Florida Trend | Florida's Business Authority

Unlocking Potential


Florida State College of Jacksonville and The Arc Jacksonville, a local non-profit that serve and advocates for individuals with intellectual and development differences (IDD), have created a vocational program called Career Campus to help young adults with IDD transition to the workforce.

Once the students complete a two- or four-year program through Career Campus at FSCJ, students will receive certificates of completion that prepare them for jobs or additional education.

FSCJ faculty will teach the courses, and staff from The Arc will provide additional coursework as well as skills training in simulated classroom job sites and internships at local businesses. Possible career paths and certifications via Career Campus include childcare, clerical work, digital media, nursing, welding and more.


  • Burkhardt Sales & Service, which was a distributor for Anheuser-Busch in the Gainesville and St. Augustine areas for more than 50 years, has closed. Its territory has been divided among three other Florida distributors.


  • The Gainesville City Commission approved a solar contract with Origis Energy of Miami, which plans to build a 75-megawatt solar farm in Archer by next year.


  • LendingTree has closed Ovation Credit Services, a Jacksonville-based credit repair service, and laid off about 200 workers. LendingTree acquired Ovation in 2018.
  • VyStar Credit Union and 121 Financial Credit Union, both located in Jacksonville, are planning a merger that will create a combined institution with 920,000 members and assets of more than $14 billion.


  • Patrick Green is the new CEO of UF Health Jacksonville, taking the place of interim CEO Russ Armistead. Green was most recently an executive vice president with Yale New Haven Health and president and CEO of Lawrence + Memorial Hospital in New London, Connecticut.
  • LifeSouth Community Blood Centers, a non-profit blood bank headquartered in Gainesville, will provide stem cells to Abba Zubair, a pathologist with the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville who is taking part in a research study aboard the International Space Station that may help determine if the cells are a future cancer treatment.
  • Wende Dottor was named executive director of the North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System, which serves 138,000 vets at 26 locations spanning a 50-county region.


  • Eastern Alachua County has joined Northeast Florida’s Foreign Trade Zone No. 64, which covers more than 5,000 square miles in 10 counties and is the state’s largest FTZ by area.
  • Crowley, a private maritime, energy and logistics solution company based in Jacksonville, has made a venture investment in an Alabama logistics technology startup called REPOWR that will allow both companies to advance solutions for supply chain management for a wider market.


  • Fincantieri Marine Repair of Jacksonville has received a grant of nearly $875,000 from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration through the Small Shipyard Grant Program. The business plans to use the funds to purchase a water blast and wastewater collection and treatment system.


  • Fors Marsh of Arlington, Virginia, has acquired Brunet- Garcia, a Jacksonville-based marketing firm that focuses on improving health, safety and cross-cultural education.
  • St. Johns County, home to St. Augustine, has launched a new branding effort that highlights the county’s natural resources and history and includes the tagline, Florida at First Sight. The new brand was created by the St. Augustine design studio Future Friends.


  • As part of its master development plan, Jacksonville Arboretum & Botanical Gardens plans to add an $8 million children’s garden in the next three to five years.
  • The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens in Jacksonville received a $650,000 grant from the Leadership in Art Museums Initiative to create a curator position named after Johnnetta Betsch Cole, a Jacksonville native who was director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art from 2009 to 2017 and has served as president of two colleges.


  • Don Fox has stepped down as the long-time CEO of Firehouse Subs and is now chairman. Former COO Mike Hancock is now CEO.


  • Lee Smith is the new executive director of The Players Championship, a PGA tour tournament held annually at TPC Sawgrass. He replaces Jared Rice, who will now lead business development for the PGA Tour’s Championship Management portfolio of events.


“Everything we did in that ice down there was exciting because it was never the same thing twice, trying to explore and going in and out of these inlets.”

— Robert Johnson, a Navy veteran and explorer, in a 2011 interview with the Florida Times-Union. He was 19 years old when he sailed on a wooden ship to Antarctica with Adm. Richard Byrd as part of Byrd’s expedition in 1939 aboard the USS Bear and went on to complete three polar expeditions during his lifetime. He died in April in Jacksonville at age 102.