Graham leads Florida Home Builders Association
PORT CHARLOTTE — The new president of the Florida Home Builders Association drinks Yuengling and watches the Jets.
She also wears acrylic nails, which sometimes are intricately decorated.
Suzanne Graham, 47, recently became the association’s second female president.
During Graham’s recent installation ceremony in St. Petersburg, all the women formed a tunnel for her to walk through while “I am Woman” played.
“I’m honored being the second female president in 63 years,” Graham said.
Graham’s family moved from Long Island to Charlotte County when she was 15. While she was an angry teen initially, moving to a new town in the middle of her high school years, Charlotte County and Charlotte High School quickly became home.
“I’ve never been back (to Long Island),” she said.
Graham and her husband Jim started American Pest Control Management in 1992. She served as the president of the Port Charlotte-based company from 1992 to 2011, at which time Massey Services acquired American Pest Control. Graham became the director of government affairs for Massey Services — the fifth-largest pest-control company in the country.
She continues to work as president of American Properties of Charlotte County, American Plaza of Charlotte County and American Rentals of Charlotte County.
As if that doesn’t keep her busy enough, Graham serves as a member of the Charlotte-DeSoto Building Industry Association’s board of directors. She is a past president, as well as member of the year for the association. She also is active with the National Home Builders Association and the Charlotte County Chamber Governmental Affairs Committee, as well as many other local and state organizations.
“Suzanne has worked harder than anyone I know and put in more hours than anyone I know,” said T.J. Thornberry, president of Thornberry Custom Builders.
Graham’s commitment to the community is visible by her attendance at local government meetings as well as through her generosity and willingness to assist local organizations such as the Punta Gorda Little League, the Charlotte County Homeless Coalition and Port Charlotte Bandits Pop Warner, among other nonprofits.
“Suzanne Graham is a woman I look up to tremendously,” said Donna Barrett, sales and marketing manager for the Cultural Center of Charlotte County. “Many times I have called on her knowledge to help me with projects I work on. The greatest times I have spent with Suzanne have been working together on different events to help our community. From supporting children and sports to working together for our homeless, Suzanne has made Charlotte County a better place to live.”
Graham graduated from Leadership Charlotte’s Class of 2011 (green, which is always the next question asked of Leadership alums).
“I grew my business here and I want to give back to the community that helped me grow my business,” Graham said.
Graham and her husband Jim will be married 20 years next month.
While work and community occupy much of Graham’s life, she openly dotes on her nieces and nephews. She’ll eagerly share a video of her 2-year-old niece, Vincensia “Vinnie.”
And she proudly shares her nephew Cody’s progress as he serves as a private first class in the U.S. Army.
Her nephew, Chris, and niece, Anastasia “Ana,” also make Graham smile quicker than a good political joke, which Graham probably appreciates more right now than ones directed at her struggling New York Jets.
Graham, who also has served as secretary, treasurer and first vice president, will lead the association’s 7,000 corporate members for a one-year term.
“She wishes she could do everything,” Thornberry said. “She does as much as she can, and beyond.”