In the News
CCCIA ends year with ACE AwardsThe Cape Coral Construction Industry Association had lots to celebrate Friday, and not just because it had another terrific year. The CCCIA feted the top contractors, subcontractors and affiliates as well as install its new board of directors and president during its 2014 ACE Awards holiday party and Board of Directors Installation at Palmetto Pine Country Club. More than 200 contractors and CCCIA partners were on hand for a night of dinner, dancing and celebrating the best of the best the city's building industry has to offer, as well as ring in the new. "It was a good year, very positive growth for the industry and our membership numbers are up," said Bill Johnson, executive director of the CCCIA. "We're looking for 2015 to continue on our growth pattern and keep the train going in the right direction." CCCIA members sponsored individual tables and decorated them so they all had their own individual flair, with the centerpieces being given away at the end of the evening. Even before the big awards went out, outgoing president Brian Rist handed out plaques of appreciation to past president Anthony Greco and past director Steve Kluch, as well as the President's Award to Tyra Read and Max Dean. For the ACE Awards, Johnson feted Premier Insurance over nominees Arthur Printing and Spiro & Associates as Affiliate of the year. "My favorite is the Affiliate of the Year because companies don't have to work with us, they choose to. They deserve it the most," Johnson said. Jacque Wier seemed to like the affiliates award, too, after winning. "I'm so thrilled. This is an award from the membership and they know what I do and what Premier Insurance does for the community and has done for 20 years. I couldn't have been more honored," Wier said. Siesta Pebble Interiors, a 20-year-old business and one of the few Pebble Tec applicators in the country, earned top sub-contractor honors over Honc Marine Contracting and Storm Smart Building Systems. "It's unexpected, but I'm very happy and honored because it was my mom's business she started over 20 years ago. I did it in her honor and it would make her proud," said owner Michelle Whitlock. Ramos Builders, which started as a framing business more than 30 years ago, took contractor honors over Paul Homes and LAI Construction. "It's an honor since my dad started in construction in 1981. We feel blessed to finally get an award like this, especially since our children work for the company," said Ed Ramos. "Our main focus is to make our customers happy. We are involved in the community and it comes around full circle." Mayor Marni Sawicki was also present to swear in the new board of directors and president, Joseph Francioni, and to support the construction industry. "They've been good to us over the past year and are supporting our projects and working with us to become more business friendly. It's a great interaction," Sawicki said. "The partnership we've been able to forge is amazing." Francioni said he has always had a passion for the construction industry, and was very excited to take the helm during a time of expected continued growth. "I don't know how anyone doesn't get involved in construction locally. It's building our city's future," Francioni said. "We're going to help our members grow their businesses and be ready for all the future growth. It's going to be a great year."
Time right For women to enter constructionSouthwest Florida’s growth in construction is being coupled with a desperate need for skilled workers — and this could be an ideal situation for women seeking a career change. Although women have worked in construction for several decades, their numbers in the field are still low compared with men. Now may be the time to change that, according to a trade group and women executives in construction. That’s because the construction industry is rebounding with an increase in projects and hiring. But at the same time, many companies are struggling to find highly qualified, skilled workers. That combination of opportunity and need could create good timing for women to enter the construction field. “Right now, especially in this area in construction, they’re desperate for people,” said Tree Tietsort, president of the Southwest Florida chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction. She said a lot of the big companies will have no problem training people. And the stigma surrounding women and construction has eased. If a woman can work the job and work hard, then she shouldn’t have a problem. According to an analysis of government data by the Associated General Contractors of America, construction employers added 17,000 jobs in November, and the sector’s employment hit its highest level since August of 2009. Construction employment totaled 5,851,000 in November, which is an increase of 178,000 from a year earlier. But a survey the association released in September shows that 74 percent of construction firms across the country are having trouble finding qualified craft workers. In Florida, 40 percent reported having a hard time filling some craft worker positions but no difficulty filling professional positions, and 33 percent reported struggling to fill some key professional and craft worker positions. Tietsort said more women are getting into construction at the national level, but she hasn’t noticed an increase in Southwest Florida yet. “There’s nothing screaming yet that women are making huge strides in the industry,” she said. She does think they’re entering the field, but she doesn’t think the trend will be noticed for a few more years when they start moving higher through the ranks or someone pays more attention to the number of women in the industry.
