The Greater Naples Chamber, in coordination with the Distinguished Public Service Awards selection committee, honors Collier County’s community heroes for their service during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In lieu of an in-person event, the plaque commemorating DPSA recipients, located at the Collier County Emergency Operations Center, will be updated to honor “our community heroes who worked tirelessly to keep Collier County residents, visitors and businesses safe throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity each year to honor the brave men and women who work every day to ensure Collier County is the safest place to live, work and play,” said Michael Dalby, the president and CEO of the Greater Naples Chamber.
“It was with that in mind that we have made the difficult decision to postpone the 2020 Distinguished Public Service Awards until we can gather again safely,” continued Dalby. “While we are disappointed that we cannot come together in October to celebrate the first responders and frontline workers who have helped our community through this difficult year, we believe the best way to support their work is by doing our part to slow the spread of COVID-19. We look forward to celebrating their vast achievements as soon as it is safe to do so.”
Established in 2003, the Distinguished Public Service Awards recognize Collier County first responders—fire safety, emergency services and law enforcement personnel—for their contributions to the well-being of the community.
“It is important that we recognize all those in our community who answered the call to action in these unprecedented times. From first responders to front line workers, and everyone in between, we thank you for your service” said Reg Buxton, chairman of the Distinguished Public Service selection committee. “We look forward to a time when we can once again gather to celebrate the law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency service personnel.”
The Importance of Hiring Students
Guest post by Connor Firmender, CEO at Fieldr (email@example.com)
We get it, not all companies are thinking to themselves right now, “A student employee is exactly what I need during this pandemic recovery.”
But what if we told you that they aren’t just all avocados and TikTok? What if we told you TikTok might even be the answer to your digital advertising needs to reach new customers and it’s a student who will solve this for you? Curveball, huh?
There are tons of value-adds to hiring students onto your company. Whether you’re nonprofit or for-profit, in healthcare or tech, are suffering from this pandemic or thriving, this article is to generalize the pros -- and we do acknowledge cons -- behind hiring students...or as we like to call them “emerging talent.”
Hiring student workers doesn’t just benefit the students. As an employer, you have the potential of creating newfound relationships with your surrounding school districts and colleges. These are valuable, public and private entities that serve as strategic partners in a mass amount of ways.
From a manager’s perspective, hiring a student comes with many advantages, including:
A cost-effective workforce:
Which includes access to work-study funding. Students aren’t always pushing the envelopes for money. You’re dealing with a pool of talent who is more in need of experience, rather than paychecks. The younger the student (e.g. High School seniors, College freshmen), the less you’ll need to expense. Sure, it’s a bit of a trade-off considering the younger the student, the more teaching you’ll have to do as an employer. But as Steve Jobs always said, it is better to invest the time into your employees to train them, so in case they stay, you don’t have a gap in your system.
Born to multi-task:
Students are always willing to engage in roles and activities outside of their normal day-to-day. Again, these are sponges we’re talking about. Sponges who have been bred to multi-task while they’re sleeping. Homework while keeping up with Stranger Things while contributing to a group chat for another project while doing their makeup while screaming down to their mom they “truly are studying!” It’s a natural ability to multi-task that students, and emerging talent, all have in common … more leverage for your company.
Student-workers can vary the hours they work each week, handle seasonal workloads, work non-routine hours, as well as weekends! One thing to be aware of in regards to flexibility, though, is that class schedules may change each semester, and many will need time off for exams and breaks. Expect to be fully transparent with your student-worker, and expect the same out of them. Flexibility can make or break a working relationship with your new employee.
Students have a natural ability to understand the needs and viewpoints of other students, help student customers feel more comfortable, and let the other staff know about issues from a student’s point of view. Lo and behold, Generation Z makes up for roughly 40% of the consumer market. It’s ideal to have plenty of them on your team to identify behavioral trends in your market, and how to detect them before they even happen. A youthful perspective can be massive leverage on your marketing and product team.
