Future of Florida’s Defense Industry and Workforce Discussed at Military, Defense & Veterans Summit

Florida’s Workforce, Defense Industries and BRAC were Focus of  Military, Defense & Veterans Opportunities Summit

The Florida Chamber Foundation recently hosted the 2016 Military, Defense & Veterans Opportunities Summit that attracted some of Florida’s most influential leaders to discuss the Future of Florida’s economy and the role our military and defense industries and veterans population play in securing Florida’s future. During the summit, participants heard from business, military and elected leaders from around Florida and  discussed how to resolve some of today’s challenges and take advantage of future opportunities.

To illustrate the important economic impact of the defense industry and Florida’s veterans, the Florida Chamber Foundation released a new Florida Wins video. Florida’s military and defense industry helps employ nearly 775,000 Floridians to work each year and contributes almost $80 billion to our economy.

“The military and defense industry is a pillar of Florida’s economy, improving economic prosperity and providing jobs for thousands of Floridians,” said AGRICULTURE AND CONSUMER SERVICES COMMISSIONER ADAM PUTNAM, a keynote speaker at the Summit. “Florida continues to be at the forefront of new innovations and technology, attracting both the companies and talent needed to grow this industry.”

Jeffrey Cathey, Senior Military Affairs Executive for Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Cissy Proctor, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, and Glen Sutphin, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs discussed how important veterans’ military experience is to closing the skills gap and building a trained workforce that can enhance Florida’s ability to attract businesses who are considering moving to or expanding into Florida.
Visit the Military, Defense & Veterans Opportunities webpage to view videos of portions of the Summit.

We will continue this discussion at the Future of Florida Forum, taking place September 28-30 in Orlando.  Register today to join the conversation.

Future is Bright for Florida’s Military, Defense and Veterans Success

CONTACT: Tracey Lowe
Florida Chamber Foundation
Phone: 850-521-1226
Cell: 850-212-8438

Florida Chamber Summit Urges Continued Focus on Protecting State’s Military Investments

TALLAHASSEE, FL. (August 13, 2014) – The future looks bright for Florida’s military, defense industry and veterans, but we must remain laser focused on protecting the state’s financial and physical military interest to remain competitive, leaders attending the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Military, Defense Industry and Veterans Opportunities Summit said today.

“The Committee on Veterans Affairs was able to put together and pass bipartisan legislation that is a good first step to bring better healthcare to our nation’s veterans,” Congressman Jeff Miller, Chair of the U.S. House Committee on Veterans Affairs told summit attendees. Miller also highlighted Florida Governor Rick Scott and his dedication to the state’s veteran population.

An analysis by the Florida Chamber Foundation shows the important role Florida’s military, defense industry and its veteran population have on the state’s economy:

  • Economic impact – more than $70 billion, or about 10 percent of Florida’s economy,
  • 1.5 million combat veterans call Florida home,
  • More than 60,000 activity duty U.S. service members reside in Florida with their families,
  • Florida’s 20 major military installations account for more than 750,000 jobs, and
  • The average annual wages in the industry are more than $75,000.

Partner organizations like Enterprise Florida, Inc., the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity play vital roles in helping strengthen the military, defense and veterans industry.

“With a Governor that is focused on jobs and, as a veteran himself who understands the policies needed to be made to help the defense industry, we will make this the best state for manufacturers to build for the defense of our country,” Rep. Jimmie T. Smith (HD 43, Lecanto) told summit attendees.

The Florida Chamber Foundation, host of today’s summit, remains focused on ensuring Florida’s military, defense industry and veterans future is bright. For a more competitive Florida, the Florida Chamber of Commerce remains committed to making Florida more competitive by protecting investments in the military and defense industry and supporting veterans.

Today’s Military, Defense Industry and Veterans Opportunities Summit also featured U.S. Congressman John Mica, former U.S. V.A. Secretary Anthony Principi, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director Jesse Panuccio and Florida Department of Veterans Affairs’ Executive Director Mike Prendergast. Tony Carvajal, Executive Vice President of the Florida Chamber Foundation, served as emcee.




The Florida Chamber Foundation is the business-led, solutions development and research organization working in partnership with state business leaders to secure Florida’s future. The Foundation’s “Six Pillars” serve as a visioning platform for developing the first-ever, long-term strategic plan for the state. The Foundation’s work focuses on: 1) Talent Supply and Education, 2) Innovation and Economic Development, 3) Infrastructure and Growth Leadership, 4) Business Climate and Competitiveness, 5) Civic and Governance Systems, and 6) Quality of Life and Quality Places. Founded in 1968, the Foundation is a crucial voice for improving the state’s pro-business climate to enable Florida to grow and prosper. For more information, visit www.FLFoundation.org