ProgramsSome women are enrolling in construction programs at Fort Myers Institute of Technology. In fact, there is a gradual increase of women entering the Plumbing Technology program and doing very well, said Nancy Smith, assistant director of finance and operations at FMIT. She said this field has potential for higher incomes and upward career mobility. Plus, plumbing is recession proof because it’s not a household fix that can be put off. It’s needed whether there’s new construction or not. And Smith said women excel in the service industries of construction, such as plumbing, electrical or HVAC, because people often feel more comfortable letting a woman into their homes. Many women have the aptitude for a construction career, but they may be unaware that it’s a viable career choice for them. “I think a lot of women shy away from construction … but there’s so many opportunities that require skills,” she said. The construction industry has a lot of income potential and career possibilities – and she said women don’t necessarily have to work in the field for these opportunities. If they’re knowledgeable in areas like accounting, technology, design or business, she said taking construction classes will give them specific industry knowledge and help them get office or technology jobs in construction companies. “It’s just an excellent career field for anyone to consider, but especially women,” she said. And FMIT welcomes – and encourages – women to take its construction courses. Tammy Kaminski, director of project management for Discovery Senior Living in Bonita Springs, said now is definitely a good time to enter the field. “Construction is coming back, but I still think there’s trepidation,” she said.
ConcernPeople are still concerned about going back into the industry, she said, because it was one of the hardest hit fields. She said general contractors and subcontractors are hesitant as well because they don’t want to add people until they see construction being strong for a longer period of time. So while there are opportunities out there, she said it should depend on what careers women are leaving for construction. Going from retail to construction is a good idea, she said, because construction pays more. But she wouldn’t necessarily leave health care for construction since health care has been more stable for a longer period of time. Nancy Ramos, president of Ramos Builders Inc. in Cape Coral, said many subcontractors were holding off on hiring but “now they’re not holding off anymore,” she said. They’re looking for skilled labor. And like many other industries that were previously male dominated, she said things have changed and women are accepted if they can prove early on that they’re competent, knowledgeable and confident. “I really think that it’s almost a nonissue,” she said. And Tietsort, with the National Association of Women in Construction’s local chapter, said there’s an upcoming opportunity for female subcontractors looking to get involved with the Hertz global headquarters being built in Estero. On Jan. 13, the association’s monthly meeting will have presentations by Eric Gass, who will speak on behalf of Turner Construction Co., and another representative who will speak on behalf of Hertz. They will be telling people how to become a subcontractor for the project and what kind of subcontractors they will be looking for. They will also be collecting information to review later. Tietsort said RSVPs are required by Wednesday, and those who are interested can call 834-2194 to reserve a spot.
Bigger and better… Cape gears up for Red White & Boom
By ANDREA GALABINSKI (firstname.lastname@example.org) , Cape Coral Daily Breeze
Organizers are again gearing up for one of the Cape’s biggest and best-attended festivals, Red, White & Boom.
The free July 4th block party and concert, presented by the Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral and the City of Cape Coral and title sponsored by RE/MAX Realty Team, will again be held the foot of the Cape Coral Bridge with expanded VIP seating, more vendors and even more boom in what historically is the biggest fireworks display in Lee County.
“I’m thrilled about about this year, it’s going to be a blast,” said Event Chairman Brett Bisbee, chamber board member and owner of B2 Solutions.
“We have more vendors this year, and we’ve got a bigger VIP area than we’ve had in past. Vendors will be lining Cape Coral Parkway to Del Prado, and we’ll have several food courts and beer booths,” he said. “We also have at the end of the event area a free kids area, which is sponsored by the The Kiwanis of Cape Coral, which includes inflatable bounce houses, climbing walls and obstacle courses.”
And this year’s fireworks show will bigger than ever.
“We’re going to have more fireworks; we’re making it bigger and better this year,” Bisbee said.
Independence Day festivities in Cape Coral actually will kick off early with the pre-Boom Century Link Prism Freedom 5-K Race over the Cape Coral Bridge at 7:30 a.m.
Registration the day of the race is 6:30 a.m. at the VIP tent, or you can preregister on online at ftmyerstrackclub.com by 5 p.m. July 3.
Ed Ramos, vice president of Ramos Builders, is in charge of the race.
Cost for 5-K enthusiasts preregistered is $25, Youth (under 12) $20, the Kids Fun Run or “Tot Trot” and 1 mile under $5. Day of race costs $35 all for ages excluding kids races under 12.
