading community bank headquartered in Maitland, was recently named a “Preferred Lender” by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). This designation allows it to expedite the loan-approval process for commercial customers.
Customers seeking an SBA 7(a) loan typically must wait up to several weeks for the SBA to approve loan requests, after preliminary approval from the bank. The Preferred Lender program streamlines the process by granting the bank the final authority to underwrite and approve the loan on behalf of SBA. To achieve this designation, Axiom Bank was required to meet specific metrics demonstrating its expertise and ability to handle a large volume of SBA loans. The bank maintains dedicated resources to SBA. Its VP, SBA Manager is Scott Amatuccio.
“Time is money, and by removing uncertainty from the equation, we empower our customers to confidently take the steps they need to grow their businesses,” said Ted Sheppe, Executive Vice President of commercial banking for Axiom Bank. “This designation is a testament to Axiom Bank’s financial strength and our commitment to helping small businesses prosper.”
Achieving Preferred Lender status is part of Axiom Bank’s ongoing growth strategy, which also includes acquisitions; branch expansions (the most recent of which is located in Orange County’s Hamlin development); the launch of AxiomGO, a checkless checking account with a cutting-edge mobile banking app; and the addition of staff with specialty expertise.
Tue, July 10, 2018
Would you like to be at the forefront of change and progress in West Orange County? If you are a Chamber Member who is passionate about our local business community, please consider applying for the West Orange Chamber of Commerce (WOCC) 2019 Board of Directors. This is your opportunity to make a difference in West Orange County and contribute to an organization that works for you every day.
The Board of Directors is the policy-making panel for the WOCC. Its members include a diverse mix of 33 business professionals from large, medium and small companies that represent the entire West Orange business community. Being a part of the WOCC Board of Directors empowers you to help make decisions that will impact the future of the WOCC and West Orange County, and to build long lasting relationships with local business leaders and elected officials.
Mon, July 09, 2018
New York Life - Orlando
Tue, June 26, 2018
The Florida primaries are racing toward us and many are shifting their attention toward getting to know the candidates who will earn the right to represent our region in the coming years. On Thursday, August 2, the West Orange Chamber of Commerce presents its biennial Hob Nob and Straw Poll, presented by Orlando Health and hosted by Manheim Orlando. The event provides potential voters with one more opportunity to meet the candidates and learn more about their positions, allowing them to make an informed decision in the August 28 primary.
Now is the time for candidates to take advantage of this high-profile opportunity to share their message with voters. Reserve your candidate table by July 11 to save with our early-bird special. Do you live or work in West Orange County? This event provides the perfect opportunity to speak to the candidates and become more involved in the community. Save $10 by purchasing your tickets in advance, or take advantage of even greater savings with a corporate package of ten tickets. We hope you will join us for this meaningful, informative event.
You have probably seen the Chamber and our president, Stina D’Uva, in the news lately. The Chamber has made tremendous progress in its advocacy efforts for a “doggie dining” ordinance, the Voter Control of Gambling amendment, the Pine Hills Overlay ordinance and much more. Learn more about these efforts on our website.
The West Orange Chamber will continue to position itself to facilitate opportunities for each of our nearly 1,100 members. Whether advocating for pro-commerce issues, providing partnership and business-to-business opportunities or connecting those new to our area to local businesses, we will continue to work for a successful, prosperous business community.
Mon, June 11, 2018
“This donation allows us to reinforce our mission of conservation and sustainability,” said Marcus VanVleet, vice president of merchandising at SeaWorld Orlando. “We are keeping waste out of local landfills while supporting Goodwill’s efforts to empower differently abled Central Floridians with employment opportunities.”
The scooters, once used in SeaWorld parks, will be distributed among Goodwill’s 28 retail stores in Central Florida, where they will be sold. Sales revenue will help fund Goodwill’s job training and employment assistance programs.
“The community can support our efforts to provide job training and placement to Central Floridians who have barriers to employment in several ways, including dropping off household items and making in-kind donations,” said Karla Radka, chief operating officer at Goodwill. “We’re grateful for the generosity of corporate partners like SeaWorld who help us continue building lives that work.”
To support Goodwill, residents can donate clothing, shoes, books, household goods and electronics at their nearest retail store or Donation Xpress. A list of locations can be found at www.goodwillcfl.org.
Mon, June 04, 2018
Shepherd’s Hope was among 20 recipients to be awarded a grant from Direct Relief and the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics (NAFC). Over 1.8 Million was awarded through this grant program to support Free and Charitable Clinics in Florida and Texas that were affected last year by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.
These grants were distributed through the Hurricane Community Health Fund, which was set up by Direct Relief in the aftermath of the Hurricanes to be used solely for the benefit of hurricane-affected communities and people – particularly those who have low incomes, lack insurance, and are among the most vulnerable residents.
"Recovery from major disasters continues long after the headlines disappear," said Damon Taugher, Director of U.S. Programs for Direct Relief. "With the start of the 2018 hurricane season just days away, many communities are still healing from 2017's devastating storms. Direct Relief's hope with this latest round of funding is that free clinics will not only be able to repair and recover from past emergencies but become more resilient to disasters in the future."
Shepherd’s Hope received a $121,115 grant to support their outstanding Hurricane Irma relief efforts. “These significant grant dollars come at a critical time as our agency has struggled to keep up with patient capacity demands for the 1 in 4 uninsured in Central Florida still struggling with the after effects of the Hurricanes,” said Marni Stahlman, Shepherd’s Hope’s President & CEO, “It is a recognition, at a national level, that the mission of Shepherd’s Hope is vital to the healthcare continuum in our community and the health and well-being of our most vulnerable neighbors.”
“The NAFC is proud to partner with Direct Relief to provide much needed funds to Free and Charitable Clinics that were and continue to be impacted by the devastating effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma,” said Nicole Lamoureux, NAFC President & CEO. “In communities throughout the country, Free and Charitable Clinics are among the first health care responders, both in everyday life as well as in the face of disasters. This funding will assist member organizations as they continue to rebuild, recover lost supplies and medication and most importantly allow them to continue and expand providing care to their patients and communities, many of whom are still dealing with the aftermath of these storms.”
Grants from the Hurricane Community Health Fund are being distributed to Free and Charitable Clinics to support continued recovery efforts, to recoup expenses and/or reinforce emergency preparedness efforts related to the hurricanes which will allow for the continuity of crucial life-saving care to those most vulnerable in their communities.
Mon, June 04, 2018
Last week, VISIT FLORIDA unveiled its new and improved cooperative marketing program to over 12,000 small, medium and large industry partners across the state. The new cooperative program, developed in conjunction with Miles Partnership, allows industry partners of VISIT FLORIDA to buy into a number of shared marketing opportunities that VISIT FLORIDA takes a lead role in to extend their marketing dollars. The program features over 200 opportunities and over 80 small business programs.
Ken Lawson, President & CEO of VISIT FLORIDA, said "With our new cooperative marketing program, we've created some of the most dynamic and affordable programs in VISIT FLORIDA's history for our partners. Our new offerings allow all of our small, medium and large partners across the state to buy into unique opportunities that fit their needs and maximize their budgets. I'd like to thank Miles Partnership for their collaboration on this effort. I look forward to working with our 12,000 industry partners to cooperatively market Florida and continue to set visitation records to the Sunshine State."
The late May release of the new cooperative marketing program marks the earliest availability of these programs in VISIT FLORIDA's history. This allows our partners to choose cooperative opportunities as they plan for the upcoming fiscal year. In creating this new program, VISIT FLORIDA and Miles Partnership relied heavily on the collaboration, input and feedback from industry partners at Leadership Summit this past December. The program is also the most affordable in VISIT FLORIDA's history, with opportunities starting as low as $500.
Ursula Boll, Senior Vice President, Strategic Partnerships of Miles Partnership, said "Our team at Miles Partnership is proud to work with VISIT FLORIDA and its partners on this new cooperative marketing program. It's an exciting opportunity for us to help VISIT FLORIDA increase tourism and build our state economy - and as a founding partner of VISIT FLORIDA, and a home-grown Florida tourism business, we know how vital successful tourism marketing is to our state."
The new cooperative program includes marketing opportunities in five categories: Non-traditional, such as a Google Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) content optimization program; North America, which includes tried and true sanctioned print and digital programs in publications such as AAA, Wall Street Journal, and Golf Digest; International, which includes new Brand USA program packages; Regional, which focuses on brand development of regional parts of the state to build successful media plans; and Small Business, such as a video content production program to allow businesses to tell their own unique stories.
Nelson Mongiovi, Chief Marketing Officer of VISIT FLORIDA, said "With the help of Miles Partnership and our partners, our marketing team has developed some of the most creative, affordable and timely cooperative marketing opportunities in VISIT FLORIDA's history. The opportunities include some of the best programs of the past, such as our sanctioned print and digital placements, with some innovative new opportunities, such as our non-traditional co-op. I'm proud of the program we've created, and we look forward to working together with our partners to market Florida better than ever before."
To view the new cooperative marketing program, click HERE.
Fri, June 01, 2018
Rx Meds Pharmacy
Griffith Financial Services
Tue, May 22, 2018
Guest article by Pete Cook, Largest Heart
Inspired by my late brother's remarkable life—and the lives he touched, I recently launched a non-profit to spread hope, love, and knowledge in an innovative and exciting new way.
I had just lost my brother and my parents, a son. When we went to his funeral I was expecting to be consoled by his friends. Instead, we were the ones consoling them, some even hysterical at his sudden death. His “adopted” family needed us and us, them. The number of people that came out to mourn and celebrate his life was overwhelming. We held memorials in the U.S. and in South America, where he had spent much of his professional career and in both locations the churches could not contain the crowds who came to pay their respects.
Inside of me something spiritual happened—I was transformed. It was a time of pain and sorrow like I’ve never experienced but also one of love like none other. There was crying, laughing, and hearing stories my brother was too humble to ever share. Friends recounted stories and each one was even more incredible than the next. Hearing them has altered the trajectory of my life.
