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FWB Launches Veteran-owned Business Accelerator - 04/21/2015

By DUSTY RICKETTS | Daily News   FORT WALTON BEACH — The nation’s first business accelerator focused on helping veteran entrepreneurs build large scale and global companies ...

EDC Celebrates a Successful 2014 - 04/20/2015

By DUSTY RICKETTS | Daily News  EDC Note: The EDC is also supported by the City of Valparaiso, City of Mary Esther, Town of Cinco Bayou, and the Town of Shalimar. View the full page &l...

Symposium Information | Sponsorship | Speakers


The EDC Roundtable is a symposium focused on providing EDC members, county and city officials, military delegates, and guests a unique networking opportunity with a keynote speaker. The EDC's morning roundtable event provides a buffet breakfast and features a keynote speaker providing pertinent information concerning Okaloosa County. Approximately 200 community leaders attend these informative morning symposiums.

2015 Events

On March 31, 2015, the Economic Development Council of Okaloosa County proudly presented our first roundtable of the year by celebrating Okaloosa County’s century of progress, focusing on key drivers in the Okaloosa County economy. The event was entitled “Fishhooks, Ferris Wheels & F-35s: A Century of Progress”.  Panelists included Captain Kelly Windes - Charter Boat Sunrise & Okaloosa Commissioner, Greg Britton - Fort Walton Machining & Northwest Florida Manufacturers Council Chairman, Gordy Fornell - Lt. Gen. USAF, Ret. and Ed Schroeder - Okaloosa County Tourist Development Department. The panel was moderated by Dr. David Goetsch.
“With Okaloosa County's centennial celebration this year, we felt it appropriate to use the EDC's first Roundtable breakfast of 2015 as an opportunity to highlight some of the economic sectors that have contributed to our county's progress over the past 100 years.  Defense, tourism, commercial fishing and manufacturing have all played key roles in shaping the Okaloosa County of today, and we are fortunate to have some of the most noted representatives of these sectors committed to speak on March 31.,” stated Nathan Sparks, EDC Executive Director. The event was held at the Ramada Plaza Beach Resort on Okaloosa Island.  Sponsors included CHELCO, Gulf Power, North Okaloosa Medical Center and Warren Averett. 

In 2014, in recognition of the EDC's 25th anniversary, the organization launched a multi-part roundtable series focusing on key drivers of the Okaloosa County economy.
  • February 26, 2014 - The first event was entitled “Workforce and Education in the New Economy”, and was designed to provide forward-looking insight into the future vision of area education and workforce development leaders. Keynote panelists included: Ron Garriga – Director of Campus Operations - Northern Florida, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University; Mary Beth Jackson – Superintendent, Okaloosa County School District; Dr. Margareth Larose-Pierre – Associate Dean and Professor, FAMU College of Pharmacy; Dr. Pam Northrup – Executive Director & Associate Provost, Academic Innovation, University of West Florida; Dennis Sherwood – Dean of Career & Technical Education, Northwest Florida State College; Linda Sumblin – Executive Director, CareerSource Okaloosa Walton. The panel was moderated by Dr. David Goetsch.
  • May 6, 2014 - “The Future of Transportation" was designed to provide insight into long-term transportation planning while also allowing state and local transportation leaders to share their visions. Secretary Ananth Prasad, Florida Department of Transportation will served as the event’s keynote speaker. The event also featured panelists offering local perspective including James Wood – Chairman, Okaloosa-Walton Transportation Planning Organization & Destin City Councilman; Sunil Harman – Airports Director, Okaloosa County; and John Hofstad – Public Works Director, Okaloosa County. The panel was moderated by Mike Chesser, a local attorney and Chairman of the North Okaloosa Transportation Committee.
  • August 19, 2014 - The last and final event was entitled “Building a Culture of Entrepreneurship”.  Panelists included Dr. Susan Amat – Founder of Venture Hive, a renowned Miami-based technology incubator and accelerator; Louis Erickson – COO and Co-Founder of Bit-Wizards, a leading technology business based in Fort Walton Beach; and Blaire Martin, Director of Florida Angel Nexus, an Orlando-based organization focused on supporting the growth of Angel investor groups throughout the state. The panel was moderated by Dr. David Goetsch. 
                   $2,000                $1,000                $500
  Signature Event Sponsorship    
Admission Tickets 8 8 4
Announced at Symposium
Speaking Time at Podium    
One Company Event Banner/Easel  
Promotional Material on Sponsor Table
Promotional Material on Guest Tables  
Business Logo on Program
Business Logo on EDC Easel
Business Logo on Promotional Pieces
Business Logo on Website

