U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, named Amelia Island Kayak Excursions of Fernandina Beach, Florida as the U.S. Senate Small Business of the Week.
"As Chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, it is my pleasure to honor Amelia Island Kayak Excursions of Fernandina Beach, Florida as the Senate Small Business of the Week."
"Six years ago, Mark Bullington and his two children, Amber and Aaron, decided to turn their passion into their livelihood. Showcasing Florida's beauty, Amelia Island Kayak Excursions offers both kayak and boat expeditions throughout wildlife-rich Egan's Creek, Lofton Creek, and more of Florida's coastal environment. In 2017, Amelia Island Kayak Excursions was recognized by the Nassau County Chamber of Commerce as the Small Business of the Year and received the Bold City Best Water Sports Award. To educate the next generation on Florida's wildlife, they partnered with an after school program by gifting students a free kayak trip if they meet their academic goals. Amelia Island Kayak Excursions is an example of a community-oriented small business, and I look forward to watching their continued growth and success. Congratulations."
As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Senator Rubio continues the tradition of honoring America's small businesses and entrepreneurs. The Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship oversees proposed legislation on matters relating to the Small Business Administration and investigates all problems relating to America's small businesses.
Kayak Amelia has been awarded the Platinum Level Certification from the Florida Society for Ethical Ecotourism (FLSEE). This is the highest level of certification available from FLSEE and recognizes the depth of awareness and stewardship that Kayak Amelia delivers while conducting their business. FLSEE is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to maintaining a professional code of ecotourism ethics to encourage an awareness and stewardship of Florida's natural and cultural heritage. Ecotourism is defined as "responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education."
The FLSEE certification process starts with a 340 question assesment of the outfitter's complete operation (environmental impacts, interpretation, conservation and environmental sustainability), followed by an anonymous visit by a SEE certification specialist. There are four levels of certification - Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum.
Kayak Amelia is the official Outfitter of Talbot Island state parks and has been offering guided tours and rentals in the Northeast Florida area for over 20 years. Jody and Ray Hetchka are the "Mom and Pop" of Kayak Amelia. "We could not be more pleased and honored to receive the SEE recognition." Ray stated, "We've built our business on the principles of respectful travel through the salt marsh, paddler safety, factual interpretation and fun! By sharing our love of this little corner of northeast Florida, we hope to encourage others to love and protect their own 'wild places'."
With the end of 2019 just around the corner, we're starting to get ready for the Annual Awards Dinner & Gala, the Chamber's biggest event of the year. On Tuesday, January 21, 2020, over 400 local and civic business leaders will come together to celebrate the accomplishments of Nassau County businesses at this premier community event.
Each year, we encourage businesses to promote themselves by decorating a table at the Annual Awards Dinner & Gala. From pirate-themed tables (complete with treasure, of course) to tables with a candy tower centerpiece that even Willy Wonka would envy, we've seen it all! This is truly one of our favorite traditions of the Annual Awards Dinner and we always look forward to seeing what our members come up with.
There is no extra cost for a business to decorate a table. Simply sign up to decorate a table (with a total of 8 place settings), provide a centerpiece (that will be auctioned off at the end of the evening as a raffle item), and make sure to include lots of unique decorations, gifts and giveaways that promote your business. Get creative, elaborate and, most importantly, HAVE FUN!
Download the table decorator form below. For more information, please email info@NassauCountyFLChamber.com or call (904) 261-3248.
It's time to celebrate the successes of the Nassau County business community in 2019 at the Nassau County Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Dinner & Gala.
On Tuesday, January 21, 2020, over 400 local and civic business leaders will come together to celebrate the accomplishments of Nassau County businesses at this premier community event. Nassau County is full of business and community leaders who go above and beyond what is expected of them. The Annual Awards Dinner & Gala is our chance to thank these hard-working professionals, who help make Nassau County such a wonderful place to call home.
The City of Fernandina Beach has been named one of the 2019 Healthiest Companies by the First Coast Worksite Wellness Council (FCWWC) as a Gold Level Award winner for the third consecutive year. The Council announced the winners at the 11th Annual Worksite Wellness Conference in Jacksonville on May 8, 2019. The companies who received awards were honored for their commitment to employee health and wellness and for making noteworthy strides to improve the health and well-being of their employees. This is the seventh straight year the City has been recognized by the FCWWC for its health and wellness program. Human Resources (HR) Director Robin Marley and HR Generalists Toni Brown and Teresa Bryan accepted the award on behalf of the City of Fernandina Beach.
