Richard Clark, president, Clark Leadership Consulting

Last week: Governor Scott’s “It’s Your Money” tour provided valuable input for his tax-cutting proposals for his election year. As we celebrate announcements of large companies adding new jobs, we all should realize that it is those very small companies that add five to 10 new jobs that need recognition as well. Just do the math: One thousand Florida small business employers that each adds five new jobs next year [could] account for 5,000 new opportunities for Florida citizens. I hope the governor will spend even more time visiting these smaller employers.

Looking ahead: It’s interesting to watch the Broward County Commission’s budget process. While many accused them for being political for giving the Republican sheriff a hard time during his administration, clearly our new sheriff, a Democrat, is equally as challenged trying to seek the funds he needs to protect and serve. Whether it’s a Republican or Democrat in the sheriff’s position, law-enforcement deserves a full hearing on meeting our needs as citizens of the county.

Aug. 25

Last week: Affordable Care Act continues to create uncertainty and change.  While, not a new trend in healthcare, doctors are leaving their private practices to join hospitals.  Hospitals are merging to save operating cost and hopefully increasing quality of patient care.  Employers are cautiously monitoring how it will impact them.  And then, there’s the American public.  The 2014 election will surely be interesting.  I wonder who will win and who will lose?

Next week: Virtual doctor visits deserve more consideration and more support from insurance companies. The positive reasons are obvious. Let’s keep this concept moving forward!

Aug. 11

Last week: How to Keep the SuperStars? I don’t believe that FAB CEO, Jason Goldberg contributed at all to building a culture of trust and loyalty by what many employees may have found offensive, if not disrespectful, announcing the layoff of 100 employees via a company email this week positioning his misguided strategy as "the opportunity to start your new job search immediately." I believe that the search firms will have a hay day in combing over the SuperStars (the winning survivors of the cut) who now have serious second thoughts about becoming the next transitioning class!

Looking ahead: Obviously it is major news to announce a new large employer company to south Florida planning on hiring 500 to 1,000 new employees. If each one of our small businesses added just 2 or 3 new employees, the aggregate number would far surpass the promised jobs of one new company. There is plenty to celebrate and write about, but let’s not overlook the real and consistent job developers in our county.

Aug. 4

This week: South Florida's economic future depends upon its continued success in competing in an every growing international marketplace.  Our seaport and airport are two critically important drivers of today’s economy and will become even more significant in the future.  As a community, let us stay focused on supporting future development for both. 

Last week: Regardless of one's position on the issue of Stand Your Ground, the ultimate resolution of the debate is through the legislative process!  The initiative to boycott will not advance a resolution, only negatively impact the over 1,047,100 (2012 estimate) hard working Floridians employed in the tourism industry.  These employees represent a wide cross-section of our population touching every economic, social, and ethic composition.  A responsible debate among all interested parties on this issue is appropriate.  Let's not create economic pain for those whose families depend upon their jobs in the industry to survive.   

July 21

Last week: International relationships and the growing tension between the United States and other countries in the world have been in the news. The Edward Snowden situation has added even more complexity in our foreign relationships and should cause concern within the business community. The continuing civil unrest in countries wherein American businesses operate give rise to safety and stability of the business climate. It clearly demonstrates how fragile relationships are around the world and the risks American companies face in maintaining operations in these countries.

Looking ahead: Doing business in China is a story that should demand more attention. Charles “Chip” Starnes, a co-owner of Specialty Medical Supplies, Inc. in Coral Springs, paid a high price physically, emotionally and financially in his company’s operations in China. As more American companies seek to reap the economic benefits of doing business in China, we should all be very mindful with regard to the lessons learned by Mr. Starnes. Many more South Florida companies do business in China about which is not publicly known.

July 14

Last week: While the tragic plane crash in San Francisco dominated the news this week, what was significant to south Florida was the emergency response by the medical community, in particular, the hospitals, and their in-house resources to speak multiple languages.  In south Florida, there continues to be a growing number of languages spoken, with English not always being one of them.  As we are one of the largest destinations in the world, our hospitals recognize the need to have staff that can communicate in many languages.  Important in our preparedness is to continue to expand the language capability of first responders.

Looking ahead: For years, it was only a dream that we could attract people to actually live and work in downtown Fort Lauderdale.  One of the most exciting opportunities on the horizon is the number of rental units that will open a new option.  The proposed projects now being considered will finally help us realize the "totality" of our downtown.  It will benefit the arts, retail, hospitality, restaurants and the like.  Most of all, it will bring  people closer to their jobs.  Just image, living only blocks (walking distance) from work rather than a frustrating and time consuming commute.  Dreams can become reality when innovation and the free market prevail.




Looking ahead: Business leaders have consistently expressed concerned about the uncertainty in public policy in Congress. It  has resulted in a more conservative view for future expansion and addition of new jobs. The Obama administration's decision to delay the employer mandate in the healthcare reform law until January of 2015 relieves some of the immediate concerns, but represents only a temporary measure.  The debate will continue in the Congress, and, with the 2014 election on the near horizon, uncertainty will only further escalate and potentially result in delays to add new jobs.

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