Q&A with Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce president and CEO

Nancy Keefer said Daytona Beach wants to shift focus from tourism to diversify its economic base and boost other industries in the area.

Nancy Keefer   Courtesy of Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce

Popular tourist destination Daytona Beach looks to expand its economic base to boost industries such as manufacturing and housing, Nancy Keefer, president and CEO of the Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce, told Florida Business Daily.

Question: What emerging industry in your area are you most excited about?   

Answer: We are mostly excited about diversifying our economic base.  Known as a tourism destination, it’s sometimes lost that we have a large manufacturing base with over 300 manufacturers and are home to some significant corporate headquarters including Top Build, Brown & Brown Insurance and International Speedway Corp. The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) also calls Daytona Beach home. With the current focus from Embry Riddle to complete and build a business research park, we are attracting innovative startup companies as well. We have seen increased interest from medical device manufacturers and a large commitment by B Braun to expand here in Daytona Beach. It’s also important to note that we will be opening a Hard Rock Hotel in the next few weeks, only the 27th in the nation. And, the partnership of Minto with Jimmy Buffet to build a lifestyle community of nearly 7,000 homes has attracted a lot of interest for potential residents.

Q: Why?  

A: Why not? We have an incredible education system and a college and university system that are responsive to the needs of the business community. Having a trained workforce and access to quality workers is important to many growing industries. The quality of life, made special by the moderate year-round temperatures and the ocean breeze, are an asset in itself.

Q: What benefits will that industry provide to the state/area?  

A: As we diversify our economic base we look to do so with higher-paying jobs. It’s important to continue to work toward sustainable jobs that attract and retain our employees and increase the average wage in our community. Our housing continues to be affordable as compared to other tourism destinations.

Q: What will you do to support that emerging industry? 

A: Continue to focus on advocating for business and providing an environment where businesses can be assured a level playing field when it comes to taxes and regulations and work on improving our area assets and amenities.

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