Business Briefs


Energy storage market focus of Ponte Vedra Rotary Club presentation

Members of the Rotary Club of Ponte Vedra Beach had an opportunity to learn about the burgeoning energy storage market last week, when Blake Frye, senior vice president of global sales for UniEnergy Technologies, gave a presentation to the service organization.

Frye, a Ponte Vedra Beach resident, offered attendees some background on the development of and uses for energy storage – from smaller-scale uses such as serving as a backup power source for hospitals, to large-scale storage that helps the electrical grid function more efficiently and economically.

“It’s a brand new market that’s been emerging for the past five years,” Frye said. “The market is now is estimated to be in the tens of billions of dollars and is on its way to the hundreds of billions.”

Using breakthrough technologies such as batteries, Frye explained, large amounts of energy can be stored and distributed more efficiently. In doing so, such technologies may one day eliminate the need for traditional “peaker plants,” or power plants that only come online during peak periods.

“That’s a very inefficient way to produce energy,” Frye noted.

In addition, flow battery technologies such as those developed by UniEnergy are also recyclable, storing more energy with greater efficiency at significantly reduced costs.

“It doesn’t decay,” Frye said of UniEnergy’s Vanadium battery. “It actually gets better as you use it.”


Tourist Development Council to hold strategic planning focus groups

The St. Johns County Tourist Development Council (TDC) will hold a series of focus groups for both industry representatives and the general public to discuss the future of the local tourism industry. Information gathered at the sessions will be used to help guide the TDC’s strategic planning initiatives for the next five years.

A focus group session for community associations and the general public will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14 at the County Administration Building at 500 San Sebastian View in St. Augustine.

Sessions for representatives from the local attractions, arts and culture, and lodging tourism sectors will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Sept. 12-14 at the county Health & Human Service Building at 200 San Sebastian View in St. Augustine. Tourism industry participants who wish to attend the industry-specific sessions may call (904) 209-4440 or email to RSVP or for more information.


The Preserve at Palm Valley grand opening

The Preserve at Palm Valley will host a grand opening event from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24.

Hosted by Pulte Homes, the event will feature music, food, kids’ activities and tours of the “Millstone” model home at 184 Possum Trot Road. With 23 naturally wooded home sites, The Preserve at Palm Valley will feature one- and two-story homes ranging from 2,560 square feet to more than 4,800 square feet. Homes will offer four to six bedrooms, three to five full baths, three-car garages and range from the low $500s to $600s.


Sawgrass Marriott offers “weddingmoon,” “babymoon” packages

Stressed out from planning the big day? The Sawgrass Marriott is now offering “weddingmoon” packages for future brides and grooms in need of a pre-nuptial getaway. The package – which is also available as a “babymoon” package for future parents – includes luxury accommodations in one of the resort’s newly renovated guestrooms, breakfast for two at Vernon’s restaurants, champagne and strawberries on arrival and a $100 resort credit (based on a two-night stay) toward any service at the spa, golf at TPC Sawgrass or any of the hotel’s eight restaurants.

Rates are from $239 per night (tax and $25 daily resort fee not included) and is valid seven days a week through Dec. 31. For reservations or more information, call (800) 228-9290 or book online using promotional code HON.

Women lawyers’ luncheon

The St. Johns Association for Women Lawyers will host a luncheon from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22 at the Serenata Beach Club, 3175 S. Ponte Vedra Blvd. in Ponte Vedra Beach. Open to the public, the event will feature guest speaker Michelle R. Suskauer, candidate for president-elect of the Florida Bar. Tickets are $20 for members and $5 for non-members and may be purchased at For more information, contact Jessica at (904) 471-0505.

Ronald McDonald House earns 4-star rating

Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) of Jacksonville has received a four-star rating from Charity Navigator.

The largest independent charity evaluator in the nation, Charity Navigator reviews thousands of nonprofit organizations a year. Only approximately 25 percent of them receive the highest four-star ratings.

 “It is important that the public and our donors trust that we are using donations wisely to accomplish our mission,” said Diane Boyle, executive director, RMHC of Jacksonville. “Our four-star rating from Charity Navigator demonstrates solid governance that exercises fiscal responsibility and operational excellence with transparency, integrity and honesty.”