“The Tot Trot immediately follows the main race,” Ramos said.
“My favorite part of the run is the uniqueness of running over the bridge and another part that is nice is where the little kids get to Tot Trot. It’s 50 to 100 yards, following the 5 k roughly 8:45 a.m.”
The 5-K is a chamber event, with the Ft. Myers Track Club doing the timing.
Red White & Boom start will at 4 p.m., with live entertainment, a tribute honoring service men and women and fallen heroes, and fireworks to follow.
Cat Country107.1 is lining up the musical entertainment that will be featured on the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stage. Entertainment will include Jaida Dreyer performing from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. (to learn more go to jaidadreyer.com) and with featured performer James Wesley to perform at 8 p.m. For more about this rising country star, go to jameswesleymusic.com.
The Fort Myers Davidson Harley Davidson Buell American tribute honoring service men and women and fallen heroes is set for 9:15 p.m.
The fireworks show will begin at roughly 9:30 p.m., weather permitting.
Admission is free but for those who wish to go all out with food, drink and the best seating for the fireworks display, tickets for the chamber VIP area are $100.
“That includes food and your drinks, beer, and an air conditioned tent, and the Taj Mahal of Port a Potties, which have air conditioning with a sink like your bathroom at home,” Bisbee said.
The tent will be on the north side of Cape Coral Parkway “as close as you can get to the fireworks shows.”
Parking and Boom Bus Service will be sponsored by Entech Computers. Boom Trolley Trolley pick up areas will include Club Square, Iguana Mia, Sweetbay and Big John’s in Cape Coral. Parking will be free in any of those locations.
There will be additional parking at the El Rey Jesus Church at 1629 S.E. 47th Street for $10 per car, no charge for Handicap Parking.
Officials ask that you remember the rules – no coolers, no pets, no fireworks and no outside alcohol.
The Cape Coral Bridge, as well as Cape Coral Parkway from Del Prado to the bridge, will be closed at 6 a.m. Wednesday and will open back up at roughly at 1 a.m. Thursday.
For more information go to capecoralchamber.com or call 549-6900.
Cape Coral Women in Business: Nancy Ramos, Owner, Ramos Builders, Inc.
Nancy Ramos has thrived for over 30 years in the male dominated construction industry.
As active members of the Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce, the CCCIA, and supporters of Relay for Life, Nancy and Ed Ramos have become well known fixtures in the Cape Coral community.
What I personally did not know was the story behind the beginnings of Ramos Construction.
While most people probably assume that Ed Ramos started their company and Nancy came on after, Ed is the first to tell us that is not at all the way it happened. It was, in fact, Nancy who founded and built Ramos Builders, Inc.
As quickly as Ed hands his wife all her due credit, she continues to pass on the praise to her late father-in-law, Tony Ramos. Tony founded Ramos construction in 1981, but this story starts shortly before that.
Nancy was born in the Bronx and spent her first nine years in New York and New Jersey. At the age of nine, she became a Florida girl and has been ever since. She moved to Lee County in the early 70’s and attended North Fort Myers High School, where she met her high school sweet heart, Ed, in Spanish class.
Nancy was naturally close to Ed’s family, having grown up so close to them. It was no surprise after their first son was born, that she chose to work for him at Ramos Construction. She originally offered her services for general office work but quickly grew bored and expanded her role to become something of a gopher for Tony. That eventually grew into reading blue prints and learning more about the field. Clearly, Nancy is always looking for her next challenge. It was not long before she decided to take the test to become a State Certified Building Contractor to obtain her “B” license.
After receiving her license, she and Tony continued to work together. While Ramos Construction focused mostly on carpentry and framing work, Nancy was now licensed to build residential and up to three story commercial buildings. In 1991, she formed her company, Ramos Builders, Inc.
She spent the next seven years growing her business as Ed built his career in the finance industry. She also had the second of their two sons and the couple became active with Cape Coral American Little League and Cape Coral Senior Little League, Nancy serving as President of both.
After the first seven years on her own, Nancy took on her new partner and Vice President, Ed Ramos. He began assisting with sales, contracts, marketing and finance for their projects. Ed begins new construction projects and handles them until the permitting stage, once there, Nancy takes over. In remodel jobs, Nancy is “hands on” early on in the project, visiting the site and evaluating the job.
