Pasco County Blog

2012

March 6, 2012
10th Annual NetFest for Business and Community Leaders from Tampa Bay

NetFest is Pasco's Premier Networking Event for Tampa Bay Business and Community Leaders. If you own a company in Tampa Bay, you will want to be there!

On April 18, 2012, Tampa Bay Business Leaders, Elected Officials, and Community Partners will gather together at Starkey Ranch (12959 State Road 54 in Odessa), for a casual night of food, drinks, and parlayin' with Pasco County's most important leaders and other important folk from around Tampa Bay. Heck, even the Governor is invited! the events will start up at 5:00pm and go till 8:30pm. Like Chili? We're also hosting a sponsor-only Chili cook-off! Sponsorships range from $500 - $2000. So if you've got a great Chili recipe, become a NetFest sponsor and gather up your Chili cookin' team! You might just win a golf outing for four to Hammock Beach Resort! So throw on your cowboy boots, dust off the old hat, and join us for the biggest BBQ for for business leaders in Tampa Bay! www.pascoedc.com/events

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February 28, 2012
The Largest Credit Union In Florida Jumps On Board To Help Pasco Businesses

Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union (Suncoast Schools FCU), Florida’s largest credit union, continues its long-time support of small businesses by donating $10,000 to Pasco Economic Development Council’s microloan fund due to launch March 1. There are 26 million small businesses in America today, which are responsible for creating the majority of our nation's new jobs. Unfortunately, the current economy is making it difficult for America’s small businesses to obtain credit. That’s where Pasco EDC decided to step in and help. John Hagen, Pasco EDC President/CEO commented, “There are many people who may be turned down for a loan at a financial institution because their borrowing need is too small or they have limited credit history. Rather than turn away these people, who may have great business ideas, we say, ’send them to us’.” Hagen added, “We may be able to help them get started and create some jobs. Once they launch their business and are commercially viable, we can return them as valuable customers to the lender that referred them.” The Largest Credit Union In Florida Jumps On Board To Help Pasco Businesses

Michael Cox (Chair, Pasco EDC Growth Task Force), Melva McKay-Bass (SVP Member Operations, Suncoast FCU), Pat Mulieri (Pasco County Commissioner), Pat Denmark (Regional Vice President, Suncoast FCU) and John Hagen (Pasco EDC)

The microloan program will lend money to small businesses located in Pasco County and offer entrepreneurs free technical assistance and training to help work through challenges they may face in starting or growing a new business. “We are happy to support Pasco EDC’s microloan fund,” says Melva McKay-Bass, SVP of Member Operations, Suncoast Schools FCU. “This offers us an opportunity to help those people who have a great business plan, but little or no credit, and at the same time assist in the creation of more jobs for the Tampa Bay area. Moreover, this partnership provides an avenue for us to continue to cultivate relationships with our business members and provide additional access to resources and services. Loan applicants must be for-profit companies located in Pasco County, and borrowers must show they have the experience and resources to be successful business operators. Proceeds may be used for working capital, inventory, supplies, furniture, fixtures, machinery and equipment, but not to purchase real estate or to refinance existing debt. Please call the Pasco EDC at 813-926-0827 for more information or to consider donating to the fund.

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February 24, 2012
Why don’t your employees work as hard as you do?

  • Why don't your employees work as hard as youDo you know what employee areas are at risk for problems?
  • Do you have high turnover?
  • Do you wonder what would happen if your key employees left?

Founder Kelley Rexroad will answer these questions and more on Thursday, March 22 at 8:30am at Pasco EDC's office in Lutz. Kelley has been described as "a big company expert with front porch common sense." She is a business person who specializes in people, which she says "is the only resource that appreciates in a business." She has first hand experiences in every HR function in several industries as well as developing, turnaround and M&A situations. Register online at www.pascoedc.com/events. Cost is $5 and includes a light breakfast.

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February 21, 2012
Thanks to Saint Leo University, Pasco EDC's Microloan Fund is Ready to Loan!

Pasco Economic Development Council, Inc. is proud to announce a total of $220,000 has been raised for its new microloan fund program, thanks to a generous donation by Saint Leo University.

Saint Leo Donates 25,000 to Pasco EDC Microloan fund.

