Economic Development News Round-up froom The Florida Economic Development Council

President's Message

Good afternoon.

An FEDC Action Alert! As we ramp up our advocacy initiatives for the 2015 Session, one of FEDC’s top legislative priorities is renewal of the Enterprise Zone program. We are asking our members with Enterprise Zones to consider a contribution to FEDC's Advocacy program to help with this renewal. FEDC is organizing an educational outreach effort to raise awareness of the value of this program to the Florida legislature and we need your support. Please contact FEDC Vice Chair of Advocacy, Cathy Chambers, at or (904) 366-6667 to join this effort.

Last night's the GrowFL program celebrated Florida's entrepreneurial rock stars and highlighted the importance of second-stage businesses to Florida's economy. Congratulations to the 50 Companies as they were recognized for their growth and ability to contribute to Florida’s economy. More than 450 people attended the event. Full stoy on

Amy L. Evancho
President & CEO
Florida Economic Development Council

News and Accomplishments

Read all of this week's news in the FEDC Newsroom

FEDC Legislative Affairs Committee Teleconference November 12

Help us shape the FEDC 2015 Legislative Agenda by participating in this very important call. We will be presenting possible legislative items submitted to date as well as taking your input for additional items. Once the Committee has approved the items, we will move it to the FEDC Board for their final approval. Have a voice and participate!

November 12 @ 10am - Call in number 712-432-0075 code 452692#

Read More »

50 of Florida's Best and Brightest Honored as the 2014 Florida Companies to Watch

Last night's sold out event celebrated Florida's entrepreneurial rock stars and highlighted the importance of second-stage businesses to Florida's economy. More than 450 people attended the event, held at Hard Rock Live, CityWalk in Orlando. Thank you to all that attended, sponsored and supported this year's event. We could not have done it without you. Florida Companies to Watch is an awards program that celebrates privately held second-stage companies headquartered in the state. Awardees are selected for demonstrating the intent and capacity to grow based on employee or sales growth, exceptional entrepreneurial leadership, sustainable competitive advantage, outstanding corporate culture, inspired community giving and other notable strengths.

Read More »

Florida Named One Of Best States For Business

Texas, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina are viewed as having the best business climates among the 50 states, according to a new survey of U.S. corporate executives released today at the International Economic Development Council annual conference.

According to a release from survey conductor Development Counsellors International, Texas — which has consistently held the No. 1 ranking since 1999 — was the clear-cut favorite among the respondents to the survey, with 49.7 percent naming the Lone Star state as having one of the most favorable business climates in the nation. Florida ranked second with 18.1 percent; and Georgia and North Carolina tied for third with 17.6 percent of the votes.
Read More »

Florida Is Poised To Benefit From New Intermodal Centers

Thanks to long-term planning efforts, the state of Florida and its private companies have strategically invested in preparing Florida to be one of the most efficient trade and logistics hubs in the world. Florida is now poised to capitalize on its central location as a global transportation hub with easy access to the rest of the U.S., to Central and South America, the Caribbean, Europe, and Africa.

To make the movement of cargo more efficient and less costly, improvements in freight handling and transfers have become critical components of the logistics system. One of the most significant additions to Florida’s system has been an increase in Intermodal Centers.

Investments to increase the efficiency of transporting Florida passengers, freight, and space payloads have been made possible due to a substantial amount of planning and cooperation between the Florida Legislature, private-sector partners including the Florida Chamber of Commerce, multiple public and private stakeholders, and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). In 2011, Enterprise Florida added Logistics to its Qualified Target Industry list, allowing qualifying expansions of Florida businesses or relocations of qualified logistics businesses to Florida to be eligible for economic development incentives. That same year, the Office of Freight, Logistics and Passenger Operations was created within the FDOT.

Florida’s transportation and logistics infrastructure is being developed with an eye towards leading the world in efficiency and capacity, and will place Florida as a true transportation hub for the U.S. in trade and transport with Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, and even Asia. Floridians will benefit directly through the creation of jobs in logistics and trade, as well as the creation of indirect and induced jobs in related industries as a result.

This Florida TaxWatch report is also available in PDF format: Florida’s transportation system is adding more intermodal components

Read More »

Florida Tech to Open Women's Business Center in Orlando Area with $750,000 SBA Grant

The award-winning Women’s Business Center at Florida Institute of Technology will launch an Orlando-area operation early next year after receiving $750,000 in funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration. The Central Florida Women’s Business Center (CFWBC) will serve Lake, Orange, Osceola, Volusia and Seminole counties and be centrally located.

The CFWBC is expected to open in the first-quarter 2015. It will be structured to drive economic development goals that are aligned with key emerging industry clusters in the Central Florida region. This will be Florida Tech’s third such facility serving the region, with the others housed at the university’s Melbourne campus and CareerSource Brevard’s Rockledge facility. "We are very pleased to see the continued growth of our Women’s Business Centers across Central Florida and thank the SBA for helping us expand the reach of this valuable, difference-making resource," said Florida Tech President and CEO Anthony J. Catanese.
Read More »

Aviation Manufacturer Edge Aerodynamix Plans $77.92 Million Investment In Bay County

Edge Aerodynamix, Inc. will locate its operations near the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport in Bay County, Florida. The project will create a $77.92 million in capital investment, including land, and 120 manufacturing, research and development, and marketing jobs.

The company, which has developed a product that will generate significant fuel savings for all types of aircraft, plans to continue research and development on additional products aimed at reducing drag and increasing fuel efficiency. The company has chosen to locate the manufacturing of these products, in addition to its R&D and marketing operations, in Bay County after a competitive site search that included domestic and international sites, Governor Rick Scott’s Office said.

President/CEO of Enterprise Florida, Gray Swoope said, "Northwest Florida has grown to be one of the top regions for aviation and aerospace companies to expand and establish operations. Edge Aerodynamix’s operations in Panama City will add value to Florida’s extensive aviation and aerospace and manufacturing sectors. I’m excited for Edge Aerodynamix’s establishment in Florida and look forward to seeing the company’s growth in the Sunshine State."

This project was made possible through strong partnerships between Enterprise Florida, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the Bay County Board of County Commissioners, Bay EDA and Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport.

Read More »

Bill Gates Gobbling Up Florida Farmland

Bill Gates' company Cascade Lakeland Sands has been quietly buying up land in North Florida. In the past two years, Cascade’s Lakeland Sands Florida subsidiary has purchased large tracts of land in Suwanee, Hamilton and Madison counties.

Suwannee County commissioners said they were unaware of the connection between Lakeland Sands and Bill Gates. Commissioner Wesley Wainwright said he knew only that a large land tract near McAlpin had been sold at a premium, and that the same buyer purchased Coggins Farms in neighboring Hamilton County. Commissioner Jason Bashaw said he’d heard the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was getting into agriculture, but was also unaware of any related company buying local farmland.

Contacted by the Suwanee Democrat, a spokesperson for the Gates family had no comment on the land purchases in Suwanee, Hamilton and Madison counties.

Read More »

Newberry Gets Action Plan For Growing Its Economy

Florida’s economic growth doesn’t always come as quickly to smaller, rural communities such as Newberry, Jesse Panuccio told a gathering of city officials and local business leaders at the Easton Newberry Sports Complex on Wednesday evening. The executive director of the state Department of Economic Opportunity said that is why the state launched the Competitive Florida pilot program, with Newberry as one of four cities that the agency is , with Newberry as one of four cities that the agency is helping with efforts to grow their economies.

Bryan Thomas, Newberry’s director of planning and economic development, said the city’s economic development goals include creating a business-friendly environment for existing businesses, attracting new businesses that fit the city’s character, redeveloping the historic business district, continuing to promote sports tourism, developing workforce education for target industries, securing grants, getting city budget funding and reporting on ongoing progress.

Read More »

Workforce Now Addresses Need To fill IT Jobs

The improving economy hasn’t closed the gap between Southwest Florida employers with open jobs and the workers they need, especially in growing information technology fields, according to Workforce Now studies released Wednesday. Southwest Florida employers are struggling to fill about 5,000 jobs, including everything from retail sales supervisors to speech pathologists, even as unemployment has returned to about 6 percent in the region, less than half of what it was at the height of the recession.

Disconnects in the workforce are an issue that everyone should be concerned about, said Brent Kettler, business intelligence manager for the Lee County Economic Development Office. "You can have all the pretty trees and all the perfect beaches in the world, but if you don’t have the right workforce, businesses aren’t going to come here and businesses aren’t going to grow here," Kettler said. About a third of businesses surveyed said they had difficulty filling vacant information technology jobs.

