On January 28, 2015, Class XIX met at the headquarters of the Arthrex Corporation to begin their session day on Economic Development.
Dudley Goodlette kicked off the day with facts about the economy in Naples and Collier County. He then introduced a panel of corporate executives including: Reinhold Schmieding, CEO of Arthrex; Mitch Ruzek (Program Director at Algenol who pinch hit for Paul Woods, Algenol Fuels’ CEO who was called away at the last minute); and Richard Broome, EVP of the Hertz Corporation.
Each discussed his company’s role in the local economy and fielded questions from Mr. Goodlette and the Class. The panel’s responses were enthusiastic and candid; they touched on community involvement, impact fees, as well as their strong satisfaction doing business in SW Florida.
Scott Sherman, an engineering manager at Arthrex, presented the Class with a description of product development at Arthrex that gave the audience an excellent feel for the size, scope and uniqueness of the company. His presentation was followed by a tour of the facilities.
The Class then moved to the Naples Daily News for a meeting with its Publisher, Bill Barker, and Editor, Manny Garcia. After brief Q&A, the Class toured the facility. They returned to the classroom to hear Steve Walling (GNL XVI) speak on entrepreneurship in the County.
In the afternoon, a lively “stakeholder” panel was chaired by Jeff Lytle, the retired Editorial Page Editor of the Daily News. The Class heard from Blake Gable, President of The Barron Collier Companies, County Commissioner Georgia Hiller, John Cox, President of the Chamber of Commerce, and Felix Lluberes, CEO of Position Logic. Each tackled questions, once again focused on challenges for development in Collier.
The panel discussions and question session were the highlight of the day, and the candid responses to the questions were appreciated by Class XIX. [Steve Thoma, Class XVIII]