Category Archives: Chamber News

02May/18
05-15-18 Phantom of the Youkey TheaterFB

Networking with the Phantom of Youkey Theater

LAKELAND, FLORIDA (May 2, 2018) — You won’t want to miss this romantic and mysterious Business After Hours on Tuesday night, May 15, 2018. The RP Funding Center presents The Phantom of the Youkey Theater for one night only! Enjoy wonderful hors d’oeuvres, libations, and over 200 fellow member-investors. The classic black & white silent film, The Phantom of the Opera, will be playing as guests explore the Youkey Theater in hopes of catching a glimpse of the rumored Phantom of the Youkey Theater!

The party is starting earlier this month since we could not wait until our traditional Thursday to hold the event. So, please join us on Tuesday! We encourage you to adjust your schedule to attend this special event.

“The team and I at RP Funding Center are excited to host Business After Hours for a second year. We believe we have put together a Phantom of the Opera evening that will allow Chamber members to network and socialize in a special setting,” comments Tony Camarillo, Executive Director of the RP Funding Center.

The historic centerpiece of the RP Funding Center is the 2,226 seat Youkey Theater. The theater is named for Robert Youkey, former Lakeland City Manager, who had the vision to build the Lakeland Center for his community. The theater is home to the annual Broadway & Special engagements; the Imperial Symphony Orchestra; and is ideally suited for dance events, plays and concerts. The theater also offers the flexibility for meetings and general sessions and other corporate events.

05-15-18 Phantom of the Youkey TheaterFB

The Phantom of the Opera is a 1925 American silent horror film adaptation of Gaston Leroux’s 1910 novel Le Fantôme de l’Opéra, directed by Rupert Julian and starring Lon Chaney, Sr. in the title role of the disfigured Phantom who haunts the Paris Opera House, causing murder and mayhem in an attempt to make the woman he “loves” a star. The film remains most famous for Chaney’s ghastly, self-devised make-up, which was kept a studio secret until the film’s premiere. The film was released on November 25, 1925.

Before you enter the Youkey Theater, please take time to meet the teen CEOs from the Young Entrepreneurs Academy of Polk County (YEA! Polk). They will be displaying their product and services and are excited to meet with you. You won’t want to miss this! Meet new contacts! Reconnect with fellow members!

Name: Business After Hours with The Phantom of the Youkey Theater

Register Now:  https://bit.ly/2jolIOb

Location: RP Funding Center, 701 W Lime St, Lakeland, FL 33815

Date/Time Information:  Tuesday, May 15, 2018, 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm EDT

Contact Information:  Katie McBride (863) 688-8551 ext 236, or kmcbride@lakelandchamber.com

Fees/Admission:  $10 investors | $30 non-members

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RP Funding Center

Central Florida’s premiere entertainment, sports and convention venue offers loads of indoor entertainment, and is within walking distance of downtown Lakeland’s unique shopping and dining options.

Arena, Theater, Exhibit Hall and Conference Center

The RP Funding Center is the only multipurpose facility in Central Florida with four distinct venues under one roof: the 10,000-seat George Jenkins Arena, 2,186-seat Youkey Theater, 28,000-square feet Exhibit Hall, and 34,000-square feet Conference Center.

Broadway Series

Theatre lovers enjoying a Central Florida vacation will enjoy The RP Funding Center’s annual Broadway Series, featuring five nationally touring productions. Enjoy upbeat musicals, on the edge-of-your-seat dramas and timeless classics. Locals who subscribe to their Broadway Series Subscription Package receive entrance into all five shows, free parking, priority seating, special discounts and 10 percent off pre-show dining.

Entertainment Series

The RP Funding Center’s annual Entertainment Series brings down the house with thrilling live concerts, ballets, standup comedy, dance performances and more.

Famous groups and performers who have and will take part in the entertainment series include The Tenors, Neil Sedaka, various Dancing with the Stars alumni, America’s Got Talent winner Jackie Evancho and Kathy Griffin.

Lakeland Pro Rodeo Classic

If you’re lucky enough to be in town for the Lakeland Pro Rodeo Classic, you must go. Professional cowboys and cowgirls compete for cash, shiny gold buckles, and most importantly, the title of champion – it’s a boot scootin’ good time.

Public Ice Skating

One of the coolest things to do at The RP Funding Center in November and December is ice skating. Dates are scheduled to coincide with Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks, and sometimes summer vacation.

