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Pasco business digest for Sept. 20

News and notes on local businesses


EDC AWARD WINNERS: The Pasco Economic Development Council distributed seven awards at its 33rd-annual Awards and Trade Show. The 2019 Pasco EDC Award winners include:

• Leadership Award: Dr. James P. Gills, an ophthalmologist, philanthropist, athlete, author and man of faith. His vision for a new community developed into what is now known as Trinity in southwest Pasco County.

• Start-up Business of the Year: The Point Distillery, a professional distillery, bottling and co-packing operation on Little road in New Port Richey.

• Special Contribution: AdventHealth Wesley Chapel, which provides care using the principles of CREATION Life (Choice, Rest, Environment, Activity, Trust, Interpersonal Relationships, Outlook and Nutrition).

• Small Business of the Year: Design and Construction Innovations, LLC, a full-service general contractor specializing in commercial, residential and government construction projects in Florida.

• Medium Business of the Year: Millian-Aire Enterprises, Corp., a family-owned business in operation since 1989, offering cost-efficient HVAC services.

• Large Business of the Year: Welbilt, Inc., which provides chefs and chain operators with industry-leading equipment and solutions for the food industry.

• Special Recognition: Medical Center of Trinity, which represents a unique geographic position in the community, servicing Pasco, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.

Dr. James P. Gills received the Leadership Award at the Pasco EDC 33rd-Annual Awards and Trade Show. Pictured, from left: Pit Gills (son), Dr. James P. Gills, Heather Gills (wife) and Shea Gills Grundy (daughter). [Pasco EDC]

SPORTS BAR GROUNDBREAKING: Bubba’s 33 sports bar held a groundbreaking for its new restaurant in Wesley Chapel on Sept. 9. This will be the first Bubba’s 33 location in Florida. The restaurant is expected to open in December at 26340 Silver Maple Parkway.

NEW AT&T STORE: A new AT&T store opened at 5427 Little Road, New Port Richey, the seventh AT&T store in Pasco County. The store is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturday, and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays.

UNIVERSITY RECOGNIZED: Saint Leo University was ranked as one of the best regional universities and best values in higher education in the South in the 2020 U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges rankings, which was recently released. The university ranked 25th, up from 47th last year. The university also moved up to fifth place from 14th last year among the Best Value Schools in the South; and was named a Best for Veterans School among southern regional universities, moving up from 31 to 14. It ranked fourth for international students and seventh for campus ethnic diversity. In a new category this year, Saint Leo was named to the Top Performers on Social Mobility in Southern Regional Universities list, tying for No. 10 with Columbia College.

LEADERSHIP PASCO: Leadership Pasco announces the Class of 2020, which includes 34 business and community leaders chosen from a competitive pool of applicants. Since 1990, Leadership Pasco has introduced participants to major facets of the Pasco County community through an intensive 10-month course, including full-day program sessions, tours and candid conversations with community leaders.

The Class of 2020 participants includes: Monica Andersen, AdventHealth Dade City; Charles Anderson, United Way of Pasco County; Turner Arbour, Pasco EDC; Kera Arnone, Keller Williams Realty; Kathleen Balthazard, First National Bank of Pasco; Jessica Bleser, Pasco County Board of County Commissioners; Rick Bruno, AdventHealth Wesley Chapel; Michael Carballa, Pasco County Board of County Commissioners; Kirsty Churchill, Gulfside Healthcare Services; Rodney Corriveau, City of Zephyrhills; Heather Davis, GTE Financial; Dennis Feltwell, Pasco-Hernando State College; Alexia Fernandez, Wells Fargo Bank; Margie Freeman, Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point; Kelly Giber, BayCare Health System; Frank Grey, Pasco County Schools; Timothy Hanavan, Remax Premier Group; Patricia Howard, Pasco County Schools; Richard Jenkins, Eckerd Connects; Denise Johnson, Florida Trans Proud, Inc.; Susan Martin, Saint Leo University; Patrice McBride, Pasco County Clerk and Comptroller; Judy Meyers, City of New Port Richey; Lauran Monbarran, Simpson Environmental Services/Simpson Farms; Thomas O’Connor Bruno, Coalition for the Homeless of Pasco County; Carol Parris, Realtor; Julie Rockwell, Raymond James and Associates; Debi Shackowsky, Marjorie’s Hope; Mary Sommise, Medical Center of Trinity; Amy Taylor, Morton Plant North Bay Hospital; Nicholas Walsh, Homes Res-Q Remodeling; Rebecca Wilkinson-Shields, Pasco County Sheriff’s Office; Robert Winters, The Salvation Army; and David Wright, Primerica.

