Monthly Archives: November 2021

2021 Martin County Charlene Hoag Winner

2021 Martin County Charlene Hoag Winner


Janice Norman

Janice Norman, 2021 Charlene Hoag Winner


The Business Development Board of Martin County is pleased to announce Martin County’s 2021 Charlene Hoag Leadership Award recipient is Janice Norman of the Water Pointe Realty Group.

Janice was selected for this prestigious award for her years of service in Martin County and the positive impact she has made on numerous organizations and people over the years.

Janice Norman, a Broker Associate with more than 15 years of Real Estate experience, is the immediate past-chair of the Stuart-Martin County Chamber of Commerce and president of Catch the Wave of Hope, a nonprofit dedicated to abolishing human trafficking. She has also been a member and held office in many nonprofit organizations on the Treasure Coast including Soroptimist International of Stuart past president, Visionary School of Arts, and is a graduate of LEADERship Martin County as well as past chair of its alumni association. Janice believes that giving back to the community is always of paramount importance. She received the 2008 Community Service Award from the Realtors® Association of Martin County and the 2017 Women of Distinction Award for Volunteerism from Soroptimist International of Stuart. Her past experience as an emergency department nurse and administrator is evident in her professionalism and work ethic.

The winner of the Charlene Hoag Leadership Award is kept secret and only announced the day of the annual Martin County Business Awards. Yet due an unexpected family medical emergency, Janice was actually out of town when it was announced, by her colleague and 2020 Charlene Hoag Leadership award winner Deb Duvall, that she had won the prestigious award.

Thanks to many friends in attendance at the 2021 Martin County Business Awards on Friday, November 5, including her surprised husband Ken Norman who accepted the award on her behalf, she quickly heard the good news.

Janice Norman is the 18th individual to receive award which was first bestowed in 2003. To be eligible for consideration, leaders need to have been employed in Martin County for 10 years or more and demonstrate devotion to family and vocation, commitment to service to the community and leadership toward the goal of improving Martin County’s quality of life.

About Charlene Hoag (1945 – 2002)

“Charlene didn’t just talk about issues, she actively worked to address them. Her resume tells the story of her involvement, but her actions speak volumes about her commitment to her community, her family and vocation.”

Charlene was a former Martin County Commissioner, with a long history of community involvement. A 1991 graduate of LEADERship Martin County, Ms. Hoag served as a board member of the Stuart/Martin County Chamber of Commerce, the Martin County Taxpayers Association and the Crane Creek Property Owners Association. She worked with the St. Lucie River Initiative, the Palm City Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Council of Martin County, the Treasure Coast Builders Association and the Republican Party in Martin County. She also served on the boards of the United Way of Martin County, the Martin County Chapter of the American Red Cross, the Martin County Council for the Arts, the Business Development Board of Martin County and as Vice-Chairman of the District Board of Trustees for Indian River Community College. While serving on the Martin County Board of County Commissioners, she served as Chairman in 1994. She also represented the Board on the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council, the Treasure Coast Council of Local Governments, the Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Local Coordinating Board of the Transportation Disadvantaged and the Allapattah Ranch Acquisition Committee. Charlene was recognized as “Business Advocate of the Year” by the Stuart/Martin County Chamber of Commerce in 1993, “Friend of Palm City” by the Palm City Chamber of Commerce in 1995 and as the Business Advocate for the Private Sector by the Business Development Board in 2001.

Nov. 22, 2021|

St. Lucie Celebrates Shred & Protect Day

St. Lucie Celebrates Shred & Protect Day


Shred and Protect Logo


St. Lucie Clerk and Comptroller shreds nearly 10,000 pounds of paper for residents on Shred & Protect Day

On November 5, St. Lucie County Clerk and Comptroller Michelle R. Miller hosted Shred & Protect Day, a free shredding event open to all St. Lucie County residents.

During the event, St. Lucie County residents could bring up to 3 banker boxes of documents to the South County Courthouse Annex parking lot in St. Lucie West for safe and secure shredding. Braving the rain, Clerk Miller and several Deputy Clerks were present to transport boxes directly from cars to the on-site shredding truck, allowing residents to stay dry in their vehicles.

