As you celebrate the holidays, please don’t forget to register for the Winter Symposium. The last day to book your hotel at the beautiful
. Room rates are $195. Rooms cannot be booked online. Please call 1-800-lagomar (524-6627) and request rates for the FEDC Winter Symposium Group.
Additionally, for those of you who were unable to attend the teleconferences for the conference planning and legislative affairs, we will be meeting again in January. As FEDC nears the finishing of the 2015 Legislative Agenda and send it the FEDC Board for their approval, it has been determined that this is going to be very busy upcoming Session. We will need all of your help and support to make this a successful push for economic development. Please plan to be a part of the voice in Tallahassee. In the coming weeks, we will keep you apprised of what is happening. Please join the conversation and follow the activities on Facebook, Twitter through our weekly newsletters.
Lastly, don’t forget that the Enterprise Florida Stakeholder and Board meetings will be held in Tallahassee January 21st and 22nd!
3802 Spectrum Blvd.
November Employment Statistics Released
Florida’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.8 percent in November 2014, down 0.2 percentage point from the October 2014 rate of 6.0 percent, and down 0.7 percentage point from 6.5 percent a year ago. The state’s November rate was the lowest since May 2008 when it was 5.7 percent. There were 556,000 jobless Floridians out of a labor force of 9,661,000. The U.S. unemployment rate was 5.8 percent in November. Florida’s unemployment rate has been less than or equal to the national rate for 15 of the last 19 months.
Florida’s seasonally adjusted total nonagricultural employment was 7,897,000 in November 2014, an increase of 41,900 jobs (+0.5 percent) over the month. Compared to November a year ago, the number of jobs in the state was up by 229,900, an increase of 3.0 percent. Nationally, the number of jobs was up 2.0 percent over the year. Florida’s annual job growth rate has exceeded the nation’s rate since April 2012.
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Clay Ingram Named Greater Pensacola Chamber President, CEO
On Thursday, the Greater Pensacola Chamber board of directors announced in a news release that Clay Ingram has been elected to serve as the chamber’s new president and CEO. Ingram, who was unanimously voted by the board to oversee all operational aspects of the chamber, will begin his new role Jan. 5.
Ingram serves as a member of the Florida House of Representatives, representing the 1st District — which includes most of Escambia County — and previously, the state’s 2nd District from 2010 to 2012. He was recently named chair of the Transportation and Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee, where he is responsible for crafting a $12 billion budget for several agencies, including the Department of Transportation, Department of State, Department of Economic Opportunity, Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, and Department of Military Affairs. Ingram also serves on the Florida Defense Support Task Force and the Joint Legislative Budget Commission.
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Jeff Vinik’s $1 Billion Plan for Downtown Tampa Revealed
Jeff Vinik has finally unveiled his vision for transforming downtown: a $1 billion project that would add nearly 3 million square feet of space for people to "live, work, stay and play." The purpose of Vinik’s big rollout was to do more than show the public what he’s been working on for the past few years. He also wanted to hang a big “Open for Business” sign for all to see.
Vinik wants to sell corporations on relocating to his new development. Vinik officials said two of the three new office towers they want to build won’t start construction until they’ve signed up tenants. Enterprise Florida and the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. will be a part of that push, offering public incentives convince companies to relocate to Vinik’s new development. “Jeff wants to start a national corporate relocation campaign with the EDC and Enterprise Florida,” Shimberg said. “We’re targeting companies that would have the potential to bring significant jobs here.” USF has already pledged to add its new medical school to the “Vinikville” project, which will likely be the first phase of the project to start construction – as soon as 2016
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Skanska Wins Key Contract for Osceola High-Tech Manufacturing Center
Skanska USA’s Orlando office was awarded a key contract for Osceola County’s planned Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center on Monday. The center would build and research high-tech computer sensors – used to gauge environmental factors like temperature, light or sound for data used in cars, smartphones, surgical devices, appliances and other technology.
The project, originally announced in June, is expected create a new hub for manufacturing, attracting thousands of jobs. Site work on the project began with a ground-breaking in October, where Osceola County and the University of Central Florida. Originally aimed at producing smart sensors, the facility may also include a broader focus on photonics. The center is a partnership among Osceola County government, the Florida High Tech Corridor Council and the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission. Enterprise Florida, the University of Florida and the University of South Florida.
