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Pragmatic Internationalism

Going Into Overtime

Around the Region




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Pragmatic Internationalism by Josh Newby

As his presidency draws to a close and the nation collectively looks to his potential successors, much has been written about the last eight years in Obama’s America— his economic triumphs, his legislative failures, the critiques of drone usage and Guantanamo Bay, and the victories of equality and minority rights. At the sunset of his tenure, University of West Florida assistant professor of government Jacob Shively, Ph.D., has written a book on Obama’s foreign policy and how that has affected our standing in the world. With accessible language and an easily digestible page length, Dr. Shively presents to the world his synopsis of the simultaneously maligned and praised aspects of Obama’s international doctrine.

Shively teaches and researches international relations with a focus on foreign policy. His book, Hope, Change, Pragmatism: Analyzing Obama’s Grand Strategy, is available on Amazon. Northwest Florida’s Business Climate sat down with Shively to explore the depths of his knowledge on this issue and ascertain a well-informed, measured understanding of what the past eight years means for America’s international actions and ideology going forward.

What is your background and the study’s methodology?

I have been here at UWF for three years. My research starting in grad school was really focused on U.S. foreign policy and grand strategy. My dissertation compared Carter and George W. Bush’s foreign policy. I wanted to extend my research with this project. The larger goal is to think about the US’s role in the world and how that’s changing. In terms of methodology, I tried to keep it pretty simple. I wanted to create a framework that we could use to apply to any grand strategy in any administration. What I mean by grand strategy is how a state uses all the tools at its disposal to achieve goals in the international sphere. It’s an approach to the world. The problem is that most researchers and commentators use different criteria to define grand strategy, or they’ll conflate what they think the strategy should be with what it might be, objectively speaking. I wanted to look objectively at what Obama was doing, especially because he’s come under a lot of criticism over the last couple years for some of his decisions. His counter-argument is that he’s playing the long game and set the U.S.

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up for success over the long run. I wanted to set up a basic framework to study and apply to the Obama administration. Rather than look at the whole administration as a historian might, I wanted to cut it up into more discrete cases. That expands your number of observations within a single case. I looked at the Obama administration’s first year in office when they’re trying to set early precedents and set up his philosophy. The next case is 2011, which is particularly the Arab Spring. In both cases so far, the administration is confronted with defining their relationship with the world. Should we be more engaged or less engaged? The third case is 2014 where you have ISIS bursting onto the scene early in the year, then later in the year, the Russians are getting deeply involved with Ukraine. So they have to think about how they use power.

You describe that overarching doctrine as pragmatic internationalism, right?

Well the administration has not really given us its own terms to describe what it’s doing in the world. I don’t think Obama and his team thought they were doing anything radically

new. When it comes to foreign policy, we see ambitions early on. In 2009, they look at banning nuclear weapons and building bridges with Iran. We see fundamentally an attempt to constrict America’s engagement with the world, but he is insistent that the U.S. remain the most important leader in the world. But particularly coming off of the financial crisis of 2008 or the wars in Iraq, he doesn’t think we can afford to do that in as expansive ways as it used to. So it’s still internationalism, which started with World War II, but it’s more restrained.

You say in the book that that doctrine was promising but ultimately poorly implemented.

Interestingly, a number of critics and supporters of his approach to foreign policy say that they recognize the need to revisit how we define American leadership in the world. It was promising in the sense that it was attempting to break the inertia of the Cold War that had been in place for 15-plus years. We wanted to adjust to the world as it was changing. A lot of people on both sides of the aisle would say that’s a healthy

thing. You need to stay current with the international environment without all of your policy being dictated by decisions that were made decades ago. Inertia is of course a powerful factor in bureaucracy. It’s really difficult to make those kinds of adjustments and changes. They happen at a grand strategy level, but making sure it filters down throughout the institution is another matter.

