Christine AlexanderNeil P. ArchibaldJoe ArmeniaCeci Culpepper BermanJoshua BomsteinLuis A. 'Tony' CabassaBryan ChavisMichael CorleyWilliam Dean CrowleyDaniel DeLisi
40 Under 40 Winners Page 1
Company/Title: Booth Studio, Inc. chief operating officer; co-owner of the following: anythingarts.com, surlychicks.com, sarasotaafterdark.com, veronicatart.com; actor with the FST Improv Troupe since 2002, Independent films, Sarasota Actors Workshop; producer - Becky's Rejects, Sarasota Actors Workshop.
Education: High school diploma
Professional achievements/honors: I think one of my greatest achievements has been creating a large base of personal and professional relationships. Through this networking I am able to help people connect the dots and help them realize their goals and aspirations. Out of those connections, I met my business partner for anythingarts.com., our online newsletter that we began September and now has 2,400 subscribers and growing. Also proud to be an original member of Florida Studio Theatre's Improv Troupe, which began in 2002 and is still running. My achievement there would be making people "laugh harder than they have in a long time."
Mentor or business hero: Herb Booth and Rick and Peg Hughes.
Formula for success: Happiness and a lot of laughter. Approach everything with a smile. Having a spouse who has your back also helps.
Place/Date of Birth: Glens Falls, N.Y., January , 1972
First job: Rax (Fast food restaurant like Arby's)
Years on Gulf Coast: 30
Motivation to come to Gulf Coast: I wanted to stay with my parents (I didn't have much choice at the age of 4.)
Name one pressing issue affecting our region today: Affordable housing for artists
How would you solve it? The most logical solution is to create a collaboration between local government, arts organizations, independent artists and the business community. It has been said that nearly half of all visitors to our area list the "arts" as a major factor in their decision to come here. We risk losing artists to other communities if they can no longer afford to live here. Other communities have created artist housing where the rent is subsidized in recognition of the contribution artists make to the area income. As for purchasing a home, some communities offer buying assistance/partnership where the artist and teacher or policeman buys the house with 40-50% down from the community. The ultimate profit would be split accordingly when the house sold (mortgage based on the artist's share of the purchase and community funds in cash).
Marital Status/Family: Happily married to Christopher.
Community Involvement: I have done non-profit work for local organizations through Booth Studio as well as on my own, including Girls Inc., the JCC and the March of Dimes. I have made contributions to great places such as Mote Marine and the Humane Society. I have supported the independent filmmaking industry as well as the theater scene at large here in the Sarasota area.
Hours worked per week: About 50 hours a week paid and another 25-30 with unpaid projects/volunteering.
Hobbies: Acting, camping and live theater.
What's on your iPod? Angels and Airwaves, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Lifehouse.
Name three things in your refrigerator: Peach Fresca, fresh mozzarella cheese and Jello Fat Free Pudding.
Book you can read more than once: Geek Mafia by local author Rick Dakan.
Books or magazines on your nightstand: In Touch, Sarasota Magazine.
Best place outside Florida you've ever been to: Moorea Island, Tahiti's sister island.
What would you like to be doing more of? Acting
What would you like to be doing less of? Bookkeeping
If I had it to do all over again: I would definitely marry Christopher again!
Neil P. Archibald
Company/Title: MEMBERS Trust Co./corporate counsel, chief compliance officer
Education: B.A., University of Virginia; J.D., University of Maryland School of Law.
Professional achievements/honors: An achievement of great note is the trust and camaraderie of my colleagues during countless transactions. Also had the pleasure of speaking at several industry engagements on regulatory compliance and legal issues for thrifts.
Mentor or business hero: An amalgam of people I have met along the way.
Formula for success: Preparation plus opportunity equals success. Be prepared, be good to others, work smart, and be consistent.
Hometown: Irvington, N.J. and Philadelphia
Place/Date of Birth: London, England/Aug. 19, 1973.
First job: Teacher with Teach For America: Taught fifth grade in Baltimore and wrote the math curriculum. Also co-ran a mentor's program for students that paired them with a professional to expose them to different models of success.