Expos

Annual favorites for Central Florida visitors include Collectorama, featuring collectibles including currency, knives, watches more; Buckler Arts & Craft Show, which occurs in the summer and fall; The Original Sewing & Quilt Expo in the winter; Snowbird Extravaganza, which features 50,000 sq. ft. of vendors and entertainment; the Log & Timber Home Show and Lakeland VW Classic, which is held outdoors and features multiple vendors and a parts swap. The RP Funding Center also hosts multiple knife and gun shows each year, and the occasional boating and hunting expo.

Lakeland Chamber of Commerce

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.

30Apr/18

Free Seminar on Eminent Domain in Preparation for US Highway 92 Expansion and Improvement

LAKELAND, FLORIDA (April 30, 2018) — The Florida Department of Transportation project to expand and improve US 92 (New Tampa Highway) from County Line Road to Wabash has been funded for 2020 and 2021 for obtaining right of way.

Now is the time for any business or landowner to take action to protect their property rights and/or get fair compensation for their business or property. Learn more about how you can prepare for this FDOT project, and the actions needed to protect your property and business with Guest Speaker Deborah Ruster of Peterson & Myers. Before joining Peterson & Myers, Deborah Ruster was a senior condemnation attorney with the Department of Transportation for six years. Since then she has been in private practice representing property owners and governments in eminent domain cases.

This seminar is free to the public and will cover topics such as how this project will impact you, what forms of compensation may be available, and what tricks and traps to look out for.

Sponsorships available!

Name: Enlightened Byte: Eminent Domain Timeline

Date: May 24, 2018

Time: 7:30 AM – 9:00 AM EDT

Location:  Peggy Brown Building, 215 S Lake Ave, Lakeland, FL 33801

Contact Information:  Send an Email or call (863) 688-8551 ext. 229

Fees/Admission:  Free with required registration – limited space available.

Registration:  https://bit.ly/2HB32W6 or at www.lakelandchamber.com

US92_Location_Map

27Apr/18
8th grader at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy will represent Polk County at national competition.

Local Teen to Represent Polk County at National Competition

Local Teen to Represent Polk County at National Competition

More than $70,000 in scholarships to be awarded

LAKELAND, FL – April 27, 2018 – The Young Entrepreneurs Academy will host its 10th Annual Saunders Scholars National Conference and Competition on May 4, 2018.

Student semifinalists from YEA! chapters across the country will travel to the Rochester Institute of Technology to present their business ideas to a panel of judges.

Saunders Scholars is funded by entrepreneur and philanthropist E. Philip Saunders who began paving his business dreams while working at his dad’s gas station as a teenager. He recognized the need to provide truck drivers with more than just a fill up. He went on to create a national chain of truck stops known as Travel Centers of America.

THE YEA! SAUNDERS SCHOLARS COMPETITION

WHO:  

Sachin Sivakumar, 8th grader and local YEA! Semifinalist (YEA! Polk)

Lawton Chiles Middle Academy, Lakeland, FL

Star Scout, Boy Scout Troop 711

8th grader at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy will represent Polk County at national competition.

8th grader at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy will represent Polk County at national competition.

WHAT:                              

Sachin was selected to compete in the final competition after successfully pitching his business concept to local business leaders in the YEA! Semifinals, or Shark Tank, held on April 4, 2018, at Southeastern University.

WHY:

His business, ScoutVenture, involves solving for a common problem faced by many Boy Scouts. ScoutVenture is an app that helps Boy Scout Troops manage themselves and plan for the future.

WHEN:                              

Sachin travels to New York on Thursday, May 3 but is available for interviews Monday through Wednesday upon request.

MEDIA CONTACT:          Rebecca Fortier, (863) 688-8551, ext. 229, or cell (863) 221-2678, rfortier@lakelandchamber.com

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THE YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS ACADEMY (YEA!)                                                YEA! Is a national non-profit organization that teaches and empowers students ages 11 to 18 to launch and run their own real, small businesses through an exciting, projects-based program. Founded in 2004 with support from the Kauffman Foundation, today YEA! has empowered over 9,000 students at over 100 locations across the United States with international classes underway in India and Shanghai. YEA! graduates have been featured on TV’s hit show Shark Tank, raised tens of millions of dollars in seed capital, won millions of dollars in college scholarships, have been featured in the nation’s top publications, from The New York Times to Forbes Magazine, and have graduated from top business schools and colleges including the Harvard Business School, Wharton, Stanford, Cornell, RIT, Saunders, Simon, among others.

YEA! provides young people with the ability to recognize opportunities and shows them the power of their potential. YEA! students learn the magic formula on how to transform an idea—their idea—into an enterprise that creates value. YEA! teaches students how to unleash their imagination by introducing them to the formula of entrepreneurial success—at an early age.

