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Office of Vice President and
Chief of Staff
Florida Gulf Coast University
10501 FGCU Blvd S.
Fort Myers, FL. 33965-6565

Phone: (239) 590-1006
Fax:     (239) 590-1066

Press Release


Historic Alliance Aims to Attract Business to Southwest Florida

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Florida Gulf Coast University has formed an alliance with business-driven organizations in Lee and Collier counties in an effort to attract more companies to the region.

On Friday, Sept. 21, the University signed a Memorandum of Understanding with The Partnership for Collier's Future Economy (a program of the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce) and the Horizon Council (the Public Private Partnership for the Fort Myers Regional Partnership), with the intention of bringing regional clout to the effort of attracting new businesses to Southwest Florida.

Dr. Ron Toll, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs said, "The Horizon Council and The Partnership for Collier's Future Economy are forward-thinking organizations dedicated to enhancing the economic well-being of Southwest Florida. FGCU is honored to extend its long-standing relationships with both organizations to further promote regional economic development for the benefit of the population we all serve."

Dr. Michael V. Reagen, president and CEO of the Greater Naples Chamber said, "The ultimate goal for our two private-sector organizations is to partner with FGCU to craft in the next three years regional business attraction."

Edward Morton, managing director of Wasmer, Schroeder & Company and an FGCU trustee, co-chairs The Partnership for Collier's Future Economy with Michael Wynn, president and CEO of Sunshine Ace Hardware of Southwest Florida.

"FGCU's participation provides this alliance with credibility, expertise and a sense of objective judgment that will allow this alliance to best serve the collective interests of the citizens of Southwest Florida," Morton said.

According to Wynn, "The regional alliance will further The Partnership's efforts to grow jobs in Collier County and support a robust business climate. As has been proven by other regional alliances in the state, this collaborative effort will serve to more effectively promote the economic opportunities that exist in Southwest Florida."

"We have always been big believers in regionalism and, in Southwest Florida, you cannot have a regional effort without Lee and Collier coming together," Fort Myers Regional Partnership executive director Jim Moore said. "When site selectors or business executives are looking for a place to do business, political boundaries don't matter. They look at resources on a regional basis."

"County lines are invisible when it comes to our united growth and prosperity. Our future promises more strategic partnerships and innovation throughout Southwest Florida to improve the business environment, retain and encourage the expansion of existing businesses, and attract new and diversified employment to the area at large," said Horizon Council chair Kitty Green.

The goal is for the three entities to share information and resources, gathering the type of data that business relocation and expansion professionals seek. With three representatives each from The Partnership and the Horizon Council, along with FGCU personnel, the group will explore ways to create a regional entity to attract businesses and develop ways of funding such efforts.

The FGCU Regional Economic Research Institute is expected to play a primary role in maintaining a regional data repository.

For more information, media representatives should contact Lillian Pagan, assistant director for Community Relations and Marketing at (239) 590-1086.

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