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

President's Message

Good afternoon.
This week I was in Tallahassee for Organizational Session and had the opportunity to meet with a few legislators to gauge the temperature for the upcoming Session. I believe that we will have a very active Session and as I keep beating the drum, we ALL need to be engaged in the process. As we all shape our agendas, we all need to be involved. You will have a final chance to raise your voice as  we will be holding a call in early December  before we send the agenda to the FEDC Board before Christmas.
Don’t forget the 2015 Winter Symposium. This years’ program, Site Selection and Winning Communities will include Site Selectors from around the country, along with Secretary of Commerce, Gray Swoope. From perceptions of Florida by consultants and businesses to the elements of a successful community visit - the topics and presenters will inform and educate your 2015 economic development efforts. Register now before space fills up!

I hope you all have a wonderful and safe weekend.
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


News and Accomplishments

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

2014 October Florida Employment Statistics Released

Florida’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for October 2014 was 6.0 percent, down from 6.7% in October 2013. This represented 578,000 jobless out of a labor force of 9,660,000. Florida’s annual job growth rate has been positive for the past 51 months. Prior to August 2010, the state had been losing jobs for over three years and reached a low point of ‐7.0 percent in March and April 2009.

Major industries posting impressive job gains include:
  • Trade, transportation, and utilities gained 50,500 jobs
  • Professional and business services gained 41,800 jobs
  • Construction gained 38,900 jobs
  • Leisure and hospitality gained 32,700 jobs
  • Private education and health services gained 25,400 jobs

Download the FLDOE Statement, Q&A, statistics and October 2014 Employment information

Florida Economy Growing in the ‘Right’ Way, Economist Says

During the three decades he’s been dissecting Florida’s economic booms and busts, Mark Vitner hasn’t been this bullish about the state’s future for a very long time. Not since the 1990s. Florida is not only growing again — but for a change, it’s doing it the right way, said Vitner, a senior economist with Wells Fargo Securities. It’s not relying on easy credit or the “overly aggressive” use of incentives to create jobs; it also isn’t overly dependent on the in-state migration of retirees.

Rather, as it adds jobs at a pace nearly twice as fast as the rest of the country, Florida’s resurgence has become more widespread. Beyond tourism, health care and retail jobs, higher-paying jobs in financial services, professional and business services, and even manufacturing are also growing. “We’ve made tremendous strides in moving up the value chain,” Vitner said Wednesday in discussing his latest Florida Economic Outlook. “It’s a far different world today than it was 10 or 20 years ago, a far healthier mix of jobs and far more promising future.”.

Little-known fact: Remove the growth in tourism, hospitality and retail jobs, and Florida is still adding jobs as a faster pace than the nation as a whole. One reason for the improvement, he said, is the pro-business climate, which is likely to continue as long as housing prices don’t escalate too quickly. “Florida has regained its position as one of the nation’s best places to do business, with a relatively low cost of living and incredibly diverse and highly desirable quality of life,” Vitner said in his report. Bolstering his argument: The Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index recently ranked Florida as having the best business climate among the most-populous states, and fifth-best overall, trailing only Wyoming, South Dakota, Nevada and Alaska. “Following an unusually slow start, Florida’s economic recovery now appears to be firmly on track,” Vitner said.
Read More »

UWF Office of Economic Development and Engagement Announces Industry Research Matching Grant Program

The University of West Florida Office of Economic Development and Engagement recently launched a $1.5 million matching grant program to connect Northwest Florida businesses with research resources available through UWF. The new program, called the Northwest Florida Industry Research Matching Grants Program, makes UWF faculty, staff and students available to participating businesses to promote job creation in Northwest Florida by aiding in the development of new, commercially viable intellectual property that could net new revenue for the region and state.

OEDE will accept proposals from businesses operating in any industry, with priority on bids received from firms in aerospace, aviation, information technology and services, manufacturing design, marine technologies, transportation systems, financial services, medical products, microelectronics, software development, medical technologies and telecommunications.

Participating businesses will be required to contribute at least $3 for every $1 provided by the matching-grant program. Businesses interested in participating in the grant program must work with a UWF faculty or staff member to draft a proposal they will submit to OEDE for review by a committee. OEDE expects to award grants ranging from $10,000 to $100,000, and the office will accept bids until the entire $1.5 million is allocated.
Read More »

Economic Development Gurus Weigh In On Best Successes In 2014

Seventeen economic development officials from throughout Central Florida came together earlier this month for Orlando Business Journal’s Nov. 3 roundtable discussion. We asked them to share what they considered their greatest economic development success story from this year.

