More than 400 Tallahassee and Leon County business and government leaders converged on Amelia Island over the weekend for the Tallahassee Chamber's annual retreat.
It was a record breaking crowd the Chamber says is reflective of the economic growth of the Capital area. The talks didn't just center on the issues impacting the community, it was also a time to reconnect and build new business relationships.
Dave Womsley with K-2 Urbancorp, a developer in Leon County, said, “It's a great opportunity to interact with folks you maybe otherwise wouldn't back in Tallahassee and hear a lot of good ideas."
The weekend kicked off with a round on the golf course for the "Challenge Cup Tournament," but the next morning the discussions turned to business. A workshop on the half-cent sales tax for health care, which is going to voters this fall, attracted the most interest on Saturday. But the center of attention and the reason for being there was the economic future of Leon County.
Bill Law, Chairman of the Economic Development Council, said, "State government will always be a critical part of our community, but it's not a growth operation anymore."
Law went on to talk about the successful recruitment of two companies, Danfoss-Turbocor, a manufacturer of highly efficient compressors for air conditioners, and Day Jet, a per seat, on-demand airline set to take flight by the end of the year.
The EDC estimates both companies will pump more than $20 million into the local economy over the next few years and bring in high paying jobs.
Day Jet's CEO Ed Lacobucci said, “Tallahassee was one of those communities we felt had a lot of potential economic growth, it's a vibrant community, good quality of life, a large workforce."
The EDC, a branch off of the Chamber, says it's hoping to create 2,000 jobs during the next five years with salaries more than $40,000. Other goals include connecting science and infrastructure, developing the airport as a strategic resource, expanding employment through expedited permitting and realigning local interest with state government.
Stay tuned all this week to Eyewitness News at Six for more on the Chamber's response to the half-cent sales tax, affordable housing, future development and business recruitment.