Despite the unfavorable weather, Deputy Clerks shredded nearly 10,000 pounds of paper. The safe and secure destruction of these documents ensures thieves can no longer use those documents to steal information from residents.

"Identity theft can lead to long-term and costly consequences for the victim," said Clerk Miller, "I hope that by shredding these documents, residents will feel at ease knowing their personal information will not fall into the wrong hands.

For more information about the Clerk's office, visit

The Florida Constitution established the Clerk of the Circuit Court as a public trustee, responsible for safeguarding public records and public funds. Clerk Michelle R. Miller is directly elected by and accountable to St. Lucie County residents. In addition to the roles of Clerk of the Circuit Court, County Recorder and Clerk of the Board of County Commissioners, the Clerk is the Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer and Auditor for St. Lucie County.

Nov. 15, 2021|

SouthState Sponsors IRSC Veterans Wall of Excellence

SouthState Sponsors IRSC Veterans Wall of Excellence

IRSC SouthState Image

Southeast has become the Founding Sponsor for the Indian River State College (IRSC) Veterans Center of Excellence (VCE) Wall of Honor. 


Demonstrating a commitment and profound appreciation of veterans, SouthState—one of the leading regional banks in the Southeast—has become the Founding Sponsor for the Indian River State College (IRSC) Veterans Center of Excellence (VCE) Wall of Honor. The commemorative wall will provide a permanent place to honor and recognize veterans at the VCE’s home on the IRSC Pruitt Campus in Port St. Lucie.
The sponsorship agreement between SouthState and the VCE was announced at the College’s annual Veterans Celebration held on Wednesday, November 10 at the IRSC Pruitt Campus in Port St. Lucie. The occasion recognized all students, staff, faculty, and community members who are veterans.
“SouthState is proud to partner with the Indian River State College Veterans Center of Excellence as the founding sponsor for the Wall of Honor. We are deeply appreciative of our veterans’ service to our country and our community and are honored to be able to give back to support them as they grow professionally and personally,” shares Brett Barnhardt, SouthState Treasure Coast Division President. “We strive to be the employer of choice in the Southeast, and we are also committed to developing a diverse workforce, which includes providing career opportunities for our veterans.”
“This founding gift distinguishes our Veteran's Center of Excellence as a true community partnership,” shares Michael Hageloh, Executive Vice President of Strategic Initiatives for IRSC. “My sincere thanks to Brett and the entire SouthState family for this investment in IRSC and the new Center."
IRSC currently serves more than 500 student veterans each year. Through enhanced services and physical space at the VCE, IRSC aims to increase enrollment among veterans and improve the retention and completion rates of IRSC student veterans. 
“Service and support for veterans is a top priority of Indian River State College, and I’m proud that the IRSC Veterans Center of Excellence calls Pruitt Campus home,” states Andy Treadwell, Pruitt Campus President. “IRSC is fortunate to have SouthState Bank as a dedicated community partner. Their generous support enables us to better assist our veteran students and provides supporters a place to honor the veterans in their lives.”
For more information on IRSC Military and Veterans Services or the Veterans Center of Excellence call 772-462-7443 or email [email protected]
About Indian River State College
A leader in education and innovation, Indian River State College transforms lives by offering high-quality, affordable, and accessible education to the residents of Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee, and St. Lucie counties through traditional and online delivery. The College—ranked second-most-affordable in the nation—serves 26,000 students annually and offers more than 100 programs leading to Bachelor's degrees, Associate degrees, technical certificates, and applied technology diplomas. It is a recipient of the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation's signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America's community colleges. Learn more at
About SouthState Bank
SouthState Corporation (NASDAQ: SSB) is a financial services company headquartered in Winter Haven, Florida. SouthState Bank, N.A., the company’s nationally chartered bank subsidiary, provides consumer, commercial, mortgage and wealth management solutions to more than one million customers throughout Florida, Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia. The bank also serves clients coast to coast through its correspondent banking division. Additional information is available at
Nov. 15, 2021|

City of Port St. Lucie Recognizes Business Women

City of Port St. Lucie Recognizes Business Women


PSLBW Charter Member Lee Hicks, PSLBW President Donna DeMarchi, PSLBW Treasurer and City Councilwoman Stephanie Morgan, PSLBW Founding Member Charlotte DeVane


The Port St. Lucie Business Women ( received a proclamation from the City of Port St. Lucie in recognition of National Women’s Small Business Month and the organization’s 40-year commitment to community action, service and leadership at the City Council meeting on October 25. Port St. Lucie Business Women President Donna DeMarchi accepted the Proclamation from Business Women member and City Councilwoman Stephanie Morgan.

