Greater Fort Myers Chamber hosts roundtable with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross
By: Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce
The roundtable featured discussion on the local economy, challenges of doing business in the wake of COVID-19, and ideas for revitalizing industries and communities, generating more jobs and creating a resilient economy.
"Hosting Secretary Ross was a great opportunity for our community and the future of our economy," said Colleen DePasquale, president and CEO of the Chamber. "The Chamber was proud to unite our region's business leaders to represent Lee County in this thoughtful, engaging discussion."
Roundtable participants included DePasquale; Helen Edenfield, global director for facilities at NeoGenomics;
Economic recovery was a key point of discussion, with Ross commenting on Florida's standing.
"There are indicators that we are holding to a standard and steady pattern of economic recovery here in the Sunshine State and across the country," Ross shared. "Americans saved more than $22 trillion between March and September. And once we beat the virus, there will be pent-up demand in the tourism sector. We can expect that Americans, empowered by these savings, will be ready to spend here in your state in the near-term."
Talmage shared that the Southwest Florida International Airport is "recovering faster than any other in the state," while developer Price commented that Lee County is "pro-business, pro-growth" and has "ways to get things done versus getting in the way."
Participants also weighed in on the results of the PPP program and discussion of forgiveness rules and a second, more targeted PPP loan program.
"There is nothing more important than retaining our employees," Whyte said. "A good team is the heartbeat of a small business."
The roundtable was organized by the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce and hosted at NeoGenomics, a company specializing in cancer genetics testing and information services. Before the roundtable, Michael Walsh, chief of staff for the U.S. Department of Commerce, received a tour of NeoGenomics' Fort Myers headquarters.