It showed me how one person truly can make the difference in someone else’s life. He certainly did in mine! This has led to the launching of Largest Heart. Largest Heart harnesses the wisdom of crowds to:
1) help identify the most pressing need in America,
2) identify the non-profit doing the best work in that field, and
3) have proceeds go to that nonprofit who, in turn, shares their knowledge so that the whole nonprofit community can be ever stronger.
Visit largestheart.org to #VoteYourCause and get one of our incredible shirts/totes where 90% of the proceeds go to the winning cause. What better way to spread hope, love, and knowledge then wearing, giving to, and voting for the greatest need of hope and love in America!
Tue, May 22, 2018
May is a time of celebration for many of us. Students are graduating, summer is right around the corner and vacations are being planned. Here at the Chamber, there is plenty to celebrate as well.
Earlier this month, I was pleased to take part in the West Orange Chamber and West Orange Foundation’s Education awards. The event honored students for their initiative, good citizenship, commitment and personal growth in the classroom with the presentation of the SOAR (Students of Achievement and Renown) Awards, the announcement of the Danniel J. Petro & Voight Foundation Scholarship winners and celebration of graduates from WOPTE (West Orange Program for Tomorrow’s Entrepreneurs). The event was truly inspirational with hundreds of students, parents and community leaders in attendance. Congratulations to all of the award winners, and thank you to Windermere High School for your hospitality, along with our sponsors, educators, administrators, parents and volunteers from the Chamber’s Education Committee for making this event possible!
This Wednesday, our West Orange County Mayoral Update Luncheon will facilitate an important conversation with our elected officials in this momentous election year. Join us at Tanner Hall to get to know your elected officials, and hear what is on the horizon for our West Orange communities.
At the luncheon, we will also recognize the Chamber’s Adult Leadership Program, Leadership West Orange sponsored by Florida Hospital Winter Garden and Duke Energy, with a graduation ceremony. This year’s class, the “West Orange Soarers,” participated in the eight-month program designed to educate future leaders of West Orange County.
Wed, May 09, 2018
Nemours Children’s Hospital in Lake Nona has received accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and will launch its first Pediatric Residency Program next summer. The Pediatric Residency Program leadership will begin recruiting residents this fall with the inaugural class beginning in July 2019.
“We opened the doors to Nemours Children’s Hospital five and a half years ago with a distinct vision to create something new for Central Florida,” said Dana Bledsoe, president of Nemours Children’s Hospital. “Our mission was to build a world-class pediatric academic medical center, and this training program is an essential piece that will benefit families struggling to access care.”
Nemours Children’s Hospital has institutional accreditation and is sponsoring the program with the support of Nemours Children’s Health System. Florida ranks near the bottom in sponsoring GME residents and fellows, per capita (41 out of 50). Starting a pediatric residency program and subsequently building fellowship programs in a freestanding pediatric hospital, is a unique opportunity to make a difference.
“At Nemours, we have a rapidly growing population of children with medical complexity and those with high acuity needs,” said Dr. Amber Hoffman, program director for Nemours Children’s Hospital Pediatric Residency Program. “This, paired with an expert faculty that has assembled from across the country is a combination that provides a perfect training ground to teach pediatric residents and subspecialists evidence-based, cutting edge medicine.”
The new residency program will help relieve the statewide physician shortage crisis. The state anticipates an increase of children and a shortage of 7,000 medical specialists by the year 2025. The risk is that medical situations for sick children can become acutely worse with a delay in care, or lack of specialty expertise.
In years to come, Nemours specialists will build a pipeline of high-level pediatric specialty care physicians in central Florida. Families will have more access to specialty care and won’t be forced to travel out of the region in search of care.
“Academic medicine is defined by a threefold mission. As a faculty physician you are expected to be an excellent clinician championing quality and safe care, a researcher to advance the field, and a medical educator to ensure high caliber training,” said Dr. Heather Fagan, vice chair of education at Nemours’ Department of Pediatrics. “Our doctors have been recruited from academic medical centers across the country, and are ready to help families in Florida by training the next generation of pediatricians and pediatric specialists.”
Tue, May 08, 2018
By Leslie Heimer, American Liberty Mortgage
FACT: Nearly half of millennials (now between the ages of 20 and 37) live in suburbs.
FACT: New Home Inventory is low… very low. However, builders are trying to find a way of increasing construction of new, entry-level homes to accommodate the growing need. This is good news as would-be buyers have been frustrated in their search for a home that meets their needs—and their budget.
FACT: A large portion of millennials —slightly less than half— are already purchasing their second or third homes. (wow!)
Working with Millennial Buyers
First, communication is key.
Millennials are well connected and have a large network. Their neighbor, relative, or friend of a friend likely knows (or is) a real estate agent. However, they value key components and are not as likely to simply accept a referral without doing their research.
Next, be an expert in the process.
Advise them on credit score and finances and be knowledgeable about the process. A credit score is a numerical representation of your credit report. FICO scores range from 300 to 850, and the higher your score, the better; It’s best to use 30 percent or less of your total available credit.
Remind your clients not to open new credit cards. A new credit card could put a prospect in danger of not qualifying for a home loan in their desired price range – or at the very least – not getting the best rate possible. Besides the mortgage loan and down-payment – home buyers should also set aside money for unexpected repairs and costs.
Lastly, make sure they are in equally capable hands with a respected Mortgage Lender. Before they start looking (this means online too!) buying prospects will want to consult with a mortgage lender. A successful Realtor/Lender partnership will only make the transaction more successful and the client experience more pleasant. We take time to praise and provide accolades and positive reviews on each Real Estate agent that we partner.
Our millennials love our high-tech, high-touch service delivery model. For example, our text application feature that allows them to safely and instantly become preapproved for a home mortgage. Contact us today for partnership that will service your millennial Buyers.
Mon, May 07, 2018
World Financial Group
Ford Avalon Grove
Mon, April 30, 2018
For several years, the WOCC advocated for state funding for the UCF Partnership complex, allowing Central Florida to maintain its status as the nation’s leading cluster in modeling, simulation and training, and continue to strengthen the partnership that exists between academia, industry and the military.
Today, Stina and Krista attended the Dedication/Naming Ceremony of the John C. Hitt Partnership Complex, alongside UCF leadership, Orange County Mayor Jacobs, Congressman Daniel Webster and other community leaders. A reality that would have never happened without the support of various central Florida organizations, including the West Orange Chamber of Commerce. We are proud to have been a part of this process and know that the John C. Hitt Partnership Complex will continue to play a vital role in modeling, simulation and training future.
Tue, April 24, 2018
The West Orange Chamber of Commerce (WOCC) announced today that SunTrust Bank has taken advantage of the highly beneficial Supporting Trustee level of membership. As one of the nation's largest and strongest financial services companies, SunTrust offers a full suite of products and services designed to meet the needs of consumer, business, corporate and institutional clients.
“SunTrust is delighted to continue its long partnership with West Orange Chamber of Commerce,” said Gavin White, SunTrust Senior Vice President of Commercial Banking. As part of our purpose of lighting the way to financial well-being, we are committed to supporting this fast growing Florida community and the work of the Chamber in providing a platform for that growth.”
This investment will further support the integration and presence of SunTrust Bank within Central Florida and West Orange County. The Chamber’s Supporting Trustees benefit from increased levels of exposure, while providing the Chamber with additional financial stability. Learn more about Trustee level membership and all the ways that the WOCC, the 2015 Florida Chamber of the Year, can facilitate opportunities for your business at wochamber.com.
Tue, April 24, 2018
As the business world continues to evolve, the West Orange Chamber is providing a wide variety of effective opportunities for members to learn, network and build their businesses. In the coming weeks, members can take part in several great events.
The WOCC’s popular Celebrating Extraordinary Women series debuted in 2016, and returns tomorrow, April 25, at ShowcaseWG (formerly the Bella Room). This event provides West Orange’s leading women the opportunity to share ideas and gain inspiration from other successful businesswomen, in a fun and casual environment. We are excited to welcome four of the area’s most accomplished women – Julie Kleffel of Seacoast Bank, Suneera Madhani of Fattmerchant, Stacey Papp of Bay Hill Jewelers and Orange County Clerk of Courts Tiffany Moore Russell. Guests will enjoy hearing about the experiences of each of our guest speakers in a round-robin style discussion, with plenty of time for cocktails and conversation.
Next Wednesday, May 2, Bruce I. Jones of Disney Institute will share an inside look into the magic of Disney at Lunch and Learn: Leadership Excellence Overview. Walt Disney’s goal of creating an experience in which customers are treated as Guests required development of a unique workplace culture to support this strategy. He focused on developing leaders capable of expanding on his vision while preserving core Disney values. Real-life stories, illustrations, and practical business insights from the diverse operations of Disney parks and resorts offer unique opportunities to help you transform the way you think about instilling leadership excellence in your business.
On Wednesday, May 23, join us for the Mayoral Update Luncheon at Tanner Hall in Winter Garden. In our rapidly growing community, the importance of local politics cannot be understated. Our local mayors of Oakland, Ocoee, Orange County, Windermere and Winter Garden will provide updates on their municipalities and what we can expect in the coming months.
While our many business-building events may take the spotlight, a big part of “Facilitating Opportunity” happens behind the scenes through advocacy and economic development efforts. Current and recent initiatives include the City of Ocoee’s Sunday alcohol sales ordinance, the Chamber’s support of an ordinance to allow “doggie dining” in Orange County and West Orange communities, support for the Voter Control of Gambling amendment and the Pine Hills Overlay Zone for the Neighborhood Improvement District. Keep up with all of the Chamber’s advocacy efforts by visiting wochamber.com and browsing the Current Initiatives page.
Fri, April 13, 2018
The West Orange Chamber of Commerce (WOCC) announced its support for Amendment 3, known as the Voter Control of Gambling amendment, which will appear on the November ballot. The amendment would require voter approval to authorize casino gambling in Florida.
The WOCC has aligned with Voters in Charge, sponsor of the amendment, in standing in opposition to legalizing Las Vegas-style casinos in Florida without first requiring approval by a statewide vote of the people. The issue unites both parties against casino authorization without voter approval. Seventy-one percent of likely GOP primary voters and 72 percent of likely Democratic primary voters said they would be less likely to support candidates who would vote to expand casino gambling without statewide voter approval.
“Our support of Amendment 3 falls in line with our long-held stance in opposition to the expansion of gambling and gaming in the state of Florida,” said Stina D’Uva, WOCC President/CEO. “We believe an issue of this importance should be determined by the Florida voters.”
“For nearly a century, it was voters, not politicians, who decided whether to authorize casino gambling in our state,” said John Sowinski, Chairman of Voters In Charge, the group sponsoring the amendment. “Voters overwhelmingly support Amendment 3 because it will return control of casino gambling decisions back to the people, rather than gambling lobbyists and Tallahassee politicians.”
Wed, April 11, 2018
Walmart today announced it expects to spend an estimated $200 million over the next year in Florida through the opening and remodeling of 43 stores as well as the rollout of several in-store and online innovations designed to help busy customers save time and money. The spend is part of Walmart’s total capital expenditures guidance of approximately $11.0 billion for Fiscal Year 2019, which was outlined last October at the company’s annual meeting for the investment community and reiterated in February 2018.
Walmart recently reported strong comp sales growth of 2.1% for the fiscal year ending Jan. 31, 2018, indicating customers are responding well to the company’s business strategy. The plan is to continue improving stores and accelerating innovation during the coming year to make shopping faster and easier for customers in Florida.
“Making every day easier for busy families is at the forefront of everything we’re doing as a company,” said Elise Vasquez-Warner, a vice president and regional general manager for Walmart in Florida. “Customers have told us they want the convenience of shopping how, when and where they want. And, here in Florida, we’ll achieve that by building off the momentum we had last year, accelerating the rollout of customer-centered innovations, creating more than 1,000 jobs this year alone, and maintaining a sharp focus on improving our store experience.”
“The past year has seen Walmart make significant investments across Florida, and that commitment will continue well into 2019,” said Jaime Fernandez, Regional General Manager for Walmart stores in South Florida. “From launching new technologies to expanding our popular Grocery Pickup Service and remodeling existing stores, Walmart is taking steps to ensure the customer experience is fast and convenient.”
Wed, April 11, 2018
Axiom Bank, a Maitland-based, leading community bank, recently welcomed Ted Sheppe as Executive Vice President of its Commercial Banking Division. In this position, Sheppe will develop strategies to grow and retain commercial banking relationships across the Bank’s footprint.
Sheppe joins Axiom Bank with three decades of experience in commercial lending, including many years of executive leadership in large regional as well as community banks.
“Ted’s expertise will be invaluable for Axiom Bank as we continue to expand our commercial lending efforts across the state,” said Daniel Davis, President and CEO at Axiom Bank.
Sheppe received his bachelor’s degree and master of business administration from Marshall University. He is a board member of the Arnold Palmer Hospital Foundation.
For more information and to find the nearest location, visit AxiomBanking.com.
Wed, April 11, 2018
In recent weeks, you may have heard from fellow Chamber member Target Marketing & Southcomm Publishing regarding advertising opportunities for the upcoming Chamber map. The West Orange Chamber of Commerce is pleased to be working with Target Marketing, a cartographic and marketing firm, to publish a new, up-to-date, full-color Street Map and Resource Guide. This publication will be the only official map endorsed and distributed by the WOCC.
Don’t miss out on this unique member opportunity to reach potential buyers, new residents and new partners. Space is limited, and sponsorships are reasonable, especially considering more than 10,000 maps will be printed and available for the next 12-18 months, along with a digital version showcased on the Chamber’s web site.
Tue, April 10, 2018
Apply now for the Central Florida Political Leadership Institute (PLI), a program that was developed by business leaders in Central Florida and is managed through the Orlando Economic Partnership. This unique non-partisan, regional initiative was designed to prepare and strengthen the next generation of elected leaders before they formally choose to run for a specific public office. Since its inception in 2008, 17 graduates from the Central Florida Political Leadership Institute have served in public office.
PLI features a two-day political leadership school, ongoing leadership activities throughout the year, important networking opportunities and a final one-day course that concludes with a graduation. It features local, state and national speakers who share their invaluable expertise on campaigning for public office and leading once elected.
Click here to learn more about this program and submit your application. Must apply by Friday, April 27.
Tue, April 10, 2018
Kingdom Consultant With Vatessa
June Engineering Consultants, Inc.
Wed, April 04, 2018
Reed Nissan received the prestigious Cornerstone Award for Youth Empowerment given by the Central Florida Urban League. The fun-filled event celebrated the individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the community.
The League recognized Reed Nissan for its annual “Cars for Kids Giveaway,” part of the dealership’s "Reed Gives Back to the Community Day," where two (2) young adult students currently in the region’s foster care system receive a new Nissan automobile. Dependable car ownership makes a substantial difference in the life of a young person as they transition to self-sufficiency. The vehicles, including paid taxes, are donated gifts presented by Reed Nissan.
Fri, March 30, 2018
Covelli Family Limited Partnership (CFLP), part of the largest franchisee of Panera, LLC, is pleased to announce they are celebrating 20 Years in Florida with the opening of their 80th bakery-café in the area. Panera Bread will open their doors at 6:30AM on April 4th at 4054 Conroy Road in Orlando. The new location will feature a drive-thru and is conveniently located near the Mall at Millenia.
“We have a lot to celebrate and want to show our sincere appreciation to our customers for the past 20 years” said Kevin Ricci, Owner of CFLP. “We have the most generous and loyal customers in the industry and they are the reason for our success.” With the help of Panera’s customers, CFLP has been able to donate $125 Million over the past twenty years to local non-profit organizations through their Operation Dough-Nation formalized giving program consisting of Community Breadbox™ cash collections, Day End Dough-Nations™, in-kind donations, sponsorships and proceeds from cause-marketing campaigns. In addition, CFLP employs 5,000 people throughout Orlando, Tampa and along the East Coast of Florida.
The opening day celebration will include surprise giveaways every 20 minutes from 6:30AM-9:30PM, a celebratory toast and ribbon cutting at 10:00AM, followed by a $200,000.00 check presentation to the Foundation for Foster Children. “Giving back to the community has always been the backbone of our organization” said Annette Ford, Owner of CFLP. “We intend to keep this commitment to our local communities and continue supporting non-profit charities that better the lives of others.”
“Since the very beginning, Panera has been a strong partner increasing our awareness in the community and we are honored to be connected to such a generous company that truly cares and shows that commitment every day”, said Betsey Bell, Executive Director of Foundation for Foster Children. “None of this can be done without the support from community leaders like Panera Bread.” Since 2009, CFLP has donated $350,000.00 to the Foundation for Foster Children.
In addition to giving, Panera Bread has made a commitment to being transparent and touts a 100% clean menu consisting of no artificial flavors, sweeteners, preservatives or colors from artificial sources. “For 20-years Panera Bread has made a name for itself in Central Florida under the guidance and strong leadership of both the Covelli and Ford families,” said Janet Morrow, Orlando Health Foundation Vice President – Corporate Partnerships. “Not only have they helped promote the concept of clean, healthy and convenient eating in our community, but they have also provided philanthropic support to Orlando Health through their Pink Ribbon Bagel and Valentine Heart Cookie cause-related marketing campaigns to benefit patients of our cancer and cardiac services. Annette Ford, Orlando Health Foundation Board member, has generously supported our life saving mission for years and we remain grateful for this amazing partnership.”
The grand opening celebration will symbolize the growth of the company, their continued commitment to giving, and an unwavering appreciation for the many guests and employees who have made Panera Bread what it is today. For more information about CFLP and their 20 Year Milestone, visit paneraflorida.com.
Tue, March 27, 2018
In anticipation of the continued strong growth of the West Orange business community, the WOCC’s Growth Matters campaign will transform the Chamber headquarters to create a state-of-the-art interior with expanded meeting areas, new member service stations, upgrades to the building’s exterior and accommodations for a growing staff to meet our members’ needs.
The Chamber’s growth would not have been possible without many amazing leaders in its history. One that stands out is Danniel J. Petro. We lost Dan to cancer on this day five years ago, but his impact is still felt today across West Orange County. Dan exemplified the Chamber’s mission through his service as a teacher, Marine, business owner, entrepreneur, mentor and philanthropist. He facilitated success for himself and many others.
Today, we seek to honor this man’s memory, and through his legacy inspire the next generation of community leaders. It is the WOCC board of directors’ desire to raise $70,000 to create the Danniel J. Petro Conference Room.
Contributions, along with 17 years of strong fiscal planning by the Chamber’s Leadership, have resulted in our ability to execute this $588,000 capital renovation. To date, we have secured just under $300,000 in contributions toward a $370,000 fundraising goal. Lead contributors to the Growth Matters campaign include Florida Hospital and Universal Orlando at the Expeditor level, and Orlando Health, Walt Disney World, City of Ocoee and City of Winter Garden at the Implementer and Municipality levels. To view all campaign donors, click here.
This matching gift program will help us raise $70,000 toward completing the goal. This money must be secured in order to fully execute the renovation that is needed to serve our dynamic business community, while facilitating economic growth and stability.
Thanks to the generosity of Bright Future Electric, the Petro Family Foundation, the children of Danniel J. Petro and Chamber Board members, dollar-for-dollar donations will be matched up to $35,000. We have until May 31, 2018 to complete this task. We hope you will consider honoring one of West Orange County’s greatest leaders in celebration of the 45 plus years the Chamber has been serving our community. To learn more and to download a Growth Matters pledge form, click here.
