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Orlando Economic Partnership Receives National 2023 Chamber of the Year Award

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Orlando Economic Partnership President and CEO Tim Giuliani: Source: OEP

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Association of Chambers of Commerce Executives (ACCE) names the Orlando Economic Partnership (OEP) as the 2023 Chamber of the Year. The announcement came at the ACCE conference in Salt Lake City, Utah this week.

 

Chamber of the Year is the most prestigious and competitive award in the chamber industry. It honors exceptional chambers that have demonstrated organizational strength and made an impact on key community priorities such as education, transportation, economic prosperity, and quality of life.

“The Orlando Economic Partnership is honored to receive this national distinction,” said OEP President and CEO Tim Giuliani. “It recognizes the importance of our work to advance the benefits of our region’s growth to everyone who lives, works, learns, and plays in Central Florida.”

Noted for its innovation, adaptability, and community leadership, the OEP was chosen over finalists Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and Portland Business Alliance.

“This award is a testament to the Partnership’s commitment to seizing the moment, to grow and diversify an economy that works for everyone,” said Market President for Florida Blue’s Central Florida region and OEP Board Chair Tony Jenkins. “The OEP is now nationally recognized for its critical role as a convener and catalyst for broad-based, positive, and inclusive growth.”

“Our business model aligns with being very mission-driven, which allows us to take on the big priorities of the region,” Giuliani said. “We adopted strategic foresight as a competency and as a process. As a result, we were able to develop many innovative and impact-driving programs and initiatives, including our digital twin of Orlando that we’re already using today for marketing purposes to help generate investment in the region. We are now talking to companies about how we use it as a critical resource for making decisions about the future of our region.”

The Chamber of the Year award involves a multi-stage process, which includes dynamic benchmarking, application, and interview. During the first two stages, chambers compete against the numbers. As finalists, they compete against other chambers within their category.

“Chambers of commerce play an increasingly vital role in promoting regional prosperity,” said ACCE President & CEO Sheree Anne Kelly. “Earning this pinnacle achievement reflects their commitment and drive to ensure the vibrancy of their communities and organizational success. Congratulations to the Orlando Economic Partnership for their outstanding leadership, dedication to its community and serving as a role model for the chamber profession.”

ACCE is an association based in Alexandria, Va., that has over 1,600 chambers of commerce and related business and economic development organizations as members, representing more than 9,000 professionals in the industry.

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ICON Park Honored with “Harris Rosen Philanthropic Award”

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ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – ICON Park in Orlando, Florida, has been honored with the prestigious “Harris Rosen Philanthropic Award” by the I-Drive Chamber of Commerce. This accolade recognizes ICON Park’s outstanding dedication to philanthropy, enhancing both the local community and beyond. Previous recipients of this esteemed award include the Orange County Convention Center and Universal Orlando Resort.

At the recent Chamber meeting and award ceremony, attended by numerous tourism leaders, ICON Park President and CEO Chris Jaskiewicz accepted the award on behalf of the organization. Maria Triscari, president of the I-Drive Chamber, emphasized ICON Park’s significant impact, describing it as a vital pillar within the greater Orlando community.

Five years ago, under Jaskiewicz’s leadership, ICON Park was transformed into a communal hub with free admission, fostering community spirit and celebrating Orlando’s vibrancy. Reflecting on his inspiration for ICON Park’s philanthropic initiatives, Jaskiewicz highlighted his deep-rooted ties to Orlando and his belief in tourism’s transformative power.

ICON Park’s commitment to community support is exemplified through various initiatives, including lighting The Wheel in custom colors to raise awareness for causes, hosting safety training exercises for fire rescue teams, and providing observation opportunities for conservation groups. The park also offers its venue for charity events and fundraisers at reduced or no cost, and has established the “ICON Park Hospitality Scholarship” at the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality.

In the past year alone, ICON Park has donated over a quarter of a million dollars to local organizations and facilitated more than 80 on-site events. Looking ahead, the park continues to expand its presence with Merlin Entertainments acquiring the Orlando Eye and preparing for the return of Blue Man Group to Orlando in a new theater development.

ICON Park’s receipt of the “Harris Rosen Philanthropic Award” underscores its ongoing commitment to making a positive difference in the Orlando community and beyond, embodying the spirit of corporate responsibility and community engagement.

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GoDaddy Founder Reveals Untold Story of Traumatic Upbringing, Military Service and Entrepreneurial Journey

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GoDaddy Founder Bob Parsons talks with Florida National News. Photo by J Willie David, III / Florida National News

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Everybody has heard of GoDaddy, but how many people know the real-life story of the highly successful, philanthropic, and colorful man behind the company? For the first time, GoDaddy and PXG founder Bob Parsons, in a highly confessional account, shares the story of his life, from his humble upbringing to his meteoric rise as one of early tech’s pioneers.

