Presidents for Entrepreneurship Forum Member
Q&A: Economic Recovery on Florida’s
R. Massey, Ph.D., is president of Indian River State College in Fort Pierce, FL.
In this Q&A, he responds to questions about how the economy in the four
counties served by his college is improving and how IRSC is living up to the
Presidents for Entrepreneurship Forum commitments. For more information on
IRSC, check out this President
Profile on Ed Massey from several years ago.
NACCE: What is the state of the economic recovery in your region?
Specifically, are you seeing improvements in things like job creation and new
Massey: Signs of economic
recovery are widespread throughout Florida’s Research Coast. Unemployment has
fallen for more than five consecutive months and sits almost three percentage
points lower than this time last year. The Governor recognized the region in
February for being Florida’s most productive in regards to job placements. Finally,
local business start-ups are increasing and many are looking to the College’s
Small Business Development Center and Business Incubation resources.
NACCE: What are the chief economic challenges your region still faces?
Massey: State funding is
still critically limited and has hindered state economic development incentives
to recruit new business and industry, and to support the expansion efforts of
locally established businesses. IRSC partners closely with our economic
development organizations to support expansion and recruit new business and
industry to our community. The college has become a tremendous resource and
recruiting tool, especially in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math
(STEM) industries, which is the central focus for the development of our
community as we all partner to build Florida’s "Research Coast.”
NACCE: How do you think the Presidents for Entrepreneurship Forum
commitments will help your institution to assist the area you serve in meeting
its economic challenges?
resources and education are critical components to the future economic success
of our region, state and nation. The commitment to the Presidents for
Entrepreneurship Forum only reaffirms Indian River State College’s dedication
to this movement. We are fully engaged in regional economic development, devote
a myriad of resources to assisting our local communities in business
development, and have created a hub for entrepreneurial ventures with the
65,000-square-foot Brown Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. It houses
our Small Business Development Center, an Innovation Incubator, the Corporate
and Community Training Institute, and the Entrepreneur Development Institute. The
Center also focuses on nuclear and alternative energy and will be a pivotal
factor in helping this region develop those industries.
NACCE: Have you shared the commitments with the economic ecosystem
(i.e., chamber leaders, EDC leaders, etc.) in your area and, if so, what has
been their response?
Massey: The IRSC team is
out in the community promoting the economic development and entrepreneurship
resources of the college at every opportunity, especially with the new addition
of the Brown Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. We are present at
every Chamber and Economic Development Organization meeting and work diligently
to get the word out on how we can partner with local businesses. From
short-term efforts like coordinating Quick Response Training Grants for
expanding local businesses to long-term programs like our Power Plant
Technology Institute with FPL, IRSC has gained a strong reputation for being
dependable, innovative and entrepreneurial when it comes to helping local
business succeed, and in turn, the private sector is very supportive of IRSC.
NACCE: Please add any other thoughts you have on the topic of how the
commitments will help your college improve its ability to foster economic
growth and job creation in your region.
Massey: The commitment to the Presidents for Entrepreneurship Forum will
keep Indian River State College informed of innovative entrepreneurship
initiatives taking place across the nation. Additionally, being a collaborative
partner in such an effort will allow this institution to share the exciting
successes occurring here with our colleagues. We plan to draw from this forum
frequently to enhance IRSC’s ability to aid in the economic development and job
creation efforts taking place in our region.