Nancy attributes much of her success to staying a smaller company and being able to adapt quickly to the market. She never hired a superintendent, always doing the work herself. When the real estate boom hit, many “fly by night” companies breezed into town to take advantage. Many unlicensed contractors were working in the industry and most were building single family homes. Nancy saw the direction those companies were heading in and steered Ramos Builders towards the multi family markets. They also stayed, and continue to stay, consistently busy with additions and remodels, recently putting the new facade on Papa Joe’s Pizza on Cape Coral Pkwy. Merrick Seafood will be undergoing some changes in the future and Ramos Builders will be leading that, as well.
Ramos Builders continues to thrive. This year they have released a new series of models that can easily be found on their website at capecoralbuilder.com.
Nancy Ramos has been in the construction industry in Cape Coral for over 30 years. She and Ed have raised their two sons, Evan and Andrew, while enjoying 31 years of marriage. She served as a board member with the Cape Coral Construction Industry Association (CCCIA). She and Ed are both graduates of the Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce Leadership program and participate and sponsor the Cape Coral Relay for life. They have been extremely active with youth sports, supporting their children through many years of baseball and soccer. Clearly, Nancy has built more than homes, offices and additions. She has built a solid family and business that contributes a vast amount to the Cape Coral community.
Thank you Nancy, for agreeing to be featured in this month’s CapeCoral.com “Women in Business”.
$7,500 worth of prizes lined up for Casino in the Cape Night and poker tournament
May 29, 2012
You can win a ride on a U.S. Coast Guard boat, stays at top hotels, win rounds of golf and more – all part of the $7,500 worth of prizes that have been donated for “Casino in the Cape,” to be held this weekend.
Tickets for two to the event are only $75 – and that includes dinner.
“It’s a heck of a deal,” said Ed Ramos, Cape Coral Chamber Alumni Leadership Class of 2011 spokesperson.
His group is presenting the event, which will be held this Saturday, June 2, at the Lake Kennedy Center. The two-part event also includes a Texas Hold ’em Poker Tournament.
It will benefit both Cape Coral’s Special Pops (The Freida B. Smith Special Populations Center) programs and the U.S. Coast Guard.
Ramos said members of the Chamber Alumni Leadership Class all believe this event will benefit exceptional local organizations.
“We visited both of these organization during our leadership program,” he said. “Special Pops is one of the most worthy organizations in Cape Coral and we all believe so many times the local Coast Guard goes unrecognized. Just one thing we want to do for them is to replace an awning at their station.”
Casino in the Cape and the Texas Hold ’em event will begin at 7 p.m. Registration is at 6:30 p.m.
There is a $75 buy-in for those playing poker and $75 for two for the casino night that includes dinner, open bar, and casino-style events, including blackjack, roulette and craps.
If You Go:
Who: Cape Coral Chamber
Alumni Leadership Class
What: Casino night and poker
When: Saturday, June 2;
registration, 6:30 p.m.;
event, 7 p.m.
Where: Lake Kennedy Center
builder.com or 633-7254
“Besides providing dinner for two, the open bar, and $200 in ‘funny money’ for the games, those at casino night will get a chance for a $1,500 reverse raffle and the other prizes.”
He said both chamber members and the community at large have been very generous with their prize donations.
“We do need more players,” he added.
For information or to make reservations, you can contact Ramos via email at email@example.com (he is the owner of Ramos Builders) or on his cell at 633-7254.
“We prefer reservations, but you can sign up the day of the event at the Lake Kennedy Center,” he said.
Located within Lake Kennedy Park between Lake Kennedy Senior Center and Sun Splash Family Waterpark, the Freida B. Smith Special Populations Center is a facility that offers a variety of programs for adults and children with developmental disabilities.
The mission for Special Populations is to promote independence through exposure, education and experience in a safe, caring environment. Programs include adult day training, after school, evening and special events providing an array of activities and options.
The Lake Kennedy Center is located at 400 Santa Barbara Blvd.
CCCIA presents 2011 Awards of Excellence
December 9, 2011
The Cape Coral Construction Industry Association toasted its members Friday night and recognized the best of the best from this past year.
The 2011 Awards of Excellence, held at Tarpon Point Marina, honored the Affiliate of the Year, Subcontractor of the Year and Contractor of the Year. Within each category, three nominees are selected from multiple entries.
Incoming CCCIA President Rick Clark said the awards are a way for the organization to give back to its members, who themselves give so much.
“If you expect to continue to grow, you have to give,” he said.
