Category Archives: Fort Myers Events

News Peeks: #SWFL A/C company to help family beat the heat

Kenmark Air has announced "Beat the Heat" to help one local family with air conditioning equipment and installation.
Kenmark Air has announced “Beat the Heat” to help one local family with air conditioning equipment and installation.

Ken McDaniel, founder and owner of Kenmark Air in Southwest Florida, is a great example of a local business owner giving back to his community.  He and his sons, Tyler and Bradley, will select a deserving family to provide equipment and installation of a new air conditioning system to help them “Beat the Heat.”  Until Sept. 15, 2015 they are accepting essays of 250 words max and will announce the recipient by Sept. 30.  Why is Kenmark Air doing this?  Ken says it best in his own words:

“Since starting Kenmark Air 20 years ago, being part of our community has always been important to my family and to my business. Throughout my sons’ childhoods and even after, I coached baseball and soccer, trying to help young people get off to a good start. After practice and during school vacations, Tyler and Bradley learned the HVAC air conditioning, service and installation business, eventually joining the company and taking on the leadership roles they have trained for since they were very young.

Mentoring, dedication to service and a supportive community have brought us to where we are today. We are very grateful, and that’s why my sons and I have launched ‘Beat the Heat.’ We hope to give back in the best way we know how.

With heat indexes into the three digits, we would like to provide a local family with free air conditioning equipment and installation. Until Sept. 15, we will accept nominations from the community for a deserving family living without air conditioning in their home. We will announce the winning home by Sept. 30 after an inspection to make sure it meets the necessary criteria.

Nominations of 250 words or less can be completed online at or sent by mail postmarked by Sept. 15 to Kenmark Air, 5811 Country Lakes Dr, Fort Myers, FL 33905. One can self-nominate or nominate someone they know. For a complete description of contest rules go to or visit the Kenmark office.

We want to help by making things better for at least one local family. And we will try our best to do even more.”

This is a great opportunity for one local #SWFL family and we hope readers will help spread the word and nominate someone by Sept. 15.  Let’s get together to “Beat the Heat!”




In Fort Myers: A Hometown Hero Brightens the Day

There are days when we can all use a ray of sunshine.  And yesterday, that ray was Vonda Chatman, a team member at PDQ in Fort Myers, Fla.   She was working inside the restaurant when suddenly a violent thunderstorm began, causing a power outage inside and flashes of lightning outside.

PDQ's CFO Nick Reader drove down from Tampa to congratulate Vonda on going above and beyond.
PDQ’s CFO and co-founder Nick Reader drove down from Tampa to congratulate Vonda on going above and beyond.

Vonda said, “It lit the whole building up and then everything just went off. I saw the lightning hit the pole. I looked over and saw the lady shaking a little and the daughter looked like she was dazed.”

A pregnant woman and her family had just left the restaurant when a bolt of lightning, strong enough to knock out power, shocked her as she was leaning against the bus stop shelter.

Without thinking of her personal safety, Vonda raced outside to offer assistance. She helped the woman and her small child back into the restaurant. The mother and child were taken to Lee Memorial Hospital.

Vonda explained, “I just kicked into mother instinct and just ran out there. I don’t care if I would’ve got shocked as long as I know they were okay. She got some medical treatment. I feel better now.”

PDQ patron Lynndy West wrote on Facebook: “Another example of PDQ team’s commitment to the community! Way to go Vonda! Amazing community partners and exceptional team members! Awesome food too!”

Vonda sharing her story during an interview with  NBC2 Fort Myers
Vonda sharing her story during an interview with NBC2 Fort Myers

Operating Director Scot Chausse was happy that everyone was okay. “Lost a little bit of power. Lost some electronics,” he said. “But we just basically saved a life. PDQ did.”

Thanks, Vonda, for bringing a little sunshine in after the storm – we are lucky to have someone like you in our community.

News Peeks from PKE: Out & About in #SWFL

PDQ guests can win “A Year of Fresh”

Guests who enjoy PDQ restaurants on 10 separate days during the month of July are eligible to win “A Year of Fresh,” gift card prizes ranging in value from $125 to $500, which can add up to free PDQ for a year.

Participation takes place online at where guests can create an account and register for the contest. They can then enter the transaction numbers on their receipts to track their visits. There are email reminders, incentives and special offers along the way.

The contest ends on July 31 and those who recorded 10 visits at any PDQ location will be entered into the drawing which will take place at a grand prize party taking place at the Gulf Coast Town Center location on Aug. 11 at 6 p.m. and at the Cleveland Ave. location on Aug. 14 at 6 p.m. Each location will announce its own winners of the Grand Prize ($500 PDQ gift card), Second Prize ($250 gift card), Third Prize ($125 gift card) and many other prizes. Those eligible for the drawing will also be entered to win a pair of round-trip airline tickets courtesy of Coca-Cola for travel within the U.S. and its territories used by Dec. 31, 2016.

