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 and follow us at @FGNW.




Central Moloney Incorporated will be establishing a manufacturing operation in Bay County, Florida.

Read More »


The Florida Job Growth Grant Fund Strengthens Northwest Florida

Governor DeSantis has presented rural and urban communities throughout Northwest Florida with $3.6 million through the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund in 2021.

Read More »



MARIANNA, FLORIDA (October 5, 2021) - Proud Source Water, a natural alkaline spring water bottled at the source, announced the opening of a second spring location and production facility in Marianna, Florida. Construction of the facility is complete, and it will begin production in late 2021.

Read More »


McNeil Technologies Inc. relocates manufacturing facility to Graceville

McNeil Technologies Inc., a wastewater infrastructure rehabilitation company has closed on the purchase of the former Factory Stores of America also known by locals as the former Vanity Fair retail outlet mall located at 950 Prim Ave., Graceville, FL.

Read More »


Dunkin’ Franchisee Selects Okaloosa County for New Commercial Bakery and Distribution Center

Okaloosa County, Fla. (Oct 29, 2021) – Purple Square Management, a Tampa-based management company that operates over 205 franchise locations in nine states – including 95 Dunkin’ / Baskin Robbins stores throughout Florida and Alabama – has selected Okaloosa County for a new, state-of-the-art commercial bakery and distribution facility.

Read More »


Probes Unlimited, Inc. Celebrates New Location in Holmes County

(Sept. 17, 2021 – Bonifay, Fla.) Today, the Holmes County Development Commission (HCDC) hosted local, regional and state officials for the grand opening celebration of Probes Unlimited, Inc. (PUI), Northwest Florida’s newest manufacturer, in its new Florida site in Bonifay.

Read More »


Holmes County Development Commission Announces the Location of Probes Unlimited, Inc. to Bonifay, Fla.

The Holmes County Development Commission (HCDC) announces the location of Probes Unlimited, Inc. (PUI), a manufacturer of OEM Sensing Devices, to Holmes County, Fla.

Read More »


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 »


Keep up with the latest news from Florida's Great Northwest