The 2016 Southwest Florida Sustainability Summit: Healthy People, Healthy Place, and Healthy Profit is Drawing a Crowd!

The 2nd Annual SWFL Florida Sustainability Summit at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point is taking healthy shape with over 200 business and community leaders already registered to attend.

Bonita Springs is the presenting sponsor for the 2nd Annual SWFL Sustainability Summit. Carl Schwing, Bonita Springs City Manager shared his anticipation for the event, “The City of Bonita Springs is excited to sponsor the 2016 SWFL Sustainability Summit as this year’s theme reflects our city commitment to preserve the natural environment, promote human health, provide essential services and maintain economic vitality.”

Mary Lou Benecke, former Vice President of Public Affairs & Corporate Communications for Dow Corning Corporation, has been secured as the keynote speaker. Ms. Benecke will share her experience at Dow Corning and her key role in the revitalization of downtown Bay City, Michigan.

Stepping into the role of Master of Ceremonies this year is FGCU’s Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Ron Toll. “I am looking forward to this year’s SWFL Sustainability Summit with great enthusiasm. Last year’s event was superlative and I fully expect that the 2016 Summit will be nothing short of extraordinary,” he said.

The Summit will feature breakout panels and discussions featuring Babcock Ranch, Publix, and Healthy Lee. Presenters include Robbie Roepstorff, Dr. Bill Hammond, along with regional community leaders Jon Thaxton and Ed Chiles, the son of the late governor Lawton Chiles.

“At Gulf Coast, we steward philanthropic resources for the long-term benefit of our community, so sustainability is a natural focus for us,” said Jon Thaxton, Senior Vice President for Community Investment at Gulf Coast Community Foundation and a former Sarasota County commissioner. “Our Gulf Coast Innovation Challenge, for example, incentivized sustainable business solutions in the marine sciences and technology sector. By leveraging and conserving our region’s unique coastal resources, we can diversify our economy in a way that preserves and enhances what makes this area so attractive to begin with.”

The theme for the 2nd Annual SWFL Sustainability Summit is “Healthy People, Healthy Place, and Healthy Profit” to improve our Quality of Life. Joining the city of Bonita Springs as major sponsors are Keystone Sponsors LeeSar and Babcock Ranch, Healthy Food Sponsors Lee Memorial and Healthy Lee, and the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point as the Venue Sponsor.

Sally Jackson, a News-Press “Trailblazer of the Year” award nominee and System Director/Government & Community Relations for Lee Memorial, shared reasons for supporting the SWFL Sustainability Summit as the Healthy Food sponsors, “Lee Memorial Health System supports Healthy Lee, our community’s movement to create a culture of healthy lifestyles by collaborating for community health. Learn about our nationally recognized programs that are improving health and how you, too, can ‘Choose. Commit. Change.’”

A long time community partner of the health system, Bob Simpson, CEO of LeeSar, explained, “LeeSar Inc. has a service excellence commitment to our community healthcare providers by creating collaborative, supportive and long-lasting partnerships.”

The Sustainable Art Gallery will return again with the Lee County Supervisor of Elections Office on hand to count attendee votes for the art show competition. The Summit will also feature a new and exciting Electric & Hybrid Car Show.

“The summit will showcase the diversity of personal electric vehicles,” explained Chris Sharek, nationally-renowned electric vehicle expert and author of The Electric Vehicle Revolution. “A variety of EVs will be on display with owners available to answer questions about performance, the EV lifestyle, and of course, capital and operational costs.”

Vehicles will include all-electric battery vehicles like the Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S, but also the plug-in hybrid electric vehicles like the Ford CMAX and Chevy Volt.

North Fort Myers Football Coach and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers Running Back Earnest Graham is looking forward to attending the Summit as the Celebrity Host for the inaugural SWFL Fifth Grader Sustainability Competition, along with the Red Knight Unity Council.  Coach Graham will discuss the way he is helping transform lives off the football field while developing players on it.

Jon Iglehart, District Director for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will present the DEP Recycling Recognition Award. Past recipients include two-time award recipient Arthrex, Florida State University, and Storm Smart, which was presented with the award at the inaugural SWFL Sustainability Summit last year.

The RR program was developed to encourage private businesses, institutions, schools, public organizations and citizens to increase recycling in order to reach Florida’s recycling goal of 75% by 2020. Through the DEP’s easy-to-use website, organizations can register for free, track, compare, and report their recycling efforts, as well as produce reports on how those efforts are helping to shrink their carbon footprint.

The expectation is that over 300 elected officials, public sector leaders, community advocates, and private sector business leaders will attend the 2nd Annual SWFL Sustainability Summit.

“The City is dedicated to supporting regional sustainability and supports SWFL Sustainability, LLC in setting the stage to design and build healthy places,” added Carl Schwing.

“Inclusive dialogue from varied perspectives about issues that really matter to our community,” shared Matt Visaggio, Owner of Visaggio & Co. and Founder of SWFL Sustainability, LLC, “brings about worthwhile change and a mindset of sustainability. This Summit sets the stage for positive community and regional growth through that very dialogue.”

Who:Visaggio & Co. in partnership with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida
What:2nd Annual SWFL Sustainability Summit: “Healthy People, Healthy Place, and Healthy Profit”
When:Doors open at 7:30am on April 28th
Program from 8am through 2:30pm
Keynote Speaker and Sustainable Art Show
(NEW) Celebrity SWFL Fifth Grader Sustainability Competition
(NEW) Electric/Hybrid Car Show
Where:Hyatt Regency Coconut Point
5001 Coconut Rd
Bonita Springs, FL 34134
Hotel Phone: (239) 444-1234
Cost:$65 (includes breakfast, lunch and full access)
Purchase tickets at

The 2016 SWFL Sustainability Summit is organized by SWFL Sustainability, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Visaggio & Co., in partnership with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida, Inc. Please note that details for the event are subject to change with or without notice.