Forbes Again Names Ocala to the Top 10 Metros For Future Job Growth

Posted on: October 30, 2017

Ocala has again been named one of the Top 10 Metros for Future Job Growth by Forbes magazine based on research from Moody’s Analytics. This marks the fifth consecutive time the Ocala MSA has made this list. In fact Ocala is the only city in Florida to have made the list five years in a row. 

The Job Growth Rate in the Ocala MSA for the next two years is expected to be more than double the US average.

In the 2017 edition, the Ocala MSA ranks 8th. Other notable MSAs to make the list include Orlando, Jacksonville, and Raleigh.

CEP Offices Closed

Posted on: November 17, 2017

The CEP offices will be closed for Thanksgiving Thursday, Nov. 23 and Friday, Nov. 24 

CEP Offices Closed

Posted on: November 09, 2017

The CEP offices will be closed Friday, Nov. 10th in honor of Veterans Day. We will resume normal business hours on Monday, Nov. 13th.

SBA Extends Physical Damage Applications Deadline to Nov. 24

Posted on: November 06, 2017

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has extended the deadline to apply for physical disaster damages in Florida. Businesses and individuals with physical damages caused by Hurricane Irma should apply for SBA low-interest disaster loan before the Nov. 24, 2017 deadline.

“Currently, 8,474 disaster loans have been approved in the amount of $308,838,300 for affected survivors.  The SBA encourages anyone who has not applied to take action right away.  Our mission is to help businesses and residents rebuild and resume their normal lives as quickly as possible,” said Frank Skaggs, director of SBA’s Field Operations Center East in Atlanta.

The disaster declaration covers the counties of Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Collier, Columbia, DeSoto, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Gilchrist, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lafayette, Lake, Lee, Levy, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Nassau, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, Saint Johns, Saint Lucie, Sumter, Suwannee, Union, and Volusia in Florida which are eligible for both Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the SBA.  Small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations in the following adjacent counties are eligible to apply only for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans: Hamilton, Madison and Taylor in Florida; Camden, Charlton, Clinch, Echols and Ware in Georgia.

SBA disaster loans are available to businesses of all sizes, most private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters to cover uninsured losses from the disaster.  Interest rates are as low as 3.305 percent for businesses, 2.5 percent for private nonprofit organizations, and 1.75 percent for homeowners and renters.  Loan terms can be up to 30 years.

Economic injury disaster loans are also available to provide disaster related working capital to small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations.  These working capital loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred. 

To be considered for all forms of disaster assistance, applicants should register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or download the FEMA mobile app.  If online or mobile access is unavailable, applicants should call the FEMA toll-free helpline at 800-621-3362. Those who use 
711-Relay or Video Relay Services should call 800-621-3362.

Additional information on recovery centers and the disaster loan program may be obtained by calling SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.  Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.  Loan applications can be downloaded from www.sba.gov.  Completed applications should be returned to a recovery center or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.  For more information about SBA recovery assistance, visit www.sba.gov/disaster.

The filing deadline to submit applications for physical property damage is Nov. 24, 2017. The deadline for economic injury applications is June 11, 2018.

Join Us For a Real Life "Shark Tank"

Posted on: November 06, 2017

click here for more information!

City of Ocala Holiday Closures- Veterans Day, Friday, November 10

Posted on: October 30, 2017

OCALA, Fla. (Oct. 30, 2017) – City of Ocala business offices will be closed Friday, Nov. 10 in observance of Veterans Day. There will be no residential collection for sanitation, yard waste or recycling routes Friday, Nov. 10.

Residential collection will take place Monday, Nov. 6 through Thursday, Nov. 9 as regularly scheduled. Waste Pro recycling collection for City of Ocala residents will also take place Monday, Nov. 6 through Thursday, Nov. 9 as regularly scheduled.

For more information, please contact the City of Ocala Residential Sanitation Department at 352-351-6697 or visit www.ocalafl.org.

Mestizo Foods Selects Ocala

Posted on: October 12, 2017

The Ocala/ Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership is pleased to announce Mestizo Foods, LLC is locating its headquarters and primary manufacturing in Ocala. The company expects to make a $20 million capital investment in the area, creating approximately 200 new, full time jobs.

“We are excited that Mestizo Foods chose to locate its headquarters in Marion County,” said Carl Zalak, Chair of the Marion County Board of County Commissioners. “Our economic momentum continues driving ahead as we see more opportunities for residents to work, succeed and thrive in our community.”

“It took a collaborative effort with the City of Ocala, Marion County, and the CEP to make things happen,” said Brent Malever, Ocala City Council President. “We want to welcome and continue to be an attractive city for new businesses.

“Mestizo Foods decision to locate its headquarters in Marion County is a direct reflection of the strength of Ocala’s pro-business community,” said Ken Ausley, Chairman of the CEP Board of Trustees. This sends a strong message to new companies about Ocala’s assets, opportunities, and how a partnership with the CEP is key.”  

The company is a private label and third party snack food manufacturer that offers a variety of cooked corn and masa flour chips. It has purchased former Golden Flake factory located on Silver Springs Boulevard.

To learn more about Mestizo Foods, LLC visit their website at www.mestizofoods.com.

The Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership was created to be a one-stop hub for the community’s business attraction, creation and retention efforts. The CEP’s mission is to be THE catalyst for a prosperous community. The Moving Forward plan seeks to impact the creation of 4500 new jobs with wages 15% above the county average and resulting in a capital investment of $400 million by 2022. 

For more information, visit:  www.OcalaCEP.com

City of Ocala Hurricane Debris Collection Update

Posted on: October 05, 2017

City of Ocala Hurricane debris Collection Update

The City of Ocala and its FEMA-approved debris management contractor, Crowder-Gulf, are continuing to collect hurricane debris in all four quadrants of the City limits following Hurricane Irma. The first of three anticipated passes for hurricane debris collection began Monday, Sept. 18 and is expected to be completed by Monday, Oct. 9, weather permitting. The second pass for hurricane debris collection is expected to begin immediately following completion of the first pass and should be completed in approximately three weeks, with the possible exception of private roads and commercial properties, such as businesses, churches and apartment complexes, which may take longer.

“We have every indication that Hurricane Irma was as large, if not a larger event,  as far as hurricane debris and downed trees, than the storms we experienced in 2004,” said Ken Whitehead, Assistant City Manager, City of Ocala. “The southeast and northeast quadrants of the City were hit especially hard. The City estimates that approximately 150,000 cubic yards of hurricane debris will need to be collected, processed and disposed of following this hurricane. By comparison, 150,000 cubic yards of hurricane debris could cover an entire football field about 30-feet high.”

Crowder-Gulf and City of Ocala Public Works crews are working approximately 10-12 hours a day, seven days a week to assist the City with hurricane debris collection. The City of Ocala and Crowder-Gulf are not permitted to go onto private property to cut or remove hurricane debris, damaged, uprooted or fallen trees. In addition, crews will not be able to collect any hurricane debris that is not within the right of way, or is not within reach of the clamshell collection trucks from the public right-of-way.

Residents are asked to separate hurricane debris into three separate piles as listed below. Hurricane debris should not be placed in any containers or bags and the streets should be clear and open to traffic.

• Vegetative debris
• Construction and demolition debris (carpet, furniture, roof shingles, etc.)
• Electrical appliances

Hurricane debris should not be placed directly under low hanging power and utility lines. Additionally, hurricane debris piles should be stacked at least five feet away from the following:

• Fire hydrants
• Utility poles, light poles and communication pedestals
• Low hanging power/utility lines
• Water meters and gas meters
• Electrical transformers
• Mail boxes
• Signage
• Vehicles
• Storm culverts
• Fences

Residential properties that have hurricane debris awaiting pick up should not commingle their regular yard waste with hurricane debris. Normal yard waste collection resumed Monday, Sept. 18 for residential properties within the City limits that are clear of hurricane debris and are generating normal yard waste.

Private tree contractors are permitted to cut fallen trees damaged from Hurricane Irma from private property and move that hurricane debris to the edge of the road for collection. However, property owners should be vigilant and make sure they are not charged by their contractor for disposal since it will be collected by the City or their debris management contractor. According to City officials, large tree stumps and tree trunks will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis at a later date as equipment is available.

All hurricane debris collected within the City limits will be processed at a City-owned property located on SW 38th Street just west of the Ocala International Airport or at the City of Ocala Municipal Services Complex located at 1805 NE 30th Ave. After being processed, hurricane debris will be ground and placed into a landfill at the City’s contracted yard waste disposal site, Friends Recycling, located at 2350 NW 27th Ave.

For FEMA reimbursement purposes, residents and private contractors are not permitted by FEMA or the City of Ocala to take their hurricane debris to Friends Recycling. If residents or anyone other than the City’s hurricane debris management contractor takes their hurricane debris to Friends Recycling or another facility, it is at their expense and they will not be reimbursed. 

For more information, please contact the City of Ocala at 352-629-2489.

Construction is Underway for the City's Osceola Trak Project

Posted on: October 05, 2017

Construction has begun on the City of Ocala’s Osceola Trak project. Monday, Oct. 2, Ocala Electric Utility, along with contractor Mid-State Electric, began underground electrical conduit installation for construction of the Osceola Trak, which will occur along a portion of Osceola Avenue between State Road 40 and NE Fifth Street. The Osceola Trak project is expected to be completed by December 2018. 

The Osceola Trak is an 11-foot wide multi-modal concrete trail along the west side of Osceola Avenue, which will ultimately connect the Ocala Downtown Market, located at the corner of SE Third Street and SE Third Avenue, and Citizens’ Circle, 151 SE Osceola Ave., to the Tuscawilla Art Park, 223 NE Fifth Street. The Osceola Trak will also include improvements such as decorative lighting, a signalized pedestrian crossing on State Road 40, new asphalt and brick pattern crosswalks.

Temporary, intermittent lane and road closures are expected to be in place throughout construction. All necessary devices will be in place to re-direct traffic during these closures. Media and the public will be notified of these lane and road closures in advance.

Construction for this project will not take place on any City-recognized holidays and will be limited to weekdays only. During construction, travelers and visitors in downtown Ocala may experience noise, dust and heavy equipment within the project area. 

For more information, please contact the City Engineer’s Office, Capital Projects Division at 352-629-8419.

SBA aprueba más de $5 millónes en préstamos por desastre en Florida

Posted on: September 29, 2017

SBA aprueba más de $5 millónes en préstamos por desastre en Florida;
Se incitan a los negocios, organizaciones privadas sin fines de lucro, propietarios e inquilinos a solicitar.

Más de $5 millónes en préstamos por desastre han sido aprobados por la Agencia Federal para el Desarrollo de la Pequeña Empresa (SBA por sus siglas en inglés) para los negocios  y los residentes afectados por el Huracán Irma que comenzó el 4 de setiembre de 2017 en Florida.

La declaración de desastre cubre los condados de Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Collier, Columbia, DeSoto, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Gilchrist, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lafayette, Lake, Lee, Levy, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Nassau, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola,      Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, Saint Johns, Saint Lucie, Sumter, Suwannee, Union y Volusia en Florida que son elegibles para los Préstamos por Desastre para Pérdidas Económicas y los Préstamos por Daños Físicos de la SBA.Las pequeñas empresas y la mayoría de las organizaciones sin fines de lucro en los condados adyacentes pueden solicitar préstamos por Desastre para Pérdidas Económicas de la SBA: Hamilton, Madison y Taylor en Florida; Camden, Charlton, Clinch, Echols yWare in Georgia.

Los préstamos por desastre de SBA están disponibles para empresas de todos los tamaños, la mayoría de organizaciones privadas sin fines de lucro, propietarios e inquilinos para cubrir las pérdidas no aseguradas por el desastre. Las tasas de interés son tan bajas como 3.305 por ciento para negocios, 2.5 por ciento para organizaciones privadas sin fines de lucro, y 1.750 por ciento para propietarios e inquilinos. Los términos del préstamo puede ser de hasta 30 años.

Para ser considerado para todas formas de asistencia por desastre, los sobrevivientes deben inscribirse en www.DisasterAssistance.gov o en el ap móvil de FEMA. Si el acceso en línea o móvil no está disponible, los solicitantes deben llamar a la línea de ayuda gratuita de la Agencia Federal para el Manejo de Emergencias (FEMA, por sus siglas en inglés)  a 800-621-3362.  Los solicitantes que usan 711 o Servicio de Retransmisión de Video (Video Relay Service, VRS) deben llamar al 800-621-3362 para inscribirse. Las personas sordas que usan TTY pueden llamar 800-462-7585.

SBA Approves $5 Million in Disaster loans in Florida

Posted on: September 29, 2017

SBA Approves Over $5 Million Disaster Loans in Florida; Businesses, Nonprofits, Homeowners and Renters Are Encouraged to Apply

The U.S. Small Business Administration announced that over $5 million in low-interest disaster loans have been approved for Florida businesses and residents affected by Hurricane Irma that began on Sept. 4, 2017 in Florida.

The disaster declaration covers the counties of Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Collier, Columbia, DeSoto, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Gilchrist, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lafayette, Lake, Lee, Levy, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Nassau, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, Saint Johns, Saint Lucie, Sumter, Suwannee, Union, and Volusia in Florida which are eligible for both Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the SBA.  Small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations in the following adjacent counties are eligible to apply only for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans: Hamilton, Madison and Taylor in Florida; Camden, Charlton, Clinch, Echols and Ware in Georgia.

SBA disaster loans are available to businesses of all sizes, most private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters to cover uninsured losses from the disaster.  Interest rates are as low as 3.305 percent for businesses, 2.5 percent for private nonprofit organizations, and 1.75 percent for homeowners and renters.  Loan terms can be up to 30 years.

To be considered for all forms of disaster assistance, applicants should register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or on the FEMA mobile App.  If online or mobile access is unavailable, applicants should call the FEMA toll-free helpline at 800-621-3362.  Those who use 711or Video Relay Services may also call 800-621-3362. People who use TTY may call 800-462-7585.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.  Disaster loan information and application forms may also be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

Loan applications can be downloaded from www.sba.gov/disaster   Completed applications can be returned to a recovery center or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

The filing deadline to submit applications for physical property damage is Nov. 9, 2017. The deadline for economic injury applications is June 11, 2018.

