Professionals from businesses ranging from the travel, hospitality and academic sectors to finance, construction, law and medicine gathered last week for the inaugural meeting of the St. Petersburg Area Economic Development Corporation (EDC).
The EDC evolved from a strategic plan mutually embraced by the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, city of St. Petersburg and community partners two years ago to identify key business sectors and help ensure the city has a sustainable and economic strategy.
"We have a unique opportunity to become the preferred destination for those businesses seeking the types of talent attracted by the growth of our downtown environment," Michael Vivio, the new EDC chairman, said. "It’s good to see so many leaders sharing the vision for our work ahead.”
"We are not going to be your typical EDC. St. Pete has a new story to tell,” Vivio said.
New EDC President J.P. DuBuque shared the EDC’s vision, noting that St. Petersburg has a rich and diverse existing workforce that can be supported and amplified.
“Now we’ll have a full-time focus on fostering their development as well as attracting others to tell the story of St. Pete as the place where an individual can find a great career and lifestyle and a company can find everything they need for success,” DuBuque said.
Mayor Rick Kriseman also praised the effort’s potential to connect workers with local administration. The city itself is a Cornerstone Founding investor in the venture along with over 40 Founding Funders representing a wide variety of industries.
Chris Steinocher, St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce president and CEO, was named CEO of the EDC.