Pasco Business Digest

News and notes on local businesses
Published February 4


LIGHTHOUSE HAS NEW CEO: The Lighthouse for the Visually Impaired and Blind announces its new CEO, Jonathan Fister, who succeeds Sylvia Perez, who announced her resignation in October. Fister founded the Keystone Non-Profit Management Group and served as its president and CEO for more than 35 years. Keystone includes eight organizations serving blind and disabled individuals, with 52 locations, primarily based in Pennsylvania. He was recognized as an advocate for the blind and visually impaired in Pennsylvania. Fister has also been president and CEO of the National Association of Blind Children for the past 11 years, and served as president of several other organizations that advocate for the visually impaired and blind. Fister and his wife relocated to Florida, where they have family in the local area. He officially starts with the Lighthouse on Feb. 4.

PASCO NAMES NEW EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT DIRECTOR: Following a nationwide search, Pasco County has named a familiar face to lead its Emergency Management Division. Andrew Fossa, former deputy chief of administration for Pasco County Fire Rescue, has been named emergency management director. Fossa brings 28 years of progressive performance at Pasco County Fire Rescue. He started out as a firefighter/EMT and moved through the ranks to deputy chief, and received the Distinguished Service Award. Fossa is a member of the State's Region 4/6 All-Hazard Incident Management Team and has served in several lead roles during emergency activations. He has led coordinated responses for Hurricane Michael, a tornado, a large-scale straight-line wind event, and assisted at a 2-alarm industrial complex fire. Fossa's goals include increasing mitigation and grant funding at the state and federal level.

HOSPITAL RECEIVES PLATINUM AWARD: Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point received a Platinum Award for its successful organ donation awareness efforts by the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The hospital's activities helped increase enrollment in the state registry for organ, eye and tissue donors through the Hospital Organ Donation Campaign, which was launched in 2011 as a special effort of the Workplace Partnership for Life. LifeLink of Florida informed Bayonet Point that the award was in recognition of the hospital's organ donor registration efforts between Oct. 1, 2017 and April 30, 2018.

LIFE CARE CENTER GETS NEW DIRECTOR: Life Care Center of New Port Richey, a skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility, has welcomed a new executive director, Ericka Setter. Setter comes to the New Port Richey center from Life Care Center of Winter Haven, where she served as administrator in training. Prior to that, she worked for 10 years for Westminster Communities of Florida, starting as a certified nursing assistant and serving in case management, social services and administrative assistant roles. She has worked in the senior care industry since 2000. Originally from Maquoketa, Iowa, Setter earned a bachelor's degree in business administration with a minor in health care management from Liberty University. She lives in Sun City Center with her husband and their two children.


EARTH FARE GRAND OPENING: Earth Fare, a specialty natural and organic food grocery store and full-service supermarket, will celebrate the opening of its 12th Florida location in the Cypress Creek Town Center with a grand opening celebration on Feb. 20 at 25535 Sierra Center Blvd., Wesley Chapel. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be just prior to 7 a.m., followed by a day of activities and surprises. Customers can expect a mystery gift card giveaway, valued at up to $1,000, to the first 500 shoppers in line. There will also be contests and giveaways, free samples, product demonstrations and more. Visit for details.

HOSPITAL OFFERS CPR TRAINING: The Heart Institute at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point will offer free community "Hands Only" CPR demonstration training Feb. 23 in the Graduate Medical Education Building, 14108 Glacier Drive, Hudson. Classes will be held every hour from 9 a.m. to noon. Light refreshments will be served. Registration is required; call (727) 869-5498, toll-free at 888-741-5119 or visit

Building skills

SMARTSTART CLASS: A free class, "Who is My Customer," will be offered from 6 to 8 p.m. at two locations: Feb. 20 at the West Pasco Entrepreneur Center, 4532 U.S. 19, first floor, New Port Richey; and Feb. 27 at the Dade City Entrepreneur Center, 37837 Meridian Ave., #309, Dade City. The classes are part of the SMARTstart Entrepreneur Education Series offered through the Pasco Economic Development Council. Open to start-up and existing businesses. RSVP online at For information, call toll-free at 1-888-607-2726.