The Proclamation was read by Councilwoman Morgan to Business Women members and their guests at their Pathway Dedication and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony held in front of City Hall the next day. Since its inception in 1980, the Port St. Lucie Business Women has operated as an independent organization, one that has grown strong and evolved into a professional women’s organization representing a variety of businesses and levels of management, government officials and entrepreneurs. “Even throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Business Women stayed true to its focus on meeting community needs through their engraved brick pathway project -- the brainchild of Ruby Jubilee committee chair Diane Gallagher,” said DeMarchi at the Dedication. Yellowstone Landscape ( donated the design, materials and labor to install the brick paver pathway. The pathway leads to a live oak tree planted in 2015 for the organization’s 35th anniversary.

All proceeds from the engraved brick pathway project goes towards Scholarship awards and Community Action & Grants. Port St. Lucie Business Women supporters and brick purchasers who attended the ceremony included Sean Mitchell, District 2 and Vice-Chair, St. Lucie County Board of County Commissioners; Julia Keenan, Director of Development and Sherri Monds, Development Coordinator/Scholarships, IRSC Foundation; St. Lucie County Property Appraiser and Business Women member Michelle Franklin; Founder and first President of Port St. Lucie Business Women Charlotte DeVane; Greg Childress, owner of G. Alan’s Fine Jewelry & Coin; and many small business owners and nonprofit representatives, as well as Port St. Lucie Business Women members.

October is National Women’s Small Business Month. The Port St. Lucie Business Women stands as a strong example and the positive impact they make within their community. “Women in business provide revenue to their community and support local organizations, schools and community projects,” said Business Women member Diane Gallagher, chair of the History and 40th Anniversary Committee. “They inspire and create opportunities and mentorships for other women and young girls to succeed,” she added.

The Port St. Lucie Business Women’s partnership with Indian River State College has benefitted 74 local women through the award of $130,500 in scholarships. The Business Women recognize the importance of continuing education to further professional and career development pathways.

With funds raised from their annual Fashion Show – a sell-out event which is the talk of the town -- more than $200,000 in grants to local non-profit agencies serving women and children have been awarded. In 2020, the Port St. Lucie Business Women awarded their highest number of grants, further demonstrating their commitment to their community and dedication to fulfilling the mission of the organization, even during challenging times.

The Port St. Lucie Business Women invites the community to be part of Phase II of its brick pathway project to continue assuring the futures of women attending Indian River State College and providing much-needed funding to local non-profit agencies serving women and children. You may purchase an engraved brick to honor a family member or friend, memorialize someone special, celebrate a special event or showcase a business in front of City Hall. Each personalized brick becomes a lasting tribute that will be seen and remembered by visitors, guests and members of our community.

Each engraved brick costs $100. All proceeds fund Scholarships and Community Action & Grants. To order, go to and click on the “Buy A Brick” tab, or go to For more information, contact Diane Gallagher at (772) 260-2097 or by email at [email protected].

The Port St. Lucie Business Women is a 41-year-old, 501 (c) (6) non-profit professional organization dedicated to promoting the interests of businesswomen and serving our community. For more information, visit Follow their Facebook page for updates about events, programs, and community involvement.

Nov. 15, 2021|

Higher Paying Jobs for PSL

City Seeking to Attract Higher-Paying, Local Jobs


Higher Paying Jobs Graphic

City voters on December 7 will be asked to approve allowing the City Council to continue to use a crucial business recruitment tool to bring higher-paying jobs to Port St. Lucie.

The City Council this week unanimously voted to place a referendum on the December 7 ballot seeking the consideration of City voters for the authority to offer a limited-time tax abatement (also known as a reduction) of some property and intangible taxes for businesses in exchange for the creation of higher-paying jobs. This referendum will be on the same run-off ballot where City voters will choose the next District 3 City Council member.