Leadership Pasco Class of 2020 gathers at Spartan Manor as part of its orientation day program. [Leadership Pasco]


‘WAKE UP’ BREAKFAST: The Wake Up Greater Pasco Membership Breakfast will be 7:30 to 9 a.m. Sept. 20 at Seven Springs Golf and Country Club, 3535 Trophy Blvd., Trinity. The speaker is Andrew Fossa, Director of Emergency Management for Pasco County. Breakfast is $20 members, $30 nonmembers.

WEIGHT LOSS SEMINAR: A discussion about weight loss surgery options will be presented from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Sept. 24 at Medical Center of Trinity, 9330 State Road 54, Trinity. The speaker is Dilendra Weerasinghe, MD, a general surgeon and member of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. The discussion will be offered again at noon Oct. 4. Reservations are required. RSVP to (727) 834-5630 or

PAIN MANAGEMENT DISCUSSION: Those dealing with chronic pain are invited to a free seminar, Win Your Battle with Pain Management, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 26 at AdventHealth Dade City, 13100 Fort King Road, Dade City (in classrooms 107 and 108). Rafael Santiago, MD, will discuss how to get relief from pain. There is no cost, but reservations are required. Call toll-free at 833-300-2371 ore visit

Building skills

SMARTSTART CLASS: A “YouTube for Businesses” class will be offered from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 25 at the SMARTstart East Pasco Entrepreneur Center, 15029 14th St., Dade City. The classes are part of the SMARTstart Entrepreneur Education Series offered through the Pasco Economic Development Council. RSVP online at Call toll-free at 1-888-607-2726.

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

• Opportunities in Franchises, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 30, SMARTstart West Pasco Entrepreneur Center, 4532 U.S. 19, New Port Richey.

• Results-Based Marketing, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 1, SMARTstart West Pasco Entrepreneur Center, 4532 U.S. 19, New Port Richey.

• Strategic Planning for Small Businesses, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 7, SMARTstart East Pasco Entrepreneur Center, 15029 14th St., Dade City.

• Basic QuickBooks, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 8, New Port Richey Library, 5939 Main St., New Port Richey.

• How to Really Start Your Own Business, 5:30 to 7 p.m. Oct. 9, Hugh Embry Branch Library, 14215 4th St., Dade City; 5:30 to 7 p.m. Oct. 16, at South Holiday Branch Library, 4649 Mile Stretch Road, Holiday; or 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 18, Regency Park Branch Library, 9701 Little Road, New Port Richey.

• Tax Implications for Small Businesses, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 9, Hudson Regional Library, 8012 Library Road, Hudson.

• Using the Internet in Your Business, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 15, Land O’ Lakes Branch Library, 2818 Collier Parkway, Land O’ Lakes.

• Developing a Non-Profit Board, 4 to 6 p.m. Oct. 29, Spring Hill Branch/Harold G. Zopp Memorial Library, 9220 Spring Hill Drive, Spring Hill.

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. Tuesday After Hours Chapter, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays, FlameStone Grill Trinity, 10900 State Road 54, Trinity. Thursday Lunch Chapter, noon to 1 p.m. Thursdays, Giovanni's Fresh Italian Kitchen, 37611 U.S. 19, Palm Harbor. 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. Each chapter is seat-specific. Contact Maria Johnson, or (727) 934-0940. 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

• 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.

• 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