CITY OF OCALA TO PERFORM WATER MAIN MAINTENANCE MONDAY, OCT. 2

Posted on: September 29, 2017

From the City of Ocala

CITY OF OCALA TO PERFORM WATER MAIN MAINTENANCE MONDAY, OCT. 2

The City of Ocala Water Resources Department will perform water main maintenance Monday, Oct. 2. This project is expected to be completed by 5 p.m. the same day.
Due to construction, SE Third Street, between SE Tuscawilla Avenue and SE Sanchez Avenue, will be closed Monday, Oct. 2 from 7 a.m. to 5 pm. During construction for this project, there may be slow traffic patterns, dust and noise around the area. All necessary devices will be in place to re-direct traffic.
City of Ocala Water customers located on SE Third Street, between SE Tuscawilla Avenue and SE 10th Avenue, as well as those along the 800 block of SE Second Street, should anticipate having lower water pressure during this time. Residents have been notified in advance of this via door hangers placed by the City of Ocala Water Resources Department.
For more information, please contact Water Resources Department, Central Lines Division at 352-351-6772.
 

Equine 101 SOLD OUT!

Posted on: September 28, 2017

The Equine 101 event at Tack Shack of Ocala on October 10th at 3PM has SOLD OUT!

Watch for more Equine 101 opportunities this winter! In the meantime find the latest equine information at TheHorseCapital.com

Equine 101 New Date Announced Today

Posted on: September 25, 2017

 

REGISTER HERE

Cardinal LG Announces Plans for Second Ocala Manufacturing Facility

Posted on: September 19, 2017

The Ocala/ Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership announced today that Cardinal LG, the nation’s leading developer in laminated glass, is expanding operations in Ocala. The expansion will result in more than 50 new, high–wage jobs, and a capital investment of $38 million.

“We are excited about the Cardinal LG expansion. This expansion is great news for Marion County. This project means more jobs, investment and momentum to our community and we couldn’t be more excited about the future,” said Carl Zalak, Chair of the Marion County Board of County Commissioners.

“On behalf of the Ocala City Council, we are incredibly excited about the expansion of Cardinal LG. In addition to creating more than 50 jobs, this is another great investment to keep Ocala moving forward,” said Brent Malever, Ocala City Council President.

The new state-of-the–art building will be located across the street from the current facility on a proposed 40 acre site. The 300,000 square foot building is expected to begin construction in the fall of 2017.

“This is another example of how The Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership works hard to help local companies grow. This expansion is a necessary part of ensuring for the longer term that we can continue to create high quality jobs in Ocala,” said Ken Ausley, Chairman of the CEP Board of Trustees.

Currently, the company employs more than 400 employees in Marion County, and is expected to begin hiring for the new location in late 2018.

Get Out to Vote!

Posted on: September 18, 2017

City of Ocala General Election
Tomorrow! September 19, 2017
Polls are open: 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

CEP is asking businesses to let your voice be heard. As a business community, your voices count toward affecting the policies enacted into law by our elected officials.
If you live in the City of Ocala we ask you to go to the polls tomorrow and exercise your right to vote. We also ask you to encourage your employees and others who reside in the City of Ocala to participate in the process!

Candidate Information
There are two offices up for election: Mayor and City Council District 5. Below are links to the candidates' Facebook pages so that you may find out more information about each candidate.
Mayor
Kent Guinn
Catherine G. Zimmer

City Council District 5
Justin Grabelle
James P. Hilty, Sr.

It's Your Voice.
It's Your Vote.
Be Heard.

For sample ballots or to find your polling location visit www.VoteMarion.com

*Identification at the polls
To vote at an Early Voting site or at a polling place on Election Day, voters are required to present current and valid photo and signature identification. Two forms of identification may be presented if one form contains the voter's photo and the other form contains the voter's signature. (F.S. 101.043, 101.048)

Relief for Businesses & Residents Post Hurricane Irma

Posted on: September 14, 2017

The President declared a major disaster for Marion County on September 4. We encourage those affected by the storm to use this information in your recovery from Hurricane Irma:

FEMA: https://www.fema.gov/apply-assistance 1-800-621-3362
MARIONhttp://www.marionso.com/emergency-management/ 352-732-8181
FLORIDA DISASTERhttp://floridadisaster.org/info/
FLORIDA EMERGENCY INFORMATION LINE 1-800-342-3557

BUSINESS DAMAGE:
If you represent a small business that was affected by Hurricane Irma, you may apply for a SBA Physical Disaster Loan

SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION: https://www.sba.gov 1-800-659-2955 

Emergency contacts for questions or problems related to Hurricane Irma:

FLORIDA HOTLINE: 850-410-1403 

FLORIDA VIRTUAL BUSINESS EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER: www.flvbeoc.org

INDIVIDUAL ASSISTANCE:
If you are an individual that was affected by hurricane Irma you may apply for disaster relief

DISASTER ASSISTANCE: https://www.disasterassistance.gov/

APPLY BY PHONE: 1- 800 621-3362; 1 -800 462-7585 (TTY) for people with
speech or hearing disabilities.

DISASTER UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE: http://www.floridajobs.org/ 1-800-385-3920

THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES: 1-877-693-5236, Monday - Friday 8 AM- 5 PM
Speak directly with individuals who can help you review and understand your coverage, help you file claims for damage and offer assistance if you are having trouble communicating with your insurance company.

Post Hurricane Irma Survey

Posted on: September 12, 2017

Your Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership wants to help partners recoup and get back to business as soon as possible.

In order to accomplish this plan, please complete this survey immediately after a disaster has occurred. This survey will allow us to know the status of your business so that we can pass the information along to those who inquire.

Post Irma Resources

Posted on: September 12, 2017

CEP is open and diligently working to address the needs of our Marion County business community

Please see below for more information on support for businesses after the storm.

City of Ocala | Marion County

SERT Florida Disaster

Information about hurricanes threatening Florida can be found here.

Florida’s Source for Traffic Info: Florida511

Price Gouging Hotline: (866)-9-NO-SCAM

If your business has been affected by Hurricane Irma we encourage you to take the Business Damage Assessment. This survey assists the state of Florida with determining if relief services for businesses should be activated.

National Resources:

American Red Cross

Federal Emergency Management Agency

National Hurricane Center Information

The CEP offices are open today Tuesday, September 12

Posted on: September 12, 2017

The CEP offices are opened today, September 12 for normal business hours 9 a.m - 4 p.m. We will be posting information for our recovering businesses throughout the day. Please call us if we can assist - 352.629.8051

Hurricane Irma Closure

Posted on: September 08, 2017

Due to Hurricane Irma, the Ocala/ Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership will be closed on Monday, September, 11, 2017.

Equine 101 SOLD OUT!

Posted on: September 06, 2017

The Equine 101 event at Tack Shack of Ocala on September 14th at 3PM has SOLD OUT!

Watch for additional Equine 101 opportunities this fall.

Orangetheory Fitness Founder to Speak in Ocala

Posted on: August 30, 2017

Ocala, Florida (August 30, 2017) – Ellen Latham, M.S., founder of Boca Raton-based Orangetheory Fitness, will headline the Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership’s November breakfast in recognition of Global Entrepreneurship Week.

Latham, the entrepreneur behind the fastest-growing woman owned/led company in the U.S., began a Pilates studio from a spare bedroom in her home near Ft. Lauderdale. She then created a science-based exercise regimen known as “The Ultimate Workout”, which became the foundation for the first Orangetheory Fitness studio in 2010. Just 7 years later, the company now has nearly 700 locations in 45 states and 10 countries.

Speaking on her upcoming visit to Ocala, Latham commented, “I look forward to leading the audience through my journey of creating the Orangetheory Fitness workout. I’ll focus on the techniques I used to overcome challenges, how to direct your focus for huge success and how to harness the power of believing in yourself.”

Latham’s speech in Ocala comes-after past Global Entrepreneurship Week speakers including the founder of ESPN and one of the original “sharks” from the ABC television show Shark Tank. Speaking on this year’s event, Ryan Lilly, Vice President of Business Creation for the CEP said, “We are so excited to have Ellen come to Ocala to tell this amazing story and inspire us all. We are also incredibly grateful to our event sponsors, Neighborhood Storage and Webster University, for making this special occasion possible year-after-year.”

Latham’s keynote, entitled “3 Keys To Living Your All Out Life”, will take place on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 at 8am at the Marion County Extension Auditorium in Ocala. The cost is $10 for CEP Partners and $20 for the General Public. Breakfast is included. Seating is limited and guests must RSVP by visiting www.tinyurl.com/EllenOcala or by calling 352-629-8051. An author signing of Ellen’s bestselling book Push will occur immediately following her talk, and books will also be available for purchase.

The Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership was created to be a one-stop hub for the community’s business attraction, creation and retention efforts. The CEP’s mission is to be the catalyst for a prosperous community. Its Moving Forward-Phase II plan seeks to impact the creation of 4,500 new jobs with wages 15 percent above the county average and resulting in a capital investment of $400 million by 2021. Visit www.OcalaCEP.com for more information

For more information on Ellen Latham, M.S. visit www.ellenlatham.com

For more information on the CEP & local resources for entrepreneurs visit www.OcalaCEP.com

Contact Ryan Lilly at 352-629-8051 x 125 or Ryan@OcalaCEP.com.

 

Four Ocala Businesses on 2017 Inc.5000 List

Posted on: August 25, 2017

The Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership are pleased to recognize four businesses which have been named to the Inc. Magazine’s Annual Inc. 5000 ranking. The Ocala MSA is now home to four businesses that rank among the 5000 fastest- growing U.S. companies, which is one more than the previous year.

This year's Inc. 5000 includes two businesses from the Ocala area that have never been on the list the other two made last year’s list. This year, Inc. also acknowledged companies that made the list at least five times. Among the four Marion County businesses, Platinum Advisor Strategies is the longest-running, making the list for the 5th year. The following lists the four local businesses and their three-year percentage growth:

• MzeroA.com–1,875 percent
• Velocity Advisory Group–823 percent
• Raney’s Inc.– 239 percent
• Platinum Advisor Strategies– 44 percent

The 2017 annual Inc. 5000 list highlights independent small and midsized businesses in America. It delivers a distinctive perspective of the U.S. markets most successful businesses. A ranking on this prestigious list has become associated with entrepreneurial success. This year has the most competitive crop in the list’s history. According to Inc. Magazine, the average company on the list achieved a three-year average growth of 481 percent. 

Inc. Magazine bases its rankings on three-year revenue growth. To qualify, the minimum revenue required for 2013 is $100,000; the minimum for 2016 is $2 million. Additionally, the list only considers companies that are independent, privately held, for-profit companies based in the U.S.

The magazine is holding an Inc. 5000 conference and gala for all the honorees in Palm Springs, California from Oct.10-12. Also, the businesses will be featured in Inc.’s September issue.

Earlier this summer, the CEP highlighted five companies which had been named to GrowFL’s Companies to Watch list. In addition to Raney’s and MzeroA, the following local companies were named by GrowFL as fast growing, privately owned businesses:

• Human Potential Healthcare Workforce Solutions, LLC
• Marion Precision Tool, Inc.
• Winco Mfg., LLC

Ryan Lilly, VP of Business Creation for the CEP, commented “We are excited to have this number of second-stage companies recognized by both Inc. and GrowFL. It proves once again that Marion County is a great place to start and grow a business.”

All of these companies will be recognized by the CEP during the annual Global Entrepreneurship Week celebration. The seven companies will be highlighted at the exCEPtional Mornings breakfast on November 15.

* * *

The Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership was created to be a one-stop hub for the community’s business attraction, creation and retention efforts. The CEP’s mission is to be THE catalyst for a prosperous community. The Moving Forward plan seeks to impact the creation of 3500 new jobs with wages 15% above the county average and resulting in a capital investment of $400 million by 2022. 

For more information, visit:  www.OcalaCEP.com

About Inc. Media
Founded in 1979 and acquired in 2005 by Mansueto Ventures, Inc. is the only major brand dedicated exclusively to owners and managers of growing private companies, with the aim to deliver real solutions for today's innovative company builders. Winner of the National Magazine Award for General Excellence in both 2014 and 2012. Total monthly audience reach for the brand has grown significantly from 2,000,000 in 2010 to over 18,000,000 today.  For more information, visit www.inc.com.
About GrowFL
GrowFL was created in 2009 by the Florida legislature as an economic development program focused on assisting second-stage growth companies prosper in the state of Florida.  By providing strategies, resources and support to second-stage companies for next level growth through Strategic Research, Peer Learning and Leadership

CEP Announces Two New Hires

Posted on: August 25, 2017

Ocala/ Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership (CEP), community is pleased to announce the addition of two new employees. Joe Reichel as Director of Main Street and Keren Sewell as Director of Communications. Reichel and Sewell join a talented team working to keep Marion County businesses moving forward. 

Reichel manages The Ocala Main Program Street and will work with existing small and medium businesses. He has lived in Ocala 21 years. He has been active in the community since 2010 and served four years as a co- chair of the CEP ambassador committee. As the Director of Ocala Main Street he will implement and run programs that focus on The Main Street Four Point Approach: Economic Vitality, Design, Promotion and Organization within the downtown area. His goal is getting companies engaged in the community and working with downtown businesses in an effort to see them thrive.

“I’m excited to work with everyone in our business community to create a vibrant and thriving downtown that’s inviting to all,” said Reichel.

Sewell assumes the lead role in communication efforts both within and outside the organization. While an undergraduate, she was elected as the president of UCF’s chapter of the National Association of Black Journalist. The biggest highlight of her career was interviewing with former first lady of Egypt Jehan Sadat. She comes to CEP with over 10 years of experience as a freelance journalist, and her main goal is to help CEP communicate mission initiatives.

“I would like to help the CEP continue to improve attraction for the community and businesses by creating a voice through different mediums,” said Sewell.

 

The Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership was created to be a one-stop hub for the community’s business attraction, creation and retention efforts. The CEP’s mission is to be THE catalyst for a prosperous community. The Moving Forward plan seeks to impact the creation of 4500 new jobs with wages 15% above the county average and resulting in a capital investment of $400 million by 2022.

Live2Lead Scheduled for October 6

Posted on: August 23, 2017

Live2Lead is a half-day leadership, and personal growth event. This simulcast event is an annual leadership gathering developed by The John Maxwell Company. For almost a decade, Live2Lead has shared leadership and personal growth principles to a live audience and over 300 simulcast locations around the world. Exclusively in Ocala, this program is FREE thanks to CEP partner Church of Hope. Register today!

Ocala Launching 1 Million Cups

Posted on: August 15, 2017

Media Contacts:
Ryan Lilly, Ocala/Marion County CEP – (352) 629-8051 x 125, ryan@ocalacep.com
Peggy Landon, Kauffman Foundation — (816) 932-1256, plandon@kauffman.org

Ocala to Launch 1 Million Cups
to Educate, Connect Local Entrepreneurs

Free, weekly program developed by the Kauffman Foundation
helps build startup communities nationwide

(OCALA, FL) Ocala soon will be the newest home of a national program to engage, educate and connect local entrepreneurs. 1 Million Cups — based on the notion that entrepreneurs network and discover solutions over a million cups of coffee — is a free, weekly gathering that helps to build startup communities on a grassroots level.

