Summit Focuses on Protecting, Growing and Supporting Florida’s Defense Industry, Military and Veterans Workforce

State Leaders Gather at Florida Chamber Foundation’s Annual Military, Defense and Veterans Opportunity Summit


ST. PETERSBURG, FL (August 17, 2016) – Governor Rick Scott will join military and defense industry experts and elected officials at the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Military, Defense and Veterans Opportunities Summit in St. Petersburg today to discuss the opportunities and challenges in Florida’s military economy and leveraging veteran’s expertise and skills.

It is estimated that every Florida business is located within 100 miles of a military installation, making Florida one of the most strategically important states for the U.S. armed forces and a pivotal location for military personnel, defense industry innovations and veterans.

“Florida’s military and defense industry puts nearly 775,000 Floridians to work each year and contributes almost $80 billion to our economy,” said TONY CARVAJAL, Executive Vice President of the Florida Chamber Foundation. “However, Florida is expected to experience significant demographic, political and economic shifts throughout the next 15 years that will need to be addressed in order to support our veterans and bring more high-wage, high-skill jobs to Florida’s workforce.”

Today’s event will feature a lineup of experts including:

  • Governor Rick Scott
  • Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam
  • Congressman Gus Bilirakis
  • Senator Jeff Brandes
  • Representative Paul Renner
  • Representative Jimmie Smith
  • Cissy Proctor, Executive Director, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity
  • Glenn Sutphin, Executive Director, Florida Department of Veteran Affairs

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

Additional items for discussion will include BRAC and sequestration, federal issues, veteran leadership and the future of military, defense and homeland security industries.

In addition to the day-long conference discussions, a new animated online video, entitled Florida Leads in Military, Defense and Homeland Security Industry, will be released.

Follow the Florida Chamber Foundation’s 2016 Military, Defense & Veterans Opportunities Summit on Twitter using the hashtag #IsFLReady.


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