SARASOTA (September 21, 2012) – The Economic Development Corp. of Sarasota County (EDC) awarded James B. Tollerton and the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee with the organization’s Legacy Awards at the EDC annual meeting on September 21. More than 325 business and civic leaders attended the event at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota.
Tollerton, owner and president of Professional Benefits in Sarasota, received the Clyde Nixon Business Leadership Award, which is given to an individual who exhibits outstanding values and business leadership. Sponsored by Sun Hydraulics Corp., the award is named for the co-founder of Sun Hydraulics who was the company’s chairman until his death in 2007.
“For more than 30 years, Jim Tollerton has contributed to the well-being of our region by starting and growing a business — a business that has successfully employed many individuals over the years but even more important, a business that has helped many other diverse businesses succeed in their goals,” said Allen Carlson, president, chief executive officer and director at Sun Hydraulics, who presented the award. Carlson also recognized Tollerton’s extensive community service, including his establishing the EXCEL fund at the Sarasota Memorial Hospital Foundation to reward hospital employees for excellence.
The USF Sarasota-Manatee received the John J. Cox Community Partner of the Year Award, which recognizes a non-profit organization that contributes to economic development by improving the area’s quality of life. Sponsored by Halfacre Construction, the award honors John J. Cox of Halfacre Construction Co., who was the company’s chief operating officer until his death in 2008.
“USF Sarasota Manatee is a key asset for nurturing and retaining talent in our community. This talent is vital as our region competes for high-impact jobs that will contribute to sustainable economic prosperity now and for future generations,” said Jack Cox, who co-presented the award with C.J. Fishman of Fishman & Associates. Cox recognized the institution’s continuous pursuit of excellence as it provides academic opportunities and career-focused degree programs.
In addition to the awards presentations, the event included a keynote address by Dale Brill, Ph.D., president of the Florida Chamber Foundation, and a briefing from EDC leaders including David Sessions and Ben Hanan, the outgoing and incoming chairs, respectively, and Mark Huey, EDC president and chief executive officer.
The EDC also unveiled an original video highlighting the EDC’s work to promote a more diverse and sustainable economy. Produced by Sarasota’s HuB Studios, the video may be viewed online at www.edcsarasotacounty.com.
The event’s presenting sponsor was State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota. Program sponsor was Gulf Coast Community Foundation. Additional sponsors included Florida Power & Light, Halfacre Construction Company, Kerkering Barberio, Sun Hydraulics Corp., SunTrust, Herald-Tribune Media Group, and Gulf Coast Signs of Sarasota Inc.
The EDC of Sarasota County is the private, not-for-profit corporation leading the community’s economic development strategy to add high-wage jobs and diversify the local economy. The EDC provides business assistance to companies in Sarasota County and helps forge solutions to community challenges that affect quality of life. The EDC works in partnership with chambers of commerce, local governments and other organizations throughout the county and the region. For more information, visit www.edcsarasotacounty.com.