Beginning Wednesday, September 20, 2017, entrepreneurs, innovators, funders and other interested community members are invited to attend each Wednesday from 9:30am to 10:30 a.m. at the CEP’s Power Plant Business Incubator – 2nd Floor, located at 405 SE Osceola Ave. Ocala.

The program’s model is consistent in each city: Every Wednesday morning, two early-stage startups present their companies to an audience of mentors, advisers and other entrepreneurs. Each founder presents for six minutes, followed by a 20-minute question-and-answer session with the audience.

“Our group of local 1 Million Cups organizers are very excited about launching this program in Ocala,” said Ryan Lilly, Vice President of Business Creation for the Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership (CEP). “This is a great way for new entrepreneurs to get feedback on their business ideas in a supportive environment. We encourage people to not only attend this free event each week, but also to apply to speak via our website.”

View the national website at www.1millioncups.com and access the Ocala microsite at www.1millioncups.com/ocala

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation that aims to foster economic independence by advancing educational achievement and entrepreneurial success. Founded by late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman, the Foundation is based in Kansas City, Mo., and has approximately $2 billion in assets. Visit www.kauffman.org for more information.

The Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership was created to be a one-stop hub for the community’s business attraction, creation and retention efforts. The CEP’s mission is to be the catalyst for a prosperous community. Its Moving Forward-Phase II plan seeks to impact the creation of 4,500 new jobs with wages 15 percent above the county average and resulting in a capital investment of $400 million by 2021. Visit www.OcalaCEP.com for more information.

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Win A New Home!

Posted on: August 15, 2017

Port Manatee & Ocala Explore Commercial Opportunities

Posted on: August 01, 2017

From left: Marina Besadalombana, International Trade Hub; Tom James, director of networking and partner services, CEP; Carlos Buqueras, executive director, Port Manatee; Ryan Lilly, vice president of business creation, CEP; Louisa Barton, assistant director of business attraction and director of equine engagement, CEP;  and Ivan Mutis, International Trade Hub at Port Manatee.


Port Manatee, Ocala business leaders explore commercial opportunities


PALMETTO, Florida (August 1, 2017) – Port Manatee and Ocala business leaders are exploring commercial ties to bridge the 120 miles between the Central Florida Gulf Coast seaport and businesses of the Heart of Florida region.


The interest was sparked by a recent trip to Ocala by consultants from the International Trade Hub at Port Manatee and further fueled by a port visit Thursday [July 27], which included a tour of facilities at the port and trade hub.


“We were so pleased to have this tour and introductory visit with the team at Port Manatee,” said Ryan Lilly, vice president of business creation at the Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership. “While we knew about the port, we learned today just how major of a regional trade asset it has become, and also how valuable it is to cities and counties across Florida – including our own.


“In fact,” Lilly continued, “we have already identified several companies trading at the port which we plan on linking to businesses in Ocala. We are also encouraging businesses in our area to pursue trade opportunities at Port Manatee. Even if a local company is unsure of where to begin with importing or exporting, the team at Port Manatee is generously willing to help and well-equipped to do so.”


Port Manatee officials are equally enthusiastic.“Those of us at Port Manatee, including the International Trade Hub at Port Manatee, are delighted to have had the opportunity to host the Ocala delegation, and we look forward to working together in advancing mutually beneficial relationships,” said Vanessa Baugh, chairwoman of the Manatee County Port Authority. “We are impressed with what we heard from the Ocala officials regarding the business community and economic development efforts taking place less than two hours to our north and stand ready to develop closer ties for years to come.”


Carlos Buqueras, Port Manatee’s executive director, commented, “The trade hub is focused on international trade and has created an environment for Florida counties looking for support. When prospective clients need advice in global supply chain solutions, the trade hub is available to provide its market expertise.”


Since opening in 2014, the International Trade Hub at Port Manatee has played a vital role in expanding global connections for the port and Manatee County businesses. In recent months, the hub has been visited by business leaders from throughout Florida, as well as trade officials from Guatemala, Colombia, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic.Located “Where Tampa Bay Meets the Gulf of Mexico,” Port Manatee is the closest U.S. deepwater seaport to the expanded Panama Canal, with 10 40-foot-draft berths serving container, bulk, breakbulk, heavylift, project and general cargo customers. The port generates more than $2.3 billion in annual economic impact for the local community, while supporting more than 24,000 jobs, without levying ad-valorem taxes.


The Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership was created to be a one-stop hub for the community’s business attraction, creation and retention efforts. The CEP’s mission is to be the catalyst for a prosperous community. Its Moving Forward-Phase II plan seeks to impact the creation of 4,500 new jobs with wages 15 percent above the county average and resulting in a capital investment of $400 million by 2021.

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MEDIA CONTACTS:

Virginia Zimmermann
Senior Communications Manager, Port Manatee
Phone 941-721-2323
VZimmermann@PortManatee.com

Ryan Lilly
Vice President of Business Creation
Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership
Phone 352-629-8051, ext. 125
Ryan@OcalaCEP.com

USEF Selects HITS to Host 2018 and 2019 Nations Cup™ CSIO-5* in Ocala

Posted on: July 28, 2017

HITS, Inc., America’s leading horse show management company, is proud to announce that the USEF Board of Directors has again selected HITS to host the FEI Nations Cup Qualifier, which will be elevated to a CSIO-5*, in 2018 and 2019.  The Nations Cup Jumping series is equestrian sport’s oldest and most prestigious team challenge. Pending FEI confirmation, the 2018 Nations Cup CSIO-5* will be held Week V of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit, February 13-18.

“To host the Nations Cup for a fourth straight year is an enormous honor,” said Tom Struzzieri, HITS Founder and CEO. “To produce this event in the Horse Capital of the World demonstrates HITS' continuing commitment to offer premier horse sport in Ocala and Marion County. Now, with three years of experience, HITS is prepared to create an event that will be the flagship FEI Nations Cup event for the United States."

New to the 2018 and 2019 Nations Cup in Ocala will be a special Youth Nations Cup event for the Young Rider, Junior and Children’s age categories.  “We are especially excited about the opportunity to expand the Nations Cup to include sections for these age categories,” noted Struzzieri. “It is our top priority to utilize our venues to continually provide new opportunities to strengthen and develop our up-and-coming riders.”

Last year, the Nations Cup at HITS Ocala hosted seven teams: Canada, USA, Colombia, El Salvador, Ireland, Mexico, USA, and Venezuela. The City of Ocala and Marion County’s leaders and community welcomed the Competitors with an inaugural Parade of Nations which culminated in ‘Jump Downtown,’ a ceremony held in the Town Square to introduce the Teams to the community and kick-off Nations Cup Week in Ocala.

“Ocala has an eclectic mix of horse people who come out for this event and invite their horse-loving friends to join them. The love of horses connects us all, and that is what makes Ocala a unique location,” remarked Struzzieri. “We are already working with local councils and related groups to ensure that the next two Nations Cup events will be extraordinarily special for both the Exhibitors and the loyal Spectators of Marion County.”

In 2017, over 5,000 spectators packed the grandstand at HITS Post Time Farm, while a live webcast via FEI TV streamed around the world, as the seven Nations vied for Gold. The event has historically ranked among the highest in national and international media interest.

The HITS Ocala Winter Circuit will host 12 USEF-rated shows during the 2017-2018 season, with the Ocala Holiday Series running for two weeks, December 1-3 and 13-17, 2017, and the Ocala Winter Circuit running for 10 weeks, January 16 - March 25. The Circuit culminates with the Great American $1 Million Grand Prix on Sunday, March 25.

# # # #

For additional information contact: Susan@HITSShows.com

5 Marion Companies Named FL Companies to Watch

Posted on: July 19, 2017

                          

Marion County Companies among 50 recognized by GrowFL as 
2017 Florida Companies to Watch
— Entrepreneurial styles, corporate cultures give these second-stage companies competitive advantages—

 

Ocala, FL (July 19, 2017) — The Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership and GrowFL are pleased to announce that 5 Marion County companies are among the 50 statewide winners selected for the 2017 Florida Companies to Watch. These companies were selected from more than 500 nominees throughout Florida for the award, hosted by GrowFL, in association with the Edward Lowe Foundation. 

The winning company’s management team, competitive market position and strong community involvement were among several factors that put them in contention for the award.  

“These stand-out companies are all led by entrepreneurs, and have demonstrated their capacity and intent to grow,” said Dr. Tom O’Neal, executive director of the Florida Economic Gardening Institute and associate vice president for the University of Central Florida’s Office of Research and Commercialization. “They also all have critical intellectual property or a niche position that gives them a competitive edge in their markets,” he said.

“We are so proud of these 5 local companies, which are among the fastest-growing in the state. We are also excited that 10% of all honorees being recognized are from our local area – this says a great deal about the strength of our business community and the local economy,” said Kevin Sheilley, President & CEO of the Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership (CEP).

“To be honored as one of 50 Florida Companies to Watch is a huge deal for us here at MzeroA.com,” said Jason Schappert, CEO of Ocala-based MzeroA, which provides online flight instruction. “This means a lot to us, especially because we started here and continue to grow and innovate within the aviation industry.”

Below is the list of all the Florida Companies to Watch winners (Marion County companies are bolded and starred *****):

• 3D Digital
• A1A Solar Contracting, Inc
• AdRizer
• Amazing Explorers Academy
• Azure Water Company
• Big Top Brewing Company LLC
• Boys Electrical Contractors
• Captozyme Inc
• Clickbooth.com, LLC
• Cribb Philbeck Weaver Group
• Dixie Belle Paint Co
• Dougherty Manufacturing
• GenCare Resources
• Global ETS, LLC
• Global Safety Management
• Grimaldi Candy Company
Human Potential Healthcare Workforce Solutions, LLC   ***** (website)
• Hydra Engineering & Construction, LLC
• Hydro-Dyne Engineering
• Inspired Technologies
• iProcedures
• JAX Refrigeration, Inc.
• Jaycon Systems
• Just Ryt Foods, Inc
• K. Parks Consulting, Inc. (KPC)
• Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice
• Lightspeed Voice
• LiveTrends Design Group
• Lukos
• Madrid Engineering Group, Inc.
Marion Precision Tool, Inc   *****
• MICROJIG
• Mini Doughnut Factory
MzeroA.com ***** (website)
• Natural Vitamins Laboratory LLC
• PropLogix
Raneys Inc   ***** (website)
• REDCON Solutions Group, LLC.
• RedTeam Software
• SawStreet LLC
• Society+
• Sorensen Moving and Storage
• Spoleto My Italian Kitchen
• Stickboy Creative
• Up-Rev
• Verdex Construction
Winco Mfg., LLC   ***** (website)
• Xplor Inc
• Yachtico Inc.
• Zennergy LLC

“This is a strong group of companies that deserve this special recognition given annually to the state's top second stage companies,” said Dr. O’Neal.  Second-stage companies are defined as those with six to 150 full-time employees and between $750,000 and $100 million in annual revenue. There are many programs and incubators promoting start-up businesses; GrowFL is the only Florida program that focuses exclusively on second-stage companies.

The 50 companies named the 2017 Florida Companies to Watch generated a total of more than $1 billion in revenue and added more than 1,300 employees between 2012 and 2015.

Together, the companies project a 53 percent increase in revenue and 36 percent increase in job growth compared to 2016.

Companies named to the list will be officially recognized October 14, 2017 at the Starz Performing Arts Center in Tampa, FL. 

For more information, visit http://www.growfl.com/flctw17/about-flctw/


###


More About GrowFL:
GrowFL provides strategies, resources and support, including strategic research and peer-to-peer CEO mentoring and leadership development, to second-stage Florida companies.  Created by the Florida legislature in 2009 and grounded in the philosophy of Economic Gardening® —  growing existing businesses in a community, region or state — GrowFL is a critical component of the state’s economic development strategy and Florida’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.  GrowFL is certified by the National Center for Economic Gardening through the Edward Lowe Foundation.  Website: growfl.com

About the Edward Lowe Foundation:
Established in 1985, the Edward Lowe Foundation is a national, nonprofit organization that supports entrepreneurship through research, recognition and educational programs, which are delivered through entrepreneur support organizations (ESOs).  The foundation focuses on second-stage companies — those that have moved beyond the startup phase and seek significant, steady growth. In addition, the foundation has a second mission of land stewardship and is committed to preserving the natural resources and historically significant structures at Big Rock Valley, its 2,000-acre home in southwest Michigan.

About the CEP:
The Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership was created to be a one-stop hub for the community’s business attraction, creation and retention efforts. The CEP’s mission is to be THE catalyst for a prosperous community. The Moving Forward-Phase II plan seeks to impact the creation of 4500 new jobs with wages 15% above the county average and resulting in a capital investment of $400 million by 2021. www.OcalaCEP.com

Contact:
Ryan Lilly
Vice President of Business Creation
Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership (CEP)
352-629-8051 x 125
Ryan@OcalaCEP.com

Florida Crossroads Commerce Park First to Successfully Complete A.S.A.P. Review by JM MULLIS

Posted on: June 28, 2017

The Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership (CEP) announced today that the new Florida Crossroads Commerce Park has been successfully reviewed by J. M. Mullis, Inc.

The Florida Crossroads Commerce Park is a 900+/- acre parcel located in southern Marion County near the interchange of I-75 and SW County Road 484, a four-lane connector. The site was reviewed under J.M. Mullis, Inc.’s new Advanced Site Analysis and Planning (A.S.A.P.) program and represents the first site to successfully complete their extensive process.

“J.M. Mullis is confident that this planned major industrial park development will be highly successful. The quality of the physical property, access to a very viable and dependable workforce, a strong utility network, and a pro-business County are significant factors that will contribute to the success of the development," said J. Michael (Mike) Mullis, President & CEO of J. M. Mullis, Inc.

The site review process was a partnership between J. M. Mullis, Inc., the McGinley family (the property owners), SECO Energy, Marion County Board of County Commissioners, and the CEP.  SECO Energy CEO Jim Duncan stated, “As the third largest not-for-profit electric co-op in Florida, SECO Energy looks forward to expanding its existing substation off 484 to serve the large-load commercial and industrial customers that will occupy the property in the coming years. This robust economic growth will create jobs, increase the tax base and develop the area for future generations. SECO is proud to serve as the energy provider for such an important project.”

