Naples Chamber Hands Out Business Excellence Awards

September 13, 2013

Naples Grande 1Collier County’s leading companies, selling everything from soaps to apps, took the spotlight for their successes at a decades-old awards program.

The long-standing program, recognizing top companies and industry leaders, looked and felt different this year.

The event, held Friday at the Hilton Naples, is now put on by the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce and its affiliate, The Partnership for Collier’s Future Economy.

The awards were revamped this year to reflect the tapestry of the county’s new economy, said Cotrenia Hood, the chamber’s vice president of business development. The revamp meant new award categories and a new crown logo.

New categories included Company to Watch and the “Mamie Tooke” Trailblazer Award, named after the woman many saw as the “Mother of Naples.”

The trailblazer award creates an opportunity to honor a woman or minority business owner, Hood explained. This year, it went to Wilma Boyd, president and CEO of Preferred Travel, for her leadership, community engagement, professionalism and hard work. In a video, a co-worker described her as a true champion for young people, recognizing her involvement over the years with groups such as Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida and the Boys and Girls Club.

The award came as a surprise to Boyd, who met Tooke a few times. Tooke opened the first bank in Naples in 1949.

“She truly was a leader with women,” Boyd said of Tooke, adding that the award was one of the nicest honors she’d ever received.

The luncheon drew more than 260 business and community leaders. Other award winners included:

Business Expansion: Moorings Park.

Moorings Park, a nonprofit Medicare-certified continuing care community, has continued to expand at its sprawling 83-acre campus off Goodlette-Frank Road, just south of Pine Ridge Road.

Its most recent expansion, at a cost of about $62.5 million, included 29 apartments, the Trio restaurant and a Center for Healthy Living, offering physicians offices, a spa, workout rooms and lecture halls for continuing education. The project will generate 25 new jobs and create $1 million in additional payroll in the county, said Dan Lavender, Moorings Park’s president and CEO, in a video.

“It’s going to have a big economic impact, this latest development,” he said.

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