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Business Notes (8/27/14)

August 27, 2014
Lehigh Acres Citizen

Lee County pursues friendliest destination

The Lee County Visitor and Convention Bureau announces that area hospitality employees recently completed certification in top-notch customer service.

Through the VCB's unique partnership with the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute, 10 industry partners received the Certified Guest Service Professional certification as part of the VCB's Guests First Customer Service Training Program.

To earn certification, participants must complete Guests First, the VCB's award winning, seven-module customer service program.

"This is a big commitment for the participants; they have to take time away from their busy schedules to attend the modules, which shows their dedication," Christine Davlin, the program manager and facilitator, said. "In just over a year of offering the exam, we now have 80 certified professionals and expect that number to increase in the next five months as we ramp up for our peak visitation period."

The CGSP designation is the highest acknowledgment of award-winning guest service for employees in the hospitality industry. Successful graduates receive a certificate and CGSP gold lapel pin, to be worn on their uniform in recognition of their knowledge and skills in guest service.

Page Field recognized for safety efforts

The Federal Aviation Administration Southern Region Airports Division honored Page Field with its 2013 General Aviation Airport Safety Award.

The award is given annually to a general aviation airport that has taken actions, instituted programs or otherwise operated in a manner deserving of special recognition for improving airport safety.

Some of 2013 initiatives to promote and improve airport safety included the construction of an airport perimeter road, which allowed operations and service vehicles access to various portions of the airport while reducing the need to operate on active runways and taxiways; providing a professional line service training program with an emphasis on safe procedures and policies for ground handling and fueling personnel; conducting safety risk assessments to identify potential airfield hazards; and adopting a safety checklist for Aviation Day, a community event hosted by the Lee County Port Authority to promote airports and aviation in Southwest Florida.

"The Lee County Port Authority is focused on airfield safety at Page Field, our business and general aviation airport," Robert M. Ball, executive director of the Lee County Port Authority, said. "Our employees also proactively work with aircraft owners and tenants to encourage a safe operating environment."

Airport reports traffic

During July, 496,472 passengers traveled through Southwest Florida International Airport, an increase of 6.1 percent compared to July 2013. Year-to-date, passenger traffic is up 3.7 percent from the same period last year.

The traffic leader in July was Delta with 119,281 passengers traveling to and from Fort Myers. Rounding out the top five airlines were Southwest (78,070), JetBlue (55,576), American (47,292) and AirTran (46,879).

Southwest Florida International Airport had 4,661 aircraft movements - takeoffs and landings - decrease of 8.3 percent compared to July 2013. Page Field saw 7,388 movements, a 34.3 percent increase from July 2013.

In addition, more than 2.5 million pounds of air freight moved through Southwest Florida International Airport in July 2014, an increase of 8.8 percent compared to July 2013.

Southwest Florida International Airport served more than 7.6 million passengers in 2013 and is one of the top 50 U.S. airports for passenger traffic.

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Environmental funding award available

LCEC is accepting applications from organizations for an environmental funding award.

To apply, e-mail to receive an application.

The deadline for the 2014 application is Sept. 1.

Organizations must meet certain criteria to be considered for the award including being located within LCEC service territory, funding utilized for projects/programs related to the environment and the utility industry and having a demonstrated need for funds.

Horizon Foundation nears fundraising goal

The Horizon Foundation, which supports the efforts of the Horizon Council and Lee County Economic Development Office, is just shy of breaking its fundraising goal.

Having raised $387,545 to date, it has just $12,455 less than the goal set forth for the year and is asking for Lee County business and community support.

Last year, the foundation raised a record $385,000, which was $35,000 more than the goal. It set the goal for fundraising in 2014 even higher at $400,000.

The fundraising ends on Sept. 19 at the 23rd Annual Industry Appreciation Week luncheon, which will be held at the Harborside Event Center.

The majority of the fundraising goes directly to support the marketing and business assistance objectives of the Lee County Economic Development Office program.

To make a contribution, contact B. Pat O'Rourke at (239) 338-3161 or

For information about the Horizon Foundation and Lee County Economic Development Office, visit:



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