Years on Gulf Coast: 3
Motivation to come to Gulf Coast: Wonderful weather, good social climate with activities for adults and children and a great opportunity to make a difference in the trust and investment industry working for a pioneer company.
Name one pressing issue affecting our region today:Educational shortcomings and disparities of our children.
How would you solve it? Solving educational shortcomings and disparities requires a concerted effort at all levels within the community, from parents' consistent involvement in their children's education, to teacher's commitment to excellence and creativity, to the school system and local government's commitment to teachers' efforts and the end results - children that can read, write, and converse critically. With a focus on end results, the system will allow the growth of various schooling options for students and their families to meet the needs of Tampa's varied student population, i.e. charter schools.
Marital Status/Family: Married, with one daughter.
Community Involvement: Raising my 2-year-old daughter.
Hours worked per week: 24/7.
Hobbies: An avid collector of music and movies. I also love playing Dominoes.
What's on your iPod? Sting, U2, New Edition.
Name three things in your refrigerator: Spicy Mustard, Limes, Vegetables.
Book you can read more than once: Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice.
Books or magazines on your nightstand: Simple Living (into house stuff), and various business magazines.
Favorite Web sites: USA Today for its easy reading format and Digital City.com to see what's going on.
Best place outside Florida you've ever been to: San Diego.
What would you like to be doing more of? Traveling.
What would you like to be doing less of? Budgeting.
If I had it to do all over again I would... Travel more.
Company/Title: Armenia Group/chief operating officer
Education: B.S., University of Florida; MBA, Pennsylvania State University
Professional achievements/honors: Recently completed the development of Riva Del Lago, two 21-story condominium towers. Awards: 8 Pinnacle Awards including Community of the Year, 11 Awards in the Parade of Homes, and the Summit Award for Best Product Design.
Mentor or business hero: My father, John Armenia.
Formula for success: Education, ambition, dedication, a solid network of family, friends, professionals, and employees, love what you do, learn something new every day.
Hometown: Grew up on Captiva Island and currently live in Fort Myers
Place/Date of Birth: Brooklyn, N.Y./ Oct. 10, 1973
First job: Dishwasher at the Mucky Duck on Captiva at 14 years old
Years on Gulf Coast: 25
Motivation to come to Gulf Coast: My parents moved down here when I was 7. Following graduate school I worked for Ernst & Young in New York City and I was motivated to move back to the Gulf Coast based on the explosive growth in the area and highly attractive entrepreneurial opportunities.
Name one pressing issue affecting our region today:With the expansive growth in our region, there is a lack of quality recreational space for the public to enjoy, which has increased the importance of preserving, maintaining and upgrading our region's parks and recreational amenities.
How would you solve it? Since 2004, I have been working on helping to solve this issue with the Lakes Park Enrichment Foundation. Lakes Park is an example of a regional park that has grown in importance as growth has continued in our area. This is evident through the county's implementation of the $30 million Lakes Park Master Plan.
Marital Status/Family: Wife, Monet, 2-year-old son and a baby on the way.
Community Involvement: Spearheaded the creation of the Lakes Park Enrichment Foundation along with my father, for which I continue to serve as a board member. Serve on the Board of the Edison Ford Winter Estates Foundation. Sponsored and hosted the 2006 Symphony Designer Showcase at Riva Del Lago, which raised approximately $50,000 for the Southwest Florida Symphony Society.
Hours worked per week: 60-plus.
Hobbies: Boating, scuba diving, travel, collecting music, wine, and spending time with my family.
What's on your iPod? Lenny Kravitz, BNL, Black Eyed Peas, and Jack Johnson.
Name three things in your refrigerator: Tabasco, cheese, Diet Coke.
Book you can read more than once: Liar's Poker.
Books or magazines on your nightstand: Confessions of a Wall Street Analyst and my wife's People magazines.
Favorite Web sites: Yahoo.com and Foxnews.com.
Best place outside Florida you've ever been to: New York City
What would you like to be doing more of? Traveling, boating, exercise, and spending time with my family.
What would you like to be doing less of? Sitting in traffic and sorting through spam.
If I had it to do all over again I would...not change a thing.
Ceci Culpepper Berman
Company/Title: Fowler White Boggs Banker /attorney
Education: B.A., University of Florida; J.D., Georgetown University
Professional achievements/honors: Graduate of Leadership Tampa Bay Class of 2006; handled numerous multi-million dollar appeals; AV-rated by Martindale Hubbell; author of various articles published by the Florida Bar and the Florida Defense Lawyers Association; and frequent lecturer on appellate law.
Mentor or business hero: Warren Buffett
Formula for success: Work hard, be honest, and do your best.
Hometown: Fort Pierce.
Place/Date of Birth: Fort Pierce; Aug. 26, 1976
First job: In high school, data entry for a civil engineering firm.
Years on Gulf Coast: 6
Motivation to come to Gulf Coast: I live in the Tampa Bay region, which is a great metro area – a slightly slower and friendlier pace than South Florida, yet still a vibrant business center. It is also a wonderful place to raise a family.
Name one pressing issue affecting our region today:Transportation.
How would you solve it? A light rail system, akin to those in use in other metropolitan areas, is necessary. The Gulf Coast is booming. A light rail system would move the population, decrease automobile dependence, and alleviate stress on roadways. It would also support continued growth as incoming individuals and businesses could see a viable solution to our dated roads and feel comfortable that in ten or twenty years, the Gulf Coast will still be a good place to live and work. Of course, funding this type of system is always the follow-up question. Answering that would require another page!
Marital Status/Family: Married to Nate, with a 19-month-old daughter.
Community Involvement: Junior League of Tampa; Children's Cancer Center volunteer; Dream a Dress volunteer; Tampa Gator Club; Emerge Tampa; and active fundraiser for the American Heart Association, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and the Humane Society of Tampa Bay.
Hours worked per week: 45 to 60, depending on the week, and usually somewhere right in the middle of that range.
Hobbies: Staying fit, reading and chasing after my daughter are the closest things to hobbies.
What's on your iPod? Going to the Zoo (for my daughter); At Last, by Etta James; Changes in Latitude, by Jimmy Buffett
Name three things in your refrigerator: Fresh fruits and vegetables; all kinds of fresh herbs; Lots of milk.
Book you can read more than once: The Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum.
Books or magazines on your nightstand: My Sister's Keeper, by Jodi Piccoult; The Killer Angels, by Michael Shaara.
Favorite Web sites: www. nytimes.com; www. epicurious.com.
Best place outside Florida you've ever been to: Italy
What would you like to be doing more of? Playing the piano – I'd like to get back to it.
What would you like to be doing less of? Worrying about the little things.
If I had it to do all over again I would... not change much. Life has been pretty good to me so far!
Company/Title: Creative Contractors Inc./business development manager
Education: B.A., Emory University
Professional achievements/honors: Named National Rookie of the Year at the McGraw-Hill Cos. in 2003 as a sales representative selling textbooks to community colleges and universities in central California; ranked the number four sales representative nationally (out of 70-plus representatives) in 2004; and was made a trainer for new sales representatives. Received the service award from the Gulf Coast Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council for my dedication and service to the Chapter in 2005.
Mentor or business hero: My dad, Alan C. Bomstein
Formula for success: Work hard and do the right thing.
Place/Date of Birth: Dunedin/Dec. 30, 1975
First job: Working at the Palm Pavilion Snack Bar on Clearwater Beach. Being low on the totem pole, a great portion of my work time was spent cleaning the public restrooms located at the Palm Pavilion. It's been uphill ever since!
Years on Gulf Coast: Lived here for 18 years before college and returned to live here again a year and a-half ago.
Motivation to come to Gulf Coast: Opportunity to work in the family business; to be closer to both my wife's and my family; and the soft sand beaches.
Name one pressing issue affecting our region today: Insurance (all forms of it, but especially property and homeowner's)
How would you solve it? The state should enable private insurance companies to provide hurricane coverage by limiting their maximum exposure. This could be done by the Legislature passing a bill that would limit insurers' hurricane coverage to 25% of the value of the home (or building). Twenty-five percent would cover the majority of hurricane damage claims. Beyond that, the state's Catastrophic Fund would kick in and cover the rest. Thus, the insurers would know what their exposure is and could charge appropriately instead of the current situation whereby they have unlimited exposure.
