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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Dec. 14, 202105:00 AM EST

Economic forecast: Information technology, land development, law, distilling and restaurants

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Leaders share the primary economic issues they will face in the new year and their plans moving forward.

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

Annie Erstling

Chief Strategy Officer, Forcura

Annie Erstling

Primary issue: The ongoing ability for the sector to fortify itself against sophisticated cyberthreats. 

Forcura has been a trusted partner to our more than 700 health care clients and multiple technology partners for nearly a decade.

In that time, we’ve enhanced our internal rigor around information security processes, earning a SOC 2 compliance certification on our way toward the highest level of certification available for health technology vendors, HITRUST.

Beyond this, we’re working to help our clients fortify their security processes with free instructional webinars and downloadable content featuring their peers’ best-in-class information security practices, approaches to security staffing, and how to keep their executives informed and protected from data breaches and their significant financial and clinical consequences.

It has been proven ransomware attacks in health care present a life-or-death situation.

We all play a role in fortifying our technology infrastructure and Forcura will continue to invest in maintaining the strongest possible security.

LAND DEVELOPMENT

Sherry Davidson

President, Davidson Realty Inc.

Sherry Davidson

Primary issue: Cost uncertainty for completing the development process whether it be a mixed-use, commercial or residential development project. 

We see a strong example of this in today’s housing market with homes listed not being priced for sale until they are nearly complete.

The land developer has no way of accurately projecting the cost of the developed parcel or finished lot with the current fluctuation in both the timing and cost for land, governmental permitting, labor and materials. Inflation concerns add to the volatility of the situation.

Our strategy is to assume a longer and more flexible hold period. An updated market analysis as to inventory and pricing for finished product will be reviewed before the start of each part of the development process.

LAW

Frederick H. Kent III 

Shareholder and President, Marks Gray

Frederick H. Kent III

Primary issue: The U.S. economy is at a tipping point and that creates uncertainty in many industries. 

There are many legal issues facing businesses,  especially as we see new regulations, increasing inflation, potential tax increases and new mandates like the vaccine mandate.

The direction will depend on factors that include the pandemic, the political climate and inflation.

The economy could continue to move forward at a slower, cautionary pace or we could be about to enter some form of fiscal crisis.

The legal industry is unique in that it always will experience successes, regardless of the economy.

In a recession, there are areas of law that thrive, such as bankruptcy, collections and foreclosures. In a growing economy, areas that thrive are mergers, acquisitions and real estate.

Uncertainty means one needs to be ready for any possibility. One needs to be flexible and diverse in one’s practice areas.

Be prepared to provide for your clients’ needs in any economic climate.

DISTILLING

David C. Cohen

President and Head Distiller, Manifest Distilling; President, Florida Craft Spirits Association

David C. Cohen

Primary issue: Consolidation of an already heavily regulated industry makes it increasingly difficult for small/local producers to compete in both pricing and leverage for people’s attention. Adding in supply-chain issues only amplifies the issue.

Manifest Distilling will continue to double down on the community-minded approach of focusing first on our backyard by creating a world-class destination experience through our Cocktail Room.

This is coupled with our Uplifting Spirits program focusing on local charities by profiling one each month and donating a percentage of Cocktail Room revenue. We lean on that strong community relationship and support to continue reaching an audience in North Florida and beyond.

None of the above is possible without our team. Through the pandemic we’ve focused on retaining employees and growing by offering competitive compensation and benefits.

All of these elements combined hopefully will allow us to continue seeing double-digit growth year over year.

RESTAURANTS

Richard Robinson

Chef/owner, Pink Salt Restaurant & Wine Bar

Richard Robinson

Primary issue: Shortages.

The restaurant industry faces supply shortages, staff shortages, higher payroll costs due to staff shortages and high costs for goods and services.

Pink Salt’s strategy is to keep up with the quality of food and services we provide and retain our staff by incentivizing them.

We have adopted an aggressive online presence with a digital loyalty program. We also have implemented a robust (CRM) Customer Really Matters program which has been our lifeline during this crisis.

Our focus on cuisine rests on five principles of food preparation: integrity, passion, fresh ingredients, service and customer satisfaction. 

 

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