Guest Blog: Can a Tenant Withhold Rent if the Landlord Hasn’t Made Repairs?


By: David Delrahim

If you’re a landlord, it is almost inevitable that at some point a tenant will attempt to withhold rent and claim that you failed to maintain the premises. Although Florida law does permit tenants to withhold rent, it is only justified under certain circumstances and certain procedural steps must be taken.

What Duty Does a Landlord Have to Maintain the Premises?

Both landlords and tenants have a duty to maintain the premises, however, the landlord’s duty starts with turning over the premises to the tenant free from dangerous conditions. After the tenant moves in, the landlord has a continuing duty to (i) exercise reasonable care and (ii) repair dangerous and certain defective conditions once the tenant notifies the landlord of their existence.

When Can a Tenant Withhold Rent?

Withholding rent is only permitted if the tenant has followed all of the statutory procedural mechanisms and the landlord has materially breached the duty to maintain.  A material breach usually refers to the habitability of the premises. If the tenant remains in possession of the premises or refuses to allow the landlord to make repairs, the court will likely find the premises was in whole or at least in part habitable or that the tenant waived the defective condition. If the tenant’s withholding of rent was not warranted under Florida law and the landlord prevails in the lawsuit, the landlord may be entitled to recover attorneys’ fees and costs.

While it may not make business sense to retain an attorney over minor tenant issues, once a tenant notifies you of issues with habitability, a major repair or personal injury, you should contact an attorney at the outset. Should you have any questions related to landlord/tenant issues, please contact Englander Fischer office at 727-898-7210 to see how one of our attorneys can assist you.

Member Highlights: June 28 – July 4, 2015


Inside this Week’s Member Highlights

Member News

Member Events

New Hires & Promotions

Member Accolades

Member News

Absolute Mobile Solutions Helps Pepin Academies Better Connect with Parents of Children with Learning Disabilities through Revamped Website

For over 15 years, Pepin Academies has provided a dynamic yet comfortable experience for students with learning disabilities. Recently, Pepin Academies added campuses in Riverview and Pasco County, which has allowed them to provide their outstanding services to a wider population. However, with growth comes the challenges of streamlining branding messages. Each campus varies slightly in terms of what it offers students and has its own website. Creating cohesive messaging that tied all three campuses together became difficult. Additionally, Pepin Academies wanted to ensure that parents of current students had access to necessary information.

Pepin Academies partnered with Absolute Mobile Solutions, a Tampa digital marketing agency that specializes in responsive website design and mobile applications, to produce a website that gave prospective parents and donors a glimpse into life and learning for students on each campus. The new website contains engaging images of students participating in a variety of learning activities. Links to all campuses are prominent as well pertinent information about academic offerings, extracurricular activities and opportunities to donate to Pepin Academies.

Pepin Academies, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, has grown from a one room school house to a group of charter schools serving over 850 students with learning disabilities on three campuses. Pepin Academies is free for students and, through their programs, strives to break the destructive cycle of learned helplessness by finding students’ academic strengths and abilities and enhancing social skills.

“It’s always great for us when we have the opportunity to work with organizations like Pepin Academies. They are so passionate about serving our community,” said Alfred Goldberg, president of Absolute Mobile Solutions. “They give their best to students with learning disabilities and it was our desire to provide them with our best website. It was important that it would be easy for people to learn about their programs in an engaging way.”

“We needed a company that understood our mission and goals and made helping us achieve them a top priority. The Absolute team accomplished that by working tirelessly to determine the best strategy for creating a consistent brand identity for our organization and making important information easy to attain for current and prospective parents,” said Lauren Bergold, community relations director of Pepin Academies.

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All Children’s Hospital Heart Transplant Recipient Returns from Advocacy Trip in D.C., Speaking to Lawmakers about Children’s Health Issues


Heart transplant recipient and All Children’s Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine patient Noah Nero and his family just returned to the Tampa Bay area after joining 44 other patients from across the country on Capitol Hill to speak to local Congress members about key healthcare needs for children. The Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Day event, sponsored by the Children’s Hospital Association, offered families and hospital staff the chance to highlight children’s health issues, including the need to improve coordinated care for children with medically complex conditions and the importance of access to highly trained specialists.

Noah, a Medicaid recipient, and his mother spoke with local lawmakers including, U.S. Representatives Gus Bilirakis, Vern Buchanan, Kathy Castor and David Jolly, as well as staff from Senator Marco Rubio’s office. Noah’s mother, Cherish, shared their family’s story of how Noah was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome just a day after birth. One side of his heart didn’t function properly and after three surgeries to repair it, doctors eventually put Noah on a waiting list for a heart transplant.

At five years old, Noah received a new heart but he still visits his team at All Children’s Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine for follow-up cardiac care. In addition to multiple heart check-ups throughout the year, Noah, now 7, also sees a handful of pediatric specialists for his cerebral palsy, lung disease, autism, osteoporosis, physical therapy, speech therapy, behavioral therapy and other medical conditions.

View pictures from Noah’s Visit to Capitol Hill

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Florida Poly’s High Tech Robotics Program Graduates Third Annual Class

Ted Willoughby of Wesley Chapel High School presents his poster at the conclusion of the MERIT graduation. Each MERIT participant chose a topic involving advanced technology that they researched for a poster presentation.

Ted Willoughby of Wesley Chapel High School presents his poster at the conclusion of the MERIT graduation. Each MERIT participant chose a topic involving advanced technology that they researched for a poster presentation.

Fourteen local high school students proudly demonstrated their robotic inventions and poster projects Friday evening during the third annual graduation ceremony of the Medical Engineering and Robotics Innovation for Tomorrow (MERIT) summer program at Florida Polytechnic University.

MERIT offers local high school students an intensive, hands-on learning experience in health informatics, nanotechnology, renewable energy, surgical robotics and other high-demand industries using advanced technology.

“The MERIT summer program is a great way for students to get up close and personal with key concepts in STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” said Dr. Susan LeFrancois, Assistant Professor of Science and Logistics at Florida Poly and lead organizer of the annual summer program. “I am proud of all of our MERIT graduates. They thoroughly enjoyed working with high-tech innovations and learning about how they are applied in the real world.”

Florida Poly partnered with All Saints Academy, Lakeland Regional Health, The PUR Clinic, WellDyne and Winter Haven Hospital for the evening program, which began on June 1 at the University’s campus. During the last four weeks, students participated in a series of immersive, three-hour evening sessions that covered different topics in advanced technology, engineering and medicine. Leading faculty and industry experts from the partner organizations taught the classes and engaged students by using 3D printers, taking field trips and conducting research on a topic of their choice.

Students in the MERIT program also assembled and programmed functional robots, which they demonstrated as part of the final assignment and graduation ceremony before faculty and special guests. All students kept their robots and received a certificate of completion.

“Being part of a hands-on learning experience involving robotics and medical advances was exciting, and something that I would not have been able to take part in if it were not for MERIT. I would not have missed this for anything. I would support this camp in any way that I can in the future,” said Ted Willoughby,who just graduated from Wesley Chapel High School and plans to attend Florida Polytechnic University in the fall.

Each weekly session of the MERIT program covered a different topic in advanced technology, engineering and medicine, including:

  • “Design and Rapid Prototyping with Tinkercad and Makerbot®” – Students gained hands-on experience using 3D printers and software;
  • “Innovation in Cancer Therapy” – Oncologists explained cancer therapy and offered students experience using scanners and therapy in a simulated experience;
  • “Robotics Lab/Surgery” – Physicians discussed high-tech surgery and allowed students to operate the CT and MRI scanning equipment as well as the da Vinci® Robot used in surgery.

“It’s been exciting to watch the MERIT students learn and be inspired by the innovative advancements our faculty and industry partners are applying every day,” said Dr. Ghazi Darkazalli, Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost at Florida Polytechnic University. “For the third year, Florida Poly is proud to offer this experience to these bright young students and we hope it inspires them to keep learning.”

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IT Authorities is Growing

IT Authorities, a managed information technology services company based in Tampa, has added 24 jobs during the first two quarters of 2015. The jobs range from systems engineers to director and vice presidential roles, according to a statement. The company expects to hire 30 more people before 2016. The company attributes the hiring to recent acquisitions of client companies. It exceeded 2014 sales in this year’s first quarter. IT Authorities’ total known employee count is now at 73. It ranked No. 14 among managed IT services.

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Port Tampa Bay Applauds New DRIVE Act and Senate Support of Critical Provisions for Transportation | Port Tampa Bay Pleased with Passage of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) Legislation

Port Tampa Bay is in strong support of a new six-year highway reauthorization bill titled Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy (DRIVE) Act which is included in legislation the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW)released today.  The bill has bipartisan support in the Senate, and it addresses some key priorities for freight mobility, which would assist the nation’s seaports and provide a boost to the economy.

