Pasco County Blog


May 3, 2012
Dade City Switches Off Transportation Fees, Turns on Green Light for Business

The Dade City Commission voted on April 26thto suspend Transportation Impact Fees (TIF) for a period of two years. This TIF suspension is part of a new aggressive City effort with the Greater Dade City Chamber of Commerce and the Dade City Main Street organization to encourage job creation and economic development. John Moors, Executive Director of Greater Dade City Chamber of Commerce, said, “Families and businesses already love Dade City, and even in the recession, it continues to add new people. The suspension of transportation impact fees will help Dade City grow even faster by reducing the cost of expanding a business here.” “A lot of Tampa Bay business executives already think Dade City is a pretty cool place,” noted John Hagen, Pasco Economic Development Council President/CEO.  Hagen, who held some focus groups last year to understand perceptions about Pasco County communities, was surprised to learn how visible Dade City was to regional business leaders.  “They definitely like what they see in Dade City.  When they hear about this, they are going to think it’s even cooler.” In addition to slashing impact fees, Dade City is implementing an overall plan to promote job creation and economic development, including:

  • Reducing the cost for new development and redevelopment in Dade City;
  • Promoting State, County and local business;
  • Working with our local merchants and existing business owners to improve local commerce;
  • Providing grants to local businesses for site development and improvement;
  • Participating in the Florida Brownfields program to help defray employment costs;
  • The adoption of a new land development code to speed up the permitting process.
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April 26, 2012
Pasco County Entrepreneur and Inventor of the Go Caddy™ Awarded Microloan
Victoria Forster, inventor, entrepreneur, and proud mom receives Pasco Economic Development Council’s next microloan to help grow her business. GoCaddyForster’s idea for her company, BVT Products, LLC, began in 2003 when she headed to work out at the Trinity YMCA. While getting out of her car with her water bottle, towel, purse, keys, and cell phone, she dropped everything on the pavement. “I got a workout just bending and picking up everything!” She said. after looking in vain for a carrier that wouldn’t be clunky, she decided to make one herself. Forster took her new invention to her next aerobics class where it was a big hit with her classmates. And so the Go Caddy™ was born. The Go Caddy™ is a compact tote that holds a water bottle, identification, money and more when you are on the go. On February 29, a story about Pasco EDC’s microloan fund in the local newspaper caught Forster’s attention.  “Knowing how difficult it is for a small business to secure a loan these days, I immediately called the number in the article, and Krista Hakes helped me get started.” “Victoria is what the microloan fund is all about,” said Hakes, Pasco EDC Economic Development Manager.  “Being a working mom myself, I have a lot of respect for her drive to get to where she is today. I’m personally excited that we are helping her business grow.  Who knows, she could be Tampa Bay’s next Sara Blakely!” (A local success story, Blakely is the world's youngest self-made female billionaire; in 2000, she founded Spanx, a multi-million dollar undergarment company.) BVT Products, LLC, plans to use the loan to help grow the business. It will allow BVT Products, LLC, to order more inventory, update the company website, produce a direct mail campaign to add to the 145 stores that currently sell the Go Caddy™ and hire a college intern. This past year BVT Products, LLC, licensed the Go Caddy™ to Infusion Brands, a consumer products company based in Clearwater, FL, that leverages direct response promotion on live television. Infusion Brands has secured a deal with QVC America to have the Go Caddy™ featured on the show this coming May.  To find out more about the Go Caddy™ visit The microloan fund was established to help local entrepreneurs who cannot obtain traditional financing like Victoria Forster and her company BVT Products to grow, expand, and create jobs in the future. Pasco EDC is urging companies who need help obtaining non-traditional financing and are headquartered in Pasco County, or planning to locate in Pasco County, to consider applying for a microloan. 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 visit for more information on how to apply, or call Pasco EDC at 813-926-0827 to consider donating to the fund. (Read More)

April 24, 2012
Pasco Economic Development Council Earns National Award for Social Media

