Gameday For Heroes

Today is Game Day, Auburn vs. Alabama, #1 vs. #4, the “Game of the Century”. I’d like to take a moment to put this into perspective. One team wins and one loses. There will be a lot of Facebook posting and smack-talking, 2nd guessing by the armchair quarterbacks while one fan base enjoys the victory and another feels the agony of defeat and thinks about what could have been.

However, not all of America will be watching this game. Yesterday, I called a Colonel with the 7th Special Forces Group stationed at Eglin AFB, to ask if he had someone under his command who would like tickets to this game. He told me he was in the Atlanta airport on his way to Texas to meet the family and attend the funeral, today on Game Day, of one of his soldiers that was recently killed by an IED in Kandahar, Afghanistan, on his first deployment.

This really hits home and puts things into perspective. Win or lose the fans are so passionate that some will call in sick to work on Monday because they are so devastated. Over the years I have seen trees set on fire and poisoned, fights break out post-game and more, all over a simple game of football while our young men and women are putting their lives on the line, risking death and life-altering injury to fight against terrorism and keep our country safe.

Four years ago, my wife Jana and I started Gameday For Heroes as a community service project of our local Auburn Club. We raised funds and bought six season tickets that were designated for wounded heroes. Then our club members began donating tickets they weren’t using and these went to not only wounded, but active duty and veterans to experience the college Gameday atmosphere. We invited them to tailgate with us and quickly realized how great a way this is to give back.

We received great feedback from the military that participated. Some told us it provided a great bonding time with their families, especially after long deployments away. Others with PTSD have stated that being at a game helped them with the fear of crowds and loud noises. All are most appreciative for the donors that make it possible for them to attend a game. Many have never been to a college game before and experienced the pageantry and festivities that may only be seen on a college football campus.

Gameday For Heroes has since grown rapidly and has sent military to college games in over 30 colleges. Last year alone, over 2,900 tickets were donated for  military to attend  regular season games, and also four BCS bowl games.

Military can visit our website and request tickets to college sporting events – football, basketball, baseball and more… Unfortunately, we have many more requests than we do tickets but hopefully as the word about this program spreads more requests will be granted.

Having tickets donated to the big rivalry games is a rarity, although we are fortunate to be sending military to Auburn vs. Alabama, Texas A&M vs. Missouri and Michigan vs. Ohio State today

However, when fans of just about any schools have tickets they are not using and tell us via the website they would like to donate them, we have a database full of military that would love to use those tickets. We can provide the donor with a tax letter for the face value of the tickets donated.

Want to get involved? How can you help?

  • If you are a season ticket holder or know any college season ticket holders, spread the word about Gameday For Heroes. Consider hosting a Gameday For Heroes tailgate or other event.

 

  • Consider buying and donating season tickets for your favorite school. You will know that military are benefiting and attending the games and sitting in seats provided by you.

 

  • Consider making a monetary donation to help support the program. Gameday For Heroes is a 100% volunteer run organization without any paid staff.  However, there are expenses associated with operations such as website and database, shipping, marketing, etc… that must be covered. We are a 501-c-3 organization and donations are deductible for tax purposes.

 

  • Help sponsor a fundraising event in your city.

 

If you would like to get involved or learn more, visit us at www.gamedayforheroes.org or contact me at mike@gamedayforheroes.org.

 

Most importantly, say a prayer for the family in Texas that is burying  a son, and a brother today.  He lost his life defending us and our freedom so that we can do things like put 87,451 fans into a stadium and watch a game take place.  And the next time you see a service member, thank them for their service!!

IdeaCamp this Thursday Night at the New ATC at Gulf Coast!

 

The wildly successful IdeaCamp held by the Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce and made possible by Southwest Airlines is happening this Thursday evening, October 24th from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at Gulf Coast State College’s brand new Advanced Technology Center.

Community members are invited to Share, Learn and Network with other residents and business people in a relaxed environment. IdeaCamp attendees will enjoy light eats and a FREE drink ticket for the first 50 registrants that arrive.  Please REGISTER HERE in order to secure your spot.

The event is FREE to PCB chamber members and $20 to non-members. Door prizes are awarded so make sure you bring your business card and look forward to a tour of the ATC at this IdeaCamp.

 

 

IdeaCamp is Back at g.Foley’s Next Week

The PCB Chamber of Commerce IdeaCamp is back on at g. Foley’s next week and will explore a topic that effects all of us, Real Estate in our area.