THE YEA! SAUNDERS SCHOLARS COMPETITION

Each year, students from every YEA! site across the country compete to be named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneur and win college scholarships at the YEA! Saunders Scholars National Competition. The Saunders Scholars program is named for and supported by Rochester area business magnate E. Philip Saunders. In 2008, the Saunders Foundation awarded YEA! a transformational gift to provide young entrepreneurs, innovators and inventors an opportunity to earn significant college scholarship awards.

Lakeland Chamber of Commerce

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.

25Apr/18
Suncoast Swantober Logo - white background

LAKELAND’S INAUGURAL OKTOBERFEST EVENT LAUNCHES THIS FALL

LAKELAND, FL (April 25, 2018) – Lakeland residents will have a chance to celebrate Octoberfest-style in Munn Park in downtown Lakeland on Saturday, September 22, 2018.  The Suncoast Credit Union SwantoberFest is a time to unwind and make new friends, learn new customs and sing a few songs.  Be there to help tap the inaugural keg at 5:00 PM on Saturday, September 22, as Lakeland’s Suncoast Credit Union SwantoberFest kicks off!

The Lakeland Chamber is proud to announce Suncoast Credit Union as the title sponsor of Lakeland’s only Oktoberfest-themed celebration!  Like a traditional Oktoberfest, our event will offer sights, sounds, and tastes that are Bavarian-inspired.

“Octoberfest is a chance for everyone to see what Lakeland has to offer,” says Mary McDonald, community relations director for Suncoast Credit Union.  “We are excited to help make this event a destination activity, and we are proud to be a part of this community.”

The logo for the event is an original design by Stacy Tabb of Boondock Studios and reflects traditional Germanic art while capturing the magic of Lakeland and incorporating a vine of hops bearing clusters of flowers.  Prints and t-shirts will soon be available for purchase at Boondock Studios at 811 N Florida Ave.

“I wanted to emphasize the centuries-old traditions of Octoberfest, therefore used a woodblock style combined with hand-painted watercolor to create a uniquely ‘Lakeland’ piece. The printing block was carved and then inked, and each print pulled by hand in the time-honored way,” comments Stacy Tabb, artist and co-owner of Boondock Studios.

Suncoast Swantober Logo - white background

Original logo design by Stacy Tabb, Boondock Studios

This community-wide event in Munn Park will be free to attend and feature a business expo as an opportunity for Chamber member-investors to engage directly with the community in a family-friendly setting.  Activities include German-style competitions, treasure hunt, and live music by The Europa Band.  VIP passes will be available for an extra-special experience, including a Child’s VIP pass – think Root Beer Garden! To register as vendor-exhibitor at the event, please click here or at https://bit.ly/2JlSL0m.

Title Sponsor:  Suncoast Credit Union

Exclusive Artist Sponsor:  Boondock Studios

Autobahn Sponsor: Fields Motorcars

ABOUT SUNCOAST CREDIT UNION

Suncoast Credit Union is the largest credit union in the state of Florida, the ninth largest in the United States based on membership, and the 12th largest in the United States based on its more than $8.9 billion in assets. Chartered in 1934 as Hillsborough County Teachers Credit Union, Suncoast Credit Union currently operates 65 full-service branches and serves more than 750,000 members in the following Florida counties: Charlotte, Citrus, Collier, DeSoto, Dixie, Gilchrist, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lee, Levy, Manatee, Marion, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota and Sumter. Since its founding in 1990, the Suncoast Credit Union Foundation has raised and donated more than $22 million to organizations and initiatives that support the health, education and emotional well-being of children in the communities that the credit union serves. For more information, visit: suncoastcreditunion.com, Facebook.com/SuncoastCreditUnion or @SuncoastCU.

ABOUT THE LAKELAND CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

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.

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18Apr/18

2018 SLINGSHOT POLK COMPETITION AWARDS THOUSANDS TO POLK STUDENTS

SlingShot LogoMiddle and High First Place - Audrey Fagan, Cameron Brown, and Alexa Rodriguez - McKeel Academy of Technology - BTF Kids - with Bill Mutz and Justin Heacock

College and Under 30 First Place  - Michael Jernigan - Florida Polytechnic University - POROUS Aerial Imaging - with Bill Mutz, Bruce Lyon, and Justin Heacock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lakeland, FL – Six finalists, made up of teams and individuals, received thousands of dollars in winnings at the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce’s innovation competition, SlingShot Polk, on Monday, April 16, 2018, at the Gram Parsons Derry Down in Winter Haven.