For rules, regulations and other contest details visit

 In Southwest Florida, restaurants are located at 12499 Cleveland Ave. and 17470 Ben Hill Griffin Pkwy. in Fort Myers. Restaurants are open from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.



Star Spangled Bonita added sparkle to July 4th!

The City of Bonita Springs’s annual Star Spangled Bonita event was a sparkling success.  Taking place at Riverside Park in Bonita Springs, the festivities began at 4 p.m. and included a kids’ amusement area, the annual old-fashioned bed race, eating contests and live entertainment from The Ben Allen Band and Railhead. The night sky lit up with a spectacular fireworks display and laser light show after dark.


The City of Bonita Springs would like to thank the following sponsors: Gator Country and Renda Broadcasting, Bonita Springs Infiniti, Buffalo Chips, Royal Scoop, Adams Produce, The YMCA, The Rotary Club of Bonita Springs, Fitzgerald’s, Heaven Scent Flowers, The News-Press Media Group, Bonita Daily News, The Banner, Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce, Center for the Arts, Seminole Gulf Railway, Advanced Disposal, PKE Marketing & PR Solutions, Lee County Sheriff’s Department, Bonita Springs Fire Control and Rescue District, iconDo Inc., Arc of Life Spinal Care, Suncoast Credit Union, Trinity Chiropractic, Hole in One Golf Carts, American House and Kinexis Chiropractic.

Restaurant news: Wacky Sunglasses at PDQ

The future’s so bright…

PDQ celebrates National Sunglasses Day

 Yes, there is an official annual National Sunglasses Day and PDQ will celebrate in style on June 29 with “Wacky Sunglasses Day.” Wacky sunglass wearers will be rewarded all day at both Fort Myers locations with a 50 percent discount off any one purchase.


PDQ #SWFL Restaurants are located at 12499 Cleveland Ave. and 17470 Ben Hill Griffin Pkwy. in Fort Myers. Restaurants are open from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

PDQ, which stands for People Dedicated to Quality, is a fast casual restaurant specializing in fresh hand-battered chicken tenders, made-to-order sandwiches, daily cut fries, hand-spun milkshakes and fresh salads with dine-in, drive thru or catering options.

Life in Public Relations: A Recipe for Kindness


Gloria’s La Trattoria Cafe Napoli, Fort Myers











Good at Heart

This is part I of a story about one woman’s kindness and one young girl’s dream. With all that is going on in the world, it is uplifting and inspiring to know that Anne Frank was right when she wrote, “despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.” I hope that I can share with you the same feel good moment I experienced today.

AMIkids Southwest Florida

AMIkids-Southwest-Florida - with tag

A little background first: Like many of us in the public relations profession, at PKE we are concerned about our community and love getting immersed in the causes we care about. At our firm, we work with several Southwest Florida non-profit organizations, but our heart is with children and education, specifically AMIkids Southwest Florida, an alternative school for at-risk kids between 14 and 18 years old.

One visit to this day school and you cannot help but be impressed by the staff’s commitment to getting these kids back on the right track and back into their regular high schools. Through rigorous academics, mental health therapy and behavioral treatment, this program addresses the problems of kids who often have unbearable home lives filled with violence, drugs and abuse. They start out with such a disadvantage that there is little surprise when they get into trouble and make the wrong decisions.

A rough start

A few months ago, we planned a Ladies Tea to create more awareness about AMIkids Southwest Florida. One of the students, 15-year old Naomi, was brave enough to share her story with the guests. She not only told of her hardships, first the incarceration of her parents and then their deaths, being split up from her sibling and sent to live with an elderly aunt who became a substitute “grandma,” she also shared one of her dreams – to become a chef and to own her own restaurant.

Her talk was so direct and heartfelt that everyone was silent for a moment after she was finished – we were amazed at all this child had been through and yet here she was, tasting her first scones, trying a variety of teas and sharing her future plans. What could be more wonderful and serendipitous than one of the guests being a local chef/restaurant owner? Even better, the guest was Gloria Cabral, owner of La Trattoria Café Napoli, a warm-hearted, friendly, community-minded person who was as taken with Naomi’s story as the rest of us. So much so that without hesitation, she offered her time and attention to mentor Naomi – to have her come to the restaurant to see what the life of a chef is all about. In essence, the offer to ignite Naomi’s dream and help her take the first step to making it become real.

Portrait of Gloria that hangs in her restaurant
Portrait of Gloria that hangs in her restaurant

A new beginning

Today was Naomi’s first visit to Gloria’s Trattoria Café Napoli. Accompanied by AMIkids executive director Windye McNeal, restaurant manager Tino gave Naomi a front and back of the house tour, briefed her on the menu and wine list, and gave her tips from “Safe Staff,” a publication on safety in the workplace from the Florida Restaurant Association. Her next lesson will be with Gloria in the kitchen to learn more about the role of a sous chef and the importance of quality cuisine. The best part? Gloria has designated May 14 as “Tapas Night with Naomi,” an AMIkids SWFL fundraiser where Naomi will participate as sous chef for the evening and help prepare dinner for 55 guests.