Contact the EDC today for your sponsorship level!


The EDC welcomes the opportunity to promote noteworthy events taking place in Okaloosa County.  Check back often for current listings. 

April 22, 2015
Florida Manufacturing Career Fair - This event will be held at the Northwest Florida State College Niceville Campus in the Student Services Center from 9 AM to 1 PM. Event partners include, Department of Economic Opportunity, CareerSource Florida, Florida Trade Advanced Manufacturing, MAF Center for AME, CareerSource Okaloosa Walton, Northwest Florida State College, Northwest Florida Manufacturers Council and TeCMEN. Event flyer here

April 23, 2015
FDOT Brooks Bridge Study Kick-Off Meeting (Open to the Public) - The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) invites you to attend a public kick-off meeting concerning two bridge studies in Okaloosa County.  The first study is a Project Development and Environment (PD&E) Study of State Road 30 (U.S. 98) over Santa Rosa Sound, also known as the Brooks Bridge Replacement Study.  The intent of this study is to evaluate replacement alternatives for the existing Brooks Bridge.  The second study, the Santa Rosa Sound Alternate Crossing Study, will evaluate a potential alternative crossing of the Santa Rosa Sound.  Both studies will be introduced at the same meeting. The kick-off meeting will be held Thursday, April 23, 2015, from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm CDT at the Emerald Coast Convention Center, 1250 Miracle Strip Parkway, SE, in Fort Walton Beach. The meeting will be held in an open house format and will include a brief presentation.  FDOT representatives will be available to discuss the studies, answer questions, and receive comments. Maps, drawings, and other project information will be on display.  Both projects are in the study phase and are currently not funded for right-of-way acquisition or construction. Should you have any questions regarding the proposed project or this meeting, please contact April Williams, P.E., at the information listed above.  You may also contact Ian Satter, FDOT District Three Public Information Director, (888) 638-0250, ext. 1205 or via email at ian.satter@dot.state.fl.us.
April 30, 2015 
Special Edition Red, White and Blue Celebration at HarborWalk Village - A special edition of the Red, White and Blue Celebration at HarborWalk Village will honor the Explosive Ordinance Disposal squadrons from all over the US. The event will begin at 7:00 PM. Enjoy live entertainment, free kid’s crafts and face painting, and a vintage WWII aircraft flyover. 
April 30, 2015 to May 3, 2015
Burning Up The Beaches Car Show - Car show Central will be at The Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island. On Friday, May 1st, cars will be at Destin Commons 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM and will then move to AJs from 12:30 PM to 5:00 PM. On Saturday, May 2nd, the cars will be at the Armament Museum from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM and to Helenback in Niceville from 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM. Want to be a participant? Register your car at www.burningupthebeaches.com 

May 5, 2015
7th Special Forces Group Community Day Celebration  - The 7th Special Forces Group invites all members of the Northwest Florida Community to a Community Day Celebration. The dining facility will be open to the public ($5.55). The celebration will take place between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM.  Located on 77th Special Forces Way off Highway 85, South of I-10. Special Forces soldiers and equipment, Free Fall demonstration and more! **Individuals 16 years of age or older will need to present a photo ID at the compounds access point to enter** Event flyer here