The ASAP Program is intended to evaluate community properties for potential development opportunities. This multi-faceted, hands-on approach assesses the merits of the physical site, the contributing infrastructure, the surrounding community and the jurisdictional authority. The Program focuses on those tangible components of a successful development in an effort to prepare the community and the site for future growth opportunities. The results of this Program will define the “path forward”; plotting the actions needed to successfully prepare the subject site for future development opportunities

“It is our strong belief that the Florida Crossroads Commerce Park will be the premier industrial location in the state of Florida,” said Ken Ausley, CEP Chairman of the Board. “There is not another site that offers such a strong combination of location, infrastructure, workforce, and community partnership. We greatly appreciate the professionalism of the entire J.M. Mullis team. It has been a great experience for us.”

# # #

Soft Skills Survey for MCPS

Posted on: June 20, 2017

The CEP and the business community are pleased to partner with Marion County Public Schools as we work together to evaluate and improve our Career & Technical Education (CTE) programs and provide a relevant education to our students. MCPS is looking to uniformly teach soft skills in elementary, middle, and high schools.  The desired outcome is to produce a graduate that is highly employable, will meet industry needs, and receives an industry recognized soft skill credential .

To ensure this effort identifies the most relevant skills for our community, your input is requested to help prioritize the most needed skills based on a list provided by local business and community leaders. The link below takes you to a short, four question survey that you may complete on e-mail, your phone, or a tablet. 

Please complete by Wednesday, July 19

Survey

CEP Named Finalist for 2017 Chamber of the Year Award

Posted on: June 13, 2017

 The Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership (CEP) has been named a finalist for the 2017 Chamber of the Year award, presented by the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives.

Finalists for the award will be celebrated at a special event Tuesday, July 18 in Nashville, Tenn.

“This is an incredible testament to the success of our partners and leadership in implementing their vision with our Moving Forward campaign,” said Kevin T. Sheilley, CEP President/CEO. “We are excited for this recognition and to shine a light on the great work being done in this community.”

Chamber of the Year is the nation’s only award recognizing the leadership role chambers have in their communities. Those honored with the Chamber of the Year designation have demonstrated organizational strength and made an impact on key community priorities, such as education, transportation, business development and quality of life.

Chambers of commerce interested in competing for the award must first qualify by participating in a vigorous, multi-stage process. Organizations entering the Chamber of the Year competition must meet minimum thresholds in at least three of five key performance areas, including net revenue, net assets, membership account retention, and membership dollar retention.

This year's competition drew numerous entries from chambers throughout the U.S and Canada. To ensure the fairest competition, applicants are grouped into five categories based on: annual revenue, membership, area population, and several other factors.

# # #

The Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership was created to be a one-stop hub for the community’s business attraction, creation and retention efforts. The CEP’s mission is to be THE catalyst for a prosperous community. The Moving Forward plan seeks to impact the creation of 3500 new jobs with wages 15% above the county average and resulting in a capital investment of $225 million by 2018.
For more information, visit:  www.OcalaCEP.com


The Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, founded in 1914, uniquely serves nearly 8,000 individuals who manage chambers of commerce. The mission of the Alexandria, Va.-based organization is to support and develop chamber professionals to lead businesses and their communities. Learn more about them by visiting www.ACCE.org.

                                                                                                                                              

Applications for Leadership Ocala/Marion Class XXXI available now!

Posted on: June 06, 2017

Applications for Leadership Ocala/Marion Class XXXI are now available, and are due by July 15th at 5:00 p.m.

Leadership Ocala/Marion  is a nine month program designed to educate, develop, and motivate community, civic and business leaders to be involved and committed to meeting the challenges facing our community. Visit the LOM Webpage for more information about this Leadership Development program.

Click here to fill out the application! 

Six Local Companies Named Finalists for GrowFL's 2017 Florida Companies to Watch

Posted on: May 31, 2017

GrowFL has announced the 2017 Florida Companies to Watch finalists. The awards event - now in its sixth year - honors 50 select second-stage companies from throughout the state for developing valuable products and services, creating quality jobs, enriching communities, and broadening new industries throughout Florida. More than 600 companies were nominated for this year’s award.  The finalists collectively represent $598 million in annual revenue and employ 3,028 full-time equivalent employees.

As an economic development organization partner of GrowFL, the Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership (CEP) is proud to support this event. Finalists from the Ocala/Marion County community include:

• L & M Compressor llc
• Marion Precision Tool, Inc
• MzeroA.com
• Raneys Inc
• Winco Mfg., LLC
• Human Potential Healthcare

“We are so proud of all of the local companies which have been recognized as finalists by GrowFL. We believe Ocala/Marion County is the best place to do business, and these companies have all proven what a great business environment we have here," said Ryan Lilly, Vice President of Business Creation for the CEP.

The Florida Companies To Watch program consists of two rounds of selections.  Finalists now advance to the second round, where they will be further evaluated based on their performance in the marketplace, innovative products, services or processes, philanthropy and empowered employees. 

“We applaud these first round finalists who have shown how they stand out in their regions as innovative business leaders, going to the next level to grow their companies.   They are true rock stars,” says Dr. Tom O’Neal, GrowFL Executive Director.

The Finalists represent a unique group of scalable, high-growth enterprises that are already located within Florida. These high growth enterprises are an important segment of our economy and their numbers have been steadily increasing, which contributed to Florida’s ranking of 24 on the Kauffman Index of Growth Entrepreneurship. According to this report, “entrepreneurship is not a monolithic phenomenon, and it includes many moving parts. Creating new businesses is a different economic activity from running small businesses, which in turn is different from growing businesses.”  Florida Companies to Watch recognizes the different approach needed to successfully grow and scale a business, and celebrates those that are working to achieve this goal.

Developed by the Edward Lowe Foundation, Florida Companies To Watch is a distinguished awards program specifically designed to seek out second-stage businesses from a wide range of industries representing all areas of the state, not just those in major metropolitan areas. In addition to evaluating past growth and projected success, applicant companies are judged according to their special strengths and impact in their markets, communities and within the state – thus deeming them “worth watching.”

The winners will be announced in MID July. The 2017 honorees will be celebrated at the awards ceremony October 14, 2017 at the Straz.


The Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership was created to be a one-stop hub for the community’s business attraction, creation and retention efforts. The CEP’s mission is to be THE catalyst for a prosperous community. The Moving Forward plan seeks to impact the creation of 4500 new jobs with wages 15% above the county average and resulting in a capital investment of $400 million by 2021.
For more information, visit:  www.OcalaCEP.com

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About GrowFL
GrowFL was created in 2009 by the Florida legislature as an economic development program focused on assisting second-stage growth companies prosper in the state of Florida.  By providing strategies, resources and support to second-stage companies for next level growth through Strategic Research, Peer Learning and Leadership Development, GrowFL helps companies overcome obstacles to growth and leads them towards prosperity. Based on the philosophy of Economic Gardening®—to grow existing businesses in a community, region or state—GrowFL, the Florida Economic Gardening Institute, is a critical component to the state’s economic development strategy and Florida’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.  GrowFL is a statewide economic development organization certified by the National Center for Economic Gardening through the Edward Lowe Foundation.  GrowFL has assisted more than 800 companies through the Strategic Research and CEO Roundtable programs and recognized 250 successful entrepreneurs through the annual awards program, Florida Companies to
Watch.  Learn more at www.GrowFL.com.
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Join Us for the Florida 2030 Town Hall on May 17th

Posted on: May 12, 2017

The Florida Chamber Foundation's Florida 2030 research project is reaching all 67 counties in Florida through a series of interactive town hall events.
This two-year initiative is engaging business and community leaders in identifying key trends and factors that drive regional economies. We need your voice to understand the issues that impact your community.

For more information, contact Whitney Harris at wharris@flfoundation.org or by phone at (850) 521-1237.

CEP’s Fleischhaker named Professional of the Year by the Florida Association of Chamber Professionals

Posted on: May 05, 2017

Tamara Fleischhaker, Vice President, Business Advocacy & Partner Services for the Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership (CEP), has been named the 2016 Professional of the Year by the Florida Association of Chamber Professionals (FACP).

This distinction is given to the Chamber professional who demonstrates exemplary service, with outstanding performance in the areas of customer service, leadership, teamwork and problem solving.

“I have worked in Chamber-related organizations for more than 20 xyears and I know of no one who better exemplifies what it means to be a Chamber Professional than Tamara. If it was up to me, she would be recognized not only as Chamber Professional of the Year for Florida but for the country. She loves this community and this organization and it shows every day in the incredible effort she puts forth to make them both better,” said Kevin Sheilley, president & CEO of the CEP.

Fleischhaker joined the CEP in April of 2006 with a background in marketing, events and public policy. She has over 25 years of festival and event management experience with the Minneapolis Aquatennial; St. Paul Winter Carnival; Great Reno Balloon Race; and Macon, Georgia's International Cherry Blossom Festival.

Her professional experience includes brand development, contract program management and trade show coordination as well as account management and event production with ad agencies in Minneapolis and Reno, NV. 

CEP’s Schwartz earns Main Street America Institute Revitalization Professional certification

Posted on: May 05, 2017

Main Street America announced this week that Diana Schwartz, Director of Ocala Main Street and Director of Business Retention for Small & Medium Businesses for the Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership (CEP), has achieved certification as a Main Street America Revitalization Professional (MSARP).

The National Main Street Center offers the Main Street America Institute (MSAI), a targeted professional development training program aimed to equip downtown and commercial district leaders with the tools they need to lead results-oriented and preservation-based community revitalization organizations. The Institute offers a comprehensive, intensive, and convenient curriculum structure that supports professional career development and growth through lifelong learning opportunities. 

“We view the Main Street program as an integral part of the CEP’s mission to create and retain jobs and be the one-stop shop for the business community. Diana’s designation and the program’s accreditation is proof of our commitment to delivering on this mission with the best in class people and programs. We are even more proud to say we have one of the very first MSARP-credentialed executives in the country!” said Kevin Sheilley, president & CEO of the CEP.

Main Street professionals must be subject matter experts, with skills and knowledge directly relevant to the multitude of challenges confronting 21st century downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts. In recognition of this reality, MSAI is comprised of two distinct certificate programs – the Leadership Development Certificate program and the Community Transformation Certificate program.

The Leadership Development Certificate program provides participants with the tools to have an advanced understanding of how to be an effective leader within both a commercial revitalization entity and the extended community. The Community Transformation Certificate program offers coursework covering a variety of preservation-based community development techniques through the lens of the refreshed Main Street Four Point framework, which focuses on building a sustainable organization, implementing effective promotions, and actions to support economic vitality and quality design.

Participants who complete both certificate program requirements are eligible to apply to become a Main Street America Revitalization Professional (MSARP), the highest credential achievable through MSAI.

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The Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership was created to be a one-stop hub for the community’s business attraction, creation and retention efforts. The CEP’s mission is to be THE catalyst for a prosperous community. The Moving Forward plan seeks to impact the creation of 3500 new jobs with wages 15% above the county average and resulting in a capital investment of $225 million by 2018. 
For more information, visit:  www.OcalaCEP.com


# # #


 

Virtual Reality Startup Among New Incubator Residents

Posted on: April 25, 2017

The Power Plant Business Incubator has welcomed five startups as new Residents in recent months. The latest among them is Twelve Eight Media, a company which designs, develops, and implements interactive digital solutions and content – including apps for virtual and augmented reality.

For those unfamiliar with the technology, while virtual reality immerses the viewer entirely in a three-dimensional environment, augmented reality superimposes virtual graphics over-top the viewer’s real-world experience.

“Just like any wave of technology such as the computer, the internet, smartphones, etc... augmented and virtual reality will soon be an essential part of your daily life. It is an absolute dream come true to have the opportunity to shape the future of this technology,” said Matthew Buckman, CEO & Founder of Twelve Eight Media.

Seth Farley, EVP & Creative Director of the company said, “I feel like we are all family working here at the Incubator. Everyone here makes this an exciting place to be and grow our company.”

Other companies which have joined the Incubator program recently include:
• The Heartbreak Society Clothing Co. – A lifestyle clothing brand. (Founder: Aldon Peoples)
• Common Sense Network – A community-based broadcasting company. (Founder: Tom Schmitz)
• Goldmark Diagnostics – Providing laboratory services to medical offices. (Founder: Jason Price)
• Scott Innovations – Patented products for the consumer and pet markets. (Founder: Brian Scott)

In addition to office space, companies at the Power Plant Business Incubator benefit from business connections through the Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership (CEP), education and training opportunities, mentoring, and access to capital. Companies spend an average of three years in the program before “graduating” into a larger space in the community. In addition to the CEP, the Incubator is also supported by the City of Ocala and Marion County.

For more information on Twelve Eight Media, email hello@twelveight.media or call (855) Twelve-8 OR (855) 893-5838
Website: www.twelveight.media

For more information on the CEP & Power Plant Business Incubator visit www.OcalaCEP.comContact Ryan Lilly at 352-629-8051 x 125 or Ryan@OcalaCEP.com.

*  *  *
The Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership was created to be a one-stop hub for the community’s business attraction, creation and retention efforts. The CEP’s mission is to be THE catalyst for a prosperous community. The Moving Forward plan seeks to impact the creation of 3500 new jobs with wages 15% above the county average and resulting in a capital investment of $225 million by 2018. 
For more information, visit:  www.OcalaCEP.com
# # #

: “Seth Farley (left) and Matthew Buckman (right) model the Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Headset and the Microsoft Hololens Augmented Reality Headset at the Power Plant Business Incubator in Ocala, FL.

Strong Job Growth in Ocala MSA Leads Region

Posted on: April 21, 2017

The Ocala MSA continued to show strong job creation in March with 4.0% year over year job growth. This rate is 1/3 faster than the state average and more than double the national average. The Ocala MSA was third among Florida MSAs in job growth. 

For the third consecutive month, the Ocala MSA continued to hold the fastest annual job growth rate compared to all metros in Florida in professional and business services, at 11.0 percent. The Ocala MSA had the third fastest job growth rate in mining, logging and construction at 10.4 percent. The Ocala MSA unemployment rate dropped to 5.1%.

According to today’s employment summary by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), the unemployment rate in March for the CareerSource CLM region was 5.2 percent, down 0.7 percentage point since February and 0.6 percentage point lower than the area’s rate a year ago of 5.8 percent. Out of an expanded labor force of 201,238, there were 10,556 unemployed, a drop of 1,281 over the month and 915 less than a year ago. Significantly, there were 190,682 people with jobs throughout the three counties, an increase of 1,893 over the month and 5,882 more than in March 2016.

For more information, contact CareerSource CLM. CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion is a member of the CareerSource Florida network of workforce services and resources.

CEP's Ryan Lilly to take part in summit hosted by the Kauffman Foundation

Posted on: April 17, 2017

Ryan Lilly, the CEP’s Vice President of Business Creation, has been invited to take part in a special summit hosted by the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, Missouri this coming June.

