“The Catalyst for Business and Community Growth”

A few years ago, our Chamber of Commerce developed a strategic plan focused on a singular mission – to be the catalyst for business and community growth in Tallahassee. The work we do is aimed at fulfilling that mission daily. A critical component of our efforts is the engagement we create among our members, most notably through our three priority areas – Advocating for Business, Bridging the Talent Gap and Growing Business. With those priorities in mind, our staff is constantly striving to convene opportunities for members to gain insights that can better shape their ability to grow and create jobs.

In our Grow Business initiative, our Chamber volunteers and staff work together as part of a business retention and expansion program. Each month, members of our Grow Business Committee meet to discuss important factors that contribute to the success of our local economy. Issues like workforce development, talent retention, infrastructure and targeted industries are just a few of the topics on the agenda each time. Chaired by Richard Darabi of Moore Bass Consulting, the Grow Business Committee is a hub for information sharing and planning for many of our larger programs.

This week, we hosted our March Grow Business Committee meeting at the brand-new Capital Health Plan Metropolitan Health Center. Visiting and learning about new companies and those with an expanded presence in our market, is a central part of the committee’s process for collecting and sharing information about the economy. It’s all part of a broader goal to develop and maintain a comprehensive understanding of the many moving pieces that affect the performance of our business community.

At this week’s meeting, committee members learned about the continued growth of Capital Health Plan and why they decided to build their new Metropolitan Health Center (their first new patient center in 20 years). Additionally, there were updates from Cristina Paredes concerning the ongoing economic development work at the Office of Economic Vitality. There was also a fascinating discussion with David Pope, General Manager for the new Florida Gulf and Atlantic Railroad who now own all of the rail systems between Jacksonville and Pensacola (nearly 400 miles in total). These topics, along with other items that were discussed as part of the Grow Business Committee agenda all have one thing in common – valuable business intelligence.

Business intelligence is how deals happen. One connection made between the right parties can spark a relationship that leads to results. Exponential economic growth can only occur when those who are seeking to build and grow their business, are properly aligned with the opportunities present in our community. Our Grow Business Committee is structured to both collect information and connect it with our broader membership through the programs, events and other work we do as a Chamber.

Each day our team interacts with companies who are seeking to find out what projects, initiatives and developments will shape our economy. Here at the Chamber, we specialize in both knowing and finding those answers. Our Grow Business Committee is a critical part of that work. The business intelligence shared in those small meetings goes on to become the subject matter for forums, videos, podcasts and yes, even breakout sessions at our Annual Chamber Community Conference. Beyond shaping our programming, the information we collect each day and through our Grow Business Committee also serves as the impetus for new relationships and deals that in turn, shape the future of our community. The things we learn today have the power to impact our tomorrow. That is what it means to be a catalyst.

Jay Revell
Vice President, Advocacy and Public Policy