Chamber Advocacy Update – September 30, 2014


This is the second in a three-part series on the Healthcare Industry in our community and what our local industry partners are doing to move regional healthcare advances forward.

Capital Regional Medical Center announced significant news regarding three of their vital programs and services.


Capital Regional Women’s Health now offers advanced urogynecology services with the area’s only board-certified urogynecologist and pelvic surgeon. Bladder and pelvic conditions can upend lifestyles, curtail activities, and affect the health and happiness of a woman’s life. “Michael Douso, MD is a well-known physician, board-certified in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery, and we are proud to affiliate with such a well-respected leader and innovator in this field,” said Brian Cook, President and CEO, Capital Regional Medical Center. Dr. Douso is the only board-certified urogynecologist in the Florida panhandle and is a specialist in disorders of the pelvic floor–which includes the muscles, ligaments, connective tissue and nerves that help support and control the rectum, uterus, vagina and bladder.

The pelvic floor can be damaged by childbirth, repeated heavy lifting, chronic disease, or previous pelvic surgeries. Symptoms of a pelvic floor disorder include: bladder and bowel incontinence, pelvic pain, pelvic organ prolapse and female sexual dysfunction. “I look forward to integrating these services with such a distinguished hospital and developing a comprehensive team approach for our patients. We offer compassionate care, dedicated to helping women regain quality of life as quickly as possible,” said Dr. Douso.


As part of Capital Regional Medical Center’s (CRMC) history of high-quality patient care, CRMC also announced that they will add a behavioral health unit for adult patients with the clinical resources of a dedicated team who are experienced in treating a wide-array of psychiatric disorders. Construction will begin at CRMC in early fall 2014 with an anticipated open-date of spring 2015. Behavioral-health-specific units are a need in Tallahassee and the surrounding communities. One out-of-every-four Americans experiences a diagnosable mental illness or substance abuse every year. Mental illness is more common than cancer, diabetes or heart disease and can affect persons of any age, race, religion or socio-economic status.

The project will be a collaborative effort with local health and law enforcement agencies. Capital Regional’s $3.75 million dollar expansion of behavioral healthcare will include a 24-bed/14,000 sq. ft. adult psychiatric inpatient unit when it opens. The unit will provide a full-range of inpatient psychiatric services, including group and individual therapies, expressive therapy, as well as social service, nursing and pharmacy support.


In their continuing efforts to offer quality and fast care to heart attack patients, Capital Regional recently received Chest Pain Center Accreditation with PCI from the Society of Chest Pain Centers (SCPC). Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the United States, with 600,000 people dying annually of heart disease. More than five-million Americans visit hospitals each year with chest pain. SCPC’s goal is to significantly reduce the mortality rate of these patients by teaching the public to recognize and react to the early symptoms of a possible heart attack, reduce the time that it takes to receive treatment, and increase the accuracy and effectiveness of treatment.

With the increase in chest pain centers came the need to establish standards designed to improve the consistency and quality of care provided to patients. SCPC’s accreditation process ensures that centers meet or exceed quality-of-care measures in acute cardiac medicine.


After years of increasing focus and effort by the Chamber to inform and advocate at the local level for those top business issues that impact you, the Chamber’s current Business Advocacy Committee was officially formed in October 2013 upon guidance of the Board of Directors.  Built upon an acknowledgment that Chamber members increasingly seek value within advocacy programs and services, our top tier Committee embarked upon a new era of monitoring, communicating, informing and engaging for our businesses and our greater economic vitality,

With your input and support, the Business Advocacy Committee has just concluded a highly productive year marked by the following key achievements stemming from our Work Plan:

  • Increased, continuous, and reliable collaboration at the local level with top decision-makers, regardless of issue position
  • Implementation of a thorough communications program, including monthly newsletters, routine local government updates, business advocacy surveys, and targeted issue workshops and meetings
  • Leadership roles and core involvement on those top local issues impacting your business, including: noise ordinance review, violent crime mitigation, penny sales tax extension, transportation improvements, public/private partnerships and higher education collaboration, amongst other topics.
  • Implemented a comprehensive survey to gauge advocacy priorities of businesses and to pivot toward those goals
  • Closer collaboration with the Florida Chamber of Commerce regarding shared advocacy priorities at the state level

Clearly, the momentum and positive impacts of this shared work has been encouraging to your Committee members.  As we turn the page from the first year of work at this time, we will work closely under the guidance of incoming Board Chair Rick Moore, the Board of Directors, President/CEO Sue Dick and others to multiply positive outcomes.

