RC- Citrus Connection

The Lakeland Chamber was thrilled to participate in the Ribbon Cutting at the Citrus Connection Bus Terminal on South Florida Ave. CC unveiled new bus ticket vending machines at the bus terminal itself. Before if you wanted to ride the bus you would have to go out to the main office to purchase your tickets or you could purchase them through the mail which would take some preplanning. Now the bus riders have the availability to purchase bus passes right at the terminal creating a convenience for riders.

RC - Citrus Connection

RC- CC Vending Machine

In this day of high gas prices, this added convenience will certainly lead to an increase in riders and hopefully fewer cars on the road. The Citrus Connection does a great job providing an superb bus system. Though how effective do you think it is. I read a interesting and a bit politically incorrect post on the CEOs for Cities blog entitled "Will it Draw Hot Chicks" , I will let you read it and find out what that’s all about. Please let me know your thoughts, and comment here.


oneSMARTlakeland & CEOs for Cities

In 2007 the Lakeland Chamber engaged in a Key Strategic Initiative (KSI) to make Lakeland a place that engages the Creative Class; a place where both young and old can thrive and be attracted to stay our urban corner of the world. So a mission was established, that could guide this new concept.

That mission:

"Enabling collaboration to encourage connectivity and integrate technology for the transformation of our community"

The concept, a ‘smart community’

  • Defined by http://www.smartcommunities.org/ is a community that has made a conscious effort to use information technology to transform life and work within its region in significant and fundamental rather than incremental ways. The goal of such an effort is more than the mere deployment of technology. Rather it is about preparing one’s community to meet the challenges of a global, knowledge economy.


  • Defined by the strategy group as "a community with a vision of the future that involves the use of information and communication technologies in new and innovative ways to empower its residents, institutions, and region as a whole" and defined in process by "Transforming life and work to meet the challenges of the new millennium."

This concept was introduced by Chamber Board Member & Vice President/CEO of USF Polytechnic, Dr. Marshall Goodman at the September 2006 Chamber retreat, in an effort to enable the Board to understand and engage the gravity of the challenges & effects of the global economy.


So with this basis the KSI members engaged in a process to effectively brand the idea, so people could grasp this concept. This was accomplished with the help of Kingston Partners and the final product being:



With a commitment by Chamber President Kathleen Munson and Board Vice Chair Anu Saxena of ASC Geosciences, the Chamber joined a leading organization in the development of these smart communities: CEOs for Cities.



Lakeland was the second city in Florida to join the organization, which showed the progressiveness of the decision. Currently Lakeland is 1 of 3 cities in Florida (Tampa and Miami being the other two) to have organizations join this group; and 1 of only 43 cities nationwide. Not only has the Chamber joined this initiative, but the esteemed Lakeland EDC has also joined the cause.


At this point, I am sure your interested in why I am telling you all of this. Here is the exciting part…The Chamber in cooperation with  LEDCs High Skill Initiative are thrilled to announce that CEOs for Cities President, Carol Coletta, will be speaking at The Chamber’s Annual Board Retreat; in a presentation entitled "Transforming Lakeland’s DNA".  These are exciting times for Lakeland, and I hope that our Board will listen and engage in what Ms. Coletta has to tell us.


Get out and Vote


The Primary Election are being held today Tuesday, August 26th, so don’t forget to head to the polls.  For more information on polling locations, please visit http://www.polkelections.com/content.asp?c=32&event_id=30

As a reminder, BusinessVoice, Inc. has endorsed the following candidates who will appear on tomorrow’s ballot:

Phillip Walker – State Representative District 64

Mike Horner – State Representative District 79

Bob English – Polk County Commission District 1

John Shamp – Polk County Commission District 3

Sam Johnson – Polk County Commission District 5

Brenda Reddout – Polk County School Board District 4

Marsha Faux – Polk County Property Appraiser

BusinessVoice, Inc. was created as an organization to support pro-business political candidates and to promote issues which impact the business community.  BusinessVoice, Inc. works to serve as an endorsement board for those individuals who personify the objectives of the business community.

For more information call the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce at 863/688-8551, ext. 241 or e-mail alink@lakelandchamber.com.


Lakeland Chamber Presents the Entrepreneurial Academy

Enroll today for the 2008 Entrepreneurial Academy. Classes will run from September 3 through November 12, 2008. Classes are designed to offer essential information needed to start, run and grow a successful small business. The sessions are led by business professionals who are not only leaders in their industry, but also leaders in Lakeland.

The cost for the academy is $250. Upon successful graduation from the program, a $50 refund will be issued along with a $50 voucher towards a new Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce membership investment. Class members must attend eight of the 10 classes in order to be eligible for graduation and to receive the refund and the membership investment voucher. Classes will begin at 5:45 PM and end at 9:00 PM

Class members particularly appreciate the real world experience that our professionals bring to the classroom; all along recognizing that these teachers are not only successful business people but they are leaders in our community.

Class size is limited and your payment will ensure your reservation. Please call the Chamber at 688-8551 ext. 228 for more information or email cmurphy@lakelandchamber.com.