It’s that time of year… Time to vote for the 2014 VFCC Chamber of Commerce. The Board is comprised of five (5) members elected by the membership and two (2) members appointed by the newly-elected Board. Candidate bios are displayed below. All of the nominees have been confirmed as current members in good standing. Ready to vote?
Meet the Candidates
Joe Svehla – Get The Facts Home Inspection
Joe Svehla – Is currently the owner of Get The Facts Home Inspection. He Started the business 4 years ago, after earning his state license as a home inspector. He has grown his business to become a one stop shop for all your inspection needs. He was born and raised in Chicago IL. For the past 7 years he has lived in Valrico with his wife of 15 years and 2 children. Jake 13 and Emily 9 years old.
Michael Holmes – Delta Credit Restoration
Michael has served the business community for 15 years as a bank manager for financial institutions as Washington Mutual, Chase Bank, Fifth Third. Now the owner of Delta Credit Restoration, he continues to assist small business owners in developing strategies to grow their business.
As one of the original founders of the Valrico Fishhawk Chamber, he has served on the board since its inception and currently holds the Executive role as President. His number one goal has been to “push the needle” for local businesses as President, and feels the role of the Chamber should be to continue doing what it can to serve as a conduit for local businesses members.
Starting anything from scratch can be a challenging endeavor. Through the help of talented local business support, the Chamber is now entering year two. While there is still a lot of opportunity for growth and fine tuning, he is proud to have been able to play a part in establishing this Chamber for its members. He is especially appreciative to all those that have sacrificed their time and hard work. This appreciation extends to his family for all the support, encouragement, and sacrifice of thier time as well.
“I am very excited about 2014. We have quite a bit of momentum now and lot of new ideas and talent coming to participate. Thank you all for a wonderful year one and I look forward to working with you all during this very exciting new year.
Marie Gilmore – Osprey Observer
For Marie, journalism has been a lifelong passion. She graduated with honors, in 1996, with a communications degree from the journalism program at Mount Royal College in Calgary, Alberta. Working at the Calgary Sun daily newspaper was an excellent prerequisite for her 1996 move to Tampa, FL, where she accepted the Assistant Editor position at the Advisor Magazine. Marie then worked as a features correspondent for the Tampa Tribune and accepted a position at the New Tampa Neighborhood News. In a few short years, she advanced from assistant editor to assignment editor and finally managing editor. In 2001, she moved to FishHawk Ranch and launched the Osprey Observer Community Newspaper in January 2002. The Osprey Observer grew from a 750-home hand-delivered newsletter to four monthly editions direct-mailed to more than 80,000 homes per month. In 2008, the Osprey Observer purchased the 12-year-old Christian Voice Monthly newspaper and doubled the circulation of the newspaper in South East Hillsborough County. Marie enjoys getting to know people and sharing her experiences and knowledge of being in business and is happy to speak and share her knowledge with groups, organizations and individuals. Marie is the founder of FANG.
Jeff Langmaid – Florida Orthopedic Institute
Dr. Jeff Langmaid is a practicing chiropractic physician with Florida Orthopaedic Institute. Dr. Langmaid is also the founder of The Evidence Based Chiropractor, which is the leading research based marketing service in chiropractic.
Dr. Langmaid has written dozens of articles, spoke to numerous organizations, and produced hundreds of blog postings regarding natural health. He serves as part of the Orthopaedic Total Wellness Program, official physician for Bloomingdale High School Football and official physician for the SkatePark of Tampa. Communication and the convergence of healthcare and technology has been a particular interest of Dr. Langmaid’s. He has established and piloted many interdisciplinary collaborations between Medical Doctors and Doctors of Chiropractic which have led the way to morecomplete patient care.
As a current Board Member of the Valrico-Fish Hawk Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Langmaid would welcome the opportunity to expand the vision and continue the growth of our chamber.
You can find Dr. Langmaid actively engaged with the community on Twitter and Facebook. Additionally, his blog is syndicated through iTunes and website is updated frequently. With a keen eye you may even find him playing guitar at various venues in Tampa Bay with his rock band.
Bruce Wawrzyniak of Now Hear This
BRUCE WAWRZYNIAK is the owner of Now Hear This, Inc., specializing in live entertainment. He has been active with the Chamber since it was founded in late 2012, including serving as the Chair of the Events Committee. In 2013 the Events Committee produced all of the following for the membership: Speed Networking, Business After Hours, General Assembly/Community Insight Meetings, Chamber Night Off, ribbon cuttings, and the weekly Power Hour. Bruce took great pride in getting Florida’s State Attorney General Pam Bondi as the featured speaker for the general assembly/community insight meeting on November 5th. A Valrico resident for over ten years, Bruce (Now Hear This) is also a member of Christian Business Connections, Tampa Bay Business Owners, and the Bridal & Events Network.
Bridget Jenkins Wilson joined the Chamber in 2012. After a year on the sidelines, she is prepared to become a Chamber leader. She is a 3rd generation state licensed roofing contractor. She attended USF where she received her degree in Elementary Education and she went on to teach 3rd grade as her first career. Bridget Attended Contractor’s School as soon as she finished at USF and has been involved in her industry her entire life. Her leadership skills won her a college scholarship in Leadership. She has held offices in leadership since high school and is currently President of her company. Her proudest leadership role is that of a mom. Bridget is a former FANG member.
