On Economic Development Class Day, January 4, 2012, the session leaders, Jay Cook, Jim Fischer, Joe Wall and Lois Bolin, developed an encompassing program with an impressive panel of participants.

The timely topic of Economic Development came on the heels of the $80,000 “Strategy for Strengthening Collier County’s Economic Plan,” followed by the unexpected closing of the 33 year old Economic Development Council on September 30, 2011.

Skyping, a new benchmark, allowed James McGraw, developer of the new economic plan, to participate with Reinhold Schmeiding, Arthrex CEO, Leo Ochs, County Manager, and retired chairman and CEO of Western Auto, John Barlow.

 A few additional panelists throughout the day were former CEO of the EDC, Tammie Nemeck and Florida Secretary of State and President of Florida Enterprise, Gray Swoop, who flew in just for this event.

 A reception for Class XVI was hosted at Collier’s Reserve with more than 45 classmates and spouses attending.

 We “didn’t know what we didn’t know” about economic development when the class began; but after the day’s presentation, we now know we all need to be more engaged in the sustainability of this place we call home.

Lois Bolin

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