Marital Status/Family: My wife, Lindsay Batting. We're expecting a baby boy Sept. 22. We have a dog, Lily.
Community Involvement: Florida Gulf Coast Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council; Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design; Holiday Gala Committee; "Sustainability 101" Committee; Society for Marketing Professional Services; board member of the Clearwater Arts Foundation; City of Clearwater Public Art and Design Board; Associated General Contractors of Greater Florida; Associated General Contractors Green Construction Book Task Force.
Hours worked per week: 50-plus.
Hobbies: Exercise, surfing, walking my dog, reading, travel, music and rooting for the Bucs, Devil Rays, and Lightning.
What's on your iPod? Matisyahu, The Flaming Lips, Willie Nelson, Burning Spear, Beck, The Shins, My Morning Jacket, Culture, and hundreds of others.
Name three things in your refrigerator: Pom Tea, Sauerkraut, Pilsner Urquel.
Book you can read more than once: The Catcher in the Rye.
Books or magazines on your nightstand: Growing a Business, by Paul Hawken, My Boys Can Swim! by Ian Davis, Esquire, Sports Illustrated, Consumer Reports, The Surfer's Journal.
Favorite Web sites: theonion.com and imdb.com
Best place outside Florida you've ever been to: Sinai Peninsula, Egypt.
What would you like to be doing more of? Surfing.
What would you like to be doing less of? Picking up my dog's doodie.
If I had it to do all over again I would...have started youtube.com. I had that idea years ago!
Luis A. 'Tony' Cabassa
Company/Title: Thompson, Sizemore & Gonzalez, PA/shareholder
Education: B.S. Industrial Labor Relations, Cornell University; J.D., Florida State University College of Law.
Professional achievements/honors: Became a shareholder for my law firm in 2004 at the age of 34; became board certified in labor and employment by the Florida Bar when I was 35; received an AV rating (the highest rating) from Martindale Hubbell in 2006. Named by Florida Trend Magazine as an elite labor and employment lawyer in 2006.
Mentor or business hero: John D. Rockefeller
Formula for success: Hard work, preparation
Place/Date of Birth: Lisbon, Portugal/ Jan. 22, 1970
First job: Veterinarian assistant
Years on Gulf Coast: Nine
Motivation to come to Gulf Coast: Location, weather, and people.
Name one pressing issue affecting our region today:Urban sprawl.
How would you solve it? I would work with local government officials and developers to establish affordable housing within the urban core. Affordable housing will bring residents in from the suburbs, which in turn will attract businesses and revitalize our urban cores.
Marital Status/Family: Married with two boys, ages 5 and 3.
Community Involvement: Metropolitan Ministries, Hospice of the Florida Suncoast, Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Warrick Dunn Foundation.
Hours worked per week: As many as it takes to get the job done.
Hobbies: Playing with kids and spending quality time with the family.
What's on your iPod? Jimmy Buffett, Wolfmother and Motley Crue.
Name three things in your refrigerator: Anything low carb.
Book you can read more than once: The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway.
Books or magazines on your nightstand: Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis, the Bible, and Rolling Stone.
Favorite Web sites: CNN.com and TBO.COM.
Best place outside Florida you've ever been to: Portugal and Costa Rica
What would you like to be doing more of? Travel
What would you like to be doing less of? Work
If I had it to do all over again I would...change nothing. Life has been good to me.
Company/Title: The Landlord Academy/founder and president
Education: High school graduate.
Professional achievements/honors: Developing the Landlord Academy and signing a three-book deal!
Mentor or business hero: King Solomon
Formula for success: Understand that hard work is your best friend; Become disciplined enough to finish what you start; Seek to improve your skills each day; Become wiser than you were yesterday; Learn to love and respect yourself, only then can you learn to do the same for others!
Place/Date of Birth: Springfield, Mass./ Nov. 30, 1972
First job: McDonald's.
Years on Gulf Coast: 13
Motivation to come to Gulf Coast: Opportunity.
