Economic Development Day led off with an excellent presentation on the economic health of Collier County by FGCU economist, Dr. Gary Jackson followed by panel presentations. The first panel, “Growth: Its Impact and Implications,” was presented by John Cox, CEO of The Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce; Bruce Register, Director of Economic Development for Collier County; and Nicole Johnson, Director of Governmental Relations for the Conservancy.
The “Drivers of Collier County Development “segment featured Downtown Naples Developer Phil McCabe and Blake Gable, President of Barron Collier Companies. Their lively discussion was moderated by the Naples Daily News’ Jeff Lytle. A tour of the newspaper plant and a glimpse of the paper’s vision for the future by its top executives were highlights.
Afternoon sessions focused on business development. Class members heard from two local entrepreneurs: Dr. Craig Smith, co-founder of the biofuel company, Algenol, and Felix Llubres, founder of Position Logic. Kurt Williams, Chairman of the Naples branch of SCORE, discussed the resources his agency makes available to start-up entrepreneurs. Scott Sherman, Engineering Manager and New Product Development at Arthrex, ended the day with a presentation about his company’s innovative orthopedic products and its recent expansion with a new facility in Ave Maria which will create 400-500 new jobs in Collier County.