Monday, April 18, 2016 VOLUME 18 ISSUE 63
April 11, 2016
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April 18, 2016

Mark Wilson, President and CEO Florida Chamber of Commerce, discusses the importance of international trade and logistics efforts during the Florida Chamber's 2016 International Days event in Tallahassee.

Last month, the Florida Chamber unveiled Florida's most important Legislative Report Card which scored all of Florida's 160 state legislators over nearly 6,000 votes. Florida's business agenda is built by chamber members and is focused on making Florida business climate more competitive.

While lawmakers did pass 18 Florida Chamber backed bills, unfortunately, legislative leaders missed on opportunities to pass much needed lawsuit abuse reform, improve Florida's economic development process, repair our broken pension system, end the Florida-only business rent tax, further reduce the corporate income tax or protect consumers from Assignment of Benefit (AOB) scams.


Since virtually no votes were taken on many of these double weighted policy items, 2016 legislator grades are higher than they otherwise would be.

We've also just released our annual How They Voted publication, so you can see firsthand who voted for or against job creation and economic opportunity in Florida, as well as what Florida Business Agenda issues did or didn't pass during the 2016 legislative sessions.

How They Voted also contains the Florida Chamber's Most Valuable Legislator. I hope you will join me in congratulating House Speaker Steve Crisafulli for his dedication to seeing beyond short-term political fixes and his willingness to pass bipartisan efforts that will help secure Florida's future.

While I wish I could tell you the 160 men and women who make up the Florida Legislature reached their full potential, the truth is they left significant unfinished business for future sessions. In my view, Florida needs to set an example for America. We don't aspire to be like New York, Illinois or California so we shouldn't be comparing ourselves to them. The truth is we should be comparing ourselves to our potential and our politicians should put the long term ahead of the short term and put job creators ahead of special interests. Florida Chamber members can view the full Florida Chamber Legislative Summary online and see which priorities passed, which didn't and what it means for you, your business and your community.

With the 2016 legislation session behind us, our entire political operations team is focused on ensuring pro-business candidates are elected. We are focused on electing more people who've signed the front of a paycheck and unelecting those who sue them, organize against them and/or seek to regulate them out of Florida.

Since last month's letter to you, the Florida Chamber has been all over Florida, and Washington, fighting for you and your business. Here's a sample of what we've been up to:

  • Attorney General Pam Bondi joined us on our March Statewide Board of Governors Conference Call to discuss efforts that will help protect Florida's quality of life.
  • I testified before the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Human Resources, where I encouraged congress to seek ways to end generational poverty by lifting up Americans through economic opportunity instead of entitlements. At the Florida Chamber, we believe a focus on closing the education gap and increasing workforce training and work based solutions will help ensure economic opportunities for all. You can read my full remarks here.
  • We promoted our International Trade Agenda in Orlando to business and industry leaders.
  • The Florida Chamber participated in the March 29 Florida Cabinet meeting in support of reducing Florida's risk from hurricanes.
  • Tony Carvajal, Executive Vice President of the Florida Chamber Foundation provided an update on the FLORIDA 2030 project for the Tampa Bay Partnership. One town hall meeting will be held in each of Florida's 68 counties, seeking input from key leaders and stakeholders to identify key regional priorities and help identify future needs. To get involved, please contact WHarris@flchamber.com.

Before the next newsletter, here are a few of our upcoming plans:

  • The Florida Chamber's Political Institute (FCPI) will travel the state to perform candidate interviews. FCPI researches each candidate extensively and interviews every single candidate running for office (hundreds each cycle) and compares their stance on issues to the Six Pillars and their actual voting record. This allows Florida's business leaders to see where each candidate stands on the issues before supporting them.
  • Washington, DC Fly-In, May 10-12: Florida Chamber executives will lead a delegation of board members to Washington to meet with members of Florida's Congressional Delegation and federal agencies to urge support of job creators and push back against burdensome regulations. Several partner organizations will also be attending and hosting joint-sessions, including the Central Florida Partnership, the Tampa Bay Partnership, the Florida Ports Council and the Florida Transportation Builders Association.
  • Palm Beach International Agricultural Summit May 4: Co-Hosted by theEconomic Council of Palm Beach Countyand theFlorida Chamber Foundation, the full-day summit will focus on educating the public about the business of modern agriculture and its role in advancing Florida quality of life and economy.

For more events, visit us at www.FloridaChamber.com/Events.

As always, your support is what makes us so strong. Please feel free to contact me at mwilson@flchamber.com or 850-521-1209 to share your thoughts and ideas on how we can make Florida more competitive.


My best,

Signature:  Mark Wilson


P.S. Be sure to save the date for the Florida Chamber Foundation's Annual Education Summit, held June 2 at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate.


