Florida Chamber Foundation’s Hurricane Michael Site Visit

April 16-17, 2019

On April 16-17, the Florida Chamber Foundation Board of Trustees, along with the Florida Chamber of Commerce and their volunteers toured the areas impacted by the most powerful hurricane to ever hit the Florida Panhandle, Hurricane Michael. This trip allowed participants to see first-hand, the unmet needs in the region, and provided attendees with information on the resources available to aid in the long term recovery of the area. 

Day 1 of the tour included briefings on the destructive impact of Hurricane Michael as it came onshore. Stops included Panama City, Mexico Beach and Tyndall Air Force Base. Participants also heard from local businesses as they discussed the daily challenges of living and working in a community still in the early stages of recovery.

Day 2 of the tour included stops in Calhoun and Jackson counties where participants heard from Chamber of Commerce leaders and local business owners on the progress that had been made and the significant needs that continue to go unmet in their communities.


Participants of the Hurricane Michael tour were given briefings from state and regional leaders including:

  • Allan Bense, Former House Speaker
  • Neal Dunn, U.S. Representative
  • Gwen Graham, Former U.S. Representative
  • Dr. John R. Holdnak, President, Gulf Coast State College
  • Clay Ingram, CEO, Volunteer Florida
  • Colonel Brian S. Laidlaw, Commander, Tyndall Air Force Base
  • Ben Lee, Senior Vice President, Hancock Whitney Bank, Panama City
  • Michael Myhre, CEO, Small Business Development Center
  • Jimmy Patronis, Florida’s Chief Financial Officer
  • Todd Powell, Chair, Florida Chamber Foundation Board of Trustees and VP of Real Estate Development at Weyerhaeuser
  • Cissy Proctor, Managing Partner, Talahassee Office, LSN Partners
  • Carol Roberts, President, Bay County Chamber of Commerce
  • Ron Sachs, Founder/CEO Sachs Media Group
  • Wayne Stubbs, Executive Director, Port Panama City U.S.A.
  • Kristy Terry, Executive Director of Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce
  • Richard Williams, Executive Director of CareerSource Chipola

Our Focus:

  • Workforce
  • Job Creation

Major Industries

  • Military
  • Manufacturing
  • Agriculture
  • Distribution & Imports
  • Forestry


  • Lessons learned


  • Housing
  • Roads and transportation




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