An enthusiastic record crowd, complete with popping champagne corks, gathered last week at the Boca Royale Golf & Country Club for the Englewood Chamber’s Annual Gala and Awards Banquet.

The evening started with the question of which attending business has been a chamber member for the longest period of time. Four businesses have been members of the Englewood Chamber of Commerce for more than 40 years. Those include Englewood Community Hospital, Key Agency, Short Stop Printing and Rowley Insurance.

Other highlights of the evening included:

• Keith Farlow, chamber president for 2018, thanked the outgoing board members for their service to the chamber. These include Frank Chappell of Gulf Realty, Corey Dean of Wells Fargo, Bryan Domian of Howards Restaurant, Mike Looney of Michael J. Looney Electric, and Carol Moore of The Englewood Sun.

• The official installation of the 2019 board of directors.

• New officer are President Mary Smedley of Michael Saunders & Company, President Elect Valarie Powell-Stafford of Englewood Community Hospital, Vice President Jonathan Varner of Wampler Insurance & Financial Group, Vice President of Leadership Kristina Watts of Englewood Bank & Trust, Treasurer Mark Knauf of Mark Knauf CPA, and Immediate Past President Keith Farlow of Farlow’s on the Water.

• Board members are Kathy Castellano of Centennial Bank, Lou Cook of Signs in One Day, Alfred C. Current III of Rowley Insurance, Brian Faro of the Island Team of Paradise Exclusive Real Estate, Jeremy Jones of Tall Pines Rentals, Chris Porter of The Englewood Sun, Sharon McKenzie of Barrier Island Parks Society, and Kathleen Jarosik of Xpertech Auto Repair.

• As 2019 chamber president, Mary Smedley welcomed the new board, congratulated the award winners and spoke of her vision for the upcoming year.

• Award winners included Brandon Dignam, Castle Air, Englewood Community Care Clinic, Farlow’s on the Water, Paradise Exclusive Real Estate, Michael Saunders and Company, Nicola’s Italian Kitchen, Rothco Signs and Design and Sweet Relief & Wellness.

Water Quality Summit

Free shuttle buses will take Englewood residents to today’s Charlotte County Water Quality Summit at the Charlotte Harbor Convention Center, 75 Taylor St., Punta Gorda. The buses will depart at 12:15 p.m. and 12:30 p.m. from Tringali Park, 3460 N. Access Road, Englewood.

The summit will begin at 1 p.m. Representatives from the following organizations are scheduled to appear: Florida Fish & Wildlife Research Institute; Mote Marine Laboratory Red Tide Institute; Florida Department of Environmental Protection; South Florida Water Management District; Florida Department of Health; UF Extension Services; and Charlotte County Sea Grant.

Others attending include Charlotte County Commissioner Bill Truex, Florida Sen. Ben Albritton and Florida Rep. Mike Grant.

The summit is free, but organizers are asking people to register. The public can register online at For information, contact Brian Gleason at 941-743-1462 or email

Ed Hill is executive director of the Englewood Florida Chamber of Commerce. He can be reachedat or 941-474-5511.


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