This strategic bill mark up by the EPW Committee is the first step toward movement of a full reauthorization package to be forwarded to the Senate Floor. The Senate EPW Committee held a press conference today to introduce the reauthorization bill, led by U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer; U.S. Sen. David Vitter; and U.S. Sen. Tom Carper.

Key priorities included in the DRIVE Act mark up, identified by the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA), are as follows:

  • $13.5 billion formula-based freight program
  • Designation and redesignation of freight network, which would require inclusion of National Highway System freight intermodal connectors
  • Expanded port eligibility in the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) Program
  • $2.4 billion in competitive grant funds titled Assistance for Major Projects Program (AMPP), to assist states and regions with large corridor and multimodal gateway projects and contains eligibility for ports
  • Requires MAP-21 freight planning provisions for state freight plans and state freight advisory committees
  • National freight plan that is to be revised every five years

“The people of Florida, along with port communities across the United States, will greatly benefit with this new legislation. This is a great first step toward a solution to fully-fund our nation’s highway programs,” Paul Anderson, Port Tampa Bay president and CEO, said. “Port Tampa Bay fully supports this pro-active proposal, as it will give the country a “roadmap” on our vital infrastructure, as well as creating a plan that will focus on a national freight program that will help spur trade and economic benefits that will be felt throughout our community for generations to come.”

Anderson, a strong proponent of legislative initiatives that result in economic development and positive trade-related outcomes, also sits on the Board of Directors of the Coalition for America’s Gateways & Trade Corridors (CAGTC), based in Washington, D.C., which was established to bring national attention to the need to significantly expand U.S. freight transportation capabilities and to work toward solutions for this growing national challenge.

Port Tampa Bay has enviable intermodal connections and has benefited from a state government that strongly supports its department of transportation. Most notably, the recent construction of critical intermodal infrastructure projects, including the Interstate-4/Selmon Expressway Connector, with its dedicated truck lane to and from the port complex, and the port’s Gateway Rail terminal, which opened in late 2012.

Port Tampa Bay—the largest economic engine in West and Central Florida—joins with other U.S. ports and trade associations in celebrating the U.S. Congress’ passage this week of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation, which is pro-growth and pro economic development—hallmarks of the port’s strategic direction.

Port Tampa Bay leaders strongly supported the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (TPA-2015) and late last month issued a release urging passage of this important TPA legislation, which was fortunate to have bipartisan support.  With passage in both chambers of Congress now complete, Port Tampa Bay looks forward to the President’s signing of this important legislation.  Trade Promotion Authority is vital to successfully negotiating trade agreements that profoundly benefit the economy of our nation.  Port Tampa Bay, the largest economic engine in the Tampa Bay region, supports initiatives that result in economic growth and well-paying jobs.  Trade agreements are critical to facilitating cargo movement globally, and Florida stands to benefit for years to come because of successful TPA passage.

“News of this Trade Promotion Authority passage is fantastic news for the port, for the region and for the state.  Here in Florida, trade supports 2.4 million jobs, and TPA ensures that trade agreements will have the clearest opportunities to be successfully negotiated. The port firmly supports passage of this legislation, and we are extremely grateful to our leaders in Washington, the American Association of Port Authorities, and our fellow ports nationwide for their support. It’s important that we continue to recognize the value of our ports and the nexus of trade activity to our country, our economy and to our citizens. The positive impacts of TPA passage will be with us for generations,” Paul Anderson, port president and CEO, said.

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Member Events

July 31: St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital Foundation Presents Christmas in July Annual Donation Drive

BC1503564_SJCH Foundation CIJ Poster 2015P1

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New Hires & Promotions

C1 Bank Promotes Susan Maurer, SVP/Senior Commercial Lender, to Hillsborough County Market Leader

CaptureC1 Bank promoted Susan Maurer, SVP/Senior Commercial Lender, to the Hillsborough County Market Leader. Susan Maurer has been in the financial/banking industry for over 36 years and has worked with commercial lending and finance in both Texas and Florida. Susan graduated from National University in San Diego, CA, Leadership Collier and Leadership Tampa. Susan is a member of the Chamber’s Military Committee and Leadership Tampa Alumni. She was also the first female executive on the board at Bank of America in Texas.

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Celestar Holdings Corporation Promotes Deborah Miller to Business Relationship Manager, Names Lori Larsen as Chief Strategy Officer

debbiemillerCelestar Holdings Corporation announced today the promotion of Debbie Miller to Business Relationship Manager.  Ms. Miller will be responsible for implementing and managing Celestar’s business relationships and military affairs programs, in addition to developing and executing a comprehensive internal and external communications and community strategy to enhance Celestar’s corporate reputation.

“Debbie has been a critical factor in building Celestar’s presence in the community.  As a result of her hard work, she was recognized by the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce with the Bob Cutler Volunteer of the Year Award. A true testament to Debbie’s dedication to supporting military causes”, said Gregory Celestan, Chief Executive Officer of Celestar Holdings Corporation.

leadership_llarsenEarly last month, Celestar Holdings Corporation announced the promotion of Lori Larsen to Chief Strategy Officer.  Ms. Larsen will be responsible for the development and execution of Celestar’s strategy as well as identifying growth opportunities across the subsidiary companies.

“Lori has been a critical component of Celestar’s growth and success.  She joined the company in 2005 as a Program Manager and quickly rose through the ranks of management.  She has helped drive Celestar’s growth from a startup business to a successful mid-tier enterprise”, said Gregory Celestan, Chief Executive Officer of Celestar Holdings Corporation.

Ms. Larsen holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs from Marquette University with a Minor in Military Science and Leadership. She served as a Commissioned Officer in the United States Army from May1998 through August 2005 prior to joining Celestar.

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Member Accolades

Twenty-three Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney Tampa Attorneys Named to 2015 Florida Super Lawyers and Rising Stars Lists

Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney is pleased to announce that 23 of the firm’s Tampa attorneys were selected for inclusion in the 2015 Florida Super Lawyers list. Of the 23 selected, five were noted as Florida Rising Stars.

Each year, no more than five percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to be included in the Super Lawyers list, and no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team to be included in the Rising Stars list.

The Tampa attorneys selected to the Super Lawyers list include: Cathy J. Beveridge, E. Jackson Boggs, Heather B. Brock, John D. Emmanuel, Darren D. Farfante, William J. Flynn, Calvin G.  Hayes, Mitchell I. Horowitz, Richard A. Jacobson, Rhea F. Law, Conrad J. Lazo, Carl R. Nelson, Ronald H. Noble, Richard G. Salazar, Hala A. Sandridge, Ted R. Tamargo, Scott A. Underwood and Edward M. Waller, Jr.

Those Tampa attorneys selected to the 2015 Florida Super Lawyers Rising Stars list include: Blake J. Delaney, Meredith S. Delcamp, Thomas J. Hunt, Sarah Lahlou-Amine and Scott A. Richards

Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys.

The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country.

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Tampa Law Firm Bush Ross, P.A. Shareholders Installed as HCBA President & Secretary

009-Andersen(Print)Bush Ross Shareholder Carter Andersen was recently installed as President of the Hillsborough County Bar Association. Bush Ross President Jeffrey Warren introduced Mr. Andersen who was subsequently sworn in by Chief Judge Ronald Ficarrotta.

The Installation took place at the HCBA’s Chester H. Ferguson Law Center on June 17, 2015. During his speech, Mr. Andersen expressed his gratitude to colleagues and peers that have mentored him throughout his career. He explained how impactful those experiences have been in his life and stressed the importance of paying it forward.

Mr. Andersen has been actively involved with the HCBA for the past eight years, having
served on the Board of Directors.

Mr. Andersen’s practice includes civil litigation matters in both state and federal courts
and in alternative dispute resolution settings, including arbitration and mediation. He
regularly handles business, commercial and contract disputes, construction and real estate disputes, employment litigation, professional malpractice matters (defending attorneys, accountants, architects and engineers), trade secret disputes, and other general commercial litigation matters. Mr. Andersen is also certified as a Mediator by the Florida Supreme Court and the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

025-JenkinsRS(Print)Bush Ross Shareholder Drew Jenkins was appointed as Secretary of the Hillsborough County Bar Association.  Mr. Jenkins will serve a one year term commencing in July 2015.

Mr. Jenkins’ practice focuses primarily on commercial finance, secured lending, mergers and acquisitions, and general corporate law. He also has extensive experience representing creditors and trustees in Chapter 11 reorganizations and Chapter 7 liquidations.

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Englander Fischer Senior Partner & Attorney Partner Recognized as ‘Legal Leaders’ by Peers

CaptureEnglander Fischer LLP congratulates senior partner, Lenny Englander, and attorney partner, Sidney Werner, on being named to Florida Trend’s “Legal Elite of 2015”. This is the 11th year that Florida Trend has presented its list of attorneys whose distinction within their profession has earned them recognition from fellow attorneys and colleagues.

