Marion County

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Recently, my wife and I were invited to attend a dinner event. It was a lovely evening, and we were sat at a table with a gentleman to my right whom I had not previously met. I introduced myself and approximately 90 seconds later I heard, “Let me ask you – what are they building . . . ?” I answered his question and the follow-up questions. Welcome to a day (and night) in the life of the CEO of the CEP!

Questions

First, and I want to make this abundantly clear, please ask me your questions. I love to meet people and I am absolutely delighted when people stop to talk on the street, at a bar or restaurant, in the mall, in the gym, etc. I want you to introduce yourself and I always want people to feel free to ask their questions.

What questions am I asked? Well, usually they are around growth and development though they sometimes wander into other areas. Here are some of the most common questions – Continue reading

We have just completed celebrating 10 years of the CEP. The celebration focused on the CEP’s impact on businesses and impact on our community. The CEP is nothing without the involvement and engagement of our 1,200 business partners. It is that engagement when businesses are positively impacted that the magic happens. We have seen that play out time again over the last decade.

But how did all of this happen? What sparked this effort? The catalyst for the CEP is no different than the catalyst for any other – it is leadership. In particular, leaders within the business community stepped up and decided they wanted more for their community. Leaders stepped up and committed to an out-of-the-box approach. Leaders stepped up and committed their time, talent, and treasure to bringing this vision to reality. In other words, leaders led. Continue reading

Our elderly and disabled clients hope to remain in their homes as long as possible. To help maintain their independent living status, MSS Marion Senior Services provides for their physical and emotional well-being by offering the following support services:

Adult Day Care, Caregiver Support, Case

Management, Congregate Dining, Emergency Alert Response, Homemaker Assistance, Meals on Wheels, Personal Care, Respite Care and Transportation. Some of these services require a fee, based on income levels.

Marion Senior Services, Inc.

Photos by CKJ-13 Kay Johnson

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One of the long-time strengths of this community is its incredible entrepreneurial spirit and support. This is truly a place which supports and encourages entrepreneurship. It is very much part of our DNA here. As much as the springs and horses define us, so does entrepreneurship. It was a part of the CEP even before the merger more than eleven years ago now and continues to be so today with Business Creation being one of our five pillars and the Power Plant Business Incubator serving as the heart of those efforts. Soon, our new Silver Springs Shores Impact Entrepreneurship Center will open to expand our support for small business growth and development to this area of our community. Our Impact Initiative presented by Ausley Construction exists because we believe entrepreneurship is the best way to overcome inequality of opportunity. So, celebrating and supporting entrepreneurs is a natural part of what we do. Continue reading

Probably the question I am most asked is “What big announcements are coming?” Regardless of where one lives in our community or what they do, they want to know what other companies are investing and growing in the Ocala Metro. This month, I am excited to share about two companies who we have recently announced are doing just that.

Averitt Express is a privately owned transportation and supply chain management company based in Cookeville, TN. The company has 5,000 employees and primarily services the Southeast US. This summer the company purchased the last parcel in the Ocala/Marion County Commerce Park, also home to FedEx Ground, AutoZone, Chewy, and Amazon. We announced that the CEP’s October exCEPtional Mornings breakfast that the company will be investing $30 million for the first phase of a new facility here. They will hire more than 30 new employees with an average wage of $69,000 annually. Continue reading

Ocala, Florida (August 29, 2023) – Kevin T. Sheilley, Ocala Metro Chamber and Economic Partnership (CEP) President & CEO, and Tamara Fleischhaker, Chief Experience Officer, have been designated as a Certified Chamber Executives (CCE) by ACCE, the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives.

ACCE is an association based in Alexandria, Va., that has over 1,600 chambers of commerce and related business and economic development organizations as members, representing more than 9,000 professionals in the industry. The CCE program assesses and tests the applicant’s knowledge of core chamber management areas —management, planning and development, membership, communications and revenue and operations.

“These chamber leaders invested many hours over the past year to earn their CCE designation,” said Megan A. Lucas, CCE, CEcD, IOM, CEO and chief economic development officer of the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance and CCE Commission chair. “We commend their pursuit of professional excellence and commitment to the chamber industry. Their achievement sets them apart as true industry leaders.” Continue reading

What does it mean to live in a great community? I think all of us could answer this question with some similarities but also with some differences. For many, access to good schools and institutions of higher learning would be paramount. For others, a broad and diverse economy that provides opportunities for job growth and competitive wages. No doubt for some recreational activities and entertainment would be the hallmark of a great community. Housing choices, restaurants, the arts, etc. would all be components of most lists of what makes a great community. One item that would surely make every list is innovative, comprehensive healthcare. While I would argue (who would be surprised) that Ocala meets the mark on all of these aforementioned items, it is perhaps on this last one on which it excels.

We have an incredible healthcare community in the Ocala Metro. The continual investment by HCA Florida and AdventHealth in their hospitals here is truly amazing. HCA Florida has been investing something like $200,000 a day, every day for more than six years in growing and expanding their facilities and services at HCA Ocala and HCA West Marion. That equates to approximately half a billion dollars! AdventHealth is aggressively investing in their facilities with the Belleview ER and the new Heath Brook Care Pavilion. Encompass Health has expanded their hospital several times since it opened 10 years ago and UF Health’s new “neighborhood” hospital is under construction near I-75. Soon, Everest Rehab will break ground on their hospital on Hwy 200 and 27th Ave. We often joke at the CEP that every month we are doing either a ground-breaking or a ribbon cutting for one of our primary healthcare partners! Continue reading

About the Ocala Metro Chamber and Economic Partnership

The Ocala Metro Chamber and Economic Partnership (CEP) was created to be a one-stop hub for the community’s business attraction, creation and retention efforts. The CEP’s mission is to be THE catalyst for a prosperous community. The 2020 ACCE National Chamber of the Year, the CEP has directly impacted the announced creation of nearly 11,000 new jobs and more than $1.6 billion in capital investment and is seeking an additional 5,000 jobs and $1 billion in investment by 2027. For more information, visit: www.OcalaCEP.com.

About the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives

Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) is the professional society supporting the women and men who lead local, regional, statewide and international chambers of commerce and related business and economic development organizations. Our membership includes more than 1,600 business/civic organizations worldwide. We provide our members with information resources, thought leadership, education programs, original research, benchmarking, retirement security, and access to a network of peers.

Ocala, Florida (August 29, 2023) – Kevin T. Sheilley, Ocala Metro Chamber and Economic Partnership (CEP) President & CEO, and Tamara Fleischhaker, Chief Experience Officer, have been designated as a Certified Chamber Executives (CCE) by ACCE, the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives.

ACCE is an association based in Alexandria, Va., that has over 1,600 chambers of commerce and related business and economic development organizations as members, representing more than 9,000 professionals in the industry. The CCE program assesses and tests the applicant’s knowledge of core chamber management areas —management, planning and development, membership, communications and revenue and operations. Continue reading

Copy of Legends of the fortSaturday, Sept. 30 | 6 – 9 PM | Ages 5+ | $10 per person

How does an entire command go missing on their way to Fort King? Who was really to blame for the attack in 1835? Hear from the legends who witnessed the event at Legends of the Fort.

This guided lantern tour takes you back in time at Ocala’s Seminole War historic site. Meet the legends and hear the tales of a time gone by during this unique event.

Tours last approximately one hour with groups starting every 30 minutes. Each group is limited to a maximum of 20 people per group.

Tickets MUST be purchased in advance so reserve your time slot today!

For additional information, please visit our website or call 352.368.5533.

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CEP – Click to learn more

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