Do you think the nature of bureaucracy is one of the contributing factors that led to its poor implementation? To some extent, yes. It’s just a big shift to try and turn around. I will say that our military is constantly looking ahead and trying to be nimble. Another problem with the failure of this approach was that, coming out of the White House, it was not clear what kind of leadership Obama was looking for. They thought they were being very clear, so during the Arab Spring and they get involved in Libya but not in Syria, but it’s hard to walk away from those issues and draw any hard and fast lessons about what their priorities and values were. I think they had some internal

ideas about what they were doing, but it was never well communicated. For other governments, that makes it difficult to interpret where the administration is going. The other argument that I introduce at the end is the idea of strategic inaction. I think the administration probably saw themselves as being really savvy about not acting where everybody else was saying they should act. They were not going to be pressured into acting. They may have been right. In Syria, for example, there’s no good answer. You can’t get more involved, but you can’t really get less involved either. They more or less probably set the best possible tone, but it’s not a tone of American success. They’re slowly wearing them down, which is probably best, but the problem is that seems to broadcast weakness to critics. So the administration think it’s being savvy and strategic, but a lot of outsiders look at it and say that it looks like weakness.

How has that shaped our standing in the world? Do foreign governments perceive a bit of whiplash from the Bush years? The whiplash isn’t as strong as you might think. By the end of his second term, Bush was far more conciliatory than he gets credit for. They learned their lessons and realized they overreached with Iraq, but that was really the only aggressive invasion that they pursued. They did some special forces elsewhere in the world, but Obama actually dramatically expands that with the use of drones. Obama defined his foreign policy as a clear distinction from Bush. For most leaders around the world, they felt very worried about Bush early on after 9/11, so Obama looks like somebody they can understand or work with. At the end of the day, though, Obama is still pretty insistent about still representing U.S. economic and security interests first, and he has constraints at home with the Recession. So there’s a perception of whiplash or a decline in standing, but the best way to look at that is waves on the top of a larger ocean. Sometimes the challenge seems really dramatic, but most other governments recognize that it’s a big shift and it’s hard to turn. They get loud and protest if the U.S. does something that concerns them, but at the end of the day, they trust us to be stable more than any other government. Any given president can only do so much and we have a lot of other assets that preserve our standing.

Does a president’s foreign policy influence at all the subsequent president’s policy? Is there a reaction there?

We usually treat candidates as someone brand new, but it’s very stable over time. If you look at the transition from the 70s to 80s—Carter to Reagan—that’s one of the more dramatic shifts that you have, and even there it’s only at the margins. Even with Bush to Obama, it looks dramatic, but you really see a lot of continuity across the process. The best way to think about it is the grand strategy more or less remains stable, but different presidents influence different regions, so that’s where you may observe change. There’s not much difference unless there’s a fundamental interruption like World War II that causes a scramble.

still staying engaged but attempting to not be the single state that always comes in to address an issue or problem, or at least doing that in conjunction with others. So whether you like or hate the Iran deal, it was done with five or six other nations. One positive outcome will be the recognition of investing in long-term American interest around the world, but not doing it through military power.

Did 9/11 do that for Bush?

I don’t think so. He did not achieve what he was hoping in 2009. There are some legitimate successes, but they were trying to completely change the discourse. They thought that Obama by his very character would change the tenor of international politics and they

It almost elevates to the level of one of those dramatic breaks. Bush tries to use that moment to be more assertive in the changing or shaping the world. They go in Afghanistan and start talking about using U.S. power to go out and change the world. Iraq becomes the next target. The larger story there is the neoconservatives and they were frustrated when the first Bush in the early 90s did not take out Saddam Hussein, so they’ve been waiting in the wings and 9/11 gives them this opportunity to push this agenda. People thought we were at the beginning of a new US relationship with the world, but it didn’t last because it was just too expensive to maintain. Most Americans think Iraq was poorly handled if not a bad decision. That was the moment of potential dramatic and fundamental change, but what it did allow was a shift in tone and a shift at the margins in the regions we focus on. Even if Trump or Sanders got elected, they wouldn’t be able to transform foreign policy to the extent they claim.

quickly resorted back to more traditional tactics. They were savvy in that sense, so they didn’t have their heads in the clouds the way some charge.

At the start of his presidency, Obama wanted to repair relations with the Muslim world. Was he successful in that?

Dr. Jacob Shively

Is it true that Republicans are more hawkish and Democrats are doves?

That’s very misleading. We want to draw correlations, but you have to be less distinct with American policy. Republicans are more comfortable with being hawkish and they enjoy the rhetoric. Democrats want to focus more on domestic issues, but they can’t get around the budgetary and Congressional restraints. So it’s not so black and white.