Their responses are collected in a slideshow on the Orlando Biz Journal website. The Dec. 5 print edition of OBJ will feature more info from that discussion.
View Slideshow »

Lantmannen Unibake Looks to Expand its St. Petersburg Footprint

Mayor Rick Kriseman is using at least $600,000 in incentives to woo a Danish food processing company thinking about expanding its footprint in the city, according to city documents.Lantmannen Unibake wants to build a stand-alone baking facility for pastries, which currently are only made at the company’s European bakeries. The bakery would produce a lot of pastry: either 2,000 or 4,000 pounds an hour, said Carlos Hernandez, the company’s USA director of operations.

The estimated $25 million project would bring about 150 jobs to the city, according to documents obtained by a public records request. At least 20 percent of those jobs would earn $15 an hour for being located in an enterprise zone, a state program designating defined areas as eligible for economic incentives for companies to hire local employees and expand their business. Sales tax exemptions, non-manufacturing equipment and utilities would make up most of the incentives. Other credits, including any state incentives, are yet to be determined. The city offered an approximately 20 acre site in the Dome Industrial Park, about a block and a half from Unibake’s current facility.
Read More »  

Hernon Manufacturing Plans $2 Million Expansion At Its Sanford, Florida, Production Plant

Hernon Manufacturing, a global manufacturer of adhesive sealants and dispensing equipment, will invest $2 million to expand its local operations in Sanford, Florida, and create 20 new jobs over the next two years."Business goes where it’s invited and stays where it’s well cared for," said Rick Weddle, President/CEO of the Orlando Economic Development Commission. "We are pleased Hernon decided to stay and continue to grow their operations here in Orlando."

The City of Sanford, Seminole County, CareerSource Florida, Seminole State College and the Orlando Economic Development Commission have been important partners in this successful expansion.
Read More »

Development of 2,900 acres will change the face of Nassau County

The face of Nassau County, where Florida really begins, is about to change along Interstate 95. Jacksonville-based Rayonier Inc. is laying out what it considers the first piece of the puzzle to start development of more than 2,900 high-profile acres at northeast I-95 and Florida A1A, just 20 miles north of Downtown Jacksonville. That first piece, a public school, is expected to be the first of many projects among those 2,938 acres, part of the 4,202-acre East Nassau Employment Center. The employment center eventually can accommodate 7.1 million square feet of office, commercial, medical and industrial uses as well as 4,038 residential units. It features a 30-day permitting process, utilities, rail service and incentives.

It will be the heart of the county," said Laura DiBella, executive director of the Nassau County Economic Development Board. DiBella said the rest of the county is strong — the resort, historic and tourist areas of Amelia Island to the east and rural areas to the west — "but this will be a nucleus for us and having this school underway will only spur more development."

JAXUSA Partnership President Jerry Mallot said the employment center will help Nassau County reach more of its economic development potential. "This is a wonderful step forward for Nassau County. It will give them lots of site development opportunities in a very attractive location in the county," Mallot said.
Read More »

Chiefland to Get State Economic Planning Assistance

The city of Chiefland has been selected to participate in the second round of the Competitive Florida Partnership, a program that focuses on improving economic development in rural areas. Chiefland was picked by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity from among 18 other applications. The first round of the program, which began last year, included Newberry and White Springs. Laurie Copeland, accounting specialist for Chiefland, said the program is instrumental in helping small cities accomplish feats they couldn't on their own. "The state is going to come and assist us with planning and doing asset mapping exercises to help further our vision for economic development," she said. "The city itself doesn’t have a professional planner, or the funds to hire one, so we're excited to take advantage of (the state’s) expertise."
Read More »

Economic Incentives Draw Industry to Santa Rosa

Santa Rosa County could be seeing more industry growth and new jobs soon as the Santa Rosa County Economic Development Office continues to work on bringing new businesses to the area, particularly to the industrial parks. Though details of many of the projects are scarce and pending finalization, the Economic Development Office has met with more than 40 site consultants this year and has at least five active projects in the works that could bring new jobs to the county.

The EDO works with the county to offer incentives that draw companies to the area, including ad valorem tax exemptions and discounted land for new and expanding industry based on criteria such as employment capacity, wages, company performance and capital investment. The office also partners with Enterprise Florida and Florida’s Great Northwest to promote these incentives and the county as a whole, Stewart said.

