Member News


Clay Business Connection

News from around the Clay County business community and Chamber of Commerce.

Florida Chamber Releases Quarter 3 Small Business Index Survey Results

“One important trend to note is that two years ago, 'Workforce Quality' was ranked fifth as the top issue,” said Dr. Jerry Parrish, Chief Economist and Director of Research for the Florida Chamber Foundation. "One year ago, it moved up from third and now it consistently ranks as a top issue for Florida's small businesses."

On the bright side, 70 percent of respondents expect their sales will increase over the next year.

"Florida’s small businesses continue to face a number of challenges, including increased concerns about workforce quality and government regulations,” said Tami Fitzpatrick, Chair of the Florida Chamber’s Small Business Council, and Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Entropy Technology Design, Inc. “The Florida Chamber’s Small Business Council looks forward to working together to identify and support solutions that will help and grow Florida’s small business community."

Tropical Storm Emily


At 8AM EDT, Tropical Storm Emily was located 45 miles west of Tampa moving toward the east at 8 mph with maximum sustained winds of 45mph. An east motion is expected to continue today. A turn toward the northeast and an increase in forward speed are expected tonight or Tuesday. The center of Emily is expected to move inland over the west-central Florida peninsula later today and move across central Florida through tonight. Emily is expected to move offshore of the east-central Florida coast early Tuesday. There are Tropical Storm Warnings in place for west-central Florida from Anclote River southward to Bonita Beach.

Your Opinion Matters: Help Develop the 2018 Florida Business Agenda

Your opinion is important to help us shape Florida's best possible future. We invite you to take this survey and share your voice in creating the 2018 Florida Business Agenda - a member-driven, consensus agenda built by thousands of business leaders, partnering associations and local chamber members, just like you.

Goodwill To Hire 30

Goodwill Industries of North Florida has just announced that it will be hosting a hiring fair Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Westside Goodwill Job Junction located at 4527 Lenox Avenue. Goodwill is looking to immediately fill 30 positions including warehouse, landscape, retail and laundry jobs. For more information visit the employment section of

First Coast Expressway (FCE) South Project Detours This Week Impact Overnight Travel

Clay County and Duval County – Two locations on State Road 23 in the area considered the First Coast Expressway South project will be the sites of overnight detours this week, beginning tonight. The detour/closure schedule is as follows:

·         Monday, July 10 and Friday, July 14 from 9 p.m. - 5 a.m.:  full closure of northbound and southbound State Road 23 from Argyle Forest Boulevard to Oakleaf Plantation Parkway in Clay County to allow traffic shift work on State Road 23. 

o   Detour onto Oakleaf Plantation Parkway for north-south travel.

·         Wednesday, July 12 from 9 p.m. - 5 a.m.:  full closure of northbound and southbound State Road 23 from Argyle Forest Boulevard to 103rd Street in Duval County for installation of toll gantry structure.

o   Detour onto Old Middleburg Road South for north-south travel. 

Commissioner Adam Putnam Names Dr. Martha Rhodes Roberts as 2017 Woman of the Year in Agriculture

Dr. Roberts dedicated 35 years of service to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, where she championed policy changes for the advancement of Florida's agriculture industry, trade and production practices. The award, now in its 33rd year, recognizes women who have made outstanding contributions to Florida agriculture.

“I'm honored to name Dr. Roberts the 2017 Woman of the Year in Agriculture,” said Commissioner Adam H. Putnam. “During her tenure with the department, Dr. Roberts advanced Florida agriculture.”

Dr. Roberts was born in Oxford, Mississippi, and later moved to Gainesville, Georgia, where she attended Blue Ridge High School and participated in the 4-H Club. Roberts graduated summa cum laude from North Georgia College, and she continued her studies at the University of Georgia, where she earned her master's degree in bacteriology, a Ph.D. in microbiology and public health postdoctoral studies.

Dr. Roberts joined the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Division of Food Safety in 1968 as a Microbiologist/Chemist. She was appointed Assistant Commissioner of Agriculture in 1984, and was the first woman in the United States to hold this position. From 1991 to 2003, Dr. Roberts served as the department's Deputy Commissioner and played a pinnacle role in shaping agricultural policies to improve practices in each stage of production. Beginning in 2003, Dr. Roberts served 13 years as Director of Industry Relations  and then as Special Assistant for Government Affairs for the University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS).

Throughout her career, Dr. Roberts served in leadership capacities for numerous organizations, including: President of the Association of Food and Drug Officials, Chairman of the Conference for Food Protection, the FDA Food Advisory Committee and the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods, the University of Florida International Trade and Policy Center Board of Directors, the Farm Foundation, Food Foresight and Chair of the Feeding Tomorrow Foundation. She has served on the Board of the Center for Produce Safety since its inception in 2007, and currently serves as a consultant with the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture on FSMA implementation with the FDA.

Dr. Roberts has received numerous awards from the FDA, USDA and industry associations. In recognition of her lasting contributions to the agriculture industry, Dr. Roberts was inducted into the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame in 2003. She continues to support Florida agriculture as a scientific authority, industry counselor and advocate.

The Woman of the Year in Agriculture award is sponsored by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Florida State Fair Authority, and the award will be presented to the recipient during the 2018 Florida State Fair in Tampa.

Job Fair - Over 30 Companies Hiring for 100's of New Jobs

At our most recent job fair on June 20th, we hosted almost 40 Companies as well as 800 job seekers who had the opportunity to meet with many of Jacksonville's best companies.

UNF Division of Continuing Education Wins Distinguished Award

The University of North Florida’s Division of Continuing Education was just recognized by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Holmes Corporation as a TOP 20 SHRM Educational Provider nationwide! The awards ceremony took place in New Orleans, Louisiana on May 2-4, 2017. Certificates were presented to the institutions that had the highest enrollments for the 2016 SHRM Learning System® course.

Lots of News

I hope everyone is getting some time to enjoy the summer vacation period.  If it is anything like the Chamber, when not resting on vacation or off hours, it is a frantic pace to keep up with many tasks.  The biggest news is our impending move in late September to our new home in Fleming Island.  There will lots of posts and news as we prepare so you will be able to follow along leading up to our own ribbon cutting and grand re-opening. 

Your Opinion Counts!

Clay County residents and employees have through Sunday, July 16 to express their opinions about transit service within, to and from the county, as part of a study to help identify the county’s need for public transportation and recommend transit initiatives.