Blue Zoning Orlando

Writer: Yolanda Rivas

2 min read SEPTEMBER 2019 — A new community assessment and feasibility analysis in Orange County is aiming to transform and improve local residents’ wellness and reduce health risks to make the county a more prosperous place to live, work and play.

The program is being brought to Orange County by the Orlando Economic Partnership’s Foundation for Orlando’s Future and leaders in the business community, who are working with Blue Zones to begin building a plan for a well-being transformation.

“As one of the fastest-growing metro areas in the country, Orlando is attracting 1,500 new residents every week. The Foundation is responding in innovative ways to make sure the region’s rapid urban expansion goes hand-in-hand with equitable and inclusive growth,” Orlando Economic Partnership President and CEO Tim Giuliani said in a prepared statement. 

Blue Zones helps people live longer and better through community transformation programs that lower healthcare costs, improve productivity and boost national recognition as great places to live, work, and play, according to its website. Becoming a Blue Zones Community is a three-phase process, which starts with Phase I, the Readiness Assessment. During this phase,  experts collaborate with leaders to assess readiness and build a plan for change.

“Working with local leaders, we will find the best way to apply global solutions to the local context. The final roadmap for community transformation will include strategies for optimizing built environment, food systems, financial literacy, tobacco, alcohol, happiness, and well-being policies so that people are constantly nudged toward healthier choices, behaviors, and lasting habits,” Dan Buettner, Blue Zones founder and National Geographic fellow and explorer, said in a written statement.

Blue Zones Project communities have experienced double-digit drops in obesity, smoking and BMI (body mass index), millions of dollars of savings in healthcare costs and measurable drops in employee absenteeism. As stated in its website, through its community-wide approach to well-being, Blue Zones improves or optimizes city streets (smoking policies, bike lanes, sidewalks), public spaces (parks, lakes, walking paths), schools (cafeterias, safe walking paths to school), restaurants, grocery stores, employers, faith-based organizations, and community involvement.

From Sept. 9-13, Buettner and his world-renowned team of experts will meet with community leaders to create the framework for a well-being policy bundle that it hopes will transform Orange County.

“This effort is part of the mission of the Foundation for Orlando’s Future, created by the Orlando Economic Partnership, to equip the region’s leaders with research and strategies that help them plan for the future,” said Giuliani.


To learn more, visit:

Orlando Economic Partnership: 

Blue Zones:

Top 5 Reasons St. Petersburg is the Place for Young Professionals

Max Crampton-Thomas

2 min read July 2019   St. Petersburg, a community and city deeply entrenched in Florida’s history since being incorporated in 1903, is now in the midst of a revitalization and what is being deemed the city’s second golden age. Thanks to collaboration between the city and organizations like the St. Petersburg Area Economic Development Corporation, who have been spearheading the “Grow Smarter Strategy,” which aligns the many community organizations involved in economic development efforts while providing a road map for each organization to operate towards the same goal, St. Pete has built an identity that conjures a balanced mix of tradition, innovation, forward thinking and sustainability, all culminating in a shared sense of pride in both its younger and older demographics. With the recent economic and community growth in St. Pete and the Tampa Bay region, there has naturally been an influx of young professionals and their families into the area.

Invest: Tampa Bay explores the Top 5 reasons why St. Petersburg is the place for young professionals to live, work and play. 

The Arts Scene: Home to seven distinct arts districts, world-famous museums and many cultural attractions, St. Petersburg is recognized as an arts and cultural hub. Anchored by widely recognized institutions like The Salvador Dali Museum, the Mahaffey Theater, which is home to the Florida Orchestra, the Museum of Fine Arts and many more, the city should be a draw to any young professional with an interest in consuming, partaking or even working within the arts. 

Walkability: While traffic, transportation and transit issues run rampant through most metropolitan areas in Florida, downtown St. Petersburg boasts a walkability score of 91 and a bike score of 92, according to These scores, combined with St. Petersburg’s emphasis on environmental sustainability, make Downtown St. Pete a paradise for those young professionals who are looking to ditch their car for alternative forms of transportation. The walkability factor in Downtown is also ideal for those who desire the live, work, play lifestyle as more restaurants, businesses and residential developments continue to become available in what is already a vibrant and bustling area.

