Category Archives: Business News


Local and Regional Candidates to Participate in 2018 Hob Nob

LAKELAND, FL (July 12, 2018) – The 2018 Political Hob Nob being hosted at the Rocking H Ranch on Tuesday, August 14, 2018, provides an occasion to meet with local and state candidates and learn more about them.

In an effort to increase awareness of and participation in the elections process, the Lakeland Chamber provides this opportunity for the local community to speak with candidates and local clubs at their respective booths.  Attendees will vote in a Straw Poll administered by the Polk County Supervisor of Elections from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM with the results announced that evening at 7:45 PM.  Candidates will take the stage to introduce themselves.

The Rocking H Ranch provides the perfect “Old Florida” backdrop for the event.  Originally, an old Cattle Ranch, it now is one of the leading Agritourism spots in Florida.  Attendees will also enjoy great BBQ, beverages, valet parking and good company.

The event is made possible by underwriting from community-focused companies and organizations – Red Sponsors are Clark, Campbell, Lancaster & Munson, P.A., Ledger Media Group, Rocking H Ranch, Spectrum Business; Gubernatorial Sponsors include A-C-T Environmental & Infrastructure, Inc., Reed Mawhinney & Link, PLLC, and Watson Clinic LLP. Other sponsors and supporters are Bernie Little Distributors, BTB Catering, Lakeland Valet, Polk County Supervisor of Elections, WONN/WPCV/WLKF/WWRZ Radio, and (Linking Community Now Inc.).

Candidates may register for a Table until Tuesday, August 7, 2018 using this link or by visiting and clicking on the Events Calendar tab.

Tickets to the event are $25 with advance purchase and $30 if purchased at the door.  Corporate 10-Packs are available for $200.  Sponsorships are available.  Tickets can be purchased by using this link or by visiting and clicking on the Events Calendar tab.

Candidates and clubs that are currently registered to attend are listed below.  Candidates will be added to our event page as they register – please visit and click the Events Calendar tab to view.

Representative in Congress, District 15:

Neil Combee

Sean Harper

Danny Kushmer

Ed Shoemaker

Ross Spano

Kristen Carlson

Andrew P. Learned

Representative in Congress, District 17:

Greg Steube


Philip Levine

Attorney General:

Ashley Moody

State Senator, District 22:

Kelli Stargel

State Senator, District 26:

Catherine Price

State Representative, District 39:

Josie Tomkow

State Representative, District 40:

Colleen Burton

Shandale Terrell

State Representative, District 56:

Melony Bell

Jeff Mann

County Commissioner, District 2:

Kathryn “Kat” Gates-Skipper

Rick Wilson

County Commissioner, District 4:

Jim Guth

Martha Santiago

Circuit Judge, 10th Judicial Circuit, Group 10:

Lee Cohen

Melissa Gravitt

Circuit Judge, 10th Judicial Circuit, Group 11:

Dana Y. Moore

Stephen Paul Pinket

School Board, District 3:

Sarah Fortney

Scott Jones

LaTrice Moore

Kala Tedder

School Board, District 5:

Terry L. Clark

Kay Fields

Jennifer Sabin

School Board, District 7:

David Byrd

Lisa Miller

Clubs and Organizations:

The Republican Club of Lakeland

The Democratic Women’s Club of Lakeland

The Republican Women’s Club of Lakeland, Federated
Event Sponsors:

Red Sponsors

Clark, Campbell, Lancaster & Munson, P.A.

Rocking H Ranch

Ledger Media Group

Spectrum Business

Gubernatorial Sponsors

A-C-T Environmental & Infrastructure

Reed Mawhinney & Link, PLLC

Watson Clinic LLP

Media Partners

Big 4 Radio – WONN/WPCV/WLKF/WWRZ Radio (Linking Community Now Inc.)

Exclusive Beer Sponsor

Bernie Little Distributor

Event Sponsors

BTB Catering

Lakeland Valet

Event Partner

Polk County Supervisor of Elections

Location:  Rocking H Ranch, 2200 Ewell Rd, Lakeland, FL  33811

Date/Time Information:  Tuesday, August 14, 2018, 5:30 PM – 9:00 PM

Contact Information:  Rebecca Fortier,


The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce represents 1,400-member businesses in the Lakeland area and provides opportunities for networking, professional development and advocacy for companies of all sizes. Five-star accredited by the US Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber upholds the following vision and mission statements: Vision Statement – The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce will be the premier catalyst for the advancement of Lakeland’s economic growth and enhancement of quality of life– creating Florida’s community of choice. Mission Statement – The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce is the leading organization dedicated to creating a climate where business can prosper.


Mid-State Industrial Maintenance Awarded Mosaic Service Contract

(LITHIA, Fla., July 5, 2018) – Mid-State Industrial Maintenance (Mid-State), a Polk County industrial maintenance company with over 460 Polk, Hillsborough and Hardee County employees, has been awarded a three-year general maintenance contract servicing Mosaic’s Central Florida mine sites as well as the Phosphoric Acid and Dry Products process areas at all four of Mosaic’s Florida fertilizer manufacturing facilities. Mid-State will serve as a principal partner assisting with on-going general maintenance.
In February 2018, Mosaic issued a Request for Proposals for its contract mechanical and general maintenance services in Florida. After a national search, Mosaic awarded the contract to a familiar partner, Mid-State. The company estimates tapping Mid-State for as many as 200,000 work hours a year which translates to nearly 100 jobs and an estimated spend of more than $15 million.
Chris Martus, Mosaic’s Vice President of Procurement said, “Since 1973, Mid-State has been a trusted resource for many companies in the phosphate industry, including Mosaic. As a publicly traded company, we have a responsibility to our employees and our shareholders to cast a wide net in terms of competitive contracts. When the strongest proposal comes from a locally-owned business, that’s a win-win for all.”
“We’re glad to continue this next chapter with Mosaic,” said Mid-State CEO Jeff Clyne “Our people are skilled in their crafts, know the Mosaic sites and most importantly share their commitment to safety. In addition Mosaic is proving their commitment to support our local communities and the families that live and play in them.
As part of its phosphate fertilizer production, Mosaic employs more than 3,000 directly in Florida and tens of thousands indirectly through contracted services. Mosaic encourages and supports spending activities with local suppliers. More than 80% of the Phosphate business segment’s supply chain purchases were made with local vendors.
About The Mosaic Company:
The Mosaic Company is the world’s leading combined producer and marketer of concentrated phosphate and potash crop nutrients. Mosaic is a single source provider of phosphate and potash fertilizers and feed ingredients for the global agriculture industry. More information on the company is available at
About Mid-State Industrial Maintenance:
Mid-State Industrial Maintenance provides design, fabrication, and installation services to the agriculture, energy, and heavy industrial markets throughout North America and the Caribbean. Mid-State responds and resolves critical complex scenarios with efficiency and value-added knowledge that minimizes operational downtime and costs. More information on the company is available at
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Axiom Bank, N.A. Designated as SBA “Preferred Lender”





Distinction Accelerates SBA 7(A) Loan Process for Commercial Customers

ORLANDO, Fla. (July 5, 2018) – Axiom Bank, N.A., a leading community bank headquartered in Maitland, was recently named a “Preferred Lender” by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). This designation allows it to expedite the loan-approval process for commercial customers.

Customers seeking an SBA 7(a) loan typically must wait up to several weeks for the SBA to approve loan requests, after preliminary approval from the bank. The Preferred Lender program streamlines the process by granting the bank the final authority to underwrite and approve the loan on behalf of SBA. To achieve this designation, Axiom Bank was required to meet specific metrics demonstrating its expertise and ability to handle a large volume of SBA loans. The bank maintains dedicated resources to SBA. Its VP, SBA Manager is Scott Amatuccio.

“Time is money, and by removing uncertainty from the equation, we empower our customers to confidently take the steps they need to grow their businesses,” said Ted Sheppe, Executive Vice President of commercial banking for Axiom Bank. “This designation is a testament to Axiom Bank’s financial strength and our commitment to helping small businesses prosper.”

Achieving Preferred Lender status is part of Axiom Bank’s ongoing growth strategy, which also includes acquisitions; branch expansions (the most recent of which is located in Orange County’s Hamlin development); the launch of AxiomGO, a checkless checking account with a cutting-edge mobile banking app; and the addition of staff with specialty expertise.

To contact Scott Amatuccio about SBA qualifications and loans, call 407-636-8439, or email

About Axiom Bank

Axiom Bank, N.A., headquartered in Central Florida, is a nationally chartered community bank that serves the financial needs of its customers through a wide range of financial products. Axiom Bank provides retail banking services, including checking, deposit, and money market accounts, through 24 branch locations, 22 of which are inside select Walmart Supercenters®. Axiom Bank also specializes in commercial loans for both real estate and business purposes, as well as treasury management and other merchant services. In addition to these services, Axiom Bank sponsors prepaid debit card programs offered by third?party program managers. As part of its commitment to exceed its customers’ expectations and deliver superior financial solutions, Axiom Bank is constantly working to expand the services and products it provides to its communities. Visit Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.