A long-term goal of the City of Port St. Lucie is to support the growth of businesses to provide options for residents to work at home in PSL. Currently, 79,000 of our residents leave to work in counties to the south of us. Growing jobs in PSL has been a well-defined goal in the City’s Strategic Plan for many years. We are making progress in bringing new businesses paying above average wages to the City -- especially in our Southern Grove Jobs Corridor.

“One of the reasons we are making this great progress is because the State of Florida has provided a crucial tool for cities and counties. This tool allows Port St. Lucie to compete with others across the country in creating new jobs by expanding existing and new businesses,” said City Manager Russ Blackburn. “This tool abates only some property and intangible taxes for no more than 10 years for businesses that meet specific job creation criteria. These businesses will still pay school and other voter approved taxes. After year 10, the property is totally taxable. This tax abatement does not affect homeowner’s property taxes.”

The City has created a website page to help voters learn more about this referendum at, including a Frequently Asked Questions section.

The webpage also features information about how this tax abetment tool has helped Port St. Lucie successfully recruit businesses, including FedEx, Cheney Brothers, TAMCO/City Electric, Accel International Holdings, Inc. and OCULUS Surgical. All these businesses have two things in common:

  • They are hiring new employees at higher than the average wage, who will buy goods and services in our community, including homes, and;
  • They all considered the tax abatement to be a very important element when deciding where they would expand or relocate.

Since its inception, this program has helped City leaders recruit more than a dozen new businesses opening or expanding in PSL with nearly 1,000 new jobs created.

City leaders are available to speak to any homeowner association, professional association, business, resident or community group interested in learning more. To set up a presentation, please call 722-871-5159 or email [email protected] and [email protected].

Nov. 9, 2021|

New Vision Eye Center

Day of Caring at New Vision Eye Center

New Vision Eye Center Staff

In October, Dr. Robert Reinauer was joined by the cataract surgeons at New Vision Eye Center for a day of caring. Dr. Reinauer, along with Drs. Stephen Tate, Mohamed Sayed and Sarah S. Khodadadeh donated their time to provide cataract surgery for a pre-selected group of uninsured, low-income Indian River County residents who were referred by the We Care Program.

Dr. Reinauer and his colleagues are proud to volunteer their time to provide quality care and medically necessary treatments to our underserved populations.

Dr. Reinauer is no stranger to pro-bono medical work. He serves on the board of directors for the We Care Foundation of Indian River but began helping others during his medical training, during which he completed several ophthalmology mission trips to Latin America. He is now on the board of directors for Chosen Eye Missions and makes many trips each year to perform sight-saving surgeries in impoverished areas of Central America.

Dr. Robert Reinauer is a fellowship-trained vitreoretinal physician specializing in retinal surgery, macular degeneration, and diabetic eye care at New Vision Eye Center.
Nov. 9, 2021|

IRSC Workforce Training Update

IRSC Advanced Workforce Training Complex Update


IRSC Workforce Training is underway


Indian River State College's newest building will be named for engineer, inventor and entrepreneur Richard H. Eastman and his family. The naming comes after Eastman pledged one of the largest gifts in IRSC history—$2 million—in support of the forthcoming Eastman Advanced Workforce Training Complex. The purpose-built facility, scheduled for a 2023 opening, will link advanced technology and leading-edge industry training in specialized technical career fields such as advanced manufacturing; automotive, aviation and marine technology; welding; heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems; and more.

"IRSC is grateful for Mr. Eastman's generosity and leadership," states IRSC District Board of Trustees Chair Sandra Krischke. "His gift ensures that our region can produce highly skilled labor to meet current and future needs. The advanced learning environments that comprise the Eastman Advanced Workforce Training Complex are critical for closing the regional skills gap and preparing our residents for high-wage, in-demand careers. "

It is Eastman's philosophy that by supporting the building, he is supporting IRSC students, which in turn benefits our community for generations to come.

"The Eastman Advanced Workforce Training Complex and the programs and services it will offer will help people of all ages find great opportunity in today's complex society," shares Richard H. Eastman. "It is my honor to join with President Moore and his team to help all students, no matter what circumstance they are in, and give them the skills they need to make a good living to provide for themselves and their families."

