1. Business

Clearwater Regional Chamber names tops in business

Published Feb. 7, 2014

In addition to naming Clearwater attorney Ed Armstrong as Mr. Clearwater at its 92nd annual banquet meeting Monday, the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce announced its annual business awards.

Small Business of the Year was Redefined Living; Medium Business of the Year, Easy Living Inc.; and Large Business of the Year, Matrix Medical Network.

Earning awards in the not-for-profit category were Small Business of the Year, Community Learning Center; Medium Business of the Year, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Pinellas County; and Large Business of the Year, Ruth Eckerd Hall Inc.

Judge's Choice went to Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County.

Kelly Haines took home the title of Ambassador of the Year.

Young Professional of the Year was awarded to Katy Planamenta of Superfly Digital.

Noah Lagos, director of the St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport, was named Tourism Person of the Year.

Receiving trophies for the Phillies All-Star in the Community Award were Bob Passwaters and Ed Droste of Provident Advertising & Marketing.

Trophies for Economic Advancement Business of the Year were presented to Brian Aungst Jr. of Macfarlane Ferguson & McMullen, P.A.; Frank Hibbard of Morgan Stanley; Frank Chivas of Bay Star Restaurant Group; and Nick DiCeglie of Solar Sanitation. Each of those individuals represented the Friends of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium Political Action Committee.

Established in 1922, the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce, at 600 Cleveland St., Suite 200, is one of the largest chambers in the bay area with more than 750 member businesses. Its mission is to enhance the business environment and promote economic health and growth in the Clearwater region.

• • •

Certified financial planner V. Raymond Ferrara, president and CEO of ProVise Management Group LLC in Clearwater, is the new chairman of the board of directors for the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc., positioning him as top advocate for the CFP certification and the financial planning profession.

"CFP certification is the highest standard in personal financial planning. As chair I will work to advance awareness of the certification among consumers and financial advisers alike," said Ferrara, who began his duties as chairman Jan. 1. "There simply is no better certification when it comes to providing the level of competency and ethics that consumers are looking for in today's financial adviser."

Ferrara has authored numerous articles, has been featured in the book Secrets of the Wealth Makers, and for 10 years hosted the radio program Talking Money.

He previously served on the board of directors for the Financial Planning Association, the National Advisors Trust Co., and was a board observer for National Financial Partners.

He is active in the community and has served on the board of directors of Eckerd Youth Alternatives, Morton Plant Mease Healthcare, BayCare Health System, University of Maryland Foundation, West Central Florida Council Boy Scouts of America and the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce. He is a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Tampa Bay FPA chapter.

"Ray is a strong advocate for the CFP certification, the financial planning profession and the need for consumers to have access to ethical and competent advice," said CFP board CEO Kevin R. Keller, a certified association executive. "We look forward to Ray's leadership in advancing our mission and benefiting from his years of experience as a leader in the financial planning profession."

Ferrara and his wife, Kim, live in Belleair.

Mail business news to Tampa Bay Times, 1130 Cleveland St., Suite 100-A, Clearwater, FL 33755; fax to (727) 445-4119; or email


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