DEO Releases Labor Market Info for May 2018

The Department of Economic Opportunity has released the Labor Market Information for the month of May, 2018. The national unemployment rate edged down again this past month to from 3.9 to 3.8 percent. Nationally approximately 223,000 jobs were created in the month of May.

Florida’s Unemployment Rate

Florida’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate also dipped slightly to match the national level at 3.8 percent which is 0.1 percent down from last month and still down 0.4%  from a year ago.

There were 391,000 jobless Floridians out of a labor force of 10,217,000.

Florida’s seasonally adjusted total non-agricultural employment was 8,746, 800 (+.02 percent) over the month. The state gained 180,200 jobs over the year, an increase of 2.1 percent.

Polk County Nonagricultural Employment

The unemployment rate in the CareerSource Polk region (Polk County) remained stable at 3.7 percent in May 2018. This rate was lower  by 0.7 percent if compared to the region’s rate of 4.4 percent a year ago.

Out of a labor force of 300,200 there were 11,126 unemployed residents in the region. The non-agricultural employment in Lakeland-Winter Haven was 226,500 which is an increase of 5,900 jobs (+2.7 percent) over the year. This region had the fastest annual job growth rate if compared to all metro areas in the state in trade, transportation and utilities. The industries that showed the most growth were mining, logging and construction (+6.9 percent); professional and business services (+5.1 percent); trade, transportation and utilities (+30 percent); government had a slight increase at (+1.1 percent).

Industries gaining the most in number of jobs were: trade, transportation and utilities (+1,700 jobs); professional and business services (+1,500 jobs); mining, logging and construction (+900 jobs) and manufacturing which had an increase of (+500 jobs).

To view an interactive graph of Florida’s total nonagricultural employment, Click here

In May 2018 nonagricultural employment in the Lakeland?Winter Haven MSA was 226,500, an increase of 5,900 (+2.7 percent) over the year.

  • The Lakeland?Winter Haven MSA annual job growth rate compared to all the metro areas in the state in professional and business services was 3.7 percent) in May 2018 which is an increase of .3 from last month.
  • The Lakeland-Winter Haven MSA had the third fastest annual job growth rate compared to all the metro areas in the state in trade, transportation, and utilities (+3.0 percent) in May 2018.
  • The mining, logging, and construction (+6.9 percent); professional and business services (+5.1 percent); trade, transportation, and utilities (+3.0 percent); other services (+1.7 percent); and government (+1.1 percent) industries grew faster in the metro area than statewide over the year.
  • The industries gaining in jobs over the year were: trade, transportation, and utilities (+1,700 jobs); professional and business services (+1,500 jobs); mining, logging, and construction (+900 jobs); manufacturing (+500 jobs); leisure and hospitality (+500 jobs); financial activities (+300 jobs); government (+300 jobs); education and health services (+100 jobs); and other services (+100 jobs).
  • The information industry was unchanged over the year.

Visit the 9th Annual Polk County Business Expo

LAKELAND, FL (June 26, 2018) – Every year, Vendor’s Day attracts large crowds from across Central Florida. It is an event where vendors come together to promote their products in a trade show, preceded by business seminars and breakfast. Now in its 9th year and renamed the Polk County Business Expo, it has continued to give vendors a place to showcase their product as well as giving attendees a chance to attend free business seminars.

The event begins with registration and breakfast at 7:30 AM. After that, participants may attend a business seminar of their choice. Lunch is provided after the seminars for all attendees. Most importantly, at the end there is a trade show event with tables set up by the registered vendors. The trade show allows participants to scout for services they may need and allows vendors to market to a large amount of business-minded people.

Cedric Joseph, Director of the Office of Supplier Diversity for Polk County, organizes this event every year with the hopes of bringing small businesses together. This year’s free seminars being offered are titled, “Anything is Possible, Raise the Standards,” “Navigating the Tax Minefield,” and “Five Secrets of doing Business with Polk County and the State of Florida”.

Attending the Expo is free, but registration is required to attend. If you would like to attend as a vendor, vendor registration is $100 for a table at the trade show. Register quickly, as registration for vendors is filling up quickly.

The event is being held at the Polk State College Lakeland Campus in Room 1100 on July 27th, 2018. To register, visit If you are a small business looking to make contacts with companies throughout Central Florida, there is no better place to do it than the 9th Annual Polk County Business Expo.

For additional information, please contact Cedric Joseph, Director, Supplier Diversity, Polk County Board of County Commissioners, at (863) 534-5959 or by email at