Is there a particular positive facet of Obama’s foreign policy that will be long-lasting and will ripple throughout the following years? Most of the discourse is on this projection of weakness. I would say his attempt to downshift U.S. foreign policy will probably be a legacy that will help some of his successors. By that, I mean

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making history How historic preservation and designation is handled on the local and state level, plus a look at the benefits of historic preservation on our economy BY DAWN GRESKO PHOTOS BY DEBORAH DUNLAP

ensacola has more than 400 years of history. Even before we unearthed that Pensacola is the earliest multi-year European settlement in the United States, thanks to the discovery of 16th-century Spanish pottery pieces earlier this spring, any local could have told you that our city houses a fair share of multicultural heritage. It goes without saying that our history is a vital part of what makes our city unique and it is precisely why we endearingly refer to our home as the “City of Five Flags.” But, what does it mean to call a site “historic”? And how does preserving an “old” building help bring in new money, jobs and profit for the city? The answer requires a rather in-depth explanation that we’ve tried our best to break down for easy reader digestion. To better help us understand just how history is made, we offer a glimpse into the procedures of the City’s Architectural Review Board and UWF Historic Trust, showing how both groups make a decision on what properties meet historic preservation and designation criteria. First and foremost, before calling or designating a property as historic, a case must be built and presented to the Architectural Review Board (ARB) to argue why a building should be considered historic property. “It’s been hard to put information about preservation together in a way people can understand in the short tidbits that people want,” said Ross Pristera, historic preservationist with the Historic Trust and ARB. “Preservation is not just about an individual building, but how that building and its history plays into the larger picture. That’s preservation: looking at the larger picture, long term effects, and protecting the uniqueness of a site because it is an asset that will better the community.” There are two main criteria the ARB looks for: the property must be 50 years or older, and it must have either history or an architectural style that is significant to a historic time period. By “having history,” we mean the site is attached to a person of historical interest or significance, or a noteworthy event must have taken place at the site. Following that line of thought, in some cases, the ARB will consider designating a building that is less than 50 years old for historic status. This is only if the property was either the site of a major event, or the building is part of a period style found throughout its surrounding neighborhood. For example, does the building share characteristics with others around


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it? If so, then one can build the case that building has cultural merit as part of “a working class neighborhood of the 1880s.” In other words, the neighborhood and the time period it represents would be rendered imperfect with the sudden addition of a modern building. In terms of how much of a historic property can be changed in renovation, you may alter the site as you please so long as you are not located in a historic district. You also have restrictions to what you can alter if you are getting federal money to put into the property. If you are in a historic district, then you have to follow the rules already established by the district. If you are getting federal money for preservation efforts, then chances are the property is for public use and the funds must be used to renovate or repair aspects of the building the public can utilize. Here in Pensacola we have four historic districts and one aesthetic review district. The four historic districts are as follows: East Hill, Pensacola (better known as Seville), North Hill and Palafox Business districts. The districts of North Hill and Seville are most restrictive in terms of what can be changed on property—from limiting paint colors to what type of windows may be installed. Seville and North Hill historic districts are on the National Register of Historic Places, and part of Palafox Historic Business District was listed on the register this year. The National Register of Historic Places is administered through the National Park Service and contains the official list of historic places in the United States deemed worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, it is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate and protect America’s historic and archaeological resources. The Palafox Historic Business District, spanning from Chase to Zaragoza streets and Spring to Tarragona streets in Downtown Pensacola, made it on the National Register of Historic Places thanks to the efforts of

University of West Florida public history alumna, Cynthia Catellier. The Palafox Historic Business District includes 129 properties, and its addition brings the total of National Register properties in Downtown Pensacola to nearly 600. National Register inclusion offers a variety of benefits, including tax credits, real estate and tourism support, and grant opportunities. The UWF Historic Trust has a total of 1,800 historic properties in Downtown Pensacola, and they work to maintain those records so they are well-researched and documented for home- and business owners, as well as architects, who may want to restore the property to its former glory. This past year, the Historic Trust has had a successful period of grants, which totaled in at roughly $244,000. Traditionally, government agencies and nonprofits receive more tax incentives from state and federal grants. Almost all of these incentives require a dollar-for-dollar match. Florida has a generous preservation program on the state level, and there are two preservation grants: one is a small matching grant, offering anywhere from $1 to $50,000 for which smaller nonprofits, churches, and other organizations usually apply. It is a very competitive grant for which you have a year to complete the project under. The second is a special category grant ranging from $50,000 to $500,000, which can be matched for up to a million dollar project, and with this grant you have two years to complete the project. The small matching grant has always been offered on the state level. However, since the Recession more money has gone into matching grants since funding preservation projects gives a lot of people more work—from specialized engineering to design and construction jobs. To further establish incentives for communities to go forward with preservation efforts, rural communities can meet a 25 percent match of funds, which helps out the communities so they can restore a historic jewel to attract people and stir development.