SMALL-BUSINESS SEMINARS: Pasco Hernando SCORE is presenting a series of free small-business seminars:

• Tax Implications for Small Businesses, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 4, Regency Park Branch Library, 9701 Little Road, New Port Richey.

• How to Start a New Business Successfully, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 5, Centennial Park Branch Library, 5740 Moog Road, Holiday.

• How to Apply for a 501c3, 4 to 5:30 p.m. Feb. 5, Spring Hill Branch Library, 9220 Spring Hill Drive, Spring Hill.

• How to Apply for a Business Loan, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 7, Hudson Regional Library, 8012 Library Road, Hudson. Also 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 28, New River Branch Library, 34043 State Road 54, Zephyrhills.

• Branding and Credibility through Digital Marketing, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 12, New Port Richey Library, 5939 Main St., New Port Richey.

• Financing Opportunities with the Small Business Administration, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 13, Hugh Embry Branch Library, 14215 4th St., Dade City.

• Basic QuickBooks, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 13, South Holiday Library, 4649 Mile Stretch Road, Holiday.

To register or for more information, visit and click on the local workshops tab, or call the SCORE office at (727) 842-4638.

Networking and mixers

• Trinity Positive Business Network: 8:30 a.m. Mondays at Oasis Coffee Spot, 9213 Little Road, New Port Richey. Call Kelly Steen at (813) 388-8726.• Women’s Connection of New Port Richey: 11:30 a.m. the second Monday of each month (September through May) at Spartan Manor, 6121 Massachusetts Ave., New Port Richey. Cost is $15 and includes lunch and a speaker. To RSVP, call Linda at (727) 856-4042 or Betty, (727) 807-6760.• BNI Outlook to Success: 7:30 a.m. Tuesdays at Verizon Event Center, 8718 Trouble Creek Road, New Port Richey. Cost is $10 and includes breakfast. Call (727) 815-7744.• Suncoast Women in Networking: 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. the third Tuesday of each month at Beef O’ Brady’s, 5546 Main St., New Port Richey. Suncoast WIN is a group of professional businesswomen. Membership is $10 per year. Call Linda McFarland at (727) 863-6151.• Rotary Club of Lutz: 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays at Heritage Harbor Golf and Country Club, 19502 Heritage Harbor Parkway, Lutz. Cost is $12, includes lunch and speaker. Call (813) 857-7089 or visit• West Pasco Business Association Monday Lunch Chapter: Noon to 1 p.m. Mondays, Johnny Brusco's, 10730 State Road 54, Trinity. The group is made up of professionals who promote each other’s businesses. Visit• West Pasco Business Association Tuesday Evening Chapter: 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays at the Brix 33, 8351 State Road 54, New Port Richey. The group is made up of professionals who promote each other’s businesses. Visit• West Pasco Business Association Friday Breakfast Chapter: 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Fridays at the Oasis Coffee Spot, 9213 Little Road, New Port Richey. The group is made up of professionals who promote each other’s businesses. Visit• Coffee First: 8 to 9 a.m. the fourth Tuesday of the month at First National Bank of Pasco, 23613 State Road 54, Lutz. The event is hosted by the Central Pasco Chamber of Commerce in partnership with First National Bank of Pasco. Free and open to the public. (813) 607-2555.• East Pasco Networking Group: 7:30 p.m. the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month at IHOP, 13100 U.S. 301, Dade City. Annual dues are $25. Nils Lenz, (813) 782-9491.• Trinity Business Association: 6 to 7:30 p.m. the first and third Tuesdays of each month at Fox Hollow Country Club, 10050 Robert Trent Jones Parkway. Networking begins at 5:30 p.m., meeting starts at 6 p.m. Guests welcome. Cost is $12. Call Ginny Pierce at (727) 433-4073.