May 8, 2015
Hurlburt Chief's Group Annual Golf Tournament - The tournament will be held at Gator Lakes Golf Course on Friday, May 8, 2015 at 8:00 AM. Registration starts at 7:00 AM. There will be a four person scramble (limited to 30 teams) and there is a $50 entry fee per person. There will be door prizes along with prizes for the Longest Drive, Closest to the Pin and Hole in One Challenge. Sign up no later than May 1, 2015 by calling James Populis at 850-686-0400. Proceeds from this annual event will be used to contribute to the mentoring, moral and espirit de corps of over 8,500 airmen and their families assigned to Hurlburt Field. Your support is imperative to the continued success of this valueable outreach organization. 

May 9, 2015 
23rd Annual National Association of Letter Carriers “Stamp Out Hunger” Food Drive - Help our local food banks restock their pantries. On Saturday, May 9th, the NALC, in conjunction with the US Postal Service, the AFL-CIO, Valpak, and United Way of Okaloosa-Walton Counties, will be collecting non-perishable and non-needed include quick meals like macaroni, spaghetti, soups, canned meats, peanut butter, canned juice, canned fruits, canned vegetables, baby food, cereal, etc.   To participate, just place your food donation(s) in a bag next to your mailbox early the morning of Saturday, May 9th.  Your letter carrier will pick up your donations as they make their regular mail routes and then deliver them to our local food banks.  It is an easy and convenient way to make a difference right here at home and to help families in need!
May 9, 2015 
6th Ranger Training Battalion Open House – Enjoy the day at Camp James E. Rudder off Lewis Turner. Spend a day with the US Army Rangers of the 6th Ranger Training Battalion. There will be a reptile show, airborne demos, food and drinks. There will also be a “Race the Rangers 5K” starting at 7:00 AM (Pre-registration is required at racetheranger.eventbrite.com). A Car and Bike Show will also take place starting at 9:00 AM with awards at 4:00 PM (Pre-registration is required at rangerscarshow.eventbrite.com). View the full schedule here
May 20, 2015
Disney Institute Professional Development Course - Disney Institute is bringing its renowned professional development course, "Disney's Approach to Quality Service," to the Emerald Coast, FL. The one-day event will help area professionals determine how they can differentiate their service to become a provider of choice and understand the processes necessary to develop a culture that consistently delivers that exceptional service. This day of Disney Institute training will offer time-tested Disney business insights that can help in assessing and improving an organization. The course is appropriate for any type of leader; from project managers to senior executives. WHEN: Wednesday, May 20, 2015 8:30 a.m. -4:30 p.m. WHERE: The Costa Leadership Institute at Northwest Florida State College in Niceville. Seating is limited. Sponsorships are available. For more information regarding "Disney's Approach to Quality Service" please contact leadership@nwfsc.edu or find additional information here.

May 30, 2015
ECAR Sponsors Golf Tournament to Benefit Emerald Coast Toys for Tots - ECAR is hosting a golf tournament May 30 at the Eglin Golf Course in Niceville to benefit Emerald Coast Toys for Tots. Registration will begin at 10 a.m., followed by lunch and a silent auction at 11 a.m. and a shotgun start at 12:30 p.m. For more information about sponsoring or golfing, contact Kim Kirschling at kim@ecaor.com or call 850-243-6145. To register for the tournament, visit www.mkt.com/emerald-coast-association-of-realtors
June 4 - 8, 2015
60th Annual Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival - The dastardly Billy Bowlegs has been seen off the shores of The Emerald Coast and rumor is that he be plannin’ to dock his ship once again at The Fort Walton Beach Landing! The Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber o’ Merchants welcomes landlubbers and swabbys of all ages t’dis jolly family event. Event schedule: Thursday, June 4th  – Festival at the Landing; Friday, June 5th – Festival and Fireworks; Saturday, June 6th – Festival  and Pirate Landing and Monday, June 8th - Billy Bowlegs Torchlight Parade. Additional information can be found on the Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber website here

To submit your community or business event, please submit it to caroline@florida-edc.org. 


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