The Kauffman Foundation was established in the 1960s by the late Ewing Marion Kauffman to advance both entrepreneurship and education -- which Kauffman saw as two ends of the same continuum. Today, it is one of the largest private foundations in the United States with an asset base of approximately $2 billion.

The event Lilly is taking part in is Kauffman’s inaugural “E-SHIP Summit” –  meant to convene those who “aspire to build a new model of economic development where are entrepreneurs are celebrated and accelerated...” and to pioneer “the principles, culture, tools, and metrics of successful entrepreneurial communities.”

According to the Summit’s website, “Participants will work together – hands-on, creatively and boldly – to design their [entrepreneurial] ecosystems using new approaches and best practices.”

Lilly was nominated to take part in the E-SHIP Summit by the International Business Innovation Association (iNBIA), of which he has been an active member for the last six years.

“Having the opportunity to attend a summit like this one is a huge honor,” said Lilly. “I have admired the work of the Kauffman Foundation since I first began my career in economic development and business incubation. Getting to visit the Foundation in-person and take part in this important dialogue is very exciting. I hope to both contribute my own ideas on how communities can better serve entrepreneurs, as well as bring-back new tools and strategies to help startups here in Ocala/Marion County.”

To learn more about Ryan’s work with entrepreneurs at the CEP’s Power Plant Business Incubator and throughout Marion County, call 352-629-8051 x 125 or email Ryan@OcalaCEP.com

Home Garden & Lifestyle Expo to be held on April 22nd

Posted on: April 10, 2017

The Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership (CEP), in partnership with the Marion County Building Industry Association, the College of Central Florida and the Ocala/Marion County Association of Realtors, will host the 2017 Home Garden & Lifestyle Expo on Saturday, April 22nd from 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. at the College of Central Florida Ewers Center. 

The event will feature hands-on demonstrations, food trucks and live seminars. Vendors will represent a variety of industries with everything from insurance to electricians. The event is free to the public.


“This is the time of the year when everyone is thinking about their home and yard. The Expo is a great opportunity to learn of new products and services available in our community for either sprucing up your current home or to help you plan to build a new one,” said Kevin Sheilley, president & CEO of the Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership.
Sponsors of this event include B&D Electric, Florida Credit Union, and Sheriffs Ranches Thrift Store.

Ocala Metro Fuels Region's Strong Job Gains

Posted on: March 24, 2017

OCALA, Fla. (March 24, 2017) – Consistent with employment trends going back at least five years, the February jobless rate dropped over the month in the primary Ocala Area Labor Shed.
According to today’s employment summary by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), the unemployment rate for the CareerSource CLM region was 5.9 percent, down 0.7 percentage point since January and the same rate as one year ago.

Out of an expanded labor force of 200,814, there were 11,802 unemployed residents in the region, a drop of 1,396 over the month. While that’s 247 more than in February 2016, there were 189,012 people with jobs throughout the three counties, an increase of 2,676 since January and 6,045 more than a year ago.

Additionally, the DEO reports that the Ocala metropolitan statistical area (MSA) continued to hold the fastest annual job growth rate compared to all metros in Florida in professional and business services, at 11.1 percent. The Ocala MSA had the second fastest job growth rate in trade, transportation and utilities at 5.8 percent.

Rusty Skinner, CareerSource CLM’s CEO said that the region hit the trifecta when it comes to economic indicators, posting an expanded labor force fueled by strong job gains and an across-the-board drop in the number of unemployed.

Skinner noted that since at least 2012, February unemployment rates have dropped in all three counties.

Marion County’s labor force grew by 501 to 135,823, the number of employed increased by 1,389 to 128,090 and the number of jobless decreased by 888 to 7,733. While that is 245 more unemployed since February 2016 when the jobless rate was 5.8 percent, the number of those with jobs has increase by 5,353 over the year.

Much of the region’s strong job gains were fueled by the Ocala metro area which posted 103,100 nonfarm jobs in February, adding 4,000 new jobs over the year for a job growth rate of 4.0 percent. That outpaced the statewide growth rate of 2.9 percent and was the fifth fastest job growth rate among all of the state’s metro areas. In all, seven nonfarm industry sectors rate in the Ocala metro added jobs over the year, and five those grew at a faster rate than statewide. For the second consecutive month, no industries lost jobs over the year.  Industries gaining jobs over the year were trade, transportation and utilities (+1,300 jobs); professional and business services (+1,000); education and health services (+700); mining, logging and construction (+600); manufacturing (+200); leisure and hospitality (+100); and other services (+100). Professional and business services (+11.1 percent); mining, logging and construction (+9.0 percent); trade, transportation and utilities (+65.8 percent); and education and health services (+3.9 percent) grew faster in the metro area than statewide over the year. Information, financial activities, and government industries were unchanged.

###

CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion is a member of the CareerSource Florida network of workforce services and resources. CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion is an equal opportunity employer/program. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities. All voice telephone numbers listed above may be reached by persons using TTY/TDD equipment via the Florida Relay Service at 711. If you need accommodations, please call 800-434-5627, ext. 7878 or e-mail accommodations@careersourceclm.com. Please make request at least three business days in advance.

Teen Entrepreneur Expanding Company into Downtown

Posted on: February 24, 2017

   

Contact: Alex Moy, Co-Founder / Creative Director

Office: 352-598-7823 | E-mail: Alex@Moy.Media

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:


Teen Entrepreneur Expanding Company in Downtown Ocala

Ocala, Florida (February 23, 2017) – Alex Moy, an Ocala filmmaker and social media entrepreneur who graduated from the Power Plant Business Incubator in March of 2016, has announced that Moy Media will be locating their new offices on both the 2nd and 3rd floors of the former Starbucks building at 36 SE Magnolia Ave. on the Downtown Ocala Square.

Moy, age 19, has grown his company from just 2 employees two years ago, to now 12 today. Moy Media has also surpassed over $1 million in annual revenue, and continues to grow its client base throughout Marion County and Central Florida. Locally, the company has performed video and social media work for Gateway Bank, Zone Health & Fitness, Ocala Gran Prix, ClosetMaid, Pearson Nissan and many more. Recently, a short film created by Moy Media for local auto parts distributor National Parts Depot garnered over 1 million views on Facebook, a milestone for the company.

Now, Moy looks to the future for the growing company. “This new office location above the former Starbucks represents a huge commitment by Moy Media in not only our company, but also in Ocala and Downtown” said Moy. “We are committed to our city and our clients, because of this we strive to be a catalyst for our city to continue to thrive. With this we cannot wait to get into the new space, which will allow us to add additional capacity for studio production, workspace for our growing number of employees, and more.”

“To see a young entrepreneur take flight and grow a company this quickly is so exciting for all of us” said Ryan Lilly, Vice President of Business Creation for the CEP & Power Plant Business Incubator. “Alex is one of the fastest up-and-coming young innovators in our community, and that he has chosen to open his new headquarters in our vibrant downtown is a win for everyone.”

For more information on Moy Media visit www.moy.media/
Contact 352-598-7823 or Alex@Moy.Media

For more information on the CEP & Power Plant Business Incubator visit www.OcalaCEP.com
Contact Ryan Lilly at 352-629-8051 x 125 or Ryan@OcalaCEP.com.

Alex Moy, Co-Founder of Moy Media

Gov. Scott Announces Chewy to Create 600 Jobs

Posted on: February 16, 2017

For Immediate Release Contact: media@eog.myflorida.com
February 16, 2017  (850) 717-9282

 

OCALA, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced that Chewy, an online retailer of pet food and products in the United States, will locate a new fulfillment center in Marion County. The new facility will create 600 jobs and a $31 million capital investment in the region.

Governor Scott said, “I am proud to announce that Chewy will be building a new facility in Ocala and creating 600 new jobs for Florida families. While Chewy is a Florida-based company, they could have chosen to invest in any of their locations across the country. Instead, they decided to create hundreds of new jobs in Florida because of the hard work of Enterprise Florida and local economic development organizations, and our unrelenting focus on making Florida the best place for business. I am proud to celebrate Chewy’s expansion today and look forward to continuing to bring more jobs wins to our state.”

Ryan Cohen, CEO of Chewy said, “We are pleased to expand our workforce and bring fulfillment operations to our home state. As a Florida-based company, we recognize the importance of driving economic opportunities in the region and we appreciate the partnership of Enterprise Florida and the CEP as we work to invest in the Ocala community through the creation of 600 new jobs. In addition to job creation, we look forward to the opening of this fulfillment center helping to better serve Chewy customers with even more efficient and faster delivery times.”

Chris Hart IV, president and CEO of Enterprise Florida, Inc. said “Not only is a great Florida company continuing to grow, but Chewy has chosen to grow in their home state. Florida continues to shine as a national leader for job creation, and companies like Chewy are a big part of our success as a state. I commend them on their success and look forward to seeing their continued growth.

Cissy Proctor, executive director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, said, “Chewy’s expansion in Marion County is great news for Central Florida’s economy and I am proud that the company is continuing to invest in Florida. The 600 new jobs Chewy’s is bringing to the area will provide new opportunities to local job seekers and a chance for more Florida families to live their American Dream.”

Carl Zalak, Chair of the Marion County Board of County Commissioners, said, “We are excited about bringing another great company to our community. Bringing Chewy to Marion County is great news for our county. This project means more jobs, investment and momentum to our community and we couldn’t be more excited about the future.”

Brent Malever, Ocala City Council President, said, “On behalf of the Ocala City Council, we are incredibly excited to welcome Chewy to Ocala/Marion County. In addition to creating nearly 600 jobs, this is another great investment to keep Ocala moving in the right direction.”

Ken Ausley, Chairman of the CEP Board of Trustees, said, “This announcement represents a partnership between Chewy, the City of Ocala, Marion County, Duke Energy, CareerSource CLM, Ocala 489 LLC, Enterprise Florida, and the Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership.”

***

About Chewy
Chewy is the #1 online retailer of pet food and products in the United States with a leading share of the e-commerce market. Founded in 2011 by entrepreneurs, Ryan Cohen and Michael Day, Chewy set out to disrupt the existing pet industry by offering pet parents the expertise and service of a local pet store with the convenience of online shopping. Chewy delivers on that promise with its dedication to 24/7 customer service, creation of cutting-edge software and technology to enhance the user experience, and commitment to sourcing high quality products.
Headquartered in Dania Beach, Florida, Chewy currently employs more than 3,700 pet lovers both in their home office and fulfillment centers in Pennsylvania, Indiana and Nevada. For more information, visit www.chewy.com.

Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI) is a partnership between Florida’s businesses and government leaders and is the principal economic development organization for Florida. EFI facilitates job growth through recruitment and retention, international trade and exporting, promotion of sporting events, and capital funding programs to assist small and minority businesses. EFI launched “Florida – The Future is Here” to promote the state as the nation’s premier business destination.

About The Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership
The Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership (CEP) was formed to create a one-stop approach to business retention, attraction and creation efforts. Moving Forward is our charge and it reflects our desire to be a unified voice and catalyst for the business community. By working together with our partners and community investors, we will continue to improve our quality of life and build a strong base for economic development in Marion County.

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Chester Weber Presentation from exCEPtional Mornings Breakfast

Posted on: February 15, 2017

If you missed the CEP's exCEPtional Mornings breakfast featuring Live Oak International, you can still learn about this great event. Acclaimed international equestrian champion Chester Weber has provided his presentation so you can review and learn more about this signature equine event here in The Horse Capital of the World!  Thanks again to Brown & Brown Insurance for sponsoring today's breakfast and to Chester Weber for being our speaker. 

If you would like to get involved with the CEP's new Equine Engagement Committee presented by The Brian Cox Team at New Millennium Realty, please complete our committee interest form.

Get Involved in CEP's new Equine Engagement Committee

Posted on: February 14, 2017

The CEP recently announced its new Equine Engagement Committee presented by The Brian Cox Team at New Millennium Realty. This committee is an opportunity for partners to get engaged in building our farm-town relationships and to build stronger businesses for everyone.

If you are interested in being a part of the committee, please complete the committee contact form. 

Contact Louisa Barton, Director of Equine Engagement, for more information.

Logistics Academies Deliver at Two Local High Schools

Posted on: February 07, 2017

The decision to add the academies was based on feedback from local business leaders, the Chamber and Economic Partnership, and an emerging need for employees with logistics experience.

Given that national names like FedEx, Auto Zone, and Chewy are opening distribution centers in Marion County, Superintendent Dr. Heidi Maier and administrators see the announcement as a natural fit for students pursuing logistics careers.  Following high school, these students can enter the local workforce directly or pursue a bachelor’s degree in Logistics from Ocala’s College of Central Florida.  Either way, this keeps students in their chosen career path and in the area while they gain experience.

These Logistics academies will engage students in the procurement, maintenance, distribution and replacement of products made available to distributors and the public.  Simply stated, students in these academies will be exposed to the many facets of this industry including the flow of products, payments, and information between consumers and suppliers.

Lake Weir and West Port were chosen because of their geographic locations and ability to offer access to students throughout Marion County.

These flagship programs are the first of several Career Choice Academies opening in coming years to offer students more options for their futures. 

For more information on these exciting new programs, please contact the public relations office at Marion County Schools.

1st Annual Parade of Nations to be held on February 15th

Posted on: January 20, 2017

The Parade of Nations will honor and welcome this year's teams and equestrians from around the world who are in Ocala to compete in the prestigious Nations Cup, and showcase many of the breeds that make Ocala the Horse Capital of the World.

Sponsored by the City of Ocala and Sheltair Aviation, this family-friendly event is free and open to the public. Take this opportunity to cheer on world-class athletes and enjoy the equine side of our community!

For more information, please contact Diana Schwartz, Director of Ocala Main Street, at 352.629.8051 ext. 115.
 

2017 CEP Annual Luncheon is SOLD OUT!

Posted on: January 03, 2017

Ocala Downtown Market to Host Wednesday Evening Markets beginning December 7th

Posted on: December 01, 2016

Workers' Comp Increase Takes Effect TODAY--December 1

Posted on: December 01, 2016

Today, December 1, workers' compensation rates will increase by 14.5 percent for all new and renewal policies.  Prior to the Thanksgiving holiday, a Leon Circuit Court judge voided the 14.5 percent rate increase on the grounds that the National Council on Compensation Insurance and the Office of Insurance Regulation did not follow the requirements of the "Sunshine Law."  This decision has since been appealed, allowing the rate increase to take effect today, as planned.

Background:

After sharing with the business community for months that an increase could happen, it is now official-The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) has given contingent approval for an overall statewide workers' compensation rate increase of 14.5% to take effect December 1.

Earlier this summer, the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) filed for a 19.6% increase following the Florida Supreme Court's rulings on two cases: Castellanos v. Next Door Company and Bradley Westphal v. City of Petersburg.

