SARASOTA, Fla.– The Gulf Coast Builders Exchange (GCBX), a not-for-profit construction industry trade organization, recently held its 67th annual installation and awards dinner with guest speaker U.S. Senator Marco Rubio.
On Thursday, Feb. 21, more than 425 attendees packed the room at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota to hear Senator Rubio provide an overview of issues facing the federal government and various matters of interest in the construction industry.
“The heart and soul of our country is not just the building trades and the contractors but the small businesses that many of you represent,” said Senator Rubio to the crowd. “The backbone of our country is made up of family-started and family-owned small businesses like yours. People that are invested in the community, hire in the community and give back to the community. You make a difference not just because it’s good for business but because you live here. Because you’ve always been here, and you’ll always be here.”
During the event, Fred M. Starling, CEO and founder of Starling Group, was honored with the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award. The Lifetime Achievement Award is granted to members in recognition of a lifetime of distinguished service and contributions to the GCBX, the commercial contracting industry and the community.
Serving as a consultant for numerous private and public sectors in commercial development, Starling founded the Starling Group in 1981. Today, the company has completed more than $650 million in real estate development on Florida’s West Coast.
“I am sincerely honored to serve in my role at the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange where I get to work and serve the individuals that build these businesses and build our community,” said Mary Dougherty, executive director of the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange. “It’s a distinct pleasure to meet these leaders in the industry, hear about their contributions and learn from them. One of those leaders, Fred Starling, is being honored with the highest award we bestow for his contributions to this community and to the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange.”
GCBX’s current chairman, Brian Leaver, senior vice president of Tandem Construction, passed the gavel to the incoming chairman David Karins, chief executive officer and president of Karins Engineering Group, Inc. The surprise Chairman’s Award was presented to Patrick Robinson, Deputy Chief of Police for the Sarasota Police Department, and Cindy Appel with CORE Construction received the Volunteer of the Year award.
About the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange
The Gulf Coast Builders Exchange was established in 1952 and is a not-for-profit corporation operating as a trade organization under the guidance of a volunteer board of directors as representatives of the industry. The not-for-profit organization represents a broad cross section of the building industry, including contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and others from affiliated industries.
The GCBX membership is comprised of close to 400 companies in Manatee, Sarasota and Charlotte counties. It includes some of the most respected contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, service providers and businesses in construction-affiliated industries. GCBX’s advocacy efforts on behalf of the building industry are conducted in Manatee, Sarasota and Charlotte counties. For more information, visit www.GCBX.org.