Ever wonder who wears the red coats at all of our Chamber events? It’s our wonderful Chamber Ambassadors! On the latest Toddcast, we hear from Ambassador President Eddie Murray as he explains the Ambassador program and how these volunteers serve as the “Face of the Chamber”.
On January 25th, Governor Ron DeSantis announced the appointment of Greater Pensacola Chamber President/CEO Clay Ingram as CEO of Volunteer Florida.
“I am happy to announce the appointment of Clay Ingram to lead our state’s volunteer efforts as CEO of Volunteer Florida,” said Governor DeSantis. “Between his leadership in the Florida Legislature and his advocacy for the Pensacola community, this was an easy choice. I know Clay will make Floridians proud and lead the agency with the utmost integrity.”
Clay Ingram is a Pensacola native, having served in the Florida House of Representatives from 2010 to 2018. In addition to his legislative duties, he has also served as President and CEO of the Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce since 2015. Very active in his community, Clay is a member of Gonzalez United Methodist Church and serves as a board member for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida, United Methodist Children’s Home of Northwest Florida, Achieve Escambia and the Florida State University Alumni Association. He graduated from FSU with a bachelor’s degree in general communication in 2000.
With Escambia County now in official possession of Outlying Field 8 (OLF-8), the Escambia County Commission must now decide what is to be done with the 630 acres of land surrounding Navy Federal Credit Union. At the January Committee of the Whole meeting, the commission considered two offers that, combined, would put all of the property in private hands and net the county about $5 million in profit.
Navy Federal submitted an offer to the county last year to purchase 100 acres immediately surrounding their campus for $4.2 million. As a part of that offer, Navy Federal pledged that an additional 300 jobs would be created. While the county commission has not made a formal response to the offer, comments from the commissioners have been favorable. Bill Pearson with Navy Federal was present at the Committee of the Whole meeting to answer any lingering questions. The Navy Federal offer to the county can be found here.
An additional offer for the remainder of the OLF-8 property submitted to the county was also discussed at the meeting. Hemmer Consulting is the lead group in a partnership that made the offer to purchase the remaining 530 acres for $18 million in cash. Hemmer and his attorney attended the Committee of the Whole and provided an overview of their offer. Commissioners were intrigued by the offer and the potential to make a profit off the sale, but there were concerns that they proposal did not provide specifics about what was going to be built on the 530 acres.
Commissioner Jeff Bergosh was most vocal about needing more details about the group's plans for the property before he could vote for a sale. Bergosh has been adament throughout this process that the property be developed to create jobs and not to provide additional housing. Bergosh also shared his concern that selling the property would eliminate the county's Triumph Gulf Coast project request from consideration. Hemmer stated that they wanted to work with the county and the surrounding community to come with a plan for the property. You can find the Hemmer offer here.
The general consensus following the discussion among the commissioners was that the county needed more time and to stay on course with developing a Master Plan that will identify the best use for the property before pursuing a sale of all 630 acres.
In one of former Governor Rick Scott’s final acts as governor, former Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward was appointed to the Triumph Gulf Coast Board of Directors to complete the term of Stan Connally, who left the board in September 2018. Hayward did not participate in the January meeting as he was awaiting paperwork from the Secretary of State’s office to be completed before he could officially join the board.
Executive Director Susan Skelton confirmed that the required semi-annual reports had been filed to state officials. Triumph Gulf Coast Chairman Don Gaetz provided an overview of some of the data found in the report.
In the seventeen months since receiving the initial round of funding, Triumph Gulf Coast has approved fourteen projects from all eight counties with funding of over $118 million. Gaetz stated that the $118 million has attracted $405 million in matching outside public and private funds for the approved projects. 3,380 new direct jobs and 5,056 indirect and induced jobs would be created by the seven approved infrastructure projects. Gaetz also stated that the seven approved workforce/training projects will create over 9,300 industry certifications at a cost per certificate of $1,400.
While the Pensacola Airport/ST-Aerospace project was placed on the January agenda, the only comment that was made is that the City of Pensacola is still working to secure the necessary funding by the March 31 deadline.
The Triumph board also approved negotiating the hire of Randy Lewis as an outside consultant to monitor projects that have been approved by the board to ensure that projects are in compliance with the established laws and guidelines.
Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis addressed 250 attendees at the Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce's 2019 Legislative Luncheon. Patronis' remarks focused on some key issues that will be considered during the 2019 legislative session. The most prominent issue that Patronis will try to reform this year is Assignment of Benefits (AOB). This issue has become more prominent following the hurricanes that have struck Florida the past few years. Patronis cited legislation filed by State Senator Doug Broxson as important in protecting Florida consumers from unscrupulous actors.
Patronis also stressed that the Northwest Florida delegation needs to stick together to make sure that our area's interests are addressed during session. Patronis also took questions from attendees.
The luncheon also featured remarks from Chamber Board Chairman Steve Moorhead, who highlighted the Chamber's advocacy accomplishments in 2018 and an overview of current Chamber activities. Chamber Policy Committee Chairman Ray Walker provided his vision for the Policy Committee and indicated that the committee will look at doing a local government event similar to the Legislative Luncheon.
The Legislative Luncheon was also attended by State Representatives Jayer Williamson, Mike Hill, and Alex Andrade as well as Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson, Escambia County Commissioners Steven Barry and Robert Bender and ECUA Board Member Vicki Campbell.
The Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce announced that Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis will be the keynote speaker for their 2019 Legislative Luncheon. Patronis will describe the major initiatives that his office is pursuing and provide an overview of the business issues that will be debated in Tallahassee this year.
Jimmy Patronis was just elected to a full four-year term as Florida’s Chief Financial Officer. He was initially appointed to the post by former Governor Rick Scott in June 2017. Patronis served in the Florida House of Representatives from 2006 to 2014, representing his hometown region in the Florida Panhandle. He was appointed to serve on Florida’s Public Service Commission, as well as the Constitution Revision Commission, which meets once every twenty years to propose changes to the state constitution.
Patronis is a native Floridian born and raised in Panama City. He earned his associate degree in restaurant management from Gulf Coast Community College and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Florida State University. He is a partner in a family-owned seafood restaurant called Captain Anderson’s that celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2017.
Patronis is recognized for outstanding leadership in his hometown of Panama City and throughout Florida. Committed to active civic engagement and business development, he has chaired the Greater Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Development Council, served on the board of the Bay County Economic Development Alliance, the Salvation Army Advisory Board, the Bay County Chapter of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, and as national president for the Florida Vocational Industrial Clubs of America.
He and wife Katie are proud parents to two sons, Jimmy Theo III and John Michael.
What: The Greater Pensacola Chamber 2019 Legislative Luncheon
When: Tuesday, January 15th at 11:30 AM
Where: Pensacola Yacht Club
The Reese’s Senior Bowl is on Saturday, January 26th in Mobile. But the football game is only part of excitement of Senior Bowl week. On the latest Toddcast, Todd talks to Senior Bowl Executive Director Jim Nagy about all the activities surrounding this year’s game. From the free and open to the public Senior Bowl practices to the first annual Senior Bowl Summit, there are activities for the entire family to enjoy throughout the week.