Let’s build in 2016 on the momentum from economic development in 2015

The holiday season is always a time of reflection and expectation — reflection upon the year just past and expectation and anticipation about what the new year might bring.

At the Lake Wales Area Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Council, we can look back on 2015 and be pleased — and grateful — for a large number of announced new business projects for greater Lake Wales. We also are very optimistic that the level of economic development activity this year will provide a springboard for even greater activity in 2016.

A couple of columns back, we reviewed the scope of local business-recruiting and job-boosting efforts going back to mid-2014, and, by all accounts, it was a very good list — strong evidence that economic development in and for the region is moving in the right direction. Projects like the new Merlin Magic Making regional headquarters and Intrepid Precast Inc. light industrial plant, both for Longleaf Business Park, established excellent momentum for local economic development.

How do we continue and build on that momentum? There area several ways, and topping the list is the recruitment of more people and more established companies in the economic development effort. This is a great enterprise, and we want more people to be involved in it! David Fisher, the new chairman of the board of the Lake Wales Area Chamber of Commerce and EDC, made that a focus of his comments when he assumed the board chairmanship a few weeks ago. He said one of his top goals is to increase EDC membership and increase participation in the economic development process.

The list of 2016 Lake Wales EDC partners is a fine one, and this end-of-the-year column provides another great opportunity to mention and thank each partner:
• Bunting, Tripp & Ingley CPAs
• C-12 Group
• CenterState Bank
• Chemical Containers Inc.
• Citizens Bank & Trust
• City of Lake Wales
• Duke Energy
• Envisors
• Florida’s Natural Growers
• Hunt Bros. Inc.
• Joseph F. Miranda Co.
• Lake Wales Charter Schools
• Lake Wales Medical Center
• Pat Cain Wealth Solutions / Raymond James
• Peterson & Myers, PA
• Polk State College
We hope you will consider adding the name of your business or organization to this list. Lake Wales is a friendly and welcoming place to do business, and our EDC partners reflect and showcase that in their daily work and in their involvement in economic development.

The EDC is charged with bringing in new businesses and industries to Lake Wales, but we as a agency can’t do it alone. It takes a team effort, involving not only our partners but also local government and other economic development organization, and there’s lots of room on this team for you! The work is worthwhile and the benefits are rewarding. Successful and sustained economic development and growth is a win-win for everyone.

From the Lake Wales Area Chamber of Commerce and EDC to each of you, have a merry Christmas and happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year!