This goes without saying -- young students bring massive amounts of energy, enthusiasm, and spontaneous personalities that light up an office. If you’ve never had a 19-year-old college student spruce up your office and bring laughter into the cubicles, you’re missing out. These types of people can be the exact addition you need to your company culture.
Vision for Corporate Social Responsibility:
This may be one of the most important points we’ll make. According to Forbes, 81% of emerging generations prefer a company with some form of corporate social responsibility (e.g. a giveback model based on sales, a nonprofit sistering company, initiatives for equality and an equitable economy). Having this perspective on your team will ensure your company is aligned with what the market needs. Gen Z plus Millennials (the other emerging generation) make up a total of nearly 75% of the consumer market. Simply put, if you don’t get on board with CSR, you can expect to lose 75% of your customers to your competitor who is corporate socially responsible, over the next couple of years. Here are some examples to kick off the brainstorming sesh: Amazon’s Smile Program, Toms Shoes One-For-One, WearTheFund 3% Nonprofit Giveback, Patagonia Environmental Charitable Model, etc.
Just like every student you’re going to meet, interview, and hire, there is a uniqueness to what they can achieve. We encourage you to share this article with your team, get to brainstorming, get your company signed up on Fieldr or contact the Greater Naples Chamber, and enjoy the flood of emerging talent that is wading in a pool right now.
Naples and the surrounding area are known for their pristine beaches and excellent weather. Many people may view this area as a place for vacationers and retirees, not a hub for business development and innovation. However, a year in review of the business environment reveals a lesser-known side of Collier County: a catalyst for business growth and economic development.
Collier County is home to roughly 25,000 businesses and 168,000 workers. While tourism and hospitality sector jobs are dominant, one might be surprised to know that Collier County has other sprawling industries that aid in diversifying the economy and employ highly-skilled workers. Many companies operating within these industries had notable headquarter expansions or relocated to Collier in the past year.
One that you might be more familiar with is Arthrex’s expansion. Arthrex is a global leader in medical device manufacturing and one of the top employers in Collier County. The HQ expansion includes a luxury hotel and a conference center. The $63 million capital investment is expected to add 560 jobs and increase the local economy by more than $1 billion annually.
Other companies within the medical device manufacturing cluster also saw growth in their operations. One of these is Lenkbar, a company that invents, designs and manufactures revolutionary surgical devices and implants. The company expanded into a new state-of-the-art 21,000 s.f facility and now employees 50 workers in high-skilled positions. An example of a more traditional economic development project is Summit Orthopedic Technologies. Summit relocated its headquarters from Connecticut to Naples, FL, in 2019 and received a qualified targeted industries (QTI) incentive package from the state. The QTI incentive was available for companies that create high wage jobs in targeted top value-added industries. However, the program has since sunset. Summit’s relocation from a high-tax state to a tax climate more conducive to business is just one of many trends that are happening with HQ relocations from the northeast. Summit melds right into the medical device manufacturing cluster in Collier County.
Now looking at a very different cluster -- a Forbes article recently listed Naples as one of the twenty top entrepreneurial ecosystems across America. Along with the presence of many consulting and funding organizations, including Tamiami Angels, the Small Business Development Center at FGCU, and one of the most active SCORE chapters in the U.S., there is also a growing co-working and flexible workspace environment in Collier County. One of these organizations, Venture X, is undergoing an expansion into a 18,500 s.f space, which is set to be open in the spring of 2021. The new area will attract entrepreneurs, remote workers, startups, non-profits, small businesses, and even large teams from fortune 500 companies. Catalyst OrthoScience, a medical device company focused on the upper extremity orthopedics market, raised $12.7 million in an oversubscribed Series C-1 financing round. This funding allowed Catalyst to expand distribution, develop new products, and enhanced company infrastructure and hire new talent. Additionally, Naples-based Tamiami Angel Funds put more than $1.4 million into Catalyst in earlier funding rounds.
Other Naples grown companies such as Pyure Brands, one of the fastest-growing independent organic stevia companies in the U.S., is continuing its growth at its North Naples HQ and has placed its products in leading grocery stores including Whole Foods and Publix. Pyure Brands was named to Inc. 5000 List of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies.
Business development, expansion, and attraction are critical goals for economic growth. At the same time, Collier County also focuses on attainable housing for workers, and workforce development training centers, including the Center for Manufacturing Excellence, which opened its doors in 2019 to upskill workers for the growing workforce demands in manufacturing operations.
So, next time you are enjoying a day at the beach or grabbing a bite to eat at your favorite local restaurant, take time to notice the vast amount of diversified industry that helps to keep the local economy strong all year round. To find out more about details about economic development initiatives and programs in Collier County, please contact Melanie Schmees, director of business and economic research, at 239-403-2914 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our community's economic prosperity takes careful tending. So the Greater Naples Chamber and Collier County formalized The Partnership for Collier's Future Economy to promote healthy business growth and job creation. As nearly roughly 80% of new jobs and capital investment comes from companies that already exist in the community, the Chamber supports these companies through the Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) program. Lead by Melanie Schmees, Director of Business and Economic Research, the Chamber identifies the needs of existing businesses. It also maintains partnerships with state and local economic development partners such as Enterprise Florida and the Florida Economic Develop Council.
The BRE program recognizes that business leaders are busy running their operations and may not have time to connect to or find these resources for themselves. Through the BRE program, businesses learn about available resources and may connect with business support and development organizations. Examples of resulting connections are:
The Chamber also supports economic prosperity by assisting decision-makers with data, for example, providing benchmark wage data to help in employee retention or providing detailed demographic and industry data to companies looking to move to the area.
To schedule a BRE visit or learn more about economic development in the community, please contact Melanie Schmees at (239) 402-2914 or via email at email@example.com
Collier County hoped to collect the $490 million in sales surtax revenue in six years, but the COVID-19 outbreak has slowed the pace of collections.
Nick Casalanguida, the deputy county manager, told Wake Up Naples attendees on Aug. 12 that the county has collected more than $130 million in the first 17 months of the program. While average collections were around $7.6 million, Casalanguida said the novel coronavirus has led to a drop off in recent months.
“It’s a seven-year plan,” said Casalanguida. “We expected it to be done in six years but are now thinking it will be done in seven.”
In 2018, Collier County voters approved a seven-year, one-cent local option sales surtax. The local option sales surtax is estimated to raise approximately $490 million and will end on Dec. 31, 2025 or when the $490 million is collected. The Greater Naples Chamber supported the infrastructure sales surtax increase.
Collier County government is expected to receive approximately $420 million for infrastructure projects from the sales tax. The remaining $70 million will be split among the county’s three municipalities.
Casalanguida said the county’s infrastructure sales surtax oversight committee has already validated nine projects, including the Vanderbilt Beach Road extension, bridges in Golden Gate Estates and the Big Corkscrew Island Regional Park. Several other projects have been partially validated.
While some projects were quick to move forward, Casalanguida said others, namely the community projects, will take more time to get going.
Casalanguida said the county is working with a variety of stakeholders on several of the community projects, however he said he was hopeful some of the projects could go before the oversight committee in the coming months.
The county is expected to receive a final report dealing with mental health services in the near future. Once that report is received, Casalanguida said he expected the Board of County Commissioners to discuss possible locations, including at a site next to the David Lawrence Center or on the county’s main government campus, for a new mental health facility. He said he expects to bring the project to the oversight committee in the spring for validation.
Similarly, Casalanguida said the county has a few ideas for the career and technical training center can located and continues to be in talks with stakeholders about who will run the facility. Still, Casalanguida said he thinks “a big push in 2021 will be to turn that on and get that going.”
When it comes to the workforce housing trust fund, Casalanguida said there are several projects in motion that will benefit from that fund. The money will be used to help acquire land and build infrastructure related to workforce housing.