The Nassau County Chamber of Commerce is excited to announce new programs and events for 2023! We are dedicated to providing programming and resources that will help members grow their businesses, and new programs are just the latest in the Chamber’s ongoing efforts to actively listen to the needs of the business community and provide innovative solutions.
Here’s what you need to know about the refreshed, reimagined, and reenergized Chamber programming for 2023:
With the goal of strengthening county-wide connections, Westside LunchMob will offer members a chance for short introductions and networking over lunch while showing support for our area restaurants. Monthly Coffee & Connections and Business After Hours events promise the perfect setting for engaging opportunities like speed networking, business showcases, and prompted icebreakers, with door-prizes up for grabs, too. Monthly Geographic Council Meetings are back and will feature top-notch speakers who will discuss various topics such as growth, infrastructure, and the business development in specific geographic areas of Nassau County.
For those looking for more specialized events tailored towards their professional or business needs, the Chamber offers curated events, including a Health and Wellness Collaborative, which brings practitioners together, and seeks to grow awareness and wellness between health-related businesses in Nassau County. The Nonprofit Roundtable is a unique opportunity for Chamber of Commerce members to collaborate with their peers while finding resources that can help sustain their organizations. Female business owners have the chance to join Girl Boss, a group dedicated to enriching female leadership in our community and providing a safe space for female business owners to seek support from one another on the challenges and successes of entrepreneurship. EmpowHER! Luncheons, created for professional women in any industry, will be hosted quarterly with a focus on providing enriching discussions about growth and leadership. Finally, Work Labs will be offered monthly with varying certified professionals available for one-on-one assistance with topics like social media, Canva, QuickBooks, SEO, and more.
The Nassau County Chamber of Commerce is committed to helping its members succeed by providing educational opportunities and access to valuable resources. If you are a business owner or professional looking for ways to get more connected within your community, we encourage you to attend one (or all) of these valuable networking opportunities. To register and learn more about upcoming programs and events, please visit the Chamber event calendar or email us at info@NassauCountyFLChamber.com.
Steve Wylie Elected as Chairman of the Nassau County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors
The Nassau County Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that Steve Wylie, Associate Vice President of Planning & Business Development for UF Health, will be the Chairman of the Nassau County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors for 2023.
Steve Wylie received his Bachelor of Science & Finance from the University of South Carolina and has been with UF Health since 2017. He has over 30 years’ experience in healthcare management, including executive positions with 21st Century Oncology, Regional Care Hospital Partners, and Health Management Associates. Steve is passionate about furthering the interests of businesses in Nassau County and looks forward to working with fellow Board members to bring lasting and meaningful change to our business community.
“I am incredibly proud to be the incoming Chairman of the Nassau County Chamber of Commerce and look forward to working alongside regional leaders to carefully craft the future of our county,” said Wylie. “I look forward to addressing critical issues, including workforce development, mobility, affordability, and infrastructure. I am committed to working alongside the Chamber’s member businesses through thoughtful collaboration and will continue to provide our membership with unsurpassed value as the premier advocate and resource for businesses throughout Nassau County.”
In addition, the Chamber has announced the Chairman-Elect for 2024 will be Apollo Wright, Publisher of Amelia/Yulee Neighbors. Apollo received a master’s degree in Elementary Education and Teaching from Wagner College and went on to coach college football at various institutions including Florida International University and The University of New Mexico. He is currently the head football coach for Fernandina Beach High School. Apollo is looking forward to bringing the Nassau County business community together and continuing his community service efforts.
The Chamber will also welcome Kimberly Branham-Nelson, CEO of Nelson and Associates Insurance, and Joseph Zimmerman, Owner of The Zimmerman Group, to the Board of Directors. To view the current Nassau County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, CLICK HERE.
Stop by the WestRock office building, located at 1200 Franklin Street in Fernandina Beach, on Saturday, December 31st for the WestRock Holiday Recycle-A-Thon. The event will take place from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM (noon) or until they reach capacity.
Bring your brown corrugated boxes and WestRock volunteers will help recycle them directly into their paper-making process! To learn more, visit www.WestRock.com.
And the Nominees Are...
The Nassau County Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards process is an opportunity to highlight the impact of outstanding businesses and entrepreneurs throughout Nassau County and we want to congratulate every business, organization and business leader that received a nomination this year.
Award winners will be announced at the Annual Awards Dinner & Gala on Thursday, February 2, 2023. For questions or more information about the nomination process, please contact the Chamber at info@NassauCountyFLChamber.com or (904) 261-3248.
To purchase tickets to the Annual Awards Dinner & Gala, CLICK HERE.
And the nominees are...
