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Governor presents commendation to Storm Smart

By Staff | Sep 4, 2015

Three years ago, Storm Smart employed 83 people. Today it employs 147, and in the near future, close to 300.

Those numbers get the attention of people like Florida Gov. Rick Scott who, along with Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, paid a visit to the Fort Myers company to laud the company, its workers, his job record, and give a medal to its owner.

Numerous political dignitaries, including Cape Coral Mayor Marni Sawicki, City Manager John Szerlag, County Commissioner Brian Hamman and U.S. Rep. Curt Clawson were present as Scott spoke business leaders, with Storm Smart workers serving as his backdrop.

Lopez-Cantera spoke first with the news Florida has outpaced Texas in job creation in three of the last four months before turning it over to Scott, who congratulated Storm Smart, especially CEO Brian Rist.

“We have become the global leader in job creation. Lower taxes, less regulation, making sure we act in the best interest of business people, funding programs to create more jobs,” Scott said. “In four years, nine months, we’ve added 917,000 jobs in the state, 16,000 jobs last month, and unemployment has dropped in half to 5.4 percent. Here, in the last 12 months, we’ve added 9,000 new jobs.”

Storm Smart, which makes and installs hurricane protection products, serves more than 60,000 customers, making it one of the largest such companies in the country. In the near future, it will double its work force, Scott said.

“Erika showed us the importance of being prepared. They have an all-hazards guide to educate people on being prepared. It’s another way the company gives back,” Scott said.

Scott also commended Rebecca Smart for her job in procuring new business, and gave Rist the Governor’s Business Ambassador’s Award.

When Rist spoke, he talked about the governor’s previous visit to his company and was humbled by how he was able to take time to talk about his business and the challenges it faces.

“I realize the demand of effort it takes. I can only imagine the pressure of governing the third largest state in the greatest country in the world,” Rist said. “I want to say how thankful I am to you. Without your commitment and sacrifice, our state would not be enjoying the prosperity it is today.”

Rist also spoke of his team. and that the success the company has experienced wouldn’t be possible without them.

“I can’t do all these things. I’ve been very fortunate to surround myself with awesome people and that’s what makes it work,” Rist said.