Eunice Sullivan Economic Development Professional of the Year
Mike Bobroff, the 1996 recipient and Investor Relations Consultant for GrowFL, presented the history of this special award and recognized past recipients. Cathy Chambers, Senior Vice President of Strategy and Business Development for the JAXUSA Partnership and the 2018 recipient introduced the 2019 honoree, Crystal Stiles, Economic Development Director for Florida Power and Light.
Toni Jennings Workforce Development Professional of the Year
Mason Jackson, the 2012 recipient and the President & CEO of CareerSource Broward presented the history of this coveted award as well as honoring past recipients. Kim Bodine, Executive Director of CareerSource Gulf Coast and the 2018 honoree the announced the Toni 2019 Jennings Workforce Developer of the Year, Michelle Dennard, President and CEO of CareerSource Florida.
Dan Webster Young Innovator Scholarships
Ed Schons, Past Chair of FEDC and President of the Florida High Tech Corridor Council presented the Dan Webster Young Innovator Scholarship award. Ed first gave a history of the scholarship and asked previous recipients of the scholarship to stand and be recognized. He then presented the 2019 awards to Antonio Jefferson and Garrett Wright. Dave Doty of Southwest Airlines augmented the scholarship presented by The Corridor by helping with travel expenses. Both recipients were given a round trip ticket to anywhere Southwest Airlines flies.
Rural Deal of the Year
The 2019 Rural Deal of the Year was awarded to a coalition of communities who share an expanding transportation asset that lacks the necessary infrastructure to serve new businesses. The Hwy 79 Corridor Authority project has been in the making since the first planning committee formed in May 2015.
Today there is an interlocal agreement establishing the Highway 79 Corridor Authority in Northwest Florida. Holmes and Washington Counties and the City of Bonifay teamed up to fund a $3 Million dollar investment in 2.3 miles of water and wastewater lines to extend the Bonifay systems through Holmes County into northwest Washington County and each county agreed to pledge one-tenth of a mill up to $400,000 each with the balance of the funding from grants and loans to construct and operate the 1,548 acre development overlay.
During the 3+ year process, the project was awarded a total of $2.82 Million with $1,000,000 by legislative appropriation and $1.82 Million from the Florida Jobs Growth Grant Fund. The project projects 219 jobs over 7 years and a total economic impact to Holmes and Washington Counties and the City of Bonifay of $70 Million.
Urban Deal of the Year
The Urban Deal of the Year is one of the largest categories this year with 7 entries. The winning entry from the Central Florida Development Council includes a $240 Million capital investment and will bring 250 jobs paying an average wage of $66,000. Positions will be offered in equipment operations, finance, purchasing, sales, and communications.
The EFI project lead was announced in June 2017. By the time the project was announced in Florida in March of 2018, more than 25 sites had been thoroughly evaluated and vetted with 67 sites evaluated overall.
The Board of Polk County Commissioners and the County Manager were extremely supportive from the start of this project. The County Manager called a special meeting with all of his department heads to ensure they each made this project a top priority. Expedited permitting was prioritized, as well.
The project received state and local incentives in the form of Qualified Targeted Industry (QTI) Tax Refund, High Impact Performance Incentive (HIPI), Ad Valorem Tax Exemption at the maximum allowed by state statute, and Impact Fee Mitigation.
The project continues to work closely with CareerSource and the state college Advanced Technology Center on a customized training program. Electric rate analyses and specific economic development rate tariffs were provided to the project.
The diversity of programs responding to the company’s needs helped elevate the winner of the Urban Deal of the Year – Central Florida Development Council of Polk County – for providing the chosen solution to Nucor Steel, a Fortune 500 (#151) company headquartered in Charlotte, NC.
Innovation in Marketing Awards
The Innovation in Marketing Awards features two categories: Digital Ad and Print Ad.
The Business Development Board of Palm Beach County produced a Digital Ad Campaign targeting CEO’s in the blustery cold Northeast US. They are also being recognized for the Palm Beach County Business Magazine in the Print category.
Companies in the Financial Services industry have been leaving the high taxes and cold weather in the Northeast for Palm Beach County, Florida for quite a few years now. This ad campaign is an innovative strategy to bring more financial services companies to Palm Beach County. It’s resulted in 100 new leads and doubled website activity.