The year in review: Florida Business Daily’s top 10 stories of 2015

From banks to burgers, a fabulous French restaurant to a front-door faux pas, Florida Business Daily captured the attention of entrepreneurs this year.

From banks to burgers, a fabulous French restaurant to a front-door faux pas, Florida Business Daily captured the attention of entrepreneurs this year. 

These were the top stories appearing on Florida Business Daily’s website in 2015: 

1) Paul C. Tanner opens Las Olas Capital Advisors in Fort Lauderdale

Paul C. Tanner launched a registered investment advisory firm in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to help ultra-high-net-worth families plan for long-term financial goals.

“Many of our clients are established or Millennial entrepreneurs seeking to further grow their companies and transition them to new owners or the next generation," Tanner said. “We look forward to working with multiple generations of clients in the robust South Florida, Tampa Bay and Central Florida marketplaces, and beyond.”

2) 2015’s most ridiculous lawsuits include Florida front door trip and fall

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform issued 2015’s “Top Ten Most Ridiculous Lawsuits” in Washington, D.C., including a Florida woman’s filing against FedEx for leaving a package too close to her door.

The woman claimed that she was not properly informed of the box’s proximity to the doorway, arguing “severe physical pain, mental anguish and humiliation” when she allegedly tripped over the package.

“These stories will make you laugh, but sadly, frivolous lawsuits are all too common,” ILR President Lisa Rickard said. “As a society we’re too quick to sue, and issues that could be settled outside of the courtroom result in expensive and unnecessary litigation and wasted time.”

3) Florida small business pulse check shows revenue goals attainable

“Small Business Pulse Check,” Florida’s second annual regional survey conducted by TD Bank, revealed that most small businesses were optimistic about 2015 revenue goals, hiring expectations, financing requirements, relationship to tourism and the economy.

"Small businesses in Central and South Florida no longer feel constrained by the national economy, and are once again pulling ahead in performance," Ernie Diaz, regional president of Florida for TD Bank, said. "It's encouraging to see this strong optimism among small business owners."

4) Katie Pemble resigns from C1 Bank

Katie Pemble has submitted her resignation not only from C1 Bank in general, but also the boards of the bank and C1 Financial, the holding company that holds the interests of C1 Bank.

"Since joining the bank in 2010, Katie has served in a number of important roles, most recently as Florida Market president where she was an important voice for C1 Bank in the community," C1 Bank President and CEO Trevor Burgess said. "Please join me in thanking Katie for the contributions she has made to C1 Bank."

C1 Bank is an entrepreneurial-oriented bank serving thousands in Florida. It is the official bank of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Tampa Bay Rowdies and The Outback Bowl, and a corporate partner of the Miami Heat.

5) Pharmatech announces Fort Lauderdale facility expansion

Privately owned contract development and manufacturing firm PharmaTech LLC revealed plans to expand its Fort Lauderdale, Florida-area facilities to provide continued research and design for prescriptions and OTC items with an additional 50,000 square feet.

“We’re excited that our facility expansion will allow us greater capacity, capabilities and flexibility to meet the needs of our continually growing client base,” PharmaTech CEO Raidel Figeroa said. The expansion will support 45 new jobs over the next year.

6) Florida’s BurgerFi to Open 40 Branches in Mexico

With all-natural, chemical- and additive-free Angus beef patties, hand-cut fries, craft beer and wine, recycled furniture and green appliances, Florida’s BurgerFi is set to expand to Mexico City, the North Palm Beach, Florida-based company announced.

"We're extremely pleased to have arrived to the monumental milestone of opening our first international BurgerFi location,” CEO Corey Winograd said.

In its quest for the "burgerfication of the nation," the company follows a "Never Ever" program policy: no steroids, antibiotics, hormones, chemicals or additives are ever used in BurgerFi’s food. The Mexico City venue will be equipped with chairs made of recycled soda bottles, tables of recycled wood and energy-efficient ceiling fans.

7) Orlando-Melbourne International Airport welcomes Porter Airlines to Florida from Toronto

With the arrival of Porter Airlines at Orlando Melbourne International Airport (MLB) in Melbourne, flying to Orlando from Canada just got easier.

“It was an honor to be selected for Porter’s entry into the world’s largest tourism area,” Greg Donovan, the airport's executive director, said. Porter, based in Toronto, Ontario, is considered to be one of the most passenger-centered airlines.

“Canadian visitors represent our largest segment of tourists,” said Eric Garvey, executive director of the Space Coast Office of Tourism.”Porter’s commitment signals to other airlines that we have arrived on the international tourism scene. It’s a sign of things to come.”

8) Wellcare names Michael Radu SVP of clinical operations business development

WellCare Health Plans Inc. named 25-year industry veteran Michael Radu to the new position of SVP, clinical operations and business development, from its Tampa headquarters, heralding a new structure combining clinical services, pharmacy and business development.

“Mike has deep experience and a successful track record in leading clinical organizations and driving business development, which are critical components of WellCare's strategy for growth and operational excellence," WellCare CEO Ken Burdick said.

WellCare Health Plans Inc. provides government-sponsored managed care services, primarily through Medicaid, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, to families, children, seniors and individuals with complex medical needs, serving approximately 3.8 million members nationwide.

9) Two Mexican business leaders earn Bravo business awards

Two Mexican government leaders were presented with Latin Trade's 21st Annual BRAVO Business Awards following a day-long industry conference for Latin American business and government leaders, the Latin Trade Group announced from Miami.

Secretary of Energy Pedro Joaquin Coldwell received the BRAVO Award as 2015 Transformational Leader of the Year, while the economist, politician and former secretary of finance, Guillermo Ortiz Martinez, earned the 2015 Legacy Award. The two join a group of six corporate-sector winners along with Horacio Cartes, Paraguay’s president.

"The selection of two Mexican winners comes at a moment when this country has gained a tremendously strong competitive position in many industries, thanks to government action, and also to the audacity and deftness of their businessmen, who are … becoming a class of their own in Latin America," said Maria Lourdes Gallo, Latin Trade Group’s managing director.

10)  Florida flaunts French fare with The Parisian restaurant and wine bar

Escargots, foie gras, crepes and macarons are all available at The Parisian Restaurant and Wine Bar, where Tarzi Benazzouz has brought his love of French cuisine to Florida with his newly opened venture in Jupiter.

"Serving new and exciting cuisine reminiscent of Paris is a dream come true for me," said Paris native Benazzouz, "The authentic decor and music allow people to escape for a few hours." Benazzouz’s father was a chef, while his uncle, also a restaurateur, once served as chef to the Spanish Prime Minister.

“We want people to get away for just a few hours and pretend they're in Paris," Susan Nefzger, a public relations professional and Benazzouz’ wife, told Juniper Magazine. "The ambiance and the music, the food and the wine, makes it a completely Parisian experience."

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