Estero's Top 25 Gala

Estero’s Top 25 Gala

As a smiling Don Eslick ambled his way to the front of the Grande Ballroom at The Club at Grandezza, the crowd rose and gave a warm ovation for the man known as Mr. Estero.

Eslick was one of 25 people recently honored for their influence in shaping Esteros identity over the years. As founding chairman of the Estero Council of Community Leaders (ECCL), Eslick, 87, helped lead the incorporation of the Village of Estero in 2014.

The Top 25 Persons of Greatest Influencerepresent significant contributors from various arenas, including government, business, religion and community advocacy. Many are volunteers. All aim to enhance the quality of life for everyone in Estero.

The idea behind this award is not necessarily calling attention to the most important people in town or the best-known individuals, or even those who hold high positions,said Nolen Rollins, chair of the planning committee,but to recognize, express appreciation for, and honor many who have had great influence in making this such a wonderful Village.

Jon McLain, Jim Gilmartin and Don Eslick

Jon McLain, Jim Gilmartin and Don Eslick

A little more than 30 years ago, Estero was an unincorporated community in Lee County with a population just over 3,000. Now its closer to 35,000 with a projection of 50,000 or more by the end of the decade.

The 25 people honored on Oct. 28 played a huge role in Esteros development, and many will continue to lead this community in the years ahead.

The planning team consisted of representatives from the Village of Estero, ECCL, Estero Chamber of Commerce, Estero Historical Society, Estero Forever Foundation, Estero Rotary Club and Estero Life Magazine.

The team solicited nominations from the community, and in September, every resident and businessperson in the Village of Estero was invited to vote for the Top 25 14 of which are community volunteers.

 

HONOREES

Adele Amico

Adele Amico

 

 

 

Adele Amico

Founder of the Light Up Estero Christmas celebration and the Estero Republic Club, Amico isalso a member of the Estero Chamber of Commerce and Estero Historical Society and a board member of River of Life Assembly of God, Virtue Freedom Institute and the American Spirit Movement.

 

 

 

 

 

Margaret Antonier

Margaret Antonier

 

 

Margaret Antonier

President and CEO of Miromar Development Corp., Antonieris the visionary leader behind Miromar Outlets, University Village, Miromar Design Center and theaward-winning Miromar Lakes community. Miromar Outlets hosts 8 million visitors annually and supports 40 charitable organizations.

 

 

 

Jim Boesch

Jim Boesch

 

 

 

Jim Boesch

Past mayor and council member of the Village of Estero, Boesch was a leader with the ECCL prior to the Villages incorporation, in which he played a key role. He is also co-founder and a board member of the Estero Forever Foundation.

 

 

 

 

Craig Brush

Craig Brush

 

 

 

Craig Brush

CEO of Hertz Arena and co-founder/president and general manager of the Florida Everblades, Brush has delivered entertainment options and brought huge economic impact to Estero since 1998. Esteros hometown hockey teamhas made the playoffs every year but one, winning the league championship in 2012. More than 5 million fans have attended Everblades games.

 

 

 

Tim Carson

Tim Carson

 

 

 

Tim Carson

Pastor of Estero United Methodist Churchsince 2012, Carson headed a massive food and face-mask distribution effort during the pandemic. In 2017, Esteros oldest churchunderwent a$4.5 million expansion, which includedmore room for fellowship, childrens programming and communityoutreach.

 

 

 

 

Blake Chapman

Blake Chapman

 

 

 

Blake Chapman

The founder of State Insurance USA, LLC, and State Insurance Cares, Chapman is chairman of the Estero Chamber of Commerce and a supporter of numerous local charities. Hes an FGCU graduate and Southwest Florida native.

 

 

 

Katy Errington

Katy Errington

 

 

 

Katy Errington

Esteros first woman mayor, Errington is a member of the inaugural Village Council. She chairs the Lee County Metropolitan Planning Organization and is a member of the Florida League of Mayors. She is a member of the Estero Rotary Club and a past district governor of Rotary International, as well as a board member of Interfaith Charities.

 

 

 

 

Don Eslick

Don Eslick

 

 

 

Don Eslick

Chairman of the ECCL for 15 years, Eslick not only led the organization but was a driving force in the incorporation of the Village of Estero. The ECCL is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, civic advocacy organization which represents the interests of Esteros residential communities and continues to support Village initiatives.

 

 

 

Jim Gilmartin

Jim Gilmartin

 

 

 

Jim Gilmartin

President of the ECCL since 2019, Gilmartin now leads the organization, chairs the Education Outreach Council and serves as the ECCLs communications officer. He is also active in his community of Lighthouse Bay as its community association president for nine years and The Brooks Master Association vice president for six years.

 

 

 

 

Alex Greenwood

Alex Greenwood

 

 

 

Alex Greenwood

Vice president of Lee Health Coconut Point, Greenwood also is administrator of the Bonita Community Health Center and serves as Lee Healths executive representative on the ECCL Health Council. He is also the strategic planning chair for the Estero Chamber of Commerce Board.

 

 

 

 

David Hoffmann

David Hoffmann

 

 

 

David Hoffmann

CEO of Hoffmann Family of Companies, Hoffman bought Hertz Arena and the Florida Everblades in 2019. His company invested about $12 million in arena renovations, which included enhanced food services and a state-of-the-art scoreboard.

