NICEVILLE — The Costa Leadership Institute at Northwest Florida State College, in partnership with the Crestview, Destin, Niceville-Valparaiso and Fort Walton Beach chambers of commerce, honored 41 Okaloosa County professionals during a graduation celebration at the Emerald Grande to celebrate their completion of the 2016-2017 Leadership Okaloosa program.

The 2017 Leadership Okaloosa graduates include: John Anderson (Okaloosa Clerk of Courts and Comptroller), Matt Baltz (The Manor at Blue Water Bay), Nicholas Berry (United States Air Force), Renea Black (Early Learning Coalition), Ashley Breihan (Northwest Florida State College), William Cartier (Okaloosa Gas District), Susan Cassady (Okaloosa Clerk of Courts and Comptroller), Elizabeth Chestnut (Greater FWB Chamber), Doris Coffee (Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office), LeAnn Collins (Best Western), Kyle Cox (Okaloosa Gas District), Robin Donlon (BBVA Compass), Carrie Ely (Gulf Power Company), Bernita Everett (First City Bank), Gemini Fisher (CCB Community Bank), Effie Hannie (Carr, Riggs and Ingram, LLC), Nicole Hanson (Okaloosa Gas District), Grace Hartness (Carr, Riggs and Ingram, LLC), Stefan Hoffer (Matthew and Jones, LLP), Gregory Hotaling (U.S. Army Retired, 7th Special Forces), Kerrianne Jensen (Baskerville-Donovan, Inc.) and Jay Jones (Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office).

Also: Denise Kendust (Fort Walton Beach Medical Center), Glenn Langan (Gulf Power), Denise McKinion (CHELCO), Amanda Negron (Total Parts Plus), Nikki Owen (The Arc of the Emerald Coast), Mark Pzinkski (Emerald Grande at Harbor Walk Village), Joseph Quilit (Rocky Bayou Christian School), Ramsey Ross (Northwest Florida State College), Michelle Sanchez (Destin Commons), Karen Sterett (Chick-fil-A), Paul Stinebiser (FWB Chamber/New York Life), Bryce Trafford (Destin Area Chamber), Gary Venuti (Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office), Tracey Williams (Fresh Start for Children and Families), Lena Williams (World Impact Real Estate), Abner Williams (World Impact Real Estate), Sandra Wilson (Crestview Area Chamber), Nathan Wolbert (Warren Averett) and Crystal Yeabower (Niceville-Valparaiso Chamber).

The Costa Leadership Institute is currently accepting applications for the 2017-2018 Leadership Okaloosa program. This nine-month program is designed to enhance the participant’s network and leadership skills, offering 25 hours of leadership development training and tours of Okaloosa County. The class meets once a month from September to May, during which participants receive classroom training from an expert instructor and are given opportunities to interact with various key community leaders throughout the process.

A highlight of the program is a two-day trip to Tallahassee for the Legislative Day meetings. Tours of Okaloosa County include Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Crestview, Niceville, Valparaiso, Northwest Florida Regional Airport, Hurlburt Field and Eglin Air Force Base, providing participants with an understanding of the community.

Additionally, each participant takes part in a group project with a focus on city and county government, offering the opportunity to demonstrate public speaking, presentation, time management and team building skills learned throughout the program.

Tuition for the Leadership Okaloosa program is $950 and applications are due by Aug. 15. For more information contact the Costa Leadership Institute at 729-6880 or email Leadership@NWFSC.edu. Applications are available online at www.nwfsc.edu/LI.