“It is an honor to be recognized for the hard work and dedication that is put towards our clients,” says Leonard S. Englander, founder of Englander Fischer.

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17 GrayRobinson Attorneys Listed Among Florida Trend’s 2015 Legal Elite

GR Logo Color

GrayRobinson, P.A., announced that Florida Trend has recognized 17 attorneys on its annual Legal Elite special report, recognizing the top attorneys in the state as chosen by their peers.

The resulting lists of top attorneys represents fewer than 2 percent of the active Florida Bar members who practice in Florida. Two GrayRobinson attorneys were ranked as Up & Comers, representing those who are under the age of 40 and have exhibited leadership in the law and in their community. The list also includes Gary S. Salzman, who is recognized in the Legal Elite Hall of Fame.

GrayRobinson attorneys named to the 2015 Florida Trend Legal Elite (listed alphabetically below by location):

Fort Lauderdale:

Jeffrey T. Kuntz, Appellate*


William H. Andrews, Labor & Employment


Sandra  G. Sheets, Wills, Trusts & Estates


Brian H. Bieber, Criminal Law

Leyza F. Blanco, Bankruptcy & Workout

Joel Hirschhorn, Criminal Law

Kevin M. Levy, Business Law

Marlene Quintana, B.C.S., Labor & Employment


John A. Boudet, Commercial Litigation

Christopher L. Carmody, Jr., Government & Administrative*

Mayanne Downs, Commercial Litigation

Frederick W. Leonhardt, Government & Administrative

Gary S. Salzman, B.C.S., Commercial Litigation**


Debra Deardourff Faulk, Intellectual Property Rights

Brian K. Oblow, Civil Trial

Stefan V. Stein, Intellectual Property Rights

Woodrow H. Pollack, Intellectual Property Rights

(*) Up & Comer

(**) Hall of Famer

About Legal Elite

Published once a year by Florida Trend, Legal Elite is a special report that recognizes the best attorneys in the state as chosen by their peers. The resulting lists represent fewer than 2% of the active Florida Bar members who practice in Florida.

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Tampa Based No Mo Nausea Wins Miami Venture Hive Business Pitch Competition & Interest from Venture Capitalists

No Mo Nausea is proud to announce that it has been selected as the winner of the annual Miami Venture Hive business pitch competition.  The competition provided a forum for over one hundred early stage companies to pitch their business to venture capitalists from across the United States.  No Mo Nausea’s CEO, Jacqueline Darna, was chosen for her innovative natural anti-nausea product presentation. Her expertise spiked the interest of venture capitalist Chip Gessner, financial backer to Facebook, Twitter, and Uber.

The company has gained attention throughout 2015 including  being selected as a Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce Startup Scholar; being endorsed by multiple U.S. physicians, being chosen as KIWI Magazines Eco-Friendly Family pick of 2015, and being selected as an anti-nausea product of choice by scuba divers licensed by the National Association of Underwater Instructors.

“I felt like I was watching an infomercial, perfectly pitched, well done,” said Sandy Goldman, Partner at The Brand Liason LLC; “No Mo Nausea, you represent Tampa very well. You make us proud,” remarked Art Fyvolent, CEO, Ideas4.

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Forty-Four Trenam Kemker Lawyers Named Florida Super Lawyers and Florida Rising Stars

Trenam Kemker is proud to announce Florida Super Lawyers has named forty-four of our attorneys to the Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists.  Florida Super Lawyers recognizes attorneys who have distinguished themselves in their legal practice. Their patented selection process is rigorous and results in third-party validation of their professional accomplishments. Click here to view the Trenam Kemker attorneys that are listed.

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Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce Issues Statement on Agreement with Cuba to Reopen Embassies


The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bob Rohrlack released this statement on the agreement with Cuba to reopen embassies:

“The Chamber is pleased that after more than 50 years, embassies in Washington D.C. and Havana will be reopened. This is an important step in re-establishing relations which will ultimately lead to expanded economic opportunities for our region. On our most recent educational trip to Cuba this May, we had the opportunity to visit what will soon be the U.S. Embassy in Cuba and engage in meaningful dialogue. The Chamber has been advocate of reopening ties for years and we welcome this next step in the process of making that a reality,” said Rohrlack.

“The Chamber has been at the forefront in Tampa Bay with respect to preparing this region for mutually beneficial trade opportunities through our trips to the island and our advocacy for expanded flight service. We are excited that our respective embassies will be reopened and we will continue to develop relationships with our colleagues in Cuba in hopes that Cubans will understand the positive climate toward Cuba in Tampa Bay and will choose the location of a consulate in Tampa/Hillsborough County,” said Chamber Chair Ronald A. Christaldi, Esq.

For more information on the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, please visit

About the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce
The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce is committed to serving our members and enhancing our community by building business success. The Chamber provides a greater return on investment and involvement by providing innovative leadership, inside access, influential advocacy and increased opportunities.

Member Highlights: June 21 – 27, 2015

Inside this Week’s Member Highlights

Member News

New Hires & Promotions

Member Accolades

Member News

Bayshore Solutions Launches New National Healthcare Providers Website That Showcases Expanded Business Model

Bayshore Solutions

Digital Agency, Bayshore Solutions and National Healthcare Providers (NHCP), announce the launch of the NHCP newly redesigned, custom website found at

National Healthcare Providers, is a physician owned and operated medical consulting firm, specializing in the areas of Radiology, Anesthesiology, Emergency and Hospital Medicine. NHCP’s comprehensive solutions allow healthcare facilities to improve efficiencies, while providing the highest patient care and satisfaction, leading the industry as a “New Method of Practice.”

NHCP partnered with Bayshore Solutions, to deliver a new website that is not only a signature of their practice, but comprehensive and user friendly for medical professionals. As National Healthcare Providers (formerly leading in Radiology services as National Radiology Consultants) transitioned to a new phase of business expanding its services lines, NHCP challenged Bayshore Solutions to help them redesign their new website to promote their new brand and expanded services, and help them lead the industry as a company that values advance technology, evaluation and management among healthcare providers.

The new website presents a clean, clear brand presentation in a completely responsive format across all devices. The website conveniently allows users to navigate through both hospital solutions for healthcare facilities, and serves as a recruiting tool for potential healthcare providers looking to join NHCP’s expanding model.

“Our new branding and website is part of our community’s ongoing efforts to enhance the quality and availability of information to our current and prospective residents,” said Liz Argott, Federation President of Kings Point Suncoast. “We’re always striving to create a positive and active community for our residents, and our new website truly showcases what it’s like to live in a Sunshine State of Mind.”

“The launch of the new website, is part of our organizations ongoing efforts to enhance the quality and availability of information to both hospital administrators and potential employees,” said CEO and Founder, Dr. James Okoh. “Providing quick and easy access to essential information for individuals and organizations that may benefit from NHCP services, has been among our highest priorities as we streamline our resources to better serve our partners.”

National Healthcare Providers continues its partnership with Bayshore Solutions for digital marketing services. Bayshore Solutions will work with National Healthcare Providers with customized strategies to promote the new website to medical professionals and manage search engine optimization efforts.

“We are incredibly proud of our partnership with National Healthcare Providers,” said Kevin Hourigan, President and CEO of Bayshore Solutions. “Our team is excited about the firm’s growth and we look forward to continued collaboration to grow the NHCP brand and business opportunities.”

Click to read more about the National Healthcare Providers Website design.

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CI Group Part of Gov. Rick Scott’s Seven City Tour

CI Group Gov Scott

On Monday, Governor Rick Scott visited CI Group headquarters in St. Petersburg as part of the Governor’s Keep Florida Working Tour. Governor Scott congratulated CI Group for its success and thanked company owners, Drew Marshall and Manny Bhuller, for the continued job creation propelled by CI Group’s growth. Governor Scott also honored Gilbert Broco, CI Group vice president of design and operations, for his hard work and achievements. Gilbert has played a vital role in the growth and success of the CI Group in recent years. CI Group was honored to be supported by many in attendance including Senator Jeff Brandes, Representative Kathleen Peters and Representative Larry Ahern.

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Schifino Lee Redefines The Powers Company from Consultants to “Unsultants”


Schifino Lee Advertising + Branding partnered with The Powers Company ( to shake up the management consulting industry with unconventional branding and messaging focused on the company’s unique new positioning as “unsultants”. The company’s website,, reflects this unexpected, customer-centric philosophy.

During the discovery phase of the rebranding process, Schifino Lee realized The Powers Company was truly different in their approach to doing business. In addition, the target audience of C-level executives had a jaded perception of the consulting industry in general. Schifino Lee created the “unsultants” positioning to overcome this unfavorable stereotype as well as capitalize on their authentic uniqueness. The clients immediately locked into it the campaign’s new terminology.

“At The Powers Company, we don’t see ourselves as consultants. We’re collaborators who partner with your team and leverage the Power of UN to unleash your organization’s true potential,” said Randall Powers, President and Managing Partner. “It’s an uncommon approach you won’t find anywhere else, except from our unsultants.”

