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Coffee Talk
Business Observer Friday, Sep. 3, 2004 15 years ago

Coffee Talk (Sara/Mana edition)

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This week's items: Shannon Hotel founders start graphics firmMorris named president of Cleveland firm Two Sarasota views of New York Attorneys Susan Chapman and Diana Moreland now move on to a runoff

Coffee Talk (Sara/Mana edition)

Shannon Hotel founders start graphics firm

When the managing partners of Key Club Associates replaced Shane Eagan and Tom Rasmussen, 16-year operators of the Longboat Key Club and Shannon Resort Group, at the end of March, Rasmussen said he was going to get on his motorcycle and just ride. Eagan told friends at the time he had a good reason to move to Las Vegas.

Apparently, a better option has surfaced.

About two weeks ago, Eagan and Rasmussen opened a new Sarasota-based company, Digital Blueprints & Color Graphics, a digital printing and graphics service bureau. Digital Associates LLC operates out of a retail storefront at 560 N. Washington Blvd. in Sarasota, a few doors away from the Miss Saigon restaurant.

Eagan and Rasmussen formed the company July 20, the result of their own experience of trying to develop the Key Clubis proposed 20-residence Ca diCuore project.

iWe got to looking at a couple things,i Rasmussen says. iBlueprint costs were so high. We had to go one place for drawings. Then another place to get them printed. Then another to get them mounted. We started looking into getting our own equipment.i

Once out of the Key Club, they pursued the idea even more. iItis kind of a find a need and fill it kind of thing,i Rasmussen says.

Eagan and Rasmussen invested about $150,000 in equipment, including a printer that can handle drawings up to 5 feet wide and print images on boards. They also recruited two hires: Marilyn Slocum, former graphic design manager at the Longboat Key Club, and Carl Jeffcoat, an 18-year veteran at Florida Blueprint.

The companyis target market will be architects, engineers, contractors, developers and other professionals. iWeire presenting ourselves as a service bureau,i he says.

Asked about competitors, Rasmussen says: iThe marketis pretty fragmented. Youive got the blueprint side and the color graphic side. No one does both.i

A few customers have signed on. iWeire not making a lot of money yet, but weire generating revenue,i he says. iWeire happy with the response so far.i

And apparently they are happy with the new direction in their business careers. Says Rasmussen: iLife has been good without the Key Club. My blood pressure has dropped to 120 over 60, which is the lowest it has been in years.i

Morris named president of Cleveland firm

Sarasota entrepreneur Ken Morris is at it again. Last Tuesday he was named president of Cleveland-based LakeWest Group LLC, a consulting firm that provides services to global retailers, apparel companies and consumer product manufacturers.

Morris was the co-founder of Sarasota-based CFT Consulting with Ken Goldberg (winners of GCBRis entrepreneur of the year award in 1999) They built CFT into one of the leading consulting firms for national retailers in a niche similar to that now serviced by LakeWest. Morris and Goldberg sold CFT in 1999 for more than $20 million.

In 2001, Morris started a second company, KMG Solutions, a developer of software for retail process management. He sold that in 2003 to Tampa-based CommerceQuest, a business process management company.

Reached at his Cape Elizabeth, Maine, home (where he was outside chasing down the family dog while speaking on his cell phone), Morris says LakeWest is similar to CFT. Like Morris and Goldberg, each of whom had Big Six accounting experience before founding CFT, LakeWestis founders are former Deloitte-Touche partners.

Morris, who moved CFT from Boston to Sarasota, says he plans to live in Cape Elizabeth, open LakeWest offices in Boston and San Francisco and try to keep his Bird Key home. But first things first. iHold on,i Morris told CT, iI need to get the dog before my neighbor runs over him.i

Two Sarasota views of New York

Two prominent Sarasota businessmen were part of the Florida throng in New York City last week for the Republican National Convention o banker and local GOP chief Tramm Hudson and Osprey developer Henry Rodriguez. Caught by Coffee Talk on different days, they had different takes on the Big Apple. When CT reached Rodriguez, he was standing near a crowd where a group of protesting anarchists had clubbed a New York City police officer unconscious. iItis wild,i said Rodriguez.

Contrast that with Hudson. iI have to say New York City has really rolled out the red carpet. Police are everywhere. You really feel safe. Thereis a lot of diversity up here.i

Hudson was speaking Wednesday afternoon, the day after he won one election and lost another. Running for state committeeman against longtime Sarasota state committeeman Hal Miller, Hudson lost by 9% and 2,547 votes in that race. But in his bid for Precinct 15 committeeman, Hudson won 73 more votes than Miller. In the precinct race, Hudson and Miller were elected; they defeated Richard B. Greene.

At the races

Attorneys Susan Chapman and Diana Moreland now move on to a runoff in November for the 12th Circuit Court judgeship after winning the top two spots in the August primary.

Moreland was the clear winner with 44% of the vote (44,075), but failed to break the 50% mark. Chapman followed with 31.4% of the vote (31,426). The four candidates, including Michael Mosca (16.2%) and William Salomone (8.4%), were competing for the judgeship currently held by Harry Rapkin, who decided to vacate the bench following public criticism over his handling of the probation cases of Joseph Smith, the man charged with the rape and murder of 11-year-old Carlie Brucia.

In the race for county judge, Preston DeVilbiss Jr. and Phyllis Galen meet again as well. Galen captured 41.56% (22,570 total votes) followed by DeVilbiss in second with 29.86% (16,213).

Corrections

The bank directory in the Aug. 27 edition of GCBR contained several ilulusi:

i Tramm Hudson was incorrectly omitted as the local lead executive of RBC Centura Bank.

i The incorrect officers were listed for Flagship National Bank. The correct officers are: lead local executive: Stephen Jonsson, president; chief local lending officer: Kemper Hetzler, senior vice president; Linda Hoypic, chief financial officer and senior vice president.

i The officers and board members of Horizon Bank were incorrectly listed with Huntington National Bank. Horizonis lead local executive is Charles Conoley, president and chief executive officer; and Brad Severson is the bankis senior lending officer. The directors are: Mary Ann Turner, chairman, Clarence Urban, immediate past chairman, Conoley; Thomas Bennett, Shannon Glasgow, Dr. Barclay Kirkland, Don Miller, Bruce Shackelford, David Scherer and Dr. Elizabeth Thomason.

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