BY LIZA STROUT - Andy Ireland presided over his last GICIA Annual Meeting on Wednesday, April 3, at least as president and a member of the board. Afterward, he handed the reins over to the new GICIA president, Bayne Stevenson.
“Thank you for the opportunity to serve as president of GICIA,” said Ireland. “As I leave, I just want to remind everyone of the two pictures of Boca Grande, one with the (Gasparilla Island Conservation District) Act and one without.”
Two new board members were elected by popular acclaim: Jack Damioli, president and general manager of the Gasparilla Inn & Club, and Angela Steffan, who is with Gulf to Bay Sotheby’s International Realty.
Damioli is married to Rachel, and they have two children, Deanna and Elizabeth. Prior to his service at the Gasparilla Inn he spent 22 years at The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.
Steffan is the wife of Dr. Michael Steffan, who is the medical director of the Boca Grande Health Clinic. They reside in Boca Bay. She has a degree in chemical engineering from Christian Brothers University in Memphis, and has worked IBM as a systems engineer and senior associates engineer. After raising four children she returned to working life in 2004, when she became a real estate agent.
The three members who were up for re-election – Mary O’Bannon, Larry Blau and Martha Diebold – were all re-elected.
For Helen Fraser and Andy Ireland, it was the last meeting they would attend as members of the board. Having served four years as advocates and guardians of the Gasparilla Island Conservation District Act, GICIA and the island itself, both retired from their positions.
The Boca Grande Community Center was crowded with island residents, and the news they received was all positive.
The treasurer’s report showed a healthy growth, along with excellent management of funds.
The issue of the ditches on the north end of the island has been resolved, and further work to beautify the bike bath, the gateway to Boca Grande, is being planned.
GICIA’s effort to control the rugose spiraling whitefly, which was first seen on the island in 2011, has been at least a partial success.
At the close of official business, Ireland handed the podium over to Stevenson, who will lead GICIA for the coming year.
“I would like to thank Andy,” said Stevenson. “He has done an exemplary job. His leadership skills and political savvy have greatly benefitted the establishment.”
With a new year comes a new logotype for GICIA. The new version features a silhouette of Gasparilla Island, with the name of the organization emerging from the waters that surround it.
Lastly, Gilchrist Avenue resident William Regnery addressed the board about parking on the Gilchrist median. Stevenson told Regnery he hopes the GICIA will be able to provide the community with leadership regarding the matter.
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