The IRSC Foundation continues to work with corporations and individual donors like Eastman to raise funds to equip the facility with the advanced technology apparatus needed to train students for these highly skilled positions.

"The Foundation continues to attract unprecedented support for its mission," says Michael Hageloh, Interim Vice President for Advancement. "As we work with donors to advance critical projects like this one, we also reaffirm our goal to meet 100 percent of qualified need for all students seeking life-changing educational opportunities at IRSC."

Construction of the 60,000 square-foot state-of-the-art Eastman Advanced Workforce Complex is underway. It is supported by Florida Public Education Capital Outlay (PECO) funds obtained with the assistance of the Treasure Coast Legislative Delegation (more than $21 million from 2016 through 2021) and $2 million secured through a federal Economic Development Administration grant.

For more information about the Eastman Advanced Workforce Training Complex or to donate to the project, contact Julia Keenan, Director of Development for the IRSC Foundation, at 772-462-7244.

Nov. 9, 2021|

Small Business Saturday

FSBDC at IRSC Promotes Small Biz Saturday


Small Biz Saturday


The Florida Small Business Development Center at Indian River State College announces its participation in Small Business Saturday, which will be held on November 27. Small Business Saturday is a day dedicated to supporting small businesses and strengthening communities across the country.

Created by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday serves as the ceremonial kickoff to the holiday shopping season for small businesses across the United States.

“We’re excited to get involved with our business communities,” said Katie Muldoon, administrative and outreach specialist for the Florida SBDC at IRSC. “Our center recognizes the importance and value of our small businesses. I am excited to see people out and about supporting our marketplace.”

The FSBDC at IRSC invites all Small Business owners to promote themselves at no-cost via their local radio show, Small Biz Florida. Those wishing to be featured on Small Biz Florida are encouraged to reach out to your local FSBDC and schedule an interview: [email protected]  | (772) 336-6285

The Florida SBDC Network encourages small businesses to participate in Small Business Saturday and urges consumers to support small businesses during this day and throughout the holiday season.

The Florida SBDC at IRSC is a member of the Florida SBDC Network, a statewide service network of more than 40 centers. State designated as Florida’s principal provider of business assistance, the Florida SBDC Network provides consulting, training, and information to help aspiring and existing small businesses.

Small businesses and consumers may learn more about Small Business Saturday and how to get involved by visiting



Nov. 8, 2021|

Growth in St. Lucie County

Growth in St. Lucie County Reaches $1.8 Billion


A recent analysis by the Economic Strategy Center (ESC) calculated that economic output in St. Lucie County is growing by more than $1.8 billion due to the attraction of new businesses and the expansion of existing local businesses since 2017.

The analysis covered 46 targeted industry companies that announced new locations or expansions in the county between January 2017 and June 2021. The growth will create 10,205 jobs; the companies will directly employ 5,881, create another 2,920 indirect jobs as businesses sell to the new or expanding companies, and induce 1,404 jobs through additional consumer spending, according to the report.

“Growth of more than $1.8 billion is very significant when you consider that St. Lucie County’s total GDP (gross domestic product) was $8.43 billion in 2019,” said Pete Tesch, president of the Economic Development Council of St. Lucie County (EDC). “This increase will have a tremendously positive effect on our local economy.” The Florida Office of Economic and Demographic Research provides counties with GDP and other economic indicators annually.

The 46 companies analyzed will invest $494,397,000 in facilities and equipment which will, in turn, generate $39.9 million in tax revenues annually. Of these, $12.1 million will go to the county, $11.8 million to the cities of Fort Pierce and Port St. Lucie, and $16 million to other taxing authorities such as the school district, fire district, children’s services, water management and others.

“We represent communities all over the country and I haven’t seen this kind of growth anywhere else, especially once you add in the 6,000 additional jobs expected from the commerce parks under development now,” said Trygve Vigmostad, ESC director.  “Your future looks bright. Very few communities have investors committing to the future as they are doing with these parks, and in a first-class way.”