Good News from Florida Chamber Members

Florida Chamber members are making it happen in Florida. You are hiring,

innovating and making Florida more competitive and we are honored to share your news. The facts are clear- Florida is headed in the right direction because of you.


We want to hear about your good news!

If you have important news you believe other chamber members should know about, please share it with the Florida Chamber's Communications office. Simply email Kat at kbustamante@flchamber.com or add us to your distribution list so we can share your news.


Congratulations to the three Florida schools named to Forbes' list of America's Best Value Colleges:

  • University of Florida (Ranked 3rd)
  • Florida State University
  • Florida Institute of Technology



Congratulations to Endoscopy Replacement Parts for being awarded National Exporter of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration! We commend you for your commitment to making Florida globally competitive.

Read the full release here.


We commend David Childs of Hopping Green & Sams, P.A. for being recently appointed to a two-year term on the Boating Advisory Council by Governor Rick Scott. Congratulations David!




Congratulations to Frank DiBello, CEO of Space Florida, for being named a director of the Florida Venture Forum Board.



Congratulations to Keiser University's Vice Chancellor of Community Relations and Student Advancement, Belinda Keiser, for being formally recognized before Speaker of the U.S. House Paul Ryan by U.S. Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida's 25th Congressional District.


We commend Belinda and Keiser University for their continues commitment to excellence. Click here to learn more.


Christine Burres, director of operations for the Research Park at Florida Atlantic University, has been named one of 20 First Incubator Managers in the world! Congratulations Christine! Click here to read the full story.


Congratulations to the following companies for being named to Fortune's 100 Best Places to Wok 2016 list:

· Genentech Private

· Baptist Health South Florida


· Navy Federal Credit Union

· JM Family Enterprises

· Publix Super Markets

· Nationwide Mutual Insurance

· Mayo Clinic


Florida Chamber members are growing Florida's economy by creating jobs and economic opportunity for all Floridians. We are proud of all the companies that are making a difference in Florida!



We commend Hernon Manufacturing, Inc. for placing second at the Bright House 2016 Regional Business Award. Bright House Networks teamed up with chambers of commerce in nine counties to host the event that connected local businesses in a celebration of best-in-class.

Thank you Hernon Manufacturing for your commitment to creating global opportunities and jobs and thank you Bright House for your commitment to supporting Florida businesses!




Did you know, the University of Central Florida's video game school was recently ranked #1 in North America?

In other UCF news, the school was also ranked number 20 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for online bachelor's degree program.

As UCF celebrates the $20 million in funding for UCF Downtown, we look forward to working with them to ensure students are prepared for an innovate and global economy!



For the third straight year, Regions Bank has been ranked among the top 10 percent of companies for customer service in the Temkin Experience Ratings.

"Over the last several years, Regions has increased its commitment to offering personalized services that are designed to help our customers reach their financial goals," said Keith Herron, head of Strategic Planning and Execution for Regions.

Temkin rates nearly 300 companies across 20 industries on their customer interactions. Congratulations to Regions Bank for providing exceptional customer service! Read the full press release here.


Congratulations to Florida East Coast Industries for being named Developer of the Year by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce!

We commend FECI for their commitment to making Florida a stronger palce to live, work and play. Read the full release here.



Congratulations to MarineMax for their recent partnership with Bob Saxon Associates to expand intoyacht management, crew placementand more.

"We are excited to announce this strategic initiative," offered Bill McGill, MarineMax President and CEO. "Bob Saxon Associates is a natural fit for MarineMax, expanding the breadth of our offerings into the rarefied sector of yacht management. With the business acumen of MarineMax propelling it, and Bob Saxon at the helm, MarineMax's new Mega Yacht affiliate will be seen as an instant worldwide industry leader in this sector."

We look forward to more great projects from MarineMax. See the full press release here.



Several of the University of Miami's graduate programs made the top 50 in the 2017 Best Graduate Schools list from U.S. News & World Report. Congratulations to UM for their commitment to excellence to their students, their community and our state. Click here to view all their programs that made the list.


In other UM News, congratulations to President Julio Frenk for being presented the Bouchet Leadership Award Medal at the 13th annual Bouchet Conference on Diversity and Graduate Education at Yale University.



Congratulations to University of West Florida's engineering team for winning the NASA Hybrid Motor Rocket Competition!


"This is the third year in a row that a UWF engineering team has placed or won at this competition, beating teams from much larger engineering programs at other Florida universities," said Dr. Mohamed Khabou, UWF engineering department chair. "The team worked very hard to accomplish what they did. This win is yet another evidence of the quality of engineering graduates at UWF."


