Since 2010, Chris has served as Vice President & General Manager of the historic Island Inn, located on Sanibel, Florida. A graduate of Florida Gulf Coast University’s Resort & Hospitality Management program, Chris has distinguished himself as a leader in Sanibel’s business community, as well as through his philanthropic endeavors. He has planned and directed over 12 million dollars in capital improvements. Chris also created and implemented a successful comprehensive business plan for the Island Inn during the depths of the economic downturn. He is a Sanibel resident, husband, and father of 2 young girls ages 2 and 6 months. When not hard at work in the hotel or the community, Chris and his family love to boat, fish and spend time outdoors.
Holli is the Commercial Account Executive and Office Manager for the Heidrick & Co. Insurance on Sanibel. Her insight into the insurance needs of businesses, associations and non-profit organization on Sanibel and Captiva make her a valuable advisor. Prior to joining Heidrick & Co., Holli was the president Hype Creative, a marketing agency she formed in 2005 and sold when her family moved to Sanibel in 2013. Holli attended Southern Illinois University and has degrees in Speech Communication/Public Relations and Mass Communications/Journalism. She lives on Sanibel with her husband, Larry, and her two teenage sons, Connor and Patrick.
Sean, a CPA, worked for 14 years in the private sector and for the past 5 years in public accounting. He graduated from Florida State University in 1996 with a bachelor of science in finance. He is an avid beach and water enthusiast and enjoys paddle boarding, snorkeling, fishing, and gathering shells.
Lee Almas was born and raised in Cleveland, OH and graduated from Case-Western Reserve University with a BBA, majoring in Marketing and Merchandising. While in his senior year of college, he and his high school sweetheart, Margery, married and together have three children and six grandchildren. They lived and worked in Ohio, California, New York, and Michigan primarily in the sales, manufacturing, and construction fields before moving to Sanibel in 1977. His Sanibel roots go back even further, as his father and a Canadian business friend built and owned a resort hotel on the island from the late 1950s to 1986. Lee is an active Rotarian, Past President, and the Junior Warden on the Vestry of Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church.
A long-time resident of Sanibel, Mark moved to the island from Cleveland in 1975. In 1984, he started Benchmark General Contractors, Inc., which serves all of Southwest Florida, constructing new commercial and residential properties and also doing restoration, renovation, and remodeling. He is a past chair of the Sanibel-Captiva Chamber of Commerce and currently serves on the board of directors. In June, he and his wife will celebrate their 40th anniversary. They have two daughters, one in Denver and the other in Asheville.
Pete Bender graduated from the University of Detroit with a B.S. in Economics and Business Administration in 1967. He then attended Wayne State University Law School and graduated cum laude in 1970. For over thirty years, he worked for several law firms in the state of Michigan, and is the former President of the Macomb Bar Association. Pete is also a board member of the Sanibel-Captiva Kiwanis Club, F.I.S.H. of Sanibel volunteer, Community Emergency Response Team member, Sanibel-Captiva Power Squadron member, and former Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum board president.
Phyllis has over 25 years’ experience in the investment industry. She worked for several major brokerage firms including Legg Mason Wood Walker and Morgan Stanley, as branch operations manager, before joining Sunguard Data Systems as their computer conversion support leader traveling all over the country. Phyllis moved to Captiva 26 years ago with her husband Ron where she has served on the board of the Captiva Civic Association, the Captiva Hurricane Committee, Board Secretary of the Captiva Island Yacht Club and as a Fire Commissioner of the Captiva Fire Control District for 10 years. Currently, she works at the Sanibel Captiva Trust Company on Sanibel as Vice President of Client Services and Trust Operations. Phyllis is a Captiva resident who enjoys beach walking, shelling and reading in her spare time.
Jane served on the Captiva Yacht Club board from 2007-2009, and has also been social director of the club. She previously served as commodore, vice commodore, and secretary of the Carlyle Lake Yacht Club in Illinois. She has worked as a realtor and manufacturer’s representative, and from 1974–1994 was an oncology and ICU nurse. She enjoys traveling, sailing, and visiting with family; and she loves shelling.
Greg is an Associate Professor of Paleobiology in the School of Geosciences at the University of South Florida in Tampa, where he has taught and conducted research on molluscan conservation, archaeology, and evolution since 2005. He has a bachelor's degree in Philosophy from Loyola University of New Orleans and a PhD in Geology from the University of California Davis. Greg has a lifelong love of the ocean and spent many summers as a kid collecting shells from the beaches of south Florida. He currently resides in Tampa with his wife and two daughters, ages 10 and 13.
Originally from Boston, Arlene earned a degree in special education from Indiana State University and taught for fifteen years. She has also been a corporate travel agent and has had careers in retail with a new start up (Ativa) with Dick’s Sporting Goods and as a pricing compliance monitor. She owned a Jazzercise franchise for eight years and taught geriatric fitness in senior centers from 1994 to 2015. She sat on the board of directors and was a founding member of the Laconia, N.H., Education Foundation. Arlene and her husband, Scott, have been married 39 years, have two sons, and have lived in seven states. They retired in 2016 and consider Sanibel their “forever home.”
Fran, who grew up on Fort Myers Beach, has always had a keen interest in shells, and she’s committed to helping children learn about shells and mollusks at the Shell Museum. When she was sixteen, she traveled with the hit singing group Up with People. She graduated from Bradley University with a BS in Communications, lived in Belgium as a nanny, and settled in San Diego for eight years learning about hospitality. She moved back to Fort Myers in 1990, when her daughter, Shelby, was three. In 1998, she founded Island Vacations of Sanibel & Captiva with one condo and has grown the company to 80+ condos and homes. She is a past chair of the Sanibel-Captiva Chamber of Commerce.