A Letter from Your Chair

February 1, 2016

Dear Tallahassee Business Friend and Member:

It’s still early in 2016 and that provides a great opportunity to give you an update on several fronts – as one of our valued, loyal members of the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce. We’re proud to promote and advocate for you and the more than 1,400 member businesses that employ more than 55,000 local neighbors. We also want to share a clear vision for the positive path we are pursuing to create the most effective and efficient new vehicle for fulfilling the private sector’s leadership and partnership role in economic development for the future.

As many of you may know, the Chamber has formally separated from the Economic Development Council (EDC), which was formed by the Chamber 20 years ago to work collaboratively in attracting new business, industry and jobs to our region. Last week, the EDC board voted to dissolve the organization, clearing the way for the important work we enthusiastically embrace to strengthen our community’s economic foundation.

Later this month, the City of Tallahassee and Leon County governments, acting as the Intergovernmental Agency (IA), intend to bring the formal responsibility for economic development via the economic development organization (EDO) of record, inside the two governments. The city and county will share appropriate authority and accountability over how best to invest the $90 million expected to flow from the Blueprint penny sales tax designated for economic development, for which the Chamber led the campaign to win voter approval. The Chamber does not intend to take on this role of EDO and fully supports moving the EDO into the IA structure. The IA will be meeting February 29, 2016, then again on June 20, 2016 as it outlines next steps as the EDO. It is important to remember that the Blueprint penny sales tax will also generate an expected $700 million for infrastructure projects in our entire community — including roads, storm water retention, parks and other visible improvements.

The Chamber is in the process of creating a new CEO — the Council for Economic Opportunity — within the Chamber, consistent with our historic leadership role working in this important space. It will be a committee structure that actively involves key stakeholders and industry sector leaders. This program will strategically position our organization to strengthen and promote our relationships with the public and private entities, working in an active partnership to improve the community’s infrastructure, enhance the quality of life and be a key point of outreach and contact for assisting existing industry, attracting new business, marketing and promoting our community to help expand our economic base.

Throughout our 93-year history, the Tallahassee Chamber’s core mission always has included active support for strengthening local businesses — and ongoing outreach and promotion of healthy economic development. Per our by-laws, the mission of the Chamber shall be carried out through:
• Active promotion of economic development and employment opportunities;
• Proactive leadership and strong representation of business interests;
• Effective organization and mobilization of stakeholders in the community through committee involvement;
• Valuable service to the membership by provision of governmental affairs, information, training/education, and networking opportunities;
• and Programs to encourage business leadership, commerce, educational and quality of life improvements.

With the dawn of new economic opportunities, we’re excited about the changes and new responsibilities the Chamber will undertake on behalf of your business community. As your Chamber of Commerce, we are committed to building on our legacy and evolving to make a difference that will last for years to come.

Just as our programs and services are aimed at enhancing your ability to succeed, we deeply appreciate your membership and engagement as being key to fulfilling our mission every day. So, please display your Chamber member decal, proudly, and we encourage you to do business with other Chamber members!
Please contact Sue Dick, President/CEO or any chamber staff team members for any assistance that we may ever provide to you.


Kathryn G. Bell