“The Pasco EDC is a valuable partner with Saint Leo University and the Donald R. Tapia School of Business.  The council has worked closely with our business students, faculty and staff in helping companies grow,” said Dr. Michael Nastanski, Dean of the Donald R. Tapia School of Business at Saint Leo University. Dr. Nastanski added that the Donald R. Tapia School of Business is committed to a long and prosperous relationship with Pasco EDC. In addition to the $25,000 donation, Saint Leo University will share its faculty and students to help evaluate projects and provide technical assistance to successful applicants. “Saint Leo’s donation to the fund has put us over the top,” said John Hagen, Pasco EDC President/CEO. “We said we would go when we received commitments for at least $200,000.  We couldn’t be more thrilled to partner with Saint Leo’s award-winning faculty and outstanding business students to make a difference for small businesses in our community. Excitement has been building and the inquiries are beginning to flood into Pasco EDC.  According to Hagen,   “The phones started ringing when we went public with our plans and haven’t stopped since!”  On Tuesday, February 21 the Pasco County Board of County Commissioners is meeting to approve the fund’s lending policies and procedures so that Pasco EDC may begin lending as of March 1. The microloan program will not only lend money to small businesses located in Pasco County, but will offer free technical assistance and training to help work through the challenges of starting or growing a new business. “We believe that there are many people with great ideas and skills who simply lack the money and resources to get started -- or to expand. We want them to succeed,” said Hagen. Loan applicants must be for-profit companies located in Pasco County, and borrowers must show they have the experience and resources to be successful business operators. Proceeds may be used for working capital, inventory, supplies, furniture, fixtures, machinery and equipment, but not to purchase real estate or to refinance existing debt. Please call the Pasco EDC at 813-926-0827 for more information or to consider donating to the fund.

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February 8, 2012
Wells Fargo Donates $10,000 to Microloan Fund to Help Pasco County Small Businesses

Pasco County, Florida — Pasco Economic Development Council, Inc. is pleased to announce that Wells Fargo Bank has donated $10,000 to Pasco EDC’s new microloan fund to help local entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Wells Fargo donates $10,000 to Pasco EDC's new microloan fund

Wells Fargo, a long-time investor in the Pasco Economic Development Council, is excited about this new opportunity to help local small businesses succeed. The microloan program will lend money to small businesses located in Pasco County, and offer entrepreneurs free technical assistance to help work through challenges they may face in starting or growing a new business. “In keeping with Wells Fargo’s long-standing commitment to the community, we are pleased to partner with Pasco Economic Development Council in support of its microloan fund,” said Angel Buchanan, Community Bank President for West Central Florida. “Our investment will help provide the assistance needed for local entrepreneurs to succeed and help promote economic development in Pasco County.” The goal of Pasco EDC’s Growth Task Force is to raise $250,000 to help Pasco County’s new and emerging small businesses expand and create jobs. In addition to helping finance business ideas, the program will include training to help small business owners increase their prospects for success. “Two big reasons for small business failures are lack of money and limited business experience.  Our program addresses both these challenges,” said John Hagen, Pasco EDC President/CEO. “We are very appreciative that Wells Fargo has stepped forward to support the program.  He added that the Pasco EDC is actively looking for community leaders and businesses who want to pitch in to build the fund, but “we are very confident that the rest of the money needed to capitalize the program will be forthcoming shortly.” Pasco EDC has committed $50,000 and the Pasco County Board of County Commissioners has allocated $100,000.  Pasco EDC anticipates receiving Commissioners’ approval on the fund’s lending policies in February.  “We expect to be funding projects no later than March 1,” Hagen said.  Loans will be capped at $35,000 with most being in the $5,000 to $10,000 range, he noted. Loan applicants must be for-profit companies located in Pasco County, and borrowers must show they have the experience and resources to be successful business operators. Proceeds may be used for working capital, inventory, supplies, furniture, fixtures, machinery and equipment, but not to purchase real estate or to refinance existing debt. Please call the Pasco EDC at 813-926-0827 for more information or to consider a donation to the fund.

