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2017 Annual Meeting Recap

swfleda annual meeting 2017Southwest Florida Economic Development Alliance recently conducted its Annual Meeting where we discussed new approaches to fostering economic development within our region. The results of 2016 were described as “robust” as the Alliance conducted 82 one-on-one meetings with professional site selectors and broadened awareness of its services and the allure of our region through key industry conferences and trade shows.

With a 40 percent increase in website visitors and 134k social media impressions recorded, Southwest Florida Economic Development Alliance is gaining visibility and influence. However, we believe that 2017 can bring us even greater success through various new approaches.

Below are a few highlights of this year’s meeting and what you can look forward to in 2017.

Florida—The Future is Here Campaign to Include SWFL Wellness

Chief Marketing Officer and Senior Vice President of Enterprise Florida presented an update on the “Florida—The Future is Here” campaign, including the “Boundless” themes. The purpose of this campaign is to tell Florida’s story from a business perspective and increase awareness of the state’s desirability and suitability as a premier business destination. During the meeting, it was suggested that a new “Boundless” theme based on wellness should be added to the collection of marketing messages, which you can find here.

Why wellness? Health and happiness is one of the top selling points of the Southwest Florida region. In fact, Naples was recently named the happiest, healthiest city in the United States for the second year in a row.

The campaign currently features many Florida businesses, including the homegrown Cheney Brother distribution center.

Promoting Southwest Florida as a United Region

Partners of Southwest Florida Economic Development Alliance from other local economic development offices discussed the power of unity between Southwest Florida counties. The consensus was that we would achieve greater results by working together to promote the region’s attraction as a place to grow one’s business and company headquarters instead of working independently to promote each county.

This collaboration will include increased communications and coordinated regional outreach that will help each county’s unique interests and strengths while promoting the diversity of Southwest Florida to Site Selectors and CEO’s. It was determined that in-market visits by business and relocation decision-makers would become a top priority for the Alliance this year.

The Leadership Lineup

During the Alliance’s Annual Meeting, we also introduced several new officers and board members, as well as a few changes in the lineup. Below is a comprehensive list of the individuals who will lead us to strong activity and accomplishments in 2017:

Chair: Alan Reynolds, Stantec
Vice Chair: Gary Griffin, B&I Contractors
Treasurer: Joseph Catti, FineMark Bank
Secretary: Richard Grant, Grant, Fridkin, Pearson
Immediate Past-Chair: Laura Holquist, LAH Group Advisors
President: Eric Berglund, Southwest Florida Economic Development Alliance

Board Members (*new)
*Mary Andrews, Lee Health
*Dr. Robert R. Jones, Florida SouthWestern State College
Jason Korn, Cohen & Grigsby
Sarah Owen, Southwest Florida Community Foundation
Fred Pezeshkan, Summit Management Group
*Russell Schropp, Henderson Franklin
*Dr. Ayesgul Timur, Hodges University
Dr. Ronald B. Toll, Florida Gulf Coast University
Michael Wynn, Sunshine Ace Hardware

Ex-Officio Board Members
Roger Desjarlais, Lee County Manager
John Manning, Chair, Lee County Board of County Commissioners
Leo Ochs, Collier County Manager
Glen Salyer, Lee County Assistant County Manager
Andrew Solis, Collier County Board of County Commissioners

If you want to learn more about the Annual Meeting and what was discussed, we encourage you to review SWFLEDA President Eric Berglund’s Powerpoint Presentation.

To all of our Partners, Investors, we thank you again for supporting the regional economic development of Southwest Florida.