‘That’s what it’s all about,” said Pristera. “We put money into a building and we hope the person next to us does the same and that’s how we build off each other.” For private companies, if you’re tax- or incomeproducing property, then you could go for tax credits from the federal government. But, what about tax incentives for homeowners whose properties do not generate income? You may go through a paperwork-heavy process to apply for a program called the Historic Property Ad Valorem Tax Exemption. Essentially, if renovating a historic house, any money you put toward restoring materials will lower the taxable amount of your property’s new appraised value, and your house’s appraised value remains consistent for 10 years. Preservation tends to be more cost efficient for property owners, since you do not have to factor in demolition and disposal costs, as well as the price of new materials. This is because most preservation efforts take an old building and give it a new use, preserving areas that are most intact and rehabbing the interior as needed so cost is minimal. Moreover, if you are restoring an older building, then you do not have to meet the same, strict requirements as new buildings must. Of course, the older building must be deemed safe and stable, but you have more flexibility in terms of water retention and hurricane codes. Before any type of project can begin on a property designated historic, nwflbusinessclimate.com | Business Climate | 53


a proposal must be drawn up and submitted to the City of Pensacola’s ARB for approval. The ARB looks at a number of factors and potential impacts, such as: whether or not the development will benefit the community, and the board judges the appropriateness of the architectural plan for a new building in terms of how it relates and communicates with the neighborhood around it. They also consider whether or not the old building could and should be moved and saved before considering demolition. The ARB’s reviewing process can take anywhere from four to eight months, which not only allows time for their own investigation of a historic property, but allows the community time to submit their input regarding the proposal for the site. The Sunday House, for example, was an unusual case for the ARB. For starters, a proposal was not submitted to the ARB prior to working out a plan for the property. Although the ARB’s evaluation of a property typically begins with a proposal, followed by a board member’s visit to the property, the ARB conducted a site visit before reviewing the application for the Sunday House. The ARB visited the property in response to receiving a report that the site was structurally unsound, plus it contained mold and asbestos. However, the ARB determined the building was not as changed as the report had implied, and as far as the ARB was concerned the property was in better condition than many other properties that the board has helped restore. As it stands now, the ARB does not believe the plans proposed for the Sunday House will set the right architectural language for the rest of the neighborhood. The proposal contains plans for a parking lot that does not meet the City’s code and the property will not meet water retention codes. The ARB has to consider a range of questions about the property, such as how will it look in the surrounding neighborhood. The plans for the Sunday House property show over 20 townhomes in a single location, which gives the impression of an isolated island of dense houses in an area without similar development. Even though the ARB has tabled proposals in the past, it is very rare that they ever deny a proposal. Over the past 10 years, the ARB has tabled roughly 90 proposals to get more information about a property before it was lost. Ultimately, the ARB aims to speak for the community and they want successful projects that will move forward to completion. They want to confirm plans for the Sunday House property will benefit the community in the long term, and, for 54 | Business Climate | nwflbusinessclimate.com

this reason, the ARB is calling for a drastic revision of site proposal if the plans for Sunday House are to move forward. While there are arguments that preservation stifles development, the truth is exactly opposite: preservation creates jobs and encourages heritage tourism—meaning an increase in visitors coming to Pensacola (and spending money) because of our area’s unique history. From our Spanish forts like Pickens and Barrancas to the iconic Pensacola Lighthouse, the value of preservation is not only in retaining such landmarks and properties that make our area special, but in the positive impact of preserving these pieces of history for bettering our economy by increasing jobs and tourism. “If you look at Pensacola over the years,” said Pristera. “It’s clear that using the resources we have, including our history, has played into the success of where we are now. Part of the Palafox Business District has been added to the national register and Palafox Street is one of the Top 10 Great Streets in America.”


