Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce

Greater Pensacola Chamber

  The Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce recently celebrated 125 years of service, and is now looking ahead to the future.

The Chamber held its annual meeting recently in downtown Pensacola, outlining the previous year’s accomplishments – an 18% increase in membership to about 1,300; about 50 ribbon-cuttings for new or expanding business, and a similar number of educational and networking events.

Two former officials with the Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce have filed separate lawsuits – one state, one federal -- alleging they were unfairly terminated by the organization. WUWF’s Dave Dunwoody reports one plaintiff is the body’s former president and CEO.

Jim Hizer led the Chamber from 2010 until July of last year, when his contract was not renewed. He stepped down in August of 2013. In his lawsuit, Hizer claims he was forced out – which in turn violated his contract.

After months of preparation, the Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce is ready to launch a separate agency for economic development. Among other things, it gets the Chamber out from under Florida’s Sunshine Law.

Chamber President Jerry Maygarden proposed the separation last year and on Monday, the chamber’s Board of Directors approved it during a special meeting. The Pensacola-Escambia County Promotion and Economic Development Commission is an independent 501(c) entity, much like the tourism promoter Visit Pensacola.

Florida’s Great Northwest -- the region’s economic development marketing organization -- is sending a five-member delegation to Great Britain in hopes of securing aviation jobs for this region.

The entourage will attend the Farnborough Air Show – an event in southeastern England where aviation firms get together to wheel and deal in the latest aircraft, helicopters and related goods and services.

Following President Obama’s disaster declaration for Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties over last month’s flooding, local, state and federal agencies are deploying to help small businesses recover from the damage.

Pensacola Bay Chamber President Jerry Maygarden announced Monday that they’re banding together with a number of other chambers to help affected businesses in the western Panhandle.

Some major changes could be on the horizon at the Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce, with the ultimate goal of getting it out of the sunshine.

The Chamber’s board of directors gave unanimous approval last week to begin the trek to privatize the organization. That would make the new Chamber arrangement exempt from Florida’s Sunshine Law that covers open meetings and records.

Pensacola Chamber of Commerce

Middle and high school students from our area have been participating in the Pensacola Young Entrepreneurs Academy. The students have been developing their business ideas since October 2013. On March 12, 2014, the twelve student entrepreneurs got a chance to interact with potential investors before the evening’s “Shark Tank”-style event, which took place at the University of West Florida’s Center for Fine and Performing Arts.

Young Entrepreneurs Academy is a national non-profit organization based in Rochester, NY. The Greater Pensacola Chamber brought the program to Pensacola to teach area students how to start their own businesses. Classes are hosted by the college of business at the University of West Florida. Kelly Reeser is Director of Entrepreneurial Development for the Pensacola Chamber and local program manager for Greater Pensacola YEA.

Chamber Moves Away From Sunshine Law

Nov 20, 2013
Greater Pensacola Chamber

Changes are in the works at the Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce, involving the Chamber’s fundraising arm. WUWF’s Dave Dunwoody reports Foundation Incorporated is being moved away from Florida’s Sunshine Law.

Chamber CEO Jerry Maygarden made the announcement at Monday’s board meeting. He says when the Chamber decided to embrace the Sunshine and Public Records laws last summer, it had a serious impact on fundraising.


In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the third quarter Gross Domestic Product, which reflected an increase of 2.85 percent, stronger than the second quarter GDP estimate of 1.9 percent. 

Harper credits the increase with growth in inventory investment and in structures and residential investments.

Additionally, payroll provider ADP reports that Florida’s growth in private sector jobs has slowed to about 8500 jobs in September.  Harper says that’s still short of pre recession levels of about 13,000 new jobs per month.