34th Annual Chairman’s Banquet was a huge success...
The John R. Trinkle Center was the setting for the
34th Annual Chairman’s Banquet with Randy Larson
as the emcee. The evening was full of surprises, from
the wonderful year in review given by outgoing Chairman Michael Cameron to the video antics of incoming
Chairman Brian West.
The 2016 Board of Directors were inducted followed
by the passing of the gavel. In Chairman West’s acceptance speech, he took time to express what so
many are feeling regarding the retirement of longtime
Executive Director Marion Smith and the departure
of Vice President Amy Nizamoff for new career opportunities. He thanked them for the improvements
they have made and the healthy condition in which
they are leaving the Chamber. He spoke of the exciting addition of two new events the Chamber is actively working on; the Wild Wing Cookoff as well as, an
Arts Festival sure to rival those such as the Mainsail
Art Festival.
(l-r) 2015 Chairman Michael Cameron passes the gavel to
2016 Chairman Brian West
Randy Larson inducts the 2016 Board of Directors
Of course no Chairman’s Banquet would be complete
without a little entertainment provided by some of
our directors. This year they truly outdid themselves
as they lip synced to their favorite songs. If you
missed it, check them out on our Greater Plant City
Chamber of Commerce Facebook page.
In This Issue
34th Annual Chairman’s
Banquet highlights
Business Spotlight shines on
Edward Jones and Melissa
Contact Breakfast sponsored
by Stone Ledge Manor
Ambassador Awards Luncheon
Be sure to attend the February
Business After Hours sponsored by FOCUS Magazine
Thank you for your
commitment to the
Chamber of Commerce
Dear Members,
What a great Chairman’s Banquet we had this past Thursday! For those of you not there,
you missed a great dinner, a great program (“changing of the guard”), and an exceptional video
starring Michael Cameron, Paul Davis, Gary Pike, Nate Kilton, Edwena Haney, Marty Clay,
Frank Cummings and Anna, Charles Harris, Verna McKelvin, and Brian West. We are going to
attempt to upload it to You Tube, so everyone can enjoy it. Many thanks to all of our sponsors and to Al Berry, who again showed that he is one fine Film Director!
We want to thank Michael for his leadership in 2015 and looking forward to Brian West’s
term as Chairman. Per Brian, the Chamber will continue to focus on marketing the benefits of
operating and supporting business in Plant City and attracting visitors to our community in
order to help support our businesses. He emphasized that the Chamber also exists to help
business and individuals understand the deeper meaning and responsibilities of being part of
our community. One area that the Chairman wants to focus on is the feasibility of a Chamberrun small business incubator; helping entrepreneurs to accelerate their growth through business support resources and services such as physical space, coaching, common services, and
networking connections. It should be an exciting year!
We have a busy February and March coming up. Please mark your calendar for Planes, Trains,
and Automobiles on February 27th from 10:00- 3:00pm.
This is a great family event and
showcases our Plant City Airport. We do need some volunteers to help with some parking
and our general information booth, so please let us know if you can assist. Following this
event, we have our Florida Strawberry Festival and we do appreciate the 65+ volunteers who
help man our booth for the eleven day run. This is a great way to promote our community
and encourage visitors to come back at other times of the year, not just March. We have
much to offer year round!
After all this hard work, it will be time to relax with our 3 rd Annual Reverse Raffle held at Keel
& Curley Winery. This is the only time that you do NOT want your number pulled out first!
Only 100 tickets will be sold and the lucky people at the end will have the opportunity to win
$1500 if they go all the way. Call the Chamber to get on the list and
we guarantee that you will have a great time.
Contact Us for the benefits of becoming a Trustee.
See you soon!
Marion Smith, President
Amy Nizamoff, Vice President
Joyce Nestor, Office Administrator
7:15 AM
John R. Trinkle Center
2206 East Cherry Street
HHC-Plant City Campus
Evelyn Clay, Communications Director
Tammy Mitchell, Membership Director
Peggy Wilson, Tourist Information Specialist
Call (813) 754-3707 for more information
Executive Committee
Chairman of the Board
Brian West
Publix Super Market
Matt Buzza, Platinum Bank
Paul Hackney, Sunshine Bank
Yvonne Fry
Fryed Egg Productions
Charles Harris, Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites
Immediate Past Chairman
Michael Cameron
Cameron Financial Management
Larry Jimenez, Jr., Star Distribution Systems.
Edwena Haney
Hopewell Funeral Home &
Memorial Gardens
Jim Scott, Jarrett-Scott Ford
Clark Smith, Suncoast Credit Union
Karen Kerr, South Florida Baptist Hospital
Keith Smith, Trinkle, Redman, Swanson, Coton, Davis,
& Smith, P.A.
