Vision of Progress Broadcast 2014
February 2014 (Click here to watch video)
Nathan Sparks, EDC Executive Director, talks with Dennis Sherwood, the new Dean of Career & Technical Education for Northwest Florida State College. Nathan and Dennis talk about the programs that Dennis brought to fruition in Wisconsin and how he plans on bringing similar programs to Northwest Florida State College. Dennis outlines some of the current programs the college provides and his vision for future programs while meeting the immediate needs of local employers.

April 2014 (Click here to watch video)
In recognition of the EDC's 25th anniversary, the organization has launched a multi-part roundtable series focusing on key drivers in the Okaloosa County economy. The EDC hosted the first event 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 2014 (Click here to watch video)
In recognition of the EDC's 25th anniversary, the organization launched a multi-part roundtable series focusing on key drivers in the Okaloosa County economy. The EDC hosted the second event in the series entitled “The Future of Transportation." The event’s Keynote Speaker was Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Ananth Prasad who addressed approximately 160 area business leaders. Following Secretary Prasad’s remarks, attendees were treated to a transportation-focused panel. Councilmember Jim Wood, City of Destin and Chairman of the Okaloosa-Walton Transportation Planning Organization, joins Nathan Sparks in the Cox studio to elaborate on the local initiatives in further detail. Emphasizing the vital role that modern and efficient transportation systems play in economic development success, Prasad highlighted FDOT’s ability to facilitate job creation through the construction of new transportation facilities. While Prasad stressed that road construction for “speculative” projects may prove difficult, he assured those assembled that FDOT is ready and willing to do its part to win new jobs. “If a road (or lack thereof) is the only thing standing in the way of a company making a big investment decision, I guarantee (FDOT) will find a way to build it,” Prasad said. Prasad also weighed in on the Brooks Bridge replacement debate. He stated that the nearly 50-year-old bridge has to be replaced, or that it will eventually get to the point where it is no longer safe for travel. “When that happens, I will have no choice but to close it,” Prasad said. While Prasad made the need for a replacement bridge clear, he steered clear of design specifics, commenting that “FDOT cannot decide what (a new bridge) looks like. The community needs to develop consensus on that.”

July 2014 (Click here to watch video)
Nathan Sparks, EDC Executive Director, talks with Vincent Mayfield, Chief Executive Officer of Bit-Wizards Information Technology Solutions. Nathan and Vincent talk about the history of Bit-Wizards and how it got to where it is today! As a technology business, Vincent talks about technology trends that Bit-Wizards sees as important for businesses and government in Okaloosa County to take advantage and harness in order to be successful in the next 10 years.

August 2014 (Click here to watch video)
Nathan Sparks, EDC Executive Director, talks with David Fuller, Chief Executive Officer of North Okaloosa Medical Center.  Nathan and David talk about the North Okaloosa Medical Center's capabilities, the Affordable Healthcare Act, the hospital's most recent accolades, the importance of the North Okaloosa Medical Center team members and why Crestview is such a great place to live and work. David also gives insight on the hospital's services and programs such as robotic assisted surgery. 
Nathan and David also talk about NOMC's 2010 expansion and the support of the community through the Economic Development Ad Valorem Tax Exemption program.

September 2014 (Click here to watch video)
EDC Executive Director Nathan Sparks and Fort Walton Beach City Councilmember joyce gillie gossom talk about entrepreneurship and how small businesses drives our local economy. Councilmember gossom and Mr. Sparks talk about their trip to visit Dr. Susan Amat at Venture Hive in Miami and discuss how Venture Hive's successful program could launch Northwest Florida. The EDC recently hosted a roundtable event focused on "Building a Culture of Entrepreneurship." The August 2014 event featured Louis Erickson of Bit-Wizards, Dr. Susan Amat of Venture Hive and Blaire Martin of Florida Angel Nexus. Councilmember gossom and Nathan reminisce about their favorite moments from the event noting Bit-Wizards substantial successes and Florida Angel Nexus' mission. A clip of Dr. Amat's presentation is featured on the show as well.

October 2014 (Click here to watch video)
Nathan Sparks and outgoing FY 2014 EDC Chairman Angela Balent discuss the EDC's successes and developments in FY 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.Angela also touches on the importance of the EDC's Business Leadership Council and the community reports given at those important meetings. The EDC also hosts the Defense Support Initiative, TeCMEN and USNet which are committees that support existing Okaloosa County industry and military. Angela discusses the dynamic partnership created this year with the local Chambers of Commerce, Building Industry Association and the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors which proved to be an important component of the renewal of the Economic Development Ad Valorem Tax Exemption (EDATE). Furthermore, the EDC and the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors partnered in the creation of www.okaloosasites.com, which is the EDC's first online portal of building and sites and demographics.
Nathan then welcomes current FY 2015 EDC Chairman Ron Moliterno and discusses his plans looking to the beginning of  "The Next 25" years. Nathan praises Ron's passion for assisting small businesses and entrepreneurs. Ron looks forward to the EDC's continued support of the military and contractors. Ron will ensure that the EDC continues to work with partners on workforce development and encourage entrepreneurship. Ron is dedicated to helping small businesses that are already in existence. Please watch as Ron outlines his vision for the EDC in Fiscal Year 2015.

November 2014 (Click here to watch video)
Nathan Sparks and Interim County Administrator John Hofstad discuss Okaloosa's growing economy. Administrator Hofstad talks about his 30 year experience in government services and how he is applying his knowledge and expertise in the present and future of Okaloosa County. He also discusses the county's three long-awaited capital improvement projects underway which will have an important impact to the county's future. Projects include the replacement of the county admin building in Shalimar, the construction of an addition to the Sheriff's Office complex in Shalimar and significant renovation to the county courthouse in Crestview. The second segment focuses more on the county's growing population and the challenges that the county will face and how it will prioritize projects. Transportation system planning as an important factor in planning for growth. Administrator Hofstad also discusses the plans for the Bob Sikes Airport and surrounding industrial air park and the impact that the military has on the local area.

A special thank you to Cox Communications for taping our events and shows!


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