Florida Economic Development Conference Recap

The 50th Annual Florida Economic Development Conference kicked off Sunday evening, June 8 at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Tampa. The state’s best and brightest gathered for the annual event, highlighting the Sunshine State’s economic strengths. Three days and more than 120+ tweets later (#FEDC14): here’s a recap of the conference: 

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Florida Economic Development Conference 2014 Awards

Collateral Material – Annual Report : Pasco Economic Development Council
Collateral Material – Specific Event: North Florida Economic Development Partnership “Experience North Florida”
Digital – Websites: Tampa Bay Partnership TampaBay.org
Digital – Campaign: Tampa Bay Partnership #WeAreALLTampaBay
Digital – Micro Site: BDB of Palm Beach County PB…..org
Digital – Online Publication – Email: “Monday Cup of News”
Digital – Social Media: Tampa Bay Partnership – Social Media and Blogging
Digital – Video: Tampa Bay Partnership #WeAreALLTampaBay
Digital – Marketing Campaign: Charlotte County Economic Development “Good Life, Great Business”
Sales Promotion – Audio Visual: Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance “30th Anniversary Respective”
Special event – Campaign: Pasco Economic Development Council “10th Annual Net Fest”
Newspaper Spread: Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance “Saluting Educational Excellence in Broward County Schools”
Consumer Trade Publication – Magazine – Self Promotion: Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance 2014 Economic Sourcebook “50 Years of Excellence”
Regional Deal of the Year: Metro Orlando EDC – Verizon
Urban Deal of the Year: Lee County Economic Development – Hertz

Congratulations to the winners and a big ‘thank you’ for all the hard work they do to make Florida the destination for business growth. Lee County’s deal with Hertz brought over 750+ jobs from New Jersey. Metro Orlando’s deal with Verizon had a grand opening in Lake Mary, a deal that brought 1,100+ jobs to the area with a $50 million dollar investment in Florida.

Robert L. McLaughlin Award for Volunteer of the Year

Northwest Region: Louis Bear Jr., The Lewis Bear Company
North Central Region: Sheryl Rehberg, CareerSource North Florida
North East Region: Bobby Steele, Walmart.
Tampa Bay Region: Chris Paradies, Paradies Law P.A.
East Central Region: Greg Schultz, G.W. Schultz Tool, Inc.
South Central Region: Dr. John Huysam, Glades District Schools
Southwest Region: Peg Elmore, Careersource Southwest Florida
Southeast Region: George Foyo, Baptist Health South Florida and Art Torno, American Airlines

Young Professional of the Year
Carmen Mims: CareerSource Florida

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       Regional Director of the Year
       Lynn Pitts: Florida Power & Light

2014 FEDC Chair: Bob Swindell – Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance

2014 Toni Jennings Workforce Professional of the Year: Richard Williams – Chipola Regional Workforce Development

Eunice Sullivan Economic Development Professional of the Year: Bill Stanton – Jackson County Development Council 

Fun Fact: Bill Stanton has worked 47 years in Economic Development – 43 of which have been with Jackson County!

“Come hell or high water, we will find a way to bring the best and brightest to Florida. We have to change the DNA of Florida.” Monday morning kicked off with Tampa Bay’s 56th Mayor, Bob Buckhorn. In his crowd stirring speech, he called on Floridians to do their part in growing Florida’s business and economic development sectors. Buckhorn is credited with saving MacDill Air Force Base, which touts a $2 billion economic impact footprint. His actions are credited to zero base closures for 2013 and a net gain in military jobs.

“Tampa Bay has created more jobs than any other county in the state,” Buckhorn says. The mayor’s passion for growing his community didn’t stop at the county line, he advocated for statewide efforts, “We succeed together or we fail alone.” 

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Morning discussion was headed by George Pretty of Parker Poe; Steven Bonier of Dupont; and Dave Trebing of Daimler. The men talked economic development, public policy, and transportation. “Florida isn’t just entertainment and tourism anymore, the business brand is coming to the forefront,” says Bonier. “Take a step back, look at Florida from an outsider’s perspective. Your personality comes from how you welcome business.” Dave Trebing added onto that, saying “Florida is a very convenient place to export to Asia from.”

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Executive Director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Jesse Panuccio, addressed the group highlighting Florida’s growing economy. 

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Keynote speaker Penny Lewendowski of the Edward Lowe Foundation

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Congratulations to the new 2014 FEDC Chair, Bob Swindell, CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance.

The final day of the conference kicked off with a panel on exporting and manufacturing in Florida:

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The conference ended on a high note with Dale Brill of Thinkspot. Brill’s theatric entrance started with a clip from The Matrix. Shortly after, Brill took the stage. In a trench coat. The invigorating speech was a perfect ending note for the conference. Florida will be known as the ‘Mouse House’ and a spot for tourism, but will soon be on the map for business incubators, technology sectors, booming manufacturing and trade. Thank you to Amy Evancho and the FEDC for the great experience and to Betsy Barfield of Betsy Photos for all her photographs for our Tweets and this blog post.

Follow along with the conversation on Twitter: @ForwardFla