Collier Gets To Work aims for economic growth
A coalition called Collier Gets To Work has been formed to support and promote job and economic growth in Collier County.
Led by former Florida State Rep. Dudley Goodlette, CGTW’s initial goal is to encourage the creation of a Collier-headquartered health and life science cluster that will ultimately help grow the area into a major biotech region.
“Collier County has a history of relying on unsustainable industries to drive its economy and, as a community, we must change our way of thinking about the future of this county,” Mr. Goodlette says. “Tourism, construction and real estate are often the first industries hit by challenging economic times such as those we have endured over the past few years.
“We are at a crossroads where our county can bring real jobs, economic change and tax base diversification to the table. The creation of Collier Gets to Work was spearheaded by community advocates who believe the time for change is upon us,” he adds.
Joining MR. Goodlette as members of the CGTW steering committee are:
• Jeff Allbritten, president, Edison State College-Collier Campus
• Richard Botthof, vice chairman, The Naples Trust Company
• Andy Craig, special limited partner, RiverVest
• Alan Horton, former editor of the Naples Daily News • Chuck Mohlke, president, Fraser & Mohlke Associates
• Tammie Nemecek, president and CEO, the Economic Development Council of Collier County
• Fred Pezeshkan, chairman, Kraft Construction
• Scott Relf, founding partner, The Infinite Growth Group
• Dolph von Arx, former board chairman, NCH Healthcare System
For the last three years, Collier County has been the worst economic performing region in the state, according to the Economic Development Foundations’ Florida Economic Scorecard. Unemployment figures released late last month by the state’s Agency for Workforce Innovation show Collier’s jobless rate is above the statewide average of 12 percent. CGTW members believe a medical research magnet in Collier County will help reverse these troubling statistics, draw new and expand current business, create high-paying jobs and retain top talent.
The announcement of new coalition comes on the heels of Jackson Laboratory’s decision to withdraw its application for state economic incentive funds, a move the company says was based on its desire to work closely with Gov. Rick Scott and align the project with his goals for growing the state’s economy.
“Everyone in Collier agrees we need more higher-paying, professional jobs,” says Mr. Horton. “The question is how, at this point, do we get everybody on the same page and get them to understand the long-term value this kind of project would have with the right anchors, such as a Jackson Laboratory, and the right state support such as economic incentive funds.
“With so many Florida regions and so few opportunities, a community is lucky to get even one chance,” he adds.
“Make no mistake; we are competing with other states, even neighboring counties, for the opportunity to establish a major biotech region in our own backyards… Collier is in need of a shared vision of what we want to be as a community as we look forward to the next 10 or 20 years.
“That’s what Collier Gets to Work is all about.”
For more information, visit www.colliergetstowork. blogspot.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. ¦