The Beaches: Access to even a single beach is a luxury that many people may never know, but for those in St. Petersburg there are a multitude of options to choose from. Each of St. Petersburg’s beaches offers a unique experience, ranging from Ft. DeSoto Beach located on a 900 acre county park to Spa Beach and North Shore, the two beautiful, public beaches along the St. Pete Downtown waterfront. The accessibility of these beaches to the residents of St. Petersburg are sure to appeal to any young adults looking for the beach lifestyle in an urban environment.

Vibrant LGBTQ+ Scene: For the young professionals seeking an environment where all are welcomed, the city of St. Petersburg is that place. As best expressed on, “St. Pete, FL extends a warm welcome to all who share in the city’s vision that the sun shines on all who come to live, work and play here, including the LGBT population.” Aside from having a progressive and forward-thinking leader in Mayor Rick Kriseman, USA Today’s 2019 No. 2 Pride Festival to attend and a slew of other inclusivity initiatives, St. Pete has earned a perfect score of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index four years in a row. 

Career Opportunities: St. Petersburg is home to nearly 16,000 businesses, a population of almost 260,000 residents, a vibrant tech scene and an annual growth rate that has tripled since 2010. With growth opportunities in major industries like marine sciences, financial services, creative arts and more, the city is an ideal location for those who are looking to develop and grow in their professional careers. 


For more information visit:

Spotlight on: Troy McLellan, CEO, Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce

By Max Crampton-Thomas

July 2019

2 min read JULY 2019 — Boca Raton is often associated with beautiful beaches, luxury homes and an elevated lifestyle, but the city at the southernmost point of Palm Beach County is also a bustling economic hub of activity. The economic engine that Boca Raton has become is fueled by an abundance of residential and commercial development in the downtown area and the pro-business initiatives set forth by the local government and community organizations. The city also has the benefit of having the largest chamber in Palm Beach County, The Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce, working tirelessly to promote and sustain economic prosperity for Boca Raton. Invest: Palm Beach recently sat down with Troy McLellan, CEO of the Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce to discuss the current and future success of the business ecosystem in the city.

How is Palm Beach County a conducive environment for successful businesses?  

“Nearly half of all the corporate headquarters in all of Palm Beach County are located in Boca Raton. We have a very rich and robust corporate culture here, with an impressive list of major employers: Office Depot, ADT, Modernizing Medicine, the Boca Raton Resort + Club, the Boca Raton Regional Hospital and Florida Atlantic University to name a few. We’ve had that culture since IBM was located here several decades ago. The entrepreneurial roots run deep in Boca Raton. Even when IBM started to divest, a lot of that intellectual capital remained in our community. From a chamber standpoint, we’re very serious about making sure that our community and all of south Palm Beach County is pro-business. We’re not apologetic at all about wanting our businesses to be successful and creating an environment where they can succeed, no matter the size.”


How does the chamber find the balance between corporate interests and the needs of local citizens amid all of the economic development in South Florida?

“Although we’re bullish on business, we understand that there is a balance to be struck with the community at large. Our residents expect a certain lifestyle, and sometimes growth and development is frustrating for them. We understand and empathize with that, but you can’t be a community that just stops developing because you will no longer be relevant or successful. All of the sudden, you’d lose your competitive edge. Boca Raton has the lowest millage rate of any city in Palm Beach County. That’s not by mistake. It’s because the businesses here carry this community. The contribution to the tax base by the business community in Boca Raton is substantial. I have to tell that story and remind our residents that the businesses are subsidizing this great quality of life we all enjoy. It’s important that message is consistently spread throughout the entire community. Boca Raton is the best place to live, work, learn and play. The Boca Chamber wants to keep it that way!”


