Johan Ramakers Ph.D.: Publisher
Economist by schooling, marketer by trade and musician by passion, Johan (Han to his friends) has over a long 40 year career traveled almost every country in the world, sailed the Caribbean extensively and has been the master of his own destiny since 1980 when he left a lucrative corporate job in real estate development and construction to start painting his own road, which until now has included several ad agencies, import-export, corporate consultancy, publishing, endeavors into the music industry, travel and real estate development, printing, event organization, event sponsoring and political campaign guidance.
Turning into an Internet junkie became inevitable after teaming up with his brother Thom in 1990 when they opened an instantly successful marketing/tourism development company in the Caribbean, which, with the advance of the Internet in the early 1990’s changed gears quickly to benefit from the opportunities afforded by the Worldwide Web. Much of the time since then have been spent on developing, executing and improving sales strategies for online success.
In 2006 he moved part time to Fernandina Beach, commuting back and forth between St.Maarten and Amelia Island and moved more permanently to the island in the fall of 2009. From late 2011 until July of 2015 Han and his wife TJ, operated also the Amelia Oceanfront Bed and Breakfast. an expertise they now offer worldwide as temporary Relief Innkeepers.
Judie Mackie: Editor
Judie was born in Northern Maine and grew up an Air Force brat in Washington DC. When her father returned home from the Vietnam War, the family moved often and she went to five different schools, in three different states, in one short year. When her parents divorced she was sent to live with relatives in a small Indiana town.
Having first been a published writer at the age of ten she continued to excel at writing during these difficult years. Astonished teachers encouraged her talents by entering her works into several local, regional and state competitions. She went on to contribute popular pieces to a variety of publications and even wrote and directed a school play during high school.
Short, non-fiction articles are the easiest for this working mother of three, who lives on a tropical island paradise with her husband, in Northeast Florida. Judie has never kept track of the wide array of magazines, newspapers, trade publications, radio stations, Web sites, commercial collateral and non-profit organizations she has written for, though she does keep copies of her favorite pieces.
She loves to laugh and enjoys sharing adventures with family and friends. With a broad spectrum of tastes she is as comfortable traveling by motorcycle to a heavy metal music festival, and sleeping in a rain soaked tent at a muddy campground as she is to fly to Las Vegas, dine at Rosemary’s Restaurant, catch a show at Bally’s, and then gamble the night away at Paris. She is a “glass half-full” type for sure. “Why dine at the table of life with happiness served on the side – when you can take a multi-vitamin and eat dessert first?” Judie is also a Zumba and Zumba Gold Fitness Instructor, a member of the Internet Society, the Public Relations Chair of the Fernandina Pirate’s Club, Publicity and Promotions Chair for the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival, and the manager of the Fernandina Beach Market Place, a farmer’s market located on N. 7th Street in historic, downtown Fernandina Beach on Saturday mornings, from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM.
With more than 40 years of journalism, corporate communications and agency experience Dave has a domestic and international background in media relations, speech writing, agency oversight, marketing communications, and strategic planning among others.
In addition to running his own agency serving blue chip clients ranging from Nokia and Novartis to IBM and BellSouth, he has headed up the communications activities of a number of US corporations in the United States and Europe including those of Fortune 50 companies IBM, ITT, and Coastal Corporation.
Following five years as a daily newspaper reporter in Florida and New York, he began a corporate and agency career that included announcing IBM’s first personal computer; introducing Nokia’s cell phones to the North American market; and orchestrating the international rollout of the ITT-Alcatel telecommunications venture in Europe.
He is a member of the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. and the Atlanta Press Club. He and his wife, Linda, live on Amelia Island, on the Northeastern coast of Florida.
Dr. Keith Johnson:
Dr. Johnson is Owner and Business Consultant for a Private Christian Counseling Practice in Jacksonville, Florida, developing Home School Programs and assisting parents in learning how to deal with troubled children. He has a Master’s Degree in Theology and a Doctorate in Ministry from Luther Rice Seminary, where he also taught. Before that, he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree with a double major in Religion and Philosophy from Judson College in Elgin, Illinois. Additional studies include Broadcasting and Psychology. He is listed in the current edition of the National Who’s Who of Certified Counselors. Among his many credits is a key to the city of Detroit from Mayor Coleman for his work with homeless youth, and an award presentation from Vice President Hubert Humphrey for his international work with VISTA.
