Karen Lapensee - Chairman
Karen LaPensee graduated from State College of Florida with a nursing degree. She spent 14 years working in emergency care, intensive care, surgery and as an Air Force Reserve Flight Nurse, prior to starting LaPensee Plumbing with her husband Michael LaPensee in 1985. Karen became the President of LaPensee Plumbing & Pools, after Michael’s retirement in 2009. She continues to run and expand the business with her son, Greg LaPensee and daughter, Shawn LaPensee. Karen has been a long term active member of the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce, serving as Treasurer, Secretary, Chair-elect and upcoming Chairman. With the help of a very capable staff LaPensee Plumbing & Pools has been honored to receive the 2011 Manatee Chamber Small Business of The Year Award.
Larry Chatt - Chair Elect
Larry received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology. His previous leadership experience with General Motors, General Electric and Precision Castparts Corp has prepared him well as Broker - Vice President of Island Real Estate. Larry’s latest accomplishment was his recent graduation from the Florida Realtor Leadership Academy, where he was one of only twelve Florida Real Estate professionals handpicked to attend the year-long program. Since 2005 Larry has resided on Anna Maria Island with his beautiful wife and son who attends Anna Maria Elementary. In the past year and a half, Larry has filled a critical role on the AMI board of directors to assist with website techniques, strategies and extracting information from website analytics. Larry has now taken a lead role in assisting the chamber to re-design the AMI Chamber website in early 2011.
Lori Gyson - Treasurer
Lori is a certified public accountant at Walter & Associates, LLC. She is a member of the AICPA and FICPA. She grew up in the Traverse City area in Michigan and has been a resident of Anna Maria since 2002 except for one year when she lived on Lido Key. She and her husband, Kirk, whom she has been married to since 1978, own a home in Anna Maria. Her son, daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren also live here on the island. She’s been in public accounting as a CPA since 1996, and recently began working with CPA firm Walter & Associates LLC here on Anna Maria across from Publix. She is thrilled to be building her business in the same community where she lives. In addition to income tax return preparation, she is most interested in helping local businesses to be successful. She enjoys helping them with their accounting, payroll, and tax needs. As a member of the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors she hopes to support our business community by promoting tourism and helping to build good relationships between local residents and area businesses.
Barbara Murphy - Secretary
Barbara is partner/owner of Travel Now, LLC a full service cruise and tour travel agency in Bradenton. She has been in the travel and airline industry for over 40 years, having begun her career as a flight attendant for Eastern Airlines. Barbara was a member of the Manatee Chamber for 20 years and served on the Better Business Council and other committees. Her involvement with the AMI chamber spans 8 years, serving on the executive board for 5 years. Barbara is married to husband Dan for 45 years and has 4 children and 7 grandchildren. She has been a permanent resident of the island for over 20 years and is very involved with both the community and her church. Barbara is a graduate of both The State College of Florida and attended the University of South Florida.
Ellen is Director of Business Development for Home Instead Senior Care. She has been on the Anna Maria Chamber Board for over 5 years. Ellen also serves on several other Boards in the community including Island Players and Big Brothers and Big Sisters. Ellen is also a member of the Manatee Chamber of Commerce Small Business Council. Ellen has been married to Beau for 35 years and they are from Rochester, New York. Ellen serves on several Committees for the Anna Maria Chamber and has been Chair of the Business of the Year Committee since its inception.
Eric came to Anna Maria from Ohio where he was a general contractor for 25 years and successfully operated his own business. He has been an Anna Maria Island businessman and manager of Cedar Cove Resort since 1999. Years ago, Cedar Cove Resort became one of the original founders of the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce. Eric continued this tradition when he became a Founders Club Member. Eric has been an active member of the AMI Chamber of Commerce and presently serves on several of the Chamber’s committees. Special Interests: Cedar Cove Resort donates regularly to the MS Foundation and Breast Cancer Foundation. Eric is an army veteran and a helicopter pilot. Cedar Cove Resort has been voted the “Best Beach Resort and Hotel” on the Island for the last three years.
As owner of a Mortgage Company and a Settlement Services and Title company, and more recently a licensed Florida Realtor, I've had the opportunity to develop relationships working closely with professionals in all facets of the business community. I hold a paralegal certificate and have worked extensively with all forms of contracts and legal transactions allowing me to garner a well rounded knowledge of how to assist in getting things done. As Operations Manager of numerous companies over the span of my career I have experience working with industry software applications including Quickbooks, Loan Origination software and other essential technology skills I have utilized during my tenure on the Board of Directors. For the past 6 years I have served on the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce Annual Golf Outing committee, and served as co-chair, bringing members together for a delightful day of golf that supports the Chamber Scholarship fund for local high school students. I enjoy the relationships I have built within the community as a result of Chamber membership, and would consider it an honor to continue serving on the Board, should I be allowed the opportunity.
Lois Gift - Treasurer
Married for 30 years with 1 daughter who is a recent college graduate.
Born in New Castle, PA. Lived in Colorado, Virginia and Florida. I have lived on Anna Maria Island for the last 16 years I have been in Florida. I have been in Banking for 35years. Branch Manager and Assistant Vice President with 1st National Bank & Trust now Whitney National Bank for 10 years. I have been on the Anna Maria Island Chamber Board of Directors for 8 years and am currently on the Executive Board as Treasurer for the past 2 yrs.
