3 local firms on 2017 Florida Companies to Watch list; Oktoberfest coming to Metro Park
Former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, baseball executive Theo Epstein and former U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy are the lineup for the 2017-18 Florida Forum Speaker Series.
The series opens Nov. 8 with Brokaw, 77, who began his career in journalism with NBC News in 1966. Brokaw anchored NBC Nightly News from 1982-2004 and is the author of the 1998 book, The Greatest Generation.
In 2014, President Obama awarded Brokaw with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He now serves as a special correspondent for NBC News and works on documentaries for other outlets.
On Jan. 16, Epstein, 43, a baseball executive with the Chicago Cubs, will speak. Epstein became the youngest general manager in major league history in 2002 when the Boston Red Sox hired him at age 28. In 2004, the Red Sox won their first World Series in 86 years and won another championship in 2007. In 2011, Epstein became president of baseball operations for the Chicago Cubs, who won their first World Series in 108 years in 2016.
The season concludes March 5 with Kennedy, 59, an author, attorney, and diplomat who served as U.S. Ambassador to Japan from 2013-17.
Kennedy is an editor of nine New York Times best-selling books on constitutional law, American history, politics and poetry.
She is a prominent member of the Kennedy family and the only surviving child of President John F. Kennedy.
The Florida Forum Speaker Series is produced by The Women’s Board of Wolfson Children’s Hospital with partners Wells Fargo, Florida Blue and Landstar. The series raises money and awareness for Wolfson Children’s Hospital.
Tickets, which include admission to all three speeches, start at $150 for subscribers under age 30. A general subscription is $225. The price is $7,000 for a Partner subscription that includes multiple tickets and access to private receptions. All events are at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts.
For more information and to buy tickets, visit womensboardwolfsonchildrenshospital.com.
3 local firms on 2017 Florida Companies to Watch list
Three North Florida companies have been named to a list of 50 statewide expected to see significant growth over the next several years.
3D Digital, A1A Solar Contracting Inc. and JAX Refrigeration Inc. have been honored as 2017 Florida Companies to Watch.
The 50 companies were chosen from more than 500 nominees for Florida Companies to Watch, a statewide program managed by economic development group GrowFL, in association with the Edward Lowe Foundation.
The company’s management team, competitive market position and strong community involvement were among factors that put them in contention for the award.
“These standout companies are all led by entrepreneurs, and have demonstrated their capacity and intent to grow,” said Tom O’Neal, executive director of the Florida Economic Gardening Institute and associate vice president for the University of Central Florida’s Office of Research and Commercialization. “They also all have critical intellectual property or a niche position that gives them a competitive edge in their markets.”
Oktoberfest coming to Metro Park
The first Florida Oktoberfest & Music Festival is Oct. 6-8 at Metropolitan Park.
The festival will feature tribute bands, rock, alternative and country music. The list of performers is to be announced.
The festival also will have a 100-foot Ferris wheel, games, inflatables and arts and crafts vendors.
In addition to German and Oktoberfest-style beer, 15 food trucks will offer German-inspired dishes as well as regular menu items.
Tickets go on sale Aug. 3 with pricing to be announced. Children under 12 will be admitted free.
The Florida Oktoberfest is partnering with local charities, including Communities in Schools, War Fighters in Arms, K9s for Warriors, The Jacksonville Jaycees, The Fraternal Order of Police and others.
The festival is being promoted by 904 Happy Hour.
For more information, visit TheFloridaOktoberfest.com.
JTA CEO wins COMTO Founder’s Award
Jacksonville Transportation Authority CEO Nathaniel Ford has been presented the Thomas G. Neusom Founders Award from the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials.
The award honors public and private transportation executives and policymakers responsible for the direction and operation of their agency and who, through their affiliation with COMTO, have made outstanding contributions toward the growth and development of people of color within the transportation industry and have given continued and outstanding service and leadership to the COMTO organization.
Christopher Macklin, JTA’s disadvantaged business enterprise/diversity specialist, received the Emerging Leader Award.
The award is given to an individual who has been involved in the transportation industry for less than five years and has demonstrated extraordinary competence by developing and improving their leadership skills and possessing a strong commitment to the transportation field and local community.
In addition, the COMTO Jacksonville Chapter received the Best Membership Recruitment/Retention Award.
Antonacci named to lead Enterprise Florida
South Florida Water Management District Executive Director Pete Antonacci has been selected to lead public-private business-recruitment agency Enterprise Florida.
Enterprise Florida’s executive committee unanimously approve a recommendation by agency Vice Chairman Stan Connally to offer the president and CEO position to Antonacci rather than to go through a search.
In addition to his nearly two years at the water management district, Antonacci’s served two years as Gov. Rick Scott’s general counsel.
The agency has been working under interim director Mike Grissom since March.
Earlier this year, Scott and House Speaker Richard Corcoran battled over the future of Enterprise Florida. Eventually they reached a compromise that created an $85 million funding pool for infrastructure projects and job training.
Antonacci’s job offer must be approved by the Enterprise Florida Board of Directors, which is chaired by Scott.
Zips Car Wash acquires Ducky’s in Baymeadows
Zips Car Wash has continued its expansion in Florida with the acquisition of Ducky’s Car Wash at 9491 Baymeadows Road.
“We’re excited to add this site to our four existing stores in Jacksonville,” said Gil Castro, director of operations, Zips Car Wash. “We are hoping to add even more stores in the area soon.”
Zips’ acquisition of Ducky’s is the second Florida acquisition for the company in July.
Zips also acquired five Ronny’s Car Wash locations in Pensacola, a new market for the company.
In 2016, Zips acquired four CarbuX Car Washes in Jacksonville.
Zips, based in Little Rock, Arkansas, operates 80 locations in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee.