Business names and faces, Nov. 11, 2013

November 11, 2013 

Willis A. Smith Construction promoted David Otterness to senior project manager. Otterness has worked for Willis A. Smith Construction for 11 years. Otterness successfully led his team in the construction of the first Tibbals Learning Center at the Ringling and subsequently through the Sarasota Opera House renovation. He has worked on various projects for the Manatee County School District, Tidewell Hospice, Sarasota Memorial Hospital and St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa. Most recently, Otterness celebrated the completion of the New College of Florida Bell Tower and the USF Sarasota-Manatee science labs at Mote Marine Laboratory. In his new role, Otterness will oversee and direct administrative and field construction operations. Otterness is responsible for overall cost, schedule and budget evaluation as well as all construction coordination.

Otterness received his bachelor's degree in building construction from the M.E. Rinker Sr. School of Building Construction at the University of Florida. He is a U.S. Green Building Council LEED accredited professional and a State of Florida certified general contractor.

Gurley & Associates, a Sarasota law firm specializing in construction law, surety law and commercial litigation, has hired senior associate Ben Vitale. Vitale comes from a high-end Fortune 500 law firm in Atlanta where he specialized in complex commercial litigation. Raised in Lakeland, Vitale earned his degree from Vanderbilt University Law School. In 2012, Vitale returned to Florida with his wife, Bobbi Jayne. Vitale brings experience in representing and advising Fortune 500 companies, regional, national, and international businesses, and individuals from a broad spectrum of industries. He has also successfully represented clients throughout the United States in federal and state court consumer class actions, administrative and regulatory proceedings, and a variety of complex civil and commercial disputes.

Thana Mayes has joined EXIT Sunset Realty in Bradenton. As a sales associate with EXIT Sunset Realty, Mayes helps buyers find the home of their dreams. Mayes specializes in real estate along the South Shore areas of Brandon, Riverview, Apollo Beach, Sun City Center, Parrish and into Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, Sarasota and Anna Maria Island.

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