The Horizon Council, Horizon Foundation and Lee County Economic Development Office have announced the winners of the 2022 Industry Appreciation Awards.
Held Feb. 10 at the Caloosa Sound Convention Center in Fort Myers, the awards program celebrates Lee County businesses that drive the local economy, employ our workforce and shape their industries. Following a rigorous evaluation process, 17 companies were selected as finalists across six awards categories.
Winners were announced in the following categories:
• Minaya Learning Global Solutions was awarded the Inclusion & Diversity Award. The company’s strategic learning architects are committed to developing its clients’ number one resource – people. Diversity and inclusion has always been at the heart of this minority-owned and woman-owned business. In addition to a diverse team of six employees in Fort Myers, Minaya has more than 100 diverse contractors working globally, all of whom assist clients with their diversity initiatives.
• Vectra Digital received the Technology Award. The company, founded in 2017, has kept technology at its core from day one, investing heavily in research and development. As a result, the company has earned its position at the forefront of artificial intelligence-based technology development – technology that Vectra Digital is making available to small and large businesses alike.
• My Undercover Agent won Innovator of the Year. Based in Cape Coral, the real estate tech startup was envisioned, developed and founded by Kari Leftwich-Wolfe in 2016. By developing technology to elevate the real estate industry internationally, My Undercover Agent serves as a prime example of the budding ecosystem in Lee County for tech-startups.
• HF scientific was awarded Manufacturer of the Year. A leading global producer of instrumentation, test kits and chemical reagents used for monitoring water quality in a variety of applications, HF scientific is a leader in its industry and holds many patents for innovative products. The company moved its headquarters from Canada to Fort Myers in 1980, was acquired by the leading brand Watts in 2005, and expanded its footprint with the opening of a new state-of-the-art, 35,000-square-foot manufacturing facility and global headquarters in 2021.
• Spiro & Associates, Marketing, Advertising, Public Relations and Brand Architecture was named Small Business of the Year. Under the leadership of Chris Spiro, Spiro & Associates has accelerated client performance for 37 years through game-changing marketing, advertising, public relations and branding. In addition to creating a new “No Walls” office space, the company recently expanded its services with an in-house app development team, a full-service social media department and a digital photo and video studio.
• Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, P.A. was named Large Business of the Year. As the oldest law firm in Fort Myers, Henderson Franklin, Starnes & Holt has a proud tradition of service and excellence. Established in 1924, it has grown to become one of the largest locally-based law firms between Tampa and Miami. The firm employs more than 55 attorneys – the majority of which have been with the firm for between 10 and 56 years. The company has consistently been recognized with top honors at the national, state and local levels.
“For 30 years, the Industry Appreciation Awards have been recognizing Lee County business excellence, and we congratulate all of our winners and finalists for their remarkable achievements,” said Horizon Council Chairperson and the Mayor of the City of Sanibel Holly Smith. “The deep-rooted relationships between both public and private leaders are better than ever, and we see countless possibilities unfolding through strong partnerships in Lee County.”
For more information on the Industry Appreciation Awards, visit IndustryAppreciationAwards.com.
About the Horizon Foundation
The Horizon Foundation was established in 1995-96 to provide a funding vehicle for businesses to invest in Lee County’s long-term economic development and vitality. In 2000, the Horizon Foundation received its IRS ruling as a charitable 501(c)(3) organization. The Foundation raises private-sector money to support efforts of the Lee County Economic Development Office and the Horizon Council to improve the area’s business climate. For more information, please visit LeeCountyBusiness.com/Horizon-Foundation or HorizonCouncilFoundation.com, or call 239-533-6800.
About the Horizon Council
The Horizon Council is a public-private board established in 1991 to advise the Lee County Board of Commissioners on economic development issues. The Council has up to 80 members representing cities; chambers of commerce; economic development and trade organizations; community, business, and education organizations; along with various officers and at-large members. The Horizon Council is the voice of business in Lee County. The Council’s mission is to improve Lee County’s business environment, retain and encourage the expansion of existing businesses, and attract new and diversified employers. It is the only public-private partnership of Lee County Government and business leaders. Visit LeeCountyBusiness.com/Horizon-Council for more information.
About the Lee County Economic Development Office
The Lee County Economic Development Office provides business assistance to retain existing businesses, encourage entrepreneurship and attract new business to provide a strong economy and thriving communities. The office also works to improve opportunities for the workforce to advance skills and have access to career ladders. Lee EDO has published a Development Activity Story Map that allows the public to explore new private development projects and investment activity in the county. Visit LeeCountyBusiness.com for more information.