Since then, he has traveled all over the world, assisting in the building of mission work in Lausanne, Switzerland, throughout Europe, and all over the United States and the Caribbean. Now he stays closer to home, where he is known as a leader in Christian Counseling, writing a newspaper column, hosting the TV program Focus on Jacksonville on Comcast Channel 99 and producing a radio program in between his other duties which include being in great demand as a Guest Speaker in Churches and Community Clubs in Spiritual Personality Development.
Dr. Johnson has written six books and numerous magazine and newspaper articles on “Family Relationships” and “Personality Temperament.”
He also manages a Career Development Company, helping clients to locate better employment career opportunities, and/or improve their own professional talents in the workplace. He is Counseling Moderator of The Foundation Academy, a Private School K-12 located in Jacksonville Beach with emphasis on presentation of the Fine Arts. He is also a Professor at Jones College. One of his greatest interests is training ministers, missionaries, and Christian Counselors as an Instructor at Omega Bible Institute & Seminary. You can also find Dr. Keith Johnson on this YouTube channel.
My life started many years ago in Montreal, Canada. As a true Canadian, I started my professional career as a hockey player. After retiring from hockey, I began my long Sales Career; Medical Sales, Communication Sales and currently Real Estate. My wife and I left the northern cold and moved to Amelia Island in 2003. We love the area and enjoy introducing Fernandina Beach to our many visitors.
I’ve lived here for more than 10 years and love every day. Yes, I am from the big city and yes, Montreal has it all and no, I don’t miss it. That was surprising to me!
This area can’t be beat, we have: sunshine, beaches ,a small town, golf ,bike paths ,a hospital, doctors, dentists, veterinarians, emergency centers, schools, parks, athletic clubs for youths, health food stores, coffee shops, bakeries, restaurants, groceries stores, small shops, large shops farmers markets, movie theater, YMCA, fitness centers, yoga, Bean Dance Studios, social clubs, organizations, carnivals, festivals, parades, churches, library, hotels, bed and breakfasts and neighborhoods.
Oh, how I could go on and on….
Don’t fear the unknown……..Fear the untried!
Pierre A Guite
Keller Williams Realty, Amelia Island
4800 First Coast Highway, #230
Nick or Nikki (as in Nikki Lauda) was born in Austria’s capital city of Vienna in the late 1970s. His interest in the US lifestyle and opportunities was raised while visiting the US as an exchange student. Since then he has visited on several occasions. A online real estate executive he travels a lot between Vienna and Berlin and has a deep insight in central European markets.
But his interests go far beyond his corporate responsibilities. Literally a descendant of the Austrian school of economics, he has a clear picture of where current economics both in Europe and the US are leading to. His column will be primarily devoted to enlighten our readers on movements, trends and political consequences on the European level.
Jim Weinsier is an interesting man. The first time I met Jim I felt that his outward quiet presence hid a multi layered, highly intelligent human being. He was (and is) handy, a hands on problem solver and a man you can count on.
The Petanque America needed a hands-on tournament builder, Jim came forward and made the organization look like a piece of cake. When the Blues Festival needed someone to calmly orchestrate the many facets of a festival grounds layout and set up, Jim unassumingly offered his services and made it a success.
What I didn’t know is the multi talented Jim Weinsier is also a poet and writer and is now turning towards drawing and painting as well.
Yes we are honored to expose many of his insightful musings, poems and observations in a weekly column and expect updates from him as main honcho of the Amelia Island Boules (Pétanque) Club, the largest one in the nation.
With over 14 years experience as a financial advisor, Mark has worked in the diverse, yet related fields of banking, insurance, and securities brokerage. An avid public speaker, Mark is passionate about clearly presenting and simplifying the world of financial planning and investment management. Clients and associates appreciate his relaxed style and ability to speak plainly without a lot of industry jargon.
Mark earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Southern Mississippi, followed by a tour of duty in the United States Air Force as an ICBM Launch Officer stationed at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota. He later continued his academic pursuits and earned a Master’s degree in Personal Financial Planning from The College for Financial Planning in Denver, Colorado. In addition to founding an independent registered investment advisory firm, Mark also owns a fee-based insurance agency, A1A Insurance Network, LLC, and a small business consulting service, A1A Business Consultants, LLC (d.b.a. Compound Profit® of Northeast Florida). These three firms work in conjunction to provide clients with a broad network of services to help them grow and protect their financial assets, while also seeking the security provided by a lifetime of dependable income.
Mark is active in several professional and civic organizations including the Financial Planning Association, the Amelia Island Fernandina Beach Yulee Chamber of Commerce, Talk of Amelia Toastmasters, and Rotary Club of Amelia Island Sunrise.
An avid student and lifelong learner, Cyndi is always ready to tackle new adventures and experiences. Born in Nashua, New Hampshire, but raised in Stone Mountain, Georgia, she considers herself very much at home in the small community of Fernandina Beach. Although rather shy, she is a loyal friend who can be depended upon to help with anything.
The oldest of 3, and mother of two, she currently lives with her husband of 29 years and their son. Her daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren live in Ohio. She loves to spend time with friends, travel, or spend time reading or writing.
She is a certified paralegal and is employed by one of our mills in Fernandina Beach. Her spare time is spent quilting as a hobby with her mother and she is an active member of the Fernandina Pirates Club.
Nick Deonas aka the Godfather:
Nick is the American born second generation Greek Boatbuilding family that became most instrumental in Florida’s modern day shrimping industry. A true Renaissance man, Nick’s interests are deeply rooted in the ups and downs of the Human Race.
A very accomplished businessman with interests in Real Estate and the Marine Industry, Nick gave many years to Public Service as well, performing duties as a firefighter, County Commissioner, Port Authority Chairman and initiating contributions to many charities and community services. As an ASCAP member he still co-writes music with Howard Scott of legendary “War” (Cisco Kid).
Active firefighter, marine specialist and business owner with an uncanny sense for the out-of-the-box approach, Jamie has successfully developed many homebased business opportunities since he left high school some 20 years ago. Actively involved in Network Marketing he has developed a solid business that approaches Multilevel Marketing based on Internet Marketing tools. Jamie is an Amelia Island native and local businessman.
Jamie and his father, Nick own and operated Deonas Boat Works, Inc. and Apex Rentals and Events, LLC. Jamie was born into the boating business and is the grandson of Jimmy Deonas, a master boat builder credited with designing the present day super shrimp trawler. Jamie has become a marine expert himself and solves marine problems on a regular basis. Jamie and his wife Janet enjoy leisure time on the water. Jamie was also recognized as A 40 Under 40.
Ric Conzet aka the Market Man:
Ric leads the good life. He and his wife live on one of the U.S.’s most beautiful islands. Trained and college educated as a jazz musician (plus a business degree) he went on to become the marketing officer for several of the most famous cable music networks. In his formative advertising and marketing years he was the youngest full partner in one of the east coast’s largest corporate identity agencies.
Ric’s philosophy is “why work for the man when your total financial freedom is only trades away”.
Dick Luttekes, Pharmacist:
Hi, I’m Dick Luttekes, a pharmacist in the Netherlands Antilles however deal on a very regular basis with American customers visiting the Dual Island Nation of St. Maarten and Saint Martin either on their holiday or on a one day visit on the cruise ships that frequent our Great Bay Harbor. I’m delighted to write contributing stories for SearchAmelia since knowledge on medicine and common disease treatment harbor often misguidance and there are quite some misconceptions about medical applications.
I will gladly share my knowledge with the readers of SearchAmelia in any which way I can and please do not hesitate to post your questions on this wonderful communal website. I look forward to your questions which you can leave either in the comment section or if you prefer a more discrete consultation, use the SearchAmelia Contact form and your questions will be forewarded to me.
Rana Killough originally visited Fernandina Beach in 2003 with her husband and two children. She fell in love with the area and promptly relocated in 2004. This happened to coincide with the beginning of an astounding hurricane season for Florida. Never experiencing hurricanes in her life, she began working as an executive for a water damage restoration company.
Having previous experience in management and the construction industry, she began extensive training and earned her certification through the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration. She found helping her local community residents during an emergency flood to be very gratifying. Ensuring indoor air quality by drying their structures and performing mold cleanup became her passion.
Working in the industry for five years, she noticed the need for water damage companies that performed their services the greenest way possible. Keeping this in mind, she started the first green water damage and mold remediation company, Wipe Out, in the Nassau/Duval area at the beginning of 2009, which became Paul Davis Emergency Services of Camden, GA in spring of 2011.
Paul Davis Emergency Services adheres to industry standards and gives you friendly local service, the best of both worlds at a price you can’t beat. Having a disaster in your home doesn’t have to be a disaster anymore. To speak with Rana, give her a call at (912) 342-2220.
Paul is a Certified Mental Trainer™ (CMT) and has been training since 2000. He has experience working with clients of all ages and experience levels, including nationally acclaimed celebrities. He has published two books on performance enhancement and has operates a private practice specializing in relationship and self-leadership counseling.
Paul lives in Fernandina Beach, North Florida with his wife and two children. When he isn’t working with clients or studying the latest literature on mental training, you can find him playing guitar, surfing or on a tennis court.
Captain Jim Wormhoudt is a contributing writer for Search Amelia and has resided in Fernandina Beach for nearly 30 years. For 20 of those years he has been president of Servicemaster of Amelia Island and 12 years have been spent as a local fishing guide for fresh water and both inshore and offshore saltwater fishing.
His fishing expertise comes from four years as the owner of Lunker Hunters Bait and Tackle. This shop gave him the experience in custom rod building and rod and reel repair as well as all things surrounding baits, rigging and tackle for fishing Northeast Florida.
Jim fished for years as a member of the successful Amelia Angler Fishing team, fishing the Southern Kingfish Association and the Redfish Cup tournament trails. He and his wife Debbie still fish the Nassau Sportfishing Club Tournament of Champions and the Greater Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament whenever possible.
CleanSweep Charters specializes in tidal creek fishing primarily in Lofton Creek located between Yulee and Fernandina Beach, Florida. Largemouth Bass are the targeted species however Stripers, Redfish, Catfish, Seatrout and Flounder occasionally are boated as well. Live Shiners are the bait of choice although live Mullet or live Shrimp are sometimes deployed. Captain Jim also ventures into the creeks and rivers along the Intercoastal waterway fishing for sea trout, flounder and redfish. Jetty fishing and offshore reef and wreck trips are also available.
The CleanSweep fishing boat is a 2007, 24 ft. Everglades 243; well equipped for almost all types of fishing or sightseeing. Captain Jim can be reached at (904) 753-0882 or (904) 277-2998.
Rae Lane is the Co-owner and General Manager of CLUB 14 FITNESS. After completing high school in Tallahassee, Florida, Rae moved with her family to Pensacola to attend Pensacola Christian College. Later, she discovered a talent in wallpaper installation, and became one of Amelia Island’s best installers. Her thirst for fitness began when she joined the Amelia Wellness Center in 1996 in an effort to gain weight.
Some guy named Doug, the General Manager of Amelia Wellness Center, decided that he would work with her to achieve her goal. Approximately, two years later, she had achieved her goal. The weight she gained included: a husband, a house, a health club, and eventually a dog named Jasmine. Rae currently manages the club’s operations and continues to run a very tight ship at home. She has been a Certified Personal Trainer, a Certified Aqua Aerobics Instructor, a Board of Health Food Handler, Apex Supplement Certified, a Florida Department of Health Tanning Bed Operator and is now a Certified Body Pump Instructor. As the CLUB 14 FITNESS Manager and Operator, her job is to keep the ship steered and moving in the right direction.
