Category Archives: Chamber News


Chamber Member Wins People’s Choice Award at Mayfaire

Longtime Lakeland resident and Chamber member Victor Prebor III, won the People’s Choice award in his second Mayfaire appearance this past weekend.

Victor Prebor III, an architect with Lunz Prebor Fowler Architects, was the recipient of the MidFlorida Mayfaire by-the-Lake 2015 Peoples’s Choice award for his mixed media piece.

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2015 Detroit Tiger BBQ Tickets On Sale

Join us in welcoming back our Detroit Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium during the Lakeland Chamber’s 69th Annual Tiger BBQ on Thursday, February 26th starting at 6 PM.

This Lakeland tradition kicks off the Detroit Tiger’s 79th Spring Training season and celebrates the 50th year of Tiger baseball at Joker Marchant Stadium—which translates each year into approximately $45 million in economic impact to our area!

Ticket holders will enjoy traditional southern BBQ, a commemorative 2015 souvenir mug and the opportunity support the longest standing Major League Baseball relationship in Spring Training history.   Please join us and fellow Tiger’s supporters in supporting the Chamber’s 69th Annual Tiger BBQ event by clicking here to order tickets.

Click here to order your ticket(s) or call Patty Smith at (863) 688-8551 Ext. 224

2015 Tiger BBQ
For more information on Spring Training, please go to or call 866-668.4437.


Starting Your Business seminars to be offered in Lakeland, Clear Springs

startEver wanted to own your own business but not sure how to get started? The Florida SBDC at University of South Florida will host two Starting Your Business seminars in Polk County, beginning January 8.

From how to determine feasibility and legal structures to the types of license you’ll need, this seminar covers all the essentials that will help you get started. This seminar is customized for start-ups in Polk County; including the cities of Auburndale, Bartow, Davenport, Dundee, Eagle Lake, Frostproof, Fort Meade, Haines City, Lake Alfred, Lake Wales, Lakeland, Mulberry, Polk City and Winter Haven.

Seminar Dates

  • Thursday, January 8 – Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce, 5:30 to 8 p.m.
  • Tuesday, January 13 – Polk State College, Clear Springs Campus, 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Attendees must register online. Cost is just $10 and includes seminar materials.

To find out more about Florida SBDC at USF no-cost business consulting and low-cost seminars, visit us online at



Chamber Awarded Prestigious Five-Star Accreditation from US Chamber

FIVE_STAR_®_colorThe U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced today that the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce has been awarded its 45-Year Five-Star Accreditation rating.  Only 89 out of more than 7,000 chambers across the country have achieved this highest level of accreditation ranking.

“We are extremely proud to be awarded our 45-year accreditation with Five-Star rating by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  Accreditation is one of the most prestigious honors bestowed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and offers an excellent measurement tool for chambers of commerce to achieve the highest standards of organizational excellence in representing their member businesses and communities,” said Lakeland Chamber President Kathleen Munson. “Achieving the highest level of accreditation is a tribute to the outstanding leadership of our Chamber volunteer leaders and professional staff, who unselfishly contribute their time and talent to make Lakeland such a tremendous place to live and work.”

The Accreditation program with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce defines organizational excellence in chamber planning and recognizes chambers for outstanding contributions toward positive change in their communities. In order to achieve accreditation rating, chambers undergo a comprehensive evaluation in nine areas:  governance, finance, human resources, government affairs, program development, communications, technology, facilities and benchmarking.

To successfully complete the accreditation application, Chairman of the Board Timothy B. Jackson (NuJak Development, Inc.) appointed an Accreditation Review Task Force to lead the Chamber through the evaluation process.  The Chamber would like to recognize the following leaders who worked with staff for more than six months to successfully complete the application:

Chair ………………………………………….. Mark E. Wilson (Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc.)

Governance………………………………….. Tim Darby (Darby Law Group, PA)

Finance…………………………………………. Janice Jones (CliftonLarsonAllen LLP)

 Human Resources ………………………. Don Selvage (SHR Human Resources, LLC)

Government Affairs …………………….. Steve Hamic (Hamic, Jones, Hamic & Sturwold, P.A., CPA)

Program Development…………………. Rob Kincart (A-C-T Environmental & Infrastructure)

Communication…………………………… Linda Jezard (Advantage Positioning)

Technology…………………………………… Rich Rogers (FedEx Corporate Services)

Facilities……………………………………….. Ben Mundy (SCMH Architects)

Benchmarking …………………………….. Kurt Elmhorst (Allen & Company of Florida, Inc.)

The Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce represents more than 1,600 businesses in the Greater Lakeland area.  The Chamber was first accredited by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 1968, and has successfully achieved its accreditation every five years since then.



Lakeland Chamber Announces New President

CorySkeatesHeadshotDuring their Board meeting on October 22, 2014, the Board of Directors of the Lakeland Area Chamber voted unanimously to hire Cory Skeates as the Chamber’s new President. 

Cory has served as President and CEO of the Oviedo-Winter Springs Regional Chamber of Commerce in Oviedo, Florida, since 2007.  Prior to that, he worked in the legislative field as a campaign consultant and legislative aide to several state legislators.

Cory received his B.A. degree in Political Science from Grove City College in Pennsylvania, and earned a J.D. degree from the Barry University School of Law in Orlando, Florida.  He and his and wife, Shannon, have two daughters.

He will take over as President of the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce in January.   Following the board’s vote, Chamber Chairman of the Board Tim Jackson made the following statement:  “After 27 years of dedicated service to our chamber and community, Kathleen Munson is retiring and a new era is beginning with the hiring of Cory Skeates as our next President.  We are excited to welcome Cory and his family to Lakeland, and look forward to his leadership.  Cory’s political background and chamber experience will provide Lakeland with a new vision of advocacy in representing the interests of our business community.”

The announcement culminated a six-month search process conducted by an independent search committee led by past Chamber chairman Paul Noris.  The search committee initially received 75 resumes in response to ads placed in state and national media outlets.  After vetting the pool of candidates down to 20 candidates, Skype interviews were conducted and three candidates were selected to continue with the interview process.  Over the past month, the search committee arranged for the candidates to interview with chamber and community stakeholders.

Based on their extensive interview process, the search committee voted to recommend that Cory Skeates be selected as the next President.  In presenting the recommendation, Paul Noris stated that “Our search committee went through a diligent process to identify the best candidate for the Chamber President position. We are confident that Cory’s selection will be a good fit for him, for our Chamber, and our community.  I look forward to his leadership as we strive to continue our Chamber’s long history of supporting the business community in Lakeland.”

Representing 1,700 member businesses in the Greater Lakeland area, the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce is ranked the second largest chamber in the Tampa Bay region by the Tampa Bay Business Journal.  In 2009, the Chamber was awarded a Five-Star Accreditation rating by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  The organization is currently undergoing its 2014 accreditation evaluation.

Upon hearing the announcement, Florida Chamber President and CEO Mark Wilson issued the following statement:  “The Florida Chamber of Commerce congratulates the Lakeland Chamber for selecting Cory Skeates to lead Lakeland’s pro-jobs initiatives.  On a personal note, I’d like to thank Kathleen Munson for her years of partnership and leadership as we’ve worked on issues that have made Florida, and Lakeland, more competitive.”