Florida Chamber Bottom Line Featuring Dr. Joe O’Shea of FSU


On the latest edition of the Florida Chamber Bottom Line program, Dr. Joe O’Shea, Assistant Provost at Florida State University, discusses internationalization’s role within Florida’s university system. Dr. O’Shea emphasizes the role that higher education plays in workforce development and the impact that Florida’s funding system has on a university’s success.


“If you look across the strategic plans of universities in Florida and around the country, you’ll see internationalization is a core pillar of the way we are operating now and the way we look forward. Students benefit enormously when they study abroad, do internships abroad or spend time in a diverse community,” DR. O’SHEA said. ”Now, the performance-based funding system for Florida includes the post-graduation outcomes of students as part of the university’s budget model. A significant portion of our funding depends on how well our graduates do after they leave the university. That has expanded the definition of student success for the state university system.”


The Florida Chamber Foundation released talent supply and education recommendations from its Florida 2030 research initiative last week at our annual Learners to Earners Workforce Summit. The recommendations released come from three years’ worth of research and feedback from more than 10,000 Floridians throughout each of Florida’s 67 counties as part of the Florida 2030 initiative- a multi-million dollar research initiative that seeks to identify the challenges and opportunities Florida has between now and 2030, and to create a blueprint for Florida’s future. Click here to read the recommendations.

‘Cyber security is everyone’s business’


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“Cyber security is everyone’s business,” says Dr. Eman El-Sheikh, Director of the Center for Cybersecurity at the University of West Florida, on the latest edition of the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line.

“Our vision is driven by understanding and recognition that cybersecurity affects each and every one of us and it needs to be everyone’s business. We’re no longer in a world where we can identify one member of the organization and say ‘you’re the security guru, you need to handle it,’” said Dr. El-Sheikh. “So, given that vision, we’ve started with our K-12 outreach effort, looking at how we can enhance cybersecurity awareness and interest starting with kindergarten, elementary school and beyond.”

The Center for Cybersecurity at the University of West Florida is the only institution in the Florida that receives federal funding from the National Security Agency to run the GenCyber Program, summer camps designed for students K-12 to increase interest in cyber security.


Sign the Petition Today

Cyber threats are increasing in frequency, scale, and sophistication. If you believe Florida’s business community and government must work together to address expanding cyber security threats, sign the petition today.

Infrastructure and Tourism Funding Key to Florida’s Competitiveness


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Representative Clay Ingram (R-Pensacola) discusses how infrastructure and tourism investments effect Florida’s economic development, on the latest edition of the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line public affairs program.

With the third year of funding for the Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) five-year plan underway, Representative Ingram believes the FDOT and its many projects are running smoothly.

“The plan as of now, at least from the House, is to fund that work program at the full level once again. The FDOT does such a wonderful job. They do a very good job of making sure projects are run well and run on time,” Representative Ingram said.

And when it comes to renewing VISIT FLORIDA’s $76 million budget, Representative Ingram believes it’s a program that benefits Florida.

“We had a report come out and it showed the return on investment that VISIT FLORIDA brings back to the state. Obviously, it is one of the highest returns on investment of any of the economic development programs that we fund,” Representative Ingram said.


Help Secure Florida’s Future

Learn more about diversifying Florida’s economy by downloading our Economic Development one-pager here.

Keeping Florida the Leader in Space Exploration


Frank DiBello, President and CEO of Space Florida, discusses the economic impact Florida’s space industry in the latest edition of the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line public affairs program. DiBello also highlights Space Florida’s role in securing Florida’s number one ranking in aerospace attractiveness.


“We’ve come from an era where we used to just launch things primarily from Florida to the point where we are now building some of the rockets that we launch,” DiBello said. “We’re charged with building a world-leading aerospace industry and we don’t manage incentives so much as we lead with infrastructure. Today, we finance close to $2 billion worth of infrastructure for aerospace companies from other states that seek to locate here or expand here.”


