New CEO should not affect Miami's strength in Enterprise Florida
By Sherri C. Ranta
Enterprise Florida Inc. President and CEO John C. Anderson says South Florida should not suffer diminished leadership or representation in the state's economic development organization after he retires in early August.
"I don't believe Miami, or any region in the state, will see a change in Enterprise Florida's commitment to serving all areas of the state including Miami. We (Miami and the agency) have close ties that go beyond me as an individual," Mr. Anderson said.
As former CEO and president of the Beacon Council, Miami-Dade County's public-private economic development agency, Mr. Anderson brought South Florida insight to the statewide, Orlando-based Enterprise Florida position. He led the Beacon Council from 1991 to 1996, before being appointed to the state position.
"Enterprise is a very complex organizational model, and Miami specifically, and South Florida in general, have a great deal of leadership authority within Enterprise," said the former Coconut Grove resident.
Mr. Anderson, 63, is stepping down after six years as head of Enterprise Florida, which is chaired by Gov. Jeb Bush. Darrell Kelley, 60, former Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission president, is succeeding him.
Despite his departure, Mr. Anderson said South Florida will be well-represented on the 40-member board and in the group's organization.
Enterprise Florida's Miami-Dade County board members include Bacardi-Martini President Jorge Rodriguez Marquez and president and CEO of The Washington Economics Group J. Antonio Villamil. Both companies have offices in Coral Gables. Leslie Corley, CEO of LM Capital Corp., Carlos Saladrigas, CEO of ADP TotalSource, and Joe Lacher, CEO of BellSouth Telecommunications, all based in Miami, also serve on the board.
Other board members with South Florida ties include Fort Lauderdale-based Citrix Systems President and CEO Mark Templeton and attorney and Becker & Poliakoff shareholder Alan Becker.
Enterprise Florida also maintains a 20-person office for international business in Coral Gables.
"Enterprise also had an on-going programmatic relationship with the Beacon Council," Mr. Anderson said. "They are our primary economic development partner for Miami. We work with them daily."
Other Miami partners, he said, include Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and CAMACOL, the Latin Chamber of Commerce of the USA.
To lead Enterprise Florida, Mr. Kelley will be leaving his position as president, chief operating officer and board member of MILCOM Technologies, an Orlando-based business incubator specializing in the commercialization of defense-related technologies. He has a background in telecommunications and technology.
Mr. Kelley is expected to begin in mid-August.
Mr. Anderson said Mr. Kelley, a former Sprint president for the states of Ohio, Texas and Florida, is "a seasoned and successful senior business executive very familiar with having statewide or regional stakeholder responsibilities. He understands exactly what his responsibilities are."
After a 30-year career in trade and economic development, Mr. Anderson said he and his wife Margaret Megee, former head of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau marketing department and a tourism development executive, plan to spend about a month visiting family and touring the West Coast of the US.
"We have no plans or commitments beyond that at this time," he said.
They plan to keep their home in Cape Canaveral, he said, and hope to combine a love for travel with a desire to work together as a team helping other communities and countries with development and tourism issues.
Enterprise Florida officials report that under Mr. Anderson's tenure, the organization helped facilitate more than 260,000 high-wage jobs and $2.1 billion in documented export sales.
During Mr. Anderson's tenure, Enterprise Florida took on its present organizational structure.
"At that time, supporters, critics, skeptics all alike, characterized the concept as bold, innovative, a new paradigm," he said. "There were open questions: 'Can it work? Can it sustain itself through political change?' "
Today, Enterprise Florida also has offices in Miami and Tallahassee and additional field offices, having grown from five to 90 full-time employees in Florida with another 25 to 30 international representatives in 12 countries. Enterprise Florida is also expected to soon add representatives in Prague and Beijing.
Mr. Anderson says he takes pride in the accomplishments of the statewide organization that has partnered with local and regional trade and economic development organizations throughout the state to promote and provide capital, marketing, international trade, business development and recruitment programs for the state.
"I have been committed to demystifying trade and economic development and bringing it down to the street, making it something that is transparent and accessible to interested public and private players and organizations."
"It takes a whole lot more time and effort to put that type of organization together - to empower all sorts of organizations and institutions to want to be partners," he said.
Mr. Anderson's tenure at Enterprise Florida caps a 30-year career in trade and economic development.
After service as an Air Force intelligence officer and private management positions, including one at Boeing Co., Mr. Anderson in 1971 entered into economic development, including international trade, tourism, business development and business recruitment, for the states of Washington, Oregon and Texas. He as served two terms as chairman of the National Association of State Development Agencies.
He joined Miami-Dade's Beacon Council in 1991 and led the area's business and industry task force for post-Hurricane Andrew recovery and played a role in the successful recruitment of US Southern Command Headquarters from Panama.