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February 7, 2012
Rethinking Leadership in Schools to Build a Better Workforce

Ran across a really interesting article in the Washington Post the other day entitled, "Rethinking leadership in America’s schools".  The article was written by James H. Quigley, the former CEO of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited and currently a senior partner in its U.S. firm. According to Quigley, schools have three key leadership development opportunities: formal learning, mentoring and knowledge sharing.  The article says mentoring should be used to complement formal learning:

"To complement formal learning, principals and superintendents could benefit from connections with those outside of their field, including members of the business community. Business leaders are an important stakeholder in our education system, and their active involvement in leadership mentoring could constructively bring another significant player in the “As One” pursuit for excellence in education."

This article reaffirms what John Hagen, Pasco Economic Development Council President/CEO, has been talking about for a while now, which is the need for businesses to get involved in schools and mentor their future workforce.  Why would a business owner want to get involved with mentoring high school students?  "Isn't that a waste of time, when I have better things to do?" Absolutely not!  Mentoring graduating high school students gives business owners a chance to essentially cherry pick the best of our future workforce. When you consider that $800 is the average cost of recruiting and training a new manufacturing employee, it's worth your time to meet future workforce candidates now and develop relationships with them so that you can begin building a stronger, more passionate workforce for the future of your business. John Hagen, Pasco EDC President/CEO chairs the steering committee for Pasco County Schools Career Academies, a group of local stakeholders and business leaders who are working with school officials to improve Pasco County Schools Career Academies. The goal is to bring business and community leaders together to create more hands-on learning through enrichment opportunities such as job shadowing, mentoring, and internships for students. And the good news is, it's working! Rewind to 2009, when not a single Pasco County high school received an A grade, and in 2010 only two earned an A.  Fast forward to 2011, and 6 out of 13 high schools earned an A, with five following close behind with a B. In addition, Pasco’s 2011 high school graduation rate tipped the charts at 88.5%, a record 8.4% higher than the state average. "I have to think Career Academies have had a positive impact on these numbers," says Hagen. "We are seeing it work, but we need more involvement from the business community," says Hagen. The Career Academies Steering Committee is looking for local business leaders who will adopt academies and work side-by-side with teachers and students to vault Pasco County Schools Career Academies to the first ranks of educational achievement. Want to cherry pick your future employees from the best of the best? Here's the link to find out more:  http://www.pasco.k12.fl.us/academies/  

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February 3, 2012
Business And Media Day

PASCO COUNTY STUDENTS TOUR WUSF-TV, INTERVIEW BUSINESS LEADERS On January 19, 2012, twenty students from Pasco County high schools participated in Business and Media Day, led by the Pasco Economic Development Council for Youth Leadership Pasco.  Students began their day at Rasmussen College in Land O’ Lakes, then traveled to the University of South Florida (USF) and toured the WUSF TV and radio station. At USF, students had the chance to operate cameras, edit video and role play as on-air talent. Eric Keaton, Pasco County Communications Manager, gave students tips on how to interview and communicate on camera. Following the media tour, students visited the West Pasco Industrial Park where they split into four teams, each visiting a different business: Power Quality International (PQI), Dais Analytic, PharmaWorks, and Smart Sciences. They interviewed the company CEOs and business managers and toured their facilities. “It was a great experience for the students and for us,” said John Hagen, President/CEO of Pasco EDC. “We had several who came away inspired to go into a technical or engineering field.” Hagen is a strong supporter of education in his role as steering committee chair for Pasco County Schools Career Academies, a group of educators and business leaders working together to improve local career and technical education. The day wrapped up at Rasmussen College where students produced their own news casts, including a segment on the business they visited, and a set of commercials to promote Pasco County. Each group was judged by a local panel of judges including Eric Keaton (Pasco County Communications Manager), Robert Singerman (PQI Director of Marketing & Media), Maureen Moore (Saint Leo University Director of Communications), Glenn Hanff (Native Medical Trends), Krista Hakes (Pasco EDC Business Development Manager), and Summer Martin (Pasco EDC Marketing Coordinator). Pasco EDC, which was an integral part of starting the Leadership Pasco program for adults, is also a long-time supporter of Youth Leadership Pasco (YLP). YLP is a leadership development program for high school students that fosters an awareness of and responsibility for community involvement, develops community pride, and makes local connections that may further their career plans. “The Youth Leadership Pasco program exposes the students to so many different business opportunities and community and business leaders,” said Rob Aguis, Director of Career and Technical education for Pasco County Schools. “Each year the cohort formulates strong relationships for students--from Anclote High School, to Pasco High School and everything in between.” This program has already impacted the life of one student, Omar Mia, a junior at Fivay High School, who was excited to tour the businesses and make these connections. “Today I visited PharmaWorks,” he said.  “I got to learn about all of the things I want to do in the future, and I am thinking about doing an internship there.”  He added, “I want to become an aeronautical engineer or a manufacturing engineer.”

