Florida’s Great Northwest Takes Home Win for “Go Beyond Our
Beaches” Campaign at Florida Economic Development Conference
The Florida Economic Development Council (FEDC) announced the creation of the Melissa Medley Creativity Award, a memorial recognition established to honor the passion, talent, and inspiration Melissa displayed in the fields of marketing and economic development. FEDC leaders established the annual award to drive innovation and creativity in marketing by Florida economic development organizations to attract business and investment throughout the state.
Melissa began her professional career as the director of marketing for the Hattiesburg Clinic in 1986. She then founded her own firm, Success Marketing, in 1988 helping numerous companies succeed. At that time, she became affiliated with Sales and Marketing Executives International (SMEI) serving as regional vice-president, director of affiliate member services, and senior vice-president of marketing research. In 1998, she received the Lifetime Service Award from SMEI’s Hattiesburg affiliate.
In 2000, she received the Jack Criswell CSE Award for Outstanding Volunteerism, SMEI’s highest membership recognition. Melissa served as chair of SMEI from 2004-2005. She served as Chair of the SMEI Certification Governing Board from 2005-2010.
Melissa served as chief marketing officer at the Mississippi Development Authority under Governor Haley Barbour and then at Enterprise Florida under Governor Rick Scott. At EFI, recognizing the state’s many assets she developed Florida’s first ever business brand. In 2015, Melissa joined with Gray Swoope and Griff Salmon to launch VisionFirst Advisors. AtVisionFirst Advisors Melissa served principal as well as the director of the Aerospace Alliance where she promoted regional aerospace and aviation assets to grow the industry across the four-state region.
“Melissa was known for her creativity and passion for storytelling,” said Gray Swoope. “Her relationships with local economic developers fed her creativity, and we are thrilled that this award continues her legacy. Melissa would be truly honored by this award and the level of excellence displayed by each of the entries.”
Florida’s Great Northwest is the recipient of the first annual Melissa Medley Creativity Award for their Go Beyond Our Beaches organic marketing and public relations campaign. Go BeyondOur Beaches features six craft breweries from the 12-county region in multi-faceted outreach to site location consultants and social media, including promotion of the one-of-a-kind Triumph Gulf Coast incentive fund unique to this region.
Jennifer Taylor, FEDC Board Chair, stated, “Marketing is at the heart of what economic development organizations do every day. This campaign embodies the spirit of Melissa Medley in the unique packaging and gifting of NW Florida craft beer to enjoy while learning about the many competitive assets of the region. I applaud Florida’s Great Northwest for the broad reach of this campaign.”
About the Florida Economic Development Council
The Florida Economic Development Council (FEDC) is a membership-based 501(c)(6) not-forprofit corporation whose 430 members engage business, education, and government leaders in key economic development initiatives that improve local communities and elevate Florida’s global competitiveness.
Since 1964, FEDC has invested in the professional development of its members, advocated for sound economic policies and programs, and recognized excellence among economic, workforce, and community development individuals and organizations.
FEDC members expertly market the competitive assets of the communities they serve to attract, retain, and create businesses that provide jobs for Florida families and capital investment in Florida communities.
To learn more about FEDC visit www.fedconline.org.
About Vision First Advisors
After 30 years of leading public and private economic development organizations in three different states, Gray Swoope launched VisionFirst Advisors, LLC, an economic development consulting company focused on location advisory services, economic development strategy, organizational management and result-driven marketing and communications.
VisionFirst Advisors has established itself as a go-to firm in the economic development consulting field with a variety of clients from 40+ states and six Fortune 500 companies.
To learn more about VisionFirst visit www.visionfirstadvisors.com.
About Florida’s Great Northwest
Florida’s Great Northwest is the regional economic development organization representing the 12 counties in the Florida Panhandle: Bay, Calhoun, Escambia, Franklin, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Liberty, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Walton, and Washington.
The organization promotes Northwest Florida for economic growth and diversification, advocates for economic development issues that affect the region, and collaborates to improve the region’s business competitiveness.
Learn more at www.FloridasGreatNorthwest.com