Category Archives: Chamber News


Chamber’s “Politics in the Bank” Event Recognizes Candidates, Encourages Voter Education

Lakeland’s Politics in the Park Express was full steam ahead, showcasing candidates and supporters and highlighting the flexibility of Lakelanders. With a steady drizzle, Thursday’s event became “Politics in the Bank” as VIP Reception sponsors BB&T, Coldwell Banker Commercial Saunders Ralston Dantzler Realty, and Cross, Fernandez & Riley, LLP opened their doors to the hob-nob.

Lakeland Mayor Gow Fields once again kicked off “Politics in the Park” with a little help from the South McKeel Academy choral group singing the rousing patriotic tune “America for Me.”  Following the introduction and song, attendees had the opportunity to meet and greet with local and state candidates and hear their platforms.

“…Thursday’s crowded bank lobby showed folks can get along, according to Neil Combee, a former county commissioner who is running for Florida House District 39.

“We are just having a great time and everybody’s happy,” he said.”

The Ledger, article by Bill Rufty, Political Editor


More photos from The Ledger.

The Chamber hosts this event every two years to bring candidates and citizens together, and encourages all voters to research and make informed decisions on November 6. The evening was especially meaningful for another group of folks with a similar mission. YMCA Youth in Government encourages students to learn the political process and get involved. Several YMCA YIG students were in attendance and were able to learn first-hand about campaigns, platforms, and more.

To find out more about the candidates in attendance at Politics in the Park 2012, please find links to each site below.


The Chamber would like to thank the Politics in the Park 2012 sponsors for helping to make this event possible.





Congressional Sponsors

  • Clark, Campbell & Lancaster, P.A.
  • Florida Strategic Group
  • The Mosaic Company


Gubernatorial Sponsors

  • Badcock Home Furniture & more
  • Bank of Central Florida
  • BusinessVoice of Greater Lakeland, Inc.
  • CF Industries
  • Coca-Cola Refreshments
  • Community Southern Bank
  • CSX
  • DSM Technology Consultants
  • Innovative Ink
  • Kimley-Horn & Associates, Inc.
  • NuJak Companies
  • The Randy Roberts Foundation
  • The Ruthvens
  • Vecchio, Carrier & Feldman, P.A.


And, also the volunteers, organizations, and issues groups who participated in the event.


Lakeland Chamber Honored for PR Program

At the 92nd Annual Meeting of the Florida Association of Chamber Professionals, the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce one again was honored for excellence in public relations and communications. The “2012 Public Relations Program Award” was presented for the Chamber’s 2012 “I Can…” awareness and branding campaign. This campaign featured Chamber members from all industries and highlighted the opportunities that Chamber membership provides for businesses in Lakeland.

“Our Chamber is so honored to receive this award from our state association. But, without our members it wouldn’t have happened,” said Amy Wiggins, Vice President of Communications who accepted the award on behalf of the Chamber. “This campaign is only possible because members came together to collaborate and share their enthusiasm for the Chamber.”

This year’s awards were judged by professionals from state-wide media and included Public Relations Program, Membership Communications/Marketing Materials, Convention & Visitors Bureau Marketing/Communications, and Audio/Visual/Online Communications. For more information about the Florida Association of Chamber Professionals visit

Special thanks to CE Design Co., McQueen Marketing, LLC, Gil Williams Photography and Ledger Media Group for their part in making this PR Campaign possible!


Chamber VP Earns State Certification


Amy Wiggins, Vice President of Communications for the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce was among the first state-wide class to receive Florida Certified Chamber Professional status from the Florida Association of Chamber Professionals. This certification is reserved for a chamber professional with five or more years of service in Chamber management and program development.


“Amy’s achievement of the FCCP certification is beneficial to our Chamber and our members. It shows that she is committed to continuing her professional development in order to bring the very best to Lakeland’s businesses,” said Kathleen Munson, President.


The first class of FCCP’s included eight Chamber professionals from Destin to Boca Raton. Certification is contingent upon continuing professional development and involvement in state and national associations.


For more information on the Florida Association of Chamber Professionals or the FCCP Designation, please visit



LACC in the News | Sign Showdown: Lakeland Proposal Would Prohibit People From Holding Ad Signs

Friday’s headline in The Ledger:


Sign Showdown: Lakeland Proposal Would Prohibit People From Holding Ad Signs

In a survey of 142 Chamber of Commerce members, 55 percent oppose the sign-waving change.

Read the full story here.

In May 2011, the Chamber began the process to recommend changes to the City’s Sign Ordinance that would retain Lakeland’s aesthetic and ease restrictions on small business. On September 2, after a voluntary survey of Chamber members, the Sign Ordinance task force presented its formal recommendation to the City of Lakeland.

To download the Chamber’s original presentation to the City, click here.

Following that, the City evaluated the Chamber’s proposal alongside feedback from several public meetings and workshops and returned a proposed document.

The Chamber noticed several changes of concern in the the proposal and sent a follow-up survey to membership that focused on vehicle wraps, temporary banners, and human signs.

Download the results of that survey here.

Working with City of Lakeland staff, the Sign Ordinance Task Force recommended language to produce a final document scheduled to be presented for first reading at the City Commission meeting on July 16.

Read the entire proposal here.

The proposal is tentatively scheduled to be presented for a vote by the City Commission in August.

The Chamber is appreciative that the City of Lakeland has engaged members on this critical sign ordinance issue and grateful to have been involved in recommending revisions and updates to continue the success of the business community.  The City and the Chamber have worked closely on this issue and each party is proud that the public and private sectors have demonstrated the ability to work together in partnership.

Sign Ordinance Task Force members include:

Jimmy Waller, Chair | Sihle-Waller Insurance

Matthew Cantrall | Signs and Specialties

Mark Gauthier | Krispy Kreme Doughnuts

John King | City of Lakeland Beautification Board Member

Ben Mundy | SCMH Architects

Cory Petcoff | Baron Realty, Inc.

Don Pickard | Pickard & Pickard REALTORS

Alice Hunt | Hunt Construction of Central FLorida, Inc.

Kathleen Munson | Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce

Rich Roy | Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce