Friday, February 27, 2009

Orlando’s oldest landscape architectural firm turns 40

ORLANDO, FL— The City of Orlando’s oldest landscape architectural firm, Foster Conant & Associates, is celebrating 40 years in business this month.

Since its founding in 1969 by the late Bert T. Foster (middle left photo), the Firm has provided site-specific landscape architectural design services for more than 5,000 projects.

Richard R. Conant, (top right photo) FASLA joined Foster in 1973 and has led the practice since 1987.

With the Firm’s primary focus on resort, hospitality and entertainment projects, Orlando has provided the practice with unprecedented challenges to meet the thematic and visual needs of tourist venues, notes Conant.

Similarly, Florida’s dynamic growth has provided Foster Conant with opportunities to design high quality urban, residential, educational, aviation, commercial and retail projects.

Completed projects include Orlando International Airport,(bottom right photo) Valencia Community College, MetroWest, Isleworth, (bottom right photo) U.S. 192 Streetscape, Orlando City Hall, Diocese of Orlando, Disney Village Marketplace, Lockheed Martin Information Systems, First Presbyterian Church Orlando, First Baptist Church Orlando, Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando, Discovery Cove and Aquatica at Sea World Orlando.

Most recently, Foster Conant designed mixed-use projects in Brazil and entertainment venues in United Arab Emirates.

“Technology and the Internet have opened international markets to us,” said Conant. “The speed, accuracy and ability to study projects through computer-aided design programs have opened up new design avenues for us as well.”

According to Conant, other changes in the practice of landscape architecture in the past four decades include specialization within the profession as well as new and improved hardscape amenities used in design.

“Computers allow us to design complex and intricate shapes very quickly that would have taken many hours to create years ago,” said Conant.

Foster Conant & Associates was named Professional Firm of the Year by the Florida Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects in 2001, and has been recognized continuously for its designs in state and national award competitions throughout its storied history.

The 12-person firm is managed by Richard R. Conant, FASLA, president, Keith Oropeza, ASLA, director of design, René A. Ramos, RLA, director of production, and John P. Sullivan, III, ASLA, director of human resources.
Please visit for additional information.

. Contact: Elaine Ingra, PR WORKS!, PH: 407 384-1344,,

Two Palmer Electric Co. employees named to leadership positions in Academy of Construction Technologies

WINTER PARK, FL – Palmer Electric Company is pleased to announce its vice president of commercial production, Robert K. Vaughn, (top right photo) has been elected treasurer of Academy of Construction Technologies (ACT), and commercial project manager, Dan DeMorse, (top left photo) has been elected to the association’s board of directors as a member-at-large.

ACT, founded in 1992, is a partnership of the Central Florida construction industry contractors and trade associations representing both union and non-union entities. ACT works closely with Orange, Osceola, and Seminole county school districts to promote construction as a career and provides students with the opportunity to develop lifelong skills.

Palmer Electric Company is a provider of electrical contracting for commercial institutional and residential customers.

Additionally, the Company provides service and repairs to utilities, businesses and consumers. Founded in 1951, the Company is headquartered in Winter Park, Fla., and has residential division offices in Lakeland and Jacksonville, Fla. The Company employs a staff of 350.

For additional information, visit

Contact: Elaine Ingra, PR WORKS!, PH: 407 384-1344,,

Fisher Property Group Names Peter Willis Senior Vice President of Hotel Acquisitions & Business Development

PALM BEACH, FL—Fisher Property Group, a privately held real estate holding company, announces that Peter Willis (top right photo) has joined the company as senior vice president to spearhead hotel acquisitions and business development.

In his new role, he will be responsible for sourcing, negotiating and structuring transactions for hotel assets and management contracts.

Immediately prior to joining Fisher Property Group, Willis was senior vice president at The Kor Group, where he played a lead role in sourcing, negotiating and underwriting hotel investments and management contract prospects in addition to supporting strategic acquisitions and corporate planning efforts.

“Peter brings extensive hotel investment expertise to our executive team,” said Jeffrey H. Fisher,(top left photo) Fisher Property Group’s CEO.

“He played an instrumental role as our vice president of acquisitions at Innkeepers USA Trust prior to its sale in July 2007.

"Fisher Property Group will leverage his 20 years of experience in the lodging industry, in acquisitions, repositioning and dispositions, as we seek ways to take advantage of the opportunities available in the current and anticipated economic climate.

“We believe the opportunity for hotel acquisitions will increase substantially over the next 18 months, and we intend to be a major investor,” Fisher added.

“Our immediate focus will center on securing a Programmatic Joint Venture partner for the investment platform to be well-positioned to execute our growth plan.

"Our acquisition strategy is to identify assets opportunistically where we can add substantial value through repositioning, rebranding and/or changing management.

"We have retained Flint Creek Partners, a well regarded investment banking, venture capital and financial advisory services firm to lead our efforts in securing the financing platform.”

Additional information about the company may be found at

Contacts: Jerry Daly or Carol McCune, Daly Gray (703) 435-6293, or

NAIOP Names CBRE's David Murphy Broker of the Year for Six Straight Years

' ORLANDO, FL--David Murphy, (top right photo) Senior Vice President with the Orlando office of CB Richard Ellis, has been named Industrial Broker of the Year 2008 by the Central Florida Chapter of the National Association of Office and Industrial Properties (NAIOP).

This award recognized the top producing industrial broker in the Central Florida region, and was presented at the Ports of Call special events complex at Sea World in front of an audience of over 300 commercial real estate practitioners.

This achievement is even more remarkable since it is Murphy's sixth straight NAIOP Industrial Broker of the Year Award and seventh NAIOP Award over the previous 10 years.

No other commercial broker in Central Florida history has come close to the six year run Murphy has had as the region's top industrial broker.

Flexibility in operating his business model allows Murphy to be successful during boom times such as 2005 through 2007, as well as the challenging market environment we are currently experiencing.

Murphy was the top producing CBRE industrial broker for the state of Florida and typically one of the top industrial performers for the company nationally.

Contact: Angelique Greven 407.839.3158

Andy Peters Named General Manager of The Wynfrey Hotel in Birmingham, AL

BIRMINGHAM, AL—Officials of Davidson Hotel Company (DHC), one of the nation’s largest hotel management companies, announces that Andy Peters has been named general manager of the 329-room Wynfrey Hotel (top right photo) in Birmingham, Ala.

In his new role, he is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the hotel.

“Now more than ever, hotels require leaders with the skills and experience to motivate staff and provide guests with top quality services,” said Patrick Lupsha, (bottom left photo) Davidson’s chief operating officer.

“Andy is a 34-year veteran in the hospitality industry and has been a Davidson regional vice president for the past six years. He has first-hand experience in navigating through difficult economic conditions and is the right person to guide The Wynfrey Hotel during the challenging times we are experiencing.”

Earlier in his career, Peters held a variety of F&B positions, including director of food standards at Marriott Headquarters.

Since joining Davidson in 1995, he has served as director of
food and beverage, regional vice president of operations and general manager of the Hilton Eugene & Conference Center in Oregon.

Peters has a degree in Food Service Administration from the State University of New York College at Buffalo.


Cyndi Norwood (media), Davidson Hotel Company, (901) 821-4155,

Jerry Daly, Patrick Daly, Daly Gray Public Relations, (703) 435-6293,