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AC_Beyond2012E  GAINESVILLE – Jan. 20, the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Council for Economic Outreach (CEO) hosted hundreds of business leaders at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts for the 2012 Toast to Business, an evening featuring big announcements and honors.

The event began with the announcement of the new Silver Airways facility at the Gainesville Regional Airport, a project CEO has been working on with the Gainesville Regional Airport since October.

Thomas McIntosh, 2011 Chairman of the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce, said: "We're thrilled that Silver Airways has chosen Gainesville as the site for its new service center, breathing new life into a state-of-the-art aviation facility.  Silver carefully selected a home where the company could grow and provide centralized service to key markets.  On behalf of the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce and Council for Economic Outreach, we stand poised and totally committed to helping this new company grow and thrive right here in our community."

The Chamber welcomed 2012 Chairman of the Board Mike Gallagher, president and CEO of SantaFe Healthcare, the parent company of AvMed Health Plans, and honored its top 2011 volunteers.

  • Diplomat of the Year – Steve Jeppson, Florida Credit Union
  • Volunteers of the Year – Linda McGurn, McGurn Investments and David Day, UF Office of Technology Licensing
  • Innovation Award – Community Bank and Trust
  • Chairman’s Awards – University of Florida and Tom Mallini, M&S Bank

Former University of Florida President and founder of IFAS, E.T. York, was honored with the Legacy Award for his service in Alachua County and around the world.

The Chamber also screened the top three Community Video Challenge Contest finalists. The contest challenged community members to create a video about what they think makes Gainesville special. The winning video was created by Keith Perry and Co. and can be viewed on innovationgainesville.com.

The night ended with a toast by Angela Pate, president of the evening’s presenting sponsor, Focused Management Solutions.

“Focused Management would like to toast you all for working together to build our thriving business community,” Pate said. “We would like to Toast Silver Airways and welcome you to Gainesville. I think you will find that we really do make cool things happen in this community. We raise our glasses to all of you!”