Pasco Economic Development Council is proud to announce that it has just been awarded the 2012 Economic Development Award for “Best Use of Social Media” from Business Facilities magazine. Business Facilities: The Location Advisor is the premier trade publication source of national and international corporate real estate and site selection news. It is widely known in the industry for its annual Economic Development Deal of the Year competition.  This year it added first-ever Annual Economic Development Awards with a special category for “new media,” including Best Use of Social Media and Best Video. According to Business Facilities, Pasco EDC “understood that social media marketing is a moving target and took the proper actions to strengthen their efforts (i.e., hiring a social media specialist, creating a campaign around their slogan, and producing their own content).” The objective of Pasco EDC’s social media campaign was to connect with business and community leaders and their extended networks where they spend most of their time – on the computer. “Many people don’t know what economic development organizations do, who they work with, or how to get involved,” said Summer Martin, Pasco EDC Marketing Coordinator.  Martin, who was the social media strategist behind Pasco EDC’s success, noted that “Social media makes us accessible and approachable to businesses and individuals so they can get to ‘know’ us, and at the same, it’s informative and builds community pride.” Pasco EDC focused on branding each of its social media sites with its new ad campaign featuring the fresh faces of kids, and kept the look consistent on all of its social sites.  Business Facilities was especially impressed with the look of the sites, commenting that “Pasco County’s branding and design was also very consistent across all platforms, something that a lot of organizations miss the mark on because they are trying to do too much with social media.” To keep informed on what Pasco EDC is doing, follow it online:

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April 23, 2012
Pasco EDC Answers President’s Call to Help Small Businesses Increase Exports
Pasco Economic Development Council, Inc is helping local businesses to export their goods overseas.  On Friday, April 27th from 8:30am – 10:00am, Pasco EDC, in conjunction with Career Central, will be hosting an Exporting Forum. President Obama recently told workers at the Port of Tampa that his administration was aiming to increase exports for small businesses. Pasco EDC wants to help connect them with the right information they need to answer the President’s call to action. At Pasco EDC’s Exporting Forum, Rachel Kreissl from the Department of Commerce/Tampa Bay Export Assistance Center will be speaking about opportunities for businesses to start selling overseas and just how easy it is to increase profits. Ken Nadler from SCORE will talk about ways to set up transactions and how to receive foreign payments. Finally, Jim Pyburn, Director of Trade Development/Latin America for the Tampa Port Authority, will discuss the Port of Tampa, infrastructure improvements, and the President’s recent visit to speak about trade with Latin America. The Pasco EDC Exporting Forum will be held at the SunTrust building in New Port Richey (6128 US Hwy 19). There is a $5 charge for a light breakfast. Reservations can be made online at or by calling 888-60-PASCO. (Read More)

April 22, 2012
Minority-Owned Business Next to Receive Microloan in Pasco County

Rosie Paulsen, an Ecuadorian who came to the United States in 1988, is the next microloan recipient from Pasco Economic Development Council, Inc. Overwhelmed when she received the check, she said, “I really am living the American Dream!” Rocio “Rosie” Paulsen is the owner of Good Faith Insurance Services which educates retirees on their Medicare choices and benefits. She has been serving the Medicare population and the Wesley Chapel community since 2005, and her business is on the move. To keep up with the growing demand of services, the company needs to hire at least one additional full-time staff member. Rosie is an energetic, all-smiles entrepreneur with a can-do attitude. She wants Pasco County to grow, and she wants Hispanic business owners in Pasco County to succeed. In December 2009, she founded the Pasco Hernando Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and is also a founding member and community liaison of “La Liga Latina” a group of Hispanic professionals that educates the community. Pasco EDC's Krista Hakes hands Rocio

