News about business people in Manatee and Sarasota counties

January 14, 2013 

Andrea Banks has been hired by BankUnited to serve as vice president and manager for the Bradenton branch. Banks most recently served as a branch manager for SunTrust Bank in Brandon, and brings 14 years of industry experience to her new position. Banks will be responsible for day-to-day branch operations, including strategic planning, business development and relationship management.

Jaensch Immigration Law Firm is establishing a Latin business development division to attract foreign investment and entrepreneurs to invest, live, and work in Florida. The firm hired Cesar Gomez to manage the division. Gomez was a business law attorney in Bogota, Colombia, before emigrating to the United States. He is a prominent member of the local Latin community, having served as executive director of the Gulf Coast Latin Chamber of Commerce from 2007 to 2010.

John Pinkerton has been named senior business developer in Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, and Lee counties U.S. Lawns, a locally owned and operated commercial landscape management company. Pinkerton has more than 27 years of local landscape management experience and is a Florida certified pest control operator as well as a licensed irrigation contractor. He previously was senior business developer for ValleyCrest Landscape Maintenance.

Attorney and certified public accountant Jo Ann M. Koontz has been reappointed to the board of directors of the Realtor-Attorney Joint Committee of the Sarasota County Bar Association and the Sarasota Association of Realtors. She will serve another two-year term. Koontz is owner of Koontz & Associates, PL, a law firm focusing on residential and commercial real estate transactions, federal and state tax law and business law.

Curtis Hamlin, principal at Porges, Hamlin, Knowles & Hawk, P.A. in Bradenton,

has received renewal of his board certification in real estate law by the Florida Bar. He has been certified since 1992. His practice focuses in the area of real estate development, including residential and commercial projects, with a specific emphasis on affordable housing development.

Barbarann Roberts with Kenneth Jarvis PLLC in Lakewood Ranch has completed the 2012 QuickBooks certification. She is accredited as an official QuickBooks Certified ProAdvisor for QuickBooks 2012.

Gateway Bank of Southwest Florida has promoted some key employees. They include Richard Hicks, chief financial officer and chief operations officer, who has been promoted from senior vice president to executive vice president. Hicks joined Gateway Bank in 2007, prior to the bank opening in May, 2008. Dennis Murphy has been promoted from group vice president and commercial banking manager to senior vice president and senior loan officer. Murphy manages Gateway's loan production, credit administration, and loan operations departments. He joined Gateway in January 2008 after a six-year tenure with AmSouth Bank. Cabot Hart, senior credit administrator, has been promoted from vice president to group vice president. Hart began his banking career in 1985 with Southeast Bank, N.A. and joined Gateway in May 2011. Judy Whisanant, deposit operations manager and BSA/AML officer, has been promoted from vice president to group vice president. A 30-year veteran banker, Whisanant was the second employee with Gateway Bank, joining the organization in February 2007. Whisanant has earned the certified business analysis professional designation, which is a professional certification for individuals with extensive business analysis experience. Alicia Wheeler, assistant banking center manager, has been promoted from bank officer to assistant vice president. Wheeler began her career in banking in 1998 and joined Gateway in March 2008.

The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce has presented Linda Starcher of Re/Max Alliance Group with the Insignia Award for the month of January 2013. This award recognizes the achievement of quality customer service and commitment to the community. Kathleen Weiner, manager of client relations for The One to One Group of Sarasota, has been recognized as a certified fund-raising executive by the accrediting body, CFRE International. Weiner becomes one of only 5,600 professionals who hold the designation and one of fewer than 275 in Florida. Weiner has spent the last eight years as a volunteer with the Ringling College Library Association.

Cortez Heating and Air Conditioning Inc. recently hired Geoff Trott as its new residential service manager, as part of the company's expansion into the residential market in Sarasota and Manatee counties. He started his career in land surveying, working alongside his father and his brother for 18 years. Geoff operated his own company, Trott Air Conditioning. He is EPA-certified and holds professional certifications and Florida class "B" HVAC licenses.

Shannon Decker with Kenneth Jarvis PLLC in Lakewood Ranch has completed 2012 QuickBooks certification.

Great-West Financial has appointed Joe Westendorf as regional sales director for its bank markets business. Westendorf will assist bank advisers in the sale of Great-West Financial retirement income and life insurance products to bank clients. Before joining Great-West Financial, Westendorf served as a financial adviser the past year for AXA Advisors.

Paul Jones has been named the new tennis professional at Tidewater Preserve, the 373-acre master-planned community along the Manatee River in Bradenton. Jones has more than 45 years in the tennis pro position. A PTR-certified instructor, Jones was previously the head teaching pro at Terra Ceia Golf and Tennis Country Club, where he instructed junior, advanced junior, high school, collegiate and adult players in the development of technique, strategy and biomechanics of tennis. A former teaching pro at Bradenton Country Club, assistant director of Tapes Tennis and coordinator of player development for the Ferrer Tennis Academy, Jones continues to teach youth tennis at the Manatee County YMCA in Bradenton.

Boost Studio's principals Christine Koch and Steve Boris have recently been elected to the board of directors for the Hearing Loss Association of Sarasota. Boost will help the organization build awareness by utilizing its visual-communication and branding experience in the Sarasota area. Hearing loss affects nearly one third of Americans over the age of 65, and is the third most-common physical condition after arthritis and heart disease, according to the Hearing Loss Association of America.

Dr. Teresa Anderson, chief nursing officer at Voalte, was recently inducted as president of the Nebraska Nurses Association, an organization that represents more than 25,000 nurses in the state. In operation since 1906, the Nebraska Nurses Association serves as an advocate for nurses and patients, elevating the profession by improving health standards and expanding care access. Dr. Anderson, a native Nebraskan, plans to visit every Nebraska Nurses Association district and actively solicit feedback and suggestions on how the organization can advance the profession.

Felton Marans has joined Kenneth Jarvis PLLC, certified public accountants, as a senior tax adviser. Felton has more than 20 years of public accounting experience and specializes in taxation and accounting for individuals and small businesses. At Kenneth Jarvis PLLC he will be primarily responsible for working directly with individual and small business clients.

Michael Jones, certified senior adviser and president of the Sarasota and Manatee offices of Comfort Keepers Home Care, has been selected to serve a second term as president of the Sarasota County Aging Network. He served 10 years of service in various positions for the organization. Jones was unanimously re-elected to the position.

Several Xena Vallone Realty agents have been installed into leadership positions or recognized by the Sarasota Association of Realtors (SAR). Broker/Owner Xena Vallone was installed as the secretary of the board of directors and will co-chair the Realtor/attorney joint committee. She also serves on the professional standards committee. Realtor Renee Marquiss was installed as a member of the board of directors and will chair the professional development committee. She also serves on the Realtor/attorney joint committee. Realtor Ron Gordon received the SAR Humanitarian of the Year Award in recognition of his annual golf tournament, which has raised more than $60,000 during the past eight years for the Humane Society of Sarasota County.

Realtor Ellen Esses has graduated from the SAR Emerging Leaders Program, which prepares Realtors to become SAR volunteers, committee chairs and potential leaders on the board.

Barbara Kaberna ACN -- Live Out Loud is Bradenton Chapter -- SWAT's Women of the Month. Barbara is a valued member of SWAT and the organization appreciates her dedication.

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