From an early age, Michael Severe displayed a passion for the law, and government. His interests were diverse, and through them he always strove for excellence. When deciding on where to attend University, Mr. Severe chose to remain in the city of San Diego, California to attend Revelle College at the University of California, San Diego, graduating with a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science, and minoring in English Literature.
After graduation from University, Mr. Severe was offered a department management position at Costco Wholesale. During his seven years at Costco, Mr. Severe came to understand value of interacting with consumers.Â Mr. Severe prided himself on ensuring that both he and staff provided the highest quality care to the warehouse members. Mr. Severe also worked diligently to guarantee that his department remained in compliance with all State and Federal regulations, and was staffed by knowledgeable associates.
Mr. Severe left Costco in 2007 to spend some time in the area of finance, assisting overseas investors, mainly form the U.K., to enter the U.S. markets legally through S-reg stock purchases in investment corporations. While the work was rewarding and profitable, Mr. Severe missed the direct interaction with the public. As a result, Mr. Severe left the finance world in 2009 and applied to law school, choosing Florida as his desired destination. Mr. Severe felt that the Florida legal system was one of the most active and interesting, and would provide a plethora of opportunity to assist those in need of legal assistance.
After only two and a half years, Mr. Severe graduated a semester early from Barry University Law School, Orlando. During his short tenure in law school, Mr. Severe had many great experiences ranging from participation in full mock trials, preparing appellate briefs and engaging in mock oral arguments, to study abroad opportunities in the Cayman Islands, and Florence, Italy.
In the Caymans, Mr. Severe studied the laws surrounding overseas investing, and overseas banking regulations. In Florence, Mr. Severe studied International Family Law concerns, the legal framework surrounding the international sale of goods (CISG), and a comparative course on the procedures of international civil litigation compared to those here in the United States. Mr. Severe was privileged to meet the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court John Roberts, a guest lecturer with the program.
Here in his adopted home of Florida, Mr. Severe excelled in Commercial Law, and Commercial Trial Advocacy, scoring the highest score in his class in Commercial Law. Mr. Severe also found a passion for mediation and as a result has attained certification to (perform as a) county court mediator, and is actively seeking certification to (perform as a) circuit and family court mediator.
Upon graduating from Law School, Mr. Severe decided to realize another goal. During his years at Barry, Mr. Severe had become very close with a colleague, Ms. Medearis, working together on several projects throughout their tenure at Barry. Mr. Severe and Ms. Medearis decided to continue their professional relationship post-graduation and open their own firm. The partners chose to focus their practice in areas of law that benefit the community. Mr. Severe brings his years of experience in retail and finance to his practice, placing the needs of the clients at the top of his priorities to ensure his clients feel secure in their choice to work with the Medearis & Severe law firm. Mr. Severe approaches his clients no differently than he approached customer service in his years at Costco: provide the highest quality care and the highest level of communication with his clients in an effort to guide them through the legal process while ensuring each client understands each step in their particular legal matter.
Michael is a former FANG member.
Peter Farren – Farren Law Group
Peter has been married to Magda since 1994 and they have four children ranging in age from 4 to 19. Peter and his family have resided in Valrico since 2003. He is a member in good standing of the Florida Bar since 2000 and is also licensed to practice law in Massachusetts. Peter graduated magna cum laude from the University of Massachusetts in 1995 then graduated cum laude from Stetson University College of Law in 2000. Early in his career, Peter worked for insurance defense law firms in Tampa before opening his own practice in 2004. In 2011, he merged his practice with Tom Gallo, Esquire on Bloomingdale Avenue in Valrico. In October 2013, they relocated their Gallo Farren Law office to larger office space located at 3626 Erindale Drive in Valrico off of Lithia Pinecrest Road.
Because he lives, works and owns a business in the Valrico area, Peter has a strong and vested interest in seeing the Valrico and Lithia (Fishhawk) areas grow in a responsible and productive manner for both the residents as well as the business community. He understands the needs of the area as both a resident and business owner and the issues facing the community. Peter believes that we have chosen to locate here for a reason and we do not want to see the community drastically change from under our feet. We want to grow in a controlled manner without losing the identity of the community. Peter believes that the Valrico – Fishhawk Chamber of Commerce can be a very strong voice on behalf of all members of the community as it relates to the future development and needs.
Teresa Fink – American Dream Home Mortgage
Teresa Fink has been a resident and active business professional in the Tampa Bay community since Tampa Bay community since 1987. Teresa began her career in the mortgage industry as a mortgage processor and became a licensed mortgage broker in 1990. As one of the communities top-producing loan originators, she decided to partner with her husband, Mike, in opening their own company in 2006. It was Teresa’s dream to help prospective homebuyers to assist them in achieving their dream of home ownership and assist homeowner’s in achieving their financial goals by refinancing, consolidating debt or to accomplish their personal dreams by utilizing the equity in their homes. Teresa’s extensive mortgage background provides borrower’s a wealth of knowledge in all mortage lending products including FHA, USDA, VA and Conventional. Teresa is an advocate for her clients and will work diligently to assist the borrowers in obtaining their goals Teresa has helped the Valrico Fishhawk Chamber in various ways over the past year. She has assisted as Secretary to the Board, provided photography coverage for events through her husband Mike’s business, and has supported and attended almost all the events the Chamber has placed. She looks forward to serving the Board and the members of the Chamber with the same professionalism and diligence as she has her business for the past seven years.