St. Lucie County Commission Chair Chris Dzadovsky noted at the Nov. 2 commission meeting that current and past commissions have been committed to fostering economic diversity in the county which had been reliant on “rooftops, retirees, tourism and ag.” He added that increasing tax revenues from new or expanding commercial properties helps reduce taxes on residential homes, while the companies are also providing livable wages for residents.

“In the next 18 months as you drive the I-95 corridor from Orange Avenue to Becker Road, you’ll see very significant industrial development and job opportunities at every intersection,” said Tesch. Over the last year, the EDC announced a number of major new corporate locations and expansions including for FedEx Ground, Contender Boats, Maverick Boats, Cheney Brothers and Amazon.

“We’re on the right track. Working together, the private sector, the public sector – cities and county, all of us, over the last six years have helped bring new and expanding business to St. Lucie County,” Tesch said.

“It’s even more than job creation and investment, our economic development efforts are also focused on improving the wages of the men and women who work here, giving them a quality life and sustainable wage,” said Port St. Lucie Mayor Shannon Martin. “These projects show that is what is happening now.”

The city of Port St. Lucie was cited Nov. 3 as one of “Top Boomtowns in America” by SmartAsset, ranking in the top 25% for growth in the number of local businesses and household income growth. In March, the Milken Institute included the city as one of “America’s Best Performing Cities,” ranking the Port St. Lucie metro area as No. 31 of 201 large metro areas in the country. The city placed 14th for 12-month job growth and 37th for wage growth from 2014-2019.

One important tool used to help secure this commercial investment is Florida’s tax abatement program which allows municipalities to reduce some taxes for a short period of time on new facilities and new equipment, Tesch said. The state requires this program to be reauthorized by voters every 10 years. Port St. Lucie voters will see this question on their Dec. 7 ballots.

“Attracting high-wage employers is an extremely competitive process, we want to have the same tools in our toolkits as others in our region, state, and country,” Tesch said. “That’s why this upcoming vote is so important.” For more information about the referendum, visit and

The Economic Strategy Center used an IMPLAN® model with data from 2019, released in December 2020 for its study.  IMPLAN® is the most widely used system in the U.S. to compute economic impacts. To read the full report, visit

Nov. 8, 2021|

St. Lucie County Wins Best Place to Work

St. Lucie County Earns Best Places To Work Award Fifth Consecutive Year


St. Lucie County St. Lucie County Human Resource Association, along with Personnel Dynamics Consulting celebrates 20th Annual Best Places To Work in St. Lucie County.



The program focuses on educating for improvement in the workplace and recognizing the Best Places To Work in St. Lucie County.  This year the program recognized twelve employers:


Small Employers

Clear SEM Solutions


St. Lucie County Property Appraiser

Treasure Coast Food Bank

Mid-Sized Employers

ABC Home Medical Supply, Inc.

Boys and Girls Club of St. Lucie County

St. Lucie County Clerk and Comptroller

St. Lucie County Tax Collector

Large Employers

A-1 Roof Trusses

City of Fort Pierce

Fort Pierce Utilities Authority

St. Lucie County Fire District

Extra-large Employers

City of Port St. Lucie

St. Lucie County Board of County Commissioners

St. Lucie County Public Schools

Walmart DC 7038


The St. Lucie County Human Resource Association has been commissioning Personnel Dynamics Consulting of Fort Pierce, to calculate turnover rates, growth percentages, employee development spending, promotion percentages, insurance packages, and retirement plans; a total of 37 different measurements to determine the St. Lucie County’s Best Places To Work.

This program is free to all St. Lucie County employers. Participating companies were required to answer a 40-question survey about their organization.  Every company will receive a detailed personalized report documenting the results of the survey and samples of some of the best practices used in St. Lucie County to attract and retain their workforce. If you would like a copy of the survey or would like to inquire about participating next year, please contact St. Lucie County Human Resource Association at (772) 200-6610.

The St. Lucie County Human Resource Association is the local chapter for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).  The association became an affiliate chapter of SHRM in 1986 with the purpose of bringing together human resources professionals. The goal of the association is to promote a high standard of excellence for human resources practitioners in the St. Lucie County area through the following activities: professional development, networking opportunities, current events, and community involvement.  To learn more about the St. Lucie County Human Resource Association visit the website at

Nov. 1, 2021|