Vice Chairman-Membership Division
Verna McKelvin
Wells Memorial & Event Center
Nate Kilton, Sedita K ilton Life & Wealth Management,
LLC & Sedita Kilton & Company, CPA, P.L.
Darcy Stottlemyer, All A Bloom Florist
Vice Chairman-Community Program Division
Jason Jones
Advantage Restoration, Inc
Carole Wright, Myers & W right, P.A.
James Moody, James Moody III, Attorney at Law
Vice Chairman-Economic Impact Division
Phil Waldron
Waldron Consulting Services
Michael Watkins, V & R Insurance
Vice Chairman-Community & Governmental
Affairs Division
Martyn Clay, Ed.D.
Hillsborough Community College
“Small Business isn’t for
the faint of heart. It’s for
the brave, the patient, &
the persistent. It’s for the
overcomer.” Unknown
Since 1964
We extend our sincerest appreciation to these friends of
the Chamber for their generosity and donations:
JANUARY Contact Breakfast Sponsor
Door Prizes courtesy of
A very special Thank You goes out to the following
businesses for donating gift cards for the
Ambassador Award’s luncheon.
Your generosity is very appreciated.
Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant
Wasabi Japanese Steak House & Sushi Bar
Johnson Barbeque
Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar
Walden Lake Car Wash
Duke’s Brewhouse
Stephanie Floyd
Independent Beauty Consultant
Page 9
Tom Estabrook
Sr. Partner US Operations
(813) 601-1048
[email protected]
Yvonne Braver
511 West Alexander Street, Ste 2
Plant City, FL 33563-7116
(813) 659-8960
Fax: (813) 754-3130
[email protected]
11:00 AM
Central Florida SCORE
Venus Mulligan - Manager
2216 James L. Redman Parkway
Plant City, FL 33563-7107
(813) 754-7521
Fax: (813) 759-3718
[email protected]
11:00 AM
Holiday Parade Floats
11:00 AM
Hakeem Investments,
Michelle Welch - Owner
4302 Pippin Road
Plant City, FL 33567-2646
(813) 478-6554
[email protected]
If you have not scheduled a
Ribbon Cutting and you are a
new business or opened a new
location, please contact Tammy
Mitchell, Membership Director,
at (813) 754-3707
to schedule it today!
Holiday Parade Floats
5203 East Broadway Avenue
Tampa, FL 33619-2801
Office: (813) 310-6793
Luis A. Macias, Owner
[email protected]
Parade Floats
Terry Montana/Century 21 Shaw Realty
Plant City, FL
Office: (954) 303-8746
Terry Montana, Real Estate Agent
[email protected]
Real Estate
Dennis Pokorny/Century 21 Shaw Realty
Plant City, FL
Office: (954) 695-1934
Dennis Pokorny, Real Estate Agent
[email protected]
Real Estate
Melissa Snively, School Board District 4
Lithia, FL
Office: (813) 272-4052
Melissa Snively, School Board Member
[email protected]
Elected Official
Running a business as a sole owner can be a challenge in
itself. Operating one with your loved one can present a
whole new set of difficulties. According to The Guardian
Life Small Business Research Institute, there are approximately 4 million family-owned businesses in the United
States. A husband and wife team is operating more than
1.4 million of those businesses.
3. Separate work life from married life by setting
aside time for both. It’s not always easy to hang up
your work hat when you walk through the door at
home, but you can create a healthy balance. Narus said
couples in business together should, “Set up the work
week ahead of time and schedule a time every day for
personal interaction. If working from home, always have
a set work area that you can close off and end your day
away from the business.”
Since just 44 percent of all businesses make it past the
first four years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, running a business with your loved one, can make the
odds even more insurmountable.
4. Have a trusted third party that you can go to,
to help with disputes. Business partners do not always agree on the direction a business should take –
whether they are married or not. It’s always a good idea
to enlist a trusted third party adviser who can look at
situations objectively and offer sound advice as to what
to do. As a certified business consultant, Narus recommends to a majority of his clients, that they seek outside
advice in areas they are not familiar with. The same rule
applies here.
Mark Narus, a certified business consultant with the Florida SBDC at USF, has been down that road as an entrepreneur himself. Narus, who operated a business with a
loved one for five years in the music education industry,
offers five important tips for those who want to survive a
business relationship with a loved one.
