Category Archives: Chamber Initiatives

Key Strategic Initiatives




At 10 a.m. on Tuesday, June 16, the University of South Florida will announce via live webcast and press conference the next steps in development plans for USF Polytechnic’s new campus at the intersection of Interstate 4 (I-4) and the Polk Parkway in Lakeland, Fla.

USF Polytechnic, Florida’s only polytechnic, focuses on hands-on learning and research in the applied arts and sciences, business and education. The new campus, which has been anticipated for almost a decade, will be an important landmark on the highly traveled I-4 corridor and help anchor economic development activity along Florida’s High Tech Corridor.


10 a.m. EST, Tuesday, June 16


Speakers during the live webcast include:

· Judy Genshaft, Ph.D., USF President

· Marshall Goodman, Ph.D., USFP Vice President and campus executive officer



In person: University of South Florida Polytechnic

3433 Winter Lake Road, LTB 2155

Lakeland, FL 33803

Parking is available directly across the street from LTB. For more information, visit


Tom Hagerty, USFP media relations coordinator
(O) 863.667.7077, (C) 863.286.9450


Lakeland Students Achieve On National, Standardized Testing

Ninety-three graduated seniors who attended Lakeland schools or are Lakeland residents were named 2009 Superintendent’s Scholars. Superintendent’s Scholars have a minimum grade point average of 3.75 and a score of 1270 (critical reading and math) or above on the SAT or a 28 or better on the ACT.

The Superintendent’s Scholars program is in its 21st year and is coordinated by the Polk Education Foundation.

Superintendent’s Scholars attending Lakeland schools or are from Lakeland are listed with their school:

Bartow High: Cassidy Lancaster, Cory Smith.

Bartow International Baccalaureate: Melissa Adams, Robin Clark, John Erwin, Samantha Espinosa, Andrea Farinas, Carlene Fogle-Miller, Margaret Frates, Jessica Gonzalez, Lauren Hughes, Suma Metla, Joshua Newell, Shivani Patel, Christine Tallo, Amith Umesh, Samuel White.

George Jenkins High: Cayley Abrado, Nicola Antonelli, Erika Bailey, Christina Campbell, Lindsay Castret, Katherine Childs, Jessica Dye, Kevin Freedman, Alexandria Greenhill, Jackson Hager, Harish Kotipoyina, Matthew Lauer, Nathalie Moyano, Jonathan Munoz, Rachel Patel, Janki Patel, Nasreen Sadeq, Allison Stewart, Tessa Syvertsen, Allison Thompson.

Harrison School for the Arts: Brooke Adams, Allison Bedford, Emily Boyer, Bryce Bresnan, Tyler Campbell, Alejandro Garcia, Meagan Johnson, Christopher Kline, Grace McMullen, Eric Obermeyer, Kathryn Phillips, Jennifer Russell, Joshua Schell, Jamie Steinberg, Garrett Williams, Olivia Williams, George Williford.

Kathleen High: Jeremy Williams

Lake Gibson High: Wade Carreno, Tylor Earl, Katelynn Harrell, Andrew M. Miller, Gage Mueller, Phillip Roddenberry.

Lake Region High: Jessica Moore.

Lakeland High: Allison Calahan, Kyle Champeau, Eddie Chirino, Anna Edwards, Stephen Franzen, Nathan Gates, Erin Goding, Andrew Joyner, Jaren Kerber, Alexandra Lewis, Carrie McNeill, Megan Petrie, Victoria Shannon, Victoria Sheets, Gilbert Thomas, Rachel Van Middlesworth, Cori Wells, Katie Wellslager, Kyle Wise.

McKeel Academy: Laura Newberry, Jessica Poulsen.

PCC High: Adam Bracewell, Kevin Bryan, Aaron Cassity, Shiloh Hodges, Hannah Hodges, Krysta Ledford, Katelyn Ruppert, Caity Strickland.

Summerlin Academy: Heather Weaver.


