Make us your home page

New economic development leader bullish on Florida jobs creation

As Florida's new secretary of commerce, Gray Swoope knows he has become the focal point for Gov. Rick Scott's most-watched promise: to create 700,0000 jobs in seven years.

The former Mississippi economic development chief is sure it will happen — and insists it is happening already despite plenty of obstacles.

Yes, he acknowledged, Florida has lagged behind more nimble economic development teams in the Carolinas, Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky. Yes, the economic recovery has stalled nationally.

Nevertheless, he said, Florida has managed to add up to 60,000 net jobs so far this year in part from growth in international business and part from reduced red tape.

"We're beginning to do it. We're seeing the momentum," Swoope said Wednesday at a get-acquainted meeting sponsored by the Tampa Bay Partnership.

About 100 business leaders and politicians came to Valpak's St. Petersburg complex to hear Swoope's message. One of his chief themes: teamwork. "You are the foot soldiers here," he said.

Swoope was initially recruited by Scott to run Enterprise Florida. But come Oct. 1, his responsibilities mushroom as he becomes the first to oversee the new Department of Economic Opportunity, an agency that incorporates the Agency for Workforce Innovation, the governor's Office of Tourism, Trade & Economic Development and parts of the Department of Community Affairs.

The makeover is intended to expedite approval of corporate incentives, giving authority to Scott to approve incentives under $5 million without legislative approval.

New economic development leader bullish on Florida jobs creation 07/13/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 13, 2011 9:20pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 'Road to Nowhere' is back: Next phase of Suncoast Parkway coming


    Despite intense public opposition and dubious traffic projections, the Florida Department of Transportation has announced that construction of the toll road known as "Suncoast 2" is expected to start in early 2018.

    The Suncoast Parkway ends at U.S. 98 just south of Citrus County. For years residents have opposed extending the toll road, a project dubbed the "Suncoast 2" into Citrus County. But state officials recently announced that the Suncoast 2 should start construction in early 2018. [Stephen J. Coddington  |  TIMES]
  2. A sports rout on Wall Street


    NEW YORK — Sporting goods retailers can't shake their losing streak.

  3. Grocery chain Aldi hosting hiring event in Brandon Aug. 24


    BRANDON — German grocery chain Aldi is holding a hiring event for its Brandon store Aug. 24. It is looking to fill store associate, shift manager and manager trainee positions.

  4. Lightning owner Jeff Vinik backs film company pursuing global blockbusters


    TAMPA — Jeff Vinik's latest investment might be coming to a theater near you.

    Jeff Vinik, Tampa Bay Lightning owner, invested in a new movie company looking to appeal to a global audience. | [Times file photo]
  5. Trigaux: Look to new Inc. 5000 rankings for Tampa Bay's future heavyweights


    There's a whole lotta fast-growing private companies here in Tampa Bay. Odds are good you have not heard of most of them.


    Kyle Taylor, CEO and founder of The Penny Hoarder, fills a glass for his employees this past Wednesday as the young St. Petersburg personal advice business celebrates its landing at No. 25 on the 2017 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing private companies in the country. Taylor, still in his 20s, wins kudos from executive editor Alexis Grant for keeping the firm's culture innovative. The business ranked No. 32 last year. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]