2011 Future of Florida Forum

September 19, 2011 – September 21, 2011 @ All Day
Location: Disney's Contemporary Resort Hotel
Address: 4600 N World Dr. Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830 | View Map

Florida’s business leaders, civic leaders and elected officials from around the state gathered in Orlando for the Florida Chamber Foundation’s 2011 Future of Florida Forum and the Florida Chamber’s 95th Annual Meeting. From the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Education Summit featuring Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson and Chancellor Frank Brogan to the Energy Summit featuring Governor Rick Scott, guests and speakers were focused on securing Florida’s future and setting an example for the rest of the nation.

Board of Governors Breakfast

The Florida Chamber Foundation welcomed special guest Jim Brazell at the Board of Governors Breakfast. A technology forecaster and strategist, Jim shared his research that suggests a strong connection between education (STEM) and the arts, saying “The person who balances the left & right brain skills (Technology/Arts) will be successful in the future.”

Energy Summit

Leading energy experts Eric Silagy (Florida Power and Light), Dave Mica (Florida Petroleum Council), Bentina Terry (Gulf Power), Dr. Tim Anderson (Florida Energy Consortium), Dr. Jim Fenton (Florida Solar Energy Center) and Patrick Sheehan (FCACS Office of Energy) joined Governor Rick Scott for an Energy Summit at the Future of Florida Forum to discuss where energy stands in Florida and what the future of energy looks like for the state. “If we don’t have a long-term energy plan, we can’t create jobs,” said Governor Scott. “If government causes energy to be more expensive, companies won’t come to Florida to open and expand their businesses.”


Education Summit

Foundation for Florida’s Future Executive Director Patricia Levesque and Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson, Workforce Florida President Chris Hart and Chancellor Frank Brogan are among the leaders who participated in education panels at the Future of Florida Forum focusing on Prek-12, Higher Education and Workforce. Panelist Steven Wallace with Jacksonville State College left participants with the insightful comment, “No good idea in education should die because of lack of funds.”


State of the State

Secretary of Commerce Gray Swoope and DEO Executive Director Doug Darling spoke on stage together for the first time during the State of the State presentation at the Future of Florida Forum. Framing their discussion on the most pressing economic development issues facing Florida with data from The Florida Scorecard, they identified the cost of health care as the biggest drag on Florida’s business competiveness and emphasized the need to focus on the ease of doing business in Florida. “We’re at war,” said DEO Director Darling. “We’re at war with other states and countries for economic development.”The Florida Chamber will continue to work with Florida’s economic development leaders to make Florida the No. 1 state for private-sector job creation.

Session Breakouts

Small Business National Entrepreneur Center

At the Future of Florida Forum, National Entrepreneur Center Executive Director Jerry Ross led a discussion on economic development through small business development. “What we need to do as a business community is get together and focus our efforts on growing small businesses,” said Jerry Ross. With four out of five new jobs being created by small business and 93 percent of Florida businesses employing less than 10 people, the Florida Chamber and our Small Business Council strongly agree.

Redistricting & Amendments Update

Participants at the Future of Florida Forum got an update on the redistricting process that’s currently underway in Florida. Republican Party of Florida Director of House Campaigns Frank Terraferma and Florida Chamber Senior Vice President of Political Strategy Marian Johnson gave an overview of the process, which occurs every 10 years to reflect population changes in congressional and legislative districts.

Just the Facts: Gaming

At the Future of Florida Forum, participants got a “Just the Facts” overview on the gambling industry in Florida. Isle of Capri Chief Administrative Officer Donn Mitchell shared the pari-mutuel perspective of gaming in Florida, Seminole County Sheriff’s Office General Counsel April Kirsheman discussed the loophole internet cafes are currently operating under and Genting General Counsel Jessica Hoppe gave the destination resort perspective. Former Rep. Bill Galvano, who is currently running for the Florida Senate, moderated the panel.

Targeted Industry Focus: Health Care

Florida’s leading health care experts, including Dr. Larry Lake with Bay View Healthcare and Richard Morrison with Adventist Health System, led a panel discussion on operating in the new health care environment at the Future of Florida Forum. According to former U.S. Senator George LeMieux, who spoke at the Forum, the cost of health care is currently increasing by as much as 10 percent per year.

Just the Facts: Immigration

U.S. Chamber Executive Director of Immigration Policy Amy Nice, Bloomberg Government Economic Analyst Jason Arvelo and ImmigrationWorks Florida Executive Director Joe Kefauver led a “Just the Facts” discussion on sensible immigration policy during the Future of Florida Forum. The Florida Chamber will oppose any immigration reforms that could potentially harm Florida’s economy or reputation in the international community.

General Session Luncheon: Special Guest John Doggett

We also heard University of Texas Professor John Doggett’s free market perspective on debt, global competition and Florida’s economic future. John Doggett has been an award-winning Senior Lecturer at the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin since 1989. His academic focus is on global competition, entrepreneurship, and sustainable energy.


General Session Dinner: Special Guest Donovan Campbell

From Combat to the Boardroom – Leadership Matters

Donovan Campbell is a decorated military officer and a young Fortune 500 executive whose lessons about leadership and teamwork came the hard way, through three combat deployments – two in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. He was awarded the Combat Action Ribbon and a Bronze Star with Valor for his time in Iraq. He is the author of the New York Times best-seller Joker One: A Marine Platoon’s Story of Courage, Leadership, and Brotherhood. Campbell has now become the face of military officers returning home and entering the business world.

  • Watch Donovan Campbell’s video
Photo Gallery

Click to view photos from the 2011 Future of Florida Forum.

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