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Junior Leadership Manatee Accepting Applications Now
Posted by Troy Newport on 22 April 2014 08:10 am

Attention all high school sophomores!!  The Junior Leadership Manatee program is now accepting applications for the 2014-2015 class.  Applications must be postmarked by May 30, 2014 to be considered.


Junior Leadership is designed for teens interested in becoming future leaders by enhancing their knowledge of community resources, current issues and other factors influencing the direction of Manatee County’s future.  Throughout the program participants gain special access to local business, government, agricultural and media staples in our community and learn what career and employment opportunities are available in our county.  

The cost to participate is $150 for those students who meet eligibility requirements.  Junior Leadership is a unique and invaluable experience students can include on their resume or college application.

junior-leadership-logoFor eligibility requirements and more information on the Junior Leadership Manatee program please visit the official website:


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Leadership Manatee 2014
Posted by Troy Newport on 27 February 2014 06:45 am

This evening I am honored to graduate from the Leadership Manatee program sponsored by the Manatee Chamber of Commerce.   The people I’ve met and the experiences I’ve had over the past 6 months have been incredible.  It’s easy to realize the community where we live, work and play is amazing.  But what you learn and experience over the course of the Leadership program is bound to educate even the most generational Bradentonians.  If I had to pay a dollar every time I said “wow I didn’t know that” I would be dirt poor right now.

I'm blinking Chris Sharek

I’m blinking Chris Sharek

The course spans six months, and every two weeks the class spends an entire day focused on specific themes important to our community.  This year’s sessions focused on the following topics:

  • Communications and Culture
  • Health Care
  • Education
  • Land Use and Transportation
  • Agriculture
  • Law Enforcement
  • Business and Industry
  • Local Government
  • Human Needs

Most days we visited as many as eight different businesses or organizations critical to the backbone of our community.  Companies in our backyards working on cures for Alzheimer’s, farms supplying produce to the largest food chains in the world, schools offering nationally renowned technical programs for their students, non-profits coordinating logistics to help our disadvantaged that would make the folks in brown trucks proud.  That doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of what we saw!

And let’s not forget the Simulated Society (SIMSOC) exercise we had to endure our first two days together.  I would go into more detail about what we did over those two days but we’ve all sworn a blood oath to never speak of the secrets enshrouded in the SIMSOC exercise….  

So through these six months I’ve learned the community where I call home is even more wonderful than I ever imagined, and there are some pretty great people I got to know who I may not otherwise have met.   (Even Chris Sharek of Atkins Global who accused me of sleeping in the picture I included in this post.  I was caught mid-blink darn-it!  Thanks for the photo Arthur….)

More importantly I also learned there are challenges we face as a community to insure we continue to evolve with the world around us to stay competitive.  The smallest contribution we make back to our community can make a bigger impact than you can imagine.   I’m a richer person for the experiences I’ve had and I’m deeply appreciative for having been given the opportunity to participate.

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Spark Growth’s Coding for Non-Profit Bradenton Riverwalk Website
Posted by Amanda Pasko on 03 May 2013 07:58 am

I had the opportunity May 2nd to volunteer in collaboration with area event planners, project managers, software developers and Realize Bradenton to kick off the development of the new Bradenton Riverwalk website. The new website will illustrate and explain features of the complex, provide a calendar of events, and allow the community to schedule their own events using the many amenities Riverwalk has to offer. The website is also in development using the feature rich, flexible and secure content management platform DotNetNuke (DNN).

Since Webtivity has long valued all that DNN has to offer, I was excited to provide acclimation for the other developers in the group and to answer questions throughout the day. I also had a great time planning the visual impression of the site including layout, graphics and styling. There is still much to be done but it was a great day of collaboration with great minds from the Bradenton-Sarasota area, and I can’t wait until the launch of this incredible tool for the Bradenton community!

Bradenton Riverwalk in Downtown Bradenton Florida

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ePIE Business Partnership Awards
Posted by Troy Newport on 09 August 2011 02:10 pm

Local Businesses Improving Education

Some mornings it is easier to get out of bed than others.  Like myself when the alarm went off this morning, many probably laid there for a minute or two and thought about the health of financial markets; 401(k)’s; the health of the business they own or are employed by; the future.  It has been a tough few years.  But instead of being a Doubting Thomas, I decided to get out of bed and plow forward with my day.  After all, what else should I do?

Lucky for me my first order of business was to attend the annual Electronic Partners In Education (ePIE) Business Partnership Awards breakfast. When I walked through the door at Freedom Village (who graciously sponsors the event each year)  I must admit I had a bit of a cloud over my head.  However the event left me in great spirits and with a positive attitude.

The star of the show was undoubtedly a bright young lady by the name of Maria Wirries.    During the program Maria took the stage with strong confidence and a voice to match.  Her final number  “New York, New York” has been stuck in my head every since (thanks Maria!)  The Observer did a story about her earlier this year and if you haven’t heard of this talented singer yet, chances are you will!