 

 

 

 

Gary Israel

Gary Israel

 

 

 

Gary Israel

Publisher and owner of Estero Life Magazine, Israel is involved in many community organizations. He is a charter member of the Rotary Club of Estero and a past district governor for Rotary International. He is a board member of Interfaith Charities and sings the National Anthem at many local events.

 

 

 

 

Jeff Maas

Jeff Maas

 

 

 

Jeff Maas

Chief financial officer ofEnviroStruct,Maas is a big supporter of Estero High School. He also serves asa commissioner onthe Estero Fire Rescue Board, is past president of the Estero Chamber of Commerce and formerly served on the Estero Community Planning Panel.

 

 

 

 

Hugh McGuigan

Hugh McGuigan

 

 

 

Hugh McGuigan

Pastor of Our Lady of Light Catholic Community, McGuigan leads Esteros largest congregation. Our Lady of Lights community outreach includesSt. Vincent de Paul Society and Our Lady of Light Thrift Shop, which supports Café of Life and Lee County schools.McGuigan is an ordained a priest with the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales.

 

 

 

 

Jon McLain

Jon McLain

 

 

 

Jon McLain

Vice-mayor of the Village of Estero Council, McLain is most proud of being a liaison for the Villages biggest capital project to dateEstero Parkways resurfacing andnew pedestrian paths, bike lanes, landscaping and street lights. As a Village Council member, McLainleads planning for the annual Estero Veterans Day event and is involved with community development and stormwater management.

 

 

 

 

Al Meyer

Al Meyer

 

 

 

Al Meyer

An active community volunteer, Meyer is behind several local fundraising efforts benefitting FGCU Athletics, the United Way and the American Heart Association. In his community of Grandezza, he created and managed the first United Way Golf Tournament, helped organize a Heart Walk, foundedthe Grandezza Singers and started the Neighborhood Crime Watch.

 

 

 

 

Joe Pavich Sr

Joe Pavich Sr

 

 

 

Joseph Pavich, Sr.

Broker-owner of J. Pavich Real Estate, Pavich bought one of the first 800 homes in Estero over 30 years ago. Pavich is chairman of the ECCL, past president and current impact partner of the Estero Chamber of Commerce, and a two-time former president of the Bonita-Estero Realtors Home Foundation. He is a charter member of the Estero Rotary Club and a member of the Estero Forever Foundation and Estero Elks Lodge.

 

 

 

 

Joni Pavich

Joni Pavich

 

 

 

Joni Pavich

Married to Joe Pavich, Sr., for almost 50 years, Joni Pavich has also been a longtime community volunteer and a realtor with J. Pavich Real Estate; their two sons are also realtors. She serves as a board member with the Estero Forever Foundation and the Estero Chamber of Commerce.

 

 

 

 

Ray Rodrigues

Ray Rodrigues

 

 

 

Ray Rodrigues

Florida state senator representing District 27 since 2020,Rodriguespreviously served four terms in the Florida House of Representatives, representing southern and coastal Lee County since 2012.In the senate, he serves as chair of the Reapportionment Committee and vice-chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment and General Government.

 

 

 

 

Nolen Rollins

Nolen Rollins

 

 

 

Nolen Rollins

Founder and president of GPS Life Journey, Rollins often asks, Are you leading a life of significance?He is pastor emeritus of Legacy Church,a founding pastor of Summit Churchand is a consultant for ministries around the world. He is past president and chair of the Estero Chamber of Commerce, co-founder and chair of the Estero Forever Foundation, and founder and president of the Estero Houses of Worship.

 

 

 

 

Dick Schweers

Dick Schweers

 

 

 

Dick Schweers

An Estero Fire Rescue commissioner emeritus, Schweers served for 22 years and was the longtime chairman of the fire board, overseeing construction of new stations and a massive expansion of services. Schweers was a longtime member of the ECCL and is past president of the Notre Dame Club of Southwest Florida. He coordinates mass every Sunday at Our Lady of Light Catholic Community.

 

 

 

 

Jim Shields

Jim Shields

 

 

 

James Shields

Chair of the ECCL Education Council, Shields is most proud of establishing the Junior Achievement 2-5-8-GRADUATEprogram, a volunteer-led financial literacy program in Esteros elementary, middle and high schools.Shields is also heavily involved in his community of Grandezza with the charitable foundation.

 

 

 

 

Scott Vanderbrook

Scott Vanderbrook

 

 

 

Scott Vanderbrook

Esteros fire chief for the last 13 years, Vanderbrook has been with Estero Fire Rescue for 22 years and serves as a task force leader for Urban Search and Rescue. For the first two years after the Villages incorporation, Estero Fire Rescue provided office and meeting space for Esteros new government.

 

 

 

 

Scotty Wood

Scotty Wood

 

 

 

L. E. Scotty” Wood, III

A longtime community volunteer, Wood advocated for a hospital in Estero for nine years before seeing the realization of Lee Health-Coconut Point. Wood serves as co-chair of the the Village of Estero Planning, Zoning and Design Board and is an advocate for responsible growth.

 

 

 

 

George Zalucki

George Zalucki

 

 

 

George Zalucki

An inventor and entrepreneur, Zalucki is involved in several local organizations. He is vice-chair of the Estero Forever Foundation, co-founder of Gulf Coast Dream Cruise, a board member of the Estero Chamber of Commerce, and member of the Greater Estero Visitor Information Center Team.

 

Photos by David Michael DiMartino

 

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