Florida’s Top Economic Developers Honored at 2015 Annual Conference
The Florida Economic Development Council, host to the 2015 Florida Economic Development Conference presented by Florida Power & Light Company and held July 13-15 at the Walt Disney World Swan hotel, has recognized the achievements of Florida’s best economic developers with two prestigious awards.
The Eunice Sullivan Economic Development Professional of the Year award is given annually in recognition of the achievements of an outstanding economic developer within the state of Florida. The award was first given in 1985 and was renamed in 1991 to honor Eunice Sullivan for her dedication and commitment to the economic development profession and the Florida Economic Development Council.
“Throughout her career at the Florida Department of Commerce – the forerunner of Enterprise Florida – Eunice Sullivan was the consummate professional in both economic and community development. Yet, as important as that was for our state during the 80’s, it paled when compared to her genteel, southern charm that endeared her to all whom she touched,” said Mike Bobroff, former Executive Vice President and COO of the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission, and long-time colleague and friend.
Eunice Sullivan Economic Development Professional of the Year Winner
Allen Cherry was awarded the honor this year. Mr. Cherry (center above) has been involved in economic development in varying capacities for the past 43 years. Currently, he is County Coordinator for Madison County, a position he had held for the past nine years.
He is the past chair of the North Florida Economic Development Partnership (NFEDP) and has been Executive Director of the Madison County Development Council for eight years. Mr. Cherry also served two terms as a County Commissioner from 1984-1990.
His commitment to regionalism inspired him to host a (first ever) site consultant event in 2014 to increase exposure to the North Central Florida region. The event was so well received and effective, it was repeated in 2015.
Toni Jennings Workforce Professional of the Year Winner
Given annually in recognition of the achievements of an outstanding workforce developer within the state of Florida, the Toni Jennings Workforce Professional of the Year award was first presented in 2007 to honor and recognize the former Lieutenant Governor’s exceptional leadership in revamping Florida’s workforce system to respond to critical workforce needs and to advance local, regional and state economic development.
This year’s recipient is Lisa Rice, President of Career Source Brevard, which is a non-profit organization established to provide all federally mandated workforce programs in Brevard County.
Ms. Rice (2nd from right above) is responsible for an operating budget that ranges between 7 – 25 million dollars and has considerable experience building partnerships to address workforce issues.
In 2007, for example, when Brevard County was faced with mass layoffs at Kennedy Space Center, Rice spearheaded the formation of the Aerospace Career Development Council (ACDC) uniting the region’s stakeholders to address the transitioning needs of the Shuttle workforce.
Dan Webster Young Innovator Scholarship Award
Given annually by The Corridor in recognition of the achievements of an outstanding young innovator in economic development in Florida, the Dan Webster Young Innovator Scholarship Award winner receives up to $5,000 to be applied towards coursework and fees associated with achieving the Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) designation. The 2015 recipient is Jill Marasa (center above).
Richard McLaughlin Economic Development Volunteers of the Year
The Economic Development Volunteers of the Year Award is named in honor of Richard L. McLaughlin, who firmly believed in the significance of volunteer contributions to the achievement of economic development goals for the state. McLaughlin was the second president of Florida Economic Development Council 1965. In honor of his contributions, one outstanding volunteer is recognized annually in each of the eight FEDC Districts. Note that these will be awarded at individual regional meetings around the state.
Awards were also given to recognize exemplary achievements in innovation and marketing for economic development and innovative/best practices for our communities and abroad. The 2015 economic development deal of the year was presented as well.
Recently, FEDC marked 50 years of developing the brightest economic development professionals and equipping them with sound policy and effective programs. This year’s conference will set the stage for a renewed focus on the tools and resources necessary to develop Florida’s future economic leaders.
For additional information please contact:
Beth Kirkland, CEcD
Interim Executive Director
Florida Economic Development Council