Read More »

Northeast Florida Report from Florida Trend

It should come as no surprise that Jacksonville boasts six Fortune 1000 firms — more than any other Florida city — and the national or divisional headquarters of more than 80 other companies. A world-class intermodal transportation system made up of multiple seaports, airports, railways and highways has made Northeast Florida a focal point for both international and domestic commerce. With its population of close to 1.6 million, workforce exceeding 767,000 and reputation for affordability and accessibility, this seven-county region offers a dynamic market for business relocation and expansion. Learn more about all that Jacksonville and the Northeast Florida region has to offer in this regional business report from Florida Trend.

Read More »

Get Ready for Minimum Wage Increase January 1, 2015

The minimum wage will rise to $8.05/hour, effective JANUARY 1, 2015. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has set up a webpage with all of the required posters and notices so you can get your workplace ready for the change.

Read More »

Career & Professional Education Act (CAPE) – Deadline Extended to OCTOBER 31

Since the Career and Professional Education Act was created in 2007, the Florida Legislature has been vigilant in building upon its successes, ensuring its growth in agility and responsiveness to the talent needs of Florida businesses. You may be aware that new measures were approved during the 2014 legislative session that further enhance this alignment to better prepare Florida students to seize career opportunities and offer more immediate value to businesses. These new measures have implications on the process by which industry certifications may be submitted to CareerSource Florida.

The submission period for 2015-2016 will open August 18, 2014, and conclude October 31, 2014. I urge you to both review the FAQ, which answers high-level questions you may have about the new process, and visit the resource page CareerSource Florida has created to help guide you through the process and provide valuable information for business, education and economic development stakeholders.

Read More »

Job Links

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

Lee County
Manager of Business Development

City of Coral Springs
Economic Development Manager

Business Development Board of Palm Beach County
Vice President, Business Recruitment

City of Boynton Beach
Manager of Economic Development

St. Johns Chamber of Commerce
Vice President of Economic Development

Nassau County Economic Development Board
Executive Director

Delray Beach Community Redevelopment Agency
Economic Development Director

Enterprise Florida
Manager, Business Development

City of Eustis
Economic Development Director

Hillsborough County Economic Development Department
Coordinator, Competitive Site Analysis

Lake Wales Area Chamber of Commerce:
Executive Director

City of Leesburg
Economic Development Director

City of Longwood
Economic Development/Special Projects Manager

Marion County
Economic Development Liason

Central Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce
Associate Director of Economic Development Initiatives

Central Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce
Associate Director of Finance & Operations

Central Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce
Associate Director of Marketing, Communications, and Public Relations

Tampa Hillsborough EDC
Business Development Manager, Business Retention and Expansion

Team Volusia EDC
Marketing and Communications Specialist

Director of Economic Development


FSBDC Finance Fair

October 28, 2014 @ 11:30AM - 1:00PM at Channelside
More Information

2014 Martin County Business Appreciation Luncheon

October 29, 2014 @ 11:30AM - 1:30PM at Hutchinson Island Marriott
More Information

38th Annual Basic Economic Development Course

November 3-6, 2014, USF Tampa Campus
More Information

Business And Trade Development Mission To Sao Paulo And Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

November 11-19, 2014
More Information

HBIF Success Stories Luncheon: South Florida

November 12, 2014 @ 11:30AM, The Biltmore, Coral Gables
More Information

FEDC Legislative Affairs Committee Teleconference

November 12, 2014 @ 10:00AM
More Information

HBIF Success Stories Luncheon: South Florida

November 12, 2014 @ 11:30AM, The Biltmore, Coral Gables
More Information

Space Coast Startup Weekend

November 14-16th, 2014 @ FIT Center for Aeronautics and Innovation Building.
More Information

Tampabay Partnership: 2014 Annual Community Update: The Legacy of Leadership

November 21, 2014 @ Hotel Carillon Park
More Information

FEDC 2nd Annual Winter Symposium

January 15 & 16th, 2015 @ Lago Mar
More Information


28th Annual Government Small Business Conference hosted by SBDC TampaBay
More Information


Enterprise Florida

Florida High Tech Corridor

Florida Trend



Copyright © 2014 Florida Economic Development Council, All rights reserved.
Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp