Board of Directors
Chairman of the Board
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 asked 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 for their 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.
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.
Amy M Tobin
Amy Tobin is a Realtor and a Business Writer. She earned her MA in Art History and English Literature from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland and spent 20 years in sales and sales management. She has served as President of the National Organization of Women Business Owners NEPA Chapter and the President of the Milton Hershey Alumni Association and as a volunteer at the Community Center and Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce. Amy discovered Anna Maria Island back in 2005 and couldn’t stay away. After buying a vacation home here in 2008, one vacation she just couldn’t bear to leave the sunshine, and the turquoise water and white sand. She has dug deep roots in the island community and has been a Chamber member since coming here.
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 several years.
Dan and wife Sandy became residents of Cortez in 1998, moving from Minnesota. In 2008 their son, Rob, and his 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. All of Tyler’s ice cream is made on site. Tyler’s was honored with the AMI Chamber Small Business of the year for 2013. Dan enjoys small business and continues to help with the growth of Tyler’s in Cortez, Bradenton and Longboat Key
Susanne Arbanas has a background of many successful years in international guest relations, services and management in both the aviation and hospitality industry.
Upon returning from Australia to Anna Maria Island in 2008, She founded Anna Maria Island Concierge Services where she worked diligently with local business owners and visitors to enhance their “Island Experience”.
Susanne continues to be a key motivator in bringing new and innovative ideas to our community through volunteering and working with our local businesses and organizations.
She is our island “Director of Contagious Enthusiasm”!
David is the owner of 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.
John Campora has over twelve years in investing and banking experience. He works at the Edward Jones branch in Holmes Beach. He has lived and worked in Manatee county for thirty six years. John enjoys helping people reach their financial goals. Having been adopted and raised by a single mother, John understands the challenges of one income families and the value saving can have on a person’s future. John enjoys spending time with his wife and young son.
Originally from England, Katy moved to Anna Maria in 2000, planning to stay and work here for a year. After that first year, she decided this was where she wanted to live. Eighteen years later and counting, she is still here. Katy is married to David, has 2 dogs and lives in Bradenton. Katy has worked for Anna Maria Island Resorts (Tortuga Inn; Tradewinds; Seaside Inn and Tropic Isle Inn) since its inception in 2009 but has worked for David Teitelbaum since 2003. She is now Assistant General Manager and attributes her knowledge of business to the very supportive mentoring from David and the general manager, Barbara Baker. Katy has been a committee member with Symphony on the Sand since 2013 and also enjoys volunteering with Manatee County Animal Services.
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.
Karen LaPensee graduated from State College of Florida with a nursing degree. She spent 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 • Air after Michael’s retirement in 2009. She continues to run and expand the business with her son, Greg LaPensee. Karen has been a long-time active member of the Chamber of Commerce, serving as Treasurer, Secretary, and Chairman of the Board. With the help of a very capable staff LaPensee Plumbing • Pools • Air has been honored to receive the 2011 Manatee Chamber Small Business of The Year Award, the 2016 Anna Maria Island Chamber Small Business of The Year Award and the 2017 Longboat Key Chamber Small Business Person of the Year Award.
Janet Mixon and her husband, Dean Mixon are owners of Mixon Fruit Farms, an over 78 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 crocodiles, alligators, 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.
Diane Phinney moved here in 2010 from Massachusetts after renting for two seasons and agreeing with her husband that the people living on AMI were the friendliest people out of all the 19 states in which they had previously lived.
A graduate with a BS from The State University of NY at Potsdam and a MA from Michigan State, Diane worked primarily in Social Work, Education and Non-Profit Administration. Her desire to help others was fulfilled with work in adoption, foster care, community education, battered women and troubled and at-risk youth.
Community volunteerism has always been a passion. On AMI she has served as President of the Key Royale Homeowner’s Association, Secretary of Cultural Connections and PR Chair of Island Players. In addition, she has provided leadership to committees at The Center, The Tour of Homes, artsHOP and Food & Wine on Pine.
Working and playing in the out-of-doors is one of Diane’s loves. With a friend, she started a kayaking group soon after moving here. In season, you might see a group of 15-20 people kayaking in Bimini Bay or paddling around Key Royale…. these would be the “Yakkers”. They understand, as Diane does, how the feeling of paddling these waters and observing nature all around them can be transforming. She encourages others to come experience all the island offers and to make Anna Maria their home.
Mike attended AMI Elementary, played football at the youth center, recalls the private air strip where Holmes Beach City Hall resides and the lack of paved roads. Mike moved to Tallahassee as a child, but was drawn back to the island in 1996 due in part to a strong family presence (Mary Norman, co-owner of the Sterling Anvil, and Mike Norman Realty). Mike is currently co-owner of AAA Payroll Service, which was honored to be awarded the AMI Small Business of the Year Award for 2017. His professional background includes 10 years in the real estate industry followed by 20 years in the PEO industry. Mike supports local charities such as Wildlife, Inc., Manatee Children’s Services and the Navy Seal Foundation. Mike’s support of our military is due in part to his father, Captain C.E. Southwick who was a highly decorated Naval Aviator and former POW during the Vietnam War. Mike resides in Bradenton Beach with his wife Sheryl. They love boating, cooking, gardening, local and Alaska fishing trips.
Wende Webb is the owner of a small business, Gulf Coast Property Watch. Her company proactively inspects properties for absentee owners and addresses any issues before they become major problems. Previously, 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!