The chamber honored local businesses in a variety of categories and installed its 2020 board of directors
On Jan. 31 the Flagler Chamber of Commerce held its 2020 Gala and Business Awards, as well as the installation of its 2020 board of directors.
The winners of the business awards were as follows:
- Outstanding Emerging Business of the Year: Welcome Home Real Estate, LLC
- Small Business of the Year: Spherion Staffing
- Medium Business of the Year: Palm Coast Observer, LLC
- Large Business of the Year: Yellowstone Landscape
- Products & Retail Services of the Year: Maid 4 Cleaning, LLC
- Professional Services of the Year: Craig-Flagler Palms Funeral Home, Memorial Gardens & Crematory
- Hospitality & Tourism of the Year: Oceanside Beach Bar & Grill
- Health Services of the Year: AdventHealth Palm Coast
- Construction & Housing Services of the Year: Chardani Building & Remodeling
- Non-Profit of the Year: Flagler Humane Society, Inc.
- Flagler County Chamber Volunteer of the Year: Ron Harlow, Adams Cameron & Co – Ron Harlow
Individual award winners were as follows:
- Flagler County Chamber Ambassador of the Year: Gaylee Tillotson, Top Shelf Storage
- Young Professionals Group Member of the Year: Michael Akialis, American Home Mortgage
- Professional Women’s Council Member of the Year: Jennifer Brown, Allstate Insurance
The Observer spoke to Mark Langello, chair-elect of the chamber’s board of directors and co-founder of M & M Development, about his perspective on the chamber's future, the awards and the county's economy.
Do you have any immediate plans as chair-elect of the board of directors?
No, but the chamber has got a plan we’ve been working on, which is re-evaluating the chamber and what we do, to be more relevant to the community in what we do. We have groups of people who are working individually on different elements. It’s premature to say “OK, this is what we’re doing.”
What do you think needs to change about business in Flagler County? Has anything changed for the better this past year?
You always strive to be more business-friendly, with consideration to what the community as a whole wants. So we could always make improvements. One of the issues has to do with permitting and construction, and how that can be better streamlined. Obviously economic development is something where we need to not take our foot of the gas. It decreases the local residence tax, and the community needs to have businesses pay that uneven load of taxes. There’s always room to improve the business environment.
We’ve seen some very positive changes in Palm Coast. The staff, the people at City Hall are great now. There are things we’ve been fighting to get done for years, and now they’re getting done.
How do you feel about the winners at the gala?
I think everybody’s a winner. I think all the companies are deserving of their recognition. I felt very good about the quality of them, in business success and also employee and customer satisfaction. Even the ones that didn't were deserving of awards. They were all good this year.
What are your prediction’s for the county’s business future?
Everyone can give you a prediction for the future. In my personal role as a contractor and a developer, the activity level we’re seeing is indicative of a very strong forecast for our future in the short term, in maybe one to two years. There’s investment. We see a new hospital coming here; that’s a huge thing. We see the expansion Palm Coast has been able to pull off with UNF; that’s major. New apartments, new restaurants — all these point to growth and an environment worth investing in. As a developer, I’m seeing these things as they come in, because people are coming to us with their plans. My outlook is positive for the next couple years.