Member News


Clay Business Connection

News from around the Clay County business community and Chamber of Commerce.

Transition of Chamber Leadership

It is with mixed emotions that I announce Doug Conkey has accepted a position with another organization and has resigned his position as President. Tresa Calfee, who has worked under Doug’s leadership as Vice President of Operations, has been named Interim President, effective immediately.



Tropics Come Alive

While Tropical Storm Harvey continues its westerly track toward Central America, forecasters are keeping a wary eye on a trailing system that could target the East Coast — and Florida — by late next week.

As of Friday at 5 a.m., Invest 92 showed continued signs of development and had a 70 percent chance for formation in the next 48 hours, according to the National Hurricane Center.

It was located about 900 miles east of the Leeward Islands and is forecast to move west-northwest at 20 mph in the next few days.

In its current track, the system could skirt Puerto Rico and move through the Atlantic and approach the southern coast of Florida by late next week.

"It's nothing to panic about, but something to keep an eye on," 10Weather WTSP meteorologist Ashley Batey said.

Harvey is producing heavy rains in the Windward Islands and is located about 30 miles east-southeast of Barbados.

It has maximum sustained winds of 40 mph with higher gusts, and further strengthening is forecast and as moves west at 18 mph.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for Martinique, St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Dominica is under a tropical storm watch.

Harvey could produce 2-4 inches of rain and flash floods across the Windward Islands.

Hospice Compare Website LIVE

This is a milestone day for the hospice industry, as today the Hospice Compare website ( went live.  Hospice Compare provides the public with access to hospice quality data. Consumers are able to search for all Medicare-approved hospice organizations allowing them to compare the quality of care throughout the nation.

I am very proud to announce that scores for Haven are overall above the national average, and I wanted to share those with you. Please see the tablebelow.


Haven Data

Gayle Mattson
Haven Hospice President

Orlando and Jacksonville in top 10 U.S. cities


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economic development

Florida Cities Leading the Way


Two Florida cities - Orlando and Jacksonville -are among the top ten U.S. cities with the fastest growing economies. In a recent Forbes article, Orlando was listed as the second fastest-growing economy with Jacksonvillecoming in at number eight.

The analysiswas completed byHeadlight Data and based on the percentage change in employment between the annual average of 2015 and 2016. In 2016, U.S. employment grew 1.7 percent while top ranking Orlando saw employment growth of of 4.2 percent and Jacksonville saw growth of 3.4 percent.


What will state and localgrowth look like in 2030?

As Florida prepares forincreased population, disruptions in workforce needs and greater pressures on infrastructure and natural resources, how will we plan for the future?

  • These conversations and more will be discussed with business, state and community leaders during the September Future of Florida Forum. For information, click here.
  • For state and county level data on a number of metrics including unemployment rate, graduation rate, and per capita income, visit

Florida Chamber Releases Quarter 3 Small Business Index Survey Results

“One important trend to note is that two years ago, 'Workforce Quality' was ranked fifth as the top issue,” said Dr. Jerry Parrish, Chief Economist and Director of Research for the Florida Chamber Foundation. "One year ago, it moved up from third and now it consistently ranks as a top issue for Florida's small businesses."

On the bright side, 70 percent of respondents expect their sales will increase over the next year.

"Florida’s small businesses continue to face a number of challenges, including increased concerns about workforce quality and government regulations,” said Tami Fitzpatrick, Chair of the Florida Chamber’s Small Business Council, and Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Entropy Technology Design, Inc. “The Florida Chamber’s Small Business Council looks forward to working together to identify and support solutions that will help and grow Florida’s small business community."

Tropical Storm Emily


At 8AM EDT, Tropical Storm Emily was located 45 miles west of Tampa moving toward the east at 8 mph with maximum sustained winds of 45mph. An east motion is expected to continue today. A turn toward the northeast and an increase in forward speed are expected tonight or Tuesday. The center of Emily is expected to move inland over the west-central Florida peninsula later today and move across central Florida through tonight. Emily is expected to move offshore of the east-central Florida coast early Tuesday. There are Tropical Storm Warnings in place for west-central Florida from Anclote River southward to Bonita Beach.