Help Secure Florida’s Space Future

Florida must aggressively compete to remain the preeminent location for private spaceflight activities, which are playing increasingly important roles in space exploration. Add your voice to those who support innovative growth in Florida’s aviation and aerospace industries by joining the Florida Chamber in our fight to secure Florida’s future. For more information, contact Carolyn Johnson at (850) 521-1235 or via email at cjohnson@flchamber.com.

Representative Raschein Talks Tourism Budget and Florida Keys Recovery


The Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line public affairs program spoke with Representative Holly Raschein (R-Key Largo) about recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, Florida’s tourism industry, and the issues surrounding VISIT FLORIDA’s budget.

“Every day we get a little better in the keys. We’ve got our essential needs covered right now – food, fuel, water and communications. But now, we are in the harder long-term recovery phase and housing is a critical need right now,” Representative Raschein said. “Tourism is our number one industry, so just letting folks know that we are back open for business, we are a little bit changed right now, but we are getting better day by day.”

Representative Raschein said she wants to see a unified approach to solving VISIT FLORIDA’s budget from both the House and the Senate.

“VISIT FLORIDA is an incredible agency,” Representative Raschein said. “It is my hope that we see both chambers come together and understand that these dollars pay for themselves and are so beneficial to our state. It is my hope that the Senate will see and come to the House’s position.”


Get Involved

Florida’s tourism industry is at risk with the proposed funding for VISIT FLORIDA cutting more than one-third of their 2016 budget. To help keep Florida’s tourism industry thriving or for more information, please contact Carolyn Johnson at cjohnson@flchamber.com or (850) 521-1235.

Senator Passidomo Discusses Lawsuit Abuse Reform on the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line


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In the latest Florida Chamber of Commerce Bottom Line, Senator Kathleen Passidomo discusses the American Tort Reform Association’s recent report naming Florida as the country’s worst “Judicial Hellhole.”

“I wish I could give you some good news and say that we are on it and we’re ready to go, but I don’t see a whole lot coming out of this session for a myriad of reasons,” Passidomo said. “Tort reform has been in the forefront for a number of my colleagues and I. But, it just never made it across the finish line and I don’t think we are going to make it this year.”


FDOT Secretary Mike Dew on Florida’s Transportation Future


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Former Speaker Will Weatherford Explains Why Electing the Right People Leads to Good Public Policy


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The upcoming 2018 Legislative Session is the topic of discussion on the latest edition of The Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line. Will Weatherford , former Speaker of the House, current chair of the Florida Chamber’s Political Council and member of the Florida Chamber’s Board of Directors, discusses the need for the business community to get involved in both the candidates and issues that will be on the 2018 ballot.

He says Florida’s future will be greatly impacted by the outcome of the upcoming election and businesses should have a vested interest in making sure Florida is moving closer to a free market system.

“You can’t get the policy right for the state of Florida if you don’t get the politics right,” said Weatherford. “If we don’t have the right people in the right places in our elected positions of government and in authority in the state of Florida then we can’t anticipate or expect for good policy to come out in the end.”

Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis: AOB Fraud is a ‘Category 5 Hurricane’


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Calling it a “potential problem of epidemic proportion,” Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis warns that fraud resulting from homeowners and auto glass insurance Assignment of Benefits will “affect every single policy holder in the state.” On this episode of the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line, newly appointed CFO Patronis explains why AOB fraud not only hurts consumers – it threatening Florida’s financial bottom line.


Did You Know:

There were more than 28,000 AOB cases in 2016 – up from 405 a decade ago.  If left unchecked, Citizens Property Insurance estimates that average premiums for a $150,000 home in Dade County will jump from $2,926 this year to $3,219 in 2018, and $4,712 by 2022.


Help Stomp Out AOB Fraud:

Help protect consumers by visiting FightFraud.Today and signing a petition encouraging lawmakers to pass meaningful AOB fraud reforms. Make plans now to attend the Florida Chamber’s Insurance Summit on November 2-3 in Orlando.