Name one pressing issue affecting our region today:Lack of affordable housing
How would you solve it? I am currently working on a project to purchase several apartment buildings. The strategy is as interest rates in mortgages begin to rise, and what existing stock our region has had in the way of affordable rental housing begins to be wiped out by condo conversions, a huge imbalance is created in supply and demand or affordable residential rentals. Our region has such rapid job growth and 3,500 middle class people are moving to our area monthly, this only strengthens the idea of providing affordable housing in the form of quality rental units.
Marital Status/Family: Married to my lovely wife, Laney, for four years.
Community Involvement: Started the Winky Wright celebrity charity golf tournament; co-founder of the St. Petersburg neighborhood landlord alliance.
Hours worked per week: Enough
Hobbies: Golf, shopping with Laney, video games.
What's on your iPod? Books on CD, Bob Marley, Miles Davis.
Name three things in your refrigerator: Bottled water, salad in a bag, orange juice.
Book you can read more than once: The Art of War.
Books or magazines on your nightstand: Golf Digest, Units Magazine, Apartment Finance.
Favorite Web sites: tbo.com; my own.
Best place outside Florida you've ever been to: Vatican City, Rome.
What would you like to be doing more of? Golfing.
What would you like to be doing less of? Playing bad rounds of golf.
If I had it to do all over again I would...not change a thing!
Company/Title: Progressive Employer Services, president
Education: B.S. Business Administration, University of Tennessee; MBA, University of South Florida.
Professional achievements/honors: My major accomplishment, done with the guidance and help of others, has been building a talented, cohesive, customer-focused team and a culture that values the employee as the number one asset. Our team has grown the customer base by 166%, revenues by 361% and net income by 350% over the past three years. Every employee contributed to identifying and documenting the company's core values. These values have guided Progressive Employer Services into becoming one of the fastest growing companies in the Tampa Bay region and one of the largest PEOs in the country.
Mentor or business hero: Business mentor: Steve Herrig, CEO of Progressive.
Formula for success: Hard work, always strive to be better and operate with a sense of urgency.
Place/Date of Birth: Schenectady, N.Y./Oct. 22, 1966
First job: Pharmaceutical sales
Years on Gulf Coast: 2.5 this time; 7 years in late '80s to mid '90s. Total of 9.5 years
Motivation to come to Gulf Coast: Employment, both times. I stayed because the Gulf Coast is a great place to live.
Name one pressing issue affecting our region today: Access to property insurance.
How would you solve it? I would get the government and the politicians out of the insurance business. I would allow market forces; the laws of supply and demand to prevail. Yes, this would be a significant change and would not be without pain. However, over the long term, this would enable the market to stabilize. Prices would then properly reflect the risk and the competitive activity between the insurance companies. This action would enable increased access to property insurance.
Marital Status/Family: Married for 13 years with two boys, 9 and 5.
Community Involvement: Finance committee at Harvest United Methodist Church.
Hours worked per week: Around 70
Hobbies: Reading; learning; socializing with friends.
What's on your iPod? Motley Crue; Toby Keith; Kenny Chesney.
Name three things in your refrigerator: Salsa; juice boxes; adult beverages.
Book you can read more than once: The Bible; Winning, by Jack Welch
Books or magazines on your nightstand: Harvard Business Review; Barron's.
Favorite Web sites: Foxnews.com & CFO.com
Best place outside Florida you've ever been to: Nashville (it is a great place to live and visit).
What would you like to be doing more of? Spending time with my family. Taking advantage of all the wonderful things to do in Florida.
What would you like to be doing less of? The "urgent but not important" things in daily life.
If I had it to do all over again I would... Be sure to stop and appreciate each day, each event and each person I have come across, and I would force myself to experience things outside of my comfort zone.
William Dean Crowley
Company/Title: W.G. Mills, Inc./Vice president of construction
Education: B.S. in Building Construction, University of Florida
Professional achievements/honors: Certified building contractor.
Mentor or business hero: My dad was the greatest mentor in establishing at an early age a strong work ethic by allowing me - expecting me - to work with him on the ranch and giving me responsibilities and chores.
Formula for success: Plan ahead, know your project, treat people with respect.
Place/Date of Birth: Sarasota/ May 1, 1970
First job: Bush-hog/mowing Eastern Industrial Complex property during summer in high school - prior to construction of buildings.
Years on Gulf Coast: 36
Motivation to come to Gulf Coast: Native.
Name one pressing issue affecting our region today:Workers commuting from other counties or cross county due to price of real estate in Sarasota – adding congestion to roads and Interstate 75 .
How would you solve it? Accelerate planning and construction of North/South and East/West arteries.
Marital Status/Family: Married; two kids, six and four.
Community Involvement: Crowley Museum & Nature Center, Leadership Sarasota, Sertoma.
Hours worked per week: 50-55.
Hobbies: Work out, computer games with kids, scuba
What's on your iPod? No iPod.
Name three things in your refrigerator: Milk, cheese, caffeinated beverages.
Book you can read more than once: Lord of the Rings.
Books or magazines on your nightstand: Bible, Brief History of Time.
Favorite Web sites: Google & Pricegrabber.
Best place outside Florida you've ever been to: Grand Canyon.
What would you like to be doing more of? Time with family.
What would you like to be doing less of? Returning e-mail and voice mail.
If I had it to do all over again I would... graduate from Harvard when I was 12 or win the lottery!
Company/Title: DNR Engineering and Planning, principal; transitioning from Director of planning at The Bonita Bay Group
Education: Master's degree in City Planning and Certificate in Urban Design, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); B.A., Brandeis University
Professional achievements/honors: My career started in Beijing, China where I founded a management training center for multi-national corporations. I also did volunteer work for China's first environmental nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and wrote a popular column in Chinese for a Beijing newspaper.
Mentor or business hero: Lawrence Susskind, author of "Dealing with an Angry Public," a book that has had a huge impact on public discourse in America. He was my advisor at MIT. He and his book have shaped my career.
Formula for success: Open your ears, close your mouth. To build trust with public agencies, non-governmental organizations and community groups you have to listen, listen, listen.
Hometown: Bethesda, Md. is the location that I have lived in the longest (8 years during childhood).
Place/Date of Birth: Los Alamos, N.M./ June 5, 1973
First job: Research Associate, Albert A. List Foundation. My job was to research non-profit organizations that the List family was considering for a donation.
Years on Gulf Coast: 6.
Motivation to come to Gulf Coast: The weather and outdoor activities. I love water, kayaking, boating, diving and nature.
Name one pressing issue affecting our region today:Growth Management/Planning.
How would you solve it? The fundamental problem with growth management in Florida is that we are reactive, not proactive, so we are always behind. Our current system is set up to be technical in nature – we look at population, and then react with the public facilities needed. Planning should be visionary, not technical. The communities that I have created plans for are generally happy with how growth is happening because it is based on their vision, not abstract numbers and a reaction to an influx of people.
Marital Status/Family: Wife, three-year-old son and daughter expected in mid-August.
Community Involvement: Appointed by [Florida State] Speaker Bense to serve on the state's Impact Fee Review Task Force; member of the City of LaBelle Code Review Board; president of the Calusa Chapter of the Florida Planning and Zoning Association and Lee County Land Development Code Advisory Committee.
Hours worked per week: 55-65 hours, depending on the number of evening presentations for community groups, public hearings or other weekend or after hour meetings.
Hobbies: Scuba diving, kayaking, doing puzzles with my son.
What's on your iPod? Jewel (show of support for my high school classmate at the Interlochen Arts Academy); Barber's Adagio – I need something to relax through the stress of work; and the Indigo Girls, the best folk music ever.
Name three things in your refrigerator: Ikura (Salmon eggs for sushi, my wife is Japanese), Soy Milk and Girl Scout cookies.
Book you can read more than once: A Land Remembered, by Patrick Smith – I love history, I love fiction and I love Florida. Sick Puppy, by Carl Hiaasan is a close second.
Books or magazines on your nightstand: National Geographic, Reform Judaism and Technology Review.
Favorite Web sites: MSNBC.com and dilbert.com
Best place outside Florida you've ever been to: Yunnan, China, which borders Thailand and Burma.
What would you like to be doing more of? Traveling. My wife and I used to backpack to the most far out reaches of Asia. Diving is a close second.
What would you like to be doing less of? Paperwork.
If I had it to do all over again I would...I would do it all the same. I've had 33 years of adventure and opportunity and look forward to whatever the future holds for me.