March 13, 2015 Economic Development News Round-up

President's Message

Good Afternoon!

FEDC alert! As you know one of FEDC’s legislative priorities is Enterprise Zones. There is a coalition of groups working towards reauthorization with reform. While there are still some who want to see this sunset, the tide is slowing moving towards a reformed program that includes stronger reporting, marketing and accountability. The Senate Finance and Tax Committee will be discussing the Enterprise Zone program on Monday. We are hoping to see a Proposed Committee Bill but it is not guaranteed. Senator Hukill Chairs Finance and Tax. The Committee members are listed on the Committee page on the Florida Senate website.  I urge you to send Chair Hukill, Committee members and staff a note urging them to both reform and reauthorize the Enterprise Zone Program. Let them know how important it is to the economic development toolkit and your community.
The second of our priorities is to ensure that our partners and the economic development toolkit are funded and that the business climate remains friendly and easy to access. We need your help reaching out to your local legislative delegation regarding HB 5401 and SB 1214. These pieces of legislation significantly impact Florida’s competitiveness in economic development. The bill takes away some of the Governor’s ability to use waivers on certain projects, removes the ability to use the state average wage as a comparable wage squeezing out certain industries, and areas of the state to be eligible for incentive programs. It also makes it more difficult for projects to achieve the required 5 to 1 return on investment by requiring additional criteria be considered in the economic model. Additionally the bill puts caps on the overall use of incentives each year and specifically targets the Quick Action Closing Fund, only appropriating $23M for next year’s toolkit, considerably lower than the Governor’s recommendation of $85M. It is very important that your local delegation hear from you, the practitioners that they represent so they understand the consequences of passing these bills.

Have a good weekend and thank you for all you do!


Amy L. Evancho
President & CEO
Florida Economic Development Council
3802 Spectrum Blvd.
Suite 141
Tampa, FL 33612
813-977-3332 – Office
954-319-2435 – Cell


Register NOW for the 2015 FEDC Conference

Join economic developers from around Florida to discuss the most important issues in economic development today. Florida is well-positioned for a resurgence in job growth and prosperity. This conference will highlight the Pioneers, Leaders, Innovators, Entrepreneurs, and Catalysts that will drive Florida’s economic future. Learn and experience how Florida is Leading the Way.


Members $260 | Non-Members $425


The online reservation system for the Walt Disney Swan Resort is NOW OPEN. Standard room rates are $199 and upgrades are available. You may make your reservation online or by calling 1-888-828-8850.



News and Accomplishments

January 2015 Employment Figures Released

January 2015 employment figures were released this morning. Compared to the ten most populous states, Florida had the fastest job growth rate, ranked third in over-the-year job gains and the fourth lowest unemployment rate. Read the Commissioner's Statement and download stats:

Employment Figures Annual Benchmarking

Every March, the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity release January employment and unemployment estimates as well as revised historical data. This report is the result of that annual process, which is known as “benchmarking.”

Also with this release, new and changed Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) are being introduced. Three new MSAs were added: Homosassa Springs, Sebring, and The Villages. Three existing MSAs had geography changes: Crestview-Ft. Walton Beach-Destin now includes both Okaloosa and Walton counties; Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach now includes both Flagler and Volusia counties; and Panama City now includes both Bay and Gulf counties.

The current and historical employment by industry statistics (jobs) can be found at:

The current and historical unemployment statistics can be found at:

Read More »

Lawmakers Look For More Control Over Economic Incentive Deals

During a hearing Thursday, a Senate panel unanimously approved a bill that calls for the director of Enterprise Florida, the public-private entity that strikes business development deals, to be confirmed by the Senate. The bill also caps the amount of money doled out by the state through economic incentives at $50 million per year, ends up-front payments to businesses and limits contracts of less than $20 million to 10 years.

Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, sponsor of SB 1214, pointed to other parts of the bill that give Scott more leeway, including increasing the amount of an incentive project that needs further legislative approval from $5 million to $7.5 million. “The bill in no way should be interpreted by anyone to be any criticism of the way that that agency has conducted itself, they’ve done a great job. But just like anything else we’ve got to look at the edges and little things that need to be fine tuned,” Latvala said.
Read More »

Manatee County Economic Development Manager Earns Prestigious Designation

Karen Stewart has been working to become a certified economic developer ever since she started working for Manatee County seven years ago. Mission accomplished!

Stewart, county economic development manager, recently earned the designation given by the International Economic Development Council, making her the only certified economic developer in Manatee County and one of 65 in Florida. More than 1,100 people hold the designation in the United States, Mexico and Canada. Earning the designation shows mastery of principal skills in economic development, professional attainment and a commitment to personal and professional growth, according to the news release. “It really adds a level of expertise and professional recognition to the county,” Stewart said.

Congratulations to Karen on this momentous achievement!
Read More »

Startup Quest® programs being offered by Career Source Florida

Forbes recently reported that independent workers, many of them entrepreneurs and small business owners, will make up half of the nation’s workforce by 2025. The trend is moving away from just “I want to find a job” to “I want to create my job.”  Here in Florida the Startup Quest® program is gaining national attention – as evidenced by a $12 million U.S. Department of Labor grant – for its innovative approach to entrepreneurship and community collaboration. Startup Quest® prepares highly educated individuals to create jobs for themselves by building businesses and partnerships with NASA and various Florida universities. Other graduates of the 10-session program, now operating in eight regions of the state, have made themselves more expert additions to existing high-level jobs. To date, Startup Quest® has 1,190 graduates, 558 of which are employed and 154 of which are self-employed.
Read More »

FPL Announces Three Pre-Qualified Data Center Sites

Florida Power & Light Company today announced the certification of three new pre-qualified data center sites within its 35-county service territory. Biggins Lacy Shapiro & Company, a leading economics and site selection firm, which was commissioned by FPL to conduct the study, reviewed a combination of factors to identify the most attractive sites for data centers in Florida. The criteria included reliable and redundant power, fiber infrastructure, competitive cost structures and locations insulated from man-made and natural risks.

The three pre-qualified sites provide operators a wide variety of usage, from stand-alone enterprises to co-location facilities, access to utilities, proximity to major highways and metropolitan areas, favorable demographics, site logistics and security.
Read More »

The Majority Of Small And Medium South Florida Businesses Are Ready To Grow

The vast majority of small and medium-size business in South Florida and nationwide are prepared to seek growth opportunities, according to SunTrust’s Annual 2015 Business Pulse Survey. Eighty-four percent of mid-market businesses in the nation, or for-profit businesses with annual revenue between $10 million and $150 million, and 78 percent of small businesses in the nation, or for-profit businesses with annual revenue between $2 million and $10 million, are prepared or somewhat prepared to seek out growth opportunities, according to the survey. The industries in the area primed for growth are likely wholesale trade, professional and business services, and manufacturing said Margaret Callihan, chairman, president and CEO of SunTrust, South Florida.

One business concern that may be unique to South Florida is the Brazilian economy. Whereas 47 percent of mid-market business and 44 percent of small business across the U.S. reported that an uncertain economy is a top business concern, in South Florida, the Brazilian economy is a factor, as well. “Brazil is experiencing below-trend growth, so when you look at the size of the Brazilian economy, that does impact some of the export trade in our market,” Callihan said.
Read More »

Collier County Startup Looks To Prevent Diabetes

InsulinNG is the first life-sciences startup to join one of Collier’s soft landing business accelerators, which signed leases for temporary and permanent space last week in the Kraft Center in North Naples. Right now, there’s only two executives, but their vision is expansive: help doctors help patients at risk of developing diabetes. It all starts with a thin paper strip and some leased office space. Plans call for InsulinNG to go to market this fall, pending FDA approval. The product was developed and tested in Germany, but the U.S., particularly Florida and Collier provide a lucrative market.

For the past two years, Collier has worked to revamp its economic development strategy with a focus on luring technology and medical science to the area. The emphasis should help diversify the county’s economy and reduce its reliance on tourism, real estate and construction. For InsulinNG, Collier’s accelerator provides fertile soil (office space, professional support and equipment) in which to grow their company, said Frank Rudwinsky, director of marketing and business development. “We believe this will be the beginning of a life science cluster in Collier County,” said Bruce Register, director of the office, while introducing the company at a recent county commission meeting.
Read More »

Xcelience Invests $9 Million To Expand Production-Operations In Tampa, Florida

Xcelience, an international contract development and manufacturing organization that services the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, will invest $9 million to expand product development services and manufacturing operations, creating 100 new jobs in Tampa, Florida. In addition to expanding manufacturing operations, Xcelience will expand its pharmaceutical development labs in a new Tampa location to support future company growth. The positions will include staff for pharmaceutical development, manufacturing, quality assurance and packaging. Derek Hennecke, President/CEO, Xcelience said, “Tampa is a great place to build a base of scientific capabilities. The warm climate attracts a stable workforce, and the government at all levels is eager to help us grow and prosper. Our location puts us just a mile from the airport, making it easy for out of state clients to find us. Exciting things are coming down the pipeline, for Tampa, for Xcelience, and the exciting new medical treatments we are developing with our clients.”