Tino's training session with Naomi
Tino’s training session with Naomi











Naomi is slightly nervous about being in the spotlight, but when I asked her how she felt about all this, she said, “I am really excited about this adventure. This is a dream I will always remember.”

One woman, one girl and one extraordinary act of kindness – the perfect ingredients for a second chance.



Delicious lunch at Gloria's La Trattoria Napoli
Delicious lunch at Gloria’s La Trattoria Napoli

Part II coming soon: In the Kitchen with Gloria & Naomi

My Experience with Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure

This past semester PKE Marketing & PR Solutions was fortunate to have Caroline Lennox, a Florida Gulf Coast University student, as our intern. Caroline spent three months working directly on client projects and gaining real-world experience. I asked her to write a blog entry on any topic she thought was interesting and related to the work that she’d accomplished in public relations. I hope you enjoy her blog post as much as I did.



My Experience with Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure

By: Caroline Lennox

When I learned I would be working at Susan G Komen Race for the Cure helping the media, I had no idea what to expect. I was excited, knowing that I would see how everything happens behind the scenes at a big event like this. Being an intern, I expected to be doing small things like talking with potential interviewees or finding breast cancer survivors who would be interested in being interviewed.  I never imagined I would be working right with the news stations helping with interviews and more. I was directly involved in placing people to be on air.  Setting them up with WINK News and NBC-2 was intimidating, but exciting at the same time.  It’s such an awesome feeling watching a live interview and knowing that I helped make that happen. That was a special moment for me and it made me realize I’d chosen the right career path.

Komen logo

I spent the whole day coordinating interviews, taking pictures to be posted on social media sites and also newspaper websites and helping direct people at the finish line. Being able to watch the setup before the race and also the aftermath gave me an interesting view of how the event is run.  I came to appreciate all those people who spent their time setting up all the tables, chairs, tents and other items before the race began. They had to turn right around and take things down at the end of the day.  Being behind the scenes is eye opening in a way, as I saw so much more than I would have if I’d just volunteered or ran in the 5k race. Meeting the executive director and other Komen staff members and seeing how the whole event is run from their perspective is intense. So much time and effort goes into planning the event that happens once a year, but it takes a full year to plan it out perfectly so nothing goes wrong. It was an amazing event and experience to partake in as a young college student. Hopefully, that won’t be the last Komen event that I engage in as a PR person.

Komen Race 2013

How’s your mental health?

We have all become used to news updates, warnings and helpful tips on physical fitness, but how often do we think about our mental fitness? Probably not too often.  But with National Depression Education and Awareness Week taking place now, this might be a good time to evaluate how you cope with stress, and to consider whether or not you are exhibiting signs of depression.

Continue reading How’s your mental health?

From the PR Perspective: 5 Highlights of the Perfect Relationship

If you are in the business of marketing and/or public relations, you understand the value of building and nurturing relationships.

For most of us, five to seven years is the average longevity of the client/PR practitioner engagement — businesses change and grow, people move on and circumstances change. It’s always a little sad, but new opportunities come along and we begin anew.  For my practice, the best example is a client whom I have worked with for more than 11 years…a PR “love story” of sorts that started before the company’s birth and ends now more than a decade later as the company finalizes its sale to a larger corporate entity.

Continue reading From the PR Perspective: 5 Highlights of the Perfect Relationship

Learn Something, Teach Something…Every Day

Recently, I attended an event in Fort Myers, FL called The Grande Dames Tea, The Wisdom of Age, which featured three inspiring women from our community who shared their stories and their philosophies.

One of these women was Myra Janco Daniels, founder and president of The Philharmonic Center for the Arts in Naples, FL and The Naples Museum of Art.  She regaled us with great anecdotes and sweet memories, but one piece of advice really resonated with me.  She encouraged the audience to “Learn something every day, and teach something every day.” I have been trying to do so ever since… Continue reading Learn Something, Teach Something…Every Day

Even the sticky buns were pink…

More than 250 people attended the Susan G. Komen Survivor Breakfast at Vi at Bentley Village in North Naples on February 19, 2011.

In the world of public relations, corporate social responsibility plays an important role in most business plans,  and I am fortunate to know so many business leaders who  want to give back to the community in whatever way they can.  When it all comes together, it is a beautiful thing to be a part of — the feeling of doing good and doing right crosses all boundaries, brings people together, and elevates the moment beyond a typical business event.  Just this past Saturday, for example, I attended the Survivor Breakfast hosted by our local affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure at Vi at Bentley Village in North Naples. It was a perfect Southwest Florida day, and more than 250 people attended. Continue reading Even the sticky buns were pink…