Page 72



community updates

g ulf coast state colle g e


Like the phoenix in Greek mythology, this college is rising out of the ashes (or at least rubble and other storm debris) of its predecessor, to be reborn or regenerated into a new and improved college better able to focus on and support the communities we serve. Said in a different and perhaps more applicable way (paraphrasing Nietzsche’s famous quote) – what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger! At Gulf Coast we take our role as the community’s college in great earnest. We, and those who came before, prepared our college to meet the needs of the community in its direst hour and darkest days. Using taxpayer-provided resources in the most efficient way possible, we developed an educational facility that could double as Bay County’s Emergency Operations Center in times of need or duress. We insured dual purpose in the design and survivability in the construction. We included in this facility the ability to support media/news outlets that wanted to broadcast during and after an activation event (like a hurricane or an oil spill), and well before the beginning of last year’s hurricane season we made arrangements with the county’s emergency management staff to embed college radio station personnel (90.7 FM) at the EOC during any activation for a hurricane. The unsung heroes of those two efforts were the college trustees and personnel, as well as county governmental leaders and emergency management staff - then and now – who had the ability to foresee the direst of potential circumstances and the vision to build capacity and plan for the worst. In the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, all three campuses of the college were utilized to house and support first responders, utility workers, and disaster recovery operations. In some instances, we were used as a logistics hub and in others a distribution site for disaster relief supplies; all while rebuilding our capacity to return to the business of higher education as quickly as possible. Our pre-Michael

visit panama city beach

Escaping to Panama City Beach will take you away from it all and make you feel at home all at the same time. It’s a quality that has enchanted generations of travelers who have made vacationing at Panama City Beach a family tradition. Whether you are a visitor planning a vacation this fall or a local looking for a “staycation”, Panama City Beach is ready for you! While some things never change, like our annual Pirates of the High Seas Fest, our community continues to surprise even repeat visitors. Our fall events calendar offers a surf-and-turf menu of festivals and events for both visitors and locals that include the Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam, Oktoberfest, Lobster Fest and even a Bloody Mary & Music Festival just to name a few! THE CIRCUIT September/October 2019

When learning that 30% of our employees and students had their homes destroyed or so damaged that it would take months and months to implement repairs, and that much of the rest of the communities we serve had suffered a similar or greater level of damage, I swallowed my well-intentioned but inadequate “we’ve got this” pride and started making phone calls. Offers of support, along with truckloads of supplies, and stacks of checks and gift cards began rolling in from sister colleges around the state, and beyond. Folks from the Department of Education, Division of Florida Colleges, and our system’s Risk Management Consortium quickly made their way to the area and began to pitch in. Food, water, cleaning supplies, and even comfort items came rolling in from colleges and colleagues I knew and many I didn’t. Our college’s own GCSC Foundation then stepped in and began providing hot meals to all of our students and employees, other types of financial support for employees, and expanded scholarships and grants for our students – all to the tune of $1.5 million to-date. Money and other types of tangible support continues to roll in from college presidents and their foundations, from local and state-wide student clubs and organizations, as well as college-based and the state-wide student government associations, and other community based supporters. Our fans and biggest cheerleaders in the response, recovery, and rebuilding efforts have been friends and strangers, locals and people far away, those with a vested interest in the college and those with only care in mind. If it takes a village to raise a child, then it takes a far larger group to rebuild a college and keep the hopes and dreams of our students alive and well. We will be stronger, better, and we will forever be grateful and indebted to all those who were there for us and whose compassion and support kept us going when we needed it most. We are Gulf Coast!


Relax! You’re in Panama City Beach. The Real. FUN. Beach. that is always full of sunshine, friendly smiles and year-round fun!


plans were to “take care of our own” and remove the burden of our recovery support from what was likely to be an overtaxed response system. Little did we realize how inadequate our planning and preparation would turn out to be in the aftermath of a category 5 hurricane.

With endless sunshine and 27 miles of pristine beaches, the fall season signals milder temps, crystal clear waters and blue skies that provide the perfect combination for exploring the destination’s State Parks! Get outside and discover one of Panama City Beach’s many eco-adventures. The parks are alive with wildlife including deer, migratory birds and alligators. Plus, the activities are endless. Hiking is the most popular pastime of park visitors, but you can also enjoy the water with kayaking or snorkeling. When the sun goes down, make the night sky your canopy by spending a night or two camping in the park. It’s this mix of beautiful surroundings and fun events for locals and visitors that puts the FUN in Real. FUN. Beach. Every time of year is special in Panama City Beach but the fall season brings its own brand of magic with spectacular weather that simply makes you want to wiggle your toes in the sand and experience the best of what the destination has to offer.

Profile for PCB Chamber of Commerce

The Circuit - The Fall Issue 2019  

The Fall Issue features a great featured about Unsung Heroes from Hurricane Michael and additional updates from Chamber members and local le...

The Circuit - The Fall Issue 2019  

The Fall Issue features a great featured about Unsung Heroes from Hurricane Michael and additional updates from Chamber members and local le...