Names and faces in Manatee and Sarasota


Stephen Mathew Whyte, shareholder at Kirk Pinkerton, P.A., has been named to the 2016 Florida Super Lawyers list. Whyte is a Florida Bar board-certified criminal trial lawyer and lectures extensively on various legal topics, including self-defense, use of force, personal injury law, and insurance matters. He is certified by the NRA to teach various courses, including a basic pistol course, a Florida Concealed Weapons class.

Jay McHargue has been elected chair, and Judy Cahn has been elected vice chair of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation. McHargue is senior resident director and senior vice president-wealth management of the Picazio/McHargue Group at Merrill Lynch in Venice. Cahn is a community volunteer and philanthropist.

Eric Suescun, MD, FCAS, joined Sarasota Memorial Health Care System’s First Physicians Group network general surgery practice. Suescun is a board-certified general surgeon and military veteran. He retired from the Air Force’s 88th Surgical Operations Squadron and came from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Medical Center in Dayton, Ohio, where he worked as general surgeon and as chair of the Department of Surgery. Dr. Suescun is fluent in Spanish and earned his medical degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center Medical School at Houston. He is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, member of the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons and an instructor and mentor to new physicians.

Sam Pero, Publix Lakeland division vice president, has been named to the Special Olympics Florida Board of Directors. Pero has worked at Publix since 1977 and is involved in philanthropic activities as United Way Board member, Junior Achievement Board member and volunteer for Boxer Rescue.

Elena Tomeo-Cassella is the new executive director of The Foundation for Dreams. Cassella previously served as interim executive director of the organization. Prior to joining the foundation, Cassella served 17 years with the Manatee County School Board as an instructional coach, inclusion teacher, and member of the curriculum design team, and is a 2014 graduate of Leadership Manatee. She has a bachelor of arts degree from the University of South Florida and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from National Louis University.

Jennifer Fowler-Hermes, attorney with Williams Parker, was recently sworn in as secretary of the Manatee County Bar Association for the 2016-17 term. Fowler-Hermes is a board-certified specialist in labor and employment law. She serves as a Florida Supreme Court certified circuit mediator.

Michelle Laade is top sales producer and Cindy Jones is top listing agent for the month of June, both at Duncan Real Estate of Anna Maria.

Richard R. Gans has been selected to the 2016 Florida Top 100 List by Thomson Reuters-Legal Division. Gans, a shareholder in the law firm of Fergeson, Skipper, Shaw, Keyser, Baron & Tirabassi, P.A., also was included on the 2016 Florida Super Lawyers list. He is a member of The Florida Bar and the Sarasota County Bar Association and holds an AV Preeminent Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell. He was president of both the Southwest Florida Planned Giving Council and Southwest Florida Estate Planning Council and served on various committees of the Florida Bar. Gans served on the boards of numerous non-profit organizations and is vice-chair of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and a board director of the Woman’s Exchange.

Charles J. Bartlett, Thomas F. Icard, Jr., Robert G. Lyons, William W. Merrill III and Alyssa M. Nohren, all of Icard, Merrill, Cullis, Timm, Furen & Ginsburg, have been selected for inclusion in the 2016 edition of Florida Super Lawyers.

Please send all Names and Faces announcements to Angie Monroe at Photos accepted in jpeg format only.