25 February Leaders Welcome State's Economic Development Chief February 25, 2016 By Laura Pavlus General Green Cove Springs, economic development, Bill Johnson, Clay County, jobs, Bill Garrison, Clay BCC 0 Mike Ford, Clay Today - Published February 24, 2016 GREEN COVE SPRINGS – With a focus on bringing more high-paying jobs to Clay County, economic development leaders, business leaders, elected officials and others recently hosted a county tour for the head of Enterprise Florida Inc. The Orlando-based state-funded agency markets Florida to businesses outside the Sunshine State in hopes they will expand the state’s economy by relocating or expanding here. It does that by matching interested corporations with communities that meet needs and site selection preferences. Enterprise Florida President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Johnson spent about three hours in Clay County on Feb. 19 to learn how to market the county elsewhere. READ FULL ARTICLE HERE “We took him on a tour on a Clay Transit bus from the Clay County Utility Authority to St. Johns River State College and down to Green Cove Springs. It’s a familiarization tour to show him some of our assets – a high-level overview to leave a favorable impression in his mind about our economic development team so he has confidence in our abilities,” said Bill Garrison, president of the Clay County Economic Development Corp., who invited Johnson to visit here. Johnson’s visit comes three weeks after Enterprise Florida launched a new $10 million marketing campaign and accompany slogan, “The Future is Here.” “Enterprise Florida has to trust that we know what we’re doing and that we have a community that will support the businesses they recommend us to,” Garrison said. Green Cove Springs Mayor Van Royal – who serves on Garrison’s board of directors – and County Commission Chair Diane Hutchings accompanied Johnson on the tour to promote the county. “I think there’s incredible potential in Clay County. Aesthetically, it’s very clean and impressive. I got a sense of the community’s pulse and what stuck out to me is that Clay County is a vibrant and growing community,” Johnson said. Johnson stressed that Florida’s Space Coast is a leader in aeronautics and aviation. Johnson said because that region is nearby, Clay County has potential for benefitting much like the entire Great Lakes region has traditionally benefited from the auto industry in Detroit. “When you look at the supply chain and what goes into the aviation industry, Clay County isn’t that far away, so it could be attractive to something related to that industry,” he said. “Also, banking and financial is huge and Jacksonville is attractive to that industry, so Clay County can benefit from that and Florida is now third in the nation for information technology. We see a lot of it in Orlando and South Florida, so there’s no reason it can’t happen here, as well.” Because he’s focused on the competition with other states to attract new companies, Johnson understands Clay County must do its part because Florida will only thrive if its communities thrive. “We at Enterprise Florida want to expand Florida’s existing businesses, but we also want new businesses coming to Florida to know what our communities have to offer. In Clay County, there is a great quality of life and that’s the number one selling point. This is an incredible community for families – there’s a high quality of life here,” he said. Johnson has set a goal of meeting with each of Florida’s local county economic development chiefs in 2016. Related Officials Look to Spring Park Project as Key Piece in Economic Development GREEN COVE SPRINGS | The natural spring that is key to the city’s historic past could help lock in its future, say Green Cove Springs leaders and economic development officials projecting new business and industry could come into the community just as the mineral water now flows through Spring Park into the adjacent St. Johns River. Clay County Economic Development Workshop Cathy Chambers, left, and Jerry Mallot from JAXUSA Partnership and Bill Garrison, far right, from Clay County Economic Development Corporation presented information to the Clay County Board of County Commissioners Tuesday during an economic development workshop in the BCC chambers. Encouraging Local Businesses to Grow in Place is KEY to Economic Development Clay County, Florida is home to tremendous business assets. Clay features strong defense and aviation, manufacturing, healthcare and life sciences, logistics, information technology, and business support sectors. Clay Economic Development Corporation seeks to retain and strengthen existing businesses by working to eliminate growth obstacles. Economic Development Plan Gets More Ironing Out Armed with a new strategic plan for economic development completed, Bill Garrison, president of the Clay County Economic Development Corp., recently met with county official to divvy up tasks involved with bringing the plan to fruition. Few Details on Economic Development Fund Both chambers of the Florida Legislature approved funding Friday for the newly created Florida Job Growth Grant Fund, a deal that followed months of debate among top Republicans, capped off by a three-day special legislative session. That $85 million fund for Gov. Rick Scott will change the way the state attracts business. New 5-Year Economic Development Plan Unveiled A new five-year strategic plan charting Clay County’s economic development future recommends county officials maximize the First Coast Expressway construction, create an entrepreneurial ecosystem for area millennials and to brand Clay County with recognizable signage on its borders. Showing 0 Comment Comments are closed.