Your Opinion Matters: Help Develop the 2018 Florida Business Agenda

Your opinion is important to help us shape Florida's best possible future. We invite you to take this survey and share your voice in creating the 2018 Florida Business Agenda - a member-driven, consensus agenda built by thousands of business leaders, partnering associations and local chamber members, just like you.

Goodwill To Hire 30

Goodwill Industries of North Florida has just announced that it will be hosting a hiring fair Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Westside Goodwill Job Junction located at 4527 Lenox Avenue. Goodwill is looking to immediately fill 30 positions including warehouse, landscape, retail and laundry jobs. For more information visit the employment section of

First Coast Expressway (FCE) South Project Detours This Week Impact Overnight Travel

Clay County and Duval County – Two locations on State Road 23 in the area considered the First Coast Expressway South project will be the sites of overnight detours this week, beginning tonight. The detour/closure schedule is as follows:

·         Monday, July 10 and Friday, July 14 from 9 p.m. - 5 a.m.:  full closure of northbound and southbound State Road 23 from Argyle Forest Boulevard to Oakleaf Plantation Parkway in Clay County to allow traffic shift work on State Road 23. 

o   Detour onto Oakleaf Plantation Parkway for north-south travel.

·         Wednesday, July 12 from 9 p.m. - 5 a.m.:  full closure of northbound and southbound State Road 23 from Argyle Forest Boulevard to 103rd Street in Duval County for installation of toll gantry structure.

o   Detour onto Old Middleburg Road South for north-south travel. 

Commissioner Adam Putnam Names Dr. Martha Rhodes Roberts as 2017 Woman of the Year in Agriculture

Dr. Roberts dedicated 35 years of service to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, where she championed policy changes for the advancement of Florida's agriculture industry, trade and production practices. The award, now in its 33rd year, recognizes women who have made outstanding contributions to Florida agriculture.

“I'm honored to name Dr. Roberts the 2017 Woman of the Year in Agriculture,” said Commissioner Adam H. Putnam. “During her tenure with the department, Dr. Roberts advanced Florida agriculture.”

Dr. Roberts was born in Oxford, Mississippi, and later moved to Gainesville, Georgia, where she attended Blue Ridge High School and participated in the 4-H Club. Roberts graduated summa cum laude from North Georgia College, and she continued her studies at the University of Georgia, where she earned her master's degree in bacteriology, a Ph.D. in microbiology and public health postdoctoral studies.

Dr. Roberts joined the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Division of Food Safety in 1968 as a Microbiologist/Chemist. She was appointed Assistant Commissioner of Agriculture in 1984, and was the first woman in the United States to hold this position. From 1991 to 2003, Dr. Roberts served as the department's Deputy Commissioner and played a pinnacle role in shaping agricultural policies to improve practices in each stage of production. Beginning in 2003, Dr. Roberts served 13 years as Director of Industry Relations  and then as Special Assistant for Government Affairs for the University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS).

Throughout her career, Dr. Roberts served in leadership capacities for numerous organizations, including: President of the Association of Food and Drug Officials, Chairman of the Conference for Food Protection, the FDA Food Advisory Committee and the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods, the University of Florida International Trade and Policy Center Board of Directors, the Farm Foundation, Food Foresight and Chair of the Feeding Tomorrow Foundation. She has served on the Board of the Center for Produce Safety since its inception in 2007, and currently serves as a consultant with the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture on FSMA implementation with the FDA.

Dr. Roberts has received numerous awards from the FDA, USDA and industry associations. In recognition of her lasting contributions to the agriculture industry, Dr. Roberts was inducted into the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame in 2003. She continues to support Florida agriculture as a scientific authority, industry counselor and advocate.

The Woman of the Year in Agriculture award is sponsored by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Florida State Fair Authority, and the award will be presented to the recipient during the 2018 Florida State Fair in Tampa.