Governor Scott Announces Two Pensacola Area Companies as Innovators in Business

Awards honor businesses for job creation, entrepreneurship, and export growth and excellence

Today, Governor Rick Scott, along with Secretary of Commerce and President & CEO of Enterprise Florida (EFI) Gray Swoope, announced two Pensacola area companies as winners of the 2013 Governor’s Innovators in Business Awards during Florida Business Innovators Week. The awards recognize Florida companies in select industries that have influenced the state’s economic growth and diversification over the last year.

Governor Scott said, “The economy of the Emerald Coast is on a comeback due to the efforts of organizations like Navy Federal Credit Union and Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum. Florida families can live the American Dream because of the opportunities they are providing. We are committed to creating an opportunity economy in Florida that will support jobs for generations to come, and the companies recognized today are helping us to achieve that goal.”

Secretary of Commerce Swoope said, “Florida and its companies continue to be the model for economic recovery and growth. Companies from every industry around the state have helped produce jobs and provide opportunities that companies in other states just haven’t been able to match. They truly deserve to be recognized for their resilience, innovation and achievements. On behalf of EFI, congratulations to each of these worthy companies and we look forward to their continued success.”

EFI has hosted the annual program for 30 years. The winners are chosen by a panel of judges that includes business leaders, past winners and EFI staff. Winners were recognized at a special event in the Governor’s Mansion this evening. The event was sponsored by Bank of America and Florida Trend magazine.

Navy Federal Credit Union of Escambia County won the Business Expansion award in a major market. Navy Federal’s largest regional operations center resides in Pensacola and they plan to continue their expansion and migration of personnel from Virginia to Florida. They recently announced a project that will add more than 1,500 jobs in Florida’s Northwest region over the next five years.

“We are honored to be selected for the Governor’s Innovators in Business Award and appreciate the support we have received from Governor Scott and his team. Our talented workforce in Florida is key to supporting the credit union’s strong growth and an important way for us to continue to deliver outstanding service to our members,” said Cutler Dawson, President and CEO, Navy Federal Credit Union.

Debbie Calder, Senior Vice President of Navy Federal Credit Union said, “We appreciate Governor Scott’s recognition of Navy Federal’s growth in Pensacola. We are proud to have added over 3,000 jobs in Pensacola over the past 10 years, and look forward to continued growth in the future.”

Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum of Escambia County won the Innovation and Expansion in Tourism and Hospitality award in a major market. As part of Florida’s tourism market, in particular the cultural heritage sector, Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum has grown from a volunteer organization to a booming business in a few short years. Through fiscally sound planning, the business experienced continued growth resulting in an increase in visitation from just 8,000 visitors in 2009 to more than 150,000 in 2013.

Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum Executive Director, Jon Hill said, “Considering the many outstanding destinations, cultural sites and attractions that the Sunshine State has to offer; it is an honor to be considered for such a prestigious award. This is a positive affirmation of the hard work of so many over the past few years to preserve the Pensacola Lighthouse and make it one of Florida’s more popular cultural attractions. Over the past three years, Governor Scott has led the charge for growth in the tourism industry through many of his initiatives including a greater investment in Visit Florida. In addition to the investment in Visit Florida, the renewed funding of Department of Historical Resources has increased the number of grants to cultural institutions. These grants are not only an investment in the preservation of Florida’s rich history, but also create jobs in other industries such as construction, research, marketing and advertising. Thanks to these and many other policies of Governor Scott, Florida’s tourism, and the Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum, have experienced growth in jobs and visitation, and continue to flourish while much of the nation is still struggling.”


Three awards were given in each of the following categories:

  • Governor’s Business Expansion Award: Florida companies that expanded their operations in 2012, investing capital and creating jobs for Floridians.
  • Governor’s Newcomer Award: New-to-Florida companies that began business operations in 2012.
  • Governor’s Export Excellence Award: Florida companies with new or significant increases in documented export sales in 2012.
  • Governor’s Innovation/Entrepreneurship Award: Florida start-up companies or innovative companies that have set a standard for entrepreneurship and creativity in the past three years.
  • Governor’s Innovation in Tourism and Hospitality Award: Florida companies that best exemplify innovation developed through product or process in the last three years.
  • Governor’s Rising Star Awards: Rising Florida companies that have shown a commitment to business growth, professional excellence and involvement in their communities.

To see the full list of this year’s winners please click here.


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