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How They Get It All Done

Local Leaders Share Lessons from Their Successful Careers

Joel Anderson

CEO, Village on the Isle

Originally from Kentucky, Joel met his wife, Angela, during undergrad, earned a master's degree in aging, public policy and management from the University of Maryland Baltimore County and has 25 years of experience in aging services administration. Father to Miller and Samuel, Joel has been leading Village on the Isle through a $100 million campus refurbishment and expansion.

What projects are you focused on over the next few years?

Village on the Isle is a 37-year-old faith-based cornerstone in this community. Our campus repositioning started in 2015, and the full renewal will take 10 to 15 years. We currently serve 350 seniors, and our first phase will soon take us to 425 and more than 300 employees. 

What is your strategy for overcoming a great challenge?

I have deep faith in God. In decision-making, it’s important to hit the pause button, to reflect before acting. My prayer life provides me that.

What is the most important life lesson you have learned? 

Never doubt yourself. Be resilient. That’s what I just told my 16-year-old. Life can beat you down, and you have to get back to solid footing. It’s always going to happen, whether in academics, professional life or personal life. 

What advice would you give a younger version of yourself?

Use your mentors. Find good ones, and listen to them. 

What is your favorite way to have fun?

I spend a tremendous number of hours here. Village on the Isle is my ministry and passion. But my family is everything to me. The breaks I get from work I spend with them.

Why do you love living and working in our region?

I love Venice’s hometown feel. It reminds me of where I grew up. The interactions I have with people here feel as rich and deep as family.  

Mike Pachota

President of the Venice Pier Group including Sharky’s, Fins and Snook Haven

Owner of three iconic restaurants, Mike Pachota is a business graduate of Michigan State University. Married to Madonna, a nurse practitioner, Mike’s two sons work with him, and he is a proud father-in-law and grandfather of four.

What projects are you focused on over the next few years?

Employment is our biggest challenge: finding the right candidates, training them and giving them support. If they bring us great attitudes, we will teach them the skills they need to succeed with us. 

What is your strategy for overcoming a great challenge?

During last fall’s red tide, we didn’t know how long it would last. We dug in. We took great care of our employees. We paid them for not coming to work. We paid their health benefits. 

What is the most important life lesson you have learned?

Keep climbing. You can’t let a bad day or a negative social media post get in the way of your long-term goal which, in our case, is great customer service in great locations. 

What advice would you give to a younger version of yourself?

You always wonder whether you gave too much to the business and not enough to family. But both my boys went away to school and came back into the business. They are working their butts off and having a good time. I love that they are here with me.

What is your favorite way to have fun?

Spending time with friends and family and just talking to people. 

Why do you love our region?

The people and the climate. With two restaurants on the Gulf and one on the Myakka River. I have to pinch myself about how lucky I am.

Mike Dunn

Vice President and Director of Florida Operations for the Atlanta Braves, including the new $100 million Spring Training Facility and Stadium in North Port

Mike Dunn has been overseeing the new Atlanta Braves Spring Training Facility in North Port and has been with the Braves organization for more than 20 years. Mike is married to Amanda, and their twin sons are Nicolas and Nathan.

What projects are you focused on over the next few years?

I am fully focused on our new Spring Training stadium and facility in North Port and preparing for a full Grapefruit League baseball season. We are completing construction on our baseball academy and working on new projects for the stadium and facility to the benefit of our players, fans and the greater community. It’s a major project.

What is your strategy for overcoming a great challenge?

I believe in always staying positive and as focused on the task as possible. I remind myself to appreciate my wonderful life and cherish what I have. I absolutely never take anything for granted.

What is the most important life lesson you have learned? 

You have to surround yourself with good people and then let them do their jobs. You have to treat people the way you would like to be treated.

What advice would you give to a younger version of yourself?

Always get to work early, try to absorb everything you can in your workplace, be willing to help and learn from others and never pass on the opportunities that come your way.

What is your favorite way to have fun?

I love playing with my kids on our wonderful waters.

Why do you love living and working in our region?

It’s simple: I love our beautiful climate and the many outdoor activity options we have.

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