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Business Observer Friday, May 14, 2004 16 years ago

The Sponsors (Sara/Mana edition)

Sponsors for the event include: Northern Trust Bank, CPA Associates, Gevity HR, John Cannon Homes Inc., Lee Wetherington Cos., Startup Florida, USF, Sarasota-Manatee, Vengroff, Williams & Associates and Walters Levine Brown Klingensmith & Thomison PA

The Sponsors (Sara/Mana edition)

Northern Trust Bank

Northern Trust Bank is the primary sponsor of the Entrepreneur 2004 Awards for the fourth consecutive year.

Northern Trust Bank of Florida NA is one of the largest trust and investment managers in Florida and is a leading provider of private banking services. Northern Trust has 26 offices in Florida, five in Sarasota and Manatee counties.

Northern Trust of Florida administers more than $26 billion in assets and provides a wide range of financial services for personal, professional and commercial clients, including asset management, trust and estate planning, mutual funds, customized credit products, as well as a full range of deposit services.

The bank has served the Sarasota-Manatee region for 27 years.

In a July 2003 U.S. Banker article, Northern Trust received the highest Ethics Reputation rating in the banking industry. Northern Trust is a conservative, customer focused company that has earned respect from industry executives and financial analysts alike.

For more information, visit

CPA Associates

CPA Associates is a regional public accounting firm with branches in Manatee & Sarasota counties.

With partners and staff of more than 60 professionals, it is one of the largest firms in the region. It is also one of the most well-established with roots in this community that can be traced back to the mid-1920s.

In addition to performing traditional accounting and audit functions, CPA Associates has a full array of consulting and advisory services to serve small- to mid-size and growing companies along with specialized expertise and customized support for:

× real estate development/construction;

× wholesale distribution & manufacturing;

× financial institutions and

× professional service organizations.

The partners and managers of CPA Associates are deeply involved and dedicated to improving the quality of life in our area through the countless professional hours they donate to community service. There are more than 40 non-profit organizations in the two-county area who benefit from this direct and personal involvement.

For more on the firm's experience and involvement, visit the Web site at

Gevity HR

Gevity is the nation's premier provider of end-to-end human capital management solutions that help create business value and promote employee excellence by putting people first. Our high impact outsourcing services provide a competitive advantage to our clients by helping them to find, develop and retain talent, manage the paperwork and protect their business. Employee-focused solutions are delivered by local professionals and supplemented by the industry's leading Web-based technology. As an outsourcing leader, Gevity is committed to increasing knowledge about our industry. To learn more about the impact that human resource practices have on small- and medium-sized businesses, the company created the Gevity Institute. The Gevity Institute analyzes HR outsourcing trends through independent research by academic institutions and other organizations.

Gevity is a growing company with approximately 1,000 employees. We serve more than 10,000 small- and medium-size client businesses in a variety of industries and more than 130,000 client employees across the U.S.

Gevity has a strong presence on Florida's Gulf Coast. Our field support office is located in Bradenton. To learn more about Gevity, the company that helps clients succeed by putting people first, contact a local branch office: Manasota (941) 741-4200; St. Petersburg (727) 578-9533; and Tampa (813) 962.4251

John Cannon Homes Inc.

John Cannon Homes is proud to be a co-sponsor of the Gulf Coast Business Review's 2004 "Entrepreneur of the Year" Award. Congratulations to all of the finalists.

Since 1987, John Cannon Homes has achieved tremendous success by designing and building elegant homes in southwest Florida's most prestigious neighborhoods and luxurious custom homes on individual sites.

The professional staff consisting of more than 70 people has over 350 years of combined experience in home construction, design and sales. Members of the team work in partnership with homeowners to unite the pride of craftsmanship and ownership into every home. Utilizing this talent and expertise, over 1,000 homebuyers have decided to have their dream home built by John Cannon Homes.

John Cannon Homes has been awarded an impressive collection of industry accolades including more than 160 Parade of Home honors. The company has been recognized as one of Sarasota's leading homebuilders for nearly a decade by the readers of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, and has also been included among the nation's "101 Best Companies to Work For" in the residential construction industry by Professional Builder Magazine for the past two years. These honors underscore the homebuilder's dedication to excellence in service and quality, from initial design through final finishing touches.

Currently, John Cannon Homes Inc. is building in Lakewood Ranch, The Hammocks, Silver Oak at Palmer Ranch, Mira Bay, River Wilderness, The Concession, The Founders Club and Stone Lake.

Lee Wetherington Cos.

Lee Wetherington Cos. salutes the entrepreneur, that unique individual who works without a net, taking great risks in the hope of great results - with no guarantees. Entrepreneurs share small beginnings, boundless dreams and a passion to excel.

