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Jax Daily Record Monday, Feb. 19, 200712:00 PM EST

Beyond the Bar

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by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

Kenneth Jacobs: commercial litigator and newest member of the Chamber’s Board of Governors

by Max Marbut

Staff Writer

Whether it’s his career in the legal profession or his involvement with the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce, Kenneth Jacobs is all about business.

A graduate of Leadership Jacksonville’s Class of 2005 and the Immediate Past President of the David A. Stein Jewish Community Alliance, he has been selected to serve on the Chamber’s Board of Governors and will serve a term that will conclude in December 2008.

After graduating from Duke University and then the University of Florida Law School in 1992, Jacobs was an associate at a law firm for three years then decided in 1995 to strike out on his own and develop his own practice.

In 2004, GrayRobinson, a full-service corporate law firm, opened its office in Jacksonville with Jacobs as managing partner.

That’s when he discovered the Chamber’s Downtown Council.

“It was very helpful in learning about local businesses that had a connection to Downtown and it provided a great networking base to meet other leaders in the city. I also learned about the Chamber and about issues in the community,” he said.

Jacobs soon joined the Downtown Council’s Executive Committee, then turned his attention to Cornerstone, where he served on the Existing Business Committee.

“That allowed me to get more heavily involved in economic development. Cornerstone has been very helpful in learning about businesses that are relocating to Jacksonville. When they need introductions to resources here in the city, they turn to Cornerstone. It’s the bridge that helps businesses new to the area find the resources they need.

“I think the Chamber is very helpful in connecting with what’s happening in Jacksonville in terms of what the businesses’ needs are and in terms of strategic planning for the future. If I wasn’t involved in the Chamber, I think it would be very difficult to keep up with what’s going on in the business community,” said Jacobs.

He said he’s looking forward to serving on the Board of Governors because it’s an opportunity to help enhance business development in the community.

“My goal is to take a more active leadership role in the business issues that Jacksonville faces.”

Jacobs feels his mission is to make things better for the entire community by helping to attract more businesses to move to or start up here.

“We have tremendous advantages here with respect to our location, our port and access to transportation. I think it’s just a matter of time before those advantages are really used to their full potential for business development. It has been happening for the last few years and I think it’s about to explode,” he said.

He also said while it would be hard to narrow it down, if he could cite one thing that he hopes will be remembered about his service on the board, “it would be that I helped identify the needs of the business community and worked to help satisfy them, whether it’s workforce development, education or quality of life. Those are all issues businesses face when they want to thrive in this city. If those issues are not properly addressed, we won’t be able to attract businesses to relocate to Jacksonville as we should.”

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