The Committee (led again during the year ahead by Committee Chairman Reggie Bouthillier) will continue to seek your input as Chamber members and will work to ensure a collaborative and productive impact on your behalf. In summary, we are very appreciative of the support this past year and bullish about the opportunity to forge new outcomes in the year ahead.  Thank you!


As you are likely well aware by this point, the current Blueprint “Penny” or 1% Local Options Sales Tax (in place since its reauthorization in November 2000) will stand for another extension via referendum at the November ballot this fall.  As has been previously reported upon by the Chamber (and unanimously endorsed by the Chamber Board of Directors at their August meeting), this penny tax extension stands as not only the community’s top tool to meet key infrastructure demands for the next twenty years, it also is poised as critical fuel to stimulate our local economy.  Recent estimates conducted by the FSU Center for Economic Forecasting and Analysis project that projects implemented under this tax extension will pump over $1.1B into our local economy over that tenure, creating an additional 8,338 new jobs as well.  Clearly it is incumbent upon every voter, and business, to become well informed about the penny tax extension, how it will be managed, who shall pay for it, what public input has led to its implementation plan and the specific details regarding all moving parts of this proposal.

While a group has been created to advocate for the proposed extension (the Leon Alliance for a Better Community), an informational tool (note: not an advocacy piece) has been created by the City and County to simply answer those top questions about the details of the proposal that citizens and businesses may have.  To answer all of your questions, and become highly informed before the November ballot measure, please visit the website:

Additionally, the Village Square group is hosting a meeting tonight at 6 p.m. at the Lively Café at St. John’s Episcopal Church (211 North Monroe Street) to engage in a deep-dive session including question and answer and meeting with top government staff who will be charged with implementing the tax, if the extension is approved.  More information on this meeting is available at:


The EDC, an affiliate program of the Chamber, as seeking your help in completing an Existing Employer Survey to gather economic data and key data baselines about industry activity, staffing plans, barriers to success as well as talent and training needs. This data will allow the EDC to better allocate resources to those areas where our local businesses need assistance or see opportunities for a more robust local economy and generate a top-tier quality of life within our community.

Access EDC Existing Employer Survey

This survey, and your participation in it, is essential to our ability to grow our economic base, including the expansion of existing industries and the recruitment of new ones. We are proud to collaborate closely with our partners in this communitywide survey with the goal of implementing key priorities to enhance our region.

We hope everyone will take the time to complete it and give us your feedback so our community can better support your business by anticipating changing economic priorities as well as ensuring our region remains competitive.


One of the top marketed business incentives that is managed by, and offered locally through, the Economic Development Council of Tallahassee/Leon County, Inc. (EDC) will have a full workshop to highlight both the success of the program in our community and the incredible ease with which one can apply. The annual Enterprise Zone workshop will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, October 1 at Brooklyn Water Bagel and Pizza in their new facility in College Town. Refreshments, including pizza, will be provided to attendees and information regarding the program will be made available. This business sits within the Enterprise zone, is a current program recipient and serves as an excellent, recent example of the positive impact of how this state-based and locally-approved EZ program positively impacts economic revitalization in targeted areas across the state.

In our community, the Tallahassee/Leon County Enterprise Zone was created by the City and County in 2003 and began accepting applications in 2006. Managed by the EDC, and governed by the Enterprise Zone Development Agency (EZDA), our local EZ has processed over 1,300 applications since inception, has led to the creation of over 500 new jobs, and has pumped over $5M of state incentive dollars back into our community for reinvestment by businesses and residents who qualify for the program. Additional information, including a map of the EZ and easy application materials, can be found HERE.

Please come out for this informal workshop to view (and taste) the benefit of our local Enterprise Zone program for yourself. With a broad size encompassing 20 square miles inside the City and in some incorporated areas of Leon County, you may be surprised how easy it is to qualify for this beneficial program!


