Fisher Phillips Partner Elected Chair of the Florida Chamber of Commerce

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Nov. 7, 2019) – Fisher Phillips partner Charles Caulkins has been elected Chairman of the Board for the Florida Chamber of Commerce. This is the highest-ranking elected leadership position within the Florida Chamber.

“Charles Caulkins is the right leader to help us unite Florida’s business community as it grows from the 17th largest economy in the world to the 10th largest on the planet,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce. “Charles is a leader in his profession and among Florida’s business community, and he’s passionate about securing Florida’s future through free enterprise.”

Caulkins’ two-year term as the Chair runs from November 1, 2019 through October 31, 2021. He replaces outgoing Chair Bob Grammig, Partner at Holland & Knight, LLP.

In this volunteer position, Caulkins will work closely with Florida Chamber President Mark Wilson and business leaders from across Florida to advocate the Florida Business Agenda, implement a new six-year Strategic Plan, and work to make Florida more competitive. Caulkins has been a member of the Florida Chamber’s Board of Directors for 10 years.

“It’s an honor to serve as chairman of such a vital organization to Florida’s future. I hope to help the Florida Chamber determine priorities and implement strategies for connecting, enriching and expanding 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 the state’s future. As we move forward with these ideals, we will be steadfast in our goal to always be inclusive and to be a strong advocate for businesses across the state,” Caulkins said.

At Fisher Phillips, Caulkins represents employers nationally in labor and employment law matters. He advises employers on the development and implementation of preventive labor relations programs, including management education and training, to avoid charges and lawsuits, protect trade secrets and resolve disputes. Caulkins is routinely recognized as a trailblazer in his field. He has been listed as a top Labor and Employment Lawyer by Chambers USA since 2003, included in The Best Lawyers in America since 2006, named Lawyer of the Year for Employment Law – Management by Best Lawyers in 2017 and 2019, and has been included in HR Executive’s list of “Most Powerful Employment Attorneys” since 2010.

Caulkins is admitted to practice in Florida, South Carolina and Kansas. He earned his LL.M. in Labor Law from New York University School of Law, his J.D. from Creighton University School of Law, and a B.A. from Monmouth College.

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Established in 1916 as Florida’s first statewide business advocacy organization, the Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as crucial to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Florida Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FLChamber.com for more information.

Developing a Workforce for Florida’s Future

The Florida Chamber Foundation’s focus on planning from the future begins at the community level. By employing strategies that allow collaboration between community leaders and businesses of all sizes, the Florida Chamber Foundation has fueled initiatives that focus on developing a workforce for Florida’s future. One such initiative is the Six Pillars Community- an effort led by Community Development Partners across the state that serves as the framework for developing and communicating community-based strategic plans.

A Six Pillars Community is organized around the six pillars framework that has made the Florida Chamber Foundation a success: Talent and Education, Innovation and Growth Management, Infrastructure and Growth Leadership, Business Climate and Competitiveness, Civic and Governance Systems, and Quality of life and Quality Places. By focusing on the needs and gaps in theses six pillars that are specific and relevant to each community, communities can begin to plan accordingly for their future.

“My friend and Florida Chamber of Commerce President Mark Wilson likes to say you should always plan with the end in mind, and Broward County has taken that to heart as a Six Pillars Community,” said Charley Caulkins, Partner with Fisher and Phillips LLP, and Chair of the Broward Workshop. “The Six Pillar Plan was launched in 2010 through the Florida Chamber Foundation. It offers local communities a way to plan for their growth. Broward County’s future development strategy is now tied to the Six Pillar Plan that charts growth strategy into 2030. With the Six Pillars Plan, and as an official Six Pillars Community, Broward County is on solid foundation to move into the future.”

In fact, Broward County’s collaboration and adoption of the Florida Chamber’s Six Pillars Community plan has proven to be successful, as outlined by the National Association of Counties’ recent report A Workforce that Works: County Innovations in Workforce Development:

“In March 2012, the GFLA [Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance], including Broward County business, civic and local government leaders, announced the launch of the Six Pillars Broward County strategic planning process to address topics identified as critical to the economic success of the county. The Six Pillars process is being led at the state level by the Florida Chamber Foundation.

The Foundation will design a local strategic planning process through 2030, thereby helping communities throughout Florida prosper and create high-paying jobs. Over 300 businesses, civic, community and government leaders are involved in Six Pillars Broward County, with Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca serving as a co-chair to the initiative.

The first pillar in Six Pillars Broward County is “Talent Supply & Education,” with the expressed goal that educators collaborate with employers to ensure they are fostering a workforce prepared to meet the needs of local employers.

To do this, Broward County and its partners have joined forces with Broward College, a community college in the county, to provide programs related to logistics, trade and high-tech sectors. To date, Broward College has leveraged more than $4 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Labor to design curricula and expand learning opportunities for the skills needed in the high-tech industry. Broward College has also placed an emphasis on admitting students obtaining an industry-recognized certificate upon high school graduation and increasing the numbers of students choosing majors in science and technology-related fields. Additionally, the Six Pillars Broward County board of directors conducts an annual survey of employers and educators to make sure current curricula are meeting employers’ needs.”

So far, several counties, including Palm Beach (the first Six Pillars Community) and Okaloosa have adopted the six pillars strategies to coordinate and plan their futures. The key to success? The ability to work on the issues that are relevant to each community, says Bentina Terry, Vice President, Customer Service and Sales at Gulf Power and Chair of the Florida Chamber Foundation.

“It wasn’t intended to impress upon each community that this is the Six Pillars — you will do it this way, you will make sure you address every single one of these issues regardless of if they are relevant to your community or not. It’s not run out of Tallahassee. It’s run here and it’s the things that are important to you. It’s the area you want to see, the places you want to go, and it just provides a framework for how you might be able to get there,” Terry said.

For more information on the Six Pillars Community program and to learn how you can get involved, contact Tracey Lowe at TLowe@FLFoundation.org.