All posts by Cory Skeates


RC – South McKeel Academy


RC-South McKeel South McKeel Academy, located on East Edgewood Drive in south Lakeland, was established in 2006 and is the south campus of McKeel Academy of Technology.  This public charter school has 1088 students and just over 60 teachers for their K-7 integrated curriculum emphasizing technology and academics. Grades 6 and 7 were added this year.   They boast a strong Parent Teacher Organization and community volunteer base, including Junior Achievement.  Students have access to the latest technology including 12 portable wireless computer labs, housing 264 netbook computers; a ratio of 1 computer to every 2 students.  The school has a fully wireless network and all teachers have new wireless laptops and access to wireless printers plus all classrooms are equipped with SMARTBoards. 


Catalyst Campaign Breaks $200,000!

Today, the Catalyst Campaign reached $201,028 leaving us just 43% remaining to our goal! This summer-long initiative provides the Chamber with means to produce a confident budget in 2010 and secures the calendar as well! The Chamber offers many outstanding marketing and advertising opportunities to businesses of all sizes, and the Catalyst Campaign is the best way to be sure that your place is secured for 2010.

Volunteers from 17 Chamber Member companies have been working since July 23 to secure sponsors and advertisers for 2010 events and publications. Top producers to date are:

Catalyst Vice Chair Phil Wegman (Furr & Wegman Architects, PA) $30,075
Victor Rodriguez (Lakeland Regional Medical Center) $24,853
Catalyst Chair Nancy Cattarius (WONN/WPCV/WLKF/WWRZ Radio) $19,015
Catalyst Vice Chair Kathy Wallen (The NCT Group, CPA’s LLP) $15,545
Catalyst Vice Chair Mary McQueen (McQueen Marketing LLC) $13,845

There are still a limited number of host sponsorship available, several positions in the 2010 Buyer’s Guide, as well as opportunities to support the CarBQ, Chamber Scramble and the Chamber’s “Growing Green” efforts.

To learn more about how the Chamber’s marketing products can benefit your company brand, visit or contact the Campaign Office at 863-688-8551 Ext. 229.


RC – Ciao Bella

RC - Ciao Bella Business partners Gianpaolo Marchi born in Florence, Italy and Luigi Verillo born in Naples, Italy. Both wanted to allow people to experience authentic Italians food and created a fun family atmosphere with a flavorful menu that anyone can enjoy –“ just like eating at grandma kitchen in Italy”

Opened the first Ciao Bella in Plantation Square on Socrum Loop Road in North Lakeland in November 2007. Another great opportunity came for the second restaurant to open in Lake Miriam at 4780 S Florida Ave on Mother’s Day – 5/10/09. We are very happy to be serving Lakeland, FL.


RC – Citizens Bank and Trust

cb_edgewood_0006 ·Citizen Bank and Trust – Oldest bank in Polk County still in existence

· Started in 1920 in Frostproof and branched out into Lake Wales with 2nd office in 1997

· In 12 years, assets have grown nearly eight-fold –

from $51.6 million to approximately $450 million today

· 12 locations throughout Polk County – including this office and one on Lake Morton, and there’s one more Lakeland office in the planning stages for South Florida Avenue

· Broke ground for this 4,000 square foot office 11 months ago

· Citizens has done very well moving into Lakeland and Bartow – over $100 million in deposits so far on west side

· Members of founding family are still major shareholders – three of founder Latimer Maxcy’s grandchildren are still on the board – grandson Latimer Wilson is chairman, following his father and grandfather

  • Citizens is a good neighbor. Last year the bank gave nearly $180,000 back to the community in sponsorships and donations to such groups as Polk Museum of Art, VISTE, Polk Theatre, Lakeland Vision, Lakeland Regional Medical Center and the Polk State College Foundation, and the Lakeland Chamber.
  • Located: 1959 E Edgewood Drive, Suite 102

RC – Watson Clinic – XpressCare at Lakeland Highlands

RC - Xpress Care Watson Clinic has delivered quality health care services to countless families throughout this community for the past 68 years.  Today, they represent more than 200 board-certified physicians in 40 medical and surgical specialties. Watson Clinic operates 16 convenient locations throughout Polk, Hillsborough and Pasco counties – including:
-    The Center for Cancer Care & Research, the area’s only affiliate of the world-renowned H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute
-    The Bella Vista Building, a beautiful three-story facility opened in February 2009 that offers the finest multi-specialty medical services and a luxurious medical spa for refreshing non-surgical cosmetic procedures,
-    The new LabCare Xpress at Merchants Walk, which brings added to convenience to South Lakeland residents who require routine blood draws, making this location closer to where they live, shop and work, and
-    The newest location – XpressCare at Lakeland Highlands, a walk-in medical clinic located at the corner of Lakeland Highlands Road and County Road 540A, open to new patients, as well as patients with an established Watson Clinic physician who need to be seen quickly, after hours or on Saturday. 
Watson Clinic truly epitomizes world-class care and brings it closer to home for all of us.