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Economic summit a success

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Last Thursday night, Nature Coast Business Development Council, in conjunction with the College of Central Florida, Workforce Connection, Progress Energy, The University of Central Florida and Fairfield Index, Inc., presented an Economic Development Summit to 71 people at the Bronson High School Cafeteria. Speaking were Dr. Tom O'Neal of GrowFL at UCF and Don Upton, president of Fairfield Index, Inc. Dr. O'Neal spoke on economic gardening and business incubation while Mr. Upton followed with some ideas on how to build on Team Levy Concepts in our changing economy.

Following our speakers, we had 10 roundtable presenters giving out information ranging from the coming broadband effort by North Florida Broadband Authority to development opportunities by USDA Rural Development. The roundtable presenters included: Dr. Marilyn Ladner of College of Central Florida: Dr. Phil Geist of the Small Business Development Center; Rod Quinton of USDA Rural Development; Ms. Denise Collins of the North Florida Broadband Authority; Michael Zaharios and Steve Husby of the Florida Virtual Entrepreneur Center; Marc Hoenstine and Amy Mangan of Progress Energy; Mr. Don Upton of Fairfield Index, Inc.; Mr. Dominic Orsini of SCORE; Brenda Crisman, Karen Dixon-Pulcini, and Laura Byrnes of Workforce Connection; myself , representing the Nature Coast Business Development Council, Inc. and Carol McQueen, chairwoman of Nature Coast, was the mistress of ceremonies.

 The event was well received and there have been numerous follow-up requests for breakout sessions and information. No decision has been made as to when a follow-up event will be presented. The sponsors and presenters wish to thank all the people who attended and hopes that the information given and received will help in the future. The Nature Coast Business Development Council wishes to thank everyone who had a hand in this successful meeting.

Pat O'Neal, PCED

Executive Director

Nature Coast Business Development Council, Inc.