LARGE BUSINESS OF THE YEAR
First Federal Bank
First Port City Bank
Summer House Realty
MEDIUM BUSINESS OF THE YEAR
Franklin Equipment Sales
Nelson and Associates Insurance
Story & Song Bookstore Bistro
Wallace Pierson Travel
SMALL BUSINESS OF THE YEAR
A Passion 4 Pooches Pet Spa
Amelia Island Kayak Excursions
Barefoot Amelia Beach Rentals
BizBolster Web Solutions LLC
Destination Amelia Vacation Rentals
Disco Witch Brewing
Dorco Enterprises CPA Firm
Eagleye Printing, Framing & More
Follow That Dream Sailing
Knowell's Lock and Safe Inc.
Luxe Picnics by Les LLC
Mead's Framery and Trophy Store
Pam Bell Photography
Perfect Wick Candle Makery & Bar
Pet Wants Amelia Island
Redbones Dog Bakery and Boutique
The Resale Project
BUSINESS LEADER OF THE YEAR
Kellie Boston | Boston Photography
Bud Braiser | Follow That Dream Sailing
Greg Cook | The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island
Ryan Deems | Destination Amelia Vacation Rentals
Shelly Denis | Disco Witch Brewing
Leslie Diaz | Luxe Picnics by Les LLC
Bob Hartman | Residence Inn by Marriott Amelia Island
Ed Hubel | Baptist Medical Center Nassau
Stephanie Newberry | AquaGym Fitness
Lori Osborne | BizBolster Web Solutions LLC
Jennifer Panke | Blue Ocean Title
James & Jenny Schaffer | Summer House Realty
Nathalie Wu | Wicked BAO
YOUNG BUSINESS LEADER OF THE YEAR
Bradley Bean | RYAM
Heather Bennett | Paisley Grace Makery
Katie Connors | Nelson and Associates Insurance
Chason Forehand | Pineland Bank
Marty Greye | Culver's
Carl Lindsey | Perfect Wick Candle Makery & Bar/Select Tronix
Justin Taylor | Residence Inn by Marriott Amelia Island
Stephanie Triola | New York Life
Chelsea Waldron | Amelia Island Vacations
CUSTOMER SERVICE PROFESSIONAL OF THE YEAR
Kellie Boston | Boston Photography
Carol "Celeste" Christian | Hampton Inn & Suites Historic Harborfront Hotel
Stephanie Dinius | Amelia Art Studio
Ann Dorsey | Dorco Enterprises CPA Firm
Jan Lacovelli | L. Moore Aesthetics
Bob & Carmen Lyon | Island Promos
Michael Mayhan | Outer Banks Boil Company
Stacy Millett | Wicked BAO
Lana Miltenberger | Launch Printing & Promotions
Leah Parker | Paisley Grace Makery
Lisa Sanborn | First Federal Bank
Madison Tipton | Amelia Island Kayak Excursions
Robin Turner | Nelson and Associates Insurance
Savanna Varney | Nelson and Associates Insurance
NONPROFIT OF THE YEAR
$1,000 Start-Ups Consortium
Barnabas Center, Inc.
Care Centers of Nassau
Fernandina Beach Main Street
Fernandina Beach Pride, Inc.
Northeast Florida Fair Association
Rotary Club of Fernandina Beach
Starting Point Behavioral Healthcare
The Arc Nassau
FERNANDINA BEACH, FL (December 16, 2022) – The Boys & Girls Clubs of Nassau County Foundation presents the premier event of the year, its annual Benefit Gala on February 18, 2023. The 16th Gala, featuring dinner, entertainment, and auction, is once again hosted at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island – a trusted friend of the Boys & Girls Clubs for many years.
The Gala supports the work of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Nassau County in providing the youth of our community a safe space to work on academics, engage with positive role models, and develop into confident leaders.
As always, this premier event features a cocktail hour, dinner, and auction. This year, we are proud to showcase entertainment by William Joseph, a nationally-known pianist, recording artist, and Boys & Girls Clubs alumnus.
As a child prodigy, Joseph began writing music for solo piano at the age of five. Soon, his remarkable, early talent was recognized throughout Phoenix, Arizona where he grew up. After earning a prestigious national music scholarship through the Boys & Girls Club of America, he began studying with Russian master pianist Stella Saperstein, of the famed Leningrad Conservatory in Russia.
In addition to this wonderful musical entertainment, the Benefit Gala auction includes everything from fine jewelry from Robison Jewelry to artwork, hotel stays, cruises, and memorabilia. If you aren’t able to attend the auction, you can participate by bidding online as well!
Individual reservations for the Gala are $250 and table sponsorships start at $2,000. For more information on the Gala and to buy tickets or sponsorships please visit https://bgcnassau.org/gala16 or call (904) 261-8666.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Nassau depend on these annual fundraising events to support after school and summer programs at their three clubs. At the Roberts Learning and Achievement Center, the Miller Freedom Center, and the newest Club in Hilliard, hundreds of local youth ages 6 to 18 are mentored by our professional staff and volunteers to develop skills in character, health, fitness, technology, the arts, and sports.