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GOING INTO OVERTIME A new overtime rule from the Department of Labor sounds pretty simple—if you work over 40 hours per week and are on a salary of less than $47,476, you are entitled to time-and-ahalf—but in this world of competing employer/employee interests and large profit disparities between small and large businesses, the regulation might have many unintended consequences. Some of those consequences will be great for workers and business alike—while other consequences may result in a quandary worse than the one the rule was supposed to remedy.

by Josh Newby


he expanded overtime coverage marks the most significant change to the way time-and-a-half is dispensed since 2004, when amendments were made to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that addressed the determination of which employees are exempt from the requirement for minimum wage and overtime pay. Even then, the changes dealt with executive, administrative, professional, creative and sales positions and did not tweak the salary threshold, which had been set in the 70s. It should be noted that, since the 70s, it is estimated that nonfarm productivity has increased nearly 50 percent. Until the new rule takes place, those making under

$23,660 who work over 40 hours a week are entitled to overtime pay, unless you are in a supervisory position of some sort or are in a terminal position, like an attorney. When the new rule is implemented on Dec. 1, 2016, however, that figure increases to $47,476, or $913 a week, and there are no longer exemptions for managerial positions. There are, however, exemptions from registered nurses, hospital employees, some public school teachers and some seasonal hires. “This new change may seem scary, but the Department of Labor has put in a lot of safety nets,” said Amie Remington, an attorney at Landrum Staffing Services. “If you’re not open

12 months a year, for example, and your gross receipts do not exceed $500,000, there are certain workarounds to the regulation.” The average American workweek is 47 hours, so a lot of salaried workers stand to benefit from this change. In fact, the Labor Department estimates that as many as 4.2 million executive, administrative and professional employees who earn above the old threshold but below the new one will be able to receive time-and-a-half for the hours above 40 they work each week. A primary concern of the Labor Department was that many workers were being taken advantage of, sometimes clocking in at 60 hours a week with no additional nwflbusinessclimate.com | Business Climate | 57

Economy compensation, all because they are salaried. Record-keeping will become a paramount concern as the new changes roll in toward the end of the year. Salaried employees will be expected to keep a timesheet of their professional activities so that their employer will know whether or not to dispense overtime pay. If the employee complains that they are not being properly compensated, the Department of Labor can perform an audit and require fines of the offending company. Moreso, the organization would be on the hook for attorney’s fees and possibly even liquidated damages up to double the missed pay, plus statutory interest. “It’s obviously in a company’s best interest to comply,” said Remington. There are a couple of different ways to comply, though, that may be more costeffective than beginning to pay large swaths of the population time-and-a-half. For example, while they can simply start paying overtime rates to applicable workers, they can also raise an employee’s salary to above the new threshold to avoid the “penalty.” Employers can also more strictly mandate that laborers do not work more than 40 hours a week, then bring on part-time workers to fill the gap. “The result is equity in the workplace,” said Remington. “These are some positive impacts.” This is also a great opportunity for organizations to look closely at working patterns and explore greater efficiency options. Company managers may discover

that there are some unnecessary tasks they are giving to employees, or that paperwork has unintentionally made the workday rife with bureaucratic time-wasting. By trimming the fat and making processes more effective and efficient, employers may find that they can avoid overtime pay while making their business run more smoothly, all because this regulation forced them to take a close look at their internal procedures. While this change is likely to catch many by surprise, the change was actually proposed in 2014. In 2015, the proposed regulations were released prior to a comment period, wherein the Department received about 270,000 recommendations from the public. It is only after a two-year vetting period that these regulations are being implemented. Nevertheless, there are various organizations that have come out against the change. The Florida Chamber Foundation released a statement saying that the federal overtime rules were a cause for concern in Florida’s small business community. The most recent Florida Chamber Foundation Small Business Index Survey showed 22 percent of Florida’s small businesses say government regulations are their top concern, up from 10 percent last quarter. Florida small businesses were particularly concerned with recent changes to Federal overtime regulations. Especially in Northwest Florida, where tourism is big business, hotel resort managers and others in the hospitality industry are beginning to sweat the upcoming date.

Overtime Rules Around the World


Employees who work over 40 hours are entitled to time-and-ahalf, and workers are not allowed to exceed 36 hours of overtime per month.

