Chamber to explore next steps for Innovation Gainesville

From The Gainesville Sun:

 By Anthony Clark | Business editor


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The Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce is holding its “iG What's Next?” Regional Economic Forum on Thursday to explore new opportunities as it starts the process of updating its Innovation Gainesville economic development plan.

The event part will be held from 8-11 a.m. Thursday at the Santa Fe College Fine Arts Hall, 3000 NW 83rd St. Tickets are $20 and are available at

The keynote speaker will be economist Rebecca Ryan, author of “ReGeneration: A Manifesto for America's Next Leaders” and “Live First, Work Second: Getting Inside the Head of the Next Generation.” Her Next Generation Consulting based in Madison, Wis., helps clients with strategies to recruit and retain young professionals.

Amy Holloway, president of Avalanche Consulting of Austin, Texas, also will discuss Avalanche's findings from research and more than 100 interviews about the local economy over the past six months.

Chamber President and CEO Tim Giuliani said the forum will lay out the big themes of emerging opportunities as a starting point for the hundreds of volunteers involved in the Innovation Gainesville initiative to design the next phase.

For example, he said the Chamber plans more meetings with University of Florida officials about business opportunities in health sciences and food and agricultural sciences.

Some of the themes to emerge from a May 28 event held by the Chamber and Community Redevelopment Agency were the needs for economic opportunities for people at all education levels and the role education should play to fill the skills gap between workers and available jobs, he said.

Virginia MacKoul

Virginia is a graduate from the University of Florida's College of Design Construction and Planning with a degree in Sustainability and the Built Environment, and a minor in Urban Regional Planning. Virginia joined the Front Street team in 2011, as an intern. Upon graduation, Virginia joined the Front Street team full-time as the Director of Client Services. Ms. MacKoul’s addition furthers Front Street’s continued growth and expansion within Gainesville and other North Central Florida markets. She was promoted to Director of Marketing in 2014 and now manages the firm’s team of interns and oversees all marketing and branding activity. Virginia was born in Boston and moved to Lee County, Florida in 1997. Virginia graduated her high school's International Baccalaureate program and started at the University of Florida with a focus on Architecture. Virginia shares Front Street's passion of giving back to the community and those in need. Virginia's hobbies include photography, cooking, football, movies, music, and spending time with her dog, Brinkley.

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