In addition to new branding, Schifino Lee developed a web video series, email campaign, social media elements, and various collateral pieces that bring the “unsultants” philosophy to life. “We created a visual language for this campaign that’s as unique, professional, approachable, and unstuffy as the unsultants themselves,” explains Schifino Lee Associate Creative Director, Kevin Byrd. “No matter what medium we’re playing in, it instantly stands out in the category as The Powers Company.”

The “unsultants” campaign, produced by Schifino Lee, was recently awarded a local Gold ADDY in the Integrated/Regional B-to-B category of the 2015 American Advertising Awards.

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New Hires & Promotions

NorthStar Bank Announces the Appointment of Mark Segel as Vice President, Market Manager for the South Tampa Branch

Mark Segel - Headshot - LR - 5-22-12NorthStar Bank is pleased to announce the appointment of Mark Segel as Vice President, Market Manager for its newest office located in South Tampa. Mr. Segel is a native of Hillsborough County and has more than 18 years of experience in banking. He comes to NorthStar Bank from The Jewish Federation of Pinellas and Pasco Counties as the Executive Director.

Mr. Segel earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Telecommunications from the University of Florida. He has been an active member of the Team Selection Committee for the Outback Bowl for the past 12 years, and was the past President and Treasurer for the Renaissance Center for the Arts. Mark previously held a Board position for the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, and the Tampa Community Jewish Center and Federation, and was the Chair for the Leadership Tampa Alumni Association in 2011.

In Mark’s role as Market Manager, he will be responsible for developing new business relationships and developing and marketing NorthStar Bank’s presence in the Tampa market. Mark is a Certified Financial Planner and attended the Graduate School of Banking at Louisiana State University.

The new South Tampa branch located on the corner of MacDill and Azeele will open summer 2015.

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New Hires at Wiand Guerra King P.A.

Wiand Guerra King P.A. (“WGK”), a nationally recognized law firm handling complex business litigation regulatory matters and white-collar defense, is pleased to announce that Matthew J. Mueller, Esq. has joined the firm as Of Counsel. Mr. Mueller will be located in the firm’s Tampa, Florida office.

WGK-Matt-webistePrior to joining WGK, Mr. Mueller served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Economic Crimes section of the United States Attorney’s office for the Middle District of Florida. He joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Tampa after serving for five years with the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. He joined the Department of Justice as part of the Attorney General’s Honors Program. He was employed in the Tax Division of the Department of Justice where he was a lead prosecutor on criminal tax cases throughout the country. Since moving to Tampa, he has prosecuted a wide variety of white-collar criminal cases.

Mr. Mueller received his law degree from the Catholic University in Washington, D.C., graduating Magna Cum Laude. He received his undergraduate degree in biological sciences from the University of Notre Dame in 1998. Prior to beginning his legal studies, Mr. Mueller was a forensic DNA Analyst and testified as a forensic DNA expert in a federal case in Georgia and state prosecutions in Florida and Maryland.

Speaking on behalf of WGK, Burton Wiand, firm President, stated “We are delighted to have a seasoned prosecutor join our ranks. Mr. Mueller’s expertise with tax prosecution brings a level of experience to the firm that is rare in Florida. His experience with other white-collar criminal matters complements our existing regulatory and white-collar defense practice.”

Mr. Mueller lives in Tampa, is married and has two children. He is a member of the Florida Bar and the Herbert G. Goldburg—Ronald K. Cacciatore Criminal Law American Inn of Court, as well as the American Bar Association, Sections of Taxation and Criminal Justice. He is a frequent speaker on matters involving federal criminal prosecutions. More specific information regarding his expertise and career is available on WGK’s website, He can be contacted at or 813.347.5100.

KeithPhoto-5190-Cams-1stWiand Guerra King (“WGK”), a Florida-based financial services and complex litigation law firm with a national reputation, is pleased to announce that Cameron G. Stout, Esq. has joined the firm as Senior Counsel with responsibility for the firm’s newly established Palo Alto Office. Mr. Stout has spent 30 years litigating for major financial services companies. His practice also includes employment law and commercial litigation. Firm Chairman Burton Wiand said “Cam brings tremendous benefits to WGK – a physical presence in California and the addition of one of the best known financial services and commercial litigators in the State. We are thrilled to have a lawyer with his expertise and reputation join WGK.”

In addition to coordinating the firm’s litigation activities on the West Coast, Mr. Stout will serve as a Principal of WGK-ADR, the firm’s alternative dispute resolution practice, providing mediation and arbitration services throughout the United States. Mr. Stout is a certified mediator who will mediate and arbitrate securities and employment cases, and general commercial litigation, as well as family law, estate and elder abuse disputes.

Mr. Stout is admitted to practice in the State of California, and before the District Courts of the Northern and Central Districts of California. He may be contacted at 650.800.7636 (work), 415.595.5409 (cell), and at

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Thirty-Four Banker Lopez Gassler P.A. Lawyers Named as Florida Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

Banker Lopez Gassler is pleased to announce that twenty three of our lawyers have been named 2015 Florida Super Lawyers and eleven have been named 2015 Florida Rising Stars. Super Lawyers and Rising Stars are chosen after an evaluation on twelve indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement including verdicts, settlements, transactions, representative clients, experience, honors and awards, special licenses and certifications, position within law firm, bar or other professional activity, pro bono and community service, scholarly lectures and writings, education and employment background and other outstanding achievements.

The Florida Super Lawyers includes Bruce Aebel,  Keith Appleby, Robert Banker, Thomas Bopp, L. Robert Bourgeois, Richard Bowers, Frank Gassler, Mark Greene, Roland Hermida, Adam Kantor, John Krentzman, Joseph Lopez, John O’Flanagan, Bradley Powers, Brandon Scheele, Richard Sebek, Allen von Spiegelfeld in Tampa; David Bresler, Charles Hall, Mark Hungate, Jason Moyer, Dale Parker and Jeffrey Winkler in St. Petersburg; Cecil Davis in Tallahassee. These attorneys practice in the areas of Health Care Law, Personal Injury Litigation, Workers’ Compensation, Products Liability Litigation, Insurance Law, Insurance Coverage, Construction Law, Appellate Law, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Aviation, Medical Malpractice Law, Professional Malpractice Law, Legal Malpractice Law, Maritime Law, Elder Law and Transportation Law. This will be the first year that Bruce Aebel, Adam Kantor and Brandon Scheele are receiving this award.

The Florida Rising Stars include Matthew Easterwood, Terry Ford, Erica Healey, Christopher Hollman, Jeffery James, Petra Justice, Michael Massari, Trevor Rhodes and Eric Thiel in Tampa; Jesse Gubernat in Fort Myers; and Nisha Waranch in Orlando.

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Bradley Arant Boult Cummings Tampa Attorneys Named 2015 Florida Super Lawyers

Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP is pleased to announce that nine of the firm’s Tampa attorneys have been chosen as 2015 Florida Super Lawyers, including two named to the Tampa Bay Top 50 list and one named to the Florida Top 100 list.

“The firm congratulates all of our 2015 Florida Super Lawyers,” said Firm Chairman Beau Grenier. “This recognition highlights the distinguished reputations and practices of the attorneys in our Tampa office, and further affirms our expansion into the Florida market since the Tampa office launch this past January. Such distinction reflects the depth of our services and the high level of talent that we continue to offer to our clients.”

Each year, only the top 5 percent of lawyers in Florida are named as Super Lawyers for attaining a significant level of peer recognition and professional achievement. Super Lawyers are determined through independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations. The Florida Super Lawyers are listed in the June 2015 Florida Super Lawyers Magazine, Miami Magazine, Tampa Bay Magazine and Orlando Life magazine.

Robert B. Glenn, Managing Partner of the Tampa office, was named a 2015 Florida Super Lawyer (Bankruptcy) and also named to the Top 50: 2015 Tampa Bay Super Lawyers and to the Top 100: 2015 Florida Super Lawyers. Mark A. Hanley was named a 2015 Florida Super Lawyer (Labor & Employment) and also named to the Top 50: 2015 Tampa Bay Super Lawyers.  Spots on the Super Lawyers Top Lists are reserved for Florida lawyers who receive the highest point totals during Super Lawyers’ nomination, research and peer review process.

Attorneys in the firm’s Tampa office (and their practice areas) who were named 2015 Florida Super Lawyers are: Timothy A. Andreu (Business Litigation); Michael B. Colgan (Business Litigation); Sharon Docherty Danco (Mergers & Acquisitions); Tony B. Griffin (Employment & Labor); Robert C. Rasmussen (Mergers & Acquisitions); Edwin G. Rice (Bankruptcy); and Alysa J. Ward (Employment & Labor).