1. Set clear rules of operation and understand
your spouse’s work style. Communication is key in any
business, but it is even more important when you are
working with someone you live with as well. Make sure
you know what you are getting into – both the pros and
cons. This will help to alleviate some stress when starting
out. In addition, there are multiple work styles in the
work force, and being married does not mean you operate in the same manner. If your spouse is spontaneous in
your daily life, chances are, that same operational style
will carry over into their work life. Understand, accept
and work around each other’s work styles.
5. Seek professional advice. This is a good general
rule for most small businesses. Business owners may be
very equipped in their particular trade or industry, but
that does not necessarily translate into excelling in all
areas. When it comes to money matters, tasks an owner
is not familiar with, can make or break the business.
“I tell new entrepreneurs to form relationships early
with four key people,” Narus said. “These key people
are an accountant, attorney, bookkeeper, and insurance
agent. These four have the professional expertise to help
save your business time, money and protect assets.”
2. Play to your different strengths. Just as you each
have different work styles, you will have different
strengths and weaknesses. Narus said, “Everyone has different strengths. Capitalize on them and your business
will grow and flourish.” Divvy out the tasks at work, according to each of your strengths. This will not only make
your business efficient, it will allow each of you the freedom to have your own responsibilities within the business.
This article is provided by the SBDC-Hillsborough
County. To find other resources regarding business
practices, please see
To schedule one-on-one free consulting with SBDC,
call (813) 204-9267.
15-19 Years
GFWC Plant City Junior Women’s Club
Madison Park Road
Plant City Garden Club
Hillsborough County Aviation Authority
(44 Years)
Publix Super Markets #1212
(41 Years)
10-14 Years
American Business Women’s Association
Collins Street Junction Antiques & Collectibles, LLC
General Adjusting Services, Inc.
In The Field-Hillsborough’s Agriculture Magazine
Matrix Medical
Olde Town Pizzeria
Unity in the Community, Inc.
WorkComp Partners
5-9 Years
AMEC Foster Wheeler Environment & Infrastructure
Independence Academy
Mango Family Cleaners
Stingray Chevrolet
1-4 Years
Central Florida Speech & Hearing Center
Dan Raulerson, State Representative
Dave Logue’s Plumbing, Inc.
Duke’s Brewhouse
Florida Home Partnership, Inc.
Grimes Hardware Center
Florida Brick & Clay
(36 Years)
KFC-Phil Mook Enterprises, Inc.
(36 Years)
Sedita, Kilton & Company, CPA
(37 Years)
WellMed at Plant Ctiy Family Practice
(36 Years)
American Cancer Society
(20 Years)
Coronet Industries, Inc.
(22 Years)
Friends of the Bruton Memorial Library
(20 Years)
International Paper
(20 Years)
Tips for Successful Business Networking
Networking...linking together of individuals who, through trust and relationship building, become
walking, talking advertisements for one another.
Networking is about being genuine and building trust with others for a mutually beneficial way to
grow business. When you pass business or refers others, they will reciprocate in kind.
Visit as many networking opportunities as you are able. You never know when you will meet the
people who may help build your business.
Become known as a powerful resource for others. When you are the “go to” person for referrals,
people will remember you.
A nice “Thank You” note following a meeting leaves a wonderfully professional impression with others as this has become a lost art.
Your Chamber believes in “Businesses Building A Better Community!”
We are here to help and be YOUR referral service.
Plant City Entertainment hosted the January Business
After Hours event at their theater at 101 North Thomas
Street. The attendees were treated to tours of the facility, the history of PCE, wonderful food and great networking.
The theater began with one woman and an idea. Clare
Mills had been away at college and returned to Plant
City to begin her teaching career. While at college she
had enjoyed being a part of the theater and dance programs. Due to her love of the arts and the void she
felt...Plant City Entertainment was founded. That was
over 34 years ago and they are going strong.
The all volunteer organization performs several shows
per year. “Rex’s Exes” is opening on Friday, January
29th at 8:00 PM. To learn more about PCE , auditions,
and show times visit
(l-r) Board of Managers: Lou Baird, John Harrer, Shirley Outen,
Marsha Passmore, Dodie White , Judy Barta, Paul Hetrick, Victor Hamilton, Kelley Gustafson, and Maurice Cecchini
(l-r) Karen Griggsby (GFWC PC
Women’s Club), Paul Hetrick
(Paul’s Hand Lettering Service),
and Tammy Mitchell (Membership
(l-r) President Marsha Passmore and 1st Vice President Dodie White welcome attendees to the theater
(l-r) Verna McKelvin with Wells Memorial Garden
and Event Center and David Frack with Legal Shield
enjoy networking
Ben Rawnsley, an actor in the production of
Rex’s Exes
The January Ambassador Luncheon is always special. It
is the time of year when the Chamber recognizes each
Ambassador for their generosity of time, talent, and
commitment to their volunteer position. We have an
amazing group of people who spend time visiting our
members, attending Ribbon Cuttings and Business After Hours events, and assist during Contact Breakfast,
Bike Fest, and banquets. Their teamwork deserves to
be admired and appreciated. The Ambassadors each
received a Volunteer Appreciation Award for their
ongoing efforts.
