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  • (Continued from eNewsroom)
    Dirk Schroeder, outgoing Chairman of the Board for the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce, and owner of Century 21 St Augustine Properties, emceed the event. The 2019 award winners are: Chamber Ambassadors of the Year/ Gene Morse Award, Robin Burchfield, St. Augustine Youth Services. PVBD Ambassador award/Grace Hayes Award: David Godwin, Transamerica Agency Network; Chairman’s Award: Melissa Rowe, Puroclean Emergency Restoration Services; 2019 Fred Schroeder Award/EDC Member of the Year: Rulon International; The Chamber’s Public Policy Member of the Year: Beth Sweeny, Flagler College’ and President’s Awards: Cecil Gibson, Ameris Bank; Mary O’Brien, Meridian Waste. The 2019 Small Business of the Year Award was presented to Vested Metals International; and The 2019 Member of the Year Award went to Jim Bush with Florida Power & Light Co. New chairman of the board, Mark Nighbor, Advanced Disposal, concluded the meeting.
    Craig Dickman engaged in a conversation with Isabelle Renault, President and CEO, St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce, following the Awards Ceremony. Craig visited with students and faculty at Flagler College on Oct. 24 and many students attended the BRANDED event. Craig started his discussion with Isabelle Renault by saying that his community of Green Bay needed to be on the “front end to be relevant in innovation.” They looked toward innovation and collaboration.
    They knew they needed three things to succeed: Talent, Resources and Capital. By innovatively collaborating with key stakeholders (eg, Higher Education, Chamber of Commerce, Microsoft, Green Bay Packers and others), Titletown Tech Innovation Center was launched.
    Titletown Tech engages businesses in open community based collaborative approaches. Following a question from Isabelle Renault, Craig emphasized that businesses need the right culture and desire to promote innovation. “AND it takes more than an innovation team,” he emphasized. He encouraged businesses to be “inclusive, explore and take risks, and be resilient.” To summarize, he encouraged our region to work together to promote an entrepreneurial ecosystem. “Find the collaborative group that has the power to convene; this is not a competition; you all have the resources and room to grow.”