Close to 100 students, teachers, parents, and business and educationalleaders were in attendance to hear nine finalists pitch their ideas to a panel of judges:

  • Wesley Barnett, Director, Lakeland Hospitality Group
  • Naomi Boyer, VP/Chief Information Officer, Strategic Initiatives & Innovation, Polk State College
  • Sean Malott, President and CEO, Central Florida Development Council
  • Hal L. Coffman, Senior Business Consultant, Madrid Engineering Group, Inc.
  • Kim Long, Executive Director, Polk Vision
  • Bruce Lyon, President, Winter Haven Economic Development Council

City of Lakeland Mayor, Bill Mutz, who served as emcee at the event, 2018 SlingShot Polk Chair, Justin Heacock (Entrepreneurship Center Coordinator at Florida Polytechnic University), and Bruce Lyon presented first, second, and third place awards in two categories to those who were selected to receive cash prizes. 

SlingShot Polk Finalists and Winners:

Middle/High School Presentations

  • Meryl Adrean, McKeel Academy of Technology, “Down Goes the Drone” – 3rd place ($500)
  • Audrey Fagan, Alexa Rodriguez, and Cameron Brown, McKeel Academy of Technology, “BTF Kids” – 1st place ($1,000)
  • Riley Mitchell and Jahira Bamaca, Bok Academy, “The Innovative Schools Security Patrol ISSP”
  • Kendall Decker, South McKeel Academy, “Anti-Drowning Patch” – 2nd place ($750)

College/Under 30 Presentations

  • Michael Jernigan, Florida Polytechnic University, “POROUS Aerial Imaging” 1st place ($3,000)
  • Nathan Roberts, Branden Duke, Shania Madramootoo, and Celeste Ramirez, Florida Polytechnic University, “SwitchTape” – 2nd place ($2,000)
  • Jessie Pullaro, Henrique Bolivar, Saivamsi Hanumanthu, and Brent Kuhn, Florida Polytechnic University, “echoBot”
  • Robert Kelly, Jamie Cook, Dylan Kanhai, and Sydney Weber, Florida Polytechnic University, “E-cycle Solutions, LLC”
  • Rachel Ash, Ashton Malicoate, Ethan Brabo, and Elizabeth Hicks, Florida Southern College, “SNAP” – 3rd place ($1,000)

In 2017, more than 100 Polk students entered SlingShot Polk to present their business ideas relating to STEM. This year, students entered SlingShot Polk with the hope of solving Polk’s Biggest Problems every year. The goal this year, and going forward, is to leverage our young, creative, and talented innovators by engaging them with private and civic leaders to solve a problem that matters to Polk County and its residents. Our hope is that through this effort we will achieve actionable steps for change as well as an increased retainment of our best and brightest in Polk County.

In February, middle, high school, and college students and innovators under the age of 30 were invited to enter plans outlining a solution to one of Polk’s biggest problems. Nine finalists from more than 100 entries submitted were selected to move forward in the competition. Finalists received mentoring and training to develop enhance their communication skills before they presented their final plans and products on April 16.

SlingShot Polk is an initiative of the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce and is sponsored and supported by:

  • Barnett School of Business and Free Enterprise at Florida Southern College
  • Bartow Culinary Academy
  • Bill and Dena Rhey
  • Centennial Bank
  • Central Florida Development Council, Inc.
  • Enterprise Rent-a-Car
  • Georges Family Trust
  • Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce
  • Hamic Previte & Sturwold, P.A.
  • Heacock Insurance
  • InTouch, Fleet Intelligence Simplified
  • Madrid Engineering Group, Inc.
  • Main Street Winter Haven
  • Joe and Kim Childs
  • Polk County Public Schools
  • Polk Vision
  • Saint Leo University Lakeland Education Center
  • Southeastern University
  • Webber International University
  • Winter Haven Economic Development Council, in partnership with: BB&T, The Becky and Baxter Troutman Family, Straughn & Turner P.A., Citizens Bank & Trust, CNP Agency, TECO, and Pennoni

*Photo captions:

  1. Middle and High First Place – Audrey Fagan, Cameron Brown, and Alexa Rodriguez – McKeel Academy of Technology – BTF Kids – with Bill Mutz and Justin Heacock
  2. College and Under 30 First Place – Michael Jernigan – Florida Polytechnic University – POROUS Aerial Imaging – with Bill Mutz, Bruce Lyon, and Justin Heacock

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Since 1921, the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce has served as an advocate for business. The Chamber is a 501 (c) (6) not-for-profit organization dedicated to creating a climate where business can prosper. The Lakeland Chamber is the largest Chamber of Commerce in Polk County with more than 1,400 investor businesses. The Lakeland Chamber continues to be an integral component of the Lakeland community by offering a wide variety of programs and initiatives that positively impact the economic vitality and quality of life in our region. Our investors capitalize on the contacts, resources, and support provided by the Chamber.