The 28 April decision on Castellanos v. Next Door Company abolished Florida's attorney fee structure which was originally established in 2003. The 2003 reforms were put in place to help stabilize out-of-control workers' comp rates which at the time were the highest in the country, and during the last 13 years have helped lower rates nearly 60 percent.

The 9 June ruling on Bradley Westphal v. City of Petersburg extends the limitation on temporary total disability benefits available to an injured worker from two to five years before permanent disability benefits may be pursued. This change is expected to increase the value of open indemnity claims involving substantial injuries, as well as re-open claims that were previously closed.

OIR has also stated that the increase would be effective on December 1 for new and renewal business, with no change in rates for current in-force policies, despite NCCI's recommendation that it be applied on a pro-rata basis for the remainder of each policy term.  According to the press release from the OIR, an overall combined average statewide rate increase of 14.5%, the individual rate impacts will include:

  • A 10.1% statewide average rate increase for the April 28th Florida Supreme Court decision in the case of Castellanos v. Next Door Company, which  found the mandatory attorney fee schedule in Section 440.34, Florida Statutes, unconstitutional as a violation of due process under both the Florida and United States Constitutions.
  • A 2.2% statewide average rate increase for the June 9th Florida Supreme Court decision in the case of Westphal v. City of St. Petersburg, in which the Florida Supreme Court found the 104-week statutory limitation on temporary total disability benefits in Section 440.15(2)(a), Florida Statutes, unconstitutional because it causes a statutory gap in benefits in violation of an injured worker's constitutional right of access to courts. The Supreme Court reinstated the 260-week limitation in effect prior to the 1994 law change.
  • A 1.8% statewide average rate increase related to updates within the Florida Workers' Compensation HCPR Manual per Senate Bill 1402. The manual became effective on July 1, 2016.

A legislative solution for both court cases is needed to help keep rates affordable for job creators.  The CEP is monitoring this issue and supporting the efforts of those organizations and individuals in the public and private sectors which are working to halt any further increases in workers' compensation rates.

If you would like to join the CEP's advocacy network and receive updates on workers' compensation and other key issues impacting your business, please email Tamara Fleischhaker, VP of Business Advocacy & Partner Services:  Tamara@OcalaCEP.com or call the CEP at 352.629.8051.

Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership receives 5-Star Accreditation Rating

Posted on: November 21, 2016

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has awarded the Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership (CEP) with its 5-star accreditation rating for its sound policies, effective organizational procedures and positive impact on the community.

First accredited by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 1974, the CEP is among the elite top two percent of Chambers of Commerce nationwide that have been recognized for excellence by receiving the 5-Star Accredited designation. This is the third time in a row that CEP has received the highest accreditation level awarded by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The only program of its kind in the country, U.S. Chamber accreditation recognizes excellence in chamber planning and performance. To achieve accreditation, a chamber must demonstrate quality programs, clear organizational procedures, and effective communications by meeting minimum operation and program standards in the areas of governance, program development, government affairs and technology.

The CEP earned perfect scores in five of the nine categories including Facilities, Communications, Technology, Program Development and Human Resources.

“This accreditation demonstrates to our partners that we are operating at the highest levels of professionalism and efficiency as we seek to fulfill our mission to be a catalyst for a prosperous community by creating and retaining jobs, serving as the voice of the business community and providing a positive return on investment,” said Kevin T. Sheilley, CEP President & CEO. “Being among the top two percent speaks volumes to the commitment to excellence made by our leadership and Board.”

***
The Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership was created to be a one-stop hub for the community’s business attraction, creation and retention efforts. The CEP’s mission is to be THE catalyst for a prosperous community. The Moving Forward plan seeks to impact the creation of 3500 new jobs with wages 15% above the county average and resulting in a capital investment of $225 million by 2018. 
For more information, visit:  www.OcalaCEP.com

# # #


 

Make Plans to Attend the Ocala Jockey Club Three-Day International Event on November 25-27th

Posted on: November 03, 2016

Spectators

Free admission with only a $10 parking fee!
Parking close to Stadium/Main arena
Eventing is a triathlon for horse and rider. With it's awesome cross country element the best day to visit is always Saturday.


ALL three disciplines will come through the stadium area i.e.:
• Dressage on Thursday and Friday
• Cross Country on Saturday
• Show Jumping on Sunday
• Better yet -make it for all three disciplines!
All disciplines run from around 8am through late afternoon


For those wishing to be even closer to the action on Cross country day we are allowing limited numbers of tailgaters onto the course.


Visitors will be treated to:

• A variety of food vendors
• Full bar
• Ringside food court
• Fully catered Clubhouse ( VIP tickets available online. www.OJC3DE.com) with exceptional views over the whole event
Vendors will include:
• Agricultural equipment retailers and exhibits
• Art
• Jewelry
• Apparel
• Local Exhibitors
• Equestrian Retailers

Ocala MSA Named as One of the Ten Best Cities for Future Job Growth

Posted on: October 28, 2016

Once again, Ocala/Marion County has been named one of the top ten cities for future job growth by Forbes. Check out the article here.

2016 Awards of Excellence Winners Announced

Posted on: October 19, 2016

The CEP announced today the winners of the 2016 Awards of Excellence at the October exCEPtional Mornings event sponsored by Hotel Development Group and Digital Fury Productions. For a full list of this year's winners, click here

CEP Hires New Assistant Director of Business Attraction/Director of Equine Engagement

Posted on: October 19, 2016

The Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership announced today that Louisa Barton will be filling the newly revised role of Assistant Director of Business Attraction which includes serving as Director of Equine Engagement.

Barton will be a part of the CEP’s Business Attraction team working with companies looking at the area, managing their RFP process, and serving as the lead on the Locate Ocala sites & buildings database.

Equine is a targeted sector for the CEP, and Barton will be leading the organization’s efforts at growing and assisting Marion County’s equine community.

A native of England, Barton has been an Ocala resident for 16 years. For the last three years, Barton has hosted her own horse radio show, “The Horse Talk Show,” on Florida SportsTalk FM/Fox Sports Ocala Gainesville.

  “Louisa is an incredible get for our team,” said Kevin T. Sheilley, CEP President/CEO. “We have wanted to add someone on the team to focus on equine for my nearly four years here. She is well known in the equine world and can move between the various breeds and disciplines. Additionally, she has already proven to be a great addition for business attraction efforts. She jumped in on a project recently that had ties to the equine community and wowed us all with her efforts.”

The Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership was created to be a one-stop hub for the community’s business attraction, creation and retention efforts. The CEP’s mission is to be THE catalyst for a prosperous community. The Moving Forward plan seeks to impact the creation of 3500 new jobs with wages 15% above the county average and resulting in a capital investment of $225 million by 2018. 

For more information, visit:  www.OcalaCEP.com

# # #
 

Help CEP advocate on your behalf

Posted on: October 13, 2016

As an organization of business promoting business and representing the needs of business, the Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership (CEP) is the voice for business. 

In order to represent your interests, we ask you to complete our Business Climate and Legislative Issues Survey. It is essential we hear from you as the information gathered from this survey helps the CEP shape our position on key issues as well as prioritize its advocacy agenda. Click here to take the survey.

Bill Rasmussen, founder of ESPN, to be keynote speaker at November exCEPtional Mornings Event

Posted on: September 27, 2016

Announcing Leadership Ocala/Marion Class XXX

Posted on: September 06, 2016

LOM is a nine month-long community leadership program designed to showcase the amenities of the region and cultivate leadership skills among emerging leaders in Ocala/Marion County. Each year, individuals are selected to participate in the program following completion of a competitive application process. LOM seeks to prepare, involve and sustain leaders from diverse backgrounds who are committed and competent to address community challenges and improve the business climate, economy and quality of life in Ocala and Marion County.

The program is also designed to nurture and engage the leadership skills of potential and developing leaders by providing an atmosphere that stimulates and fosters diverse viewpoints, resulting in innovative answers to the critical questions facing our community. The program strives to create awareness and to connect leaders with issues; it is not a traditional academic leadership training program.
LOM provides future leaders the opportunity to develop leadership skills by networking with individuals in the community that represent business, law, religion, civic groups, the arts, not-for-profit, education, health care, government, human services and volunteer organizations.

Please join us in welcoming the members of LOM Class XXX:

• Imhabibi Akojie, ClosetMaid
• Josh Alvarez, Marion County Fire Rescue
• Shari Ausley, Ambleside School
• Kimberly Avera, Kids Central, Inc.
• Paul Bloom, Marion County Sheriff's Office
• Amy Chadek, Hospice of Marion County
• Sadie Fitzpatrick, Ocala CEP
• Jerry Flanders, CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion
• Heather Gamble, CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion
• Lauren Gibson, Angie Lewis State Farm
• Michael Goad, Munroe Regional Medical Center
• Matt Grosse, Munroe Regional Medical Center
• Kevin Harrison, CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion
• Beatrice Haynes, Rasmussen College
• Laura Isaacs, CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion
• William Johnson, Roberts Funeral Home
• Chris Langley, BB&T
• Cheryl Martin, City of Ocala
• Paul Martin, Cox Communications
• Natalie McComb, United Way of Marion County
• Brad Nelson, Claren Consulting
• Gina Neshewat, Ocala Regional Medical Center
• Susan Olsen, MCBCC
• Scott Owen, SunTrust Bank
• Robert Page, Harbor Community Bank
• Marvin Parrish, Rasmussen College
• Misty Perry, CJ's Power Systems & Sales
• Lisa Quintana, The Vines Hospital
• Rob Relinger, CBC National Bank
• Ryan Robbins, Marion County Sheriff's Office
• Angel RThirty oussel, MCBCC
• Bryan Schmalz, Bay Laurel Center Comm. Dev. Dist
• Ebbo Skadhauge, Lockheed Martin
• Robert Stone, CJ's Power Systems & Sales
• Amber Waingrow, Lindsay, Crabb, & Associates
• Tina Wilson, The MG Herring Group
• Robert Wolf, College of Central Florida
• Adam Woods, CBC National Bank

AutoZone to locate distribution facility in Ocala

Posted on: August 25, 2016

The Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership announced today that AutoZone, the leading retailer and distributor of automotive parts and products in the United States, will establish a distribution facility in Ocala. This facility will service AutoZone stores throughout Florida and Puerto Rico.

“We are grateful to the Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership, the Ocala City Council, the Marion County Board of County Commission and Cone Distributing for their warm welcome and support for our growing business,” said Rod Halsell, Senior Vice President, Supply Chain for AutoZone. “We look forward to being an active member of the Ocala and Marion County community in the coming years.”

The AutoZone Distribution Center construction will begin in early 2017 and open in 2018. The complex represents a capital investment in excess of $50 million and will create more than 240 new jobs and will generate more than $7 million in economic impact.

“We are excited to welcome AutoZone to Marion County,” said Marion County Board of County Commissioners Chairman Kathy Bryant. “Within three years, our community will have 240 more job opportunities through this one company, and the positive impact of that will certainly be felt within our community beyond those new employees and their families.”

“The City is very excited about AutoZone coming on board,” said Ocala City Council President Jim Hilty. “With the company’s capital investment and the creation of new jobs, we look forward to this project’s significant economic impact and overall benefit to the community.” 

AutoZone, a Memphis, Tennessee-based Fortune 500 company, has more than 5,700 stores across 50 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, Mexico and Brazil. The Ocala facility will be located on 60 acres of land in the Ocala/Marion County Commerce Park.

Ken Ausley, Chairman of the CEP Board of Directors, commended the following public and private entities for their support and assistance during the site location process, stating, “This announcement represents a strong partnership between AutoZone, the City of Ocala, Marion County, CareerSource CLM, Ocala 489 LLC, Enterprise Florida, and the Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership.”

 

Ocala Downtown Market set to open September 3rd

Posted on: August 24, 2016

This Market, the vision of the City of Ocala and the Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership (CEP), is designed to serve as a social gathering space where memories are made and small retail businesses can flourish.

The current market, operated by the Downtown Business Alliance, started in the downtown square and when the square was renovated, it was moved to the old “Chamber lot.” This Chamber lot will soon be the site of the new downtown hotel, causing the market to need to relocate.

The new location, a former truck shed adjacent to the Power Plant Business Incubator, was determined to be the perfect area for the market.

Renovations to the shed (now known as the Market Pavilion) include electric, water, ADA compliant restrooms, lighting, ventilation fans, Wi-Fi, a concrete floor, and installation of a small playground at the south end of the location. A portable stage will be available for entertainment. Beautiful landscaping such as lemon trees and a grape arbor will also be added.

The Downtown Market will be managed by the CEP as part of its efforts to further business creation in Marion County.

With the Market’s new location comes the extension of the types of vendors hosted here. People can visit food trucks as well as vendors who sell prepared foods. The ability to purchase prepared foods and drinks was one of the greatest requests the CEP had in their customer surveys. It is the goal for the Market to serve as an experience that customers can enjoy for several hours each week.

The beauty of the new location is that it is a mixed use facility. The venue can be rented for fundraisers, parties and wedding receptions in the future, and the stage makes it ideal for musical performances.

The Market’s coordinators want to be able to have additional Market days besides Saturday to continue making it convenient for customers. In 2017, they plan to add an evening market from 4-7 pm, and eventually add additional days and times.

Below is the traffic map and location of the Ocala Downtown Market. 

3rd Annual Youth Business Plan Competition Announced

Posted on: August 16, 2016

Open to 9th-12th grade public, private and home-schooled students in Marion County, the 2016 iteration of the contest boasts a first-place prize package valued at over $4,000 (including $2,500 in cash). Meant to stimulate youth entrepreneurship in the community, the competition is a chance for young innovators to put forth their ideas for new businesses in Marion County.


The 2016 competition is being made possible this year by two generous sponsors, CAMPUS USA Credit Union and Raney’s Inc., both of Ocala.


“As an organization owned by our members we are excited to see the entrepreneurial spirit demonstrated by these teens and look forward to supporting their ideas and the Ocala community,” said Jeff Thieman, Chief Operating Officer, CAMPUS USA Credit Union.
Joel Raney, CEO of Raney’s Inc., said, “Having young students from Marion County putting together business plans for this competition is motivating to us as a company.  It is very encouraging to find our local youth setting their goals high and planning to build their futures as entrepreneurs.  We definitely want to be involved in events like this as it goes hand-in-hand with our own story". 


Both Thieman and Raney will be joining a panel of judges for the final round of the competition, which will include presentations or “pitches” by students and will be open to the public. This finale, which will mirror the format of the ABC television show Shark Tank, is scheduled for Friday, November 18th at 6PM at Marion Technical College (formerly CTAE) in Ocala.