FCWWC has four levels of awards. According to their website, Gold Level companies have dedicated resources to ensure their programs are being properly measured each year. FCWWC conducts annual surveys and strategically selects the best programs that meet the organization’s goal of improving the health, productivity, and well-being of its employees.
Marley shared that organizations must meet certain criteria in their wellness plans to be considered for each award level. One of the notable actions the City has taken since 2004 is to plan and execute an annual Health and Benefits Fair which includes free health screenings and helps educate employees about better health management.
In 2016, the City partnered with Baptist Health and the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast to implement a wellness program, Personalized Approach to Health (PATH), which assists employees in developing a manageable wellness plan, including a baseline health assessment and information to help them achieve personal health goals. In 2017, the City introduced a new weight loss and healthy living program, “Real Appeal,” for its covered employees and dependents, provided at no cost by its medical insurance carrier.
Marley stated, “The focus of every good wellness program is changing behaviors for the better. With the right education, skills, and support, people are motivated to change and become more mindful of their health and wellness. Since beginning our wellness initiative at the City of Fernandina Beach, we have seen our employees become more interested and actively engaged in wellness, not only for themselves personally, but for one another as well.”
In an effort to recognize the efforts of those involved in preserving our unique architectural resources, the City of Fernandina Beach Planning & Conservation Department, in collaboration with the Amelia Island Restoration Foundation, the Amelia Island Museum of History, and Fernandina Beach Main Street, hosted the Historic Preservation Awards Ceremony on Thursday, May 9, 2019.
Numerous nominations were received over a two-month period. The awards received were the following:
Craftmanship: Recognizes traditional method of construction, included but not limited to wood working, wrought-iron work, framing, or plastering, and recognition of the craftperson that completed the work.
Winner: Rob Psulkowski, Built to Last Construction
Phelan-Verot House (116 N. 14th Street) and Lassere House (130 S. 7th Street)
Paint by David Witt Painting
New Construction: Awarded for sensitive design and careful construction of a new structure in either the Old Town or Downtown Historic Districts.
Winner: Gholson Residence (1102 Ladies Street)
Jag & Chris Gholson, Owners
Old Town Properties, Developer
Eric Moser, Architect
Beacon of Hope: Recognizes projects that embody the spirit of preservation through the ongoing care and maintenance of its historic structures.
Winner: Trinity United Methodist Church (715 Ash Street)
Storefront Façade Renovation: Projects that demonstrate sensitive treatment of historic storefronts.
Winner: Miranda Architects
Chandlery Building (201 Centre Street)
Preservation Innovation: Awarded to projects that demonstrate sensitive and creative solutions incorporating issues of sustainability, adaptive reuse and integration of accessibility improvements.
Winner: Summer House Realty (316 Ash Street)
Contractor: Daughtery and Company
Architect: John Dodd
Preservation Champion: Celebrating an individual dedicated to preserving Fernandina Beach’s heritage.
Winner: Arthur I. “Buddy” Jacobs
Keystone Award: Presented to the project that best represents Historic Preservation.
Winner: Amelia Schoolhouse Inn (914 Atlantic Avenue)
Architect: Miranda Architects
Contractor: Tim Young Construction, Inc.
An all-star cast served as judges for the awards: Adrienne Burke, AICP, Esq. Director, Nassau County Department of Planning and Economic Opportunity; C. Gregory Dale, FAICP, Principal, McBridge Dale Clarion; Katherine Beck, Florida Main Street Coordinator; Jenny Wolfe, Historic Preservation Officer, City of St. Augustine; Don Klima, President, Klima Consulting Group.
The steering committee who helped behind the scenes with gathering nominations, planning the awards event, designing the plaques and more, was comprised of the following volunteers: Salvatore Cumella, Historic Preservation Planner, City of Fernandina Beach; Jose Miranda, Board Member, Amelia Island Restoration Foundation; Theresa Poynter, Downtown Business Owner, Café Karibo and Timoti’s Seafood Shak; Mike Spino, Chairman, City of Fernandina Beach Historic District Council; and Josh Whitfield, Curator, Amelia Island Museum of History.
The ceremony was sponsored by Amelia Island Coffee, Amelia’s Treasures, Café Karibo, the Fairbanks House, the Florida House Inn, Miranda Architects, and Timoti’s.
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