This project was made possible by the close partnerships between Enterprise Florida, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, CareerSource Florida and the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation. Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director Jesse Panuccio said, “Xcelience’s expansion is another positive chapter in Tampa’s economic turnaround the last few years. The Scott administration will continue to support pro-growth policies that help the manufacturing and biotech sectors thrive in Florida. Successes such as these move us closer to our goal of making Florida the best state in which to live, learn, pursue a career, and start or grow a business.” “Xcelience is another prime example of a locally headquartered company with a global reputation whose growth is helping to shape Hillsborough County’s economic future,” said Rick Homans, President/CEO of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation. “The strength and diversity of our manufacturing, life sciences, and technology sectors are attracting more world class companies and talent to Tampa each year.”
Read More »

Growing Spirit Airlines to Hire 1,500 Workers in 2015

Spirit Airlines will hire 1,500 workers this year as it adds new aircraft and flights across its network, the airline says. The low-cost airline, based in Miramar, is the No. 2 carrier at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport with 18.6 percent of passenger traffic, behind JetBlue Airways at 20.6 percent, according to the latest airport data. Spirit flies 50 daily departures to 45 domestic and international destinations from Fort Lauderdale. The airline added 24 nonstop routes across its network last year, including service from Fort Lauderdale to Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport in September and to Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport in August.
Read More »

Gulf Power Announces New Economic Development Manager

Rick Byars has been named Gulf Power’s new general manager of community and economic development. Byars will be responsible for job creation, community building and community development in Northwest Florida, as well as for ensuring the company maintains strategic and credible relationships with key community stakeholders. “Northwest Florida is at a pivotal point right now — with several large businesses already choosing to expand in the area, a strong amount of activity surrounding aerospace in the region and the money that will be coming to the area from BP,” Byars said. “It’s an exciting time to be part of economic development in Northwest Florida, and I look forward to continuing Gulf Power’s commitment to helping the area grow.”
Read More »

Job Links

Team Volusia
Investor Relations Specialist

City of Tamarac
Economic Development Manager

W192 Development Authority Board
W192 Executive Director

City of Titusville
Economic Development Director

Hillsborough County Economic Development Department
Coordinator, Redevelopment Site Analysis

Orlando EDC
Business Development Director

City of Hollywood
Assistant City Manager

City of Debary
Transit Oriented Development Marketing Manager

Southwest Florida Economic Development Alliance
Executive Director

Gulf Power Company
Community & Economic Development General Manager

University of South Florida
Economic Development Program Director

Palm Beach Business Development Board
Vice President, Business Retention and Expansion

Palm Beach Business Development Board
Vice President, Business Recruitment

City of Hollywood
Vice President, Economic Development – Rural Communities

Palm Beach Business Development Board
Corridor Redevelopment Manager

City of St. Petersburg
Economic Development Analyst


North Florida Economic Development Academy

March 26-27th
More Information

8th Annual SEDC “Meet The Consultants”

March 31st @ The Palmer House Hilton, Chicago
More Information

Tools That Work for Economic Development – TALLAHASSEE

April 3rd @ Raymond Sittig Hall
More Information

Market Outlook 2015 @ FGCU

April 3rd @ FGCU Cohen Center Ballroom
More Information

28th Annual Government Small Business Conference

May 6th, 2015 @ Embassy Suites Tampa
More Information

2015 Tools That Work for Economic Development – DAVIE

May 13th @ Nova Southeastern University
More Information

2015 IEDC Excellence Awards – Call for Entries

Through May 15th 2015
More Information

TampaBay Export Alliance 2015 International Town Hall

May 8th 2015 @ Hilton Carillon, St. Petersburg
More Information

Tools That Work for Economic Development – SARASOTA

June 26th 2015 @ City of Sarasota, City Hall
More Information

2015 FEDC Annual Conference @ Walt Disney Swan Resort

July 13-15th, 2015
Early Bird Pricing available through April 2nd! REGISTER NOW »

Tools That Work for Economic Development – WINTER PARK

August 11th 2015 @ Winter Park Civic Center
More Information

IEDC 2015 Annual Conference @ Dena'ina Civic & Convention Center, Anchorage AK

SAVE THE DATE: Ocbober 2015
More Information


Enterprise Florida

Florida High Tech Corridor

Florida Trend



Copyright © 2015 Florida Economic Development Council, All rights reserved.
Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp