The Orlando Economic Development Commission (EDC) traveled to Phoenix, AZ for the 2015 Leadership Experience June 3 – 5 focused on learning best practices and innovative approaches to regionalism that can be used to further economic development in Orlando. The group of 80 delegates includes community leaders, elected officials and EDC leadership.

“Phoenix is a forward-thinking community with many similarities to our region, and there is much to be learned from the progress they’ve made in several key areas,” said Rick Weddle, Orlando EDC president and CEO. “We look forward to what will be a collaborative and engaging experience.”

The Leadership Experience will be centered on the theme of “next-generation innovation and the new regionalism.” The group will explore how Intel has developed the area of advanced manufacturing and how the International Consortium for Advanced Manufacturing Research (ICAMR) project in Osceola County can grow jobs in that industry. Another session will dissect the Greater Phoenix regional strategic plan. The Arizona State University (ASU) president, Dr. Michael Crow, will share his insight into ASU’s campus expansion in downtown Phoenix as the University of Central Florida seeks to build a campus in downtown Orlando. 

Among the attendees are Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Seminole County Commissioner John Horan as well as leaders from local private industries. EDC Chairman and CEO of CNL Financial Group Tom Sittema will attend as will EDC Vice Chair David Fuller with SunTrust Bank, and EDC Regional Branding Committee Chairman Ken Potrock, of Walt Disney World Resort. 

Past EDC leadership missions have included:

  • The EDC traveled to Nashville, TN, in 2006, to see the city’s healthcare facilities and experience its thriving arts scene. At that time, Orlando rallied behind a plan to expand the community venues like the Amway Center, the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts and the renovation of the Citrus Bowl.
  • Following our life sciences win of the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, the EDC traveled to San Diego, CA to see its life sciences cluster in 2007 and today we have our own emerging life sciences and healthcare cluster at Lake Nona Medical City and in Downtown Orlando.
  • In 2008 the EDC traveled to Montreal’s Cite de Multimedia, in Quebec, Canada, a model for our own Creative Village.
  • Denver, CO showed us how its infrastructure, using sustainable energy and efficient transportation, moved its people and its economy in 2010. And, after years of hard work, we saw the approval of our region’s first commuter rail system – SunRail.
  • In 2012, the EDC traveled to Austin, Texas to learn how that city became a major magnet for tech companies and the talented professionals they attract. Early discussions that eventually led to ICAMR emerged after visiting Austin’s Sematech.  Austin also marked the beginning of the regional branding concept to highlight the strengths of our growing industries.
  • The EDC explored our hometown in 2013 for the One Orlando Leadership Summit where the branding tagline, “Orlando. You don’t know the half of it,” was unveiled.