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CCCIA issues annual Awards of Excellence

By Staff | Dec 11, 2010

Emotions ran high during the Cape Coral Construction Industry Association’s Awards of Excellence ceremony Friday night, as the group looked back at the year that was with a mix of joy and heartbreak.
The longstanding non-profit group — which celebrates its 40th anniversary next year — honored not only those members who survived the slow economic recovery of 2010, but the passing of one of their most beloved leaders, Patti Schnell.
Schnell, who lost a battle with cancer in early April, was posthumously given their Hall of Fame Award for her dedication to the CCCIA and the city of Cape Coral during her 12 years as executive director. The award is their highest honor.
Former President Bob Greco teared up while talking about Schnell. He praised her meticulous approach to the job, her tireless effort and her innovation and dedication to the industry.
“When I first met Patti I could tell she was different. I could tell she had a love of this organization,” Greco said.
The mood, of course, was not all downbeat, as the group celebrated Schnell’s life and work, and the year that’s passed.
As the association’s members sat down to dine and reflect, outgoing President David Mulicka said the theme of the year was “survival is success.”
Mulicka said the businesses represented at the awards — those nominated in several categories — would provide the example for future businesses which want to know how to survive tough times.
“Lessons learned from these businesses will be the success stories later generations talk about and learn from,” he said.
State Rep. Gary Aubuchon, a former CCCIA president, said the award ceremony was “indicative of the strength of the building industry,” and that builders are seeing signs of recovery.
Aubuchon said more new construction permits were pulled this year than any year since 2006, an indication that things are looking up.
“From a buyer’s standpoint …. they’re looking for homes built in the last three years but they can’t find any because they haven’t been built. they don’t exist,” Aubuchon said. “The only way to buy a house like that is to build one.”
Affiliate of the Year Award winner was Kevin Burns and Associates; other finalists were Innovative Printing and Design, and B2 Solutions.
Sub Contractor/Supplier of the Year Award Winner was Kirkwood Electric; other finalists were HONC Marine and ACRA Electric.
Contractor of the Year Award accolades went to Wright Construction; other finalists were Paul Homes and Balfour Beatty.
But in the end, the night was about the work and life of Patti Schnell, who Darryl Aubuchon said would have “been embarrassed” by the all the attention.
Aubuchon, also a past president of the CCCIA, read a document found in Schnell’s desk, the message of which was “No opportunity is beneath you.”
Aubuchon said Schnell never turned her phone off, and was absolutely tireless in her pursuit of serving the building industry. Schnell had a habit of working late into the night to make certain problems were solved, and she often spent long amounts of time talking with the current CCCIA president.
“I miss the last night calls … I miss my friend,” Aubuchon said.