“It’s great to see this competition grow each year, and we expect this year will be bigger than ever,” said Ryan Lilly, Director of Business Creation for the Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership (CEP). “It’s always exciting to see what innovative business ideas students will come up with, and it’s important that as a community we give them our full support.”


More information on this competition, a flyer and an application packet can be found at: www.YouthBusinessPlanCompetition.com


For more information on CAMPUS USA Credit Union visit https://www.campuscu.com/ or call (352) 335-9090.

For more information on Raney’s Inc. visit http://raneys.com/ or call 1-888-888-7990.


For more information on the Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership (CEP) or Power Plant Business Incubator visit www.OcalaCEP.com. Contact Ryan Lilly at 352-629-8051 x 125 or Ryan@OcalaCEP.com.


 

How Have We Moved YOU Forward?

Posted on: July 12, 2016

The CEP is collecting testimonials from the many businesses we’ve had the pleasure of assisting.

Selected testimonials will be featured on our website and across other channels, providing free exposure for your brand!

If you have a good story to share about how someone at the CEP has or currently is helping your company, please fill-out our short survey here.

Thank you in advance for your kind words of support and encouragement!

The CEP Team

CEP Closed on Monday, July 4th in Observance of Independence Day Holiday

Posted on: June 27, 2016

Want to market your business to the equine community? HITS has an opportunity for you!

Posted on: June 22, 2016

HITS will be sending a gift box to their top trainers in early September. This box will be very important as it will include our Prize List, which is the "bible" for their Horse Show in Ocala. 

In addition to the prize list, they are looking for 4 -5 BRANDED pieces inviting visitors to the City of Ocala and Marion County.  They are looking for QUALITY products and could include one of the following items:

- Golf balls
- Golf tees
- Golf towels
- Spa product samples
- Sunscreen
- Headphones
- Decals (destination-themed)
- Destination magnets or keychains
- Sunglasses
- Sunglasses cleaner
- Floaties for the beach

They will be sending 3,000-4,000  high quality WELCOME TO OCALA boxes at the beginning of September. The deadline for submission is July 25th.

Please contact Amy Agricola at  agricola362@aol.com for more information.
 

FLSA New Overtime Ruling Workshop is SOLD OUT

Posted on: June 16, 2016

Applications for LOM Class XXX now available!

Posted on: June 13, 2016

Applications are due by 4:00 p.m. on Friday, July 15th. For more information on the Leadership program, please visit http://ocalacep.com/supporting-business/business-services/leadership/leadership-ocala-marion.  

CEP Offices will be closed on Monday, June 20th

Posted on: June 13, 2016

Take Our Mid-Year Communications and Programs Survey!

Posted on: June 07, 2016

CEP to Host Free Workshop on FLSA's New Overtime Ruling on June 22nd

Posted on: June 06, 2016

CEP Offices will be closed in observance of Memorial Day Holiday

Posted on: May 23, 2016

The US Department of Labor issues new rules regarding Overtime Regulations for Executive, Administrative, & Professional Workers

Posted on: May 18, 2016

Yesterday, the US Department of Labor issued new rules regarding Overtime Regulations for Executive, Administrative, & Professional workers. The CEP has been tracking this issue very closely and had submitted commits to DOL regarding several sections of the proposed changes which we found particularly concerning.

While the DOL did not go as far as was initially proposed, the changes are significant:

• The salary threshold will be increased to $47,476 annually ($913/week)—an increase of slightly more than 100% from the current threshold of $23,660 annually ($455/week).

• There will be no changes to the duties test.

• The salary threshold will be updated every three years and tied to the 40th percentile of full-time salaried workers in the lowest wage region of the country (currently the Southeast).

• Employers will have until December 1, 2016 to come into compliance with the new requirement—a period of about 200 days.

We have been working for several months to finalize a training session for our partners on these new rules. We are tentatively scheduling multiple sessions the week of 20 June. Watch the website, our social media, and your email inbox for more information.

Film Company Graduates from Business Incubator

Posted on: May 11, 2016

ThatsHowItsDone Productions, an award-winning full-service video production and creative agency began by 18-year-old Director Alex Moy and his family, has graduated from the CEP’s Power Plant Business Incubator.

The company has just expanded into a larger studio space located at 1321 SE 25th Loop Suite 101 Ocala, FL 34471. Alex and his mother Natalia have now grown the company to a total of 10 employees.

“We are proud to have been a small part of ThatsHowItsDone Production’s success story, and in particular to have witnessed the emergence of an outstanding up-and-coming film director, Alex Moy” said Ryan Lilly, CEP Director of Business Creation. “We are also excited to see they have grown their employment. Job creation is a primary objective of our business incubation efforts.”

Alex Moy, Director of Production at THID said, “We are incredibly grateful to our community for embracing THID and allowing us many opportunities to represent our clients. We have had great results with our projects and look forward to continue to grow and bring innovative ideas that produce results.”

“Our clients look for creative marketing ideas to stand out and expand their brand, we fulfill this need with passion and ingenuity guiding us through our core values, two of which are; Work Hard and Have Fun. We are certain to deliver results, taking the burden off of our clients in the marketing process. And we are extremely grateful to everyone for all their support in believing is us,”  said Natalia Moy, CEO of THID.

To learn more about the ThatsHowItsDone Productions, visit www.thatshowitsdoneproductions.com or contact Natalia Moy at 352.322.2351 or natalia@thidproductions.com.


The Power Plant Business Incubator (PPBI), a Business Creation Initiative of the CEP, is made possible through a partnership with the City of Ocala and Marion County. The PPBI provides a host of support services to ensure innovative and scalable companies a better chance at success. For more information on the Power Plant Business Incubator, or any Business Creation initiative of the CEP, contact Ryan Lilly at Ryan@OcalaCEP.com or call 352-629-8051 x 125.


The Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership (CEP) was created to be a one-stop hub for the community’s business attraction, creation and retention efforts. The CEP’s mission is to be THE catalyst for a prosperous community. The CEP will drive community transformation and strengthen business through an aggressive and forward looking approach. The CEP will bring together all economic development forces to ensure that Marion County will be a vibrant community with a stable, diversified economy. For more information, visit: www.OcalaCEP.com


XXX

CEP participates in Duke Energy Site Readiness Program

Posted on: May 10, 2016

The CEP responded to an extensive request for proposal on a 456-acre property adjacent to I-75 with access to Highway 318 and one mile from Highway 441. This response was followed by a site visit by McCallum Sweeney Consulting, a nationally-recognized site selection firm, who evaluated and prepared recommendations for the site. Heidt Design, a Tampa-based planning and engineering firm, provided a conceptual plan for the site.
It was recommended that the property, known as Sunny Oaks, should be used for manufacturing, logistics/distribution and emerging technologies.
  “Duke partnered with McCallum Sweeney beginning in 2005 to increase the competitiveness of our communities through site, or product, development and to ensure an inventory of ready sites to spur economic growth. Through the Duke Energy Site Readiness program we have evaluated 190 sites, and as a result, our communities have landed 4,400 new jobs on Duke Site Readiness sites and realized $3.5 billion in new capital investment,” said Marc Hoenstine, Director, Economic Development.
The Duke Energy Site Readiness Program is fully funded by Duke Energy. The goal of this program is to increase the inventory of prime industrial sites throughout its service territories and to advance the state of readiness of these sites. It is not a “site certification” process, but rather a program to help local economic development organizations find and prepare potential sites for future investment.
“As demonstrated by the presentation from MSC, it is imperative that communities are constantly working to develop new product to remain competitive in attracting new businesses,” said Ken Ausley, CEP Chairman of the Board. “This study demonstrates the strengths of this community and aides us in preparing for future success.”

The Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership was created to be a one-stop hub for the community’s business attraction, creation and retention efforts. The CEP’s mission is to be THE catalyst for a prosperous community. The Moving Forward plan seeks to impact the creation of 3500 new jobs with wages 15% above the county average and resulting in a capital investment of $225 million by 2018. 

For more information, visit:  www.OcalaCEP.com

Duke Energy Florida owns coal-fired and natural gas generation providing about 9,100 megawatts of owned electric capacity to approximately 1.7 million customers in a 13,000-square-mile service area.
With its Florida regional headquarters located in St. Petersburg, Fla., Duke Energy is one of the largest electric power holding companies in the United States. Its regulated utility operations serve approximately 7.4 million electric customers located in six states in the Southeast and Midwest, representing a population of approximately 24 million people. Its Commercial Portfolio and International business segments own and operate diverse power generation assets in North America and Latin America, including a growing portfolio of renewable energy assets in the United States.
Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 125 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at duke-energy.com.
The Duke Energy News Center serves as a multimedia resource for journalists and features news releases, helpful links, photos and videos. Hosted by Duke Energy, illumination is an online destination for stories about remarkable people, innovations, and community and environmental topics. It also offers glimpses into the past and insights into the future of energy.
Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.
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Notice: SE 3rd Avenue, Between SE 3rd Street and SE 4th Street to become one-way street

Posted on: May 06, 2016

Work is expected to last approximately three to four weeks. During construction, this portion of SE 3rd Avenue will be closed. All necessary devices will be in place to re-direct traffic. The road will re-open as a one-way street at the end of construction. Crews will be performing sidewalk repairs, changing signage and re-striping the roads. The estimated cost of this project is $17,000, which includes the sidewalk repairs, contract services and other in-house Public Works costs.

For more information, please call the City of Ocala Public Works Department at 352-351-6733. 


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Media contact: Katie Young, Coordinator, Office of Public Communication Phone: 352-401-3978, Email: kyoung@ocalafl.org

CEP hires Bart Rowland as Director of Business Services

Posted on: May 04, 2016

Rowland, a native of Henderson, Kentucky, is a graduate of the Leadership Class XXVIII. He is also the recipient of the Jane Mansfield Award, which is given to a member of the Leadership Class who has demonstrated exemplary leadership and outstanding dedication to our community through service.

Rowland attended Henderson Community College and the University of Kentucky, graduating with a degree in Business Administration. Before moving to Ocala in 2014, he served in the manufacturing and healthcare industries.

Rowland previously served as a benefits specialist for Advanced Benefits Services, a company specializing in voluntary employee benefits in Ocala.
In his role as Director of Business Services, Rowland is responsible for the development of curriculum for the CEP’s Business Advancement Series and Talent Development programs such Leadership Ocala Marion (LOM), Young Professionals Ocala (YPO) and Leadership Ocala Marion Youth (LOMY).

“Bart is a great addition for our team. Not only is he a Leadership graduate and Mansfield recipient, but he has participated in YPO and been both a presenter and attendee at TuesdayTalks and FridayTalks,” said Kevin Sheilley, President & CEO of the CEP. “He has been engaged in nearly all aspects of Business Services and comes with a good understanding of how each of these programs fits within the CEP’s mission.”

Ocala Farm Market Customers - We want your Feedback!

Posted on: May 02, 2016

CEP Integrating New Email Server

Posted on: April 29, 2016

The CEP will be migrating to a new email server this weekend. As a result, we will not be able to send or receive email after 5 pm on Friday until early Monday morning. We apologize for any inconvenience but we look forward to being able to serve you with improved reliability starting new week.

Marion County Career Exploration Day on May 11th

Posted on: April 27, 2016

The event takes place at the College of Central Florida’s Klein Conference Center, 3001 SW College Road, in Ocala. Ninth and 10th graders are scheduled from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. while middle school students, interested parents, teachers, guidance counselors and older high schoolers are set for 6-8 p.m.
Career Exploration Day targets in-demand industries of Information Technology, Healthcare, Manufacturing, and Transportation/Logistics. There is no charge to participate.
“For students, parents and school staff, this is an excellent way to learn first-hand about exciting, local career opportunities and the potential for advancement in today’s leading industries,” said Brenda Chrisman, CareerSource CLM’s business services officer. “It will also offer insight into the postsecondary education or training needed to succeed in tomorrow’s workforce.”

Chrisman noted that the program provides employers a chance to help close skills gaps in their industries and begin building the talent pipeline needed to meet future demand.
The event is sponsored by CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion, Marion County Public Schools, the Public Education Foundation of Marion County, Mid-Florida Regional Manufacturers Association and the Ocala/Marion Chamber and Economic Partnership.
For more information, call 352-671-4101 or email sara.lefils@marion.k12.fl.us

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CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion is a member of the CareerSource Florida network of workforce services and resources. CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion is an equal opportunity employer/program. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities. For accommodations, call 800-434-5627, ext. 7878 or e-mail accommodations@careersourceclm.com. Like CareerSource CLM on Facebook, follow on Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

Media Contact: Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC

Communications Manager
Direct: 352-291-9559 | Mobile: 352-816-1264

lbyrnes@careersourceclm.com

Downtown Ocala Toastmasters Celebrates 1 Year Anniversary of Shaping Speakers

Posted on: April 26, 2016

Members of the public are invited to learn more about Toastmasters or may attend the event by emailing dan@greatervisions.com. Since 2015, the club has been dedicated to helping people become better speakers and leaders.
“Downtown Ocala Toastmasters provides a supportive and positive environment where members have the opportunity to overcome their fear of public speaking and sharpen presentation skills,” says Dan Gentry, Club President. “Other benefits include the opportunity to increase one’s confidence, build critical thinking skills and become an effective listener,” says Gentry.
“Toastmasters has helped me become a much more confident speaker and further develop my leadership skills” said Lisa Walsh, Club Treasurer.
The club, located in District 84, has an active membership and always welcomes new members. Downtown Ocala Toastmasters meets each Thursday at Noon at the Power Plant Business Incubator at 405 SE Osceola Ave. Ocala, 34471. For more information about the club, please visit https://www.toastmasters.org/Find-a-Club/04290786-downtown-ocala-toastmasters
About District 84
District 84 comprises more than 190 corporate and community clubs across Central Florida. To learn more about District 84 please visit: http://www.toastmastersd84.org/

About Toastmasters International
Toastmasters International is a worldwide nonprofit educational organization that empowers individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders. Headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., the organization's membership exceeds 332,000 in more than 15,400 clubs in 135 countries. Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people from diverse backgrounds become more confident speakers, communicators and leaders. For information about local Toastmasters clubs, please visit www.toastmasters.org. Follow @Toastmasters on Twitter.

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CEP names Tamara Fleischhaker as Vice President of Business Advocacy & Partner Services

Posted on: April 12, 2016

In her position, Fleischhaker is responsible for advocating to local, state and federal officials on behalf of the local business community. Within the Partner Services sector, Fleischhaker is responsible for overseeing leadership programs, the Business Advancement series, networking programs and the Business Support team.

