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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Jun. 25, 202003:00 PM EST

JAX Chamber heading to St. Louis for its 2020 leadership trip

Chair-elect Ray Driver said the visit will focus on fintech, development and the city's response to social unrest.

JAX Chamber Chair-elect Ray Driver said June 24 the Annual Leadership Trip will be in September to St. Louis, a city the chamber visited in 1997.

As the chair-elect, Driver chooses the destination of the annual trip.

JAX Chamber Chair-elect Ray Driver.

He is a partner with the Driver, McAfee, Hawthorne & Diebenow law firm and becomes JAX Chamber chair in 2021.

JAX Chamber said the trip will be Sept. 9-11. It is the business group's 40th intercity visit.

Driver told the Southside Business Men’s Club he chose St. Louis to study its fintech industries and support; its convention center redevelopment; and its aquarium.

The St. Louis Economic Development Partnership organization for St. Louis City and County focuses on regional economic development, including its FinTech Ecosystem for financial services startups.

Driver said another focus by JAX Chamber will be on the Midwest city's response to social unrest.

“We're also going to take the opportunity to make that part of our agenda,” Driver said.

Supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement have protested this spring in Jacksonville after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died May 25 in police custody after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee onto Floyd’s neck.

In 2014, white police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed Black teenager, in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. reported it was a “seismic moment in American race relations. The fledgling Black Lives Matter movement found its voice, police departments fell under intense scrutiny, progressive prosecutors were elected and court policies revised.”

On June 3, 2020 JAX Chamber Chair Henry Brown said “inequities” in the U.S. and city of Jacksonville “have been tolerated for too long,” as local and nationwide protests continue following Floyd's death.

“The business community must – and will – step up and lead,” he said.

Last year, about 130 business and community leaders traveled to Las Vegas for the JAX Chamber trip to study its Innovation District.

Another annual JAX Chamber trip is the Destination Downtown series.

Driver said this year's visit is in July to Tampa.

The chamber website says the trip was rescheduled from the end of April to July 29-31.

Miller Electric Co. is presenting the Destination Downtown trip. Brown, Miller Electric CEO, chairs the trip.







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