All posts by Cory Skeates


Bright Ag Ideas – The Importance of Agriculture and Ideas for its Future

I had a friend pass me a link to an interesting website/blog: The site, founded by U.S. Congressman Adam Putnam, hopes to educate as well as foster meaningful dialog on “…the importance of agriculture and ideas for its future.” Agriculture is an important topic in Polk County and the Lakeland Chamber recognizes that importance and remains steadily involved. In February, Chairman Tim Campbell wrote a letter regarding IFAS (Institute of Food and Agriculture) Funding to Dr. J. Bernard Machen, President of the University of Florida. In the letter Mr. Campbell notes how important agriculture is to the State of Florida and in particular to Polk County. Mr. Campbell states, “While Lakeland has diversified its economic base and variety of businesses, the ancillary economic benefits from the range of agribusinesses in Polk County are extremely important to the City of Lakeland.” Agriculture is the second largest industry in the state providing nearly $100 billion annually and a site dedicated to ongoing related topics and the fostering of open communication is a great way to insure the long term commitment and understanding of how important agriculture is. So go take a look.


New Credit Card Processing – QGIV

The Lakeland Chamber is trulytruely excited to announce that we are transitioning our credit card processing to QGIV. With this switch we are turning a corner in innovation, and hope to offer a much more fluid process for you to register for events and open up the opportunities to pay your invoices online by credit card or check. From their website:

“Qgiv is a complete turn-key online donation gateway that allows you to
instantly accept donations, recurring payments (pledging and tithing)
and payments for event registrations. Qgiv provides all the software,
sets up all merchant accounts and even takes care of making your Qgiv
Installation look and feel exactly like your website.”

The process has been streamlined so that we will have a link to payment & registration on the events we have posted, as well as being able to click on CHAMBER STORE on our website; or go here. Thanks to the entire QGIV staff for helping us take another innovative step forward!

May Small Business of the Month – LeMans Apartments/Suites

Carlton Hodges
LeMans Apartments/Suites
1501 Shepherd Road, Suite 5
Lakeland, FL 33811-2172

In 1987, construction began on a 15-acre site located on Shepherd Road in Lakeland. The property was built in phases and became known as LeMans Apartments/Suites. LeMans consists of 147 unfurnished, long-term rental units and 50 completely furnished, short-term rental units. The short-term rental units were developed after a voiced need from local, national and international businesses for their employees to have a homelike atmosphere while away from home on business trips. These short-term rental suites include a washer and dryer, high speed Internet and unlimited local and long distance phone service. To keep the units as impeccable as possible, housekeeping is also offered.

The philosophy at LeMans is to treat people how one wants to be treated. The staff understands the value of customer satisfaction and strives to meet the goal of repeat business. Customers are always made to feel welcome at LeMans. In addition, the property is well-maintained and continually upgraded in order to provide guests with an optimal experience.

Owner and President of LeMans, Mr. Hodges is active in the community and involved with the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce, the Polk County Builders Association, HBA Association, NAHB, Dixie Youth in Mulberry and serves on the Lakeland Hotel/Motel Association Board. Moreover, LeMans donates appliances that are being upgraded to various charities. Mr. Hodges firmly believes that people need to give back to the community through involvement.

The Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce would like to congratulate LeMans Apartments/Suites as the Small Business of the Month for May.

Jennifer Smith (Florida Remodeling & Designs, Inc.) presents the May Small Business of the Month award to Carlton Hodges, LeMans Apartments/Suites.


Ribbon Cutting – Learning Resource Center

Learning Resource Center of Polk County, Inc.
1628 S. Florida Ave
Lakeland, FL 33803

“The Learning Resource Center of Polk County, Inc. (LRC) was founded by the Junior League of Greater Lakeland, Inc. in 1975 to help students by providing personalized supplemental education programs and consulting services for parents. At that time it was known as the Learning Disabilities Center and its primary purpose was to serve students with specific learning disabilities and provide support for their parents. The name changed in 1977, as programs for the learning disabled grew in the public school system, and LRC expanded its services to help all students maximize their learning potential.

From its humble beginnings as a small volunteer group working in borrowed space, LRC today has over 300 certified teachers who provide county wide services to over 3,000 students ages five through adult.”

Congratulations to Executive Director Pam Craven and the entire LRC team on the beautiful new building. Thanks to Mayor Buddy Fletcher, Board Members, Hugh Autry, Andy Hernandez, and Paul Norris for attending.



What an exciting two days! Yesterday, Governor Crist signed SB 186, giving the new USF campus in Polk County autonomy and officially changing the name to USF Polytechnic. And moments ago, the Governor signed the state budget into law that allocates $15 million for the first phase of construction of the USF Polytechnic campus.

This is a major victory for our Polk County community! Please congratulate Dr. Marshall Goodman, David Steele and the entire USF team. Their vision and dedication are the reasons for this success. Our Polk delegation, especially Sen. JD Alexander and Rep. Seth McKeel, should be thanked for their tremendous support as well.

Also, thanks so much to all of you who communicated support to Governor Crist. We have been told that your emails made a substantial impact!

It’s a good day to be in Polk County! Go Bulls!

If you would like to email the Polk delegation and Governor Crist, their emails are below:

Governor Charlie Crist

Senator JD Alexander

Senator Paula Dockery

Senator Ronda Storms

Representative Frank Attkisson

Representative Marty Bowen

Representative Seth McKeel

Representative Dennis Ross

Representative Baxter Troutman

Thank you again and have a great day.