12/16/22 @ 10:30 a.m. - At the Monday, December 12th meeting, Senior Planner, Josh Macbeth, provided an update to the Board of County Commissioners regarding the State Road 200/A1A Corridor Master Plan. This Plan was the result of a two-year intensive planning effort that included an in-depth analysis of history, culture, growth trends, land uses, economic development, visual quality, and environmental impacts along the SR200 corridor. The Plan was prepared in consultation with the Community Services Group, a division of GAI Consultants.
The purpose and intent of the plan was to craft a vision for the corridor as a multi-functional, safe, and sustainable community in which people can live, work, and play. The concepts in the SR200/A1A Corridor Master Plan emerged with the support of Nassau County residents, property owners, business operators, and county officials. The plan charts a path toward the future that is livable, sustainable, and economically vital, and is guided by five planning priorities:
Maintain, enhance, and extend the natural environment by creating opportunities for residents to access and enjoy Florida’s unique natural areas.
Help stage vibrant shopping center and neighborhood growth through development that creates places for people, supports local businesses and generates additional jobs, encourages an active lifestyle, and comprises a mix of housing options.
Improve linkages between neighborhoods, shopping centers, and amenities through a network of slow, safe, and livable primary and secondary streets, trails, bike paths, and pedestrian infrastructure.
Build on heritage while establishing new cultural assets that celebrate community creativity and identity in the public realm.
Prepare for a future by looking ahead to build a resilient community in the face of growing climate concern and technological advancements.
The SR200/A1A Corridor Master Plan was adopted by the Board of County Commissioners on December 13, 2021, via Resolution No. 2021-214. Per the Resolution, staff was to provide an update to the Board with 12 months of adoption regarding amendments to the Comprehensive Plan and the Land Development Code that are necessary for implementation of the Plan. The adopted Plan can be located on the County's website.
To view the presentation, please click here.
Public Information Officer
12/15/22 @ 2:30 p.m. - Last weekend, the Amelia Island Convention & Visitors Bureau hosted the 8th Annual Dickens on Centre Event on behalf of the Amelia Island Tourist Development Council. This event transforms downtown Fernandina Beach into Victorian-era London and features live entertainment, vendors, holiday movies, giant snow globes, costumed characters, pictures with Santa and an area complete with old fashioned games for the children to enjoy. This year's event also featured a Christmas themed aerial light show with drones that was unlike anything Nassau County had ever seen before.
Did you know that this event, in addition to all the beautiful holiday lighting downtown, is funded 100% by Tourist Development Tax (TDT) funds collected by lodging establishments from our out-of-towns guests? The event also has a great economic impact on our County as these visitors spend money in our stores and restaurants.
A survey following the 2021 Dickens on Centre event concluded that the economic impact to Amelia Island from off-island visitors was $4.7 million, and this year's event is expected to exceed that. With 80% of our residents working in the hospitality and service industries, many of our residents rely heavily on tourism to maintain their employment and quality of life. Even better is that Nassau County residents were able to enjoy the event and get into the holiday spirit, and at no-cost to the local taxpayers!
Below are photos from the event for your enjoyment.
To learn more about the Amelia Island Tourist Development Council, please click here.
Public Information Officer
PulteGroup Northeast Florida Division’s Building Hope Charity Golf Tournament raises $87,350 for Rethreaded
Company’s first annual benefit event held at The Palencia Club in St. Augustine
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Dec. 15, 2022) – The Northeast Florida Division of PulteGroup, one of the nation’s leading home builders, proudly announces the company’s “Building Hope Charity Golf Tournament” at The Palencia Club raised $87,350 for Rethreaded, a Jacksonville-based nonprofit organization that renews hope, reignites dreams and provides career opportunities to survivors of human trafficking.
“We enjoyed a fantastic day of golf, and we are thrilled to support Rethreaded, which is helping survivors of human trafficking heal and thrive in our community,” said Tony Nason, President of PulteGroup’s Northeast Florida Division. “We appreciate the support of all of our players and event sponsors to make our first annual charity golf tournament a success.”
Vallencourt Construction was the event’s exclusive platinum sponsor. Gold sponsors included Brightview Landscape, Rosen Materials, Innovative Construction Group of North Florida and Tier 1. Halff Associates, Inc. and FirstService Residential were the event’s silver sponsors.
For more information about PulteGroup’s Northeast Florida Division, visit www.pulte.com/jacksonville.
