Syd Kitson, New Florida Chamber Chair, Will Help Make Florida More Competitive
By: Florida Chamber of Commerce
For the last 100 years, the Florida Chamber has focused its agenda on one simple and powerful idea: free enterprise. We have made it our mission to unite with business leaders who believe in free enterprise principles, who have Florida’s long-term future in mind and who want to actively help secure Florida’s future. This is why we are proud to announce that Syd Kitson, Chairman and CEO of Kitson & Partners, has been elected as the 2016-2017 Chair of the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors.
Click the image above to hear Syd Kitson share his thoughts on Florida’s future on the Florida Chamber’s most recent edition of The Bottom Line.
Syd Kitson’s leadership in the creation, development and management of master-planned communities like Babcock Ranch in Southwest Florida makes him a forward thinking leader who can help keep Florida moving in the right direction. Kitson is an advocate for free enterprise and believes that entrepreneurialism will help ensure Florida’s diverse communities can unite under an integrated business agenda. But more than that, he is an advocate for businesses in every part of our state, at every size, and at every stage of their development.
As a leader in Florida’s business community, Kitson realizes the importance of Florida businesses creating 1 in 10 jobs in the nation. He is also very aware of the real challenges and issues that could harm Florida businesses, issues like harmful workers’ comp rate hikes, or unnecessary regulations and federal government overreach. He understands that to help Florida grow successfully, we must focus on ensuring our state has enough water for six million new residents by 2030, that our education reforms help create a talented workforce for Florida’s long-term future, and that we continue to make Florida the number one place to start and grow businesses.
“As Florida continues to grow, we have an opportunity to diversify our economy and expand employment opportunities,” Kitson said. “It is an exciting time for the business community. Working together, we can make Florida a place where innovative businesses take root and grow into higher-paying jobs for all working Floridians.”
Kitson is a graduate of Wake Forest University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics. He had a notable career in the National Football League playing offensive guard for both the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys. Upon his retirement from pro football, he began his career in real estate in 1986. He founded Kitson & Partners in 1999, locating the firm’s company headquarters in Palm Beach Gardens. In 2006, Kitson completed the historic purchase of Babcock Ranch in Southwest Florida, which includes the largest single land preservation agreement in the State’s history (73,000 acres) as well a sustainable, environmentally-friendly green community where residents will live, work, learn and play. Kitson is an active member of the Urban Land Institute and the International Council of Shopping Centers, lectures at Princeton University, sits on the Policy Advisory Board for the Florida Solar Energy Center, serves on the Board of Directors for the Palm Beach Zoo and is on the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of the Florida Council of 100, as well as on the Board of Trustees for Florida TaxWatch and the Board of Directors for the Florida Gulf Coast University Foundation. Kitson is a member of the NFL Alumni Association and the National Football League Players’ Association. In 2000, Syd received the Rainbow Award from the Adam Walsh Children’s Foundation.
Kitson joins a long list of leaders who continue to fight for our state’s future each day. In addition to outgoing Chair Tracy Duda Chapman, Past Chairs of the Florida Chamber’s Board of Directors have included: Steve Knopik, Chief Executive Officer of Beall’s, Inc.; Eric Silagy, President and CEO of Florida Power and Light Company; Lars Houmann, President and CEO of Florida Hospital and President and CEO of the Florida Division Adventist Health System; Anthony Connelly, Senior Vice President-Operations, Disney Cruise Line, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, U.S.; former Speaker of the House Allan Bense; Steve Halverson, President and CEO of The Haskell company; Marshall M. Criser, III, Chancellor of the State University System of Florida; Susan Story, President and CEO, American Water Works Company; former Lt. Governor and Senate President Toni Jennings.