BRADENTON – The Bradenton Area Economic Development Corp. (EDC) reported on its progress to hundreds of business and civic leaders at the organization’s Annual Update Luncheon, presented by The Mosaic Company, on November 13 at the Polo Grill in Lakewood Ranch.
“A major effort by the EDC in 2015 culminated in the launch of our new strategic plan,” said Sharon Hillstrom, president and chief executive officer. “The Build Bradenton Area Plan includes bold strategies for achieving Manatee County’s potential as the business address for the South Tampa Bay region.”
Hillstrom presented highlights from the EDC’s Progress Update publication, which is available online at www.thinkbradentonarea.com. Key results include:
[if !supportLists]· [endif]Since 2009, the Bradenton Area EDC and its partners have assisted 62 businesses with expansions and relocations.
[if !supportLists]· [endif]These companies are projected to deliver more than 3,800 jobs and $1.9 billion in wages from direct and indirect jobs through 2021.
[if !supportLists]· [endif]Companies the EDC assisted plan to invest $374 million in capital during the same period.
[if !supportLists]· [endif]Examples of local companies that announced plans in the last year to create jobs and invest capital include Feld Entertainment (Motor Sports Division), Ergotech Inc. and Major League Football.
2015 EDC Chair Mark Barnebey of Blalock Walters announced that, in posthumous honor of Rick Fawley, a partner in Fawley|Bryant Architects and member of the EDC’s Executive Committee, the EDC renamed its annual award.
“Earlier this year, Manatee County lost one of its greatest advocates in promoting economic development as a means for improving our quality of life,” Barnebey said of Fawley. “He helped to shape the built environment of our community through his professional work at Fawley Bryant Architects. He shared both wit and wisdom as a board member for the EDC and countless charities and civic groups. And even in what turned out to be his final days in this world, he enthusiastically supported the EDC’s new strategy.”
Manatee County Commission Chair Betsy Benac read the EDC’s proclamation officially changing the name of the award to the “Rick Fawley Economic Development Award of Distinction.”
The 2015 award was presented to Chris Ciaccio, vice president for marketing and outreach at IMG Academy. Ciaccio helped to establish sports performance as a focus for the EDC’s relocation and expansion efforts, and has been a leader in the organization’s strategic planning and marketing.
“Chris Ciaccio has his finger on the pulse of the sports performance industry in Southwest Florida, and he generously shares insights and connections to advance economic development in our community,” Barnebey said. “Chris has been unstinting in sharing the assets of IMG Academy with the EDC to promote economic development in our county.”
The EDC’s incoming chair for 2016, Mike Moschella of Hancock Bank, said the EDC will be “full throttle” into implementing the new, multi-year strategy next year.
“From expanding economic development resources, to fostering entrepreneurship. From expanding programs for workforce/talent attraction and retention, to amplifying the Bradenton Area brand — we will continue to strengthen the business competitiveness of this community,” Moschella said. “We will work with our partners in the community and region to ensure that Manatee County becomes an even more attractive location for companies to locate or expand their operations.”
The event’s keynote address was delivered by Kenneth Feld, chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, which is headquartered in Ellenton. The company produces well-known, global brands in live family entertainment, including Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey®, Disney On Ice, Disney Live! and Feld Motor Sports.
Feld shared insights into participation with cancer researchers interested in the cancer-fighting genetic makeup of Asian elephants. He also spoke about the company’s decisions to locate its global headquarters and additional operations in Manatee County, and how the company’s growing presence impacts the local economy.
“Since we made the decision in 2011 to begin our relocation project (to Manatee County), our company’s direct economic impact has exceeded $400 million with a broader impact at close to $1 billion (locally),” Feld said. “Over the next 20 years, the total economic impact of everything we will do at Feld Entertainment Studios, including all the shows we will launch from here and all the people we will bring to the area, will top $7.5 billion.”
The event’s presenting sponsor was The Mosaic Company. Additional sponsors included speaker sponsor Synovus Bank, award sponsor Palmetto CRA, and media sponsor Herald-Tribune Media Group. Also sponsoring the event were Ad-Vance Talent Solutions, Blalock Walters P.A., Bright House Networks, Cadence Bank, Fawley|Bryant Architects, FPL, Gettel Automotive Management Group, Grimes Goebel Grimes Hawkins Gladfelter & Galvano PL, Ian Black Real Estate, Mauldin & Jenkins LLC CPAs, State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota, Keiser University and the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee.
About the Bradenton Area EDC
The Bradenton Area Economic Development Corp. (EDC) is the lead economic development organization for the Bradenton area’s nine communities located on the south side of Tampa Bay. The EDC works to diversify the local economy by attracting and retaining high-wage jobs for area residents, and connecting existing businesses to the resources they need to succeed. Information: ThinkBradentonArea.com.