The Horizon Council, Horizon Foundation and the Lee County Economic Development Office are pleased to announce the recipients of the 29th Industry Appreciation Awards, recognized today at the Caloosa Sound Convention Center in Fort Myers.
The Business Resiliency and Innovation Award was presented to a pair of honorees: Fort Myers Brewing Company and Sanibel Captiva Community Bank. This award honors these two businesses as they successfully pivoted operations, products and services to not only be resilient but to help the needs of the community in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Fort Myers Brewing Company is Lee County’s first craft brewery and opened in 2013. When COVID-19 closed bars and restaurants, Fort Myers Brewing quickly realized it was time to shift operations with canned beverages to go and converted a portion of the business to produce hand sanitizer. The company also offered odd projects to boost staff income, and the owners cut their salaries to ensure staff continued to receive health benefits.
- Sanibel Captiva Community Bank was chartered in 2003 and, despite the pandemic, has continued to deliver for its customers, team and the community. The bank proved to be flexible, offered customers more personal engagement and processed millions of SBA funds with high efficiency, proving instrumental in helping thousands of Lee County businesses and residents.
The Community Steward of the Year Award was awarded to Cushman & Wakefield | Commercial Property Southwest Florida. This award is given to a company whose financial, volunteer and active involvement in community organizations and programs create a better quality of business and civic life in Lee County.
- Cushman & Wakefield | Commercial Property Southwest Florida has been in business since 2007. One of Southwest Florida’s most prominent brokerage and property management companies, Commercial Property Southwest Florida is focused on strengthening the community by improving the quality of life and business environment in Southwest Florida. The team proudly supports and serves many nonprofit organizations in Southwest Florida, including Junior Achievement, Champions 4 Children, Residential Options of Florida and PACE Center for Girls – Lee.
The Innovator of the Year Award was presented to two honorees: Cigent Technology and Energy Harness Corporation. This award recognizes a local business that develops advanced or innovative technologies that have a positive impact on Lee County’s growing economy and within its industry.
- Cigent Technology was founded in 2018 and provides robust, easy-to-use cybersecurity solutions to the world. Their threat detection and response, data security and storage solutions are unique in the industry ‒ they can operate as standalone products or be paired with other solutions to provide unparalleled data security.
- Energy Harness Corporation was established in 2010 as an LED lighting manufacturer. In 2020, it expanded its product line to introduce the Active-Airflow UVC fixture, which eliminates airborne pathogens including COVID-19, and can be installed in office buildings, schools and medical facilities to keep the community safer and breathe easier while in public spaces.
The Manufacturer of the Year Award was presented to Storm Smart. This award honors a Lee County manufacturing business that exhibits excellence and growth in leadership, performance, profitability and workforce relations.
- Storm Smart set out 25 years ago to provide innovative hurricane protection solutions for homes and businesses in Southwest Florida. Today, it is the largest manufacturer and installer of code-approved hurricane protection products in North America. Storm Smart pioneered the concept of using fabric as a hurricane protection product, and today, fabric shutters are one of the most popular products in the industry.
The Startup of the Year Award was awarded to Two39 Work. This award is given to a company founded in Lee County in the last three to five years that has demonstrated continued financial and staffing growth while leading and overcoming challenges.
- From its start in 2018, Two39 Work has created an environment for entrepreneurs that promotes community, collaboration and innovation. The launch of TWO39 Labs continued the mission of regional growth in technology by attracting mentors to relocate to Southwest Florida, supporting entrepreneurs in the region and helping those who lost jobs to connect with local opportunities.
The Small Business of the Year Award was awarded to Stickboy Creative. This award is presented to a company with up to 50 employees that has been in business a minimum of six years in Lee County and offers high-quality products and services with superior customer service.
- Stickboy Creative was founded in 2007 with a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation at its core from day one. Although best known for software development, website design and mobile app development, the company treats itself as an incubator, constantly fostering the adoption of new technologies including blockchain, machine learning and big-data analytics.
The Large Business of the Year Award was presented to Stevens Construction, Inc. This award is presented to a company with more than 50 employees that has been in business a minimum of six years in Lee County and offers high-quality products and services with superior customer service.
- Stevens Construction, Inc. is celebrating 18 years in business. The company has specialized in construction management services of commercial and healthcare projects since day one. In addition to its original Fort Myers office, Stevens Construction has expanded to include offices in Orlando, Tampa and Sarasota. The Lee County Building Industry Association has named Stevens Construction Contractor of the Year nine times since 2007.
A special Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Gary Griffin, President of B&I Contractors, Inc. A Fort Myers native, Griffin has served as both Chairman of the Horizon Council and President of the Horizon Foundation, and is a strong advocate for Lee County businesses and economic development.
The Lee County Economic Development Office provides business assistance to retain existing businesses, attract new businesses and encourage entrepreneurship to ensure Lee County has a strong economy, thriving communities and broadly shared prosperity.
The Horizon Council is a public-private advisory board established in 1991 to advise the Lee Board of County Commissioners on economic development issues. The council’s mission is to improve Lee County’s business environment, retain and encourage expansion of existing businesses, and attract new and diversified employers. It is the only public-private partnership of Lee County Government and business leaders.
The Horizon Foundation Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization established as a fundraising vehicle enabling people and businesses to actively support the program of work of the Horizon Council and the Lee County Economic Development Office. For more information, visit leecountybusiness.com or call 239-533-6800.