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Keith W. Bricklemyer Recognized in Florida Super Lawyers 2015

Bricklemeyer, Keith, HiResColorKeith W. Bricklemyer has been selected for inclusion among Florida Super Lawyers for 2015 by Super Lawyers magazine. Only five percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers.

Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Attorneys are selected through a multi-phased process including independent research, peer nominations and
peer evaluations by practice area.

Mr. Bricklemyer concentrates his practice in the areas of real estate, land use,
zoning, land planning and development and environmental law.

The firm’s office is located at 400 North Ashley Drive Suite 1100 in Tampa.

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Carlton Fields Jorden Burt Shareholder Mac R. McCoy Appointed United States Magistrate Judge for the Middle District of Florida | Carlton Fields Jorden Burt Attorneys Elected to Serve in Leadership Roles for the Ferguson-White Inn of Court

McCoy_Mac_Carlton Fields Jorden Burt is pleased to announce that Mac R. McCoy, a shareholder in the firm’s Tampa office, has been appointed a United States Magistrate Judge for the Fort Myers Division of the Middle District of Florida.

As an attorney at Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, McCoy focused his practice on class action defense, business litigation, consumer financial services litigation, and real property litigation in federal and state courts.  In his new role, McCoy will serve as a judicial officer of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida and exercise the jurisdiction delegated by law and assigned by district judges.

McCoy has practiced law with Carlton Fields Jorden Burt since 2003.  He joined the firm after completing a two-year clerkship with the Honorable Mary S. Scriven in the Tampa Division of the Middle District of Florida.  He is a 1998 graduate of Stetson University and a 2001 graduate of Stetson University College of Law.  McCoy’s appointment to the Fort Myers Division is especially meaningful because he was born in Fort Myers and lived there until he left to attend college and law school.

McCoy has held a number of leadership roles in the American Bar Association’s Business Law Section and is a member of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Technology and Information Systems.  He is also a member of the Technology Committee of The Florida Bar’s Vision 2016 Commission and an ad hoc member of the Technology Subcommittee of the Florida Commission on Access to Civil Justice.

McCoy has received various accolades for his work in the legal profession, including The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division Pro Bono Award in 2007 and the Wm. Reece Smith Pro Bono Award in 2006.  In 2005, 2011, and 2013 he was recognized by the Supreme Court of Florida, the Young Lawyers Division of The Florida Bar, the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit’s Pro Bono Committee, and the Florida Pro Bono Coordinators Association in collaboration with Bay Area Legal Services’ Volunteer Lawyer Referral Program for exceptional pro bono service.  McCoy is AV-rated by Martindale-Hubbell and was selected for inclusion in Florida Super Lawyers from 2013-2015 and Florida Super Lawyers Rising Stars from 2010-2012.

Carlton Fields Jorden Burt is pleased to announce that Tampa Of Counsel C. Douglas McDonald, Jr. and Tampa Shareholder Edward J. Page were elected to serve as president-elect and as a member of the board of directors, respectively, for the Ferguson-White Inn of Court (the Inn). Their terms begin July 1, 2015. Judge Sam Salario for Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal, and a former Carlton Fields Jorden Burt Shareholder, also was elected to the Inn’s board of directors.

The Inn was formed in 1990. It is one of more than 300 in the U.S., part of the American Inns of Court that are designed to improve the skills, the professionalism, and the legal ethics with which the bench and the bar perform their functions. More than 25,000 judges, lawyers, law professors, and law students are members of the American Inns of Court.

McDonald_C_02McDonald has been a member of the Inn for 13 years serving in various roles including on the board of directors, chair of the Inn’s Program Committee and secretary. He has been a Master of the Inn for six years. Masters are members admitted to the practice of law for at least 15 years at the beginning of their term of membership.

At Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, McDonald handles all aspects of intellectual property law. He focuses his practice on litigation of patent, trademark and copyright matters. He is board certified in Intellectual Property Law by The Florida Bar. McDonald also serves as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Stetson University College of Law.

Page_Edward_03Page has been involved with the Inn for a total of eight years. He has served in various roles including treasurer and president-elect.

He is a former federal and state prosecutor with more than 30 years of legal experience. In 1987, he became Tampa’s first Florida Bar Board Certified Criminal Trial Lawyer. Page handles federal and state criminal and civil matters, including white collar criminal, aviation, product liability, family law, and complex commercial litigation matters.

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GrayRobinson Shareholder Appointed as Chair of The Florida Bar Intellectual Property Committee

Woodrow H. “Woody” Pollack, shareholder in the Tampa office of GrayRobinson, has been appointed Chair of The Florida Bar Association’s Business Law Section’s Intellectual Property Committee. Pollack was previously Vice Chair. The Business Law Section (BLS) of The Florida Bar, organized in 1970, serves Florida lawyers, law students, and the faculty of its law schools. BLS members share a common interest in the laws affecting Florida’s businesses, including corporate, contract, bankruptcy, franchise, antitrust, securities, and intellectual property law. The BLS serves an important role in shaping commercial law policy from commercial litigation to alternative dispute resolution. The intellectual property committee helps educate business law section members on copyright, trademark, patent, and trade secrets issues and studies the development of the law in these areas.

Pollack is a second-career lawyer, having received his Masters in Computer Science from Stanford University and initially working as a software engineer in Silicon Valley. He is rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell, board certified by The Florida Bar in Intellectual Property and has regularly been included in Best Lawyers in AmericaFlorida Trend‘s Legal Elite, and Super Lawyers.

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Greenberg Traurig Tampa’s Murray Silverstein Appointed to The Florida Bar Foundation Board of Directors

Silverstein_Murray_B_v3Murray B. Silverstein, a Shareholder in the Tampa LitigationPractice of international law firm Greenberg Traurig, P.A., has been appointed to The Florida Bar Foundation Board of Directors. Silverstein’s appointment will commence July 1.

“I look forward to working with the board of The Florida Bar Foundation to continue our tradition of ensuring access to justice is available to all Florida families, regardless of income level,” Silverstein said. “This will be an especially meaningful endeavor to join forces with the Florida Commission on Access to Civil Justice to implement its recommendations on meeting the unmet civil legal needs of disadvantaged low and moderate income Floridians.”

At Greenberg Traurig, Silverstein focuses his practice on business, commercial, and real property litigation. He regularly represents companies and individuals in jury and non-jury trials in the state and federal courts of Florida. He is board certified in Business Litigation and Civil Trial practice by The Florida Bar. Additionally, Silverstein has provided effective mediation services to hundreds of litigants.  Silverstein is a prior recipient of the President’s Pro Bono Service Award and the Stetson University Wm. Reece Smith, Jr. Public Service Award for pro bono service.

Silverstein is currently completing one-year term as Chair of the Florida Rules of Judicial Administration Committee; he will remain a committee member for the next two years. Silverstein also serves as a Court-appointed member of the Florida Courts Technology Commission, and is a member of the Florida Bar Business Law Executive Council and the Trial Lawyers Section.

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Hill Ward Henderson Attorneys Named Florida Super Lawyers

Hill Ward Henderson is pleased to announce that 33 of the firm’s attorneys have been named to 2015 Florida Super Lawyers and 12 have been named to the 2015 Florida Rising Stars.

The Hill Ward Henderson Florida Super Lawyers include: Marie A. Borland, Gregory P. Brown, Charles W. Callahan, III, Amelia M. Campbell, Mark J. Criser, Landis V. Curry, III, B. Ben Dachepalli, David S. Felman, Timothy C. Ford, S. Katherine Frazier, Troy A. Fuhrman, Robert M. Fulton, John B. Grandoff, III, Linda D. Hartley, Thomas N. Henderson, III, S. Gordon Hill, Benjamin H. Hill, III, Benjamin H. Hill IV, John L. Holcomb, Timothy A. Hunt, C. Howard Hunter, Robert E.V. Kelley, Jr., David T. Knight, R. Craig Mayfield, Scott A. McLaren, Brett J. Preston, Patrick J. Risch, R. James Robbins, Jr., Ethen R. Shapiro, Brian C. Sparks, Lara J. Tibbals, Dennis P. Waggoner, and Alton C. Ward.

The Hill Ward Henderson Florida Rising Stars include: Jill K. Bell, Patrick M. Causey, Nathaniel S. Hatcher, David L. Luikart, III, Patrick M. Mosley, J. Logan Murphy, Erik P. Raines, Sherilee J. Samuel, R. Travis Santos, Christopher J. Stephens, Joshua C. Webb and Jeffrey J. Wilcox.

Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Attorneys are selected through a multi-phased process including independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations. Only five percent of attorneys in Florida receive the honor of Super Lawyer. Lawyers who are 40 or under, or who have been practicing for ten years or less, are eligible to receive the Rising Star designation.