To learn more about our interviewee, visit:

Spotlight On: Dan Lindblade, President & CEO, Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce

By Max Crampton-Thomas

July 2019

2 min read JULY 2019 — The City of Fort Lauderdale has been steadfast towards the goal of becoming the premier economic powerhouse in South Florida. The significant population and business growth in the area is a testament to the unwavering efforts of the local government, business owners, residents and community organizations. While this has been a collective community effort, one organization in particular has been at the forefront for the majority of the initiatives that have led to this growth and helped navigate the challenges associated with it. Since being established in 1910 The Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce has focused its efforts towards helping Fort Lauderdale achieve its ultimate potential. Invest: Greater Fort Lauderdale recently spoke with Dan Lindblade, the President and CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce to discuss how the chamber is assisting with the issues currently facing the business community and how they are supporting significant development projects in the region.

How is the Chamber supporting the expansion of Port Everglades? 

We will be going to Washington in September to push for a New Starts designation for Port Everglades. The port is one of our chief economic drivers, supporting both the cargo and cruise industries. When the Chamber became involved with the Port about 9 years ago, it didn’t have the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers’ approval to start the expansion and that was the first thing on our radar. We had to push the Army Corp of Engineers to get approval to deepen and widen the harbor and when it was finally approved in 2015, we didn’t have any funding. For us to actually get funding for the expansion, we have to have the New Starts designation. When we get a New Starts designation, then we will be open to funding, so that is what we are pushing for between now and September. 

What trends have you observed regarding the labor shortage in the region? 

We really have not looked at any kind of importation of talent. Only when we have a certain type of individual we can’t find will we go out and recruit them from another area. The technology hub that we have here in South Florida is real and there is a lot of talent because of it, but not enough. It is expensive to live here in Fort Lauderdale, and people who are in the early stages of their careers are earning starting salaries that can be a challenge. We have been pushing employers to pay a living wage if they want talented people to stay here, otherwise they can go elsewhere. It is an interesting situation right now with such a low unemployment rate. Companies are constantly looking for new talent, and right now it is an employees’ market. If someone is not happy where they are working, they can easily go and find another job. 

What initiatives is the Chamber spearheading to help mitigate the effects of sea level rise? 

We are creating the International Resiliency Conference and Convention. It will be in December 2020 at the Marriott Harbor Beach Hotel and Resort. This will be South Florida’s first convening of an international crowd to talk about sea level rise and entrepreneurial activity as it relates to engineering, science and transportation. In dealing with the issue of sea level rise we are going to make mistakes, but we have a trillion dollars’ worth of real estate between Palm Beach and Miami Dade that is at risk if we don’t act now. That’s what this conference is going to be all about. I told the directors, “Before my time is done here, I want to at least have the groundwork in place that creates the opportunities and the dialogue to navigate this issue.” There are all these other countries that live with water, so we should learn from them. Let’s figure out what they’ve done well, what they haven’t done well and use it to our advantage. 

Another component we need to address relates to property insurance. We are requesting a five-year reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program which provides for additional consumer protections and claims reform among other administrative items.


To learn more about our interviewees, visit their websites:

Invest: Tampa Bay Launched with Resounding Success!


June 5, 2019

Tampa Bay’s diverse and strong economy is highlighted at the first release of Invest: Tampa Bay

In celebration of Invest: Tampa Bay’s inaugural issue, local companies and individuals are invited to come and network with one another while also celebrating the unified Tampa Bay business community.

Tampa, FL – Tampa Bay’s diverse economy and appeal for healthcare, tech and innovation, talented workers, new businesses, a booming startup industry and the continued growth of the real estate market are some of the focal points of Invest: Tampa Bay’s first edition. The 2019 report highlights the growth in the entire Tampa Bay region as well as the technological renaissance the area is currently experiencing.  

Tampa Bay’s technology and innovation sector is a main focus throughout the community and its impact is felt in all economic sectors. Residential and commercial development is a significant driver of construction in Tampa Bay, and there is no slowdown in sight. Tourism, arts, culture, and sports are covered in detail as they are some of the area’s largest economic drivers. Invest: Tampa Bay also puts particular focus on the healthcare sector as Tampa Bay continues to grow as a hub for medical innovation and leadership. This publication from Capital Analytics is a 156-page economic analysis that highlights Tampa Bay’s economy, key sectors and opportunities for investors, entrepreneurs and innovators.

