Heart of Florida Summit Seeks Regional UnityMarch 6th, 2009 by Ocala/Marion County EDC
The 2009 Heart of Florida Summit was held this week on the University of Florida Campus. Business and community leaders from Alachua and Marion Counties seem to be ready to move toward a regional approach to business attraction…especially high technology ventures. State Representative Kurt Kelly and Randy Berridge, President of the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, were there to express their support for such an effort.
Below is an update for participants from Heart of Florida Executive Director Ron Barnwell:
Good morning Heart of Florida!
The Regional Summit by all measures was greeted with enthusiasm and anticipation. Thank you for becoming an advocate for this regional coalition, its mission and viability. Feedback from the survey indicated you want to build on the accomplishments and momentum so far with a signature project that will build a positive, proactive reputation, resulting in long term measurable economic benefits to the region and increased political clout. You indicated that water issues are a priority focus, but strongly support a movement toward technology job creation, particularly in green technologies in the region, and partnering with University of Florida’s licensing organization to grow “home-grown businesses.” You also indicated a desire for open dialogue and communications on the direction of the region and regular updates on the accomplishments. Several mentioned that regional boards should consider regional representation; it is important to pool resources for advancing our work; we continue to break down county barriers; we maintain a focus on education; and we increase cross-county governmental interaction opportunities.
The notes from the Summit will be prepared and delivered to us by Fairfield Index within the next few days. The notes will provide the foundation for our roadmap into the future for the Heart of Florida Regional Coalition. The coalition Executive Committee and the Coordinating Board will process this data and set the course of action. I believe it is time to be bold in our planning, decisive in our action and focused on achieving short and long term regional objectives. To be viable we must have one agenda, appropriate metrics, transparency and regional alignment.
There is a time for cheerleading and there is a time to roll up our sleeves and get to work. Now is the time for both.
So, what do YOU think? Are you ready to cheer for a regional approach to economic development?
Tags: Heart of Florida