75th Anniversary Celebration & Annual Conference - Tampa

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Sunday, August 15, 2021 to Tuesday, August 17, 2021
JW Marriott Tampa
510 Water Street
Tampa, FL 33602
United States

Event Details

The Southern Economic Development Council will be convening this summer for its Annual Conference in Tampa, Florida. The conference, August 15-17, will be at The JW Marriott, located in the city's heart. The theme of this year’s event, RESILIENCE. Will bring together approximately 350 economic development professionals from around the world.

We invite you to join us this August in Tampa for a truly one-of-a-kind event and 75th Anniversary.  We encourage you to register and book your room early as we will sell out this year. Click the buttons below for more information.

Program (Subject to change:)

Sunday, August 15th
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Committee Meetings

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM               
State Caucus Meetings

6:00 PM – 7:00 PM               
Welcome Reception

Monday, August 16th

9:00 AM – 10:30 AM            
Opening Remarks and Welcome

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
General Session - Repositioning You and Your Organization for the Post-Pandemic Reality

The past 18 months have reset the economic development world. Emerging trends have been accelerated. Client expectations, citizen priorities, consumer norms, and workforce demand have all be transformed. Economic developers are scrambling to reinvent and retool while running at full speed.  This session will consider the near future and suggest 10 actions that might make you and your organization more successful and highlight a few pitfalls to avoid.

Ted Abernathy, Managing Partner
Economic Leadership, LLC

12:00 PM - 12:30 PM
Recognizing Community Economic Development Awards & Communication Award Winners

12:30 PM – 2:00 PM

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
General Session - What's next for office space?

A panel of nationally- known real estate experts explores how the response to the pandemic is driving changes in real estate demand, office design, and more.   Our “new normal” must include working through how office spaces can function today and in the future with special new considerations of telecommuting, space requirements, and new innovations to promote safer working environments.

Janet Miller, CEO and Market Leader Partner
Colliers Nashville

Larry Richey, Managing Principal, Florida
Cushman Wakefield

3:30 PM - 4:30 PM
Concurrent Session - Urban Track

A panel of experienced economic developers discusses the future of redevelopment and urban design, focusing on questions about density, transportation, and urban planning.   The conversation will include data and policies, but also insights to better understand how human crisis generates change to our environment.

David Bivert, Executive Vice President
Strategic Property Partners LLC

Charles Woods, Vice President
Greater Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce

3:30 PM - 4:30 PM
Concurrent Session - Rural Track
Building Community Resilience Through Planning

What is a community assessment and why that information is important?  Strategic planning and implementation are imperative to success.  What community leaders need to be involved in your planning to ensure you achieve growth.  You will hear community success stories about surviving the pandemic. 

Stacey Duvic Neal, Director, Community Competitiveness
Louisiana Economic Development

6:00 PM – 7:00 PM               
Silent Auction Reception

Host Hotel:

JW Marriott Tampa Water Street
510 Water St, Tampa, FL 33602

Combining modern luxury with Tampa's Water Street neighborhood's sophisticated energy, the hotel is more than just a place to lay your head. Designed to bring guests together, they offer multiple social spaces for cultivating new connections. Find wellness in the Spa by JW®, the fitness center, or the expansive resort-style pool with a sun terrace. The full-service restaurant offers indoor and outdoor seating, while the atrium lobby lounge is the perfect location to take in the Water Street neighborhood's energy. 


On behalf of SEDC, the local planning committee, and the entire State of Florida, including the great city of Tampa, please allow me to welcome each of you to the 2021 SEDC Annual Conference & 75th Anniversary Celebration.

Never to be accused of shying away from new ideas, this year’s conference theme, “RESILIENCE,” sets the stage for our presenters to showcase their groundbreaking and provocative ideas, which will ultimately help us re-build our communities and grow our economy.  Our world has changed…this Annual Conference will highlight those changes and then ask us to think of innovative ways to meet those challenges. 

You can rest assured that you will leave this conference replete with good food, challenging new ideas, and hearts of joy while celebrating SEDC's 75th Anniversary.  Our ever-changing world awaits us…let's meet it with enthusiasm and courage.  I look forward to being with you in Tampa and embracing all that SEDC offers.

Bob Helton, 2021 Chairman

Tuesday, August 17th   

8:00 AM – 9:00 AM               

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Data Centers

10:30 AM – 11:45 AM
General Session

12:00 PM – 1:30 PM

1:30 PM - 2:00 PM
SEDC Awards Presentation and Annual Business Meeting

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
General Session - Hacking the Talent Pipeline: Exploring the effects of a remote workforce on talent pipeline development

54% of work-from-home employees say they want to continue to work from home after the coronavirus outbreak ends. States and regions have begun to offer relocation incentives for skilled talent to move their home office, and employers are expanding their recruiting radius to include the entire country instead of a 30-minute commute. How do we develop quality talent that can compete nationally for employers thousands of miles away from our workforce, and how do we as a community prevent brain-drain when the worker is not bound to an office downtown?

Denise Mott, Vice President
J. M. Mullis, Inc.

Dr. Chris Chmura, Founder
Chrmura Economic & Analytics

3:30 PM- 4:30 PM
Site Selection Consultants Panel

Panelists(more to be announced):
Gray Swoope, President & CEO
Vision First Advisors, LLC

Mike Mullis, President & CEO
J. M. Mullis, Inc.

6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Reception, Dinner, and Entertainment

Thank you to our sponsors!

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