It was a night to celebrate the best the Cape Coral Construction Industry Association has to offer, ring out the old and bring in the new and to just kick off your shoes and party.
The CCCIA held its annual ACE Awards holiday party and installation of the board of directors Friday at the Westin Resort at Marina Village, where the packed house looked back on a real year of recovery for the industry and looked forward to an even better 2014.
Many of the city's dignitaries and leaders in the industry were on hand as the city's best contractor, subcontractor and affiliate were named, as well as other awards which were given to people who have helped grow Cape Coral into the city it has become.
From left, Mary Retz of Lutgert Insurance, CCCIA Executive Director Moe Beneke, CCCIA past president Robert Greco and Bob Ryan with the award for Affilate of the Year at the ACE Awards Holiday party at the Westin Resort at Marina Village on Friday.
"We look back on the whole year. We give out the awards who are voted on by the members, and the past winners select the winners. It's totally a surprise," said CCCIA executive director Moe Beneke.
For the Awards of Excellence, Lutgert Insurance was named Affiliate of the Year, Storm Smart Building Solutions was Subcontractor of the Year, and Elysium Homes earned the honor of Contractor of the Year.
It was a humbling moment for Irina Prell, Elysium president, who watched as the envelope was delivered on stage by a flying drone.
"I appreciate the CCCIA having so much faith in us. It was a year of hard work and we could not have done it without the team," said Prell, whose company was founded in 2007. "We've had to be open-minded and change with the economy and watch the trends and do what they required us to do."
Also, past president Anette Carrasquillo was given the President's Award, while Richard Durling was given the Patti Schnell Hall of Fame Awards from past president Walter Barletta.
It was also the final night of Anthony Greco's presidency, who was given a poem, read by Beneke, before he passed the baton to Brian Rist, who along with his board of directors were sworn in by Mayor Marni Sawicki.
Greco said there were ups and downs, but the future looks great, especially with a new City Council that wants to grow the city to its fullest potential.
"We have a great organization, the board is sticking together and all the good things are happening," Greco said. "The council is very pro-growth and work together well and have the future of the city in mind."
Rist said he will take over under positive circumstances, which will make his job easier.
"I'm coming in at a time where the economy is going in the right direction, so there are a lot of opportunities," Rist said. "We want to work with the city to make our industry more sustainable. I think we can do a lot of things and create a lot of jobs."
With an industry that's ready to work the city to help it grow further, Sawicki said she was ready for the challenge.
"I think the CCCIA will work well with us. They've stepped up to the plate and that's important as we move forward," Sawicki said. "They seem open to advice and I don't see a lot of conflict."