ZIM Upsizes Four Vessels on 2M Jacksonville Service, Largest Container Ships Ever to Service JAXPORT
New 11,000- and 12,000-TEU ships are the largest vessels ever to be included in a regular port rotation in Jacksonville
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Dec. 14, 2022) – ZIM Integrated Shipping Services has upsized four vessels utilized in its weekly container service operated through the 2M Alliance calling JAXPORT, replacing the smaller ships with two larger 11,700-TEU and two larger 11,923-TEU vessels.
The four newly-built ships are the largest ships ever to be included in a regular port rotation at JAXPORT. The recently completed 47-foot harbor deepening project provides the water draft needed for these larger vessels to call the port regularly.
“The Florida Department of Transportation is proud in our strong partnership with JAXPORT who continues to make positive impacts on the supply chain and Florida’s communities,” said Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Jared W. Perdue, P.E. “We are thrilled that the recent investment in the harbor deepening project has so quickly created opportunities for larger vessels to serve the port, Florida, and the nation. Under the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis and his investments in these projects, FDOT continues our commitment to seaports and industry partners to support a robust supply chain, ensure economic prosperity, and remain a leader in transportation.”
One of the new vessels, the 11,923 TEU ZIM USA, arrived at JAXPORT this week, tying the port record for the largest container ship ever to call Jacksonville. JAXPORT presented ZIM USA’s captain with a maiden voyage plaque commemorating the ship’s inaugural visit to Jacksonville.
“The foresight of our federal, state, and local partners to invest in our port provides the capabilities needed to accommodate these vessels,” said JAXPORT CEO Eric Green. “We are grateful to ZIM and the 2M Alliance for bringing these ships to Jacksonville, supporting and growing local jobs throughout the supply chain.”
The 2M is an alliance comprised of Maersk, MSC, Hamburg Süd and ZIM. The 2M’s Jacksonville service features a total of 11 ships that connect JAXPORT to Qingdao, Shanghai, and Ningbo in China; Busan, South Korea; and Kingston, Jamaica.
The 2M calls the SSA Jacksonville Container Terminal at Blount Island weekly, carrying consumer goods such as electronics, toys, furniture and other retail goods, as well as parts and supplies for U.S. manufacturers and companies.
Located in the heart of the Southeast U.S., JAXPORT is Florida’s No. 1 container port by volume and one of the nation’s top vehicle-handling ports. Jacksonville offers a 47-foot deepwater shipping channel, two-way ship traffic with no berth or terminal congestion, and same-day access to 98 million U.S. consumers.
WILDLIGHT, Fla. – Rayonier is pleased to announce that $138,000 has been awarded to 47 local nonprofit organizations across Nassau County. Recipients of the grants were recognized at a special awards breakfast held at the FSCJ Betty P. Cook Nassau Center.
The recipients will use the funds to address a range of community needs, including civic, cultural, educational, environmental, natural resources, and health and human services programs.
“These organizations are instrumental in improving the health and well-being of Nassau County families and residents,” said Mark Hebert, vice president of Eastern Forest Resources for Rayonier. “We have been embedded in this community for more than 85 years and are proud to support and recognize the tireless efforts of this year’s recipients.”
Present at the awards breakfast were Commissioner Jeff Gray (Chairman, District 3), Commissioner Klynt Farmer (Vice-Chairman, District 5), Commissioner A.M. “Hupp” Huppman (District 2), Commissioner Alyson McCullough (District 4), and Ocean, Highway and Port Authority Commissioner Mike Cole (District 5). Also in attendance were Superintendent Dr. Kathy K. Burns and board member Gail Cook (District 2) from the Nassau County School District, Nassau County Economic Development Board Executive Director Sherri Mitchell, and Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper.
“I love seeing the County’s corporate residents, neighbors and officials supporting the important work that our non-profit community does for Nassau County,” said Commissioner Klynt Farmer. “It’s truly a testament to why people aspire to raise a family here. Our community is made up of some of the most loving, caring and charitable people in the state of Florida and I’m proud to call Nassau my home.”
Through its community fund, Rayonier provided grants to the following organizations and projects in Nassau County in 2022:
Rayonier (NYSE:RYN) is a leading timberland real estate investment trust with assets located in some of the most productive softwood timber growing regions in the United States and New Zealand. We own or lease under long-term agreements approximately 2.7 million acres of timberlands. We are More than trees because we recognize that our 90+ years of success in the timberland industry comes from our people, an empowering culture and the courage to constantly challenge “the way it’s always been done.” Get to know us at www.rayonier.com.
Wes Hinton, VP, Wildlight; Rhett Rogers, VP, Portfolio Management for Rayonier; Mike Bell, VP, Public Affairs and Communications for Rayonier; and Mark Bridwell, VP, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for Rayonier present grant to Janice Ancrum, President and CEO, Council on Aging, and Scott Brown, Development Director, for Council on Aging.
Nassau County Chamber of Commerce Blog
Chamber Member Updates, Events and News