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Rotary Happenings: ‘Business Person of the Year Vocational Service’ award winner named

By Staff | May 14, 2019

PHOTO PROVIDED Bill Rahe, award recipient Chris Davison with his wife, Becky, and Dorrie Hipschman.

The Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club is pleased to announce that Chris Davison, vice president and general manager of the historic Island Inn on Sanibel is the recipient of the club’s 2019 Rotary “Business Person of the Year Vocational Service” award.

The award is presented to individuals who demonstrate strong and dedicated leadership not only serving in their professional capacity, but in demonstrating significant community involvement by donating time and talent in serving the community.

Rotarian Dorrie Hipschman, executive director of the Bailey-Mathews National Shell Museum, nominated Davison for the award because of her experience working with him as the museum’s past president of the board of directors and his role in the museum’s Campaign Cabinet for the highly anticipated renovations now underway.

“On the professional side, he planned and directed over $12 million in capital improvements at the historic Island Inn, which included a first-class new hotel building opened in 2018,” Hipschman said in her opening statement. “Chris was always mindful of the inn’s history and significance to islanders and loyal repeat guests at the inn from around the world, while following the city’s, state, and federal current building codes and restrictions for construction on waterfront property. This itself was a miracle achievement. Setting a standard for beachfront accommodations, the construction and renovations at the inn helps maintain the reputation of Sanibel Island, as a first-class tourist destination.”

Davison’s community involvement is outstanding. Just to list a few:

– Sanibel and Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce board member, user, contributor and promoter

– Started and runs a charity fishing tournament to support Cypress Lake High School’s basketball team

– Shell museum past president, board member and promoter, plus “Under the Sea” fundraiser and adopt-a-class supporter

– Island Inn Annual Easter Egg Hunt

– Lead financial sponsor of the Fourth of July fireworks display

– Island Nights sponsor

– Rotary Club of Sanibel-Captiva supporter

– Involvement and organization of fishing tournament and financial support for the Panther Baseball Alumni Club

– Financial supporter of Cypress Lake Middle School

– Co-ed softball sponsor and participant with the city of Sanibel Recreation Department

– J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge tarpon tournament sponsor, promotion and support through inn guest participation

– Financial supporter of the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation through sponsorship

And Captains for Clean Water through financial support and promotion of clean water. Davison’s passion for working toward clean water and preserving Sanibel’s unique natural environment means that he puts in many many hours above and beyond his work schedule to help the organization, galvanizing the business community, and working in Tallahassee and many steps large and small toward the goal of pristine water filled with life and a Sanibel that will look even better in 50 years than it does now.

A few additional comments from other Rotarians who know Davison:

“Chris is a true lover and protector of the island. His family lives here and he actively works to protect it by being a contributing (time, money, and energy) to everything from the shell show to Captains for Clean Water, to the fishing club to the chamber,” Clair Beckman said.

“Chris has a wonderful positive attitude towards every effort he is asked to participate in. More often than anyone, Chris’ response to every request is ‘How can I help?'” Roger Grogman said.

“Chris was an early adopter and leader in efforts to promote clean water as evidenced in his activity in water keepers/coastal keeper. He showed how to work with other community leaders to effect economic development, leading to special recognition by Sanibel Mayor Ruane for his support and contributions to Sanibel at the Island Inn’s ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Matthews Lodge,” Scot and Arlene Mowry said.

“I’ve had the privilege of working alongside Chris on the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum board. Although he has an extremely demanding management position at the Island Inn, wife and two small children, he manages to dedicate significant time to the organization. His background with organizational management is second-to-none and he brings a huge amount of insight to the museum as it grows and mature,” Holli Martin said.

The club also recognized Davison’s wife and partner in life and community endeavors, Becky. Every good man has a great woman, at his side.

For information about the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club, visit sanibelrotary.org or www.facebook.com/sancaprotary. The club meets every Friday at 7 a.m. at the Dunes Golf and Tennis Club, at 949 Sand Castle Road, Sanibel; visitors are welcome to attend.