Event Details

Mark your calendars for a jam-packed week of economic development advocacy in Tallahassee from January 22 through 25.

FEDC will launch #FLEconDevWeek24 with a reception on Monday evening at The Southern Group offices located just a block from the Capitol at 123 S. Adams Street. We'll be joined by leaders of FloridaCommerce, CareerSource Florida, FloridaMakes, FL Manufacturing & Supply Chain Advocacy Council, Space Days, Florida Housing Coalition and Rural Counties Days to emphasize what's driving Florida's growth as the 14th largest global economy.

#1 State for Manufacturing Talent is our theme for the week and of course, we encourage everyone to post your BEST practices in economic and talent development solutions on social media using the hashtags #FLEconDevWeek24 #FLManufacturingTalent. Join us in sharing the expertise and impact of Florida's economic, workforce, and community developers.


  • Jan 22, 2024

  • Jan 23, 2024

  • Jan 24, 2024

  • Jan 25, 2024

5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
FEDC Reception at The Southern Group offices in Tallahassee
Welcome Michelle Bauer, CEcD - FEDC Board ChairChief Operating Officer, Tampa Bay Economic Development CouncilRemarks Secretary Alex Kelly, Florida Department of CommerceLegislative Sessio...
Welcome Michelle Bauer, CEcD - FEDC Board Chair
Chief Operating Officer, Tampa Bay Economic Development Council

Remarks Secretary Alex Kelly, Florida Department of Commerce

Legislative Session Highlights and Introductions of Members
Seth McKeel, The Southern Group

Economic Development Panel Discussion
Moderated by David Coddington, LEED AP - FEDC Vice Chair of Advocacy
SVP of Business Development, Greater Ft. Lauderdale Alliance

• Kevin Carr, CEO, FloridaMakes
• Joe Mayer, Co-Chair, Florida Manufacturing & Supply Chain Advocacy Council
• Terry Burroughs, Chair, Florida Rural Economic Development Association
• Ashon Nesbitt, CEO, Florida Housing Coalition
• Adrienne Johnston, CEO, CareerSource Florida

Acknowledgements - Beth Cicchetti, CEcD, MEDP, Executive Director
view more


  • Michelle Bauer (Chief Operating Officer at Tampa Bay EDC)

    Michelle Bauer

    Chief Operating Officer at Tampa Bay EDC


    Michelle Bauer serves as Chief Operating Officer of the Tampa Bay Economic Development Council. She directs the organization’s strategic planning, competitiveness, talent development and attraction, legislative outreach, governance, and fundraising initiatives and oversees the Marketing, Research, and Investor Relations teams. As a member of the Tampa Bay EDC senior management team, Michelle provides strategic counsel to the Tampa Bay EDC President and CEO and Executive Officers of the organization’s Board of Directors. Michelle is also responsible for the career awareness and workforce training initiatives of the Tampa Bay Economic Prosperity Foundation, a 501 c 3 sister organization of the EDC.

    Michelle became a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) in 2019. She currently serves as Chair for the Florida Economic Development Council.

    view more
  • Terry Burroughs (Chair, Florida Heartland at Florida Heartland Economic Region of Opportunity)

    Terry Burroughs

    Chair, Florida Heartland at Florida Heartland Economic Region of Opportunity


    Commissioner Burroughs retired as a telecommunications executive in 2003 with over 30 years in the telecommunications industry.

    Commissioner Burroughs was elected to the office of County Commissioner in 2014 and continues to serve in that capacity. He also serves as the Chairman of the Florida Heartland Economic Region of Opportunity, Inc. (South Central RAO).

    He serves as the President-Elect of the Florida Association of Counties and is the Chairman of the IT Standing Committee, Vice-Chairman of the Telecommunication and Technology Committee and a member of the Rural Action Caucus at the National Association of Counties.

    In his civic duty, he serves as the Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce of Okeechobee County and as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the HCA Florida Raulerson Hospital.

    view more
  • Kevin Carr (CEO of FloridaMakes, Inc.)

    Kevin Carr

    CEO of FloridaMakes, Inc.