United Kingdom

There is no ovetime compensation in the UK, but employers are discouraged from allowing their workers to exceed 48 hours per week, unless the employee agrees to the overage.


Hours over 35 per week are paid on an increasing level of compensation: 1.25 times the normal wage for the first eight, and time-and-a-half after that. French laborers are not allowed to work more than 10 hours per day, but can stretch to 12 with employee and employer agreement. No matter what, however, they cannot exceed 48 hours per week.

Canada Photo: Saptarshi Biswas 58 | Business Climate | nwflbusinessclimate.com

Overtime regulations differ by jurisdiction, with some drawing the line at 40 hours and some at 44. Usually, though, the overtime rate is 1.5 times the normal wage.

This is a dramatic increase of more than double the previous threshold.”

“This is a dramatic increase of more than double the previous threshold,” said Todd Thomson, vice president of public affairs for the Greater Pensacola Chamber. “Because this is not legislation, we’re kind of hamstrung in our ability to fight against it, so we’re just informing people.” The Chamber and other pro-business groups believe that this rule will make it more difficult for businesses wanting to expand, and even for someone looking to create a brandnew business. “Maybe if this change had happened gradually, it could be something people could adjust to and plan for,” said Thomson. “As it is though, we are afraid that in this tourism-heavy region, managerial positions

may be made hourly—thus stripping them of benefits—and employers won’t be able to hire new people. There are all these additional barriers now to doing business.” And tourism is not the only industry that may be negatively affected. Remington laments the fact that there is no sort of non-profit exemption, especially in an area home to over a thousand such organizations. The rule is already facing some degree of legal scrutiny, as well. In late June, the Supreme Court asked a lower court to look at whether federal law allows the agency to require people working as service advisers at auto dealerships to receive overtime pay. A California auto dealer claimed that its service advisers were similar to salesmen and

mechanics, who are exempt from the FLSA requirements. These types of nuances always emerge in the wake of broad regulatory changes, according to Remington. As Dec. 1 gets closer and closer, many similar questions and concerns will undoubtedly be raised. Organizations on both sides of the issue are working to educate and inform the public about the standards and ramifications so that no one will be caught off guard, but it is anyone’s guess if this change will have the intended effect of protecting workers and helping to eliminate output/ wage disparity, or if unintended consequences will further cripple already struggling small businesses.

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Around the Region

Pensacola Museum of Art part of University of West Florida The University of West Florida has entered into a gift agreement with the Pensacola Museum of Art to transfer the museum to the University of West Florida – effective July 1, 2016. This agreement will complement art education at UWF as the University assumes responsibility for nurturing an endowment and maintaining the museum’s art collection – including several hundred pieces of 20th and 21st century art on paper, as well as threedimensional works. “The Pensacola Museum of Art is an excellent addition to the University and enhances the impact that we are able to make in downtown Pensacola,” said Dr. Brendan Kelly, vice president for university advancement president of the UWF Foundation, Inc. “UWF is the perfect home for the museum, which will play an even greater role as Pensacola continues to evolve as a dynamic cultural hub in Northwest Florida.” Kelly also serves as the CEO of the UWF Historic Trust. Community engagement and partnerships are essential to UWF’s efforts to advance the quality of life in Northwest Florida. “We’re excited to partner with the University of West Florida,” said PMA Board President Edward Tisdale. “The board feels that this partnership will place the museum on a trajectory for a sustainable and incredibly successful future.” The museum’s historic building at 407 S. Jefferson St. was built in Spanish Revival style and is a former jail, the first permanent structure to house prisoners in the community. When the jail outgrew the space in 1954, the city agreed to lease the facility to create exhibition space for an arts center, officially named the Pensacola Museum of Art in 1982. Over the past 62 years, the Pensacola Museum of Art has presented hundreds of exhibitions and thousands of educational opportunities, becoming the foundation for the visual arts in the Pensacola community. The PMA serves nearly 100,000 patrons annually. The PMA’s Permanent Collection includes 20th and 21st century works on paper. The museum also owns decorative arts collections of European and American glass and African art. The PMA offers a wide range of educational and cultural programs year-round, including artist talks and lectures, adult art workshops, summer art camps for kids, Art in the Park, Suite Soiree and more. The mission of the Pensacola Museum of Art is to be a bridge to the visual arts for the diverse populations of Pensacola and its surrounding communities. The mutual objectives of the PMA and UWF will continue to be served and advanced through this partnership. For more information about the Pensacola Museum of Art, visit pensacolamuseum.org.

Dates announced for “RALLY 2016” candidate forums on WSRE “RALLY” candidate forums on WSRE are an election cycle tradition in Northwest Florida, going back to the 1970s. The “RALLY 2016” broadcasts for the upcoming primary and general elections in Escambia, Santa Rosa and Okaloosa counties have been scheduled for August 2–4 and October 25–26 respectively. “RALLY 2016” is produced by WSRE in cooperation with the Okaloosa County and Pensacola Bay Area Leagues of Women Voters to give viewers an unbiased look at the candidates running for public office and an opportunity to hear their responses to questions on current issues. Mollye Barrows is the producer and will co-host the programs with WUWF’s Sandra Averhart. Races include U.S. House of Representatives District 1; Florida Senate Districts 1 and 2; Florida House Districts 1, 2, 3 and 4; Escambia County Sheriff, County Commissioner, School Board, School Superintendent and Tax Collector; Santa Rosa County Sheriff, County Commissioner, School Board and School Superintendent; and Okaloosa County Sheriff, County Commissioner, School Board, School Superintendent and Property Appraiser.

Chamber plans to fight workers’ compensation coverage increase The Greater Pensacola Chamber announced in early June that it will fight the spike in workers’ compensation rates that will take place this summer. As a result of a recent Florida Supreme Court ruling, workers’ compensation rates in Florida are scheduled to rise by 17.1 percent on August 1. “We surveyed our Chamber membership and found that our local business community is adamantly opposed to this workers’ compensation rate hike,” stated Greater Pensacola Chamber Board Chairman Gary Bembry. “We also heard loud and clear that our membership wants the Chamber to join the fight in finding a solution to this onerous rate increase.” Eighty-seven percent of respondents to the Greater Pensacola Chamber’s membership survey said this rise in workers’ compensation rates will have a negative impact on their business, and 97 percent of survey respondents want the Chamber to engage in fighting this increase. The Greater Pensacola Chamber will partner with the Florida Chamber of Commerce and other pro-business groups to find a legislative solution to this increase. To learn how to engage in this effort, please contact Todd Thomson, the Chamber’s Vice President of Public Affairs, at tthomson@pensacolachamber.com.

Florida launches app to connect job seekers with employers In June, Governor Rick Scott announced the launch of the Employ Florida mobile app, which gives Florida job seekers instant access to thousands of job openings across the state. The Employ Florida mobile app is now available free on Google Play for Android and in the Apple App Store. The app connects job seekers to Employ Florida, one of the largest job banks in the nation, with postings from Florida businesses and nearly 20,000 websites, including Monster, Indeed and CareerBuilder. Governor Scott’s announcement comes as hundreds of business and education leaders met last week in Orlando for the Degrees to Jobs Summit, focused on connecting Florida’s world-class talent pipeline with companies across the state. The Employ Florida Mobile app allows access to more than 200,000 job advertisements from more than 130,000 Florida businesses. Customers registered on EmployFlorida.com can apply for positions and save searches. Guest users can view openings on their mobile device, view previous searches and apply later to those in which they are interested. The app allows job seekers to map, categorize and sort job listings by geographic location and quickly locate the latest jobs in their area with the “Jobs Nearby” function. Registered users can even upload their resumes and apply for a job while on the go.

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An unbiased look at Northwest Florida candidates: Primary Election Candidate Forums 7pm Tuesday–Thursday, Aug 2–4 General Election Candidate Forums 7pm Tuesday–Wednesday, Oct 25–26 An election cycle tradition going back to the 1970s, RALLY is produced by WSRE in cooperation with the Okaloosa County and Pensacola Bay Area Leagues of Women Voters. Races to be covered: U.S. House of Representatives District 1 Florida Senate Districts 1 and 2 Florida House Districts 1, 2, 3 and 4 Okaloosa County: Sheriff, County Commissioner, School Board, School Superintendent, Property Appraiser Santa Rosa County: Sheriff, County Commissioner, School Board, School Superintendent Escambia County: Sheriff, County Commissioner, School Board, School Superintendent, Tax Collector wsre.org/RALLY

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A community service of WSRE. Hosted by Mollye Barrows and Sandra Averhart.

