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Business Observer Friday, Feb. 6, 2004 17 years ago

Newsmakers (Sara/Mana edition)

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Local movers and shakers.

Free Press (Sara/Mana edition)

Full-time Politician, Part-time Agent

By Sean Roth

Real Estate Editor

State Rep. Donna Clarke, who has held a real estate broker's license for 10 years, is returning to her work as a Realtor with Sarasota's Michael Saunders & Co.

Before Clarke decided to run for office in 2000, she had planned to open a commercial real estate brokerage in Lee County. "But no one would lend me the money to open the office," she says. "So I opened an environmental firm instead."

That company closed last summer. Clarke has owned and operated Sarasota's Environmental Permitting and Design Inc. since 1991. Clarke, who was elected to the Florida Legislature in 2000, says: "I wanted to get back to what I really wanted to do. I also wanted to go with a company with impeccable credentials."

Clarke will be joining the Sarasota commercial office, but she says that she would likely cover a greater regional area. "I have connections in Charlotte and Lee counties," Clarke says. "There are lots of opportunities for the future. I have an overall awareness of environmental land use, the comprehensive planning process and business regulation. At least half of what I've done throughout my career included navigating the red tape on any issue. Being able to deal with bureaucracy effectively is a powerful advantage in commercial real estate."

As for how she will balance her work as a politician and a real estate agent, Clarke says that she expects to partner with other members of the commercial group on most of the deals, while the Legislature is in session.

Clarke represents District 69, which covers the northern region of Sarasota County and parts of southern Manatee County. She currently serves on several legislative committees, including the committees on insurance and commerce, and the Transportation and Economic Development Appropriations Committee.

Real Estate

× William Adkins Jr. was named president and chief operating officer of Inland Homes in Manatee County. Adkins was previously president and COO of Henderson Brother/ Brandon, an independently owned home building company operating under the trademark of Inland Homes since February 2003.

Banking

× Christine Davis, assistant vice president and treasury services manager for Gold Bank, recently passed the Association for Financial Professionals examination. Davis joins six others at Gold Bank with this certification.

× Lewis Benner was promoted to Community Bank president-Sarasota County by Jerry Neff of Gold Bank. Benner joined Gold Bank as a vice president and commercial lending banker in 2002.

× Sean Powers was appointed executive vice president for LandMark Bank. Powers previously served as senior vice president and is also a senior lender for the bank.

Medical

× Dr. Robert Hillstrom has been named chief of staff for the Lakewood Ranch Medical Center. Hillstrom practices facial plastic and reconstructive surgery at the Barrington Professional Center in north Sarasota County and was chief of staff from 1998 to 2001 at Blake Medical Center in Bradenton.

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