Grinning from ear to ear Rosie said, “I am so happy because this will allow me to hire the full-time help that we need. I am also proud to be the first Hispanic- and woman-owned business to receive a microloan from Pasco EDC.” Rosie noted that she especially appreciated the free technical assistance and training from the USF Small Business Development Center. “This is what it is all about. Helping passionate small business owners and entrepreneurs with solid ideas, good management skills and a valid business plan, who simply can’t get traditional financing,” said John Hagen, Pasco EDC President/CEO. “We want these businesses to grow, hire more people, and continue expanding here in Pasco County.” Pasco EDC is urging companies who need help obtaining non-traditional financing and are headquartered in Pasco County, or planning to locate in Pasco County, to consider applying for a microloan. 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 visit for more information on how to apply, or call the Pasco EDC at 813-926-0827 to consider donating to the fund. For more information on Good Faith Insurance Services contact Rosie Paulsen at 813-345-4331 (5854 Argerian Dr., Suite 101, Wesley Chapel, FL 33545)

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April 21, 2012
Pasco County Business Leader Selected For Regional Economic Development Program
Local business leader and Dade City resident, Lex Smith, has been selected for Tampa Bay Partnership’s 2012 CEO Direct program. Smith is already very involved in economic development in Pasco County. He serves as Board Chair and Executive Committee Chair for Pasco Hernando Workforce Board and is a Board Member for Pasco Economic Development Council. His involvement with CEO Direct will allow him to gain a regional perspective on economic development issues and connect with other business leaders to help Tampa Bay and Pasco County reach their full potential. Smith is the Senior Vice President for SunTrust Bank and currently works in the Tampa Region Wealth & Investment Management line of business. “I am thrilled to participate in the CEO Direct program,” said Smith. “As a lifelong resident of Pasco County, I truly believe that economic development is a critical aspect of continued growth.” The goal of the CEO Direct program is to ensure local business leaders are active participants in Tampa Bay’s economic development initiatives. Participants learn about critical issues effecting economic development in the Tampa Bay region and are challenged to help find solutions through problem solving, regional collaboration and strategic thinking. “Lex has been a valuable and dedicated member of our board since 2009,” said John Hagen, Pasco EDC President/CEO. “The knowledge he gains in the CEO Direct program will indirectly help Pasco EDC be in tune with what is going on regionally and bring growth to Tampa Bay overall.” Participation in the CEO Direct program is by invitation only and is limited to 25 participants each year. During the ten month program, participants attend a monthly meeting and tour major regional institutions. Participants will be engaged in Tampa Bay Partnership’s Model for Prosperity which includes the regional business plan for Tampa Bay, livable communities and transportation, public policy, and a broader advocacy and leadership model. (Read More)

April 20, 2012
Dr. Jay Harvey of Personal Pediatric Care Thanks Pasco EDC for Microloan
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April 12, 2012
Local Pediatrician Receives Pasco’s First Microloan to Help Grow His Business

Dr. Jay Harvey, a board certified pediatrician left his office Wednesday with a check from Pasco Economic Development Council, Inc.  Personal Pediatric Care in Trinity became Pasco EDC’s first small business to receive a microloan. “I am truly honored to be Pasco EDC’s first loan recipient,” said Dr. Jay Harvey MD, FAAP. “This will allow me to continue to grow and expand my practice and help elevate the level of pediatric care here in our community.” Pediatrician, Dr. Jay Harvey receives microloan check from Pasco EDC With nearly 20 years of experience, Dr. Jay Harvey opened his practice in Trinity in 2011. Initially it was opened to offer boutique, concierge medicine, and limit the number of patients he was seeing. However, current economic conditions proved this particular model could not be supported, and he quickly began to restructure his business for growth, but like many other small businesses, Personal Pediatric Care was unable to obtain traditional financing. Through Pasco EDC’s microloan fund they received the funding needed plus technical training to help along the way. Dr. Harvey has converted his practice back into a traditional pediatric office, and kids and moms alike are thrilled. Amid the giant mural-lined walls of SpongeBob and Scooby Doo, Dr. Harvey is equally thrilled to be growing and expanding his practice. “We know that the use of the funds will make a huge impact here in Pasco County and on his business,” said Michael Cox, Chair of Pasco EDC’s Growth Task Force and Associate VP with Wells Fargo Advisors. “The bottom line is, we want to help businesses promote themselves, continue to grow and add to our community.” The microloan fund was established to help local entrepreneurs and small businesses grow and expand. When companies grow, jobs are created and the local economy begins to flourish. Pasco EDC is urging companies who need help obtaining non-traditional financing and are headquartered in Pasco County, or planning to locate in Pasco County, to consider applying for a microloan. 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 visit for more information on how to apply, or call the Pasco EDC at 813-926-0827 to consider donating to the fund.