Wende has been the Marketing Manager for SERVPRO (a Disaster Restoration company) for the past 10 years. She has worked and lived all over the world and landed in Florida via a sailboat she lived and sailed on for 2 years. Her eclectic background includes studying ballet in Russia; being the first female surveyor in Denver, Colo.; and working for the U.S. government performing water and asbestos analysis. She became a certified diver while working as the Contract Administrator for an international marine construction company. She designed and marketed the 1st ‘egg-crate’ foam mattress pad to the commercial market through Cannon Mills. After a long absence, she went back to school at UF, received a degree in Nutrition and was published in 2010 in Nutrition Concepts & Controversies, a college level text book. She has served on a number of committees for the chamber, including the 60th anniversary chamber luau and annual fashion show. She loves working with the chamber, promoting the island and telling everyone ‘annamariaisland.calm’ is the perfect destination for you!
Owner: Ariel Screen Arts, LLC
Amy Tobin is the founding Principal of Ariel Marketing Group, LLC where she creates integrated marketing strategies for her small business clients. She is also the owner of Ariel Screen Arts, LLC, a Promotional Goods company. Both companies are located in Anna Maria, Florida. Previously Amy spent her career in sales, eventually being promoted to VP of Sales, managing $56million in sales and the Eastern half of the US. Amy Tobin grew up at Milton Hershey School, and later earned an MA in Art History & English Literature from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. She is a past President of The National Association of Women Business Owners, NEPA, and is currently the President of the Milton Hershey Alumni Association. Serving in both positions has given Amy detailed knowledge of how a functioning board operates, and a firm grasp on Roberts Rules, the standard for non-profit board operations. After visiting the Longboat Key/Anna Maria Island area for 5 years, Amy and her partner Joe Seeley purchased a house in Cortez Village in 2008. In January of this year they made their long awaited move to become full time residents of the area.
When a mortgage discussion arises, many people in Manatee and Sarasota County can say that that they had an extraordinary home financing experience with a true Mortgage Banking professional. This professional that many speak of is Wayne Gunter, Mortgage Loan Officer/Banking Officer for BB&T Home Mortgage in Bradenton, FL. Wayne’s commitment to superior client service along with his attention to detail has helped position him as a “Top Performer” within BB&T. Wayne graduated from the College of Business at the University of Florida in 1995 and has been originating mortgage loans over the past sixteen years. His high level of expertise, strong commitment to his community and dedication to his field are just a few things that set Wayne apart as a true professional as well as a highly sought after expert in his field. Over the past 10 years, Wayne has focused his mortgage expertise on Anna Maria Island, where he has become well known in the real estate industry as the island’s local mortgage expert. A native of Manatee County, Wayne and his wife Jenny are raising their two sons; Brycen and Brennen in the same neighborhood he grew up in.
David Teitelbaum lives & works in Bradenton Beach, is a very active board member of the AMI Chamber of Commerce & received the 2009-10 AMI “Business Person of the Year” award. He is president of Anna Maria Island Resorts - functioning as an owner, developer, manager, marketer & realtor in the AMI real estate, hospitality & tourism marketplace. David developed & manages Old Bridge Village, Tortuga Inn Beach Resort, TradeWinds Resort & SeaSide Inn Beach Resort. David serves as Vice-Chairman of the Manatee County Tourist Development Council & serves as a board member for Manatee County Economic Development Council, Bradenton Beach Waterfront Florida Partnership (WAVES) & AMI Preservation Trust.
Dan and wife Sandy became residents of Cortez in 1998, moving from Minnesota. In 2008 their son Rob and wife Laura purchased Tyler’s Ice Cream a 24 year old business needing TLC. Since, they changed operations and recipes back to founders Larry and Gerri Tyler’s vision, ice cream made and served with love. Rob and Laura were honored with the AMI Chamber Small Business of the year for 2013. Dan’s business experience includes 11 years with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines as cargo sales manager based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin serving 5 states. His business ownership experience started with the founding of International Diversified Marking in 1984. IDM distributed promotional mail and magazines overseas by direct entry into foreign postal systems. In 1987 Diversified Mail Services was incorporated providing domestic mail pre-sorting, lettershop, fulfillment and distribution. Prima Marketing Group was formed in 1989 which was a Chicago based magazine circulation management, subscription fulfillment, web development and telemarketing company. In 1990 Specialty Staff, Inc was founded which provided staffing, payroll and employment services. Dan enjoys small business and continues to help with the growth of Tyler’s in Cortez and Specialty Staff in Minneapolis, MN.
Janet Mixon and her husband, Dean Mixon are owners of Mixon Fruit Farms, a 73 year old family owned business. Mixon's is one of the top gift fruit shippers in Florida. Mixon’s also squeeze and bottle their juice for the community. Janet and Dean have diversified the business and Mixon's has become one of the top Gulf Coast Destinations according to the Travel Channel. The Mixon Groveside Market is a wonderful experience. They have also added a tram tour through the grove where their customers learn about the history of citrus and the Mixon family and enjoy a visit to the wildlife rescue with deer, raccoon, hawks, owls and much more. Injured animals that can't be released into the wild that would normally be euthanized are provided sanctuary by the Mixon’s. During the year the Mixon's host many non-profit organizations for fundraisers, sponsor a cooking competition for the local high school culinary arts programs, and also sponsor art events with students and local artists.
Owner: CG&B Publishing, LLC of Bradenton
David moved to Bradenton with his wife, Cindy & son, Matthew in 1990 from Westbrook, Maine, where he worked in the printing, paper and publishing industries. In Florida, he continued in the printing industry, in sales, for Coastal Printing of Sarasota. He also owned his own company, Book Binders of Florida, Inc., a hard cover book binding firm. In 1996, he opened Book Binders Printing & Publishing, Inc. and in 2008 he opened CG&B Publishing, LLC of Bradenton. CG&P is the official Publisher of the Visitor’s Guidebook for the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce, the 2011 Bayfest Booklet and the Manatee County Chamber’s monthly “Current” Magazine. David is very active in AMI Chamber events and volunteers at the AMI Chamber office.