The official launch of the publication will take place on June 13, 2019 at The Don CeSar Hotel in St. Petersburg, at 1:30 pm. The opening keynote address for the day will be Kenneth Welch, Commissioner, Pinellas Board of County Commissioners and the closing keynote address will be Sandra Murman, Commissioner of Hillsborough County. Following networking, there will be three robust panel discussion to discuss the current climate, highlights and challenges facing various sectors of the local economy.

The panels will address key sectors in Tampa Bay’s economy from an expert perspective. The “A Healthier Tampa Bay” panel will be moderated by Lee Lasris, Partner at Greenspoon Marder. Panelists will be Tim Thompson, SVP/CIO of Baycare; Sherry Hoback, CEO of Tampa Family Health Centers; John Couris, CEO of Tampa General Hospital; and Phil Dingle, Managing Partner at HealthEdge Investment Partners.

The second panel, “Let’s Innovate” will be moderated by Rita Lowman, President of Pilot Bank. Panelists will be Stu Sjouwerman, CEO of KnowBe4; Gregory Kadet, Managing Director at UBS Wealth Management Americas; Ron Christaldi, CEO of Shumaker Advisors; and Brian Kornfeld, President and Co-Founder of Synapse.

The final panel “Forging Ahead” will be moderated by Jack Miller, Regional Director at Capital Analytics. Panelists will be Gary Sasso, CEO of Carlton Fields; Chris Bowen, Chief Development Strategist at RD Management; Beth Alden, Executive Director of Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning for Transportation; and Cesar Hernandez, Executive Director of the Tampa Bay Mobility Alliance.  

Capital Analytics President, Abby Melone, remarked, “We are proud to be able to bring all the amazing economic developments in Tampa Bay to the forefront. It’s not hard to see why this is the fastest growing region in the state of Florida. There is so much positive development and growth happening in this market, and we look forward to continuing to establish and grow partnerships with local public and private sector leadership.”  

About Invest: Tampa Bay 2019:

Invest: Tampa Bay 2019 is an in-depth economic review of the key issues facing Tampa Bay’s economy, featuring the exclusive insights of prominent industry leaders. Invest: Tampa Bay 2019 is produced with two goals in mind: 1) to provide comprehensive investment knowledge on Tampa Bay to local, national and international investors, and 2) to promote Tampa Bay as a place to invest and do business.

The book conducts a deep dive into the top economic sectors in the county, including real estate, construction, technology, infrastructure, banking and finance, healthcare, education and the arts, culture and tourism. The publication is compiled from insights collected from more than 200 economic leaders, sector insiders, political figures and heads of important institutions. It analyzes the leading challenges facing the market as well as covering emerging opportunities for investors, entrepreneurs and innovators.


Contact: Max Crampton-Thomas

Content Manager | Tampa Bay

Phone Number: 305-523-9708 Ext. 233

Capital Analytics Spotlights the Business Growth Turning Orlando into a Boomtown

Invest: Orlando to highlight economic opportunities in the region

November 19, 2018

ORLANDO, FL — Responding to the company’s successful expansion within the state of Florida, with new markets recently opening in both Tampa and Palm Beach, Capital Analytics is now setting its sights on Central Florida for Invest: Orlando in 2019. Innovation, technology and entrepreneurship are focal points for the inaugural report of Orlando, the first of an annual series that will underline and assess key issues and opportunities in the Central Florida market.

Invest: Orlando will feature insights gleaned from one-on-one, in-person discussions with over 200 C-level executives, tackling the high-impact stories unfolding in the Orlando and I-4 corridor business community, including the area’s emergence (in conjunction with Tampa) as a technology hub, its strong real estate market and a growing workforce bolstered by an entrepreneurial spirit. The report will cover all of the main sectors of the Orlando economy, such as tourism and hospitality; life sciences and healthcare; education; real estate; technology; banking and finance; manufacturing and logistics; aviation, aerospace and defense; and transportation.

“After expanding into Tampa earlier this year, Orlando is the logical next step in our Florida division,” said Abby Melone, president of Capital Analytics.  “A new focus on Orlando will give our readers the full picture of Central Florida, connecting the east and west coasts. It’s an ideal location for us to encourage international investment. The continued growth of opportunities in the Orlando market make it an ideal place for the company’s newest operation.”

