In April of 2020, through the vision of the CEP Executive Board who identified a need for healthcare to be a focus of development, Erin A. Jones, joined our team with her 16+ years in healthcare, as the Director of Healthcare Development. Creating Sphere, a healthcare initiative of the Ocala Metro Chamber and Economic Partnership.
The CEP wants to champion existing healthcare and stimulate a culture of growth. Sphere’s Mission is to be a catalyst for innovation bringing more companies which brings more investment. The goal is to lead, align, expand, and attract in key areas of healthcare such as logistics, manufacturing, delivery, and services. “In the few other areas that have a healthcare lane in chambers across the county, the CEP is the only one that is looking at healthcare with economic development in mind” says CEO Kevin Sheilley.
The Purpose of Sphere is to Inspire innovation in our healthcare community and to develop a broad spectrum of services and products. We have already begun in several areas, with companies such as Artemis Plastics, who are currently manufacturing rapid antibody COVID Test’s in the Ocala facility. ZT Polygel, known proprietarily as, Varigard, the first FDA Approved 2 hours hand sanitizer, that is being developed and made right here in Ocala.
To promote the ecosystem of healthcare, we have put together a Healthcare Council, lead by Jones, of selected CEOs of our medical institutions, education systems both K-12 and Post-Secondary, as well as first responder’s that convenes quarterly. This council allows the voices of our medical community to engage with one another and for one common goal, the betterment of our healthcare infrastructure.
In addition, Erin collaborated with, Bryce Morrison, Director of Business Development to bring her vision for an attraction page to life. We now have Live Life Here, healthcare. This allows us to target areas across the U.S., promoting the Ocala Metro for relocation and provide an overview of our community, job availability in healthcare, residency programs, and yes even opportunities for their partners in other areas.
“Our goal is to have a healthcare community that works as one cohesive ecosystem”. “We talk about the sphere of healthcare in all of its areas and arenas coming together in a way that maybe they haven’t previously. The Goal is to be at the center of that sphere here at the CEP and bring everyone together”, says Jones.
Erin A. Jones, CphT,
Director of Healthcare Development