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On November 3, 2021, Gunster, one of Florida’s oldest and largest full-service business law firms, held the inaugural “Listening to Leaders” program featuring Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings.

Derek E. Bruce, Gunster Orlando office managing shareholder, and Ronald A. Brisé, who chairs the firm’s Government Affairs & Lobbying practice, hosted the program. Mayor Demings’ presentation focused on a number of timely topics, including surviving and thriving economically despite the pandemic; the diversification of Central Florida’s economy; affordable housing; and regional leadership on transportation. 

In attendance were influential business and community leaders from diverse industries and backgrounds across the region.

“It was my pleasure to be in front of this distinguished group of leaders and talk about this past year’s challenges and opportunities, said Mayor Demings.  By working together, we safely re-opened Orange County businesses and disbursed CARES Act funding to those impacted by COVID-19.  Orange County was also one of the first convention centers in the nation to re-open a full year earlier than most major metropolitan areas.   I would like to thank our Orange County leadership, our business community, health officials, employees and residents for ensuring Orange County comes back safer, stronger together.”

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Central Florida has been one of the fastest growing areas of the State of Florida. Orange County has pioneered in creating opportunities for economic growth, providing an outlook for 2022 and offering insight into the sectors that are likely to bolster the future economy.

Bruce stated, “In his position as Orange County’s elected leader, Mayor Demings’ calm yet decisive leadership paved the way for our entire region to not only survive the COVID-19 state of emergency, but to also come out of it retooled for the economic opportunities that lie ahead.”

Mayor Demings also shared that a key priority is to ensure Central Florida is competitive in the upcoming determination of where federal transportation resources are allocated in the coming years.  “Under Mayor Demings’ leadership, Orange County is well positioned for success in the upcoming 2022 legislative session and to compete for the federal infrastructure dollars,” added Brisé.

The “Listening to Leaders: A Speaker Series Featuring Leaders Impacting our Region & State” serves as part of Gunster’s Leading Florida Forward initiative, which is aimed at empowering and improving the community at large.


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