The Economic Development Office also announced this week a new demographic search feature and business analysis tool on its website, which offers access to information about population, consumer expenses and labor force in Santa Rosa County. “It gives them that lead that they need to determine whether or not they want to locate our business here,” Stewart said. “The purpose is for that demographic information to be readily available not only to our site selectors who are looking to locate a bus here, but for our existing businesses that want to expand.” The demographic tool is located at, and the business analysis tool is located at
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Parts Company Seeks Incentives to Move HQ to Miramar

An industrial and motor parts company applied for public incentives to move its headquarters to Miramar and create 35 jobs. The Broward County Commission will consider “Project Boost” at its Nov. 18 meeting. The identity of the company was kept confidential by the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance. However, the applicant has much in common with WAIglobal, which has its corporate headquarters split between Davie and Exton, Pa. Project Boost is described as a parts manufacturing, sourcing and provider of distribution/logistic services to the automotive, heavy-duty machinery and power sports industries. It was founded in 1978. That’s how WAIglobal describes itself on its website, which lists the dozens of engine parts it supplies.

If the company chooses Miramar as its headquarters, it would consolidate its 61 Florida employees in that location and add 35 jobs with an annual wage of $50,484. It would also make a $4.4 million capital investment to purchase an existing office and new equipment. Should the company meet its hiring goals and maintain those jobs from 2015 through 2021, it would receive $105,000 in public incentives. That would break down to $84,000 from Florida’s Qualified Targeted Industry program and $10,500 each from the county and the city. The jobs relocated from Orlando would not count toward the incentives, the application says. According to the Alliance, economic development officials in Orlando support the move because state officials are concerned that all of the Florida jobs could be moved to Pennsylvania or Mississippi.
Read More »

Collier Economic Development Moving Slowly, but Surely

Ribbon cuttings, press conferences and hardhat photo ops have been hard to come by in Collier this year. It’s been nearly a year since the county announced a sweeping new economic development program aimed at attracting new industries and businesses to Collier, but in that time few, if any, jobs can be directly linked to government efforts. County officials say that like Rome, a good economic development office isn’t built in a day and most of 2014 has been focused on laying the groundwork for future success.

In December the board approved plans for two business accelerators. The allotted Collier $2.5 million for two business accelerators — one in North Naples and one in Immokalee — that are aimed at growing technology and agricultural industries. They provide a “soft landing” for area businesses looking to take the next step, or either foreign or domestic companies looking to expand into the county. The accelerator would provide resources like expertise, office space and local connections to help businesses gain a foothold.

“If we’re really trying to attract foreign direct investment, shouldn’t we have an ‘easy button’ for those companies?” said Bruce Register, director of Collier’s Office of Business and Economic Development. The county is in the process of selecting sites for the accelerators and expects to have them up and running by mid-2015, Register said.
Read More »

Manufacturing Association of Florida’s 11th Annual Summit and Marketplace

Northwest Florida Manufacturers Council is hosting this year’s Manufacturing Association of Florida’s 11th Annual Summit and Marketplace at the Baytowne Conference Center, December 3-5, 2014. This is the first time this event has been held in this region, and we are hopeful we will be able to show the rest of the State our support and enthusiasm towards manufacturing!
Read More »

Florida Chamber 2015 Transportation Summit

Our transportation system provides Florida’s businesses and entrepreneurs the necessary building blocks for success. The Florida Chamber Foundation’s 2015 Transportation Summit on January 29 is an exceptional opportunity to discuss the short-term and long-term priorities and the important role Florida’s transportation system plays in securing Florida’s future. The Transportation Summit will focus on key topics including:
  • Insights from industry and policy leaders
  • The impact of state and federal issues on transportation funding
  • Florida’s long term transportation needs

Don’t miss this opportunity to connect with top industry experts, business and thought leaders from across the state
Register »


Job Links

Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance
Director of Business Intelligence

Hillsborough County
Community Services Program Coordinator

Pasco County
Economic Development Manager

Southwest Florida Economic Development Alliance
Executive Director

Pasco County
Program Administrator, Economic Growth

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

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

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


2014 Annual Community Update: The Legacy of Leadership

November 21st, 2014 @ 12:00pm, Hotel Carillon Park
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Association of University Research Parks (AURP) 2014 International Conference

December 2-5, 2014 @ Florida Tech Research Park
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Manufacturing Association of Florida’s 11th Annual Summit and Marketplace

December 3-5, 2014 @ Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort
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FEDC 2nd Annual Winter Symposium

January 15-16th, 2015 @ Lago Mar
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IEDC Professional Development Course: Real Estate Development & Reuse

January 22-23rd, 2015 @ PGA National Resort & Spa
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Florida Chamber 2015 Transportation Summit

January 29th, 2015 @ Honey Lake Plantation
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28th Annual Government Small Business Conference hosted by SBDC TampaBay
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Enterprise Florida

Florida High Tech Corridor

Florida Trend



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