It is invigorating to see local businesses pull together to volunteer their time for the children in our community.  One of the awards presented each year is named after the late Barry Jones, formerly the Tampa Bay Rays Community Representative.  His wife, obviously emotional while presenting the Barry Jones Business Partner Empowerment Award, eloquently quoted her husband: “You can have a community without a baseball team, but you can’t have a baseball team without a community.”  The pursuit of community was his mantra.  During trying times community is what gets us through.  I needed reminding of that message, and this morning the positive future our children can unlock and the good we can do together was palpable and valuable lessons which I needed reminding.

So instead of my usual habit of eating lunch and reading online marketing blogs, I decided to write a quick blog about my experience this morning.  Congratulations to all who were recognized this morning and especially to the 2011 Partner in Excellence award winner World Design, Inc., an architecture and engineering firm located in Lakewood Ranch.  I hope I was able to convey a small part of the inspiration I got this morning; now I need to go put some of this positive energy to good use!

About ePIE
Electronic Partners In Education (ePIE) is a web-based application custom developed by Webtivity Designs to help easily connect businesses and organizations with schools throughout Manatee County.  The purpose is to initiate partnerships that enhance student learning and promote school involvement in the community.  Want to learn how your business can help the School District of Manatee County?

Register your business today!!


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I’ve Been Framed!
Posted by Terry Thompson on 13 July 2011 02:11 pm

I had a wonderful surprise today.  Susan Young from I’ve Been Framed! stopped by our office to present us with the Manatee Chamber of Commerce Current Small Business of the Year magazine cover and Webtivity Design article beautifully framed.  Believe me the blurry picture I took of it with my cell phone does not do it justice.

To tell you the truth when I was told that someone was here with a framed article, I thought it was going to be like the sales calls I have received since winning the award. To my surprise, Susan wasn’t selling anything.  She just wanted to introduce herself and give us the framed article as a gift for winning 2011 Manatee Small Business of the Year.  What a nice gesture and great introduction!!

Come to find out, Susan is a Master Certified Picture Framer with over 25 years of framing experience.  She can frame just about anything such as sports memorabilia, documents, medals, photos, artwork, needlework, baptism gowns, and even antique guns.  Whether your keepsake has monetary, historic, or sentimental value, you can rest assured that Susan only uses the best materials available for superior protection.  Best part is she brings her showroom to you!

Thanks Susan!  I love it and already have it hung in my office.

I’ve Been Framed!
by Susan Young, MCPF




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2011 Manatee Small Business of the Year – What it means to Webtivity
Posted by Terry Thompson on 17 June 2011 09:43 am

After having been a Manatee Small Business of the Year Finalist in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010, we tempered our hopes and maintained a quiet resolve that we would not win again this year.  We would simply continue to work hard, improve, and go after it again next year.  Since we were seated in the very back of the room we whispered to one another that it was confirmation of being passed over yet another year… but to our astonishment when the time came our name was announced.

The walk to the podium was one of the longest walks I’ve ever made, with the stream of emotions that flooded through my being.  The sense of pride, accomplishment, and excitement were so overwhelming. I have presented to much larger audiences without any problems but this was different. This one was unexpected and emotional.

Yet here I am a week later, and I still feel that stream of emotions.  Since we were selected as one of the Small Business of the Year award winners last week we have been inundated with warm congratulatory emails and phone calls.  The spring in my step, the extreme pride I have when I receive yet another congratulatory phone call; it still hasn’t worn off.  I had heard about this feeling from past winners, but “Oh what a feeling” to experience it yourself.

But over the past week time has also found a way to allow the realization to set in the huge responsibility this award carries.  The past winners of this award are synonymous with Manatee County, and while I’m not sure how easy it will be to think about Webtivity in that light, I do know our work has only begun.  So with resolve we must continue doing all the things we have tried to do well over the years and continually improve:

  • Providing a strong customer service model
  • Never making promises we can’t keep
  • Always trying to exceed expectations
  • Maintaining unconditional honesty and ethics
  • Faithfully contributing to the success of our community

Beyond those tenets we have also increased our efforts over the past few years to better educate the public about technology and online marketing through teaching workshops, blogging and social media.  Our industry can be embarrassingly self-destructive and unfortunately many consumers have had tremendously negative experiences with web designers, self-proclaimed SEO experts, and outsourcing calamities.

We often have a high hill to climb when new clients approach us, so we feel education is critical to developing a long-term relationship with our clients and improving the overall climate of our industry.  It sounds like a pretty simple paradigm, but these are apparently foreign concepts to some in our industry.

So our commitment as winners of this prestigious award is to continue to do what brought us to this proud and humbling moment in the history of our 12 year old company, and continually seek ways to improve our company, community and industry.  We appreciate the trust that has been placed in us with this award, eagerly accept the challenges ahead and emphatically congratulate the other 2011 award winners:  Environmental Biotech, LaPensee Plumbing & Pools and United Systems Computer Group.

In closing, I would like to thank our customers for nominating us year after year and for having confidence in us to take that initial plunge. Most of all I would like to thank my team. They are Webtivity. They are the Small Business of the Year. Each one has enormous talent in their area of expertise but what makes them different is their passion for customer satisfaction. They know this passion is what differentiates us in an industry often criticized for lack of customer service. This is not a job to them. This is their company. Their talent, passion, and commitment is what makes me most proud! [still choking me up]












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