By Nathan Sparks, CEcD
Executive Director of One Okaloosa EDC
Is it just me, or does time seem to speed up this time of year? It is truly hard to believe that Thanksgiving is now less than a week out and - in the blink of an eye - Hanukkah, Christmas and a brand new year will be squarely upon us. Of course, like many organizations, our “new year” actually began on Oct. 1, as we transitioned to FY 2023 – which many of you helped us celebrate at a festive reception held at the Hilton Garden Inn on Oct. 24. We especially appreciate this year’s event sponsors - FPL, Hand Arendall Harrison Sale, AVCON, Boeing, Eglin Federal Credit Union, Okaloosa Gas and the Hilton Garden Inn.
In addition to thanking outgoing leaders like Leslie Sheekley (Hand Arendall Harrison Sale) for her steadfast leadership as One Okaloosa’s Chair, Lee Lewis (AVCON) for his many years of service on our Executive Committee and Nic Dezinski (Vertex Solutions) for the tireless commitment he brought to the role of TeCMEN Chair, the event also afforded us the opportunity to debut our new community promotional video. Recognizing the power of personal testimonials and stunning visual imagery, the video was purposefully designed for an external audience of business decision makers in select targeted industry sectors around the globe, including manufacturing, technology, defense and aviation/aerospace. To our knowledge, this is the first video that has been specifically tailored to highlight Okaloosa County’s overall business climate and value proposition. We greatly appreciate the contributions of Simona Faroni (GS Gelato), Matt Zimmermann (Beast Code) and Dr. Devin Stephenson (Northwest Florida State College) in helping tell the “Okaloosa County Story.” For those interested in viewing the video, please visit https://youtu.be/lRl2az-xgF4.
With FY 2023 now well underway, we’re delighted to welcome Jillian McQueen, Hilton Garden Inn, as our new Chair. A military spouse who originally hails from Canada, Jillian brings both a worldly perspective and a servant’s heart to the role. Moving into the Vice Chair slot is Chad Vuyovich, i4 Inc., while Dr. Mike Mosley, Rocky Bayou Christian School, now rotates into the position of Treasurer. Neko Stubblefield, Eglin Federal Credit Union (and community champion extraordinaire), steps into the role of Secretary, and last but certainly not least, Nic Dezinski, Vertex Solutions, joins the Executive Committee following a successful stint as TeCMEN Chairman, having been elected Member-at-Large. Speaking of TeCMEN, Holly Karr, Beast Code, was tapped to lead TeCMEN in FY 2023 while “Buffalo” Bob Marinan will thankfully remain as Chair of One Okaloosa’s Defense Support Initiatives (DSI) committee for one more year. In the spirit of the season, please join me in expressing our gratitude to all outgoing One Okaloosa EDC leaders for a job well done and congratulating the capable individuals that have been selected to follow them.