Fleischhaker has been with the CEP for the last ten years, serving in a variety of roles. Most recently, she held the position of Director of Business Advocacy. Tamara joined the CEP in April of 2006 with a background in marketing, events and public policy. She has over 25 years of event management experience from trade show coordination for Fortune 500 companies, to production of international festivals such as the Minneapolis Aquatennial and Macon, Georgia's Cherry Blossom Festival. 

Tamara’s professional experience includes brand development, contract program management and trade show coordination as well as account management and public relations with ad agencies in Minneapolis and Reno, NV.

"As the CEP has continued to grow and add to our team, we have known that we would need to add additional leadership. We are fortunate to have someone already on the team who can step into this new Vice President position and be immediately impactful,” said Kevin Sheilley, President & CEO of the CEP. “Tamara knows and understand the mission of the CEP and how each of these areas works within that mission. I know she will help to lead our team and organization towards providing a great return on investment for our partners."

The Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership was created to be a one-stop hub for the community’s business attraction, creation and retention efforts. The CEP’s mission is to be THE catalyst for a prosperous community. The Moving Forward plan seeks to impact the creation of 3500 new jobs with wages 15% above the county average and resulting in a capital investment of $225 million by 2018. 

For more information, visit:  www.OcalaCEP.com

2016 CEP Business After Hours Schedule Announced

Posted on: March 28, 2016

Ocala Health Center for Health Services Innovation Opens

Posted on: March 24, 2016

Further, through the Incubator’s association with the Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership, each of the companies in the new facility have been able to connect with local healthcare companies (hospitals, medical providers, etc.) to further accelerate their growth.
While the Incubator’s first building included several of these healthcare companies, this new center has allowed them to both attract more and to centralize all of them in one building. Because of this clustering, they are now able to provide more targeted programming and other resources to help these healthcare startups with their unique needs.
The establishment of this Center was made possible through partnerships with the city of Ocala, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Department and the Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership.
In addition to Ocala Health’s sponsorship of the building, rooms inside the Center were sponsored by Ron and Phyllis Ewers, Center State Bank and the Center for Comprehensive Palliative Care.
Residents in the Ocala Health Center for Health Services Innovation include QuadNurse, Greater Mobility and Supportive Connections.The Center is located 303 SE Osceola Avenue.

    

CEP Hires New Director of Partner Relations

Posted on: February 26, 2016

The Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership announced today that Joe Reichel will serve as the new Director of Partner Relations. In this role, Reichel is responsible for recruiting, retaining and engaging partners in the activities and opportunities of the CEP.

A native of Pennsylvania, Reichel has been an Ocala resident for the last 20 years. He has served as the vice president of marketing and sales of Damage Control Services since 2010.

“We are so excited to have Joe joining the team. I cannot imagine anyone who would be a better fit for this position. He is as well-connected in this community as anyone I know and is a great champion for the CEP. I am truly excited to have him as our new Director of Partner Relations,” explained Kevin Sheilley, President and CEO of the CEP.

The Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership was created to be a one-stop hub for the community’s business attraction, creation and retention efforts. The CEP’s mission is to be THE catalyst for a prosperous community. The Moving Forward plan seeks to impact the creation of 3500 new jobs with wages 15% above the county average and resulting in a capital investment of $225 million by 2018. 

For more information, visit:  www.OcalaCEP.com.

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Technology Startup Hyper.Directory Graduates from Power Plant Business Incubator

Posted on: February 11, 2016

The company, founded in 2014 by Silicon Valley veteran entrepreneur Matthew O’Byrne, has just expanded into their new offices on SW 18th Court in Ocala. O’Byrne, working alongside his Chief Operating Officer Emmitte Beard, has grown the company to a total of 23 staff and sales contractors.
“We are excited to have witnessed Hyper.Directory’s explosive growth,” said Ryan Lilly, Director of Business Creation at the CEP. “Our Business Creation efforts are aimed at serving entrepreneurs and providing them with resources to help take their business to the next level. Hyper.Directory is an excellent example of a startup which has fully leveraged those resources.”
O’Byrne, President & CEO of Hyper.Directory, said, “It is our goal for the Hyper.Directory platform to be the single, most effective referral source for residents to find businesses in Marion County.”
Emmitte Beard, COO of Hyper.Directory agreed saying, “The benefit to our service is the fact that local customers are always looking online first to find local businesses. With the Hyper.Directory, we help connect Marion County residents to trusted local businesses when it matters most."
“The assistance provided by the Power Plant Business Incubator & CEP has been a huge part of our company’s success” said O’Byrne. “We would recommend for any aspiring entrepreneur in the area to have a look at the Power Plant. It's a great place to collaborate with like-minded people and help get your business off the ground."
To learn more about the Hyper.Directory, visit http://Hyper.Directory or contact Emmitte Beard at 352.877.2807.
The Power Plant Business Incubator (PPBI), a Business Creation Initiative of the CEP, is made possible through a partnership with the City of Ocala and Marion County. The PPBI provides a host of support services to ensure innovative and scalable companies a better chance at success. For more information on the Power Plant Business Incubator, or any Business Creation initiative of the CEP, contact Ryan Lilly at Ryan@OcalaCEP.com or call 352-629-8051 x 125.
The Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership (CEP) was created to be a one-stop hub for the community’s business attraction, creation and retention efforts. The CEP’s mission is to be THE catalyst for a prosperous community. The CEP will drive community transformation and strengthen business through an aggressive and forward looking approach. The CEP will bring together all economic development forces to ensure that Marion County will be a vibrant community with a stable, diversified economy. For more information, visit www.OcalaCEP.com

 

CEP Offices Closed on Monday, February 15th in Observance of President's Day Holiday

Posted on: February 08, 2016

2016 CEP Annual Luncheon is SOLD OUT!

Posted on: February 02, 2016

CEP and Master the Possibilities to Host Conference on Volunteer Leadership Connections on February 24th

Posted on: January 22, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Margaret Spontak, Director of Education
Phone: (352) 387-7571
Email: Margaret_spontak@otowfl.com


Volunteer Leadership Connections: Plugging Into Community Service


Featured speakers include Chester Spellman, CEO of Volunteer Florida, and Jack Levine, Founder of 4Generations Institute. Spellman shares his keynote on Volunteer Leaders Making a Difference across Florida. Levine concludes the conference with Our Four Generations: Ready or Not, Here We Are!  Breakout sessions focus on serving on boards, finding volunteer opportunities, mentoring and co-mentoring, becoming a social entrepreneur, and recruiting and retaining volunteers.
The picnic lunch incorporates a volunteer opportunity fair with themed tents highlighting different types of volunteer opportunities from dozens of organizations. Enjoy lunch with volunteers and representatives in the area that most interests you.
Registration fee is $15 including a picnic lunch. Leadership Ocala Marion members and residents of On Top of the World and Stone Creek Communities are $10. For a brochure and registration information, visit www.MasterthePossibilities.com  or call (352) 861-9751 to register and pay by phone.

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CEP Offices Closed on Monday, January 18th in Observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday

Posted on: January 11, 2016

First TuesdayTalks of 2016 Has Record-Breaking Crowd

Posted on: January 05, 2016

CEP Office Holiday Hours

Posted on: December 15, 2015

December Business After Hours Event Cancelled

Posted on: December 11, 2015

Belleview High Student Wins Business Plan Competition

Posted on: November 23, 2015

Chaffin’s winning business plan is entitled “Millennial in a Minute” and proposes a mobile and web application which would connect tech-savvy millennials to less tech-savvy seniors – allowing the millennials to sell technology assistance to the seniors in “tutoring” settings.
Chaffin’s first place win is valued at over $3,500. This includes $2,000 in cash, a 1 year CEP Partnership, a 1 year Affiliate Membership at the Power Plant Business Incubator, and his photo on the cover of a future CEP Partner Connections magazine.
Other winners included:
2nd Place – Eventurous Planning (Event Planning) -- $1,000 Cash Prize
Students: Shelby McCubbin, Shamari Adams, Tara Strickland, Trista Cardenas
3rd Place – Clockwork Transit (Logistics) -- $500 Cash Prize
Students: Joshua Evans-Lowe, Jordan Hetzler, Genesis Rivas-Osorio, Jason Swets, Dakota Thomas
4th Place – Brionna’s Bomb Bow Making (Apparel)
Student: Brionna Lassiter
5th Place – La Familia (Music Production Studio)
Students: Raven Cannizzo, Damien Fraser, Zantavia Williams, Jeremiah Napoleoni, Darius Johnson
The competition was made possible by two CEP Partners: Taylor College & OC LAO Inc.
Judges included:
Diana Hammond – President, Taylor College (Co-Sponsor)
Linus Ocasio – Chairman & CEO, OC LAO Inc. (Co-Sponsor)
Angie Lewis – Angie Lewis State Farm (1st Round Judge)
Cherrietta Prince – Prince Marketing & Education Consultants (2nd Round Judge)
Rondo Fernandez – Owner of Mojo Grill & Catering Co.
Navroz Saju – President/CEO of the Hotel Development Group
The evening’s Final Round event was held at Community Technical & Adult Education (CTAE) in Ocala, in the Brewster Banquet Hall.
Plans are already in the works to bring the competition back again next year.

For more information on this competition, visit: www.YouthBusinessPlanCompetition.com

For more information on O.C. LAO Inc., visit http://www.oclaoinc.com/ or call Director of Marketing, Josuah Rivera at (352)789-3613

For more information on Taylor College, visit  http://www.taylorcollege.edu/ or call (352) 245-4119

For more information on the Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership (CEP) or Power Plant Business Incubator, visit www.OcalaCEP.com. Contact Ryan Lilly at 352-629-8051 x 125 or Ryan@OcalaCEP.com.
 

CEP Offices Closed Thursday, November 26th and Friday, November 27th for the Thanksgiving Holiday

Posted on: November 18, 2015

Finalists Announced in 2nd Annual Youth Business Plan Competition

Posted on: November 06, 2015

Contact: Ryan Lilly, Director of Business Creation
Office: 352-629-8051 x 125 | E-mail: Ryan@OcalaCEP.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Finalists Announced in 2nd Annual Youth Business Plan Competition

Ocala, Florida (November 6, 2015) – Student teams proposing a logistics company, recording studio, technology assistance service, event planning business, and a unique t-shirt add-on have been selected as the five finalists in the CEP’s 2nd Annual Marion County Youth Business Plan Competition sponsored by Taylor College and OC LAO Inc. The contest, a Business Creation initiative of the Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership and the Power Plant Business Incubator, aims to get students thinking and talking about opportunities to start companies of their own.

Open to 9-12th grade public, private, and home-schooled students in Marion County, the competition this year received numerous applications from high schools around Marion County. Following the October 30th application deadline, a panel of judges met on November 5th, carefully scored each entry, and selected 5 of the teams as finalists.

Those five teams will now be asked to present in a style similar to that of the television show Shark Tank on Friday, November 20th at 6:00 PM at CTAE’s Brewster Hall; 1014 SW 7th Rd, Ocala, FL 34471. The public and media are invited to attend. No RSVP is necessary, although seating will be limited on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The team selected for first prize will receive $2,000 cash, one year Affiliate Membership at the Power Plant Business Incubator, one year Partnership with the CEP, their team’s story on the cover of a local magazine, and a trophy. Second and third prizes are $1,000 and $500 cash respectively, in addition to trophies.


Judges Include:

Diana Hammond – President, Taylor College (Co-Sponsor)
Linus Ocasio – Chairman & CEO, OC LAO Inc. (Co-Sponsor)
Angie Lewis – Angie Lewis State Farm
Rondo Fernandez – Owner of Mojo Grill & Catering Co.
Navroz Saju – President/CEO of the Hotel Development Group

For more information on the Marion County Youth Business Plan Competition, contact Ryan Lilly, Director of Business Creation at 352-629-8051 x 125 or Ryan@OcalaCEP.com.

The Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership (CEP) was created to be a one-stop hub for the community’s business attraction, creation and retention efforts. The CEP’s mission is to be THE catalyst for a prosperous community. The CEP will drive community transformation and strengthen business through an aggressive and forward looking approach. The CEP will bring together all economic development forces to ensure that Marion County will be a vibrant community with a stable, diversified economy. For more information, visit: www.OcalaCEP.com

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Paramount Transportation Logistics Services to locate facility in Ocala MSA

Posted on: November 03, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Paramount Transportation Logistics Services to locate facility in Ocala MSA

Ocala, Florida (November 3, 2015) – The Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership (CEP) announced today that Paramount Transportation Logistics Services, which provides supply chain and transportation management services, will establish a facility in the Ocala area, creating 200 transportation-related jobs. The facility will be located at 1330 SW 38th Avenue, which previously housed the Merillat Cabinet facility.

“We are excited about the opportunities the Merrilat Building brings to our operations. The size, location and interstate proximity create a unique asset offering utility to our businesses and value as an investment,” said Don DeLuca, Vice President, Legal of R+L Carriers.

Paramount Logistics is headquartered in Fort Myers, and is part of the Roberts Family of Companies. PLTS plans to build out and renovate the facility to house various transportation-related entities, such as companies focusing on truckload, less than truckload and third-party logistics (3PL) operations. The facility is a total of 266,000 square feet.

“The city is excited to see an asset like the Merillat building, which was sitting unproductive, again be a center for commerce,” said City Council President Jay Musleh. 

Paramount Logistics provides a wide range of warehousing with facilities strategically placed throughout the country. This provides efficient operational alignment and standardization of their intermodal services supporting multiple customer channels.

“The Marion County Board of County Commissioners extends a warm welcome to Paramount Transportation Logistics Services in locating its new facility in our community,” said Marion County Commission Chairman Stan McClain. “The company's transportation and logistics operations will provide an employment foundation for 200 more Marion County families, and we are excited about the transport solutions they will bring closer to many local businesses.”

The company provides the most efficient cost-effective rail alternatives that allow their customers to maintain their competitive edge.

“We are excited for another investment in our community by the Roberts family,” said Kevin McDonald, chairman of the CEP board. “Growing our logistics sector is a key aim of the CEP.”
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The Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership was created to be a one-stop hub for the community’s business attraction, creation and retention efforts. The CEP’s mission is to be THE catalyst for a prosperous community. The Moving Forward plan seeks to impact the creation of 3500 new jobs with wages 15% above the county average and resulting in a capital investment of $225 million by 2018. 

For more information, visit:  www.OcalaCEP.com

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CEP to Close in Observance of Veterans Day on Wednesday, November 11th

Posted on: November 02, 2015

CEP Partnering with Supervisor of Elections for Candidate Workshop on November 12th

Posted on: October 27, 2015

CEP Partnering with Supervisor of Elections for Candidate Workshop on November 12th

If you are interested in running for office or want to learn about the candidate process, attend an informative Candidate Workshop on November 12 at 6 PM. An RSVP is requested by November 5. Click here for more information.

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