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Tampa Bay Business Officials Target Brazil for More Trade Opportunities
On Monday morning, the Florida Chamber of Commerce presented a two-hour discussion on creating business opportunities with the largest country in South America. Doug Davidson, a marketing executive with Bank of America, serves on the Chamber’s Global Florida Advisory Council. That’s a new initiative by the Chamber to bring “business intelligence” to Florida businesses on four regions around the world: Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Americas and the Mid-East/Africa.
“It’s very expensive to do business in Brazil, but it’s very profitable, ” said Max Stewart with Enterprise Florida. He said the middle class has risen 45 percent in just the past three years in Brazil, and there’s a big need there for more oil production (and thus for engineering and mining equipment). Brazil is the Tampa Port’s number one trading partner, with 1.6 million tons of cargo in the past year. The biggest commodities leaving Tampa for Brazil is phosphate, steel, citrus (both juice and frozen concentrate), ethanol, lube oil and containerized cargo, said Port Authority director Paul Anderson. “We believe we’ve just scratched the surface with this huge emerging market,” Anderson told the audience assembled in Terminal 6 on the Port’s grounds.
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Essentia Mattress Company Moving Headquarters to Boca
A Canadian mattress company plans to move its headquarters from Montreal to Boca Raton, after opening its first Florida store here. Essentia also plans several more stores over the next two years as well as a manufacturing factory in South Florida. The company sells high-end mattresses made with rubber tree sap, organic essential oils, natural plant extracts and organic cotton. The decision to move Essentia to South Florida was made after realizing that “further growth of the company will be in the U.S.”
Essentia also will hire at least 15 people from South Florida to work as retail associates, retail managers and in business development, Dell’Accio said. A manufacturing facility — expected in 2016 — will employ about 40 people, he said. Kelly Smallridge, president and CEO of the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County, said the cost of doing business in Palm Beach County, and the cost of commercial and residential properties, are “very, very attractive” to out-of-state and international companies like Essentia.
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Three Companies Consider Relocation to The Glades
Economic development leaders announced three companies looking at possibly relocating to the Glades. They include a bio fertilizer company with 100 jobs, a recycling manufacturing plant with 250 jobs, and a candy factory with 60 jobs. "It takes six months to two years to land these companies depending on the project," Kelly Smallridge with the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County said. The confectionery factory could make an announcement about a move to the Glades in 60-90 days.
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Rob Sitterley Joins Merit Advisors
Today, Merit Advisors announced Rob Sitterley, former Vice President of Business Development with Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI) has joined the firm’s Economic Development practice as a Principal. At EFI, Sitterley served Florida’s Governor and Secretary of Commerce to diversify Florida’s economy and create new jobs for its residents by attracting new businesses expansion and relocation in high-growth industries. Rob managed the Business Development’s Project Management team, which under his leadership established more than 420 economic development projects scheduled to create nearly 80,000 new jobs, retain nearly 35,000 jobs and invest nearly $8 billion in new capital throughout Florida. Rob will be opening Merit Advisor’s Orlando office January 5, 2015.
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Suwannee County Featured in Florida Trend Magazine
The Suwannee County Economic Development Office held a reception on Thursday, Dec. 11, to celebrate the release of the December edition of Florida Trend magazine and its four-page color article on Suwannee County. Economic Development Director Alvin Jackson welcomed a crowd of business representatives and executives, local government officials, and community leaders to Heritage Park and Gardens for the event, and officially designated Suwannee County as “open for business” through the exposure that the Florida Trend article will provide for the region. The article can be read in the December 2014 edition of Florida Trend, which is available now. Florida Trend covers business topics of interest statewide, and is read throughout the Southeastern U.S. as a source for the economic heartbeat of Florida with a reported readership of a quarter of a million people, the majority of which are business executives or professionals.
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USF Program Takes Businesses Beyond U.S. Borders
The USF Small Business Development Center has moved its focus from helping people start businesses to helping existing businesses flourish. Growing businesses translates into more jobs, said Regional Director Eileen Rodriguez. Annually, the center interacts with about 10,000 businesses through one-on-one meetings, seminars and workshops. Most of its services are free.
To date, it has developed about 15 export marketing plans, said Selma Canas, international trade specialist for the USF center, located at Port Tampa Bay. It also has what it refers to as growth acceleration services, which it can use to help businesses expand. The center partners with Enterprise Florida, which provides $3,000 scholarships to manufacturing businesses that want an export plan. The companies chip in another $500 and the center formulates the plans using databases not typically available to the average small business.
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