Lemerand Speaker Inspires Students to Success

The rhetorical stars aligned for the 24th L. Gale Lemerand Speaker Series at Daytona State College.

Adam Berringer, founder of SoNapa Grille, as well as a successful entrepreneur and former mayor of New Smyrna Beach, encouraged students to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams with vigor, and shared his journey from working his way through college to success in the construction and hospitality industries.

It begins, Berringer said, with setting goals, taking action, learning and endurance. That formula, goals, action, learning and endurance – abbreviated as GALE – illuminated Berringer’s remarks and paid tribute to L. Gale Lemerand for his endowment in support of the lecture series that bears his name.

Berringer said he returned to that formula time and again as his life and situation changed. He recalled at one time setting a goal of owning a restaurant in New Smyrna Beach and riding his bike to work. That became the first SoNapa Grille. Berringer subsequently opened locations in Ormond Beach and Jacksonville Beach.

DSC President Tom LoBasso said the speaker series is part of the college’s mission to play “an important role in preparing students for the careers of tomorrow” and to “inspire students to become the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs.”

Lemerand was also in attendance and encouraged students to seek out others with the same drive for success.

“Surround yourself with good, honest, hardworking people, just as you must be to be an entrepreneur,” he said.

Berringer recounted the experience of surviving the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Let’s just say it didn’t stop us, it slowed us down,” he said.

Returning to the GALE idea, Berringer said it is “your keys to success” in being an entrepreneur. But it doesn’t end with your first success.

“Once you achieve your goals, get new goals,” he said. And facing the challenges of a new idea or a new business is something to be embraced.

“You won’t grow by being comfortable,” he said. “You also learn from doing, and you certainly learn from struggle.”

And ultimately, entrepreneurs need the endurance and commitment to never give up.

“If you follow this you will have gale winds propelling you toward success,” Berringer said.