Names and faces: news about business people in Manatee, Sarasota counties

August 6, 2012 

Jaro Gutknecht has received The Director of Residences of The Year Award for 2011 from The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. Gutknecht, director for The Tower Residences at The Ritz Carlton, was recognized during the annual Residential Leadership Conference that took place in Dallas in May. The award honors the best performing director across all disciplines including owner satisfaction, employee satisfaction, property management, financial performance and asset protection.

The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee recently welcomed five new staff members to its ranks. They include Sarah Wertheimer, director of development; Amber Ikeman, in charge of Communiteen, the federation's Jewish education program for high school students; Jessi Sheslow, head of the Young Adult Division; Susan Scott, the new finance manager; and Jeremy Lisitza, office manager.

Rachel Whitcomb Layton has joined Blalock Walters and its local government law and land use law practice groups. She previously was a professional land use planner with Design Team West and Mike Carter Construction. She is a certified planner with the American Institute of Certified Planners and holds a master's degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Florida State University.

Bret Duval has accepted the position of property and casualty agency manager at MGA Insurance Group. He has more than 28 years experience in the property and casualty insurance industry.

Bobby Guiendon has joined the Bradenton Country Club as its new head golf pro. Guiendon comes from Atlanta Country Club, where he has been the assistant golf professional since 2005.

Ben Bakker has been named vice president of operations at HJB Properties, a professional and commercial property leasing company.

John C. Laurie has been named chairman of the board of the Florida Association of Insurance Agents. He took over the position at the organization's 108th anniversary convention and symposium in June in Orlando. Laurie is vice president and agency manager of BB&T Insur

ance Services in Bradenton. He has served on numerous FAIA committees and task forces, including the finance committee, legislative committee and trusted choice task force.

Jeffrey Woodin, vice president and business development officer with Fifth Third bank, has been elected board chair at Community Haven for Adults and Children with Disabilities Inc. New board members include First Chair Ted Bogusz, Treasurer Raymond Reher, Secretary Sharon Chiodi and Past Chair Christopher Whaley.

Alisia Mary Adamson, partner at Hylton, Adamson, Watson & Moore, was named "The Nation's Best Advocate of the Year" by the National Bar Association and IMPACT at the Nation's Best Advocates: Top 40 Lawyers Under 40 Gala recently during the NBA's 87th annual convention in Las Vegas.

The NBA and IMPACT partnered to recognize 40 talented individuals who have achieved prominence and distinction, professionally and philanthropically. Nominees were chosen based on their achievement, innovation, vision, leadership and legal community involvement.

David Pilston has been named chief executive officer of Save Our Seabirds Inc., a Sarasota-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to rescue, rehabilitate and release injured wildlife. His former positions include director of education and consulting services for Oracle Corp., practice director for financial systems at The Application Group, vice president of customer services with Quintus Corp. and chief executive officer of Bay Systems.

John Carroll has joined Wagner Realty's downtown Sarasota office on First Street. He owned his own real estate company and help start Merit Mortgage, which he operated until 2009.

David M. Silberstein of the Silberstein Law Firm, PLLC has been selected as a Florida Super Lawyer in estate planning and probate for the 2012 Florida Super Lawyers Magazine. Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.

Barbara R. Bingham, entrepreneur and author, has been elected by the members of Toastmasters International to lead the Tidewell Toastmasters of Sarasota Club as its 2012-13 president. Bingham was elected for a one-year volunteer term at the organization's second annual election meeting in Sarasota.

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