Florida Chamber Series on Free Enterprise: Beth Kigel

“We have to view ourselves as being in a global economy. In order to be globally competitive, we actually need to get mobility right.”

Beth Kigel, President and CEO of the Palm Beach North Chamber of Commerce

 
Click the audio below to hear the full interview.
 


 

As part of the Florida 2030 initiative, the Florida Chamber Foundation has traveled to all 67 counties in Florida and has heard from more than 10,000 Floridians on the issues that matter to them.

In a recent interview, Secretary of the Florida Transportation Commission, and President and CEO of the Palm Beach North Chamber of Commerce Beth Kigel shares her thoughts on what businesses in her region feel Florida needs to get right for 2030 and beyond.

We have to view ourselves as being in a global economy. In order to be globally competitive, we actually need to get mobility right.

As we grow, we really need to be efficient and innovative and in this global innovation economy that we’ve got going right now, we really also need to prepare our current and future workforce for the jobs that it’ll create and those that it might replace.

The Florida 2030 initiative (the next part of the Chamber Foundation’s well-known Cornerstone report series) is driven by the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Six Pillars, a visioning platform that identifies the key factors that drive Florida’s future economy and helps organizations speak with one voice. Communities, regional planning councils and state agencies from around Florida are currently using the Six Pillars framework to guide their planning, research and advocacy efforts, including the Palm Beach North Chamber of Commerce.

The Six Pillars have been really important to us. The Florida Chamber Foundation uses processes that are really inclusive and comprehensive. The [Chamber] Foundation really doesn’t leave any stone unturned in terms of topics –whether its early learning, the changing demographics or our population or environmental issues – and the same goes for the Foundation’s outreach to stakeholders. All stakeholders really, regardless of the sector they represent, have an opportunity to participate. And this collaborative and comprehensive approach really inspired how our chamber approached our five year strategic plan, which has been readily accepted by our diverse set of stakeholders… just as the Florida Chamber utilizes the Six Pillars Framework in order to determine legislative priorities, we utilize our strategic plan in the same way.

We’ve also been inspired by the fact that the [Chamber] Foundation’s approach has garnered respect from Florida’s policy and lawmakers and inspires them to take action. So we’ve found that by adopting that philosophy as well we see the same results in Palm Beach North.

Part of the Florida Chamber Foundation’s mission includes non-partisan research that identifies the needs for Florida’s future, meant to guide and inform each part of our state. From the Florida Chamber Foundation’s initial report in 1989 that led to the creation of Enterprise Florida, to the 2017 Less Poverty Through More Prosperity report, Palm Beach North also utilizes the data, metrics and reports released by the Florida Chamber Foundation.

Given the quality and the depth of the Chamber Foundation’s reports, we turn to those first to gather key data for initiatives that we pursue. For example, the Trade and Logistics 1.0 and 2.0 studies combined were a great foundation to get our Palm Beach North logistics initiative kick-started. Both because it provided a great baseline education on the possibilities and because it provided credibility that Florida is committed to growing the industries related to logistics and views that as an imperative to being competitive in the global economy. We also utilized the Florida Jobs 2030 report as a validation of the types of workforce gaps that exist now and those that’ll exist in the future if we don’t plan and execute appropriately.

 

Transportation Transforms Communities

Beth Kigel, President and CEO of the Northern Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce, recently sat down with Executive Vice President of the Florida Chamber Foundation Tony Carvajal to discuss the effect of Florida’s transportation planning on economic development efforts, and how new innovations will impact the future of our state’s transportation industry and quality of life.

“Whether it’s people or moving goods around the state of Florida, (transportation) is critically important to ensuring we continue to grow and become globally competitive.

Beth is also a Commissioner on the Florida Transportation Commission and her expertise as a local chamber executive gives her a unique perspective on how future transportation planning can positively impact our state’s economic development efforts and improve quality of life for residents.

“One of the things that is very exciting about being on the Florida Transportation Commission, as a chamber executive, is that transportation is totally interlinked with economic development.”

During the Florida Chamber Foundation’s 2015 Transportation Summit in December, Beth called attention to the exponential rate of new technologies hitting the marketplace and why the business community must work to secure Florida’s future.

“If you look at technology, it’s moving at an exponential rate.”

Beth also highlighted her region’s collaboration between Florida Atlantic University, The Scripps Research Institute and Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience to focus on bio science.

“There’s a tremendous collaboration going on within those three entities. We are very excited because this is going to help realize the vision that was laid out 10 years ago to the future of bio science and diversifying Florida’s economy.”