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  • 27 Jun 2016 6:37 PM | Anonymous

    Builders exchange chairman chides EDC on communication abilities

    Last month, Sarasota County commissioners shot down a plan that would have given a national roofing company more than a million dollars in state and local tax breaks to move here and create 180 jobs.

    Paul Stehle is chairman of the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange. He says it was an embarrassment for the Economic Development Corporation and it could have been avoided with better communication.

    Stehle says the EDC was off-base on two fronts. First off, he says they shouldn't be bringing in companies in the construction business and offer them a tax break.

    "It isn't about keeping out the competition, it's about giving them an unfair advantage. I'm an air conditioning contractor. If one wants to come to town, bring it on, I'm fine with that, but I'm not going to give them a tax incentive to do that," he said.

    "In the EDC's own words, they say the three pillars of Florida's economy are agriculture, tourism and construction. So what we should recruit to diversify the base is sectors outside those three areas," said Mary Dougherty, executive director of the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange.

    But Stehle says it's not just the wrong industry to recruit; he says it's also the way the EDC goes about business.

    "'No comment.' That's what I think. They don't comment very well. They don't bring themselves to talking to you," he explained.

    And he's not the only one who thinks the EDC didn't do well with the roofing corporate relocation, which they called Project Mulligan.

    "Communication is critical. We could say there was a misfiring of the spark plugs, the order of the firing of the spark plugs, but now we can look at it and see how we can make the process better," said Sarasota County Commissioner Paul Caragiulo.

    We wanted to find out how the EDC President Mark Huey planned to make the process better for next time. We wanted to explain how the EDC chooses industries to pursue. However, after a flurry of emails where Huey wanted to know the questions asked as well as who else would be interviewed, Huey eventually declined to make himself available. We even offered to highlight a recent success story, any time, any day -- but he stopped responding.

    A week later, we tried again, and this time we were given the following statement:

    "The overarching goal of the EDC of Sarasota County is to be an assist with business growth throughout the community, from startups to established companies to those who are considering relocating here. The Board of County Commissioners may be revisiting certain policies and practices it has in place for attracting new and assisting local companies. There will be no further comment from the EDC on this matter until the Board of County Commissioners gives further direction on our next steps."

    Sources close to the EDC Board say at a recent management retreat, the word "communication" was stressed. We also reached out to two of the board members, but neither returned our phone calls.


  • 11 Feb 2016 6:41 PM | Anonymous

    Movers and Shakers: Gulf Coast Builder’s Exchange Members Support Local Arts Organization

    Three Six Oh PR•Thursday, Feb 11, 2016

    SARASOTA, Fla. – The Gulf Coast Builder’s Exchange (GCBX), a not-for-profit trade organization, recently hosted a New Year networking social to join current and prospective new members and preview a private piece from the Sarasota Opera.

    On Thursday, Jan. 28 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. almost 100 members gathered at the Sarasota Opera, prior to the opening show of the season, Aida, that Saturday. The event, catered by Nelli’s Deli, featured the stunning snippet by two of Sarasota Opera’s singers as well as networking.

    “Our commercial contractors support arts and culture in our community,” said Mary Dougherty, the executive director of the Gulf Coast Builder’s Exchange. “Sarasota’s arts and culture organizations attract people and companies from around the globe so there is a natural synergy between businesses and groups like the Sarasota Opera.”

    The GCBX’s next event is the newly formatted 7th annual GCBX 500 on Wednesday, Feb. 24 from 5 – 8 p.m. at the Andersen Race Park in Palmetto. There will be great spectator and driver activities, including an endurance race for drivers. For tickets, visit

    About The Gulf Coast Builders Exchange

    The Gulf Coast Builders Exchange was established in 1952 and is a not-for-profit corporation operating as a trade organization. Under the guidance of a volunteer Board of Directors, the organization’s philosophy of “members working with members” has been successful in helping individual members grow. This success has become the foundation for the continued development of the organization.

    The GCBX membership is comprised of over 300 companies in Manatee, Sarasota and Charlotte counties. It includes some of the most respected contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, service providers and businesses in construction‑affiliated industries. For more information, visit


  • 23 Jun 2014 6:43 PM | Anonymous

    Gulf Coast Builder’s Exchange Launches Proud to Build Campaign

    By Candice McElyea 

    The Gulf Coast Builder’s Exchange (GCBX), a not-for-profit trade organization, has launched the “Proud to Build” campaign to promote and support its diverse group of members.

    The campaign will be incorporated across several mediums including the GCBX website, e-mail marketing, social media and member initiatives.

    “Our members are an integral part of the economic development of the southwest Florida community, and this campaign will bring their stories to light,” said Mary Dougherty, executive director of the Lakewood Ranch-based trade organization. “Regardless of their specific profession within the building community, our members contribute to this region in so many ways – from smart growth initiatives to philanthropic efforts; we are proud of our strong and varied membership and are pleased to promote these efforts to the entire community,” said Dougherty.

    In partnership with Sarasota-based public relations firm 360 Degrees PR, the GCBX campaign will feature stories about members and their local history in the region, highlighting why they are proud to be a part of the building community.

    “The building industry recruits and retains strong young talent to the area,” said Russ Bobbitt, board chair of the GCBX and Partner/Agent at Purmort & Martin Insurance Agency. “These people are raising their families, paying taxes and volunteering in our community. The building industry certainly has a strong social and economic impact on our region. In addition to that, our members are improving the area by building with environmentally friendly, state-of-the-art structures,” said Bobbitt.

    Member stories will be displayed online at the GCBX website and shared through the Proud to Build Facebook page and Twitter accounts.


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