Preparing Florida’s Infrastructure for Smart Growth and Development

Think about it. Florida is already the third largest state in America and we’re growing by over 1,000 new residents every day. We have 21 million residents and we’ll grow by five million more by 2030. By then, we’ll have three million more drivers on our roads, 50 million more visitors and we’ll need 20 percent more water. The good news is that Florida’s business leaders have a plan and it’s getting traction. This is good for Florida, good for job creation and it’s a great way to Secure Florida’s Future.

While we’re growing, Florida is also becoming more diverse. Aging Baby Boomers will continue to swell Florida’s elder population and at the same time, the Millennial and GenX generations are growing as a share of Florida’s total population. As Florida’s population changes, it is important that our infrastructure systems respond to their changing needs. Creating long-term investments in Florida’s transportation, energy, water, telecommunications and agriculture infrastructure is essential. Our infrastructure needs to support growing demand as well as a wide range of options – from sustainable water solutions to autonomous transportation systems.

The Florida Chamber Foundation’s Florida 2030 research outlines where Florida needs to be by 2030 to remain globally competitive. To secure Florida’s future, we must consider the water and energy needs for nearly five million more residents, be ready for the hard and soft infrastructure needs like broader telecommunications, improved roadways and railways, air, space and sea ports, ensure Floridians can connect to job opportunities, education, healthcare options, each other and the world, as well as support continued economic growth while preserving Florida’s essential environment and community assets.


How Do We Make Sure Florida Is Prepared for Smarter Growth?

The Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition, chaired by former Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Ananth Prasad, is focused on creating long-term investments in Florida’s energy, water, transportation, telecommunications, and agriculture infrastructure. With Washington, D.C.’s likely focus on infrastructure, the Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition aims to maximize Florida’s economic growth opportunities. And, here at the state level, double down on efforts to prepare for Florida’s growing population through infrastructure investments. As part of the Florida Chamber’s continuing efforts, we are working closely with state leaders like Senate President Bill Galvano to enact smarter growth policies that meet Florida’s long-term needs and will, this week, present recommendations the Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition has prepared for Florida’s elected officials to consider.

The Florida Chamber understands the importance innovation and technology play in Florida’s future- specifically as they relate to Florida’s infrastructure future. Florida 2030 research estimates that by 2030, more than 25 percent of all miles driven (including freight) could be by autonomous vehicles. With guidance and leadership from state leaders like Senator Jeff Brandes, Syd Kitson of Babcock Ranch and Grayson Brulte of Brulte & Company, the Florida Chamber created Autonomous Florida, a statewide initiative that works to ensure Florida continues leading the way in autonomous transportation. Our vision? To make Florida the autonomous capital of “all things autonomous” in North America.

I believe Florida will continue to grow and we can remain competitive if we plan better for the next five million residents than we did for the last five million.


This week, leaders from around Florida and the nation will gather at American’s first solar powered town, Babcock Ranch for the Florida Chamber Foundation’s 2018 Growth & Infrastructure Summit, to discuss the future of Florida’s transportation and infrastructure systems, as well as outline the strategies needed to grow smarter. Governor-elect DeSantis, Senate President Galvano and House Speaker Oliva have all signaled an interest in keeping innovation and infrastructure at the core of Florida’s economic development future. This is great news as we fight to Secure Florida’s Future.

December 10, 2018

Florida Chamber of Commerce Unveils ‘Autonomous Florida’

Connecting Business Advocates to Make Florida the Autonomous Capital of North America

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (April 27, 2018) – The Florida Chamber of Commerce today announced a new chapter in Florida’s leadership in autonomous vehicles: Autonomous Florida. This innovative program will build on the business community’s successes to position Florida as the state to research, deploy, and grow the next chapter of transportation mobility.


“Florida is nationally known for its welcoming approach to autonomous vehicles, and uniquely positioned to be the leader in autonomous transportation. The Florida Chamber’s Autonomous Florida program will seize that opportunity and help ensure Florida continues to set the pace for autonomous deployment,” said MARK WILSON, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.


Chaired by Syd Kitson, CEO of Kitson & Partners and the visionary behind the automated community of Babcock Ranch (in partnership with Transdev), the Florida Chamber launched its Autonomous Florida program this week during a statewide meeting featuring:

  • Senator Jeff Brandes
  • Grayson Brulte, President and Co-Founder, Brulte & Company
  • Christopher Spencer, Government Consultant, GrayRobinson
  • Rob Palmer, Planning/Mobility Leader, RS&H, Inc.


“It’s an incredibly exciting time in transportation, and the Florida Chamber’s Autonomous Florida program will be the tip of the spear, uniting Florida’s businesses behind this transformational opportunity,” KITSON said.


Autonomous Florida will help educate Floridians about the autonomous revolution — providing a range of learning opportunities including vehicle demonstrations. The first demo day will take place May 8-11 in Tampa, and is hosted in corporation with Society of Automative Engineers International, and in partnership with industry leaders and local government.

Additionally, Autonomous Florida will actively support efforts to ensure Florida’s regulatory climate provides a business-friendly environment for autonomous deployment.


“As we prepare Florida for the future, Florida’s businesses must be united. These new technologies have the potential to save thousands of lives, safely transport millions of goods and services, and unlock incredible opportunities for state,” said CHRISTOPHER EMMANUEL, a Florida Chamber Policy Director, who will serve as the Director of Autonomous Florida.

Learn more about the Florida Chamber’s Autonomous Florida program by visiting




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 for more information. 136 South Bronough Street, Tallahassee, FL 32301

Wall Street Journal: “Hurricane Irma’s Lawsuit Chasers”

As post-Hurricane Irma recovery continues in many parts of Florida, Syd Kitson, Chair of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, recently shared with readers of the Naples Daily News why he’s proud to be a Floridian.

Yet, as the Wall Street Journal showed us today, “trial lawyers never let a disaster go to waste.”

“Storm-chasing attorneys in Florida” have filed a class-action lawsuit against Florida Power & Light, and are seeking between $2 and $3 billion in damages for allegedly not properly caring for its infrastructure.

As the Wall Street Journal writes, “losing power is no doubt aggravating,” but “by September 19 Florida Power & Light had restored service to 99% of customers affected by the storm that swept the entire Florida Peninsula.”

The editorial also highlights questionable relations between Miami-based MSP Recovery Law, one of the firms who filed the lawsuit, and local government officials. The editorial draws into question the city’s refusal to scale back trees and foliage – which the utility notes were planted too close to power lines, making securing the energy infrastructure challenging – and a local official’s “motivations other than civic virtue for deflecting blame to the utility.”

Did You Know?

Florida’s legal climate ranks among the worst in the country – 46 out of 50 states. Lawsuit abuse costs Florida families about $3,400 every year. Help us fix Florida’s broken legal system. Call me today at 850-521-1235 or email me at

Syd Kitson, New Florida Chamber Chair, Will Help Make Florida More Competitive

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.


Syd Kitson Discusses Florida’s Growth

“Generally, growth like this will be good for our state… But the key for us is to be prepared for this growth and to make sure that we do it the right way.”

Syd Kitson, Chairman and CEO, Kitson & Partners


The Florida Chamber Foundation estimates that by 2030, six million more residents will call Florida home- making it more important than ever to create smarter growth initiatives. From economic development and Babcock Ranch, to focusing on private-sector job creation, Syd Kitson, Chairman and CEO of Kitson & Partners, Florida Chamber Southwest Florida Regional Board Chair and 2017 Florida Chamber Chair-Elect discusses Florida’s growth.

Florida Chamber Names Kitson & Partners Executive Regional Board Chair

CONTACT: Edie Ousley, 850-521-1231 or 850-251-6261


Sydney Kitson of Kitson & Partners
Appointed for 2014-2015 Term

TALLAHASSEE, FL. (June 2 , 2015) – The Florida Chamber today announced Sydney Kitson, Chairman and CEO of Kitson & Partners been appointed to a 1-year term as the Florida Chamber’s Southwest Florida Regional Board Chair.

“As an active business leader in the Southwest Florida region, I am excited to serve as the Florida Chamber’s Regional Board Chair and have the opportunity to get fellow business leaders involved in the mission of securing Florida’s future,” said Sydney Kitson, Chairman and CEO of Kitson & Partners. “Southwest Florida is rich with unique natural and human resources that truly depicts the foundation Florida has thrived on.”

Kitson was appointed by Steve Knopik, President and CEO of Bealls, Inc. and Chair of the Florida Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, and will work directly to unite Southwest Florida business leaders with Florida legislative leaders to create the most competitive business environment for businesses to thrive.

“Syd Kitson has a long history of being a team player and has proven leadership skills, which is vital when keeping Florida competitive,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber. “In his role as a Florida Chamber Regional Board Chair, Syd will volunteer his time and talent in support of the Florida Chamber’s fight for free enterprise.”

Kitson is one of twelve regional chairs that are a part of the Florida Chamber’s Regional Board Chair Program.


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 critical to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit for more information.