Wed, March 14, 2018
After 44 years of service to Goodwill and eight years as president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Central Florida, Bill Oakley has announced his plans to retire, effective June 30. The search for Oakley’s replacement will commence immediately, led by executive search firm Korn Ferry.
Oakley joined the nonprofit in 1974, serving in leadership roles at Goodwill organizations in Savannah, Ga., and Greenville, S.C. In 2010 he took the helm of Goodwill Industries of Central Florida.
Since then Oakley has driven the nonprofit’s growth through new retail stores, donation centers and Job Connection Centers across Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake, Brevard and Volusia counties. Under his leadership, Goodwill has expanded its offerings to adapt to the community’s changing needs, adding programs to assist military veterans, the homeless and other job-seekers in need.
“Bill has dedicated his entire career to championing Goodwill’s mission of removing barriers and providing new opportunities to connect with the world of work,” said Michael Hsu, chairman of Goodwill’s board of directors. “He leaves an extraordinary legacy of leadership and service and has positioned our Goodwill for future success. I will miss him dearly and wish him the best in his next chapter of life.”
Goodwill Industries of Central Florida is the region’s third largest nonprofit by revenue, according to the Orlando Business Journal. In 2017, Goodwill provided more than 47,500 people with resources and training to help them find meaningful work. These services are funded by the sales of donated goods in its network of 28 retail stores.
Parties interested in the CEO search may complete an online application with Korn Ferry at http://bit.ly/2Htr98S.
Tue, March 13, 2018
By Amanda Wilson of Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed, P.A.
One of the most publicized changes made by last year’s Tax Cut and Jobs Act was a reduction in income tax rates for corporations and individuals. The maximum corporate tax rate has been permanently reduced from 35% to 21%, and the maximum individual tax rate has been reduced temporarily (through 2025) from 39.6% to 37%. These changes reopen the age old question of what type of entity is best from a tax perspective. It used to be relatively simple to answer – pass-through entities such as partnerships and S corporations were the preferred structure where business realities allowed for that choice. In light of the tax rate changes, this may no longer be the case and it may be time to reconsider your choice of entity.
If a business is taxed as a corporation, the business will pay tax on its taxable income at a 21% rate, meaning $21 of federal income tax on $100 of taxable income. In contrast, if the business is organized as a partnership, the income is passed through to the partners and reported on the partners’ tax return. If those partners are individuals, the partners are potentially paying $37 of federal income tax on the $100 of taxable income (if the income is ordinary such as rental income). As I have previously discussed, the Tax Cut and Jobs Act provides for a deduction on qualified business income, which would include income from partnerships. Even in the best case scenario where the partners are able to take the maximum 20% deduction on qualified business income, which will often not be the case, the maximum deduction would reduce the tax to $29.60.
One of the key benefits of a pass-through over a corporation is that there is an additional layer of tax (at a rate of up to 23.8%) when the corporation distributes its profits out to its shareholders. If the corporation distributes the $79 of after-tax dollars discussed above, there would be an additional $18.80 of tax, resulting in a total tax of $39.80. Even with the tax rate reduction, this means that a corporation will result in less after-tax dollars ($60.20) for its owners than a partnership ($70.40) if the profits are distributed out. However, many companies do not distribute profits to its owners, instead keeping the profits to grow and expand the business. For those businesses, a corporation may provide a better tax answer than a pass-through in this post-tax reform environment, especially if the owners’ ultimate exit strategy involves a sale of their equity in the business.
For more tax news and information, visit Amanda's blog Lowndes Taxing Times.
Tue, March 13, 2018
Grow your small business with LinkedIn by using these seven proven tactics.
There are nearly 30 million small businesses in the United States, but only half of them will make it past five years. To ensure your small business is in the successful half, we encourage you to capitalize on the various ways LinkedIn can evolve your business.
With LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, you can generate leads, produce sales, and hire top professionals to fuel your growth. Here are seven ways to grow your business using LinkedIn:
We’ve found that LinkedIn members are 50% more likely to buy once they’ve engaged with your business on LinkedIn. But they can’t connect with you if you don’t have a LinkedIn Company Page. According to Forbes, only 57% of companies have pages. The remaining 43% are missing out on a free opportunity to generate leads, talent, and, ultimately, revenue.
If you don’t already have one, create a LinkedIn Company Page. Personal profiles don’t have the same marketing, advertising, and recruiting features as Company Pages, making them less effective at promoting your business. As you create your page, think about the kind of impression you want to create among potential customers and employees. This will help you select the right photos and messages to use on your page.
For a step-by-step guide on how to create an above and beyond Company Page, view our LinkedIn Company Page Best Practices.
Once you have a Company Page, announce it to your clients, employees, and personal network. This will help you gain your first followers, who in turn will help to promote your Company Page on the content you post to it.
The more you post, the more people you can potentially reach and convert. Best-in-class LinkedIn Company Pages are consistently updated to ensure that visitors have plenty of new content to consume and share.
To get started, try posting at least once per week. It’s not uncommon for companies to post three or more times per day. Post whenever you have something worth saying. Posting consistently shows Company Page visitors that your company is active on LinkedIn. Use LinkedIn’s Company Page analytics to see your top performing updates, your best times to post, and which members of your audience are the most engaged. With this information, it’s easy to make data-driven decisions to optimize your Company Page content.
When a post gets good engagement, consider promoting it to a wider audience with LinkedIn Sponsored Content. Take the Sponsored Content Tour and discover how Sponsored Content amplifies your best content.
Seventy nine percent of buyers say thought leadership is critical for determining which companies they want to learn more about. To get started with thought leadership content, try to provide a unique perspective on your industry, product, or organization. Sharing your opinion on the future of your industry or creating a definitive guide on your product are just two ways to demonstrate your expertise and position your company as a credible partner.
For more ideas and advice on expanding your brand’s authority, download our Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to Thought Leadership to learn more.
LinkedIn has over 500 million users to date. That may seem like a lot to sort through, but LinkedIn also provides you with tools to identify and target your ideal audience.
LinkedIn members are more likely than other social media users to keep their profiles up-to-date, making it easier for you to find the right people. Use LinkedIn profile data to search for LinkedIn members based on geographic location, education, experience, and even connections. Once you’ve found prospects using the search feature, visit their profiles. Their endorsements or recent profile views might surface additional qualified prospects, too.
For more ways to reach your ideal audience, learn how to advertise on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn has helped 75% of job switchers make informed career decisions, making LinkedIn a top recruiting network. What are candidates looking for when making those decisions? Our research shows that 66% of candidates want to see company culture over everything else. To take advantage of this preference, consider enhancing your Company Page with a LinkedIn Career Page.
Career Pages allow you to target audiences with a personalized look into your company, culture, and career opportunities. They give you dedicated Life and Career Information Tabs on your Company Page that attract and engage relevant professionals.
In addition to creating Career Pages, encourage employees to share job postings and “day in the life” content as well. This gives visitors a genuine idea of what it’s like to work for you and adds to your authenticity. If you have a few employees who lead the pack in sharing content, consider linking them to your Company Page’s Life Tab. Their shared articles and recent updates will automatically populate, providing visitors with up-to-date information. Watch our video below on how to use the Life Tab to attract the right talent for your company.
When building an all-star team make sure to do a salary comparison to help with hiring decisions.
7. Hire Freelancers
You’ve probably had an employee who took on a task outside of their domain. You might have even done it yourself a few times. While the effort is commendable, learning on the fly can also be detrimental.
LinkedIn ProFinder enables you to post your projects, receive free proposals, and hire trustworthy professionals all in one place. ProFinder will even pair you with local professionals to ensure you have the best experience possible. With 172 professional services available on ProFinder, it’s easy to find the perfect professional for any task.
LinkedIn vets all the professionals on the platform to ensure they are qualified and leverages your network to find entrepreneurs your connections have used, so you’re never in the dark about who you’re hiring.
By encouraging entrepreneurship, you get access to outside perspectives & broad experience of professionals of all kinds, from creating websites and designing logos to managing your books or crafting your marketing strategy. Plus, with none of the management or competitive salary overhead of a full-time employee, you can focus solely on the job at hand.
Tue, March 13, 2018
The Law Office of Leslie Yadi, PLLC
South Lake Apopka Citrus Growers Association
Thomas Meena, CPA
Tue, February 27, 2018
The West Orange Foundation is proud to present a new scholarship opportunity for area students this year, the Danniel J. Petro and Voight Foundation Scholarships.
The scholarship fund, administered by the West Orange Chamber of Commerce, was established to make it possible for eligible students from local high schools to further their education at Valencia College, Orange Technical College or the University of Central Florida. The West Orange Foundation is able to fund the scholarships through the generous contributions of the Petro Family Foundation and Voight Foundation.
In order to qualify, eligible senior students must:
Several student recipients may be awarded $1000 scholarships; the number of recipients will be dependent upon the amount of money available in the scholarship fund at the time of the award. Two student recipients will be awarded $2500 scholarships from the Petro Family Foundation. Any unspent funds will be allocated to the following academic year.
To download a copy of the application, click here. Eligible students should complete the application in its entirety, which includes a list of activities, leadership positions and honors, community involvement and special recognition awards and honors, along with a personal essay in which they should describe themselves and provide information about their most significant accomplishment.
For any questions regarding this scholarship, please contact Carrie Wilson at the above email address.
Tue, February 27, 2018
Axiom Bank, a leading community bank headquartered in Central Florida, is expanding its presence with a new freestanding branch at 16418 New Independence Parkway, Suite 100 in Winter Garden’s Hamlin community. A ribbon-cutting took place Feb. 22.
The nearly 2,000-square-foot, open-design facility features advanced banking technology including teller pods and instant-issue debit cards. In addition, the branch features a community lounge with complimentary Wi-Fi, local premium coffee and a community table available for meet-ups or work space.
“Winter Garden’s tremendous growth in recent years presents an ideal opportunity to reach residents who are seeking new banking options,” said Daniel Davis, President and CEO of Axiom Bank. “We look forward to serving our neighbors with a community-focused, values-oriented approach.”