    Kevin has dedicated most of his career to enhancing the nation’s manufacturing sector, with a focus on improving the competitiveness and profitability of small and medium-size manufacturers. Kevin comes to FloridaMakes having led the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP). Joining NIST in the first year of this experimental program, Kevin became the first NIST MEP Director, building the program from just 7 pilot states to a nationally integrated system serving manufacturers in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

    Under his leadership with state and federal policymakers, Kevin has worked to increase manufacturers’ access to appropriate advanced manufacturing technology and resources through the federal labs and centers of excellence, and has challenged the MEP system to cultivate best practices, best-in-class services, and promote increased use of existing public and private resources to improve the foundation and future of American manufacturing. Upon his departure from NIST in 2005 to join the private sector, Kevin was recognized by Senator Hollings, the program’s namesake, for his efforts in transforming the pilot program to its current national scale. To date, MEP has worked with nearly 80,000 manufacturers, leading to $88 billion in sales and $14 billion in cost savings, and has helped create more than 729,000 jobs.

    As at home on the shop floor, as he is in the C-suite, Kevin has provided management and strategic planning consulting to individual manufacturing companies, boards of directors, economic development organizations, trade associations and more. He has been recognized as FloridaTrend's most influential in Florida and as a finalist for the Service to America for Business and Commerce and Harvard’s Innovation in Government Award. He was awarded the U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Medal for building MEP’s national system and was recently inducted into the NIST Gallery of Distinguished Scientists, Engineers and Administrators for “outstanding leadership of the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership and implementing it into a model federal program with national impact on business development, innovation and job creation.”

    Kevin studied electronics engineering at Widener University and technology management at the University of Maryland.

    Kevin was appointed to the Florida Chamber Foundation Board of Trustees in December 2016.

    view more
  • Beth Cicchetti, CEcD, MEDP (Executive Director of FLORIDA ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL)

    Beth Cicchetti, CEcD, MEDP



    Beth Cicchetti, CEcD, MEDP Executive Director Florida Economic Development Council
    Beth Cicchetti is the Executive Director of the Florida Economic Development Council (FEDC), a professional association of 500+ economic, workforce and community developers whose focus is improving local communities and elevating Florida’s global competitiveness. Beth is responsible for the organization’s membership development, strategic planning, advocacy efforts and commitments to the Florida 2030 Blueprint. A certified economic developer (CEcD) since 2009 accredited by the International Economic Development Council, Beth has a 36-year career in business, economic and workforce development and is the owner of Beth Kirkland Consulting LLC. As a complement to her leadership of FEDC, Beth consults with communities and businesses on strategic planning, marketing, and project development. She has served communities that have announced new jobs and capital investment in the sectors of IT, Healthcare, Energy,
    Advanced Materials, Warehousing/Distribution, Transportation Solutions, Backoffice, and Manufacturing. These jobs have occurred in rural and urban markets, at airports, and as greenfield and expansion projects. Each project required unique and innovative solutions in the areas of workforce training, infrastructure, permitting and financing.

    Beth graduated from the University of Louisiana-Monroe with a B.S. in Computer Science. She is also a graduate of the University of Central Florida with a M.S. in Engineering Systems Analysis. She achieved the CEcD credential in 2009 from the International Economic Development Council and the MEDP credential in 2023 through the Advanced Economic Development Leadership Program, a consortium of The University of New Mexico, Texas Christian University, and The University of Southern Mississippi.

    view more
  • David Coddington (Senior Vice President of Business Development at Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance)

    David Coddington

    Senior Vice President of Business Development at Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance


    David Coddington joined the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance in June 2010 and is the Sr. Vice President – Business Development. In his role at the Alliance, David and his team are responsible for assisting prospective national and international companies from around the world, when considering an expansion and / or relocation to Greater Fort Lauderdale. His team is also responsible for assisting local, national, and international companies already doing business in Greater Fort Lauderdale when they consider an expansion.

    David’s focus within the targeted industries sectors is information technology and marine industry. He is the Founder of the South Florida TechGateway – “Work in the Cloud, Live in the Sun”. The South Florida TechGateway is a regional effort to brand the strong cluster and legacy of technology companies in South Florida and to assist the continued growth of the technology ecosystem. It is a collaboration of economic development organizations, technology businesses, universities, and technology trade organization partners.

    David is also a Co-Chair of the Global Business Luncheon committee for the Ft Lauderdale International Boat Show, which includes the Marine Industry Association of South Florida (MIASF), Informa, Port Everglades, Ft Lauderdale International Airport, Visit Lauderdale, and the Alliance. The luncheon is an annual VIP event on the first day of the world’s largest in-water Boat Show, attracting business executives from around the globe.