Mike & Phyllis Johnson Honorary Chairs

For tickets and event information: wsre.org/wineandfood (850) 484-1054

Troy Gagliardo Celebrity Chef

62 |17639-0616 Business Climate WSRE| nwflbusinessclimate.com PM-BC July FP ad.indd 1

6/20/16 3:40 PM

Around the Region

Combined Insurance Services announces achievement and new team members “Professional Achievement” Cherie Meguess, Practice Leader for Combined Insurance Services, has become a Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) Professional by receiving her certification through the National Association of Health Underwriters. She has been in the insurance industry for 17 years, the last three with Combined Insurance Services. The coursework required for a PPACA Professional designation provides her with a better understanding of the key technical components of the law, allowing her to inform clients on healthcare plan changes and requirements for employers. “Two New Additions” Combined Insurance Services would like to announce the addition of 2 new benefits consultants to the firm. Rob Kirkman has been in the insurance industry for 17 years as a sales agent, working for AON/Combined Insurance Company of America, RBC Liberty Life, Humana, Wellcare, and United Health Care after serving in the United States Marine Corps. Rob’s brother Jim Kirkman has also been in the industry for 17 years as a sales agent, working for AON/Combined Insurance Company and RBC Liberty. Jim is a veteran, also serving in the United States Marine Corps. They are both able to now provide consultation for individual health insurance needs and ancillary products such as life, dental and vision.

Florida’s Great Northwest appoints new president Florida’s Great Northwest, the 12-county, regional economic development organization of Northwest Florida, is pleased to announce the appointment of a new president and chief executive officer, Kim Wilmes. In this role, Wilmes will provide a long-term strategic vision to promote the region for economic success. At the organization’s board meeting in June, the Board of Directors voted unanimously to hire Wilmes following a nationwide search. Wilmes was chosen for her experience in developing strategy, building consensus and fundraising. Wilmes took the helm on July 1 and operate out of the organization’s Niceville, Fla., corporate office.

Florida SBDC at UWF hosts Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program business plan competition The Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of West Florida recently hosted a business plan competition to conclude its inaugural Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program, an entrepreneurial training initiative for veterans in the state of Florida seeking to start their own businesses. The program – piloted by UWF, in conjunction with the FSBDC Network and Military Veterans Resource Center – opened in March to more than 80 veterans. The first phase included online training, and the second involved three weekends of direct business training, mentoring and an optional business plan competition on the final day. Bradley Cantrell of Fort Walton Beach, Robert Fuszner of Pensacola and Lee Hinman of Panama City had the top three business concepts. Cantrell won the competition with “Happy Hour Ice Cream,” an alcohol-infused ice cream parlor with non-alcoholic options also available. Fuszner came in second place with “StarChip Computers,” a solution for cybersecurity and computer aging issues. Hinman was the third place winner with “eMarket Places,” an improved search mechanism to find various, highly rated service contractors. Veterans Florida, the Florida SBDC Network, the UWF Military Veterans Resource Center and other partners in the program held a closing session in Tampa on June 27 and 28, where administrators discussed the program’s future and opportunities for expansion. Business mentoring from the Florida SBDC is available to all program participants. The Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program is available to veterans who are active duty or have been honorably discharged; reside in Florida or plan to locate to Florida; and demonstrate a strong interest in entrepreneurship. The program is provided at no cost. For more information about the Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program and business plan competition, contact sbdcmarketing@uwf.edu.

Florida resident launches startup aimed at teaching young girls about self-asceptance Florida resident and mother of two girls, Shannon Addison, has launched BreadCrumbz, a start-up with the mission of teaching girls between the ages of 6 and 12 years old about the value of self-acceptance. Shannon created the BreadCrumbz brand, which follows the lives and interests of four Crumbz characters, after observing the negative undertones present in the interactions her girls and their friends had with each other at school. The four Crumbz characters – Samantha Sourdough, Rachel Rye, Whitney Wheat, and Penelope Pumpernickel – each have a unique personality and different interests. Despite their differences, however, the Crumbz all encourage girls to find out what it is they like to do and where their interests lie, and to stay true to themselves in all situations. nwflbusinessclimate.com | Business Climate | 63

Profile for Ballinger Publishing

Northwest Florida's Business Climate July 2016  

Northwest Florida's Business Climate July 2016