Jessica V. Ludvigsen, Senior Vice President of Retail Banking, added: “As a Winter Garden resident, I’ve seen our area gain momentum with new commercial and residential developments and corresponding job growth. We’re eager for Axiom to join this vibrant community.”
During the opening event, Axiom Bank made a charitable donation of $2,500 to Matthew’s Hope Ministries, a homeless outreach organization based in Winter Garden.
Axiom Bank has 24 branches throughout the state, with 11 locations in Central Florida. Hamlin is Axiom’s second freestanding branch. For more information and to find the location nearest you, visit www.AxiomBanking.com.
Tue, February 27, 2018
Windermere High School, which opened in August, won First Place in the Architectural Showcase (High School category) at the Florida Educational Facilities Planners Association’s (FEFPA) winter conference. The conference and awards showcase was held January 31 to February 2 at Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast, Florida.
The school was designed by SchenkelShultz Architecture and built by Wharton-Smith, Inc.
Windermere High features a Florida traditional architectural style with Bahama shutters and metal roofs. It is the first OCPS school to feature a rainwater cistern, which funnels water to the greenhouse. The school also features interactive touch panel TVs in every classroom, a 1-to-1 digital device ratio, WiFi throughout and audio enhancement in every classroom. Classrooms are arranged around collaborative spaces that encourage teamwork, and the cafeteria features restaurant-style seating and décor. The school is built to meet Green Globes Building Standards.
FEFPA’s annual architectural showcase recognizes outstanding educational facility design. Projects were evaluated on their innovative response to the educational program, aesthetics and use of materials, flexibility for community use, technology provisions, “green” design, use of space, flexibility and site development.
Tue, February 27, 2018
If you’ve spent any time in West Orange, you know it is the place to be to enjoy culinary masterpieces. With the sheer number of incredible restaurants in the area, it can seem impossible to keep up with all these delicious and unique food creations, but luckily, they’re all in one place on Thursday, March 8 at the 16th annual Best Fest – “The Taste of West Orange,” presented by CenturyLink. This event will once again take place along the shore of Starke Lake in beautiful, historic Ocoee.
There’s still time to take advantage of the fantastic promotional opportunities for your business that Best Fest provides. Last year, over 60 restaurants & businesses provided mouthwatering samples and sips to over 1,000 event attendees. Register now for your food/beverage or business booth to maximize your exposure and have your business included on all upcoming promotional materials.
If you’re not working at your business booth, then bring your friends and enjoy the best of West Orange! One price gets you unlimited tastes from the area’s best restaurants, bakeries, hangouts, coffee shops and delis.
Last year’s award winners were: Table Top Catering – BEST FOOD, Pilars Martini – BEST BEVERAGE, Nothing Bundt Cakes – BEST DESSERT, Observer Media Group – BEST BUSINESS BOOTH and Press’d Juice Bar & Kitchen – BEST HEALTHY OPTION.
Visit our website for more information and to save $10 on the purchase of your all-access wristbands in advance of this phenomenal event. Save an additional 10% when you purchase ten wristbands! If you are a local food or beverage vendor that hasn’t yet registered, we highly suggest you contact the Chamber at 407-656-1304 to secure your free booth space. Spaces are limited, so register at wochamber.com or call in today!
Tue, February 13, 2018
The Voight Foundation
Land Plus, Inc.
New Directions Orlando, an affiliate of Go Travel, Inc.
P. H. Freeman & Sons, Inc.
Wed, January 24, 2018
GradePower Learning recently announced a groundbreaking franchise sales initiative. On January 1, 2018, the organization welcomed its first Area Representative, Alexander Fernandez, to the GradePower Learning family.
Alex has committed to opening an unprecedented 12 centers in the Jacksonville, Florida area over the next five years, dramatically expanding the GradePower Learning brand
into the United States market. This is great news not only for Jacksonville and for Florida, but for all of GradePower Learning!
For the past eighteen years, Alex has been successfully working in the franchisee industry, operating Dunkin’ Donuts locations in both Florida and Georgia. This experience has earned him an in-depth understanding of operational and franchise management, granting him the skills and the experience to take on this momentous undertaking.
Many may already know Alex through his fiancée, Gina Geloso, who opened the Ocoee, Florida center three years ago. Alex is very excited to be part of the GradePower Learning team and looks forward to collaborating with the local community in the very near future!
Tue, January 23, 2018
Thanks to support and funding from the West Orange Health Alliance, the West Orange Dental Alliance program has been launched. The “WODA” program targets the local hospitals and community centers who reside in the West Orange Healthcare District and who are at or below 100% of the poverty level. WODA is now making emergent dental care available to qualifying residents of the West Orange area, with a goal to keep residents who are without dental insurance or the means to afford dental care out of the ER.
With the support from our community, the West Orange Dental Alliance is able to coordinate with our caring local dental providers who have graciously volunteered to participate in this program. They serve the programs patients in their offices that helps create smiles that give hope and improve lives.
The program has most recently implemented a “Jump Start” Program aiming to reach patients to become “Restorable to Employable”. The goal is to offer dental restorations/treatment to bring the patient/job seeker back to a healthy smile so that they have the best possible chance to get a job or a better one at that.
Please visit www.wodentalalliance.org for more information.
Tue, January 23, 2018
Happy New Year everyone! I hope and pray that 2018 will be filled with all the best for you and your family. As much as I am looking forward to this New Year, I am doing so through the context of the year past. Since I was sworn into office in December of 2016, 2017 represented my first full year in office. Much of what we did was expected, but there were some notable exceptions, such as Hurricane Irma. I thought I would take this opportunity to share some of what we did in the District 1 office this past year and some of what we began in 2017 that will carry over to 2018 and beyond.
While knocking on doors during the campaign it became clear to me that our large item pick up for waste removal was lacking and leaving many of you frustrated. I made a promise that I would begin a conversation aimed at improving our waste removal service. I did that and beginning this year you will no longer be required to call in to schedule pick up of your large items. It will now happen on a regular schedule. I hope this improvement in the service will make your life simpler.
Traffic is a constant challenge in our area, we are indeed growing at a rapid pace and while we welcome all of our new neighbors, we are working very hard to accommodate the additional traffic that accompanies this rapid growth. This year we requested and completed 121 traffic warrant studies and Traffic Engineering projects for everything from traffic signals to turn lanes and from crosswalks to speed bumps. We worked with our partners at the Sherriff's office to increase enforcement activities in areas of concern, we compelled developers to install traffic advisory signs to advise drivers as to speed and wildlife crossing and we brought the intersection of Tilden and Tiny roads to design for improvements. I am happy to say that we will also be breaking ground shortly on completing Hamlin Groves Trail giving more connectivity to the Bridgewater Middle School area. We also completed the Sand Lake Road study and will be identifying funding and implementing the recommendations. We have begun the Reams Road study from Summerlake Park Boulevard to Taborfield Avenue, and look forward to implementing those recommendations as well. We have funded and scheduled improvements to much of our infrastructure including Summerlake and Ficquette roads. This is just a sampling of the attention we are giving to transportation projects and we have much still left to do but we are moving in the right direction.
I also shared your concern regarding adequate staffing for our law enforcement. That is why I am proud that our Board of County Commissioners voted for the largest one time pay increase for our Sheriff's officers and authorized the hiring of more law enforcement positions. We are fortunate to have such fine men and women working to protect us and I am proud to be able to support them.
As we grow in this area it is imperative that we preserve our natural world and natural beauty as well. I have worked hard to ensure that developers preserve wetlands and to set aside lands for parks and recreation. This past year we broke ground on 2 new parks in District 1, including our first ever joint use park with Orange County Public Schools, the Deputy Scott Pine Park. I am excited about this new way of partnering with OCPS and look forward to more of this type of creative solution. We were also able to dedicate a picnic pavilion at the John's Lake Conservation area. If you haven't been out to take a look at this hidden gem, please do so, and take your kayak as we have wonderful launch facilities to offer as well.
Speaking of parks, we have a wonderful opportunity with the Horizon West Regional Park. This 200+ acre park (about a 1/3 of the size of New York's Central Park) can serve as an incredible regional amenity to the entire County. At my request Orange County staff prepared a presentation for my board to outline the park's history and possible next steps. As a result we will be releasing a request for qualifications shortly for a master planner to help us determine the highest and best use for the park and to identify funding sources. The ultimate goal is to create a park unlike any other in the area that will have world class amenities right here in our area.
Finally, I had much to learn in terms of preparing the community for the largest hurricane ever to hit the State of Florida. With the lessons learned I initiated a board discussion and worked with staff, building industry representatives and my fellow commissioners, and we have now updated our building code to include storm preparation requirements for builders. I also learned much about debris pick up in gated vs. non gated communities. Taking those lessons I have started a dialogue with my board and we have directed staff to come back to us with solutions that would offer the same level of service for storm debris pick up regardless of whether you live in a gated community or not.
There are thousands of emails and call that we have received throughout the year. The outline above is just a sampling of the many items we have worked on this year. When I campaigned for office I was determined to ensure that this office served the needs of the community while making wise use of our resources. While there is always room for improvement, I believe that we are focused every day on the needs of District 1. Welcome to the New Year! There is still much to do but we have a good start.
Tue, January 23, 2018
Hello, I am Joe Alarie, the 2018 Chairman of the West Orange Chamber. As a longtime member of the Chamber and the Board, I have been proud to watch the Chamber continue to grow and evolve. I have had the opportunity to serve on the board since 2003, and previously served as Director of Human Resources on the Executive Committee. I am excited to contribute my ideas as the Chamber marches forward into this new era, and I know I have a great Board of Directors working alongside me to lead the way.
We have plenty of great business-building opportunities coming up, starting with this Friday, January 26 at The Big Orange Awards. This event is one to look forward to every year, as the Chamber honors the accomplishments and triumphs of some of its most admired and inspirational members. I hope to see many of you there.