On Thursday, July 25, the Beach Chamber’s IdeaWorks Committee will hold an IdeaCamp “Think Tank” at g.Foley’s restaurant on 23rd Street in Panama City. This fun, interactive “idea-share” takes place from 5:30 to 7:30 PM. This IdeaCamp is presented by Southwest Airlines, hosted by the Bay County Association of Realtors, and sponsored by Edward Jones and Emerald HR Solutions.

“IdeaCamp is about the coming together of the business community in a professional, interactive setting,” says IdeaWorks Chairman David Balmer, regional director of Dale Carnegie of the Emerald Coast. “People are hungry for information and connecting with other business professionals. Our locations are always good! Great venue + great topics + great speakers = IdeaCamp.”

This unique IdeaCamp will examine several home-buying and home-selling scenarios. The topic, “What does Perspective have to do with Real Estate?” will be covered in this interactive panel discussion.

The panel consists of six Real Estate professionals that will share their practical knowledge with IdeaCamp guests as well as answer questions.

Panelists include David Bowers, a builder with Art Construction of NW FL; Matt Kelley, an inspector with North Florida Home Inspections; David Merrick, an appraiser with Brightway Insurance; Jim Kochevar, a lender with Giles Appraisal Group; Darla Fontenot, an insurance representative with Suntrust Mortgage; and Maureen Richardson, a title representative with Setco Services.

Cost to attend IdeaCamp is free for Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce members and $20 for non-members. For more information, call the Beach Chamber at (850) 235-1159.

My Absence, A Likely Story

If you haven’t noticed we’ve been sparse around here, then you probably aren’t reading as much as you tell me you are when you see me around town.  😉  There can be a variety of complicated excuses and/or reasons that involve entrepreneurship, psychology, and management, but it really all comes down to lack of focus as a result of too much busyness.

As you know, summer season makes our bread-and-butter business crazy.  Panama City Beach Luxury Properties is doing phenomenally well, but we’ve been so busy I haven’t been able to focus that much on writing.  And I apologize for that.

On top of that, in the last two weeks, I’ve moved our personal residence to 30A (yes, we moved west)(with 4 kids worth of stuff) and now we’re moving our offices.  And, on top of that, we’re making some huge business changes, growing dramatically and hiring like crazy.

So, whether you want to call these excuses or reasons, they’ve kept me from being able to focus on what’s important to you – news and information about Panama City Beach.

I can assure you, Panama City Beach is a passion of mine, and we’ll get back to regularly scheduled posts as soon as we get settled down.

I’m sorry for our absence and I thank you for your patience.

ZooWorld Needs Our Help This Saturday

I know you’ve been looking for some fun community service to partake in, and this is your chance.  Zoo World, our local zoo is hosting a community service project this Saturday, let by the Panama City Beach Branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons).  Every year, they do a Day of Service project where they look for a ‘big’ project in the community in which they can serve however needed.

Home to over 260 animals including several exotic and endangered species, they are a non-profit zoo open daily to the public. Some of the residents include a white bengal tiger, African lioness, florida black bear, and a giraffe who frequently pokes his head to take a peek at the cars traveling on Allison Road.  Annually they have a variety of programs and events that draw crowds large and small.

What we’re doing this weekend.

As mention, Zoo World is a non-profit zoo, therefore funding is light.  Staffed mostly by caring volunteers, they are in dire need of help doing general grounds clean up.  As you know, they are in the middle of a pine forest which results in pinecones, pine straw and other debris resting all over the place.  The cleanup of this is just overwhelming.  So, we’re going to help clean it all up!

This upcoming Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm, we need volunteers to come out and help clean up.  All you need to do is bring yourself, some gloves, some tools to help cleanup (if you have them), and water.  Parents, bring your kids, but make sure they know they are here to work! 🙂

Here is what we’ll be doing.

  • Picking up pine cones
  • Raking and cleaning up pine straw
  • Power washing
  • Painting
  • Laying sod (if we get the sod in in-time)

Here is what you should bring. 

  • Gloves
  • Rakes (if you have them)
  • Other cleanup tools (if you have them)
  • Water or something to keep hydrated
Event details.

When: 9 am to 1 pm

Where: Zoo World — — 9008 Front Beach Road

What: Zoo World Community Cleanup Project

Why: Because they need help, and you like helping.

What to bring: yourself, gloves, rakes, cleanup tools, and water

Who to contact for more information.

If you need more information, please call Zoo World directly and ask for Stephani.  Their number is 850-230-1243.

Or, just comment below.

Image credit. 🙂

We’re Looking for Aqua, Splash and Majestic Owners [RENTALS]

Our vacation rental business is growing leaps and bounds and we’re gearing up for summer!  We are looking to bring on some fantastic condos in a few fabulous resorts, specifically Aqua, Splash and Majestic Beach Resort.

There are a variety of reasons we love these resorts, including the fact they are all very nice, tend to rent extremely well and guests love to return to them year after year.

A little about who we are.

As you have come to know, one of our sister companies (my company to be specific 😉  ) is a short term vacation rental company.  We manage 30+ amazing rental condos on the beach in a variety of resort locations.  Our successful management program is unique in many ways and we’re looking to expand.  We offer complete and full service management, handling everything from rentals, maintenance, upkeep and cleaning.

There are a lot of things that set us apart from our competition, but a few of the major differences between us and many other management companies are:

  • We charge a low, flat rate management fee of $397 per month, regardless of size and revenue
  • Our marketing is second to none, innovative and always on the cutting edge

You can read more about who we are and why our marketing is awesome on our Owner’s page.

What about our marketing that’s so awesome.

You’ve heard the success stories of property owners managing their condos themselves.  They list it on VRBO, give their property tons of TLC, follow up rigorously with their rental leads and they book their condo extremely well.

As you may (or may not) know, this is all a ton of work and it’s something for which we have an extremely good system and work that system full time.  The reason why our program is so successful is that we combine all the great things of managing a property individually with the scalability of a great system found in larger companies. The result is more bookings, higher revenue, better care for your property and less costs.

Each of our properties are marketed individually.  This is done several ways and ensures that the condo that you’ve worked so hard to make awesome is rewarded for that hard work.

Each property on our vacation rental program gets: 

  • Their own page on our website
  • An HD video tour
  • High resolution photos
  • An exclusive email database (created from inquiries)
  • VRBO listing (paid for by owner)
  • Album on our Facebook page

This individual attention creates a ton of work when bringing on new properties but translates to higher bookings and, of course, higher revenue than you’ve seen before.  In most cases, we command a higher price than the competition because we pack so much value into a guest’s stay!

Plus we own PCBDaily and use it to leverage all sorts of opportunities for our guests.

Why We’re looking to expand in Aqua, Splash and Majestic.

We work hard to look for properties in great destinations.  Each of these three resorts have characteristics that lend perfectly to performing well for vacation rentals.

When it comes to sophisticated luxury, Aqua is second to none in Panama City Beach.  When you walk in, you’re greeted with a refined style that just isn’t found anywhere else.  The surfaces, colors, accents and modern amenities make this resort an attractive, complete package.

Splash Resort is extremely well-known for being family-friendly and a blast for kids of all ages. The large-resort feel, tons of water play areas and quiet location in Panama City Beach make it perfect for families to vacation and property owners to enjoy fantastic rental performance.

Majestic Beach Resort is just huge.  The amenity list seems to go on forever, and guests that stay at Majestic talk about it for weeks when they get home.  Majestic is one of those resorts guests ask for year after year and condos in this resort perform well for owners, their management companies and the companies that service them.

Why we are a great fit for you.

The flat-rate fee does a couple of wonderful things for us and our owner-clients.

  1. It saves our owner clients money almost 100% of the time
  2. It gives us a projectable business model that works year round (you know we aren’t going anywhere)

And don’t worry about it not giving us the motivation to book your condo.  If we don’t book you’re condo, you’re not going to be happy, then you’ll leave us.  Unhappy owner-clients make an unhappy Jason. 😦

Our goal is to book 100% during peak season times.  And so far, we’ve almost always achieved that.  Now that’s cause for a smiley face. 🙂

How to find out more information.

So we’ve piqued your interest.  Great.  For more information, hop on over to our rentals website, or give us a shout at 850-238-6250.

Panama City Beach Mayor Election – Oberst Wins!

In what I would consider a landslide win, Mayor Oberst takes the election grabbing over 54% of the entire voting turn-out.  The elections were today, and issues involved ranged from future development to spring break.

The Mayoral election results.
Sharon Hagstrom 19 (0.901%)
Ken Nelson 808 (38.34%)
Gayle F. Oberst 1,158 (54.95%)
Travis Schofer 122 (5.790%)
Panama City Beach City Council results.

Council Member, Ward 2

Phil Chester 878 (43.25%)
Rick Russell 1,152 (56.74%)

Council Member, Ward 4

Ed Benjamin 389 (19.01%)
Keith Curry 891 (43.54%)
Debbie Sasser 766 (37.43%)