Florida West is the New Business and Job Development Group in Pensacola and Northwest Florida
Florida West was announced as a new voice in Pensacola and Escambia County economic development at The Voices of Pensacola Center on West Government Street (across from Seville Quarter) on Tuesday, June 30th. The organization’s previous name, Community Economic Development Association, was changed to reflect a more direct marketing spin. Former Gulf Power executive John Hutchinson, kicked off the formal presentation of the new branding as the President of the Florida West Board of Directors.
Hutchinson stated that Florida West is an effort for a broader reorganization of economic development efforts in the region. An outline of the Florida West strategy was described as “building, growing, and sustaining the economic potential and prosperity of Northwest Florida.” He went on to describe how the Pensacola Chamber’s economic development department moved its staff out of the chamber’s downtown offices and moved to establish a new entity that would concentrate its focus only on economic development initiatives. The emphasis for this event was to unveil the new organization’s name, focus, and strategies to facilitate the building of a stronger economy.
The spotlight of the event shifted to a combination of political and business leadership which painted a picture of collaboration and agreement of the new public/private partnership with remarks by Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward, County Commissioner Wilson Robertson, Pensacola Chamber Board Chairman Carol Carlan, and Scott Luth, the Florida West CEO to a standing room only crowd full of community, political, and business leaders.
According to the Florida West brochure, there are four key components to the organization’s strategic efforts:
- Wealth Development – building individual, corporate, and community wealth that contribute to greater quality of life in the area
- Economic Partnerships – linking policy makers, educational institutions, private sector leaders, entrepreneurs and investors to maximize the economic potential of northwest Florida.
- Sustainable Growth – ensuring the longevity and prosperity of our existing business partners, clients, and the community.
- Transformed Workforce – working with local education partners to build and train a workforce that attracts new businesses and supports existing businesses.
Moving forward, organizers said that Florida West would continue aggressively seeking new businesses to move to the area, while supporting policies and partnerships that build workforce skills and economic opportunity for the entire community.