Associated Industries of Florida is one of the most influential business groups in the state.
Associated Industries of Florida
[Photo: Ray Stanyard]
» Employees: 20, several consultants
» Lobbyists: 25
» Quick History: Founded in 1920 as the Duval County Employers' Association by Jacksonville business leaders concerned about the influence of unions, the group changed its name in 1923 to Florida Employers' Association and in 1930 to Associated Industries of Florida, relocating from Jacksonville to Tallahassee in 1952. In 1973, Jon Shebel, a 6-foot-5 combative ex-Marine, took over leadership, transforming AIF into a business lobbying powerhouse. Shebel's style and effectiveness earned him the nickname "Darth Vader" from Tallahassee insiders, but his no-prisoners approach sometimes produced collateral damage for the organization. He retired in 2006. Barney T. Bishop was named president in 2005 and took over as president and CEO after Shebel retired. Two decades ago, AIF built a $4-million, plantation-style headquarters that is the site of an infamous hot-ticket, annual legislative reception commemorating the start of each legislative session.
» Finances: In 2009, AIF, a 501(c)(6) "business league" non-profit, reported revenue of $6.28 million, expenses of $4.18 million and total assets of $12,790,648.