(l-r) Executive Director Marion Smith, Ambassador of the Year Charlie Wells, and Membership
Director Tammy Mitchell
This is also the time where the Ambassadors and
Teams for December and January are announced in
addition to, the overall winners for the Ambassador of
the Year and Team of the Year awards. Each category
is based on number of points earned. Points are given
for each event they attend and/or volunteer to work.
They are an invaluable part of our Chamber and we
thank them for all they do.
Thank you to Pat Pogue (Plant City Civitan Club),
Chuck Sullivan (Rail Town Building Services), Avery
Wheelock (Visi), and Sue Burt for sponsoring the January luncheon.
Team #2 were presented with crystal awards by
Marion Smith and Tammy Mitchell. (l-r) Jason
Jones, Carter Metts, Jim Young, Maribel Lorenzo,
Nancy Miller, Karen Griggsby
If you are interested in becoming an Ambassador,
please call Tammy Mitchell, Membership Director, at
(813) 754-3707 or email her at [email protected]
December Team of the month - Team #1,
Kayla Drawdy-Sherrard, Pat Pogue, Christine
Wynne, Chuck Sullivan, Lisa Rhodes,
Angela Sessa
January Amb Team of the month - Team 2,
Donna Cade, Kayla Drawdy-Sherrard, Maribel Lorenzo, Lisa Rhodes, Dean Pfeffer,
Carter Metts & Alice Bullard
December’s Ambassadors of the Month is
Sue Burt! Congratulations and Thank You!
January Ambassadors of the Month tied! (l-r)
Donna Cade, Kayla Drawdy-Sherrard, Maribel
Lorenzo, and Lea Sacco (not pictured)
New Ambassadors, Jennifer Richie (l) &
Michelle Valdes (r)
Business Spotlight
Edward Jones—Melissa L. Haskins, Financial Advisor
Please tell us about your company and what led you to join Edward Jones.
Edward Jones serves nearly 7 million investors and we have more offices than any other
investment firm in America. We attribute a great deal of our success to our principles and
personal, long-term approach to investing. Edward Jones has consistently been ranked
among the best companies to work for by FORTUNE Magazine and our employees tend
to stay with us for years. Since we're still a privately owned company, Edward Jones has a
very personal feel that's almost like family. What drew me to Edward Jones was their personal service, core values, and community involvement.
When was Edward Jones founded? The firm was founded in 1922 by Edward D.
Jones Sr. After working a rural territory in Missouri and Illinois, Ted Jones, the son of the
founder, positioned the company in the increasingly competitive marketplace as a specialist in providing investment advice to individual investors. The Edward Jones philosophy is that service to the individual is of
utmost importance. Its more than 13,000 financial advisors provide this personal brand of service by discussing clients’ individual investment needs on a one-on-one basis.
Tell us something about yourself and your business we don’t know. I was born and raised in Valrico, FL and started my career with Edward Jones over 3 years ago. Prior to working at Edward Jones I worked
for USAA and served the military community. As an Edward Jones advisor, I believe it's important to invest
my time to understand what you're working toward before you invest your money. Working closely with you
and your CPA, Attorney and other professionals, I can help determine the most appropriate financial strategy
for you and your family.
I received my B.A. from the University of Tampa and later completed my MBA. I currently hold my Series 7
and series 66 licenses along with Life, Health and LTC.
What tips of your trade would you like to share? The best advice I can give is to remember that investing is a long term commitment and that you should always seek professional advice over emotions.
What is your favorite quote? “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
What benefits have you seen due to your Chamber membership? In my short time with the chamber I have been able to develop several relationships with other professionals in the community. I have enjoyed the networking opportunities and look forward to more involvement in the years to come.
To contact Melissa, please call (813) 759-1491 or visit her at 2501 Thonotosassa Road
Advantage Restoration & Contracting
What is unique and/or interesting about your business?
Being able to help others in their time of need by restoring
their home or business that has been damaged by water, fire
or mold - hence our tag line – “When you think you lost everything, we’re here to give it back”
How long have you been a Chamber Ambassador? 11 years
What do you enjoy most from serving as an Ambassador and
why? I enjoy meeting and speaking with all the new business
owners and employees and staying connected with the business community throughout Plant City
Who is the most influential person in your life and why? I would have to say my Wife –
Casey. We work great together as a team balancing our family, business and many
community events and organizations that we are involved with.