Outgoing CCCIA President Jeremy Johnson said the awards go to those who go above and beyond, or who bring something new or fresh to the table.
“To recognize the people who have stood out and made a difference in our community,” he said.
Hill, Barth and King won Affiliate of the Year for the first time. Keith Veres, a CPA and principal owner with the Fort Myers office, said it was an honor to simply be nominated alongside B2 Solutions and Innovative Printing and Signs.
“We’re really honored,” he said. “To actually win the award, we’re really humbled and blessed.”
The firm looks forward to continuing to work with the Cape group.
“HBK really appreciates the relationship we have with the CCCIA,” he said.
Subcontractor of the Year went to Service Painting Florida. Senior project manager Tom McGill said this was the company’s first nomination and win.
“Given the company I was in – the other nominees – I was absolutely dumbfounded,” he said of winning Friday.
Acra Electric and HONC Marine were also up for the award.
McGill called a first win from a first nomination unusual.
“I don’t know how many times that happens like that,” he said.
McGill added that the company is humbled and a proud CCCIA partner.
Balfour Beatty Construction took home Contractor of the Year. Alan Silver, the regional vice president, called the company’s first win a surprise.
“It’s very much a privilege to be honored this way,” he said.
The other nominees were Ramos Builders and Taylor Pansing.
Silver referred to the CCCIA as a great organization for the Cape.
“We’re very happy to be part of the organization,” he said.
Cape Coral Construction Industry holds round table to discuss future of local construction
The Cape Coral Construction Industry Association (CCCIA) held their Contractors Round Table and Industry Trade Show on Thursday evening at The Resort at Marina Village.
With construction playing such a significant role in not only the national economy, but the local economy as well, Thursday night’s event was an opportunity for those in the construction industry to provide an insight as to where the industry is headed in this economy.
Members of the panel included representatives from various local construction companies including; Rick Clark of Wright Construction, Justin Einstein of Team Aubuchon, Ed Ramos, owner of Ramos Builders and Bob Koenig of Manhattan Kraft Construction.
Participants on the Round Table panel gave their candid insight, opinions and suggestions to strengthen the construction and real estate industry. The panel was asked a variety of questions regarding the construction industry including; the image the City of Cape Coral portrays, their strategies for marketing and maintaining business, how they may provide opportunities to other suppliers and sub-contractors, how the past has affected the present and future, and the current wants and needs of customers.
One hot topic was the immediate future of the construction industry in Cape Coral. When asked the question, all members on the panel agreed things in the area are starting to look up. But, were quick to caution it will take time and patience to bring the industry back from the recent economic downturn, “There is not light switch that we are going to turn on that is going to make everything better. We are seeing signs of life. We are seeing the buyers come back. It is not an overnight process. I agree. It is going to be a slow, prolonged recovery,” said Aubuchon’s Justin Einstien.
“A little more patience. We need to hang in there. There are things coming down the pike. They have a lot of things already in place. If we sit tight, it will be back,” added Rick Clark of Wright Construction.
By the end of the night, those attending walked out learning more about the current construction industry environment and feeling hope that the industry as a whole is starting to regain momentum.
Red, White and Boom to include the First Annual
Mon, Jun 27, 2011
The Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral is pleased to announce the Centurylink- Prism TV Freedom 5K Race as the newest component to the RE/MAX Realty Team-City of Cape Coral Red, White and Boom. “This race has it all,” said Ed Ramos, Freedom 5K Chairperson. “Not only is it run over the Cape Coral Bridge it’s an evening run followed by fireworks, refreshments and entertainment. An evening for the whole family.”
The race will start at 6:30 pm behind the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stage at the foot of the bridge on Monday, July 4. Red, White and Boom will start at 4:00 p.m.
“Sponsoring the Freedom 5k is a perfect fit,” said Brian Hamman, Manager of Market Development for Centurylink. “The chamber is putting on this race for the first time and CenturyLink is providing Prism TV service for the first time. The response from Cape Coral has been outstanding and CenturyLink is happy to give back by supporting the First Annual Prism TV Freedom 5k.”
Runners can register for the race at the Chamber Welcome Center, at www.eventscapecoral.com or through the Fort Myers Track Club website www.ftmyerstrackclub.com.
The mission of the Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral is to promote and serve business and community. The main Welcome Center is located at 2051 Cape Coral Parkway E.
For more information please call Bob Knickman at (239) 549-6900 ext 109.