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April 11, 2012
New Free Website Helps Florida Manufacturers Get More Sales

Pasco Economic Development Council, Inc. is excited to announce the launch of, a new searchable website that connects Florida suppliers and manufacturers and reduces the cost of doing business in Florida. Florida Supplier Source is a free marketing tool that manufacturers and suppliers can use to get their company noticed by other manufacturers with specific production needs or a preference for local suppliers.  A key feature of the website is the ability to search by keywords, so that companies with unique capabilities that do not fit into the standard industrial classification pigeonholes can be easily identified. With nearly 1200 companies already listed in the database, Pasco EDC is asking Tampa Bay manufacturers and suppliers to visit the website and claim their FREE listing. The goal is build a strong database, starting in the Tampa Bay area, then extending into the State of Florida. The site will be marketed heavily by Pasco EDC and other economic development organizations. flsupplier-screenshotPasco-based Pharmaworks, Inc., 2011 Florida Manufacturer of the Year, is just one of the local manufacturers using Florida Supplier Source. “As a manufacturer who outsources to many local companies, there is nothing more frustrating than the inability to connect with potential local suppliers that are possibly looking for additional work.” said Peter Buczynsky, Pharmaworks CEO. “The Pasco EDC’s Growth Task Force worked for nearly two years developing this secure website with input from local manufacturers and suppliers, in order to provide active local company information that is relevant and useful for both suppliers and purchasers.” When companies buy from local suppliers they save money by lowering freight costs, expediting service, and reducing damaged goods. They also receive personal attention from suppliers they may not have from out-of-state suppliers. Manufacturers save money, while at the same time local suppliers grow their business. When companies get new business, they tend to hire people, the reason Pasco EDC created the website. “This is a tremendous tool to help the Florida manufacturing community find strategic partners and reduce costs,” said John Walsh, Vice President of Pasco EDC, “the more local relationships developed through Florida Supplier Source, the more opportunities we have to build a stronger regional economy”. Visit to claim your free listing and begin promoting your business to manufacturers around Florida.

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March 30, 2012
Business & Community Leaders in Tampa Bay Connect at 10th Annual NetFest

Pasco County, Florida — Pasco Economic Development Council is hosting its 10th Annual NetFest on April 18 from 5:00pm – 8:30pm at Starkey Ranch in Odessa. NetFest is one of Pasco’s largest networking events of the year and is a “Who’s Who of Pasco County” for the business and community leaders of Tampa Bay. Last year, over 250 people gathered at Starkey Ranch for the big event with key business leaders and elected officials in attendance. This year they are expecting over 300 people in attendance.  Who attends NetFest?  Business owners and CEOs of Tampa Bay’s most recognized companies as well as commercial realtors, land developers, bankers, elected officials, and this year many election-year hopefuls. Pasco EDC urges people attending the outdoor event to “throw on their blue jeans and grab a cowboy hat” for an informal night of networking — minus the speeches or awards. While there may not be a master of ceremonies, there will be BBQ, drinks, country music and plenty of chili for everyone. Sponsors of NetFest will be participating in a chili cook-off that is judged by all attendees. “There is a ton of buzz about Pasco right now, especially since the County just won four ‘Future of the Region’ awards,” said John Hagen, Pasco EDC President/CEO. “If you want to do business in Pasco County, or with a Pasco County company, you’ll want to attend NetFest.” Tickets are $35 for investors and guests, and $45 for all others. Reservations for NetFest can be made online at To sponsor NetFest or enter the chili cook-off and earn the title of “Pasco’s Best Chili” contact Suzanne Renczkowski at or call 813-926-0827.

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