Eric Cairns - Chairman of the Board
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.
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.
Karen Lapensee - Secretary
Karen LaPensee graduated from State College of Florida with a nursing degree, she spend 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. Karen has been a long term active member of the Chamber of Commerce, serving as Treasurer, Secretary, Chair-election and currently Chairman of the Board. 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 and the 2016 Anna Maria Island Chamber Small Business of The Year Award.
Larry Chatt - Past Chair
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 - Owner 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 two sons. Since 2009, 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 played a lead role in assisting in the re-design and continuous development of the AMI Chamber website since early 2011.
Lois is an Assistant Vice President and manages the Island and Manatee Ave branches of Hancock Bank. Her banking career spans over almost 40 years. Lois’ strong ties in the banking community as well as an AMI Chamber Board of Director has served her well with business and retail clients in Manatee County. She believes customer service is number one and portrays this in her every day activities. A Board member since June 2002, she has served as Treasurer and now Secretary. Lois moved to the Island from the southwest corner of Virginia with her husband and daughter at the end of 1994. The last 20 years has been an incredible experience not only personally but in her banking career as well. Being involved in the AMI Chamber has given her the opportunity to be part of the Island community and has made lasting friendships with incredible people she has met.
Barbara is 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. Barbara has been involved with the AMI chamber since 2002 & serving on the executive board since 2007. 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.
Wende Webb is currently employed at the Anna Maria Island Community Center. Wende served as the Marketing Manager for SERVPRO (a Disaster Restoration company) for over 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!
When a mortgage discussion arises, many people in Manatee and Sarasota County can say 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 2010 AMI “Business Person of the Year” award, the 2013 CVB “Tourism Partner of the year” award, & the 2014 Chamber “Save the Trolley” award. David is president of Anna Maria Island Resorts - functioning as an Owner, Developer, CAM manager, Marketer & Realtor in the Real Estate, Hospitality & Tourism marketplaces. David developed & manages Old Bridge Village, Tortuga Inn Beach Resort, TradeWinds Resort, Tropic Isle Beach Resort & SeaSide Inn Beach Resort. David serves on the Manatee County Tourist Development Council, Manatee County Economic Development Council, Visit Florida’s Advertising & Internet Committee, Florida Restaurant & Lodging Council & Bradenton Beach Scenic Highway Committee.
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.
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.
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: Anna Maria Island Accommodations
Mike is a Florida native, grew up in St Pete Beach, and received his B.S. Degree in Accounting from the University of South Florida. He spent the first part of his career in public accounting, worked with the St Pete Beach Chamber of Commerce, and served on the Board of Directors for the Louise Graham Regeneration Center until 1995. Mike became the Controller for Palmer Johnson Yachts in Savannah, Georgia in 1995, served as the Controller and CFO until 2002, then moved to Anna Maria Island to do consulting and software work for Galati Yachts. He met Susan at the Sandbar Restaurant in 2004, and the couple purchased Anna Maria Island Accommodations in June of 2005. The couple married in 2006 at the Beach House Restaurant, and continue to live in the city of Anna Maria. As a long term member of the Chamber seeing the business benefits, and a new member of the AMI Chamber Board of Directors in 2014, he looks forward to assisting in business growth and working to find a balance in business and community.
Bev Lesnick has been a resident of this island since September of 2012. She came to the island from Tampa, FL where she worked for the Embassy Suites in Downtown Tampa since 2007. She fell in love with the coffee shop business and opened a coffee shop with her then mother-in-law, MJ, when she was married to MJ’s stepson who was in the Air Force. Bev has always enjoyed helping others. While being a military dependent she volunteered for the Officer’s Wives Club and did many things for the military community and the families of these communities. She served on the Board in various positions and enjoyed her time helping others. When MJ, her former mother-in-law had asked her if she would like to open a coffee shop on Anna Maria Island back in 2010, she worked diligently through 2011 until she found the perfect spot to open the coffee shop. She immediately went to the Chamber of Commerce to join because she felt that would help her become a part of the community. She and MJ started volunteering by helping the Chamber with Bayfest, prior to their opening Island Coffee Haus in Nov/2012. She continues to volunteer for the festivals as she enjoys the interaction with the members of the Chamber and the communities on the island. After becoming a resident of the island in 2012, Bev continues to enjoy all the permanent and transient residents on the island. Her coffee shop has become a meeting place for people to come and enjoy. She has found her paradise.
Erin Joy Heckler has a background in international marketing and a degree from Wake Forest University in Communications and Spanish. Before moving to Florida she lived all over the country. Her experience includes work at an international chamber of commerce in Washington DC, helping Fortune 500 companies collaborate with international partners. As an Anna Maria Island resident, she loves life on the island and is thrilled to be able to work and play everyday in paradise! With twenty years of marketing experience and nearly ten years on the island, she brings a breadth of knowledge to her work at Island Real Estate. After years of leading the Real Estate Marketing and Sales Team Administration, she transitioned to become a full time Real Estate agent. With her technical and marketing background, and her involvement at the Anna Maria Island Community Center, and the Anna Maria Elementary School, she enjoys developing her personal and professional passion for the community.