Mark your calendar for Best Fest on March 8, hosted once again by our friends at the City of Ocoee on the shore of Starke Lake. For all of our restaurant members, now is the time to take advantage of this incredible opportunity to showcase the culinary delights that will have attendees rushing to your doors for more.
I know that 2018 is going to be a successful year for you and all of our West Orange Chamber members. I look forward to seeing you at future events and programs. If you ever need assistance, please do not hesitate to talk to me or the Chamber Team.
Tue, January 09, 2018
It's time to put your New Year’s Resolutions for your business into action, here is how to get started! You probably have been receiving emails from the West Orange Chamber for months but haven’t found the right time or know how to move forward with your membership – until now.
Membership in the WOCC can help you check the following resolutions off your list:
Join a business organization
Business growth, community connection through networking, marketing and education are reasons why businesses join organizations. There are many out there but why not be a part of the best with over 1100+ members and named Best Chamber in the State of Florida three consecutive times? Your membership is also tax deductible, don’t forget to claim your Chamber membership as a business expense!
Promote your business on a regular basis
Members and other potential customers can find you through the WOCC business directory and the print business directory (Discover Magazine). Connect with others at 100+ networking opportunities as well as remote benefits online. Advertise and sponsor in the bi-weekly e-publication, events or social media.
Give back to your community
Being a member of your local Chamber gives you the opportunity to make a difference in the bigger picture of business, contributing to the growth and success of your fellow new and long standing businesses. Always utilize Chamber members when in need of a product or service and they will do the same for your business, simple as that; support your business community and they will support you!
Be a business mentor or receive business advice from others
Experienced business owners have a wealth of knowledge, why not meet at an event or in a guest article to share ideas and suggestions? Each year, our members are encouraged to write an industry expert article about what you know best and are published on wochamber.com and/or LinkedIn.
Learn something to help advance your business
Several times per year, the Chamber offers classes and/or programs to help increase your business acumen. Members are often the expert presenters in a welcoming and casual atmosphere where questions and feedback are encouraged.
Utilize social media to expand your audience
Be a part of the Chamber’s social media and share information and exciting news about your business. Like and comment on others’ posts, write an article for LinkedIn, let us retweet your tweets and share your videos while we tag it back to you!
Know your prospective customers on a personal level
On the golf course during Golf Networking Group and Golf Classic Tournament, over a dessert at Best Fest, celebrating excellence at the Big Orange Awards. Over 100 networking events give you the opportunity to expand your business relationships face to face and with a handshake.
Let your Chamber advocate on your behalf
Advocacy is key! The Chamber takes your concerns to Tallahassee to positively affect your business. We have been successful in making a difference for over 45 years and continue to be your voice, your membership supports the positive West Orange business climate.
Mon, January 08, 2018
Christensen Financial - The English Mortgage Team
Floribra USA, Inc.
Rob Panepinto - Candidate for Orange County Mayor
Paradise Barbershop & Spa
Holland Properties, Inc.
Jose A. Cantero P.A.
Tony's Liquors Inc.
Joseph J. McClellan
Theodore H. VanDeventer
Tue, January 02, 2018
The City of Ocoee’s Community Grant applications will be available at Ocoee.org beginning January 2, 2018. Residents may also pick up an application at Ocoee City Hall located at 150 North Lakeshore Drive. The deadline to submit applications is January 31, 2018.
The Community Grant program, held in January and July, provides financial grants of up to $500. There is $5,000 available for this grant cycle.
Groups that are eligible to apply for a grant are Ocoee non-profit organizations and civic groups. In addition, non-profit organizations and civic groups outside the city limits, which benefit residents of Ocoee, are also qualified to apply for a Community Grant. The city awards the grants to acknowledge excellence and to further the contributions these local organizations bring to the Ocoee community. Completed applications should be mailed or delivered to City Hall, Community Relations, 150 North Lakeshore Drive.
The applications are reviewed and ranked by the Community Grant Review Board, a group of residents appointed by the Ocoee City Commission. The Community Grant Review Board makes a recommendation to the City Commission on which organizations to fund. The City Commission then makes the final decision. The next grant cycle begins on July 2, 2018.
For information, call 407-905-3100.
Tue, December 19, 2017
The West Orange Chamber of Commerce (WOCC) announced today that Unicorp National Developments, Inc. has taken advantage of the highly beneficial Supporting Trustee level of membership.
Unicorp National Developments, Inc. is headed by one of the industry leaders, Chuck Whittall. From modest beginnings, and with the help of a hand-picked dream team of professionals behind him, this visionary has built one of the most dynamic and fastest growing development companies in the country. With the mission of building the best quality projects, moving quickly and decisively to close deals and move projects forward to completion, Unicorp assures delivery of exceptional results time and time again.
This investment will further support the integration and presence of Unicorp within central Florida and West Orange County. The Chamber’s Supporting Trustees benefit from increased levels of exposure, while providing the Chamber with additional financial stability. Learn more about Trustee level membership and all the ways that the WOCC, the 2015 Florida Chamber of the Year, can facilitate opportunities for your business at wochamber.com.
Tue, December 19, 2017
By Keith Bradford, WOCC Chairman
It is hard to believe that we are already wrapping up this milestone 45th year of building business and facilitating opportunity at the West Orange Chamber. The Chamber reached new heights in 2017, as our membership continued to grow, premier events were bigger and better than ever, and we advocated for causes that will positively influence our members and the business community.
At the Member Celebration Brunch on December 8, I handed off the Chairman’s gavel to Joe Alarie, so this will be the last of my articles as the Chamber Chairman. This wraps up a truly remarkable stretch for me, as I’ve been able to play a role in the 45th anniversary celebration not only here at the Chamber, but also at Walt Disney World. However, I am excited to welcome Joe Alarie to the Chairman’s role. He is a longtime board member and a fixture here in our community, and I know he will provide the Chamber with strong, smart leadership.
The Chamber’s leadership team is key to the ongoing success of this organization, so we are tremendously grateful to those business leaders who give of their time and talents to serve on the Chamber Board. During our Membership Breakfast we recognized a number of our board members who helped lead this organization over the course of this past year. We also said goodbye to outgoing board members, including Kurt Ardaman, Commissioner Bryan Nelson, David Billsborough, Amanda Maggard and Jaclyn Whiddon. We sincerely appreciate those board members for their service and dedication throughout their terms.
We also welcomed a group of incoming board members to help lead the Chamber into the future. Scott Boyd, Paul McNamara and Lynn Walker Wright have joined the Board of Directors for 2018. These new board members will add their unique ideas and talents to further facilitate opportunities for Chamber members.
On behalf of the Board of Directors and the Chamber Team, I wish you all a wonderful holiday season as we look forward to a successful and happy New Year. Merry Christmas!
Tue, December 19, 2017
As we wrap up this momentous 45th year of Facilitating Opportunity in West Orange County, we now begin to look toward the bright future of our prospering business community.
The West Orange Chamber works to strengthen its business members and the challenges they face in today's dynamic economy. It is with this demand in mind that we are retooling our strategic plan to align with the needs of the local marketplace and respond to state and national trends that impact the business climate. There are two key areas of focus. The first is our newly launched West Orange Foundation, created to support important causes, workforce development and education initiatives.
The second is the Growth Matters campaign, our plan to create a work and gathering space environment that will enhance the program support of our WOCC members and our community. In anticipation of the continued strong growth of the West Orange business community, the West Orange Chamber of Commerce is seeking to create a state-of-the-art interior with expanded meeting areas, new member service stations, upgrades to the building’s exterior, and accommodations for a growing staff to meet members’ needs.
We look forward to sharing more information on the progress of these important endeavors as we enter 2018 and beyond!
Tue, December 19, 2017
Stark Strategic Solutions-Recognition and Event Consulting
First Class Livery Services, Inc.
Arthur Slowe & Associates, P.A.
Tue, December 19, 2017
This fall's West Orange Foundation Thanksgiving Drive was the most successful to date, as members volunteered funds, food and time to provide baskets for 115 families in need here in the West Orange community! Contributors who helped make this project possible included Benjamin Franklin Plumbing, BB&T, Sam's Club, Walmart and Publix, along with many from our Board of Directors, ambassadors, networking groups and several other members. Our sincere thanks go out to Linda Osterberg for once again leading this wonderful program!
Wed, December 13, 2017
The City of Ocoee recently passed an ordinance allowing for the sale and service of alcohol on Sunday to begin at 7:00am for restaurants and lodging properties. Previously, sales before 11:00am were prohibited.
The ordinance that passed was spearheaded by the West Orange Chamber of Commerce (WOCC), which led efforts to bring the city’s ordinances in line with the surrounding communities. The Chamber has been in regular communication with city leaders and owners of affected businesses, leading the way for passage of these changes.
The amendment to the ordinance mirrors changes made by Orange County and surrounding communities, and prevents current and future Ocoee businesses from being placed in an economically disadvantageous position. With large-scale development on the horizon for downtown Ocoee and along State Road 50, the new ordinance allows the city to maintain a competitive position to attract new businesses.
“We believe by supporting this amendment, we are facilitating opportunity for many of our Ocoee members by increasing their competitiveness in the market,” said Stina D’Uva, WOCC President/CEO. “We will continue to work with our local government leaders to create a stronger West Orange business community.”
Tue, December 05, 2017
As the end of the year is upon us, it is easy to overspend and get overwhelmed. The average person in Central Florida will spend more than $900 on the holidays and that is in gifts alone! What about business? Remember there are many options out there, but your Chamber membership is an investment we hope you feel just as good about as we do. Many people are tempted to “start the year” or “get a fresh start in the new year.” It is easy to wrap our heads around the symbolic freshness of 1/1. Here are a few reasons it may be better to join or renew at the end of the year for business expenses:
Tue, December 05, 2017
One of the West Orange Chamber's highest honors is the award of Lifetime Director. The executive committee of the chamber, upon due consideration of a board member’s accomplishments on behalf of the chamber, may recommend a past board member in good-standing for a lifetime director award. A lifetime director receives complimentary membership for his/her lifetime, a plaque, his/her name added to the perpetual plaque, and is granted attendance to all board meetings.
The West Orange Chamber's Lifetime Directors are: William "Bill" Breeze, Alton Julian, Neal Harris, Kay Behrens, Jim Neumayer, Russ Salerno, Julie Kleffel, Dr. Diane Trees, Richard Irwin and James K. Densmore.
Tue, December 05, 2017
The Cities of Ocoee and Winter Garden have played a vital role throughout the West Orange Chamber's history. During the days of the formation of Chamber, efforts were taken to ensure that both cities would be well represented, and a central location was sought for the Chamber office, which was quickly found on State Road 50 near the border of the two cities, where the organization still resides today. Each city has worked closely with the Chamber over the years, and many Chamber events are hosted and sponsored by the two cities today.
Tue, December 05, 2017
The West Orange Chamber's Chairman of the Board serves in a one-year term as the leader of the Board of Directors. The Chairman leads the organization by promoting the Chamber and its initiatives, and formulating policies and programs that further the business community. Over the years, many of West Orange's most recognizable names have served in this leadership role.
|1972 - Joe Walker||1973 - Jerry Kennedy||1974 - George Bailey|
|1975 - William Breeze||1976 - Ernie Johnson||1977 - Mervin Lee|
|1978 - Doris Grimes||1979 - Robert Elrod||1980 - Dan Dummett|
|1981 - Bob Barber||1982 - Tim Lawyer||1983 - Charles Godley|
|1984 - JoAnne Quarles||1985 - Gerald Weeks||1986 - Wanda Hatley|
|1987 - John Cope||1988 - Roy Hester||1989 - Walter Toole|
|1990 - Jerry Baker||1991 - Greg Collison||1992 - Walt Cobb|
|1993 - Dan Petro||1994 - Paul Lewis||1995 - Larry Cappleman|
|1996 - Lynn Walker Wright||1997 - Derek Blakeslee||1998 - Richard Irwin|
|1999 - John Terrell||2000 - Ken Cone||2001 - Kay Behrens|
|2002 - Carolyn Cappleman||2003 - Neil Harris||2004 - Kurt Ardaman|
|2005 - Jim Neumayer||2006 - Pam Gould||2007 - Russ Salerno|
|2008 - Julie Kleffel||2009 - Diane Trees||2010 - Jim Densmore|
|2011 - Michael Waldrop||2012 - David Sylvester||2013 - David Billsborough|
|2014 - Lynetta Tipton Steed||2015 - Debbie Clements||2016 - Robert Maphis|
|2017 - Keith Bradford|
Tue, November 28, 2017
The West Orange Dental Alliance has implemented a “JUMP START” program to help residents obtain better dental health and employment.
Once the Alliance has treated a patient’s emergent issue, they are able to apply for the “Jump Start” Program. This program is based upon board approval, which can provide restorative dental treatment to patients that have the drive to get a job or a better one at that!
Tue, November 28, 2017
Reed Nissan has been recognized by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Central Florida Chapter (AFP-FC) with the Corporate and Foundation Engagement award in observance of National Philanthropy Day.
Reed Nissan was recognized for its local community involvement, support of human and animal welfare groups and substantial corporate financial giving. The dealership is well known for annual projects such as “Reed Gives Back to the Community Day,” (which awards new vehicles to deserving young people from within Central Florida’s foster care system) and “Paws In The Park” (which encourages pet adoption while raising public awareness and financial support to help shelter pets in need).
“We are humbled and honored to accept this recognition on behalf of the 250 employees throughout our company who participate in our many philanthropic and community service endeavors,” said Aaron Hill, general manager of Reed Nissan and Reed Nissan Clermont. “Of course, none of this would be possible without the patronage of our valued customers who have done business with our dealerships over the years. This award is really about them as well.”
Reed was among other honorees at this year's 32nd Annual National Philanthropy Day Awards, which took place on Wednesday, November 1, 2017 at the prestigious Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes.
“National Philanthropy Day acknowledges the entire spectrum of services that the non-profit, civic and service sectors provide, as well as the profound impact that philanthropy has on the fabric of society,” said Ashley Hickman, director of development for the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and a volunteer with the Central Florida Chapter of AFP.
The “Orlando Health Corporate & Foundation Engagement” honor is presented to corporations, corporate or public foundations that are active in philanthropy in Central Florida, and is instrumental in encouraging others to be involved.
See website: http://www.afpcentralflorida.org/npd/
About Reed Nissan
For nearly 70 years, Floridians have come to respect Reed Nissan’s commitment to excellent customer service which has led to seven Circle of Excellence Awards -- the only large volume dealership to receive this prestigious honor from Nissan North America. By building relationships with customers and the community, Reed Nissan and Reed Nissan Clermont continue to grow as a family business and as a top Nissan dealership. www.reednissan.com
Tue, November 28, 2017
CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE: CTL) has completed its acquisition of Level 3 Communications, Inc. The combination of CenturyLink and Level 3 creates a leading global network services company capable of providing customers a wide range of high-quality technology solutions over a secure and reliable fiber-rich network.
The combined company, with estimated pro forma revenue of $24 billion for the trailing twelve months ended June 30, 2017 (excluding revenue related to CenturyLink’s May 1, 2017, colocation business sale and including estimated intercompany eliminations and purchase accounting adjustments), anticipates that approximately 75 percent of its core revenue will come from business customers and nearly two-thirds of its core revenue will come from strategic services. CenturyLink’s network now connects more than 350 metropolitan areas with more than 100,000 fiber-enabled, on-net buildings, including 10,000 buildings in EMEA and Latin America.
Visit www.level3isnowcenturylink.com to learn more about the new CenturyLink.
“CenturyLink is now poised to offer an expanded, robust portfolio of communications solutions focused on our customers’ networking and IT services needs,” said Glen F. Post III, CenturyLink’s chief executive officer. “Our customers, from individual consumers to global enterprises, will benefit from our expanded, innovative network solutions, our complementary managed services and our highly talented workforce.”
CenturyLink is now even better positioned to:
“Our goal is to be the world’s best networking provider and we have the ability to achieve this as one company,” said Jeff Storey, CenturyLink’s president and chief operating officer. “CenturyLink is focused on providing a differentiated experience for our customers, while driving profitable growth and increasing free cash flow per share. Our scale and experience will enable us to deliver on behalf of our customers, employees and our shareholders.”
Holders of Level 3 common stock as of immediately prior to closing are entitled to receive $26.50 per share in cash (without interest) and 1.4286 shares of CenturyLink stock for each Level 3 share they owned. CenturyLink shareholders now own approximately 51 percent and former Level 3 stockholders now own approximately 49 percent of the combined company. CenturyLink remains headquartered in Monroe, La., with a key operational presence in Colorado and the Denver metropolitan area.
Mon, November 27, 2017
The Community Trustee program, a top-tier investment level within the Chamber, represents the premier organizations and companies in West Orange county and neighboring communities. Through tailored programming, the Chamber provides these members with social and political networking, increased branding opportunities and recognition at all Chamber events. This is a premier membership designed to connect community leaders and other executives with benefits and services geared to meet the challenges of today's business.
The success of the Community Trustee program heralded the creation of the Supporting Trustee program. This membership provides a much defined, highly valuable array of benefits provided to heighten their exposure within West Orange County and beyond. The Supporting Trustee level enables these members to unite in our shared vision of preparing and developing local businesses and the community for a better tomorrow.
Mon, November 27, 2017
The Small Business Development Team (SBDT) exists to provide small business owners, their managers and employees with the tools, resources and network to enhance their businesses. They accomplish this goal by offering existing Chamber members a vast selection of educational, networking and fundamental business events, such as the Lead and Feed and Lunch and Learn programs. This committee is tasked with gathering member feedback and suggestions for upcoming event topics and speakers and bringing those programs to light.
Mon, November 27, 2017
The Ambassadors are the goodwill representatives of the West Orange Chamber. They are easily recognized in their red jackets. Ambassadors play a key role for the Chamber, serving as the hosts of many functions, including ribbon cuttings, anniversary celebrations, Business After Hours and other events. They also promote Chamber programs, projects and activities to current and prospective members. Click here to learn more about the current Ambassador committee.
Fri, November 24, 2017
J&J Building, LLC
Promise Communities Services of FL, Inc.
Tue, November 14, 2017
The West Orange Trail has played a vital role in the economic expansion of West Orange County, particularly the rejuvenation of historic downtown Winter Garden, where the trail runs right down the middle of Plant Street. Nearly every day, you'll find hundreds of walkers, joggers, cyclists and skaters enjoying the trail.
The trail stretches nearly 22 miles, from the Orange/Lake county line near Oakland to Welch Road in Apopka, passing through Winter Garden and Ocoee along the way. It also connects to the South Lake Trail, providing easy access to Clermont and Minneola to the west. It will provide an important link in the Coast-to-Coast Connector, a system of interlinked trails that will cross the state, connecting St. Petersburg to Titusville.
Tue, November 14, 2017
For over 17 years, the Committee of One Hundred and One (C101) has supported projects and local nonprofit organizations who positively contribute to our community.
Membership in the C101 is limited to only those who demonstrate the most substantial, positive influence or leadership in West Orange County and membership is limited to one hundred and one members. Selection as a member of C101 will only be able to occur after nomination by two C101 board members, screening of the nominee and final approval by the C101 Board. Membership in C101 offers private social gatherings and interactions with other influential members of the committee.
Tue, November 14, 2017
OCOEE, Fla. – Applications for the City of Ocoee’s Most Valuable Partnership Grants are now available. Ocoee homeowner associations and civic groups may submit projects which beautify neighborhoods, address public safety concerns, or foster cultural, recreational, or educational wants and needs of the neighborhood or organization. There is $12,000 available and the maximum grant award is $2,000.