Under staff guidance of Executive Director Harry Reed, the Capital Region Transportation Planning Agency (CRTPA) is presently undergoing a holistic study of regional mobility and transportation planning for our area.  This work, which is being assisted by the consultants of Kimley>Horn, shall culminate with the CRTPA’s update of their Regional Mobility Plan (RMP) in the months ahead.  Toward that goal, the CRTPA team is presently engaging in community outreach efforts to gain public and business input.  At the heart of the RMP update, is the fact that planning for transportation network upgrades in the greater Tallahassee area (and in the Capital Region) significantly impacts the area’s growth and development potential which, in turn, impacts our local businesses.   Because of this, it is vital that businesses in the area are actively involved with shaping the future of the region’s transportation network.  From traffic congestion to safety and economic development, the issues surrounding transportation clearly impact our daily lives.  This process provides you with another opportunity to shape the transportation network in our community. Your input on traffic, roads, sidewalks, bicycle facilities, transit, trails, freight, rail, safety, and many other topics is being sought via this public process by the CRTPA.

The CRTPA’s next set of regional public meetings occur on October 6 and 7 at each of the four counties in the CRTPA region.  Details on each meeting are below and the specifics on the Tallahassee/Leon County meeting (set for October 7) are presented in bold.  The Chamber Business Advisory Committee encourages you to get informed and get involved as part of this process and to insure that our business opportunities are captured by this work product.  For additional, detailed information about the CRTPA’s “Connections 2040 Regional Mobility Plan” update, visit the project website at  Meeting details are as follows:

Gadsden County Public Workshop
Oct 6, 2014
6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Gadsden County Commission Chambers
9- B East Jefferson Street
Quincy, Florida

Jefferson County Public Workshop
Oct 6, 2014

6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Jefferson County Courthouse Annex
435 Walnut Street
Monticello, Florida

Wakulla County Public Workshop
Oct 7, 2014

6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Wakulla County Senior Citizens Center
33 Michael Drive
Crawfordville, Florida

Leon County Public Workshop
Oct 7, 2014

6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Jack McLean, Jr. Community Center
700 Paul Russell Road
Tallahassee, Florida


After nearly a decade of remediation and construction activities, Cascades Park, Tallahassee’s newest social center located in the heart of downtown, opened to the public in March. Opening weekend brought thousands of people out to see the new park, which was once an abandoned and unsightly field. Visitors explored every inch of the 24-acre oasis discovering its many wonders, which include the Capital City Amphitheater, Discovery playscape, Korean War Memorial, Smokey Hollow Commemoration, Imagination Fountain and miles of multi-use trails. In the middle of it all, stood a man – Wayne Tedder, director of the Tallahassee-Leon County Planning, Land Management and Community Enhancement (PLACE) department – and his team, marveling at what they built and what it would mean for the community.

A member of the Tallahassee-Leon County Planning department for nearly 20 years, Tedder has meticulously worked to bring Cascades Park to life. In 1997, a few years after receiving his bachelor’s degree in architecture and a master’s degree in planning, Tedder began his career with the department as a Senior Planner. Four years later, he was promoted to Land Use Division Manager and, two years after that, promoted once again to director of the Planning Department. In June 2011, Tedder became the director of PLACE, serving double duty managing the Planning Department and Blueprint 2000, a City-County governed agency funded by a one-cent, local option sales tax.

Thinking back on the Cascades Park project, Tedder said, “Construction presented many challenges that had to be overcome, but in the end, the final product has helped make our City’s downtown come alive! Cascades Park is the crown jewel of the Blueprint projects, and by working with the community, it’s far exceeded expectations beyond what we imagined when the one-cent tax was approved by voters in 2000.”

Earlier this year, the American Planning Association (APA) honored Tedder’s department with the National Planning Excellence Award for a Planning Agency. This one-of-a-kind award, which is the highest achievement that a planning organization can achieve, recognized the department for its ongoing assistance in growing the community and preserving those things that make Tallahassee-Leon County an incredible place to live, work and play.

“The two greatest accomplishments of my career so far have been the opening of Cascades Park and winning the National Planning Excellence Award,” Tedder said. “While I may be the director of the departments that made these projects happen, I couldn’t have done it without the commitment, diligence and sacrifice of my staff. We truly work as a team, and I’m so thankful for their support.”

In addition to spearheading Cascades Park, Tedder’s other accomplishments include the Leon County Bicycle Network and the City Community Gardening Program. He is a Leadership Tallahassee graduate (class 28) and was recently named Leader of the Year by the organization, which is a division of the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce. Tedder is a dedicated husband and father and also serves a deacon for the First Baptist Church. To contact him, please email


We thank you for joining the Business Advocacy Committee and the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce in supporting business vitality across our community and region. Please engage with us to share your thoughts and ways we may further improve and support your business in the upcoming year.


Reggie L. Bouthillier, Chair