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Emerge Tampa Bay & Education Connection Partner to Prepare Students for the Workforce


By: Selina Radlein, Moffitt Cancer Center, Education Connection Committee Member

032R8762-8x10Many young professionals today could tell you precisely what pieces of advice they would give their 21-year-old selves – that typical list of “things I know now that I wish I knew back then.” If only someone would have told me! I personally wish I had sought out internship opportunities, built better relationships and read A LOT more books! Hindsight is 20/20, they say. That period right after college is so instrumental in shaping the adults we later become. We have so little responsibility and so much freedom to make errors. Some new graduates have a hard time navigating the working world. Some of this is likely due to lack of skills or knowledge. Most is probably attributed to lack of connections or experience. How great would it have been to have some more guidance?

Fortunately, the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce has a created a partnership with the local colleges and universities to address this very problem. Education Connection brings business leaders together with the academic community to help mold Tampa Bay’s future workforce. This has been quite a successful partnership, so Emerge Tampa Bay wanted to get in on the action. Who better to help provide guidance to young people than slightly-older, more experienced young people?!

It was a privilege to be the first Emerge member to speak with a class at the University of South Florida as part of this effort. I come from a public health background, so I was paired with an instructor of technical writing for health science majors. I won’t lie, I was a bit apprehensive at first as I thought, “What insight and information could I possibly provide to the most digitally connected college students in history that they couldn’t find in 0.5 seconds with their thumbs?” I grew a little more concerned after I entered the classroom that was filled with computer monitors. “Will they even be listening?” I thought.  To my surprise, I had a lot to say and they were taking lots of notes.

I gave the students some background on my career journey and told them all of those things I would have told my 21-year-old self. They also had a lot to say, asking many questions about resources, internships, networking, mentorships, jobs, work-life balance and the list goes on. Some were even interested in gaining experience at my organization. And none of them knew they were able to join Emerge! The 30 minute talk I was anxious about turned into an hour and fifteen minute discussion session that flowed effortlessly. At one point, a fellow student answered her classmate’s question when I was unable to do so. In that instance I said, “My next big piece of advice is to talk to each other.” This moment stood out to me because I realized I was giving these students advice that they would one day have given their 21-year-old selves. Yes folks, the most digitally connected college students in history could use some help with building face-to-face, mutually beneficial relationships.

After the class I followed up with an email to the instructor, providing her all the information I’d gathered on questions I could not answer and thanking her for this opportunity. We both agreed we would remain connected, as this partnership could be beneficial to her current and future classes. I definitely encourage my fellow young professionals to participate in this initiative. It is one of the most effective ways to contribute to Emerge’s mission.

Member Highlights: June 14 – 20, 2015

Inside this Week’s Member Highlights

Member News

New Hires & Promotions

Member Accolades

Member News

NOW HIRING: Chamber Member Company Seeks Account Manager


Gas South Seeks Florida Account Manager

This position will focus on developing Gas South’s mid-market customer base and increasing sales revenue in the State of Florida, that consist of independent and franchised businesses such as restaurants, light manufacturing, dry cleaners, and hotels. This position is responsible for closing contracts and managing daily relationships with the specific purpose of creating customer loyalty, retaining these designated customers, and identifying other sales opportunities. The Florida Account Manager will cultivate new and maintain existing relationships. The Account Manager will also make customers aware of products and services that are available. Sales will generally be generated through networking, cold calling, phone, and e-mail.

Click here for complete job description, salary and benefits.

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Creative Contractors Inc. Completes Renovations at Lakeland Regional Health


Creative Contractors Inc. recently completed two expansion projects at Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center.

The $4.8 million expansion of the emergency department includes administrative offices, a conference room, and 21 exam rooms. Additionally, the 17,500 sq. ft., $5.6 million operating room project includes two hybrid operating suites. This is the fourth hybrid surgery suite that Creative has constructed.

To see more photos of these projects and Creative’s other healthcare successes, click here.

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Cross-Country Road Trip in a Tesla Kicks Off to Benefit Florida Poly and Men’s Health Research

The second annual Drive For Men’s Health rolled out of South Lake Hospital in Clermont, Fla. today to begin a 6,000 mile, coast-to-coast journey in an all-electric Tesla Model S. Co-founded by Florida Polytechnic University Foundation Board member Dr. Sijo Parekattil and Dr. Jamin Brahmbhatt, the Drive For Men’s Health is a charitable road trip designed to increase awareness of men’s health issues and to encourage men to make their health a priority.

Seventy-five percent of proceeds raised during this year’s event will support scholarships for future innovators at Florida Polytechnic University; the remaining funds will support genetic research in men’s health conditions. Last year, Drive For Men’s Health traveled more than 1,100 miles and raised more than $12,000 for both causes.

Dr. Parekattil and Dr. Brahmbhatt said choosing Florida Poly as one of the two beneficiaries was a natural fit because of the University’s focus on advanced technology. As co-directors of the PUR (Personalized Urology & Robotics) Clinic at South Lake Hospital, in affiliation with Orlando Health, the physicians often use high-tech robotic microsurgical techniques in their practice.

“We’re thrilled to once again support Florida Poly’s students through the Drive For Men’s Health,” said Dr. Parekattil. “The University’s unique focus on industry and medical partnerships means students will graduate ready to help us solve the most pressing problems in men’s health. We view our support of Florida Poly as an investment in the engineers and researchers of the future.”

This year’s Drive For Men’s Health runs from Florida to New York to California, and will include with more than 60 stops and feature hundreds of speakers, both at events along the way and online during the trip.

Dr. Parekattil and Dr. Brahmbhatt will navigate a purple and white Tesla Model S, complete with Florida Poly logo, through many of the top cities in the country, including Jacksonville, Atlanta, Winston-Salem, New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Minneapolis and Phoenix. During these stops the physicians will take part in educational lectures and activities to raise awareness for men’s health. The nine-day trip will conclude on June 20 in Los Angeles.

“Florida Poly is incredibly grateful to Dr. Parekattil and Dr. Brahmbhatt for their support of our students and their passion for finding solutions to challenging medical issues facing millions of men nationwide,” said Florida Polytechnic University President Dr. Randy K. Avent. “We wish them a safe and impactful journey during the next several days.”

Florida Poly student Benjamin Grewer is going on the cross-country trip. The rising sophomore, studying mechanical engineering, will be joining a crew of more than a dozen supporters following the physicians.

“I’ve joined the Drive with the hope of changing the fact that too many men take their health for granted. The ignorance is bliss mentality seems to be overabundant when it comes to health, especially in the two major communities that I am a part of: military veterans and university students,” said Grewer. “The experience will be a unique opportunity for educating and being educated about health. It’s something you really can’t know too much about.”

Drive For Men’s Health is done in collaboration with the National Men’s Health Week (June 15-20) and comes on the heels of a revealing national survey about men and their health. The survey, commissioned by Orlando Health, found that more than 80 percent of men could remember the make and model of their first car, but only about half could remember the last time they went to the doctor for a check-up.

“Men need to take better care of themselves, period,” said Dr. Parekattil. “It’s a message we want to get to as many as possible, and we’re willing to drive cross country to do it.”

The journey will include a social media campaign, live streaming and numerous opportunities for online followers to ask questions and join the conversation. To follow the doctors on their journey, support their efforts or learn more about men’s health issues, visit

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New Hires & Promotions

Nikki Yourison Named Public Relations Manager at Seminole Hard Rock Tampa

Nikki YourisonNikki Yourison has been promoted to the role of Public Relations Manager at Seminole Hard Rock Tampa, it was announced here today.

Yourison will cultivate enterprise stories and create thought provoking conversations on timely news, while tracking and analyzing reports of results and engagements.

She will lead all public relations and social media efforts for the property, while managing a public relations coordinator, social media specialist and the property’s public relations agency.

A University of South Florida graduate, Yourison was initially named Public Relations Coordinator at Seminole Hard Rock Tampa more than a year ago.

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Member Accolades

U.S. News & World Report Ranks All Children’s Hospital as the Top Program for Pediatric Cardiology and Heart Surgery in Florida

U.S. News & World Report ranked All Children’s Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine as a best children’s hospital in two specialty areas in the new 2015-16 Best Children’s Hospitals rankings. All Children’s Hospital ranked 26th in pediatric cardiology and heart surgery, moving up eight spots from the 2014-15 list, and 48th in pulmonology out of 184 children’s hospitals. All Children’s Hospital was the only children’s hospital ranking in the Tampa Bay area and ranked the highest in Florida for pediatric cardiology and heart surgery.

U.S. News introduced the Best Children’s Hospitals rankings in 2007 to help families of children with rare or life-threatening illnesses find the best medical care available. Each year, the publication ranks the top 50 U.S. pediatric facilities in cancer, cardiology & heart surgery, diabetes & endocrinology, gastroenterology & GI surgery, neonatology, nephrology, neurology & neurosurgery, orthopedics, pulmonology and urology.

