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Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce celebrates its 98th year

October 2, 2023

Words cannot describe the incredible atmosphere we had at our 98th Annual awards luncheon on Thursday at the Charlotte Harbor Event & Conference Center.

The energy, excitement, camaraderie, support and love from our chamber family was phenomenal! We had a packed house of 250 attendees, all celebrating a very successful year. Special thanks to the overwhelming presence and support from our elected officials and community leaders.

Congratulations to our 2023 Businesses of the Year:

Nonprofit Business of the Year: C.A.R.E., the Center for Abuse and Rape Emergencies.

Small Business of the Year: Thornberry Custom Builders.

Medium Business of the Year: Lake Michigan Credit Union.

Large Business of the Year (we had a tie): Chapman Insurance Group and Suncoast One Title & Closings.

Our prestigious Pacesetter Award honoree was presented to Mark Martella, Martella Law Firm.

Kudos to our outgoing president, Steve Lineberry, Premier Photographic Events, for the tremendous job he has done over the past two years. We are excited about our strategic growth as we excel forward under the leadership of our incoming president, Nick Worden, Crews Bank & Trust. I know we’ll have the full support of our 1,000-plus members to remain engaged in aligning with Nick’s vision of #Connecting Businesses Together!

I am extremely excited to be under the leadership, guidance and direction of our 2023-2024 Board of Directors: Nick Worden, Crews Bank & Trust (President); Kevin Graham, Suncoast One Title & Closings (President-Elect); Teresa Da Costa, Ashley, Brown & Smith, CPA’s (Treasurer); Jessica Rhea, Florida Gulf Coast University (Secretary); Kelsey Veitengruber, Farr Law Firm (VP — Leadership); Cristin Beverley, Realtors of Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, North Port, DeSoto (VP — Member Services); Rosa Benghtt, Granny Nannies; James Coalwell, Crews Bank & Trust; Michael Ehrat, HCA Florida Fawcett Hospital; Hector Flores, Charlotte County Administration; Dave Gammon, Charlotte County Economic Development Office; John LeClair, Charlotte County Public Schools; Mike Martin, State Farm/Mike Martin Agency; Angie Matthiessen, United Way of Charlotte County; Jill McCrory, McCrory Law Firm; Kaley Miller, Charlotte County Airport Authority; Glen Nickerson, The Daily Sun; Kris Proudfoot, Centennial Bank; and Melissa Reichert, City of Punta Gorda.

Like any successful organization, it take a village to plan, implement and thrive in meeting goals and objectives. The Charlotte County Chamber is no different. I want to extend my appreciation and gratefulness to our staff: Ruth Uzonyi, director of finance, Jami Joannes, director of business development, and Janet Caffee, information and customer service manager. The tremendous day-to-day work that goes on behind the scenes is absolutely incredible!

Our organization is positioned to be an indispensable partner for the business community of Charlotte County through advocacy, community partnerships and proving value to our membership.

Chamber Activities

Networking at Noon Lunch (member event): 11:45 a.m.–1 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 11 at Dubz BBQ, 4391 Aidan Lane, North Port. Registration and meal selection require. To RSVP, visit

Third Wednesday Coffee (member event): 8–9 a.m., Wednesday, Oct. 18, Charlotte Harbor Event & Conference Center, 75 Taylor St., Punta Gorda. Coffee Sponsor: Soul Dental. Program: Quarterly New Member Showcase. This such a great opportunity for our members to meet our new members and get familiar with their products and services and build strong beneficial connections. Registration is requested to make proper arrangements. To RSVP, visit

Business Card Exchange (member event): 5–7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 26, ActivAge Daytime Senion Care, 3626 Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte. Who’s ready for Halloween networking gathering? Feel free to wear your best costume. Appetizers and refreshments provided. There will be a Halloween themed icebreaker. Bring a gift to promote your business and bring plenty of business cards. Registration is requested to make proper arrangements. To RSVP, visit

Special Announcement

45th Annual Charlotte County Chamber Christmas Parade: noon to 1:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec, 9. Parade theme: Tropical Christmas. We welcome the entire community to come on out and bring the kids, grandkids, and the entire family to enjoy one of the best community events of the year! The parade kicks off at noon at the Charlotte Performing Arts Center and then goes south on Taylor St. to the Charlotte Harbor Event & Conference Center. We will have a special visitor all the way from the North Pole. Thousands of folks line the sidewalk of the parade route. Make sure come out early to get a great view of the parade! To participate in the parade, visit to complete your registration form. Entry fee: $50 for profit and $35 for nonprofit.

Bob White is executive director of the Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce.