Florida’s Hot Business Climate

During FCMA’s Tallahassee trip last month, we were met with a warm reception from the familiar faces of those who work to maintain Florida as the premier destination to live and conduct business. Over 20 members left the comfort of Northeast Florida, their businesses, and families to ensure that our voices resonate with the Legislature and bring value to your membership. As the economy and weather continue to heat up, so does the fire within the bellies of those who were lucky enough to be present to hear Mark Wilson, Florida Chamber president, speak on the business climate in our great state.

Mark spoke on a number of topics related to Florida and Duval County, sharing some positively alarming statistics. Did you know that Florida’s economy has grown 9.9% over the past 3 years to $800 billion? For me, the number was too big to fathom. Mark eloquently put this into perspective, explaining the fact that if Florida were a country, then our economy would be the 18th largest in the world. He continued with a list of achievements spanning the last five years, such as:

  • Florida has improved from 5th to 25th in cost of living comparisons to other states,
  • Unemployment has fallen to 5.7%
  • 800,000 private sector jobs have been added
  • $4.5 billion in debt has been paid down
  • Nearly 3000 regulations have been eliminated
  • Taxes have been reduced 40 times

His presentation suggested that state population will continue to increase at the rate of 803 people daily and expects education to trend upward as well. From 1992 through 2013, our 4th grade reading scores improved to 1st against all other states–rising from the lowest (45th), all while investing fewer education dollars than any other state.

Not to be outdone, Jacksonville has flourished. A recent list published by Forbes, Best Places for Business, ranked us nationally as 75th based on: cost of doing business, job growth, and education. Only three other Florida cities ranked ahead of us! Unemployment has fallen to 6.2% and optimism about Florida’s direction of Florida paces ahead of the state. 54% of Jacksonville voters feel that Florida is moving in the right direction while 29% feel the opposite. Statewide, 46% are positive and 32% are not. This kind optimism breeds confidence, which is attractive for businesses looking for a Florida home as well as the students and skilled workforce to staff those businesses.

Florida and most notably, Northeast Florida are heating up. We are neither blind to our own set of challenges, nor are we at liberty to be complacent moving forward. However, in a business climate where all the competitors are warm, it is refreshing to know how well we stack up. Please share these stories of success with your friends, neighbors and colleagues. Infect the community with optimism, thank your legislators, and be heard. Stoke the fire inside and together we’ll make Northeast Florida the hottest business climate. It is truly up to us!

Thank you for your continued membership with FCMA. A link to Mark Wilson’s full presentation can be found here. Click here for the Legislative Watch List.


Welcome to…

All Purpose Printing
Contact: David Smith, Sales
Phone: (904) 346-0999
P.O. Box 5733, Jacksonville, FL 32207

…press printing, digital printing, mailing services, binding, or finishing - the company that delivers quality, professional printing services.

Sponsor: Dave Frederick, G2 ID Source

Prime Realty
Contact: Tyler Saldutti, CEO
Phone: (904) 373-0578
4237 Salisbury Rd N #212, Jacksonville, FL 32216

…a commercial real estate firm servicing developers, owners, tenants and investors throughout Florida and Georgia.

Sponsor: Ron Avery, ICON Industrial

Sauer Incorporated
Contact: Kevin Shields, Client Relations Manager
Phone: (904) 262-6444 x373
6959-2 Phillips Pkwy Dr S, Jacksonville, FL 32256

…providing high quality construction services that deliver superior performance and enduring value since 1876.

Sponsor: FCMA

New Member Orientation

FCMA’s New Member Orientation is held at least once every month and it is not limited to just the New Members. FCMA offers this orientation to your employees who you want to be active in FCMA.

When: Thursday, April 2
Time: 8:30 AM – 9:30 AM
Location: FCMA office (1615 Huffingham Road, Suite 2)
You must RSVP to attend. Please contact Maria to sign up.


Golf Tournament

Friday, April 10, 2015
Eagle Landing Golf Course
7:30AM Registration/8:30AM Shotgun Start

The Golf Tournament is sold out! Thank you for your support!
We are collecting 175 items for the “goody bags” and we are looking for Silent Auction items such as baskets of products made by our members. Deadline is Monday, April 6.
Contact Maria for more information.

Florida Disaster Awareness - OSHA Workshop

Are you taking advantage of our OSHA certified 2-hour safety classes as part of the FSCJ Susan Harwood Grant? Check the schedule out and make sure you sign up! The April class will be on Florida Disaster Awareness on Thursday, April 23 from 11:00AM-1:30PM at the FCMA office (1615 Huffingham Road, Suite 2). To RSVP contact Debbie.

Manufacturing Career Fair

It’s Here! The Florida Manufacturing Career Fair, being held at FSCJ ATC Center, sponsored by Career Source Northeast Florida, National STEM Consortium, FSCJ and FCMA. FREE space for all manufacturers, simply register on line here. This is a part of the Florida Statewide Career Fair. ANY Manufacturer with open positions can participate. We look forward to having a full house! Contact Sherri for more information. Let’s use this Career Fair to not only fill the positions you are looking for, but to also support the Florida TRADEs “Drive to 1000” Campaign! We have until April 1, 2016 to try and place 1000 trained skilled students.


Employee Retention Workshop

This month’s workshop will be on Employee Retention. Stay tuned for more information.

Where: FCMA Training Room (1615 Huffingham Road, Suite 2)
When: Wednesday, April 29, 2015, 7:30 – 9:30 AM
Cost: $10 Members; $25 Non-members
RSVP: FCMA (904) 296-9664 or Email to Sherri


FCMA Summit

Mark your calendars - The 2015 FCMA Summit will be held on October 8 and 9 at the Casa Monica Hotel in St. Augustine with a new and updated format. The Excellence in Manufacturing Awards will be on October 7 at a new location in St. Augustine: The Treasury Building.

  • Both events are limited to the first 150 attendees
  • Exhibit booths are limited to the first 20. Click here for more information about exhibit booths.
  • Limited number of discounted rooms at the Casa Monica hotel
  • You don’t want to miss this event!

Click here for more information about the Summit.

April 27 at L&J Diesel Service


Our April General Meeting will be held on Monday, April 27 from 4:00-6:00 PM at L&J Diesel Service, located at 2345 Harper St in Jacksonville. L&J Diesel Inc., is the largest, most diverse and complete, independent diesel shop of its kind in the southeast.


Thank you to G2 ID Source for hosting our March General Meeting. G2 manufactures labels of many shapes, sizes, and colors, but specialize in custom product labels. In addition G2 supplies total solution packages. Hardware and software solutions range from mobile computing, wireless infrastructure and data collection to asset tracking and inventory control.

At the meeting, Joe DeSalvo and Nicole Szarlan from the Florida Times-Union presented FCMA with a plaque in honor of our Crane Awards partnership (pictured below).

Click here to view more photos from the meeting.

2015 Crane Awards - Outstanding Employee Recognition

FCMA would like to thank all of the companies who participated in the 19th annual Crane Awards. The night was a huge success with over 130 winners and nearly 400 in attendance! On March 6, 30 area companies got together to publicly honor their outstanding employees. The winners were also recognized in a special Times-Union insert – thanks to our partnership with the Florida Times-Union! Click here for a full list of winners.

Click here to view more photos from the event.

FCMA would like to thank the following volunteers for their assistance at Crane Awards banquet:
Front row (from left): Marty Goldmintz, Kustura; Joey Duncan, Tetra Tech; Trina
Williams, Sticky Fingers; Chrissy Snow, Saft America; and Katharyn Smith, Raymond James.
Back row: Makenzie Choate, Saft America; Ok Sun Burks, Pine Castle; Esther Bullard, Kelly Services; Fraser Bolwell, Raintree Graphics; Geoff Reichold, Aerostar SES, LLC, and FCMA Community Relations Chair; Wanda Fort, Aflac); and Susan Snipes, Briggs Equipment. Not pictured is Samantha Hauser, Abatix.

FMLA Abuse Workshop

Pat Hill of Smith, Gambrell & Russell did a great job as presenter at this workshop. She provided practical guidance on the recent development and concerns with the Family and Medical Leave ACT. Discussion was about important coverage and eligibility issues, as well as address how this is often abused by employees within companies and organizations.

Our March guest was Chief of the City’s Office of Economic Development (OED), Ted Carter. He gave an overview of the office and its function. OED works with various organizations to grow jobs in our region. He also gave an update on the Global Cities Initiative. Click here for Ted’s presentation. Special thanks to Jaxport for hosting this meeting.

March marked the first class in this year’s program and was held at Georgia-Pacific in Palatka. Participants spent time getting to know everyone better through personality assessments and team-building activities.

Tradeshow Tips

Tip #1: Be intentional when deciding who should staff your booth!

  • Consider staff with operational experience who can speak to the prospective buyers who want more technical product or service info.
  • Salespeople can qualify prospects, recognize buying signals and close the deal so they are a must have in the booth!

Tip #2: Give your full attention to whoever you are speaking with!

  • Avoid looking over someone’s shoulder
  • Once someone enters your booth, immediately discontinue conversations with your boothmates.
  • Don’t assume you can correctly identify a decision maker. Often a team of people are involved and can influence a buying decision.

Watch for the Tradeshow Workshop coming in August!
Attend for FREE if you exhibit at the 2015 FCMA Summit!


FCMA Website Updates

You can now easily pay your membership dues and other FCMA events on our website! Simply go to the homepage and scroll down to the Members Corner section on the left side. Contact us if you have any questions or need any assistance.


Florida Trade Grant

Did you know… Through the Florida TRADE Grant prospective manufacturing employees are receiving industry certifications at FSCJ, this is in efforts to fill the gap of skilled workers, we encourage you all to consider hiring from the pool of candidates graduating from the FL Trade Program. If you are a Manufacturer we would also like to inspire you to add preferential hiring statements on your job applications. The intent is to get Manufacturers to use the words “XXX Certification Preferred” in the hiring documents/applications.
Lastly, Please share any and all internship opportunities at your facility. We would like to track and measure the openings your company is offering. Please contact Sherri in the FCMA office for further detailed information. Thank you for your continued efforts in all that you do with FCMA.

**Click here for further information on FSCJs Trade Program. If you have questions, contact Mike Collins at FSCJ.


ACTS… is offering a special hands-on workshop with Microsoft Productivity tools on May 8 & 15. Click here to register.

Advanced Disposal… promoted Jennifer Lada to vice president of financial reporting and hired William Soffera as senior vice president - special projects.

Fleet Readiness Center Southeast… artisans integrate additive manufacturing into processes. Click here to read more.

Jacksonville Port Authority… is investing in the future to grow Northeast Florida’s global competitiveness in trade and transportation and deliver jobs and prosperity to the citizens of Northeast Florida. Click here for more.

The LBA Group… promoted Jonathan Lee to tax manager.

Mac Papers… was featured in a JBJ article about their rebranding.

Raymond James… would like to invite you to a Planning for Health Care Costs seminar on April 16. Click here for more information.

Smith Hulsey & Busey… promoted Timothy Buskirk, Megan Heiden, and Christopher Henderson to shareholders.

Wells Fargo… promoted David MacKenzie to area president, Northeast Florida market.

Do you have something exciting going on at your company? Let Amanda know.