The deadline to submit applications is November 30. Applications will be available online at www.ocoee.org or at the City Hall reception desk. Completed applications should be mailed or delivered to City Hall, Community Relations,150 North Lakeshore Drive, Ocoee, Florida, 34761.
The goal of the Most Valuable Partnership Grant Program is to improve the quality of life in Ocoee by assisting residents and organizations in making improvements to their neighborhoods or creating programs which benefit citizens.
For more information on the MVP Grant Program, visit www.ocoee.org or call 407- 905-3100.
Tue, November 14, 2017
Confession: As you are fighting the crowds at [insert favorite Black Friday mega store here], you break away and it dawns on you - “Small Business Saturday!” It may have been an afterthought in the past, but get ahead of the curve this year and think of it FIRST! Support your neighbors, friends, community by shopping small next Saturday, November 25. Even before and beyond this event, keep the holiday dollars in your business community by shopping with Chamber members first, because they are the ones that are supporting you too!
On Thanksgiving weekend we should be thankful for family, friends AND community, and Small Business Saturday offers a perfect opportunity to show our gratitude. We can make a difference but it starts with small choices; Small Business Saturday and the West Orange Community encourages you to shop small and local brick and mortar businesses. Keep an eye on the WOCC Facebook page in the coming days as we show you how to access your business directory and we list our participating small business members. Feel good about getting your holiday shopping done early while supporting your fellow West Orange businesses. This is where we work, play AND shop! Visit the WOCC business directory on the web or using our mobile site!
Tue, November 14, 2017
By Carlos Perez
Principal, Perez Technology Group
Small business owners by nature wear many hats to run and manage their businesses. In many cases those responsibilities, while crucial to the operation of the business, are not the primary focus of the businesses. One of these functions is running the technology aspect of a small business or relying on internal staff to update, upkeep and maintain their IT despite technology not being their specific area of expertise.
With the challenges business owners face today and the importance technology has on running the business, the important access to data has on meeting client needs, many small business owners are seeking ways to outsource their technology. However, concerns such as lack of time, if their data will be secure, who to trust with their information, unknown costs, often paralyze business owners into inaction. This is actually worse as existing IT infrastructure becomes obsolete and there is an increasing demand to have access to a company’s data at any time, from any platform and from anywhere.
Here are some tips for small business owners seeking to outsource their IT services or those who may be looking to make a switch to a more efficient and cost-effective provider:
Conduct an IT Assessment with a reputable and unbiased IT expert
An IT audit should look at the needs of the business based on its mission, vision, goals, market and evaluate if the existing IT infrastructure is meeting those needs or not, and recommend cost-effective solutions as part of the IT Assessment findings report.
Understand that cloud and mobile technology can be leveraged to enhance the growth and development of your business at a lower cost.
Many SMB’s believe that outsourcing their technology means the need to purchase expensive hardware & services. This is not always the case as cloud services actually eliminate the need for costly hardware such as servers and routers, while providing all the security, data back up and access a business needs to compete and succeed.
Recognize it may actually cost you more to manage your IT in-house
Every hour a business owner devotes to managing his or her own IT is an hour not devoted to customer service, to new business development, to product and service improvements, to managing staff and other vital operations of the business. A small business owners time is more valuable and better spent on their core business and attending to customers than in running, updating their IT or trying to rectify IT issues.
Tue, October 24, 2017
The Chamber’s Lead and Feed Networking Lunch is an easygoing, no stress, informal event that has grown exponentially over the years. The concept is simple: 1.) Show up ready to build relationships 2.) Network with your fellow Chamber members. Easy, right? We pass around the "roaming mic," and everyone in attendance has the opportunity to stand up and tell us their name and a little about their business. Members enjoy a terrific lunch at this Chamber Member restaurant and make some new contacts. Find the next Lead and Feed by visiting our event calendar!
Tue, October 24, 2017
Manheim Orlando is a longtime Chamber member, joining in 1980. The company has been an active supporter of many Chamber events, and was the host of the 2016 Hob Nob & Straw Poll. Manheim was established in 1945 as a wholesale vehicle auction operation and continues to set the industry standard for buying and selling used vehicles today.
Tue, October 24, 2017
Each fall, Chamber members link up at one of our member golf courses for a relaxing day of building business in the beautiful outdoors at the WOCC Golf Classic. Sponsors are placed throughout the course to add entertainment to your round, and countless prizes are up for grabs over the course of the day. To learn more about this year's event, to be held Nov. 3 at Orange County National Golf Center & Lodge, click here!
Tue, October 24, 2017
The newly-formed West Orange Foundation held its inaugural reception on Thursday, October 12 at Lake Meadow Naturals in Ocoee. At the event, the foundation presented the recipients of the 2017-18 West Orange Committee of 101 (C101) grant awards.
C101 member fund donations are distributed as grants to organizations that fit the mission of the West Orange Foundation and improve the community. Over the years, C101 has distributed over $235,000 to worthy community charities, including the West Orange Chamber’s building purchase.
This year’s grants were awarded to:
The West Orange Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization that serves as the community-based, philanthropic arm of the West Orange Chamber of Commerce (WOCC). The Foundation’s vision is to create a broader community reach, streamline the Chamber’s philanthropy and community outreach programs, engage more industries & businesses, create and embolden alliances and foster positive change, health and growth. It will support many WOCC philanthropic initiatives, including its adult and youth leadership programs, scholarships for local students, community-need projects, educational Chamber events and the Committee of 101 (C101) grant program.
Tue, October 24, 2017
Colleen Healy, Massage Therapist
Sweet, Sassy & Southern
Green River Group Inc.
Patricia L Gleason
Mon, October 23, 2017
By Clinton Pownall
CEO, Computer Business Consultants, Inc.
Equifax Inc. (EFX), one of the world’s largest consumer credit reporting agencies, discovered in July 2017 they had a major security breach and did not report it until several months later on September 8th 2017. Equifax collects and aggregates information on over 800 million individual consumers and more than 88 million businesses worldwide. Reported compromised were 143 million consumer records containing personal information containing names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and driver’s license numbers, and 209,000 consumer credit card numbers.
The hackers responsible for the breach used an exploited and patched security vulnerability known to exist in industry standard common website hosting software. The vulnerability the hackers used, along with the patch release, were announced months before Equifax’s July 2017 web server hack. To further compound Equifax’s culpable behavior, as soon as the hackers exploited the vulnerability, they guessed the admin password, Argentina, within minutes.
So what should you do?
1. Visit Equifax’s site to check if your personal information was accessed in this hack.
Given there were 143 million Equifax records compromised and a large number of Americans are credit invisible, the odds are if you participate in America’s Capitalism game, Equifax handed the hackers your information.
2. If your information was compromised then enroll in Equifax’s credit monitoring. However, there is a BIG caveat. Equifax’s credit monitoring arbitration clause in its Terms of Service prevent you from joining a class action suit. Arbitration clauses like Equifax’s are supposed to be on their way out. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced a ban on them this summer, but its new rules won’t apply until next year, and Republican lawmakers are trying to repeal them altogether. For now, the one existing loophole is Equifax’s opt-out provision: Within 30 days of agreeing to the terms of the enrollment, you can deliver a written notice to this address:
Equifax Consumer Services LLC
Attn.: Arbitration Opt-Out
P.O. Box 105496
Atlanta, GA 30348
Include your name, address, Equifax User ID, and a clear statement that you, “want to opt out of resolving disputes with Equifax through arbitration.”
Businesses need an IT business partner that can handle the IT needs and provide the necessary network security. Today’s IT Managed Service Providers must be proactive in their ability to assess and prevent new threats. If the Equifax hack has shown us anything it is very few IT companies and IT staff are able to meet those requirements on their own.
Mon, October 16, 2017
1. Expand your network and build your business.
Over 100 West Orange business leaders are expected to participate in the event. Make connections and expand your network in a relaxed, low-pressure environment.
2. Experience one of the area's top golf courses.
If you are looking for the best golf in Central Florida and want to experience the finest course layouts, conditions and facilities, look no further than Orange County National Golf Center and Lodge. It is ranked as the #1 public course in Florida and #2 in the entire U.S.!
3. Take advantage of an unbelievable value.
Your Golf Classic registration includes: 18 holes w/cart, range balls to get warmed up before your round, lunch as you head out, drink tickets on and off the course, multiple chances to win great prizes, a catered awards reception after the tournament and more!
4. Countless event partnership opportunities.
5. Enjoy a beautiful Friday outside the office.
It's hard to beat the early November weather in West Orange. Average temperatures hover in the high 70s with plenty of sunshine expected!
6. Plenty of chances to win.
Your chances of winning a fantastic prize doesn't end when you turn in your scorecard. In addition to awards for our leaders on the course, our event partners are giving you plenty of chances to bid on amazing silent auction items or win a door prize!
7. It's the most fun you can have on a work day!
The end of the year is nearing and we could all use a break from the daily routine. Why not enjoy a Friday on the links with friends and potential business partners? Our hole sponsors will be whipping up special treats around the course, golfers can participate in all kinds of contests and we'll be sharing our favorite moments on social media for all to enjoy.
Tue, October 10, 2017
Here in Orange County, workforce development is an increasingly important topic. The economy is thriving and businesses continue to flock to the Orlando area, but are we as a community doing enough to provide qualified employees to fill these jobs?
Many students are not aware of the nearly limitless possibilities available to them. While it is often assumed that a four-year college degree is the only path to a successful career, there are many tracks students can take. College certainly provides a wealth of opportunities. Right here in our area, UCF and Valencia College are providing opportunity to thousands of students each year. Alternatively, many students are finding success through technical programs, like those offered at Orange Technical College, where they are learning valuable skills that put them on a fast track to a great job.
On November 15, business leaders have the opportunity to reach students directly via the annual OCPS Teach-In program. Participants can take advantage of this unique opportunity to become a teacher for the hour, showcasing some of the qualities they are looking for in their next great employee, while inspiring students and getting them to start thinking about their next steps after school. Learn more about this valuable program at www.foundationforocps.org.