Siesta chamber presents annual awards

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Pete Barnhart (left) of Siesta Key Chapel was named Community Partner winner. He’s joined by Mike Gatz of Gilligan’s Island Bar & Grill, the award sponsor.

During the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce’s annual awards dinner, held Jan. 28 at the Lido Beach Resort, nominees and recipients were recognized and celebrated for their outstanding business achievement, volunteerism, and community engagement.”

The following winners were announced:

• Nancy Mulvey — Sharon Cunningham Visitor Center Volunteer of the Year. 

• Hollis Higgins of Aloha Kai — Shining Star. (A review of a sampling of renters’ comments about accommodations at the condominium complex found plenty of kudos for Higgins. For example, a June 2019 comment singled out Higgins in noting that the office and cleaning staffs “exceeded my expectations. Everyone went beyond the norm to take care of any questions, needs, etc. we had.” A June 2017 comment said, “Hollis Higgins made the whole rental process a wonderful experience from start to finish!” A third, posted in February 2017, offered appreciation to Higgins for recommending a specific unit, which, the writer pointed out, “was even better than what we expected from the photos.”

• Mark Smith of Smith Architects — Service & Leadership Award.

• Shawn McLoughlin — Siesta Selfless Award. (In his membership listing on the Siesta Chamber website, McLoughlin notes, “I love to paint local scenes that depict the unique charm of Siesta Key and surrounding areas.”)

• Mike Gatz, manager of Gilligan’s Island Bar & Grill — Business Person of the Year.

• Signarama — Small Business of the Year.

• Sabal Palm Bank — Large Business of the Year.

• Siesta Key Chapel — Community Partner.

The following received Board of Director Service Awards: Mason Tush, chair in 2020; Josh Ludwig (2018-2020); Gabe Hartmann (2018-2020); Mark Smith (2015-2020); and Joye Argo (2016-2020).
The new Chamber chair is Steve Cavanaugh of Tropical Sands Accommodations and RE/MAX Tropical Sands. (In its listing on the chamber website, Tropical Sands Accommodations says it is the largest vacation rental management company on the island. Its properties range from studios to those with nine bedrooms, the firm adds, with vacation periods ranging from three days to six months. Among its offerings are those at Aloha Kai, the Gulf & Bay Club and Our House at the Beach.)

Tush, whose family owns CB’s Saltwater Outfitters, remains on the board as immediate past chair, and Gatz of Gilligan’s is the chair-elect.

Kara Altice-Montes of Altez Vacations is the treasurer, and Kathleen Elliott of Signarama is the secretary.

The other board members are as follows:

• Jimmy Bonner of Sherwin Williams.

• Eric Fleming of The Law Offices of Eric C. Fleming, PA.

• Helene Hyland of Coldwell Banker.

• Wendall Jacobsen of Beach Bazaar.

• Syd Krawczyk of Concept Digital Media.

• Warren LaBonte of Siesta Beach Concessions and Siesta Sun Deck.

• Carrie Lewis of Sabal Palm Bank.                  

• Mike Lewis of Siesta Key Jet Ski.

• Russell Matthes of the Daiquiri Deck.

• Jerry Williams of Abel’s Ice Cream

Siesta Sand
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