The production of Invest: Orlando is underway as the Capital Analytics team has already connected with many high-profile industry leaders in the area. It will be the first and most comprehensive report on the region’s dynamic business climate. Currently in its fifth year of publishing the well-read and highly praised Invest: Miami, Capital Analytics has begun to expand into markets both in and outside of its home state of Florida.

“Orlando is an exciting place to be right now. It’s the world capital of modeling, simulation and training and the top-producing region for engineers in the aviation, aerospace and defense industry. It’s also the country’s newest hub for advanced manufacturing. Invest: Orlando will keep that momentum going by giving the region’s top executives in all of the major sectors a forum to let the world know why Central Florida is such a great place to do business,” said Jaime Muehl, managing editor of Capital Analytics.

With the report expected to launch in the spring of 2019, a number of key players in the Orlando business community have already expressed their praise and excitement to be included.

The team will be led by Executive Director Ollie Koshelieva. Ollie brings with her an extensive background in advertising, marketing and creative and technical writing. She is excited to create a high-quality report that showcases Orlando’s economic growth and development.

For more information contact:
Jaime Muehl
Managing Editor
TEL: 305-523-9708, ext. 230

Tampa Bay’s “Lost Summer”

By staff writer
October 2018 – 2 min. read

There’s no escaping the fact that the 2018 summer tourist season on Florida’s Gulf Coast has been one of the worst in recent memory, both economically and environmentally. The major red tide event has led to record-low occupancy rates for local hoteliers and restaurateurs. In some counties, residents are already referring to it as the “lost summer” due to the estimates of revenue lost from lack of tourists. While mostly restricted to the west coast of Florida, the outbreak of red tide has recently turned up on the Atlantic coast and parts of South Florida as well.

Nearing the end of September, well over 700 tons of red tide debris had been collected in Pinellas County. Similarly, 40 businesses in the area reported losses of at least $128 million. Both figures are still likely to rise as the red tide lingers beyond the summer.

For residents of Pinellas County, the trouble started months prior to the red tide actually hitting local shores. The counties to the southern part of Pinellas were hit the hardest this summer, but news sources mostly from outside of the state more or less lumped all of the central Gulf Coast together in their coverage of red tide, leading many beach-going Americans to believe that the entire Gulf Coast was plagued with toxic blue-green algae.

“It was reminiscent of the [BP] oil spill to some degree. It was here if you watched the national media, but it really wasn’t here. We actually never had oil on our beaches,” Keith Overton, president of TradeWinds Island Resort, told Invest: Tampa Bay when he sat down with our team earlier this week. “The national exposure and media coverage that the red tide to the south of us received killed us, even though we had very minimal red tide for only a few days here on St. Pete Beach. Our year has been destroyed financially when comparing the results to our forecast at the beginning of the year. We know with certainly that we lost somewhere around 1,000 room nights. We’ll never know how many people canceled and didn’t tell us why or never even called to book. You could easily estimate that it had a million-dollar impact on us.”

Understandably, marketing Pinellas County as a tourist destination has been a bit more challenging this year.

“Our goal is to convey the most accurate up-to-the-moment conditions of the shore,” David Downing, president and CEO of Visit St. Pete-Clearwater, told Invest:. To that end, the Visit St. Pete-Clearwater website has an online resource titled “Current Beach Conditions,” offering beachgoers real-time information about the local waterways.

The website is both industry-facing and consumer-facing. “It has 17 points across Pinellas County’s coast, updated twice daily with human eyes, ears and noses on the beach, reporting on the conditions in real time,” he says. “It has been a godsend for us because we can send people to the unaffected places.”

As far as marketing and advertising is concerned, Downing suggests that Visit St. Pete-Clearwater has had to tweak its message a bit. “[We’re talking] about many of the other facets of the destination, not so beach-forward,” he said. “We have the mural festival happening, a jazz festival and the culinary and craft beer scene, among many others.”

So what is being done about red tide? As we enter into the fall and winter months (however indistinct that transition might be here in Florida), county officials and business owners are looking forward to putting all of their red tide woes in the rear-view mirror.

A $1.3 million grant from the Department of Environmental Protection has paid for those aforementioned beach and water cleanups across Pinellas beaches, and Governor Scott has pledged a total of $13 million in grants to help affected counties battle the algal bloom.