    He is a member of NAIOP, the trade association for developers, owners, and investors in industrial, office and related commercial real estate and serves on both the Annual Awards Committee and the Bus Tour Committee.

    He presently serves on the Broward County Resiliency Steering Committee and in previously has served on a sub-committee for the Broward County Climate Change Task Force and served on Broward County’s Community Energy Strategic Plan Committee which provided a framework for Broward County community-wide reduction of the overall energy use and power consumption by focusing on behavioral change, increasing efficiency, and encouraging use of alternate energy source. He is a former member of the US Green Building Council (USGBC) and a former committee member for Green Schools Initiative.

    David presently serves on the boards and committees of the following.
    • Florida Economic Development Council (FEDC) Executive Board of Directors, Vice-Chair of Advocacy
    • Nova Southeastern University College of Computing and Engineering Advisory Board
    • Broward County Public Schools - Broward STEM + Computer Science Advisory Committee
    • The South Florida Tech Hub Executive Board of Directors
    • Leadership Broward Foundation Business Program Day Committee (formerly served on the Executive Board of Directors)
    • The Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors Council of Economic Advisors

    He is a member of Leadership Florida, alumni Class 39, and serves on the Gold Coast Regional Council for LF.

    David holds B.A. degrees in both International Studies and Geography from the University of South Florida. He is a LEED AP (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional certified by the U.S. Green Building Certification Institute.

    view more
  • Adrienne Johnston (President & CEO of CareerSource Florida)

    Adrienne Johnston

    President & CEO of CareerSource Florida


    CareerSource Florida is the statewide workforce policy and investment board. Our partners include the Department of Commerce, local workforce development boards and career centers located throughout Florida. Together, we help connect businesses with the talented workforce and training needed to succeed and grow.

    view more
  • J. Alex Kelly (Secretary of Commerce and Acting Chief of Staff for the Governor at FloridaCommerce)

    J. Alex Kelly

    Secretary of Commerce and Acting Chief of Staff for the Governor at FloridaCommerce


    J. Alex Kelly currently leads FloridaCommerce as Florida’s Secretary of Commerce. Prior to his appointment, Kelly held the Deputy Chief of Staff role in the Governor’s Office since April 2021.
    Kelly has an extensive background and expertise in education and economic development having served as the Vice President for the Foundation of Excellence in Education and the Chief of Staff to then-Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran in 2019.
    In total, Kelly held roles in the Florida House of Representatives on the three occasions and in the Florida Senate, including Staff Director for the Redistricting Committee in the Florida House of Representatives and Chief Analyst for the House’s Select Policy Council on Strategic & Economic Planning. He served as the Chief of Staff for the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, and Legislative Affairs Director at the Florida Department of Corrections and the Florida Department of Elder Affairs.
    Kelly earned both a bachelor’s degree in political science from York University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree in political science from the University of Florida.

    view more
  • Joe Mayer (Co-Chair at Manufacturing & Supply Chain Council)

    Joe Mayer

    Co-Chair at Manufacturing & Supply Chain Council

    Joe Mayer recently retired from Lockheed Martin Space where he had served as the Director of State & Local Government Relations for Lockheed Martin in Florida. Mayer worked 44 years in government and community relations, national security affairs and U.S. space exploration policy in Washington, D.C., Texas, and Florida.

    In his career, Joe served in management and senior staff positions with The Boeing Company, Rockwell International, the Senate Intelligence Committee and U.S. Senator Jake Garn (R-UT).
    Joe is Chair Emeritus of Citizens for Space Exploration, a national grassroots organization advocating US leadership in space exploration. He serves on the FloridaMakes Board, the Astronauts Memorial Foundation Board, is a NASA Space Flight Awareness award recipient, an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and a former member of Congressman Bill Posey’s Space Advisory Committee.

    He served previously as Board Chair of the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast and Board member of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, VISIT Florida, and the Florida Defense Contractors Association.

    He is a recipient of the National Space Club – Florida “Hall of Fame” and “Lifetime Achievement” awards for his leadership roles in space exploration advocacy.

    view more
  • Seth McKeel (Managing Partner at The Southern Group)

    Seth McKeel

    Managing Partner at The Southern Group


    Seth is a Managing Partner in our Tampa Bay office.
    Seth McKeel joined The Southern Group’s Tampa office
    as Managing Partner in 2014 after a long and
    distinguished career in public service. Seth has
    developed expertise in numerous areas, including
    economic and business development, energy, health
    care, land use and development, marine science, policy,
    public and private partnerships, telecommunications,
    transportation, and water.

    Seth’s political career began in 1999 with his election to
    the Lakeland City Commission at age 24, its youngest
    member. This experience in municipal government
    allowed Seth to hone his expertise in achieving local
    consensus. Seth was elected to the Florida House of
    Representatives in 2006 and re-elected until the
    conclusion of his eight-year term limit in November of
    2014. As a legislator, Seth tackled tough issues, including
    agriculture, energy, higher education reform, and
    natural resources policy. He chaired the Polk County and
    Hillsborough County Legislative Delegations for two
    consecutive years, as well as the larger nine-county Bay
    Area Legislative Delegation.

    A strong commitment to fiscal responsibility earned Seth
    the trust of House Speaker Will Weatherford, who in
    2012 tapped Seth to chair the Appropriations Committee,
    where he led the Florida House’s efforts to balance the
    $77 billion budget of the third largest state in the Union.
    Under Seth’s leadership, Florida maintained AAA bond
    rating and set aside more than $3 billion in healthy

    Seth proudly serves on the Board of Directors of the Fish
    and Wildlife Foundation of Florida. Seth is also the
    founding director of The Schools of McKeel Academy
    Charter School. Seth was recognized with the YMCA’s
    Servant Leadership Award and is a graduate of
    Leadership Florida, Leadership Lakeland, and a member
    of Florida Blue Key.

    view more
  • Ashon Nesbitt (Chief Executive Officer at Florida Housing Coalition)

    Ashon Nesbitt

    Chief Executive Officer at Florida Housing Coalition


    Ashon Nesbitt is CEO of the Florida Housing Coalition.A respected community and nonprofit leader, Mr. Nesbitt was previously Chief Programs Officer and Technical Advisor with the Coalition where he has led the Community Land Trust Institute as well as the Center for Racial Equity. During his tenure at the Coalition, Nesbitt has championed an expansion and professionalization of Community Land Trusts throughout the state, overseeing the development of nationally recognized and first of its kind the Community Land Trust Certification Program, which in 2021, led to six nonprofits receiving their Certification. Mr. Nesbitt is the author of the Coalition’s innovative guidebook: Eyesore to Asset: A Guidebook for Adaptive Reuse of Vacant Retail, designed to aid local governments and business leaders in their search for new models for local economic development Mr. Nesbitt has two Masters Degrees from the University of Florida; a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning and a Masters in Real Estate. He also holds a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies from Florida A&M University. As CEO, Mr. Nesbitt leads all of the Coalition’s housing affordability production and preservation initiatives.

    view more
  • TJ Villamil (President, International Commerce at SelectFlorida)

    TJ Villamil

    President, International Commerce at SelectFlorida


    SelectFlorida is the state of Florida’s official international commerce organization, serving as a catalyst for economic development, economic diversification into targeted industries, and high-wage job creation for Floridians.

    SelectFlorida, Inc. (SelectFL) was formed and founded in 2023 to absorb the state’s international commerce functions and operate as a model Direct Support Organization (DSO) for the Florida Department of Commerce (FloridaCommerce). SelectFL is proud to be the state’s official international trade and investment promotion agency.

    SelectFlorida’s mission to is attract, retain, and create higher-wage jobs for Floridians by working closely with FloridaCommerce to achieve this goal.

    SelectFlorida operates as a public-private partnership collaborating with private sector leaders and investors to drive Florida’s economic growth alongside FloridaCommerce.

    SelectFlorida serves as a catalyst for economic development by promoting Florida as a premier business destination and expanding the state’s economy through private-sector job creation.

    SelectFlorida works closely with Florida, U.S., and international businesses in key targeted industries, connecting them with state and local resources.

    In pursuit of this important mission, SelectFlorida is proud to partner with a statewide network of economic development partners amplifying our impact.

    view more


2023 FloridaCommerce Manufacturing Report.pdfdownload
2024 FEDC Legislative Priorities.pdfdownload
FLEconDeveWeek24 Event Agenda.pdfdownload


Connect with 39 people attending this event


2024 Florida Economic Development Week

Registration to attend the Florida Economic Development Week reception being held at The Southern Group office in Tallahassee.

Standard Price $35


The Southern Group

123 South Adams Street

If you have any questions please contact Jill Rae Blackman

Contact Organizer

Show on map