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Horizon Council and Lee County Economic Development announce 2017 Industry Appreciation Award winners

Aubuchon Homes, Sanibel Captiva Community Bank top ‘citizenship’ category

October 13, 2017
Special to The Breeze ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

The Horizon Council and the Lee County Economic Development Office announced the recipients of the annual Industry Appreciation Awards Thursday at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort in Bonita Springs.

The Business Citizenship Award was presented to Aubuchon Homes (Small category; 1-50 employees) and Sanibel Captiva Community Bank (Large category; 51 or more employees) for their financial, volunteer and active involvement in community organizations and programs that create a better quality of business and civic life in Lee County.

Aubuchon Homes was established in 1992 by Gary and Jim Aubuchon. The company has been an advocate for local charities, raising over $1 million dollars to date. Every holiday season, Aubuchon Homes hosts "Helping Hands for the Holidays," a Christmas-themed evening benefitting Ronald McDonald House Charities SWFL, Make-A-Wish Southern Florida, and Lee BIA Builders Care. The event has raised nearly a half million dollars since it began 19 years ago. Other recent projects include building a home for a critically injured local veteran and working with Habitat for Humanity to build a house for a single mother and three children.

Sanibel Captiva Community Bank, founded in 2003 and nationally ranked as a top-20 best-performing community bank, has made a priority of giving back to the community it serves. The bank and its employees support the Lee County community through financial contributions, pro bono work and volunteerism. In 2016, Sanibel Captiva Community Bank donated more than $150,000 to nearly 100 local nonprofit, educational and cultural causes continuing the bank's tradition of increasing community contributions each year since 2008.

The Diversity in Business Award was awarded to CONRIC PR & Marketing for its implementation of programs in the workplace that create and promote diversity by employing initiatives within the organization and the community. Diversity is generally defined as acknowledging, understanding, accepting, valuing and celebrating differences among people with respect to age, class, ethnicity, gender, physical and mental ability, race, sexual orientation, spiritual practice and public assistance status. Since 2007, CONRIC PR & Marketing has embraced diversity in the workplace through clients and community service. CONRIC treats employees equally and with respect, embracing unique skills sets, age, ethnicity, gender, education or disability. CONRIC credits its diversity for many of the awards and recognition the company has won for its clients. CONRIC has also donated $500,000 back to the community during the past five years through pro bono services to diverse organizations such as Hope Clubhouse, Multi-cultural Centre of Southwest Florida and Dress for Success SW Florida.

The Nonprofit of the Year Award was presented to PACE Center for Girls (Small category; donations collected under $1 million) and Lee Health Foundation (Large category; donations collected over $1 million) for recognizing a business or civic need within our community. Through community responsibility, innovation, growth, sound business practices and community partnerships serves our community with vision and integrity.

During its 10 years in Lee County, PACE Center For Girls Inc. has positively impacted more than 650 students. PACE Lee receives about two-thirds of its funding from government agencies and the remaining portion from grants, sponsorships, donations and fundraising events.

Since 1995, Lee Health Foundation has collected funding to deliver quality, comprehensive care in Southwest Florida. The foundation annually raises more than $15 million. In 2016, the foundation completed a $100 million campaign to fund the Golisano Children's Hospital.

The Startup of the Year Award, presented to iPartnerMedia, recognizes a business founded in Lee County in the last three to five years that has demonstrated continued growth both financially and in staffing while leading and overcoming challenges.

Celebrating its fifth year of operation, iPartnerMedia has built a team of creative and results-focused associates who design and execute website projects and print and digital marketing campaigns. From 2014 to 2015, iPartnerMedia experienced a 150 percent increase in gross revenue, and a 100 percent increase in 2016. While the company has been consistently profitable, they have invested profits back into the company by acquiring new equipment, software and team members.

The Business of the Year Award was awarded to Norman Love Confections for being in business more than six years in Lee County, under the same corporate name and ownership and successfully offering high-quality products and services and superior customer service. In addition, the company has demonstrated strong ethical standards and community mindedness, supported employee development and exhibited exemplary leadership within its industry and among its clients while contributing to the economic growth and free enterprise of Lee County.

Founded in 2001, Norman Love Confections offers award-winning artisan chocolate creations by internationally recognized chefs on staff. Dedication to excellence and quality shows in everything the company does, providing customers with a one-of-a-kind experience. Norman Love has successfully expanded to four brick and mortar locations across Southwest Florida, as well as e-commerce and wholesale lines that reach customers across the nation. Norman Love Confections is actively involved in the community, hosting charity events and gifting tens of thousands of dollars in products to more than 200 local nonprofit organizations.


The Horizon Council is a public-private board established in 1991 to advise the Lee Board of County Commissioners on economic development issues. The Council has more than 70 members representing six cities; chambers of commerce; economic development and trade organizations; community, business, and education organizations; along with various officers and at-large members. The Lee County Economic Development Office provides business assistance to retain existing businesses, encourage entrepreneurship and attracts new businesses so that Lee County has a strong economy, thriving communities, and broadly shared prosperity.

For more information, visit or 239-338-3161.



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