Keith Overton says that in the future he’d like to see some funds allocated for research purposes. “I really do think that scientific research is a worthy investment to try to figure out how we can minimize the effects of red tide,” he told Invest:. “The only way we can even consider solutions is through government-funded scientific research. If we can better understand what causes red tide, we have a better shot at finding a viable solution and one that has less of an impact on the Gulf of Mexico fishery.”

For more information about our interviewees, visit their websites
Visit St. Petersburg-Clearwater,
TradeWinds Island Resort,



Governor Wolf Declares Statewide Disaster Emergency

January 2018 — Back in October, President Trump declared the opioid crisis a national health emergency. While the national rate of drug overdose is 16.3 per 100,000 people, that number is more than double in Pennsylvania: 36.5 per 100,000 people.

In 2016 alone, drug overdoses accounted for 4,642 deaths in the state of Pennsylvania, a 37 percent increase from 2015. These horrific numbers led Governor Wolf to declare the heroin and opioid epidemic a statewide disaster emergency on January 10, 2018.

Pennsylvania already has many responses to the epidemic in place. These include the expansion of Medicaid to help 125,000 access treatment, the creation of a support hotline, the establishment of 45 centers of excellence treatment programs that allow 11,000 Pennsylvanians to receive care and the provision of $2 million to expand specialty drug courts.


As part of Wolf’s most recent declaration — the first of its kind for a public health emergency in Pennsylvania — 13 key initiatives are mentioned as means to continue to combat the issue. These include the creation of an Opioid Operational Command Center at Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, widening access to the state’s prescription drug monitoring program and easing the drug treatment process. The three main concerns that the initiatives address are enhancing coordination and data collection to bolster state response, expanding access to treatment and saving lives.

Pennsylvania has the fourth-highest opioid-related deaths in the U.S., after West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky. Governor Wolf’s recent declaration will hopefully spur the actions being taken against the opioid epidemic in the state, saving both lives and families.

For more information on the opioid epidemic and what the Pennsylvania government plans to do to counter it, visit:

PhilaPort Expansion Will Boost the Regional Economy

January 2018 — In December, PhilaPort was named by Forbes as one of the fastest-growing import ports by value. The port officially registered a $3.34 billion increase in imports in 2017; motor vehicle imports rose by 25.6 percent, oil by 212.3 percent, frozen beef by 4.6 percent, cocoa beans by 8.89 percent and non-alloy steel products by 98.1 percent. 

Now, PhilaPort is poised for more growth in the new year. The nearly completed Delaware River Main Channel Deepening Project, which deepened the port’s main channel from 40 to 45 feet, will allow for more efficient transportation of cargo. This project has an estimated economic impact of $13 million for the U.S. economy.

In 2017, PhilaPort announced its investment in four new cranes. Two of them will arrive in March 2018, and the other two — post-Panamax gantry cranes — are expected by April 2019. The cranes come with a total price tag of $23.5 million and will be able to unload cargo from the largest container ships in the world.

Due to the port’s growth, recent congestion has occurred as it handles an increasing amount of imports. In response, PhilaPort’s current priority is expanding warehouse space.

Last June, PhilaPort spent $10 million on its purchase of the former Produce and Seafood Terminal from Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation. This site will be used to increase container capacity and warehouse space.

At Packer Avenue Marine Terminal, the port is completing its strengthening of ship berths. In Port Richmond’s Tioga Marine Terminal, the port is developing a 100,000-square-foot warehouse and is also creating a $93 million vehicle-processing center for Hyundai and Kia imports at the Southport Terminal of the Navy Yard. All of the warehouse improvements and construction is expected to be completed before the end of 2018.

These recent projects will undoubtedly have a profound impact on the regional economy. In fact, these improvements are expected to create approximately 7,000 jobs for truckers, rail workers, suppliers and port-related businesses over the next decade. They are also expected to create 2,000 new jobs within the port itself.

Capital Analytics covered a similar topic extensively when working with PortMiami for Invest: Miami during its expansion process and is excited to begin working with the City of Philadelphia.

For more information on PhilaPort’s expansion, visit their website at: