Washington County Economic Development Symposium held

Published: Thursday, August 22, 2013 at 07:01 PM.

CHIPLEY — Local business leaders and elected officials gathered Tuesday in Chipley for Washington County’s first Economic Development Symposium.

“Today is the beginning of our future,” said Ted Everett, executive director of the Washington County Chamber of Commerce, which sponsored the event. “We have to have a plan, and we have to come together as a county.”

“Economic development is too important to leave in the hands of just the Chamber or just the county commissioners,” said Jim Brook, executive director of Opportunity Florida and moderator of the symposium’s panel.

The symposium featured experts in the area of economic development, including Kenny Griffin of the Chipola Regional Workforce Development Board, Dr. David Goetsch, founder and life board member of the Okaloosa Economic Development Commission, Neal Wade of the Bay County Economic Development Alliance, Larry Sassano, of Florida’s Great Northwest, Terry Ellis, manager of West Point Home Inc. in Chipley, and Heather Squires of Enterprise Florida.

Dr. David Goetsch, the author of 70 books, presented “Economic Development 101” to the audience, which filled the Panhandle Area Educational Consortium auditorium.

Goetsch said that economic development hinges on the involvement of “civic entrepreneurs.”

“A civic entrepreneur is an individual who applies all the characteristics of a business entrepreneur to the economic development of a community or region,” Goetsch said. “They are often volunteers, and they spend their time after work and away from their families working for the good of the community.”

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