The Indian River County Chamber of Commerce celebrated the achievements of local companies at its annual Industry Appreciation Awards luncheon on September 22, at theIRSCRichardsonCenter. Culinary Capers; the accounting firm of Kmetz Nuttall Elwell Graham; SpringHill Suites; the law firm of Gould Cooksey Fennell; and Florida Power & Light were each honored as the Chamber’s 2011 Company of the Year in separate sub-categories based on employment levels.
Last week, the Indian River County Board of County Commissioners presented a Proclamation designatingSeptember 12-16, 2011 as Industry Appreciation Week inIndian RiverCounty.
Master of Ceremonies duties were shared by Bill Penney of Marine Bank & Trust, who also Chairs the Chamber’s Economic Development Division, and Richard Giessert from Northern Trust who is Chairman of the Industry Appreciation Awards Committee. Mr. Penney stated that “the awards event is an important part of the Chamber’s Business Retention program. We show our appreciation to those businesses that have made a positive impact in our community during the past year, either through architectural enhancements or by way of community involvement and economic impact.”
The Company of the Year award recognizes local businesses that stimulate theIndian RiverCounty economy, make contributions back to the community, provide quality year-round employment, and have an overall positive impact on our county.
Florida Power & Light was recognized as Company of the Year for a firm with more than 100 employees. They are a subsidiary of Juno Beach-based NextEra Energy, and have 137 employees locally. The company’s estimated annual economic impact on the Indian River economy from taxes and fees is $5.5 million, with over $50,000 in contributions made each year to local organizations. The company has been recognized by national media and organizations, and is involved in a number of local non-profits.
Gould Cooksey Fennell was recognized as Company of the Year for the “under 50 employee” category. Established inVero Beach in 1955, they are the oldest continuous law firm in the county. The firm has 38 employees, with an economic impact of over $1million annually – not including the value of their pro-bono work and volunteer hours. The firm donates money, volunteers time, and serves on the boards of many area non-profits. The firm prides itself on being a family, offering fun perks such as a monthly Cake Day, socials, professional luncheons and gifts, plus employee education reimbursements. Many employees have been with the firm for more than 5 years, a few up to 39 years.
Springhill Suites was the recipient of the 2011 Mid-Size Company of the Year. Opening in 2009, their annual economic impact from taxes, payroll, local purchases and contributions total nearly $700,000. The hotel has received numerous accolades from Marriott International. The company often sponsors or provides volunteers at a variety of local events, and is quick to donate hotel stays as special prizes for fundraisers. SpringHill Suites is a major sponsor of Riverside Theatre and the Vero Beach Opera. Employees are treated to monthly luncheons celebrating birthdays, good deeds, and to acknowledge their “Employee of the Quarter”.
Kmetz, Nuttall, Elwell, Graham was recognized as the Small Business of the Year. They are a locally-owned Certified Public Accounting firm that’s been in business 34 years. With fifteen employees, their annual economic impact is over $2.8 million. All employees are encouraged to volunteer on company time and on their own time, and are recognized for doing so. They’re offered flex-time during non-tax season, with the ability to work from home. KNEG is very active withUnited Way and many other local organizations, offering event sponsorships and cash donations.
Culinary Capers was awarded the 2011 “micro” Company of the Year for a business with less than ten employees. Culinary Capers is a full-service catering company, established in May of 2000. With eight employees, the company’s annual economic impact from payroll, local purchases and contributions made to our community is over $225,000. Even with our current economic conditions, Culinary Capers continues to see increasing revenues, and they’re booking events as far as two years out.
The Latin Business of the Year was awarded to Panda Roof, a full-service roofing and remodeling company. Established in 2008, Panda Roof has 7 employees. Its annual sales have grown 10 percent for the past three years. The company’s estimated annual economic impact is nearly $374,000 in payroll, local purchases, and contributions made to the community. The company sends its clients a monthly newsletter that offers discount coupons and assorted helpful information.
The 2011 Small, Medium and Large Manufacturers of the Year were presented to Plant Foods, Inc., Girard Equipment, and Parker Hannifin, respectively. The Awards Committee looks at the growth of the company, quality of the jobs, its economic impact on our community, and if the majority of its sales are outside our region – making it a “contributory” business.
Plant Foods is a family-owned company that’s been operating for nearly sixty years, located inWest Gifford. They manufacture water soluble fertilizers and soil amendments for the agricultural, turf and ornamental markets. The company has seen steady growth for the past six years, and has doubled its production capacity. Roughly 25 percent of their products are distributed outside FL, and 15 percent is exported out of theU.S. Plant Foods contributes $935,000 to our local economy in annual payroll and local purchases made each year. The company and its employees donate time and money to over a dozen local organizations.
Girard Equipment, awarded Mid-Size Manufacturer of the Year, is a third generation family business that located toIndian RiverCounty fromNew Jersey in 2006. Tim Girard, the CEO, had vacationed here with his family for many years before making the decision to relocate. The company has grown from its initial twelve employees to 27 employees, with an annual economic impact in payroll and local purchases of over $1 million. Girard Equipment manufactures pressure relief products for tanker trucks and tank containers – one of only a few companies in the world and the only manufacturer of its kind inNorth America. All of the company’s products are distributed outside our region, 95 percent are distributed outside FL; and 30 percent is exported outside theU.S. Girard Equipment has doubled its sales over the past twelve months. They’ve introduced a new line of products for their international customers, and are looking to expand their production in the very near future.
Recognized as the Chamber’s Large Manufacturer of the Year, Parker Hannifin is the world’s leading diversified manufacturer of motion and control technologies and systems, with facilities located around the globe. Locally, Parker manufactures industrial-grade hoses with 72 employees. The company located its Industrial Hose Division toIndian RiverCounty in 2001, through the purchase of the former Dayco facility. The company’s annual economic impact includes is over $3.1 million in annual payroll and local purchases. Parker Hannifin distributes 100 percent of its locally manufactured products outside FL, and 5 percent is exported outside theU.S., with continued growth in sight.
Architectural Recognition awards were also presented to the following recipients. Award criteria includes:
- Impact on Immediate Area
- Enhance the Natural Environment
- Building’s Unique Features
- Is the Building or Project “User Friendly”
NEW SMALL COMMERCIAL BUILDING
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Sebastian River Medical Center patient towers
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