US Secretary of Commerce Hosts Roundtable Discussion with Communities Including Northwest Florida

Northwest Florida – Florida’s Great Northwest (FGNW), the regional economic development organization for the Florida panhandle, participated in this year’s SelectUSA Investment Summit, the highest-profile event in the United States dedicated to promoting foreign direct investment (FDI). SelectUSA is a U.S. government program led by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

FGNW President & CEO Jennifer Conoley was asked to serve as a participant in a closed door, invitation-only meeting with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and Deputy Secretary Don Graves during the Summit. The small group roundtable focused on the unique challenges and opportunities associated with attracting FDI into underserved communities. Conoley represented Northwest Florida, one of only 14 areas invited to attend the session. Other roundtable participants included representatives from private sector firms who have invested in underserved communities and federal agencies whose mandate relates to underserved communities. 

Through her participation, Conoley was able to bring awareness to the needs of urban and rural underserved communities in Northwest Florida, explore synergies between federal agencies and discuss strategies on how the federal government can best support economic development organizations and communities in the future.

While there are many definitions of underserved communities, SelectUSA uses assesses if a U.S. community is underserved through three criteria: more than 20 percent of the population falls under the poverty line; the unemployment rate is greater than 8.1 percent or more than one standard deviation from the median of 3.2 percent; and 50 percent of households have an income below $50,000.

The SelectUSA Investment Summit serves as a connection and networking event for economic developers interested in meeting with investors who are seeking to establish or expand their business operations in the U.S. This year’s summit had more than 3,600 attendees from more than 70 international markets and 51 states and territories. In addition to the off-agenda roundtable discussion, FGNW gained much exposure during the event:

  • President Conoley was also selected to speak on a panel during one of the information sessions about investment attraction in Northwest Florida.
  • Florida was one of only four US states to be invited to present to a group of 20 Singaporean companies attending the summit and President Conoley spoke about the region during the presentation.
  • Enterprise Florida was an exhibitor at the event and hosted a Sunshine State Soiree Reception. FGNW participated and was allowed to give a few remarks at the event.
  • In addition, FGNW made numerous direct company contacts and are already working several potential projects opportunities for Northwest Florida.

SelectUSA is the U.S. government program led by the U.S. Department of Commerce that focuses on facilitating job-creating business investment into the United States and raising awareness of the critical role that economic development plays in the U.S. economy. Since its inception, SelectUSA has facilitated more than $105 billion in investment, creating and/or retaining over 138,000 U.S. jobs.





NORTHWEST, Fla. – At a closing retreat and graduation ceremony on May 12, 2023, Florida’s Great Northwest (FGNW) Foundation honored its new graduates from Leadership Northwest Florida, a new regional collaboration program focused on community, content and connection. Eighteen leaders from across Northwest Florida participated in the inaugural program that fostered a deeper understanding of the region’s diverse landscape.

Read More »



This week, community leaders from the region’s 12 counties gathered in the State’s Capitol as a unified voice to showcase the unique attributes and economic impact of Northwest Florida, from the beaches and beyond.

Read More »


Florida’s Great Northwest Foundation Announces Selection of Inaugural Leadership Northwest Florida Class

Florida’s Great Northwest Foundation has selected its participants for the inaugural Leadership Northwest Florida class. Eighteen leaders were selected to participate in Class I of the program focused on regional collaboration through community, content and connection.

Read More »


Inaugural Leadership Program Launches In Northwest Florida

Leadership Northwest Florida is an educational program offered for professionals in all industry sectors desiring to grow their knowledgebase, network, and skillset in the 12-county region of Florida’s Great Northwest footprint.

Read More »


FGNW Positions Northwest Florida on the global marketplace at SelectUSA

Northwest Florida was well-represented at the SelectUSA Investment Summit held at the end of June in National Harbor, Maryland. The summit is the largest event dedicated to promoting foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States.

Read More »


Central Moloney Inc. Celebrates New Facility in Northwest Florida

This week, business and community leaders in Northwest Florida celebrated the newest manufacturer to join our growing family – Central Moloney Inc. (CMI). CMI is an Arkansas-based company that manufactures and distributes electrical transformers and their components. This announcement marks the opening of their sixth facility, the first outside of its home state, creating more than 200 new jobs.  

Read More »


Newcomers Panel at TEcMEN Industry Day Showcases Northwest Florida’s Growth

Economic development partner One Okaloosa Economic Development Council recently hosted their annual one-day technology, engineering and manufacturing expo, TeCMEN Industry Day, in Fort Walton Beach. This event is designed to offer robust and relevant content from industry leaders as well as foster networking opportunities to connect with existing or potential customers and highlight products and capabilities.

Read More »


FGNW’s 2022 Legislative Priorities

Working in conjunction with our local economic development organizations and FGNW’s lobbyist, Darrick McGhee of Johnson & Blanton, FGNW’s 2022 Legislative Priorities have been identified.

Read More »


Central Moloney, Inc. Selects Bay County for its New Manufacturing Operations

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

Read More »



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