“It is a significant accomplishment to be recognized by U.S. News & World Report for our pediatric cardiology and heart surgery programs along with our pulmonology program,” said Jonathan Ellen, M.D., president and physician in chief at All Children’s Hospital and professor of pediatrics and vice dean, All Children’s Hospital at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “These rankings are a demonstration of our medical staff’s expertise and commitment to patient safety and quality, as well as the innovative care we strive to provide throughout all of the pediatric specialty programs offered at All Children’s Hospital.”

Specialists at All Children’s Hospital also have the opportunity to collaborate on treatment and research with colleagues at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore, which ranked in all 10 specialty areas on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Children’s Hospitals list.

Scores are based on clinical data, patient outcomes, available care-related resources, a clinical questionnaire to 184 pediatric hospitals and a nationwide survey of pediatric specialists and subspecialists in each pediatric specialty area asking where they would send the sickest children in their specialty, setting aside considerations of location and expense.

Detailed information about each of the hospital rankings and much more can be viewed on and will be published in the U.S. News “Best Hospitals 2016” guidebook, which will be available September 1.

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Broad and Cassel Tampa Attorneys Honored Among 2015 Florida Super Lawyers


Kelly B. Holbrook

Statewide law firm Broad and Cassel today announced that Kelly B. Holbrook, of counsel in the firm’s Tampa office, has been named to the 2015 Florida Super Lawyers list. Additionally, David Brickhouse, an associate in the Tampa office, was named a 2015 Florida Rising Star.

Holbrook is a member of the firm’s Commercial Litigation and Labor & Employment Law Practice Groups. An AV Preeminent®-Rated attorney, she focuses her practice on commercial litigation with a concentration in employment and labor law, association law and administrative law. Brickhouse is a member of the firm’s Corporate and Securities,

David Brickhouse

Banking and Institutional Lending, Public Finance and Capital Projects and Commercial Litigation Practice Groups. His practice serves clients in a broad range of industries, including investment banking, financial services, transportation and infrastructure, education, software development, utilities, real estate, health care, insurance and PEO and employer leasing.

In total, Florida Super Lawyers Magazine, which publishes the list in July, recognized 30 of the firm’s attorneys from seven offices across the state. Fourteen of those honored are celebrating their 10th year on the list in 2015.

Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process is multi-phased and includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations. Super Lawyers Magazine reaches more than 13 million readers and is published in all 50 states.

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Tampa Law Firm Bush Ross, P.A. Shareholder Elected President of the HBCA YLD

143-Melton(Print)Bush Ross Shareholder Web Melton was recently elected President-Elect of the Young Lawyers Division of the Hillsborough County Bar Association.  His term as President-Elect will begin on July 1, 2015, followed by a year-long term as President to commence on July 1, 2016.

Mr. Melton has been actively involved with the Young Lawyers Division of the HCBA, having served on the Board of Directors since 2010.

Mr. Melton’s practice focuses assisting association officers, directors and property managers with corporate operations, including litigation, arbitration, mediation and transactions.  His practice concentrates primarily on civil litigation involving condominiums, homeowner associations, real estate disputes, employment, foreclosures, insurance disputes, deed restriction enforcement, contract disputes, regulatory takings, eminent domain, construction defects, land use disputes and condominium and homeowner association collections.  Mr. Melton also has an active transactional practice involving condominiums, homeowner associations, real estate transactions, real estate development, golf and social clubs, non-profits and businesses.

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Three Fisher & Phillips Attorneys in Tampa Listed in Florida Super Lawyers

Three partners in the Tampa office of Fisher & Phillips LLP have been selected by their peers for inclusion in Florida Super Lawyers. Steve Bernstein, Theresa Gallion and Christine Howard are included in Florida Super Lawyers, a research-driven, peer influenced rating service of outstanding lawyers.

Only five percent of lawyers in the state are recognized by Florida Super Lawyers for attaining a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.

Bernstein SteveBernstein, regional managing partner in the Tampa office, has represented employers throughout the United States in a traditional labor practice for more than 25 years. He advises clients on union-related matters and compliance with the NLRA, the WARN Act, USERRA, FMLA and the ADA. He places an emphasis on implementing preventive employee relations programs that include supervisory training and effective human resources policies and procedures. He has been recognized in Florida Super Lawyers since 2012.

Gallion TheresaTheresa Gallion, partner in the Tampa office, has more than 30 years of practice as a labor and employment attorney, representing clients in a wide variety of industries, with particular emphasis on hospitality, healthcare, education, retail and telecommunications. She is one of the firm’s most experienced trial lawyers, and has successfully tried more than 40 jury trials in employment cases. A substantial portion of her practice is devoted to management training on such topics as equal employment opportunity, diversity, and management skills. She has been selected for inclusion in Florida Super Lawyers since 2007.

Howard ChristineHoward has practiced labor and employment law for more than 25 years. She focuses on defending employment discrimination, harassment, leave and disability, and wage and hour complaints. In recent years, she has defended numerous collective action cases filed on behalf of classes of employees alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, successfully defeating class certification in practically every instance. In addition to her litigation work, she conducts workplace investigations, compliance audits and management training. She has been listed in Florida Super Lawyers since 2013.

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GrayRobinson Recognized As Florida Powerhouse by Law360 | 66 Attorneys Listed among Florida Super Lawyers

GR Logo ColorGrayRobinson, P.A., announced that Law360 has again recognized the firm as one of eight Florida Powerhouses in the publication’s Regional Powerhouses series. In addition to being one of Florida’s fastest-growing law firms, GrayRobinson was selected for its significant regional accomplishments over the last year.

“We are thrilled to be honored once again as a Florida Powerhouse by Law360,” said GrayRobinson President and Managing Director Byrd F. “Biff” Marshall, Jr. “GrayRobinson’s investment in the community, connection to Florida’s businesses, commanding wins in the courtroom and progressive initiatives have solidified our role as a continued statewide powerhouse.”

GrayRobinson understands the importance of being connected; connected to clients, to the communities they service, and to the legal profession. Finding ways to benefit clients through these connections has been the firm’s focus for the last four decades. Established in Orlando, Florida in 1970, GrayRobinson is a statewide powerhouse with nearly 300 lawyers working out of offices in 12 Florida cities.

Among examples of these connections, the firm’s powerhouse nomination cited:

  • GrayRobinson’s announcement of a new service for the firm’s international alcohol clients, the International Alcohol Lawyers Alliance (IALA). Richard Blau, Tampa shareholder and Chair of the firm’s Alcohol Beverage and Food Law Department serves as coordinating counsel for the IALA, a network of independent law firms and compliance professionals working cooperatively and collegially across the world to fulfill the legal and regulatory needs of the alcohol beverage industry.
  • Marlene Quintana, shareholder in GrayRobinson’s Miami office, received several diversity awards over the last year, including the “2014 Florida Most Powerful and Influential Woman Award” by the National Diversity Council, “Top 50 Influential People” by HispanicBusiness in 2014 and the Presidential Award from the Cuban American Bar Association.
  • Members of the Higher Education Practice Group formed in 2015 advise more than a dozen higher education institutions in Florida on a variety of matters including litigation, employment and labor, government relations, intellectual property, and other legal issues that arise.
  • Three GrayRobinson attorneys played an extensive role in the Northrop Grumman mega-project recently announced by Governor Rick Scott and other Florida officials. Northrop intends to invest $500 million in new facilities at the Melbourne International Airport and create some 1800 new, high-value jobs for its aerospace research and production operations. The initiative has been called “the nation’s largest economic development project in the last five years.”
  • Our Banking & Finance Litigation team successfully obtained dismissal of a complaint filed by Liberty Channelside LLC against the Tampa Port Authority and the Irish Bank Resolution Corp.
  • GrayRobinson obtained summary judgment in favor of its client, Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, relative to claims for commissions associated with approximately 76,000 policies taken over by Citizens after the insurance companies were liquidated.


GrayRobinson, P.A., announced that Super Lawyers has named 54 attorneys as “Florida Super Lawyers” and another 12 as “Rising Stars.” Super Lawyers are considered the top attorneys in the state with a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Rising Stars are the up-and-coming attorneys in the state who are 40 years old and under and have been practicing for 10 years or less.

“We are proud that Super Lawyers has awarded this honor to so many of our attorneys statewide,” says President Byrd F. “Biff” Marshall, Jr. “We look forward to continued success and to continuing to provide top notch services to our clients.”

Only up to five percent of lawyers in the state of Florida can be recognized as Super Lawyers, while less than three percent are named Rising Stars. Both Super Lawyers and Rising Stars are selected based on a patented selection process, which includes nominations by clients or firm, extensive research on the candidates and peer reviews.

Additionally, three GrayRobinson attorneys were honored in the 2015 “Florida Super Lawyers Top Lists.” Gary Salzman was honored in the “Top 100 in Florida” list, Mayanne Downs was honored in the “Top 50 Women in Florida” and Leyza Blanco was honored in both the “Top 100 Miami Super Lawyers” and the “Top 50 Women in Florida” lists.

