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  • Northwest Florida Forward!

    Northwest Florida Forward!
    Posted on 03/10/2017

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    Northwest Florida Forward is a strategic initiative that will drive economic vitality and growth for the region. It will take all of us – business, government, educational and community leaders – working together throughout the region to make this a reality.

    Engage with us. Join a Northwest Florida Forward Council
    to make your impact on the region.

    VISION

    A diverse and vibrant regional economy where Northwest Florida residents and
    businesses have a wealth of opportunities

    GUIDING PRINICPLES

    • SUSTAINABLE AND ENDURING ECONOMIC BASE
    • DIVERSIFIED INDUSTRIES AND HIGH WAGE EMPLOYMENT GROWTH
    • GREATER ALIGNMENT OF PARTNER RESOURCES THROUGH REGIONAL COLLABORATION
    • IMPROVING THE VITALITY OF ALL AREAS AND POPULATIONS IN THE REGION
    • STRENGTHEN BEYOND TRADITIONAL ECONOMIC ENGINES

    Northwest Florida Forward began with the discovery phase in Fall 2015, where existing strategic plans from the local, regional and state level were reviewed; a presentation on regional economic transformation was made to the Triumph Gulf Coast Board and research was conducted on strategic plans and processes implemented by other regional entities in the U.S.

    After Florida’s Great Northwest and University of West Florida received an EDA grant in Summer 2016, the strategy development phase began. Over the course of five months, a Northwest Florida Forward Steering Committee of Apalachee Regional Planning Council, Florida’s Great Northwest, Gulf Power, University of West Florida Haas Center and West Florida Regional Planning Council worked closely with TIP Strategies, Inc. and more than 860 business, government, educational and community leaders to identify the region’s most promising opportunities for transformative economic growth. The final stage of planning is completed and now the implementation phase will begin.

    The regional strategy is built around five aspirational goals that will serve as the key focus areas for economic vitality and growth for the region. To ensure our strategy becomes a reality, and one that fits uniquely for Northwest Florida, the Steering Committee will manage Northwest Florida Forward Councils which will include volunteers from throughout the region. Each will be led by co-chairs.

    NORTHWEST FLORIDA FORWARD FOCUS AREAS AND COUNCILS 

    1) TALENT
    Connect the talent assets of Northwest Florida to key industry clusters and ensure a dynamic and diverse workforce for new and growing businesses.

    Co-Chairs:

    • Kristie Kelley, Gulf Power
    • Richard Williams, CareerSource Chipola

    2) BUSINESS VITALITY
    Strengthen the region’s economy through targeted recruitment of new businesses and supporting existing business expansions.

    Co-Chairs:

    • Jennifer Conoley, Gulf Power
    • Juliet Milam, PowerSouth

    3) INFRASTRUCTURE
    Ensure that Northwest Florida’s economic infrastructure is state of the art and connects communities in every part of the region.

    Co-Chairs:

    • Austin Mount, West Florida Regional Planning Council
    • Chris Rietow, Apalachee Regional Planning Council

    4) ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND INNOVATION
    Foster robust entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystems to drive future economic growth.

    Co-Chairs:

    • Jennifer McFarren, Gulf Power
    • Pamela Kidwell, Business Innovation Center

    5) QUALITY OF PLACE
    Make Northwest Florida a place appealing to existing residents and visitors as well as to a new generation of talented and creative individuals and companies.

    Co-Chairs:

    • Austin Mount, West Florida Regional Planning Council
    • Chris Rietow, Apalachee Regional Planning Council

    NEXT STEPS

    The Steering Committee will manage the overall implementation process and provide strategic direction and support to the Council Co-Chairs. It will also be responsible for communicating and tracking progress, encouraging engagement and celebrating successes. The Council Co-Chairs and their volunteer members from across the region will help prioritize strategies, develop implementation plans, identify champions and begin to execute.

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