We commend UWF for their commitment to innovation and STEM initiatives. Click here to read the full release.



Current and former members of the Miami Dolphin family recently hosted their inaugural Dolphins Cancer Challenge Celebrity Golf Tournament.


"It's really all about raising money for Sylvester Cancer Center at the University of Miami to fight cancer and helping make it a national cancer institute (NCI) designated facility. We're still adding up the totals, but we'll be over $5 million raised this year that we can give to Sylvester Cancer Center, which everyone is very proud of and we just want to keep growing that more and more so we can help fight cancer."

Miami Dolphin President/CEO Tom Garfinkel


We commend these "Cancer Fighters" for their support of Florida families. Click here to read the full article.


In case you missed it, the Walton Area Chamber of Commerce and the ride-sharing service, Uber, have now partnered up to ensure visors and locals will be able to take advantage of the ride sharing service.


Two Greenberg Traurig attorneys have been named to Law360's "Rising Stars" 2016 list. Click here to learn who.


Welcome to our newest Board of Governors Members:

City Furniture
In August of 1994, the first City Furniture opened its doors in North Miami. City Furniture may be the "greenest" furniture company in the United States, with six LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Certified City Furniture and Ashley Furniture HomeStore showrooms- more than any other retailer. City Furntiture also recycles more than 95 percent of their waste, including cardboard, paper, plastic, and EPS/Styrofoam. They operate a fleet of about 100 trucks, most of which are now converted to run on clean burning, United States-produced CNG (Compressed Natural Gas).

Collier Enterprises
Collier Enterprises, headquartered in Naples, Florida, manages a broad range of businesses engaged in real estate investment and development, agriculture and private equity investments. The company was established in 1976 under the leadership of Miles C. Collier, grandson of Barron Gift Collier.

HDR Engineering
With 225 locations around the world, HDR engineering specializes in engineering, architecture, environmental and construction services. Their multidisciplinary teams include scientists, economists, builders, analystsand artists.

Massey Services
For more than 80 years, Massey Services has served as a pest prevention, termite protection and landscape care company focused on building long-term, trusting relationships with their customers through environmentally responsible and superior service.


Pfizer applies science and our global resources to bring therapies to people that extend and significantly improve their lives. Their global portfolio includes medicines and vaccines as well as many of the world's best-known consumer health care products, from pharmaceutical products to consumer products like Advil and Robitussin. Pfizer is one of the world's premier innovative biopharmaceutical companies, collaborating with health care providers, governments and local communities to support and expand access to reliable, affordable health care around the world.

St. Vincent's Healthcare
St. Vincent's Healthcare is a faith-based, not-for-profit health system that has served the people of Jacksonville and the surrounding area since 1916. With the addition of St. Luke's hospital, (now St. Vincent's Southside) their history now extends to 1873. They are a member of Ascension, the nation's largest Catholic and non-profit healthcare system.


Welcome to our newest Florida Chamber Foundation Trustees:

Christopher L. Carmody, Jr.
Attorney, GrayRobinson Orlando

One of Florida's fastest-growing law firms, GrayRobinson is a full-service corporate law firm with nearly 300 attorneys throughout 13 offices across Florida. They provide legal services for Fortune 500 companies, emerging businesses, lending institutions, local and state governments, developers, entrepreneurs and individuals across Florida, the nation and the world.


100 Years of Securing Florida's Future


As the Florida Chamber celebrates its 100 years, we also take the time to honor the companies that have helped shape our state and have moved Florida in the right direction.



Since July 15, 1916, Boeing has been making the impossible, possible. Click here to watch the inspiring short clip, The Next 100 Years of Flight Starts Here.


Did you know that the first open-heart surgery in Jacksonville was performed by a St. Vincent's doctor, Dr. Theodore Batchelder?


Chamber Spotlight


The Florida Chamber's strength comes from our ability to capture the voice of Florida's business community. Our success comes from the joint efforts of volunteers, members, research foundations and local chambers of commerce. Local chambers drive their local economy and help us secure Florida's future.


Take Part in a New Internship Program

The Florida Chamber Foundation is implementing a pilot internship program for Floridians with disabilities through partnerships with regional chambers of commerce and their members. This program will provide employers with information about employing persons with disabilities and help match businesses with an intern in their area. Reimbursements for both participating businesses and chamber of commerce partners will be provided.

If your chamber is interested in learning more about this program, please contact Greg Blose at 850-521-1243 or gblose@flchamber.com.


Small Business Corner



Results from the latest Florida Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index Survey show that 54 percent of Florida's small businesses expect to hire over the next six months. However, challenges remain with growing concerns about the economy and limited access to a skilled workforce...




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