Fire in the Hole! The Untold Story of My Traumatic Life and Explosive Success (Forefront Books, May 7, 2024) by Bob Parsons is an unflinching, yet inspirational, account of his path to success, from a hardscrabble childhood to his combat service as a U.S. Marine during the Vietnam War — and beyond.

A descendant of coal miners, Parsons grew up in the 1950s in a blue-collar, working-class neighborhood in East Baltimore. Money was tight, given his parents shared a mutual fondness for gambling and were not particularly good at it. In his book, Parsons talks about the financial struggles his family faced, as well as the emotional neglect he experienced as a boy.

He writes: “We were just getting by when Pop’s business failed … my dad racked up so much debt from gambling and credit cards that everything came tumbling down. In the end, he practically gave the business away. And, when he did, we went from not having much to having nothing. I mean absolutely nothing.”

An admittedly so-so student, he recalls the struggles he faced in learning, as well as the corporal punishment dished out by Catholic school nuns. But his early experiences reveal an innate resiliency that got him through a harrowing tour of duty in Vietnam, his early years at his first company, Parsons Technology, as well as his bold business decisions that would eventually make him one of the wealthiest people in the world. With a net worth of $3.6 billion, Parsons is No. 314 on the Forbes 400 2023 list of the richest people in America.

He’s an everyman who has made it. He’s authentic. And his reflections on life, business, and giving back are heartbreaking, heartwarming, humorous, and inspiring.

In the book, Parsons:

• Shares how he survived his grueling tour of duty in Vietnam with the U.S. Marines infantry.

• Reveals the struggles he has faced throughout his lifetime because of PTSD, as well as the efforts he has made to treat it, including novel therapeutic uses of psychedelics.

• Offers the lessons he has learned during his career, from the launch of his first business, Parsons Technology, to the creation of his present-day business empire, which includes YAM Worldwide and Parsons Xtreme Golf (PXG).

Since 2012, Parsons and his wife, Renee, have donated nearly $300 million to more than 96 charities and organizations worldwide. Having suffered from PTSD, he works to find new and effective treatments for himself and others. He strongly believes in paying it forward. And he is always moving forward, creating new companies, and re-creating himself. Fire in the Hole! encourages readers to dream big and imagine all that’s possible — even if the cards seem stacked against them.

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Orlando Area Residential Real Estate Snapshot for March 2024

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State of the Market

  • Overall sales rose 17.7% from February to March. There were 2,559 sales in March, up from 2,174 sales in February.
  • The median home price for March was recorded at $386,500, up from $377,000 in February. The highest monthly median home price on record in the Orlando area was $387,000 in June 2022.
  • Pending sales increased by 9.4%, with 3,891 in February and 4,257 in March.
  • New listings rose 8.6% from February to March, with 4,124 new homes on the market in March, compared to 3,799 in February.
  • Inventory for March was recorded at 8,971, up 4.4% from February when inventory was recorded at 8,589.
  • March’s interest rate was recorded at 6.7%, up slightly from 6.6% in February.
  • Homes spent an average of 58 days on the market (DOM) in March – up slightly from February.
  • “The busy spring season for the real estate market is in full swing,” said Rose Kemp, Orlando Regional REALTOR® Association President. “We’ve seen a steady increase in sales, median home price and inventory every month this year. Our median home price in March was very close to our peak from June 2022, so it will be interesting to see how these high prices affect the market in the coming months.”

Market Snapshot

  • Interest rates rose from 6.6% in February to 6.7% in March.
  • Pending sales rose 9.4%, with 3,891 in February and 4,257 in March.
  • 23 distressed homes (bank-owned properties and short sales) accounted for 0.9% of all home sales in March. That represents an 8.0% decrease from February when 25 distressed homes sold.

Inventory

  • Orlando area inventory increased 4.4% from February to March. Inventory in February was 8,589, and inventory in March was 8,971.
  • The supply of homes fell to 3.51 months in March, down 11.3% from 3.95 months in February. A balanced market is six months of supply.
  • The number of new listings increased from February to March by 8.6% – from 3,799 homes to 4,124 homes.

ORRA’s full State of the Market Report for March can be found here.

This representation is based in whole or in part on data supplied by the Orlando Regional REALTOR® Association and the Stellar Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor StellarMLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy. Data maintained by the association or by StellarMLS does not reflect all real estate activity in the market. Due to late closings, an adjustment is necessary to record those closings posted after our reporting date.

ORRA REALTOR® sales represent sales involving Orlando Regional REALTOR® Association members, who are primarily – but not exclusively – located in Orange and Seminole counties. Note that statistics released each month may be revised in the future as new data is received.

Orlando MSA numbers reflect sales of homes located in Orange, Seminole, Osceola, and Lake counties by members of any REALTOR® association, not just members of ORRA.

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