GrayRobinson attorneys named 2015 Florida Super Lawyers:


GrayRobinson attorney named as 2015 Rising Star (Tampa):

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18 Greenberg Traurig Florida Attorneys Recognized in 2015 Edition of The Legal 500 United States Guide to Outstanding Lawyers

The international law firm Greenberg Traurig, LLP has been named to the shortlist for the inaugural The Legal 500 United States Awards in the areas of “Labor and Employment – Immigration” and “Labor and Employment – Labor and Employment Litigation (including ERISA).” In addition, The Legal 500 United States 2015 guide to outstanding lawyers nationwide has just been released and recommends Greenberg Traurig as a “Top Tier” firm in the “Real Estate and Construction – Real Estate” category as well as 100-plus firm attorneys, and more than 25 firm wide areas of practice and industry focus.

The Legal 500 United States Awards will recognize what the publisher calls the best in-house and private practice teams and individuals over the past 12 months. More than 50,000 interviews were conducted to ascertain the winners, who will be honored at a dinner at The Boathouse in Central Park on October 14, 2015. Published by Legalese, The Legal 500 guides (published by country or region) “provide research and law firm rankings to enable clients to identify the best law firm for the job.” Firms are recommended on merit, based on client and peer feedback.

Some of the commentary published in The Legal 500 United States 2015 guide regarding Greenberg Traurig and its attorneys includes:

  • …lawyers at Greenberg Traurig LLP are ‘prompt, informed and to-the-point’…
  • …Greenberg Traurig LLP ‘does extraordinary work’ on account of its ‘ability to understand the issues in depth, and present them simply, clearly, and in a compelling fashion to the court.’
  • …‘is a responsive and practical adviser for us from a business perspective.’ 

The Greenberg Traurig Florida lawyers listed below are recommended in The Legal 500 United States 2015 editorial based on the guide’s industry or practice area designations as selected by researchers:


  • Richard C. McCrea, Jr.: Litigation – Trade Secrets
  • Nicholas J. Secco: Industry Focus – Environment – Litigation; Litigation – Product Liability and Mass Tort Defense – Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices; and Litigation – Product Liability and Mass Tort Defense – Toxic Tort
  • Christopher Torres: Litigation – Product Liability and Mass Tort Defense – Toxic Tort
  • David B. Weinstein: Industry Focus – Environment – Litigation and Litigation – Product Liability and Mass Tort Defense – Toxic Tort
  • Peter W. Zinober: Labor and Employment – Labor and Employment Litigation

For a complete list of the rankings and editorial summaries by Legal 500 researchers and editors, please click here.

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Graduate from Local Startup to High-Growth Business

By: Walker Peek, CEO, Residential Acoustics

WalkerPeek_picIt’s challenging to get your business idea off the ground from an initial concept to putting money in the bank. Even tougher, but rarely discussed, is “crossing the chasm” to that larger market where you’ve scaled to bring a product or service to the economy-at-large. Ask local entrepreneurs and they’ll tell you the mental and emotional strains result in a turbulent swing, from the highs (new contracts, great hires) to lows (disgruntled employees, unhappy customers, and late deliveries). We saw great potential with Residential Acoustics after early sales and customer feedback. Here’s the roadmap we’ve followed to take our small startup from the kitchen to international distribution.

Most small businesses, around 95%, will remain small for the length of their lives, due primarily to their nature (laundromats, restaurants, retail) or being service-oriented, and thus largely-dependent on skilled knowledge workers (legal, accounting, and engineering firms). Each firm will define “success” differently, depending on its mission, profitability and strategic goals. However, there are some major milestones that are applicable to businesses across nearly all industries – if you can maneuver through each of these, you’ll be well on your way to strong growth and independence.

  1. Product Development – Bring Your Idea to Life!

This is the step most people consider “inventing,” where your creativity helps bring a concept into reality. I’ve always adhered to the sentiment, “Documentation is the difference between an idea and an invention.” How many times have you heard someone say they’ve got the next great idea? But without any meat on the bones (product and market research, defining its functions and requirements, sketching some concepts) it rarely goes anywhere. Keep as much documentation as you can, including your product requirements, functionality, photos of prototypes and testing data. Not only does this help better define what your product (or service) can provide, but it also makes future design iterations more manageable.

Our current AcoustiCurtainTM has come a long way from our initial prototypes

Our current AcoustiCurtainTM has come a long way from our initial prototypes

It’s amazing how far our AcoustiCurtainTM product line has come from the initial, conceptual design. After realizing the problem (keeping my fiancée up at night), I found the right material and form for a product – a soundproofing curtain that can roll up and down, while still blocking about 90% of the sound passing through.

However, after years of experimenting with various fabrics, adhesive Velcro and reinforcing materials, the current product hardly reflects its humble beginnings. Speed to market is key, so be ambitious about getting your first product out quickly, but don’t forget to constantly incorporate customer feedback so that you can achieve continuous improvement. We schedule a quarterly meeting to review customer recommendations and incorporate whichever changes truly add value to our products.

  1. Customer Testing and Validation – Know your Market

Now getting it to market – it’s scary to think you’ve got a product, and selling it on the Web, you’re forcing it on unsuspecting customers. We followed the Lean Startup Model, where we sold the prototype early on to get customer feedback and make any revisions once hearing their thoughts. For instance, we realized that customers did not really care what fabric options they had (other than color), since they really purchased the soundproof curtains for their function more than aesthetics. However, they were cost-conscious customers that did not want to pay the expense of those plusher materials or more intricately designed patterns. We removed the premium fabrics and went back to our basic product offering, which in turn drove sales to new highs.

Our first sales channel was a WordPress site that I designed myself with no programming background and only YouTube as a tutor (and a great one at that!). We received sales within weeks, after taking some photos in the spare bedroom, and were cash-flow positive with only a $3,000 bootstrapping fund.

We continued to iterate the product design, but once we received consistent, positive feedback from a variety of customers (B2C consumers and B2B enterprise customers), we locked down our design studies and trade-offs and began to scale production.

  1. Scale Production

Once your product has really been tested and you’ve received customer validation, you can begin scaling. If you haven’t needed external funding yet, you very well may need it now! Capital equipment and inventory needs, regardless of your industry, can often take financing outside your means. Since it has a useful life over years, you’ll receive its benefits long after it’s been paid off.

You can take a loan (scary) or angel investment from friends and family (trust me – just as scary), but be sure to carefully document your assumptions and have reasonable expectations for your business’s growth.

Our first orders we sent to a sewing workroom in Lutz where they were able to handle a few curtains to several dozen at a time without us needing to worry about overhead and workforce. However, once we began selling hundreds per month, with the vast majority of them being custom-made, we realized it was time to open our own manufacturing capability. Starting with a few hundred square feet and an industrial Juki sewing machine, we’ve grown into a 3000-sq. ft. facility with a full-time team. We continue to streamline our process with new equipment and continued employee training, preparing for the large growth we project over the next several months.

  1. Grow Your Sales Team!

And finally, we arrive at the penultimate milestone of developing a sales process and hiring sales people. This is ultimately where the rubber meets the road. If the market demands your product, then you have a potential homerun and just need to reach the right customers and purchasers to achieve large-scale success.

As an engineer, it’s been easy over the years to look at our sales teams and assume that it was the high-quality product selling itself. Nothing could be further from the truth. Developing a successful sales process takes time and effort, outlining how you are feeding prospects into your pipeline, what information and sales techniques you use to promote them to leads, and finally, how you close these into actual sales.

Many startups take the shotgun approach, trying to reach out to everyone that may need their product, directly or otherwise. However, with limited resources, this can stretch the burn rate to its limit, and end up bankrupting a firm before a loyal customer base catches it.

Pay careful attention to your customer acquisition cost (CAC) and customer lifetime value (CLV), which is highly dependent on customer type and recurring sales. For our firm, the majority of B2C customers buy only once, outfitting soundproof curtains over their bedroom or office windows, or in some cases, on doors and hallways to limit sound in their home-space. We may get the occasional referral, but we need to be conscious of the customer’s buying nature. This means we must constantly reach new customers through targeted marketing and advertising campaigns.

At the same time, our B2B customers (property managers and construction firms) often buy large quantities, and in some cases use them at multiple locations and properties. Getting these customers into our sales funnel begins with cold calls and drop-ins, and matures to detailed discussions and ultimately price negotiations. While it may take several months to get your first true sale, realize that your next one may be right behind that, since all of the infrastructure (and sales process) has been built. Keeping your pipeline full, and flowing forward, makes a world of difference on the bottom line. To maximize the conversion of sales from each node (prospect, lead and sale) we focus on engaged sales team training, and allow them to tailor the sales process to their strengths.

Extended Success:

Every startup faces these critical challenges and oftentimes it takes an iterative approach to improve the product and reach the right market segment. By following a systematic approach, we’ve been able to overcome a number of obstacles and mistakes, and graduate from a local startup to a high-growth international business.

For more information on Residential Acoustics, visit