What are your interests and hobbies? Any and all activities that involve my wife, Casey
and my 3 children, Noah, Mia and Layla. I also enjoy spending time on the beach, on
the golf course and watching University of Kentucky Basketball and Football games.
We Build It Up!
Applications are available
at the
Chamber of Commerce
*Screen Enclosures * Carports
*Siding & Soffits * Vinyl Windows
Chairman Brian West and the Directors for 2016. See pages 24-25 for highlights from the
34th Annual Chairman’s Banquet.
Thank you to Lauren Burke and Stone Ledge Manor for sponsoring the
January Contact Breakfast. The guest speaker, Chris Ingram, (Political
Analyst for Bay News 9) spoke about the impending Presidential election. He discussed the “pros” and “cons” of various candidates and
fielded questions regarding the current political climate.
Ilene Chavez accepts the Good Egg Award on
behalf of the GFWC Jr. Women’s Club as it is
presented by 2016 Chairman Brian West.
The Contact Breakfast Committee selected a special organization as the
Good Egg Award recipient. Chairman Brian West presented the award
to Ilene Chavez with the Greater Florida Junior Women’s Club for their
“Shoe Project” within our community. Over 700 pairs of shoes are provided to our community school children in need thanks to the efforts of
the GFWC Plant City Junior Woman’s Club. For more information on
the club and their projects, visit
Each Contact Breakfast is an opportunity for networking and January’s
event was no different. With 120 members in attendance, business was
being passed and relationships were being built. Be sure to mark your
calendar and register to attend the February breakfast.
knows...the contact you need may very well be in attendance!
The cashpot remained unclaimed. Since Glenn Nicholson, Ronnie
Young, Dr. John Busciglio, Lizzette Sarria, and John Schumacher
names were drawn but were unable to attend, the prize for next month
will be $100. Just one more reason to reserve your seat today.
(l-r) Michael Cameron and Jim Scott won lovely floral arrangements created by All A Bloom
(l) and Creative Flower Designs by Glenn (r)
February 10
March 16
For the next two months we will hold our
Contact Breakfast at the
John R. Trinkle Center
2206 East Cherry Street
Jon Poppell from Poppell Insurance takes home a door prize!
Guest Speaker, Chris Ingram and
Sponsor, Lauren Burke
New Member, Michelle Welch with
Wishing Well Barn is the winner of
a month’s advertising courtesy of
Plant City Dining & Entertainment
Earl Williams with Ace Realty
Advisors goes home a winner
Winning a gift card for Bass Pro
Shop made Marty Clay’s day!
(Hillsborough Community CollegePlant City President)
Hillsborough County School Board
member, Melissa Snively, takes
home a door prize courtesy of
Stone Ledge Manor.
The 2016 Visitor Guide & Membership Directory are now available for pick up
at the Chamber office. This year we included personal interest stories. Be
sure to stop in and pick up a few copies for your office or to hand out.
Each year, the outgoing Chairman of the Board may elect to honor someone who has made
a difference through their hard work, generosity, and dedication to the Chamber. Outgoing
Chairman, Michael Cameron selected Nate Kilton,
Kelli Huffman, Verna McKelvin, Leon McKelvin, Frank Cummings, and Anna Darrientos are enjoying the evening
Behind every good man is an awesome lady! Thank you
to Terri Cameron for her support of Michael and the
Chamber throughout the past year.
Please check out our Facebook page for more
highlights and photos of the evening’s events.
You may find us on FB at
The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce.
CLICK HERE for a video of the evenings
This year is bittersweet for the Chamber as our President of 15 years, Marion Smith,
will be retiring and Vice President, Amy Nizamoff who has been with the Chamber for
14 years, will be the new Public Relations Manager for Suncoast Community Health
Centers. Marion will retire in May...which will come far too soon, and Amy will begin
her new position this month. Please stop by on February 11th from 4:30 PM ‘til 6:00
PM to wish her well. Thank you, ladies, for all you have done to make this the GREATEST
Plant City Chamber of Commerce.
Our lovely seating hostesses, (l-r) Lea Sacco, Kimberly McGinnis, and Pat Pogue. Thank you, ladies, for your help with the
Chairman’s Banquet.
(l-r) Our wonderful videographer, Al Berry, with Jim Scott and
Paul Davis
(l-r) CenterState Bank was well represented by Silvia
Ball with husband Jerry Ball, and Maribel Lorenzo

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