Lee Wetherington Cos. began in 1981 as Lee Wetherington Homes, a tiny operation dedicated to building high-quality homes. The fledgling business proudly sold three homes that first year. Now, with sales exceeding 2,000 homes and a corporate culture of excellence and community service, the company is ranked among the giants of the American housing industry. Its honors include "2004 America's Best Builder" (National Association of Home Builders and Builder Magazine), over 249 Parade of Homes' awards since 1993 including more "Best Overall" honors than any other area builder; "2003 Philanthropist of the Year" (Association of Fundraising Professionals of Southwest Florida); "Best Builder 2003, 2002, 2001 and 2000" (Sarasota Herald-Tribune Readers' Choice); and "Entrepreneur 2003" (Gulf Coast Business Review).

Lee Wetherington established the Lee Wetherington Foundation for disadvantaged youth in 2002. He has been honored as winner of the 2003 Hearthstone Builder Lifetime Public Service Award (Hearthstone Financial Services and Builder Magazine) and 2004 Alex Schoenbaum Humanitarian Award (Salvation Army of Sarasota) and namesake of the Lee Wetherington Boys & Girls Club.

For further information, visit or contact (941) 922-3480 or [email protected].

Startup Florida

Startup Florida is a venture development group that brings together valuable commercial, government and academic resources to catalyze business development in the technology industry of Florida.

Through out ventures, partners and community projects, Startup Florida aims to provide access to capital, mentoring and a team of experienced entrepreneurs to support the efforts of Florida's emerging technology companies. Our early-stage venture funds serve to connect entrepreneurs with active angel investors throughout the state of Florida.

Startup Florida's managing partners include:

× Rich Swier, co-founder of Startup Florida. Swier manages business planning and corporate development efforts for Startup Florida clients. Prior to founding Startup Florida, he founded Backsoft Corp. and Sarasota Online, which was acquired by Comcast in 1996.

× Jason Broom, co-founder of Startup Florida. Broom manages marketing research and planning for Startup Florida clients. Prior to founding Startup Florida, he served as director of marketing for Backsoft Corp. and was previously employed by the state as a school psychologist.

× Dan Miller, also a co-founder of Startup Florida. Miller manages investment and business development efforts for Startup Florida clients. Prior to founding Startup Florida, he founded, which was acquired by in October 1999, and previously served as the principal and senior vice president of sales and marketing of Software House Inc.

USF, Sarasota-Manatee

The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee is an indispensable asset in economic and human resource development, and a source of pride for all residents. We produce the very professions that help our community grow - your teachers, your business leaders, your accountants, your nurses and your civic ambassadors. Graduates stay here, work here and enhance our quality of life.

Students who attend the Sarasota-Manatee campus take advantage of our convenient, small-campus atmosphere while earning degrees from one of the nation's top-ranked research universities. We are proud of our 9,000 alumni living in the area because they are leaders in the community. Our business partners help us connect their workforce needs with our campus programs.

USF Sarasota-Manatee is focused on meeting the needs of our own region, and the academic needs of people who live and work here. We offer 35 degree programs. In 2003, we launched the USF School of Hotel and Restaurant Management. In addition, we offer part-time MBA and MSW programs, and graduate certificates in leadership and nonprofit management.

Visit our Web site at and find ways we can help you prosper professionally and personally.

Vengroff, Williams

& Associates

Vengroff, Williams & Associates Inc. (VWA) began in 1963 with a vision to change the world of receivables management. Our commitment to professional and personal growth has established us as one of the largest receivables management companies in our industry. We currently have more than 600 employees worldwide and annually manage more than $20 billion in receivables. We were the first in our industry to offer advances such as secure access to our Web services program, an automated imaging facility and dedicated arbitration services. Our team of experts provides you with customized solutions to increase your efficiency, improve your bottom line and make your job more manageable.

Let us restore order to your life and profitability to your bottom line.

Locations: Irvine and San Jose, Calif.; Sarasota; Commack, N.Y.; Chicago; Reno, Nev.; London; Dublin, Ireland: Venray, Amsterdam Netherlands; Milan, Italy and Singapore.

Walters Levine

Brown Klingensmith

& Thomison PA

Formed in 1997, Walters Levine Brown Klingensmith & Thomison PA is a full-service law firm with 21 employees. The firm consists of 10 attorneys committed to high-quality legal services to businesses and individuals.

Walter Levine's approach to providing quality legal representation is fundamental: know the client's business, goals and objectives; be knowledgeable and innovative; act quickly and decisively; and be an integral part in achieving workable solutions.

The firm provides legal counsel in the following areas: business law, taxation, labor and employment law, civil litigation, commercial and residential real estate, construction law, government and municipal law, estate planning and administration and health law.

Walter Levine Brown Klingensmith & Thomison prides itself on representing business owners and individuals who are committed to the delivery of high-quality goods and services. For more information, call (941) 364-8787.

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