Eye on Business: We are ending 2010, taking a look ahead to 2011, what are some of the things you guys have done to progress into the new year?
Dick: We're excited. Our membership held strong during the economy. Our regional chamber of commerce; we're close to 1,500 members. That's a testament to our small businesses, they have endured this economy and as a chamber, we have tired to have programs to help them along the way.
Eye on Business: The economy has been tough on everyone. Do you see a lot of businesses relocating to Tallahassee?
Dick: We have seen a lot of businesses that are growing in the sense that they are adding a couple of employees along the way. They are really trying to pace themselves. We've seen a lot of businesses come to the chamber looking for tools and a way to do business to business development. So we've seen a bit of an uptick and we are optimistic in the coming year. We know it's going to be tough but we're trying to provide resources to help it along the way.
Eye on Business: How exciting is it when a big business comes to the Capital City?
Dick: There is so much work being done by our businesses, our board of directors, by people in the community to make this the place that people want to locate (to). Not only was that a company that decided to make their headquarters here in Tallahassee, but their state headquarters are in Tallahassee. That's a testament to the value of doing business in Tallahassee and to see why they want to be in our community. So we are excited. It's an industry that's in renewable energy so it's one of the targeted sectors that our economic sector is working on so that was a win and a victory for our community.
Eye on Business: It seems a lot of people are going green. How important is it to get them here to set the standard?
Dick: These companies are starting from several people that can work their way up. It's the economy of the future and it's innovative. It's important and there's a lot of work being done in our community. Our universities, what we bring with Florida State and FAMU really sets the mark for research and development. To say those companies have a place in Florida and a place in Tallahassee.
Eye on Business: What are some of the big events you have planned in the upcoming months?
Dick: We are the source for business. We have a lot of business to business opportunities. We have our business affiliations development firm. We have close to 4-500 businesses meeting on a weekly basis exchanging, networking and doing business with each other. Our partnership with the Jim Moran Institute is key. We're ramped up. We're working hard. We have several programs per week. We encourage people to go to our website, take a look at it and encourage others to join the commerce.