Sajah Medina is the foremost tribal fusion belly dancer and teacher in Fernandina Beach (Amelia Island), Florida, as well as southeast Georgia. A passionate dancer and advocate for this art, she is solely credited for introducing American Tribal Fusion belly dance to the area.
Sajah’s journey in belly dancing began 16 years ago in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She studied American Tribal Fusion, Folkloric and Cabaret belly dance with several distinguished teachers, including the Internationally renowned Amaya, Kay Williams, and Terri Corbin. Sajah performed at venues throughout the southwest, including being a returning performer for Silk Road Café and Ali’s International Coffee House. She was also a core performer in a series on dance at Albuquerque’s South Broadway Cultural Center.
In 2002, Sajah moved with her family to Fernandina Beach, Florida. Finding no belly dance community in the immediate area, she began teaching classes at the Bean’s School of Dance, and subsequently formed Island Tribe Belly Dance. She has developed an award winning educational program on the birth and development of American belly dance entitled, “Belly Dance: History and Origins.” This is a program she incorporates into her classes as well as a program she presents to various organizations such as the Girl Scouts of America, Retirement communities and religious groups. Sajah has taught classes and workshops for Hope Heaven Children’s School for special needs children in Jacksonville, Florida; the YMCA in Brunswick, Georgia, which, impressively, 300 people attended, and various other local and regional organizations. Additionally, Sajah performs throughout the northeast Florida and southeast Georgia region. She has been a returning artist at events such as Boleros’ Holiday Spectacular International Ball Room Dance Competition in Jacksonville, Florida.
As founder and director of the Island Tribe Belly Dance troupe, she has created a performance group that is recognized for its eclectic dance style and extensive costuming. Troupe members must learn music, rhythms, instruments, costume construction and development, terminology, history, public relations and much more in addition to the dance art itself.
Sajah has enjoyed teaching and sharing belly dance with others for 10 years now. She currently teaches classes in Fernandina Beach, on Amelia Island, Yulee, Florida, and in St. Marys, Georgia. To learn more about Sajah and Island Tribe Belly Dance, visit her website, www.islandtribebellydance.com.
Tommylee Ramakers, MD (R.I.P. 2010):
A passion for people, their health, good food, fine wines combined with an adventurous spirit unafraid of change and challenge characterizes the past 30 years of Holistic Medical practice, Vinology, Marketing, Advertising, Videography, Computer and IT technology culminating in a roller coaster ride of the unexpected at each turn of events including 7 hurricanes, an island lifestyle of the Caribbean a la “Don’t Stop the Carnival” has provided me a full spectrum of human emotions and between you and me, believe me when I say, so far it has been far from boring!
That’s me, Tommlyee (Thomas) Ramakers and since 3 years I am called Tomas by my lovely wife Ivana with whom communication to this day is still a challenge as Spanish is not my mother tongue. Obtaining my MD in 1980 and Holistic specialization in 1982, Vinology in 1983, falling in love with Apple Computers in 1984, developing databases in Omnis in 1985, experimenting with Pagemaker publishing software in 1986 and QuarkXpress since 1989 while seeing 30 to 50 patients daily, being chief editor and publisher of a weekly holistic magazine called Libertyn and twice weekly 4 nightly hours of lectures in holistic medicine, this lifestyle called at long last for a drastic change. In 1990 I joined my brother Johan in the Caribbean to venture in the advertising and marketing business on the unique dual island nation of St. Maarten/Saint Martin.
If and when you see contributions that “carry” my name ranging from Medicine, Wines, to IT technology, all so diverse in topic, you know where I’m coming from. Each, to this day, carry my passion. Starting out in healing my fellow humans my interests evolved making me realize that, born under the zodiac sign of Sagittarius the Teacher, being able to pass on knowledge, how humble it may be, is the greatest reward mankind can obtain.
Uncertain times are ahead of us and wise decisions will need to be made, not by elected politicians but by an informed and educated human race (CNN and Fox are not necessarily the best sources of information) else future generations will find that the ransom “Mother Earth” claims will be all too steep for mankind to survive.
“I never worry about action, only about inaction” Sir Winston Churchill