MARCO ISLAND — Celebration and fraternity rang in a new year Sunday at the Marco Island Yacht Club for the Marco Island Area Chamber of Commerce. Nancy Carrington, incoming chamber president, her executive committee and 2013 board of directors took their oaths administered by Marco Island City Council Chairman Joe Batte.
Carrington succeeds Kevin Donlan, the chamber's outgoing president, who completed his year by commending the 2012 Leadership Marco graduates. The group was the 11th to complete the program that includes education on community government, services, culture and history.
Donlan gave his parting remarks, at times becoming emotional, as he recalled his five years as a resident on the island. Donlan was manager of the Publix Supermarket in Shops of Marco before being transferred out of state. In his remarks, he praised the friendships made during his stay and vowed to return in the future.
Donlan said the highlight of his year was advertising and networking services for chamber members.
Carrington, owner of Marco Island Florist, recounted her journey to small business ownership. At the age of 13, she began her career in her father's Dairy Queen in Fort Wayne, Ind. Opening a florist shop in Shops of Marco in 1988, she later moved her business in 1999 to its present location on Barfield Drive.
Carrington, a past graduate of Leadership Marco, praised the chamber for its part in her community involvement.
"Mary Quinton asked me to become a chamber Ambassador and look at me now," she remarked on her election as president.
Carrington described plans from the chamber's education committee to present a new community event. The "Souper Bowl" on Feb. 2 will raise funds for academic scholarships. Children from local schools designed soup bowls that can be purchased for $10 then filled by participating restaurants. One of a kind professionally designed bowls will be available through a silent auction.
Carrington's executive committee includes Jacquie Koon, president elect; Desiree Buhelos, secretary; Kristi Willems, treasurer; and Joyce McFarland, immediate past president.
Board members for 2013 are Alan Brown, Tiffany Homuth, Patrick Neale, Rick Popoff, Wayne Rose, Dick Shanahan, Bruce Gear, David Hyatt, Alex Parker, Mary Quinton, Jada Shigley, Richard Shanahan and Val Simon.
"The executive committee is a sign of the times," Carrington noted as she explained that her all-female executive board reflected the majority of small businesses owned by women.
Leadership Marco's 2012 class included Maggie Campo, Erik Condee, Debi DeBenedetto, Collier County Commissioner Donna Fiala, Linda Flores, Gear, Darcie Guerin, Angelia Harris, Rebecca Hodge, Joe Irvin, Curt Koon, Marcia Mandel, Carole Roberts, Bruce Robertson, Sandi Simms and Ken Warriner.
The 2012 class raised $9,000 toward educational scholarships for students on Marco Island, Isles of Capri and Goodland, Sandi Riedemann announced. Riedemann is executive director of the chamber.
In his remarks, Batte applauded the chamber's goal to "stay close to government." He pledged as a member of city council to help the chamber in any way he could.