There are so many incredible things happening in our community. The coming months will see the announcement of new primary employers and major expansions by existing primary employers. The Power Plant Business Incubator continues to help innovative and scalable startups primarily in the areas of technology, health care, and communications. The downtown area continues to generate enthusiasm with the new midtown plan, an ever-growing line up of restaurants and stores, and the long awaited hotel project set to break ground by the end of summer. All of this excitement and growth is in large part the result of our partners. Thank you for your engagement and investment in moving Ocala and Marion County forward.

Leadership Ocala Marion

Spring brings warmer weather, high school proms and graduations, and the beginning of planning for the CEP’s amazing leadership programs. For 30 years, Leadership Ocala Marion (LOM) has been training and providing opportunities to train new generations of leaders on the needs of this community and how they can engage.

In mid-May, the 35 members of Class XXX will graduate from Leadership Ocala Marion. The program’s beginnings can be traced back to Mr. Frank Stafford who was serving as President of the Board of the Chamber in 1986 when the decision was made to hire a consultant to help the Chamber start a leadership program. The first class began in the fall of 1987. While methods and details have changed over the years, the principles and mission remain the same: Leadership Ocala Marion (LOM) is designed to engage, develop, and inspire developing leaders in our community. LOM seeks to prepare, involve and sustain leaders from diverse backgrounds who are committed and competent to address community challenges and improve the business climate, economy and quality of life in Ocala and Marion County.

For those unfamiliar with LOM, the program is engaging yet rigorous. After an application and selection process, the leaders embark upon the program which includes an orientation retreat and once a month, all-day sessions. Each session focuses on a different area of community life and seeks to help the leaders understand the inner-workings of those areas including economic development, human services, government, justice, agriculture and education. The LOM calendar runs September through May.

The deadline to apply for Class XXXI is July 1st. For more information on applying, please visit the CEP’s website—

It has been said that everything rises and falls on leadership. Investing in and building up leaders is essential for our community to be the best choice to live, work and play.


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