Rep. Danny Burgess On Why Workers’ Comp Reform Is Essential


Helping Injured Workers is at the Heart of Workers’ Compensation Reform

“The House’s goal in all of this is to insure that this is the most open, transparent take that we have ever attempted to make on the workers’ compensation reform process….I just appreciate [stakeholders] taking so much time to make sure that we have the best bill that we can possibly have for those that are at the heart of the grand bargain – the employers and the employees.”
– Rep. Danny Burgess, Florida House Insurance and Banking Committee Chairman

Watch Rep. Danny Burgess (R-Zephyrhills), the House Banking and Insurance Committee Chairman, on the latest edition of the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line explaining how expanding benefits for injured workers and reining in attorney behavior is the impetus behind the House’s efforts to reform Florida’s broken workers’ compensation system.

Have You or Your Business Felt the Impact of the 14.5 Percent Increase in Workers’ Comp Rates?

Email your lawmakers before noon on Wednesday and tell them to fix workers’ comp now. Ask them to support HB 7085 and HB 1107 in their non-amended forms.

VISIT FLORIDA’s Role Is More Than Tourism Marketing


“VISIT FLORIDA not only markets our state year-round, but it’s really beneficial during a crisis…Just this last year we’ve had Zika, Pulse, and a hurricane or two. When those things happen we need to let people from out-of-state know what areas aren’t affected.” – Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber Government Affairs Representative DOUG IZZO


Watch Doug Izzo, Government Affairs Representative with the Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce, on the latest edition of The Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line discussing the importance of VISIT FLORIDA as a tool local chambers across the state use to connect with each other and to convey crucial information in times of crisis.


Is Your Business Impacted by the Decision to Eliminate Economic Development Incentives & Proposal to Cut Tourism Marketing Budget by 2/3?

Register today to join the Florida Chamber’s Statewide Board of Governors webinar and conference call on the economic and political realities of the 2017 Legislative Session on Monday, April 24.

We Wouldn’t Have Gotten There Without Enterprise Florida


Greater Pompano Beach Chamber Leader Shares Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida Success Stories

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“Why do you quit? You’re ahead of the game. You don’t just stop.”

-Ric Green, President & CEO of the Greater Pompano Beach Chamber of Commerce

Click the image above to hear Ric Green, President and CEO of the Greater Pompano Beach Chamber of Commerce talk about the importance of continuing to support Enterprise Florida and VISIT FLORIDA. Mr. Green shares local stories about the support for both organizations from Broward County business leaders in this edition of the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line.


Take Action Now

Rep. Jay Fant Discusses Workers’ Comp, Assignment of Benefits and Economic Development


Workers’ compensation and assignment of benefits (AOB) legislation, along with the importance of preserving Florida’s role in economic development programs take center stage on the latest edition of the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line. Representative Jay Fant shares why it’s important for the Florida Legislature to come up with solutions to these major issues facing Floridians.

“Workers comp is what I refer to as the atomic bomb that went off in all our accounting offices in recent months,” Fant (R-Jacksonville) said. “The Castellanos case was not friendly to businesses and it wasn’t friendly to injured workers either. Our biggest obligation in the legislature is to find a way to address this.”

Fant, a Jacksonville Republican, explained that the influence of trial lawyers is significant this session – with trial lawyers heading the Insurance and Banking Committee as well as the Civil Justice Committee.

 “…For the most part the excesses of the trial bar create tremendous problems for our businesses and the assignment of benefit area is one of those areas,” Fant said. “It’s become a runaway unregulated area of the law. That legislation is very difficult and, again, the business community will have to pay very close attention to this progress. We’ve got to get some good outcomes out of it.”

Rounding out the program, Rep. Fant reiterates the need for Florida to retain an active role in supporting economic growth and diversification through targeted incentive programs like Enterprise Florida. As with workers’ comp and AOB, its Florida’s businesses and tax payers that will feel the brunt of the impact should these problems go unresolved, he said.

“The movement against Enterprise Florida is very hurtful for businesses large and small,” he explained. “Small businesses do feed off the larger businesses that we can bring into the state. My great concern is we lose the tax revenue from the larger businesses, the small businesses success that comes from being around those larger businesses, the community coffers that get filled as well as the state’s – the state becomes a lesser competitor.”

Join the Conversation:

Learn more about where the Florida Chamber stands on workers’ comp reform, assignment of benefits and economic diversification. Join the Florida Chamber’s fight to make sure Florida has the best business climate in America, contact Carolyn Johnson.

Representative Joe Gruters Discusses Economic Incentives and Job Creation

Eliminating economic incentives and tourism marketing programs, and the negative impact that has on job creation is the topic of discussion on the latest edition of the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line.

“Basically, what it comes down to is ‘Do we want to continue to diversify our economy with some of these targeted industries so we can stop the brain-drain that’s occurring here in Florida?’” said REP. JOE GRUTERS. “I think the best thing we can do is reform these [systems] rather than completely eliminate [incentives programs], which is what I think the two bills that are moving forward in the house right now are trying to do

Gruters, a Sarasota Republican, talked about the significant role played by economic incentives and why the progress of Florida House bills to eliminate Enterprise Florida programs and to reduce the budget for VISIT Florida, the state’s marketing agency, by 67 percent is not the right move for the Legislature to take. Gruters, along with others in the House are working with Governor Rick Scott’s office to craft proposed legislation in the form of House Bill 889 (HB 889), which would add more transparency to the incentives and tourism marketing systems already in place rather than scrapping them outright.

“What we want to do is continue to make things better, not completely eliminate [economic incentive programs],” he said. “So what [HB 889] does is…put transparency in the process, it mirrors some of the other government agencies that exist in terms of the insider dealings that we’ve seen, making sure contracts are open and transparent and really just cleaning up the system to put more oversight in place to make sure that some of the problems that we’ve experienced and we’ve seen over the last couple of years get cleaned up. I think we’re up to about 16 people who have agreed to co-sponsor this bill. We’re picking up momentum. I think most people generally feel in the House that these programs need to be reformed, not replaced.”

The goal of this whole process, Gruters said, is to help create jobs and expand the access to economic opportunity for all Floridians.

“If we can continue to help families be better providers for their children…that’s what it’s all about,” he said. “Jobs solve a lot of issues, and I think we need to do everything we can to help promote jobs here in Florida.”


Get Involved

To learn more about where the Florida Chamber stands on economic diversification and get involved in the Florida Chamber’s fight to make Florida the best business climate in America by clicking here or by contacting Carolyn Johnson.

Custom Manufacturing & Engineering, Inc., CEO Discusses Going Global

Entering the global marketplace as a small business is the topic of discussion on the latest edition of the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line.

“We live in a global world; to limit yourself to one marketplace is not a good business decision in today’s world.” – DR. NANCY CREWS, CEO of Custom Manufacturing & Engineering, Inc.

Dr. Nancy Crews, owner and CEO of Custom Manufacturing & Engineering, Inc. (CME), a Pinellas County electronic and electrical company that manufactures power management equipment, sensors, and test and calibration equipment, talked about her experience as a small business owner entering the international marketplace.

As one of several speakers at the Florida Chamber’s 2017 International Days event, held February 14-15 in Tallahassee, Dr. Crews said CME benefitted greatly from Enterprise Florida, Inc.’s assistance in getting a foot in the door when she decided to take her company global.

“We live in a global world. To limit yourself to one marketplace is not a good business decision in today’s world. When we decided to go global we utilized two different aspects of the economic development help that is available to small businesses,” DR. CREWS said. “One is we went to the small business development centers, and we were able to get a marketing plan. The other thing that we did…was [utilize] the trade mission Enterprise Florida allows you to have, and we went on a trade mission with them.”

The Florida Chamber’s International Days is key in bringing business, industries and legislative leaders from around the world together to discuss the future of FLorida’s trade. The relationships that comes from the event are crucial to small businesses looking to expand globally, shared Dr. Crews.

“We were able to create new networks,” said DR. CREWS. “I found the [General] Counsels talking about what each country was trying to do in the United States for their companies and also with our companies…was also very helpful and very informative to us.

Meeting some of the other small business people and saying ‘we should get together and talk’ and all those things came about just from one day with International Days.”


Learn More About How to Get Involved in the Florida Chamber’s International Program

Click here or contact Dan Tapia at dtapia@flchamber.com.