How They Voted: FL Chamber’s 2009 Legislative Session Overview

The Florida Chamber released its annual Legislative Overview with the following highlights:

  • Results of the Florida Chamber’s legislative agenda: a summary of business issues addressed during the 2009 session,
  • The Florida Chamber’s annual Legislative Report Card: providing members transparency on how their legislators voted on important issues,
  • The Florida Chamber’s selection of Distinguished Advocates: legislators who took a strong stand for the Florida Chamber this session, and
  • Announcement of the Florida Chamber’s Most Valuable Legislator of the Year Award: Senator Garrett Richter.


You can view it here: How They Voted: The Florida Chamber’s Overview of the 2009 Legislative Session


Florida Chamber Bill Causes Direct Decrease in Workers’ Comp Rates

Today, due to the advocacy of Florida Chamber members, the Florida Insurance Commissioner approved a rate decrease on workers’ compensation insurance rates, which will immediately save Florida’s businesses $172 million in insurance premiums. This is a direct result of the passage of HB 903, a priority of the Florida Chamber during the 2009 Session, and is a significant victory in the fight to keep costs low for employers and small businesses.

This victory would not have been possible without the thousands of calls, emails and in-person meetings made by members of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. Your overwhelming response to our grassroots calls to action made the difference in getting HB 903 passed, signed by the Governor and now put into cost-saving application by the Insurance Commissioner.

The Florida Chamber of Commerce applauds Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty for his quick action to reduce workers compensation rates for Florida’s employers and small business owners.

In his statement today, Commissioner McCarty noted the important cost savings to Florida’s employers, saying:

“I am pleased that Gov. Crist and the Florida Legislature recognized the importance of keeping our workers’ compensation rates down. I believe that injured workers still will have appropriate access to the legal system while also still keeping workers’ compensation rates affordable for employers.”

In Case You Missed It: In The News

Miami Herald: Today, June 3, 2009 – Fla Workers’ Comp Rate Increase Rolled Back

McCarty’s quick action drew praise from David Daniel, vice president of governmental affairs for the Florida Chamber of Commerce. ‘Simply capping the fees paid to plaintiffs’ trial lawyers has directly led to immediate savings for the businesses and employers that are creating jobs to put Floridians back to work,” Daniel said, noting the state’s 9.6 percent jobless rate.’ “

Orlando Sentinel: Friday, May 29, 2009 – Governor Crist Signs Workers’ Comp Bill

“Gov. Charlie Crist has signed a contentious workers’ compensation bill, HB 903, and was earning thanks from the Capitol’s powerful business lobby even before the official bill-signing was announced.

Again, this success would not have been possible without the grassroots support of members such as you. The Florida Chamber will continue to fight against additional burdens in our mission to drive Florida toward the successful, innovative economy of tomorrow.

Please visit for additional updates and analysis of the 2009 legislative session.
My best,

Mark Wilson
President and CEO
Florida Chamber of Commerce


Governor Crist Signs HB 903 into Law, Saving Florida Employers Million in Workers’ Compensation Costs

Friday, Governor Charlie Crist signed HB 903 into state law, saving Florida employers millions in workers’ compensation costs. This victory for Florida’s employers was possible thanks to your thousands of calls, emails, and in-person meetings with your legislators during session.  Your grassroots efforts to urge Gov. Crist to sign the bill into law made the difference.

The Florida Chamber applauds the Governor and the Florida Legislature on the passage of this Florida Business Agenda priority.  With unemployment in Florida at 9.6%, Florida’s employers need these resources to hire more employees and assist them in transitioning through these tough economic times.  This legislation ensures injured workers receive more in benefits than plaintiffs’ trial lawyers do in fees. The Florida Chamber, working with the support of our local chamber and statewide partners, fought for the passage of this bill throughout session.

The signing of this critical legislation is a victory for Florida’s employers, especially small businesses, who cannot afford higher costs while facing many other financial challenges.  The legislation was aggressively opposed by the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers.