We can change the world
Brian Rist is the Executive Chairman of The Smart Companies, of which Storm Smart is the largest subsidiary.
Storm Smart is the largest manufacturer and installer of hurricane protection and lifestyle products in the United States and offers the most comprehensive product line in the industry. Storm Smart boasts over 200 local employees and has served over 80,000 customers throughout Florida, the United States, Caribbean, Mexico, and Guam.
Since opening in 1996, Storm Smart’s growth and commitment to its customers has been honored with the Governors Ambassadors’ Award in 2015, Horizon Council Award for Corporate Expansion in 2007, INC 500 Fastest Growing Companies (2006-2009), Cape Coral Community Foundation’s Non-Profit Business Partner of the Year in 2017, and “Best of” by the readers of the News-Press multiple years to name a few.
Brian is recognized as an industry expert in developing innovative hurricane protection products. Throughout his career, Brian has been committed to customer experience, product development, and community involvement.
He has served on many boards including the Cape Coral Construction Industry Association (Past President), Southwest Regional Manufacturers Association (Past President), Lee County School District Task Force, Exterior Shade & Shutter Association, Lee County’s Horizon Council, Cape Coral Council for Progress (Past President), and the International Hurricane Protection Association. For his efforts, Brian has been named winner of the Governors Award for Corporate Leadership two times, a finalist for Manufacturer of the Year in the State of Florida three times, Small Business Man of the Year by the SBA in 2009, Cape Coral Construction Industry Association President’s Award 2015, and Florida SBDC at FGCU 2017 Advocate of the Year.
In addition to his professional endeavors, Brian has also become a well-known philanthropist in Southwest Florida and beyond.
Over the years, Brian has provided his time and treasure to such worthy organizations as Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, Harry Chapin Food Bank, Uncommon Friends of Southwest Florida, Good Wheels of Southwest Florida, and many others.
In 2012, Brian was responsible for saving his resident city, Cape Coral’s annual Fourth of July event, Red, White & Boom. Hearing the city had lost its title sponsor for the event, and in jeopardy of cancellation, Brian stepped up with a sizeable donation, taking over as title sponsor for the next four years, ensuring Red, White & Boom would continue for all to enjoy.
Also, Brian and Storm Smart stepped up in 2017 to donate to Collier-Lee Honor Flight, a non-profit organization which flies local war veterans to Washington D.C. for a day of touring monuments and sites built in their honor. Accompanying the veterans on a flight, Brian was so moved, in 2018 he hosted Storm Smart’s first event, Tee Off for Take Off Golf Event to raise funds for the organization. Through those efforts, Storm Smart was able to raise $80,000. Enough to fund an entire flight of veterans to the nation’s capital.
In the latter part of 2018, Brian also expanded his generosity outside the area, when he was made aware his alma mater the University of Massachusetts at Lowell was in need of $100 million to continue its mission. Seeking to give back to the school who provided his continued education, Brian committed to a $5 million donation to the school which will be used for scholarships and expansion. This effort put the university past its fundraising goal and was the largest single donation in the school’s history.