Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida's Business Hall of Fame dinner is a must-attend event for business executives.
The organization's Collier County dinner in the fall kicks off a packed calendar of business events and marks the start of the busy winter season. It's a time when the who's who of Naples catch up with each other during the event's generous networking time from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. A lavish dinner and awards presentation follows the networking.
This year's can't-miss event, scheduled for Oct. 26 at the Naples Grande Beach Resort, will honor two prominent Collier County entrepreneurs with entry into the Business Hall of Fame: Kathy Bigham, CEO of Bigham Jewelers, and State Sen. Garrett Richter, R-Naples, president and director of First Florida Integrity Bank.
Bigham, who worked in a trucking business to earn her way through college, founded Bigham Jewelers in Naples in 1995. She grew the company from a small retail store to the 28,000-square-foot Bigham Galleria on U.S. 41.
Richter built Naples-based First National Bank of Florida and sold it in 2005 to Fifth Third Bancorp in a blockbuster deal before the recession. In 2007, he and veteran banker Gary Tice started First Florida Integrity Bank in Naples, which recently reported $1.2 billion in assets. The Florida Bankers Association recently named Richter Banker of the Year.
The $250-per-person dinner benefits Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida, a nonprofit organization whose volunteers teach financial literacy and entrepreneurship to children in schools in Charlotte, Collier and Lee county schools.