More than 400 people attended a recent Miami-Dade Beacon Council‘s annual meeting at the InterContinental Miami, where business and civic leaders touted the agency’s recent wins and toasted its new chair.
For the first time, the county’s economic development group combined its annual meeting with its key ceremony, providing insights into the companies it helped expand or move to Miami-Dade.
The Beacon Council reported that 46 companies relocated or expanded in Miami-Dade County in the 2016-2017 fiscal year, bringing in more than 2,100 new jobs to the region and generating $209.7 million in new capital investment.
The event marked the first annual meeting attended by the organization’s new CEO and President Michael Finney, who previously served as the president and CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
“I’ve been impressed with… the warm Miami welcome,” Finney said. “There is really commonality here and a desire to work with one another that’s in full display.”
One of the key accomplishments highlighted at the event was Amazon breaking ground on an 855,000-square-foot fulfillment center in Opa-Locka in June. The project is expected to open by the end of 2018, and Amazon said the warehouse will bring at least 1,000 jobs to the local economy.
While Amazon was not in attendance at the event, other companies present included online boat marketplace Boats Group, which brought in 80 new jobs to the county and a capital commitment of $1.05 million; and Dunham Bush, a Malaysian manufacturer, which added 51 new jobs and $12.5 million in capital.
The economic development agency also touted its new programs and task forces. Specifically, it mentioned its “Connect and Grow” program, which works to connect entrepreneurs and innovators and their new products and technologies to established businesses.
The Beacon Council‘s new Chair Nelson Lazo, CEO of Doctors Hospital, addressed the audience. Lazo takes over for Jaret Davis, co-managing shareholder of Greenberg Traurig’s Miami office, as the agency marks the start of its new fiscal year.
“It is time we told the new story of Miami instead of letting old narratives define who we are to the world,” said Lazo, after thanking Davis for his service.
Davis received video tributes from the economic development group and the University of Miami, which will honor him for contributions to his alma mater on Nov. 4 during its homecoming game at Hard Rock Stadium. Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez was one of many to laud Davis‘ contributions to the county’s economic landscape.
“You’re outstanding and a great treasure…. for everything you have done for this community,” said Gimenez, who then handed Davis a a plaque commemorating Thursday, Oct. 26 as Jaret Davis Day.
Since 1985, the Miami-Dade Beacon Council has assisted more than 1,000 businesses that have created nearly 70,000 direct jobs and generated more than $4.6 billion in capital investments, it said.