• BNI Platinum: 7:15 a.m. Wednesdays at Heritage Harbor Golf & Country Club, 19502 Heritage Harbor Parkway, Lutz. Call Bob Nixon at (813) 263-5632.• Pasco Business Connections: 7:30 a.m. Wednesdays at the Broken Yolk, 3350 Grand Blvd., Holiday. Email [email protected]• Wednesday Morning Networking Group: 7:30 a.m. the first Wednesday of each month at Hungry Harry’s Family Bar-B-Que, 3116 Land O’ Lakes Blvd. A short networking presentation will be followed by a chance for all attendees to do a 30-second commercial. Cost is $7 in advance for members, $10 for guests, and includes breakfast. Call the Central Pasco Chamber of Commerce at (813) 909-2722.• Keep It Local-Trinity Chapter: 8 a.m. Wednesdays at Havana Dreamers Cafe, 3104 Town Ave., Trinity. (813) 405-7815.• Pasco Aging Network: 8 to 10 a.m. the second Wednesday of each month. Location changes each month. For information or to RSVP, visit PAN is a coalition of agencies and private providers of elder services in Pasco.• Keep It Local-Wesley Chapel Chapter: 8:30 a.m. Wednesdays at Lexington Oaks Golf & Country Club, 26133 Lexington Oaks Blvd., Wesley Chapel. (813) 405-7815.• Keep It Local-Christian Women’s Network Chapter: 9:30 a.m. Wednesdays at the Direction Connection, 2632 U.S. 19, Holiday. (813) 405-7815.• Free Networking International: 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesdays at Cantina Laredo, 2000 Piazza Ave., Building 4, Suite 170, Wesley Chapel (at the Shops at Wiregrass). Attendees pay for their own lunch. Call Martine Duncan at (813) 929-6816.• Keep It Local-New Port Richey Chapter: 11:30 a.m. Wednesdays at the Direction Connection, 2632 U.S. 19, Holiday. (813) 405-7815.• Keep It Local-Odessa/Trinity Chapter: 11:30 a.m. Wednesdays at Seven Springs Golf & Country Club, 3535 Trophy Blvd., Trinity. (813) 405-7815.• West Pasco Business Network: noon to 1 p.m. Wednesdays at Denny’s, 12105 U.S. 19, Hudson. Call Pete Petrignani at (727) 967-3106.• BNI Eagles: 7:15 a.m. Thursdays at Spartan Manor, 6121 Massachusetts Ave., New Port Richey. Cost is $10 and includes breakfast. Call Clay Henderson at (727) 534-5191.• BNI Referral Connection: 7:15 to 9 a.m. Thursdays at Vallarta’s Mexican Restaurant, 22948 State Road 54, Lutz. Call Rob Hamilton at (813) 431-5887.• Christian Business Connections of Central Pasco: 7:45 to 9:15 a.m. Thursdays at Quail Hollow Golf Club, 6225 Old Pasco Road, Wesley Chapel. Cost of $9 per meeting, includes breakfast and beverages. Annual membership dues are $100. Call Rene Van Hout at (813) 300-7511.• Trinity/West Pasco Chapter of NPI: 7:45 a.m. Thursdays at The Grand Plaza Café, 4040 Little Road, New Port Richey. Call Rob Marlowe at (727) 847-2424.• Networking For Your Success: 8 a.m. Thursdays at Lexington Oaks Country Club, 2615 Lexington Oaks Blvd., Wesley Chapel. Cost is $5 and includes a continental breakfast. Annual membership is $79. Call Matt at (813) 782-1777.• Women-n-Charge: 11:30 a.m. on the first Friday of each month, Plantation Palms Golf Club, 23253 Plantation Palms Blvd., Land O’ Lakes. The cost is $15 for members and $18 for guests who RSVP by Monday prior to the meeting. Tuesday and after, the cost is $20 for members and $23 for guests. To RSVP, visit For information, call Judy at (813) 600-9848.• Women of Wesley Chapel (WOW): 7:30 to 9 a.m. first Friday of each month, Beach House Assisted Living and Memory Care at Wiregrass Ranch, 30070 State Road 56, Wesley Chapel. WOW is the North Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce’s women only networking group. The cost is $5, includes breakfast and networking. To RSVP, call (813) 994-8534 or email [email protected]

Contact Phyllis Day at [email protected] or (352) 848-1408. Follow @pdaytimes.