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February 2, 2012
Career Academies And Better Education Are Key To A Strong Workforce

The State of Florida recently revealed that 85% of Pasco county high schools earned an A or B in its latest statewide public school appraisal.

“This is terrific news and shows real improvement,” says John Hagen, President/CEO of the Pasco Economic Development Council, Inc. "We’re headed in the right direction, and I have to think Career Academies have had a positive impact on these numbers.”

Rewind to 2009, when not a single high school received an A grade, and in 2010 only two earned an A.  Fast forward to 2011, and 6 out of 13 high schools earned an A, with five following close behind with a B. In addition, Pasco’s 2011 high school graduation rate tipped the charts at 88.5%, a record 8.4% higher than the state average. Career and Professional Academy students had a slightly higher GPA and were less likely to be chronically absent then non academy high school students.

Hagen is the new chair of the steering committee for Career Academies, a group of local stakeholders and business leaders who are working with school officials to improve Pasco County Schools Career Academies. The goal is to bring business and community leaders together to create more hands-on learning through enrichment opportunities such as job shadowing, mentoring, and internships for students. Pasco county’s Career Academies range from Business Management and Information Technology to Culinary Arts and Medical Professions.  These academies give students a real-world approach to learning and preparation for future careers.  Students earn industry recognized certifications that provide an edge in applying for jobs.  The academies have local business leaders excited.

“The implementation of Career Academies in Pasco county is one of the best things to happen to industry and workforce in our area,” says Bryan Kamm, Director of Business Development for the Bauer Foundation. “In our company, we operate very sophisticated equipment and need highly trained engineers and technicians.  We currently employ students from River Ridge High School Engineering and East Lake Engineering Career Academies. All businesses should take advantage of this great talent pool and resource pipeline and get involved.” 

Kamm went on to note that there is also a huge payoff in the academies for STEM education.  Improving STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, is a critical concern of the State Department of Education, as well as national business and education thought leaders. Tuesday, January 24, Hagen will be hosting a workshop on Career Academies and Business Partnerships in Pasco County, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in Sun Toyota's upstairs training room, with Rob Aguis Director of Career and Technical Education, Pasco County Schools and Jerome Salatino, President/CEO of the Pasco Hernando Workforce Board.  They hope to recruit and train a large cadre of business leaders who will adopt academies and work side-by-side with teachers and students to vault Pasco County Schools Career Academies to the first ranks of educational achievement.

Pasco EDC is a non-profit organization that promotes economic development in Pasco County, Florida.  Pasco EDC continues to be a strong partnership funded by corporate and public investors focused on the economic vitality of Pasco County.

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February 1, 2012
Super-kids like Jimmy are telling businesses to move to Pasco!

"Sally" and "Jimmy" are part of a new marketing approach by the Pasco EDC in an effort to stand out among the sea of folks trying to recruit businesses to their region. And so far it seems to be working! People love the fresh new look that was featured in The Suncoast News. After all, who doesn't like kids? Pasco County Commissioners loved the ad that reads:

Red Tape, Beware! In some places it takes a superhero to get a building permit. In Pasco County, it's so easy that a super kid like Jimmy can do it. Fast permitting, a huge talent pool, and a growing super region have caught the attention of firms like T. Rowe Price and Raymond James.

And we think Sally and Jimmy are right!  If your business needs room to grow, Pasco is the place. There is no other place in Tampa Bay that offers as much room to grow for both your business and your family. We are part of a major market with a vibrant economy, and offer international trade, a transportation hub, world-class culture and the coveted Florida lifestyle –with the room you need to grow. Pasco County’s abundant shovel-ready sites (including rail), large workforce, fast permits, low taxes and generous incentives make us an irresistible choice. Give Sally or Jimmy a call today (888) 60-PASCO.  They’re ready to show you everything that Pasco County has to offer... and then some.

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