Posted: November 16, 2020
NICEVILLE, FL – Florida’s Great Northwest (FGNW), the regional economic development organization for the 12 counties in the Florida Panhandle, celebrated its 20th anniversary on November 16th at Northwest Florida State College. The celebration was attended by FGNW investors and community leaders throughout Northwest Florida to commemorate the organization’s 20 years of regional collaboration and to unveil the vision for the future growth and diversification of Northwest Florida.
“When you have 65 percent of alliances across the country fail, but you have one that has survived and thrived for 20 years, that’s something to celebrate,” said Neal Wade, one of FGNW’s founding fathers.
In the early 1990s, Bob Cordes, one of the organization’s other founding fathers and former economic development director with Gulf Power, worked with several counties in the region to develop a loosely knit group called the Northwest Florida Economic Development Coalition. While they worked well together and had some successes, he said that without a formal entity focusing on regional economic development every day, the momentum was difficult to maintain.
Meanwhile, later that same decade, Neal Wade was brought in from Alabama to serve as the senior vice president of economic development for the St. Joe Company. He was charged with elevating the perceptions of the region to enrich life and increase the customer base in Northwest Florida through quality economic growth. On November 16, 2000, through the leadership, partnership and resources of Gulf Power, PowerSouth and the St. Joe Company, FGNW was established.
Throughout FGNW’s history, the organization has fostered coopetition across the region to strengthen and diversify Northwest Florida’s economy. Families have benefited from thousands of new high-quality jobs in targeted sectors across the region and a $24 million increase in the regional GDP.
“Thank you to FGNW’s investors for your commitment in this organization over the past 20 years,” said Scarlett Phaneuf, FGNW Chair. “It’s great to reflect on our past accomplishments since the beginning of our organization because it’s not by coincidence and it doesn’t happen without committed leaders.”
“We’ve come a long way as an organization and a region since the year 2000,” said Jennifer Conoley, President & CEO of FGNW. “I’m grateful to the visionary leaders who devoted precious resources over the past 20 years to regional economic development. Most importantly, our future is bright, and we are setup for exceptional success over the next 20 years.”
About Florida’s Great Northwest, Inc.
Florida’s Great Northwest is the regional economic development organization representing the 12 counties in the Florida Panhandle: Bay, Calhoun, Escambia, Franklin, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Liberty, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Walton, and Washington. The organization promotes Northwest Florida for economic growth and diversification, advocates for economic development issues that affect the region, and collaborates to improve the region’s business competitiveness. Learn more at FloridasGreatNorthwest.com and follow us at @FGNW.
Cowan Systems, LLC. announces new terminal in Marianna
Cowan Systems, LLC. is proud to announce the development of a new terminal in Marianna, FL. With over 90 years of experience, Cowan Systems specializes in dedicated truckload, intermodal, warehousing, brokerage, and driver staffing.Read More »
ABLE Operations Finishes Analysis of Northwest Florida's Labor Market
ABLE Operations was tasked with providing Florida’s Great Northwest (FGNW) with research and analysis of the regional labor market. This study is one part of FGNW's Education ROI Research and Marketing grant funded through Triumph Gulf Coast (TGC). The purpose of this study is to inform Florida’s Great Northwest and Triumph Gulf Coast of strengths and potential gaps between key regional industries’ demand for employees, and the ability of the local training/education institutions to supply these skills.Read More »
UWF to distribute $10 million in funding to businesses creating jobs in Northwest Florida
The University of West Florida is accepting applications for the Industry Resilience and Diversification Fund, a regional economic development program with the goal to distribute $10 million in funding to businesses seeking to create jobs in Northwest Florida.Read More »
MARY M. SWOOPE JOINS FLORIDA’S GREAT NORTHWEST
Niceville, FL – Florida’s Great Northwest (FGNW) is pleased to announce Mary McDaniel Swoope has joined the FGNW team as the Director for Strategic Initiatives.Read More »
Three Northwest Florida Manufacturers Receive Prestigious Statewide Award
The Florida Sterling Council and FloridaMakes announced today the five manufacturing companies that have been named as winners for the Florida Sterling Manufacturing Business Excellence (SMBE) Awards. Northwest Florida had three manufacturing winners such as Eastman Chemical Company, CEREX and Fort Walton Machining.Read More »
New UAS Pilot Boot Camp Program Offered at Minimal Cost
Gulf Coast State College (GCSC) in partnership with Unmanned Safety Institute is now offering a condensed pathway to industry certification for piloting Unmanned Aerials Systems (UAS), by launching the UAS Pilot Boot Camp.Read More »
AMERICAN ELITE PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT SELECTS FORT WALTON BEACH FOR NEW PPE MATERIAL MANUFACTURING FACILITY
Okaloosa County, Fla. (Sept 8, 2020) - American Elite Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), a newly-established enterprise stood up to address the dire need for U.S. manufactured materials for the personal protective equipment market in the United States, has selected Fort Walton Beach, Florida for its new operations. A subsidiary of American Elite Molding, America’s leading manufacturer of cable ties, American Elite PPE will begin production of melt blown polypropylene, the critical filter medium used in medical grade face masks and gowns.
The company has leased a 14,000 SF facility located at 161 Hill Avenue in the Fort Walton Beach Commerce & Technology Park. The Economic Development Council of Okaloosa County assisted American Elite PPE with identifying the required facility, finalizing local incentive agreements and securing regulatory approvals. The announcement will result in 50 new jobs created over the next two years at 115% of Okaloosa County’s average wage – news that was celebrated by state and local leaders.Read More »
The American Spirit of Manufacturing
During a global pandemic, Northwest Florida manufacturers rise to the occasion to manufacture medical equipment from ventilators to face shields to hand sanitizer.Read More »
SUZUKI MOTOR OF AMERICA IS COMING TO NORTHWEST FLORIDA
Suzuki Motor of America, Inc. announced plans for its future Suzuki Marine Technical Center USA, scheduled to be built on a 20-acre waterfront property in Panama City, Florida.Read More »
Keep up with the latest news from Florida's Great Northwest